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Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381


  1. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Friends of Joshua House Foundation

    Lisa DeBartolo and Don Miggs sheltered Joshua House Foundation's annual Circle of Friends dinner at their Palma Ceia home to help the shelter continue caring for the neglected and abused children under its roof.

    No roof covered the Marrakesh Express party March 20, served alfresco by Mise en Place with vivid decor donated by K-4 Productions. Ophelia's fiery belly dance on goblets and guitarist Ted Wray played to the theme....

    Wes Moore visits with Christine Long, chief programs officer of Metropolitan Ministries, at the United Way Suncoast’s annual Art of Giving benefit.
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Chiselers' Market Preview Party

    Sure, the open bars and cocktail buffet attracted some, but attractive bargains were the main lure at the 19th annual Chiselers' Market Preview Party: china fit for a queen, stacks of silver platters and irresistible collectibles. Co-chaired by Casey Cathey and Jane Williams, the benefit brought 500-plus guests to Plant Hall at the University of Tampa on March 13. Everything bought that night cost "twice the price" as the next morning when throngs flocked to the 52nd annual Chiselers' Market....

    Chiselers’ Market Preview Party co-chairwomen Jane Williams, left, and Casey Cathey, right, thank their honorary chairman, Mayor Bob Buckhorn, at the March 13 benefit.
  3. From This Day: Alexander MacKinnon and Sandra Cross


    TAMPA — As the owner of five construction equipment dealerships, Alexander "Sandy" MacKinnon set specific goals to attain success in business, a practice he carried over in times of bereavement.

    He suggested Sandra "Sandy" Cross do the same to help cope with her own loss.

    Before long, the two "Sandys" realized they shared more than a name; they shared a vision of a future together....

    A longtime friendship between Sandra “Sandy” Cross and Alexander “Sandy” MacKinnon eventually turned to marriage on Jan. 30 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in South Tampa.
  4. Chiselers Market aims for greater success with shopping upgrades

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — What's new at the 52nd Chiselers Market?

    Chairwoman Jan Ely gladly rattles off improvements to what has been called Tampa's biggest indoor garage sale.

    All types of credit cards will be accepted this year. Information booths will help orient shoppers to the various departments. And purchases can be stored at three Will Call areas.

    Three complete estates were donated to Saturday's collection of highly desirable castoffs for sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Tampa's Plant Hall, the former Tampa Bay Hotel built by rail magnate Henry B. Plant in 1891....

    These are among the items sorted at the University of Tampa on Tuesday for the one-day sale at UT’s Plant Hall on Saturday.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Heroes Ball

    After 21 years, St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation's Stepping Out Gala has evolved into the Heroes Ball with an all-star line up including board chairwoman Elaine Shimberg, Tampa Bay Rays' third baseman Evan Longoria, (sporting a shaved head from a pediatric cancer challenge) and community "hero" Gayle Sierens, the night's honoree for assisting at dozens of hospital fundraisers in her 38-year broadcast career....

    Harvey and Cherie and son Alan Schonbrun took home Scooter with a $4,300 auction bid.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    DeBartolo Family Foundation All Star Charity Gala

    Abracadabra… the DeBartolo family magically raised $1 million at its 12th All Star Charity Gala. This year's benefit starred illusionist David Blaine, a surprise kept from the 800 guests and even super-host Eddie DeBartolo, said daughter Lisa DeBartolo Miggs as she introduced some of the 50 celebrities at the gala. There were "too many Hall of Famers to name them all," she said, waving to NFL legends Jim Brown, Jerry Rice and Charles Haley, actor Adrian Zmed and Matchbox 20's Kyle Cook, who were among those dining at glittering banquet tables in an unrecognizable hangar at Peter O. Knight Airport. Eddie V's brought the antipasto and ceviche hors d'oeuvres and s'mores desserts; Puff n' Stuff catered the grilled pork chop dinner....

    NFL players Jerry Rice, left, and Patrick Willis catch up at the DeBartolo Family Foundation’s All Star Charity Gala.
  7. Jackie Faircloth continues slow recovery after hit and run

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Three months after being struck by a pickup truck, Plant High senior Jackie Faircloth is making "baby steps" in her recovery, her father said.

    "She's definitely progressing,'' John Faircloth said, ''but it's going to be a long road of baby steps."

    The 18-year-old cheerleader suffered a traumatic brain injury Nov. 29 in Tallahassee after a truck hit her then took off. She was in town to see a Florida State University football game with her brother....

    “Pray for Jackie” signs, like this one at Plant High School in Tampa, support Jackie Faircloth, who was hit by a pickup.
  8. Gasparilla Festival showcases Tampa lawyer's art

    Visual Arts

    TAMPA — Five years ago, Amy Leigh Carstensen left a lucrative career with one of Florida's most prestigious law firms to paint a future on her own terms.

    "I am doing two things I love," said Carstensen, now a full-time artist and part-time lawyer. "With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work."

    Call her gutsy or call her crazy, but the leap has earned her entry into the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts four times, including this weekend, where she'll exhibit with 235 artists culled from 1,000 fine arts and crafts applicants....

