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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

Email: ascherzer@tampabay.com

  1. Egypt Shrine will keep renting out A La Carte Event Pavilion while waiting for buyer

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The "for sale" sign will stay up. But until a deal is struck, Egypt Shrine will rent its popular A La Carte Event Pavilion on its own.

    Starting Feb. 1, event planners may rent the meeting space, the covered terrace and outdoor barbecue area at what will be renamed A La Carte Shrine Pavilion.

    While the property remains for sale, the venue will become more of a DIY-operation for weddings and social events....

  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay's Dancing With the Stars 2015

    Far more than fancy footwork captivated the audience at Tampa Bay's Dancing With the Stars glitzy dinner and dance-off. Five victims of domestic violence described surviving unimaginable abuse and in five minutes helped Julie and Steve Weintraub raise $20,000 for their Hands Across the Bay foundation, which Tom and Lauren Pepin immediately doubled. The glam frenzy fireballed as 13 pairs of dancers competed for guests' votes and judges' raves Saturday at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Orlando Davis, Ashley Glass, Ashley Batey and Ian Beckles spiffy in red beret and red shoes — snagged breathless interviews after each routine....

    Meet the 2015 Florida Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, Drs. Paul Sanberg, from left, Nan-Yao Su, Janet Yamamoto, Jerry Pratt and Robert Grubbs. Dr. Robert Holton was unable to attend the gala Oct. 2.
  3. The Space at 2106 Main looks to energize Old West Tampa

    Human Interest

    OLD WEST TAMPA — The time is now, predicts banker- turned-developer Rob Morris, to raise the curtain on Old West Tampa, starting with a community theater he's renovating north of the Howard/Armenia Avenue exit of Interstate 275.

    Called the Space at 2106 Main, it could be the heart of an arts district with the potential to rejuvenate a neglected neighborhood.

    "Old West Tampa has been forgotten but can't remain so," Morris said. "It's such an opportunity, with so much history … a three-minute drive from downtown....

    Jared O’Roark, from left, Erica Sutherlin and developer Rob Morris make up the creative team running the Space at 2106 Main in Old West Tampa.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Art of Helping Children gala

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay billed its 17th annual gala as An Evening of Wine and Roses, but guests heard that Port Richey police Chief Rob Lovering's rough and tough New Jersey childhood was no bed of roses 30 years ago. Witnessing a surprise reunion with his "Big Brother" Bill Patchett, the audience, including CEO Pam Iorio, realized the profound and lasting impact of that relationship. Another emotional high at the Art of Helping Children benefit Sept. 19: meeting Alan Cohen and SirGiorgio, 13, of Sulphur Springs, the 2015 Big and Little Brother of the Year....

    Dr. Doug Letson, from left, and Tony Colton present the Pediatric Cancer Foundations’ annual Dick Vitale award to Dr. Damon Reed during Brinner on Sept. 24 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Theatre's 14th annual WineFest

    Geeky Napoleon and his pal Pedro meandered through Napoleon Wineamite, the Tampa Theatre's weeklong food and wine fest that stole its name from the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite. Tasting events ranged from a $10 Movie under the Stars (Bring Your Own Blanket or lawn chair) to a rainy Sunday brunch to Mise en Place's fancy, five-course $250 dinner on the stage. "We'll raise more than $100,000 overall," said chairman John Wolfe II....

    Brad Sobo and Katie Panoff served deviled eggs and steak tartare plus grilled cheese pound cake with lemon frosting from Cru Cellars at Napoleon Wineamite, the 14th annual Tampa Theatre Wine and Food Festival tasting Sept. 11.
  6. 2015-2016 Hillsborough Society Calendar

    Human Interest

    Check out the Times' 2015-2016 Hillsborough Society Calendar, jam-packed with memorable celebrations planned to raise funds and friends for dozens of arts, education and health non-profit organizations. • Use it to chart your way through the year, catch the highlights each week in my Diary and remember the reason for the social season. • As Big Brothers Big Sisters of America CEO Pam Iorio says, "Nonprofit is a terrible name. We better end the year with a profit, or I haven't done my job." • In other words, enjoy the parties but bring your checkbook....

  7. Bucs' 'RED' campaign kickoff draws throng of enthusiastic women fans


    TAMPA — Sure, they shopped for stylish tees and hats. Yes, they watched cooking demonstrations and admired fancy dinner tables set with Tampa Bay Buccaneers china and wine glasses.

    But RED, the Tampa Bay Bucs' first women's campaign event, also had the 1,500-plus women studying fantasy football and huddled over virtual reality glasses and soaking up GM Jason Licht's chalk talk on Thursday night. Some might have been new to the game. Most were super fans. All were eager to be inside Raymond James Stadium soaking up the RED spirit, eating grilled angus beef sliders and other delights at the free party....

    A high heel wine bottle holder emblazoned with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers logo was on display at the team's RED campaign kickoff event on Thursday night. [AMY SCHERZER | Times]
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Fifth annual India Film Festival

    Actors, filmmakers and directors arrived from far and near to join the fifth annual India Film Festival, a weekend of 32 independent films, shorts and documentaries in Hindi, Bengali, English and other languages. The INDO-US Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet opening night Aug. 28, screening Haraamkhor at Carmike Cinema in Ybor City. Director Shlok Sharma led the interesting Q & A that followed....

