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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

    Starlight Gala

    Newsies hawking the Chicago Tribune, fedora-topped gangsters, deep dish pizza and hot dogs served on Cubs napkins —all the Windy City passions flavored the Starlight Gala, "An Evening in Chicago" benefit for the Florida Hospital Foundation. But Sunday's big score came when Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago blasted onto the Marriott Waterside stage, thrilling the nearly 900 guests with a private concert composed of 50 years of hit singles. Getting to rock a drum solo with them on "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" was a bucket list dream come true for Florida Hospital Tampa chief of staff, cardiologist Mitch O'Hara, the first guest to do so, they said....

    Tia and Victor Young support the Starlight Gala benefit for pediatric services at Florida Hospital’s west Florida region on Oct. 16 at the Marriott Waterside.
  2. Epilogue: Louise Lykes Ferguson, 104, came of age as Tampa did


    TAMPA — Louise Lykes Ferguson, matriarch of Tampa's most prominent and enduring family, leaves a cultural legacy to parallel the Lykes Brothers' pioneer shipping and agribusiness advancements.

    A major backer of downtown Tampa's performing arts center, second largest in the southeast, Mrs. Ferguson, 104, died Oct. 5 at her historic family home in Ballast Point.

    Along with her husband of 44 years, attorney Chester Howell Ferguson, Mrs. Ferguson was instrumental in conceptualizing and fundraising what is now called the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Her involvement spanned multiple mayors, starting in the mid-'60s and peaked as a co-chairwoman of the elegant, opening night Great Gala in July 1987. The center has drawn more than 10 million guests to Broadway, opera, ballet and other performances, including in Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall, named to honor her significant contributions....

    Louise Lykes Ferguson celebrated her 100th birthday in 2012 during a Day at the Races benefit for Florida House at Tampa Bay Downs.
  3. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy

    Hailing author Elaine Shimberg and political trailblazer Betty Castor for leading "boldly, authentically and fearlessly," USF president Judy Genshaft opened the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Fall Symposium Luncheon on Oct. 6 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Community leader and philanthropist Shimberg has written 26 books on medical and family topics. Castor's firsts include female Hillsborough County Commissioner, Florida senate president pro tempore; Florida Commissioner of education and USF president....

    USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy 2016  honorees Elaine Shimberg, left, and Betty Castor visit with luncheon guest speaker Claire Shipman, author and ABC news correspondent, Oct. 6.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars

    Ten contestants practiced for months at the Hip Hop Dance Studio, and wow, did it pay off at Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars competition. "Our best ever," said Julie Weintraub, dancing on the stage after dinner with a crush of supporters while the $1 votes and judges' ballots were counted at Saturday's charity dance-off at TPepin's Hospitality Centre....

    Cooky and Booky Buchman and their family received the Adela and Cesar Gonzmart award at the 51st Ybor City Chamber of Commerce gala Sept. 24.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture

    Norma Kamali would have been surrounded by lifelong devotees of her iconic styles at Tampa Museum of Art's glam benefit CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture, a night for sipping champagne, eyeing her fall ready-to-wear collection and the conclusion of her first museum exhibition.

    Instead, Kamali appeared via video, apologizing for missing her flight to Tampa Saturday and letting her latest work speak for itself. Swimwear to slinky jersey dresses — with safety pin details and graffiti prints — popped in black, white, charcoal and cherry red in the runway show staged by Patty Soltis and Elaine Sweeney of STYLEdge....

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photos  This gorgeous living dress made of fresh florals and greens greeted guests arriving at CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture benefit for Tampa Museum of Art on Sept. 24.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    FARA Energy Ball

    Friendship, optimism and support synergized the FARA Energy Ball, the eighth hosted by Paul and Suzanne Avery, and again uniting business associates, medical researchers and philanthropic friends to raise nearly $2 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the University of South Florida Ataxia Research Center. The gala has funded more than $10 million to find a cure for the rare, degenerative neuromuscular disorder since 2009....

    Chef Bill Gideon, left, and public relations manager Nikki Yourison, both of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, go all-in for the Centre for Women’s 25th annual Gourmet Feastival on Sept. 15. [AMY SCHERZER | Times]

  7. Photographers zoom in on shooting Tampa's social events

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Smile, says Penny Rogo, sometimes a hundred times a day, always (almost) receiving a big grin right back.

    Multiply those smiles by 40 years and that's a lot of happy faces looking at the tall redhead capturing the scene as MamaRazzi Foto. Rogo photographs ribbon cuttings, award ceremonies, conventions and "lots and lots of charity events, three or four a week from September to January, about 80 or 90 a year."...

    Penny Rogo, owner of MamaRazzi Foto, photographs 80 to 90 charitable events a year. Despite some long hours, she called the job exhilarating.
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Imagination: A Gala

    Like well-dressed toys jumbling into a three-floor sandbox, Glazer Children's Museum playmates explored Imagination, a roving cocktail gala with bars and canapes tucked into exhibits throughout. The 700 grown-ups found sushi in the Water's Journey, crostini on mini grocery shelves and charcuterie near the SmalLab. Salt Block Catering Co. also had fun with S'mores, cookies and milk, liquid nitrogen ice cream and carnival treats....