    Amy Leigh Carstensen of Tampa has shown her art, mostly abstract oils, at four Gasparilla festivals. 
  9. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Carson Kressley joins the weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Equality Florida Tampa gala

    "Transformational" is how Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith described the legalization of same-sex marriage in Florida as a handsome crowd of 600-plus celebrated at Saturday's artsy gala. Art lovers helped raise $354,000 with a silent auction of 65 pieces and eight striking artworks auctioned live at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.

    Madge Judge earned the Charlie Hounchell Leadership Award for community service. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner received the Voice for Equality award, for his work advocating a domestic partner registry and updating the county human rights ordinance. Then he raised that voice, auctioning works by Eileen Goldenberg, Duncan McClellan, Kim Burns Cummings, Marsha Hammel and Michaele Vollbracht and others. Top buy: Alberto Murillo's American flag sold for $8,500 to Kyle O'Donnell. ...

    Michelle and Ted Schofner support Bollywood Nights to benefit Children Across Borders on Feb. 21 at the Tampa Museum of Art.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Gloria Steinem tops weekly wrapup of Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Centre for Women Waves of Change luncheon

    "To have my mother's name mentioned in the same breath as Gloria Steinem is an extraordinary honor," said Karen Davis, as the Centre for Women presented the inaugural Helen Gordon Davis Leadership Award to an icon of the '60s women's movement.

    Stephanie Davis and Gordon Davis joined their sister at the Waves of Change luncheon Feb. 11 representing their mother, who was not well enough to join the 400 guests at the Crowne Plaza Westshore. Said committee member Susan Dellinger, eyeing the mostly female crowd, "the very best women in Tampa are here with the exception of one." Centre executive director Ann Madsen agreed, joking that she'd promised the fire marshal, "No bra burning today." A week later,, her board members proposed and unanimously voted to rename the Tampa facility: the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women. ...

     Guests were asked to wear their own version of ruby slippers to the third annual Be Mine, There’s No Place Like Home gala benefit for the Children’s Home Heart Gallery on Feb. 12 at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Opera Tampa 20th anniversary gala

    Baritone Sherrill Milnes earned endless honors in his distinguished career, but receiving the Anton Coppola Excellence in the Arts award from the 97-year-old maestro himself surely scores among the highest. Milnes, the former Opera Tampa artistic adviser, celebrated at the 20th anniversary gala with Straz Center CEO Judy Lisi and many fans on the set of Rigoletto on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday....

    Tampa’s 2014 Citizens of the Year Frank and Carol Morsani, left, and daughter Leann and son-in-law Mike Rowe hold the Metro Civitan Club proclamation presented during the Governor’s Day Luncheon.
  12. From This Day: 14-year engagement worth the wait


    TAMPA — Any marriage counselor would opine: Only fools rush in. Take your time, get to know each other.

    Still, Ken Harfenist and Suzanne Scott's engagement seemed like a stretch.

    On Dec. 27, 2014, the newly wedded couple shared their first dance to Etta James' iconic At Last, with more than a subtle hint of humor. "I love Suzanne dearly and I knew it would work out eventually," said Ken, who proposed on Valentine's Day 2001....

    Ken Harfenist and Suzanne Scott’s 14-year engagement happily ended when they wed Dec. 27, 2014, at Avila Golf and Country Club. A health care lawyer, Ken made his case for marriage patiently to Suzanne, a director of volunteer resources, never doubting their time would come.
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Gasparilla 2015

    Vast, adoring crowds, selfie-perfect weather, banging invasion. Gasparilla No. 100 lived up its reputation and then some. As per custom, Ye Mystic Krewe Capt. Rex Farrior III and his merry marauders seized the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn and marched victoriously with dozens of playmate krewes in Saturday's parade. Farrior was psyched to fly the flag his men designed for him with personal symbols in black and red. "Red for my bloodlines," said Farrior, the son of King Rex Farrior Jr. (1973) and brother of King Preston Farrior (2009)....

    Carmen and Harry Barkett hosted 400 friends, “outlaws, pirates and bandits” in the Amalie Arena tent during the 100th Gasparilla parade.
  14. Philanthropic Morsanis named Citizens of the Year


    TAMPA - Retired automotive dealer Frank Morsani let his emotions get the best of him when he and his wife Carol were named 2014 Citizens of the Year at the annual Governor's Day Luncheon at the Florida State Fair.

    Morsani choked back happy sobs Thursday as Gov. Rick Scott and some of Tampa's most influential leaders applauded the philanthropic pair, honored by the Tampa Metro Civitan Club in a tradition that began in 1927....

  15. Travel through time with our '100 doubloons' of Gasparilla in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Who knew a civic prank — businessmen pretending to invade Tampa during the 1904 May Festival — would evolve into the city's signature event, lending its name to festivals, a road race and conjuring the mascot of a pro football team a century later? Since those pirates, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, mixed Mardi Gras style and marketing savvy, the "invasion" and parade have grown exponentially, spawning a multimillion-dollar impact, 60 krewes, 9,000 parade participants and 300,000 spectators along Bayshore Boulevard and downtown streets. • With a fledgling start, wars and one infamous cancellation causing the festivities to skip certain years, this is the 100th procession. We honor it with 100 doubloons of history....

    BOATS: A 2009 aerial photo shows the Jose Gasparilla making its way toward Tampa for the annual invasion that leads up to the Parade of the Pirates.