    India Film Festival sponsor Santosh Govindaraju, left, co-founder Francis Vayalumkal, sponsor Paresh Patel and INDO-US Chamber of Commerce president Jal Irani welcome a lively crowd Aug. 28.
  9. Social Venture Partners brings a new philanthropic model to Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Fifteen years working in the nonprofit world taught Rebekah Heppner why all-too-often, good intentions are not enough to sustain a charitable organization.

    The Tampa consultant has seen numerous charities struggle despite the utmost dedication to their mission.

    Heppner's response was to form a local branch of Social Venture Partners, a worldwide network based on participatory philanthropy. Each affiliate — Tampa Bay is the 39th and first in Florida — personalizes its annual donation to a single organization with an abundance of hands-on professional help. ...

    Steve Brannock and Social Venture Partners executive director Rebekah Heppner chat at a Tampa gathering.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Martinis for Moffitt

    So what if the dry martinis got a little wet? Pouring rain didn't deter the outpouring of support from 1,000-plus partiers at Martinis for Moffitt.

    Staking their rep on "Best Summer Party in Tampa," the Bay Area Advisors "stepped it up at every level," said co-chairman Kostas Stoilas, one of 17 members of the men's network hosting their 10th annual midsummer benefit for the Advanced Prostate Cancer Collaboration at Moffitt Cancer Center on July 25. "We sold out two weeks in advance and could have easily sold a thousand more," he said. Tickets, raffles and a top-shelf auction raised more than $150,000....

    Solstice Bash committee member Hanisha Patel, left, parties with guests Sheila Patel, Rebecca Piotter and Larry Scofield at the Rotary Club benefit.
  11. The parties may be over at Tampa's popular A La Carte Pavilion


    TAMPA — Charities and event planners are on the verge of losing one of Tampa Bay's most popular venues.

    Bloomin' Brands Inc. will stop leasing the A La Carte Event Pavilion from the Egypt Shriners at the end of the year. For now, at least, no other hospitality operator appears to be waiting in the wings.

    James Lich, the Shriners' assistant rabban, or second vice president, said his organization is considering three options for what to do with the 56,000-square-foot space that sits on 13 acres of waterfront property....

    Richard Gonzmart shows off a guitar signed by the Beach Boys to his wife, Melanie, at the 16th annual Magnolia Ball in 2009 at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa.
  12. Family's health battle fuels Tampa Yacht & Country Club chef's spice business


    Not much throws chef Jean-Christophe Setin off his game.

    As a young Red Beret paratrooper, he parachuted from military helicopters over the Pyrenees. He mastered classic French cooking by apprenticing in Michelin-starred restaurants in his native Nice and nearby Monte Carlo. As executive chef at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club, his recipes please debutantes and Gasparilla royals, sailors and swim teams. Later this year, if all goes according to plan, his charming accent will entice shoppers on HSN as he demonstrates Cuisinart cookware....

    Chef Jean-Christophe Setin works with the spices used in his Provencal Rub in the kitchen at Tampa Yacht & Country Club.
  13. Ciccio Group partner envisions more SoHo success


    SOUTH TAMPA — Sandwiched between Kennedy and Bayshore boulevards, nearly 40 restaurants and bars along South Howard Avenue rake in more than $1 million a weekend, the highest dining revenue in the city.

    Certainly, that pleases the Ciccio Restaurant Group, kingpins on the strip with five restaurants in the mix and more coming. Competition for entertainment dollars is coming, too, said Jeff Gigante, 47, one of six partners behind Ciccio & Tony's, Water, Daily Eats, the Lodge, the Green Lemon (briefly called Lime) and Fresh Kitchen....

    Jeff Gigante, center, poses with donors at a 2014 fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Center, a nonprofit he routinely supports. Gigante is a partner in the Ciccio Restaurant Group and president of the SoHo Business Alliance in Tampa.
  14. City, expressway authority team to create 'Swann Pond'


    Neighbors and business owners welcome the completion of the $848,000 transformation of Swann Pond this week.

    A formerly overgrown retention pond on Swann Avenue between Rome and Packwood Avenues in south Tampa's Hyde Park has been cleaned out, extensively landscaped and enclosed in wrought-iron estate fencing.

    Other additions include a lighted fountain, new sidewalks, two custom-designed, shaded bus shelters and nine benches, one painted red to thank the F.E. Lykes Foundation for a $250,000 donation. Private donors raised $440,000 with 10 percent coming from the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and Historic Hyde Park Preservation Inc. The city of Tampa, which maintains the pond, provided $425,000. The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority owns the property....

    Improvements to Swann Pond in Hyde Park were recently completed. The project included landscaping, a fountain in the center and custom bus shelters.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Red Cross Tampa Bay

    "Miracle on the Hudson" survivor Dave Sanderson gave American Red Cross supporters a lively recounting of what it was like to be the last person off US Airways Flight 1549 when a bird strike damaged the engine and forced a landing on the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. The Red Cross played a crucial role, he said at the June 5 annual meeting in the University of Tampa's Vaughn Center. All 155 people on board were rescued....

    Brighter Tomorrows president Pat Handly, from left, and lunch chairwoman Kathy Pegram thank co-chairwomen Nancy Weisman and Bobbie Taub at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club.