    Roger and Jeannie Abreu, from left, Steven and Jodi Jacolow and Cindy and Ralph Luciani support Imagination, a gala benefit for the Glazer Children’s Museum.
  9. Fundraising consultant bids up support with sincerity

    Human Interest

    Showmanship — spontaneous, sincere but carefully scripted — keeps guests entertained and feeling charitable.

    "We're putting on a show," said Jason Alpert, a fundraising consultant and auctioneer booked at 65 events a year. "I want people to leave saying, 'Man, that was memorable.' They remember something like a 100-foot-long red carpet leading to a woman on stilts wearing a huge red dress that holds glasses of Champagne."...

    Auctioneer Jason Alpert, shown at a Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast event, also serves nonprofits as a fundraising consultant. “He’s phenomenal, not the kind of guy who does your auction and leaves,” says the Straz Center’s Sharon McDonald.
  10. Hillsborough venue managers prepare to shift into high gear

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Andre "Andy" Brouillard and Julie Juteau share a French-Canadian heritage, fluency in French and a desire to make sure a guest's biggest concern is finding the guy passing the tray of stuffed mushrooms.

    "Air conditioning working? Bathroom sparkling? Room set and ready?"

    All other worries fall on us, said Brouillard, 63, general manager of TPepin's Hospitality Centre in east Tampa....

    Andre “Andy” Brouillard, general manager of TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, has 40 years of experience in the trade.
  11. 2016-17 Hillsborough Social Calendar

    Human Interest

    Clink those glasses and enjoy helping arts, education and human services organizations strengthen the Tampa Bay community. Our annual Hillsborough Social Calendar offers a host of opportunities for donors, volunteers and advocates to get involved. And be sure to look for the weekly Diary in the Tampa Tribune edition of the Tampa Bay Times to catch the latest news, updates and philanthropic trends observed on the local social scene. Amy Scherzer, Tampa Bay Times...

  12. Amy Scherzer's Diary: WeeklyWrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    11th Martinis for Moffitt

    Vacations get scheduled around it, probably weddings and a few bar mitzvahs, too, as Martinis for Moffitt goes on the summer calendar first.

    "We sold out three weeks in advance, over 1,000 tickets," said Kostas Stoilas, speaking for the Bay Area Advisors, the charity-minded, young men's professional network that has grown its annual benefit into one of Tampa's most anticipated events....

    Rhea Law, left, Wayne Williams and Mariya Pickett frolic at The Beach Tampa opening night VIP party on Aug. 4 at Amalie Arena. There will be 100,000 visitors before the plastic beach closes Aug. 25.
  13. New MacDonald Training Center CEO brings upbeat attitude to role

    Human Interest


    Only good news should be spread on Fridays, to Karenne Levy's way of thinking.

    "You can't do anything about bad news until Monday anyway," says the newly hired president and CEO of the MacDonald Training Center. "So my rule is save it for Monday."

    The Kingston, Jamaica, native cites her own empirical data, including a biopsy 10 years ago on a Friday afternoon that indicated the possibility of cancer....

    Fridays are good news-only days,?ˆš“ says Karenne Levy, president and CEO of the MacDonald Training Center. ?ˆš’You can?ˆš•t do anything about bad news until Monday anyway.?ˆš“
  14. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    'The Infiltrator' world premiere at Tampa Theatre

    What a coup for the Tampa-Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission to score actors Bryan Cranston and Benjamin Bratt to the red carpet premiere of The Infiltrator at the Tampa Theatre. And what charm and patience they showed when 500 VIPs lined up for an hour of photo ops July 6. "They fell in love with our theater when they filmed here," said film commissioner Dale Gordon. "Cranston really wanted to do a screening for us." After gifting the stars with Tampa Bay Rays jerseys, Gordon noted another special guest, Bob Mazur, "the hero among you" was tucked into the audience. The former FBI agent whose life inspired the film still lives incognito 30 years later and didn't join 10 other feds from the Pablo Escobar sting called up to the stage that night....

    Ansley Hall, left, Ashlyn Rodriguez, Ashley Martin, Sabrina Leal, Isabella Gigante and Quinn Erickson make their debuts July 23.
  15. Times seeks entries for annual social calendar

    Human Interest

    For more than a decade, the Tampa Bay Times social calendar has helped nonprofit organizations and charities planning annual fundraisers and awareness events reach a generous community. Advance notice of dates and details serves both organizers and supporters throughout Tampa's philanthropic social scene.

    Fashion show luncheons and black-tie bashes are examples of the "gala" events included on the September through May 2017 calendar, to be published in the Hillsborough regional editions Sept. 9. Listings don't have to be formal, "snooty" affairs — winetastings work, silver coffees shine, as well as testimonial, scholarship and awards banquets. The gatherings are generally open to the public and net proceeds reported as promptly as possible....

    Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay supporters dance at the Storybook Ball.