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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. From This Day: From spontaneous kiss to matrimony


    TAMPA — She went with a couple of girlfriends; he flew to the Bahamas with a buddy. By Saturday afternoon, they were part of a pack of 20 Tampa singles lounging around the Atlantis resort, drinking, splashing, gambling. And kissing.

    "We hadn't even met yet when he just popped up from behind and kissed me on the lips," Michelle Burrell said.

    Renier Gobea grins, owning up to spontaneous poolside passion....

    Renier Gobea took Michelle Burrell to Havana to see where he grew up, to meet relatives he hadn’t seen in 30 years — and to ask her to marry him. The South Tampa couple wed Sept. 26 at Durham Ranch in St. Helena, Calif., in the Napa Valley.
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: A weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Sustainable Buzz

    Grow and thrive, but protect and sustain. That's the Sustany Foundation's message, served to nearly 1,000 like-minded folks at its seventh annual Sustainable Buzz. Locally sourced, organic, fresh and natural were the buzzwords as 40-plus restaurants, wine stewards and brewmasters converged at the Straz Center on Nov. 13.

    Urban Juice Co. poured its cold-pressed lineup. Squeeze featured a seasonal pomegranate juice they call Santa's Little Helper. Maestro's grilled sustainable amberjack tacos; the Wine Bistro ladled farm-to-table gazpacho; Anise Gastropub curried coconut butternut squash soup. Hydroponic greens enhanced everything made by chef Bryan Gallagher of First We Eat....

    Fox 13 news anchor Russell Rhodes, left, and NIkki DeBartolo must donate to get out of the doghouse at a Frankie’s Friends fundraiser Nov. 7. 
  3. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Josh Groban headlines Starlight Gala in Tampa

    Human Interest

    Starlight Gala

    Florida Hospital Tampa Foundation chose the gorgeous voice of Josh Groban to celebrate its healing mission at the Starlight Gala, a vibrant "Evening in New Delhi" supporting six Florida Adventists' health centers in the west Florida region. Singing in three languages, playing piano and percussion, Groban heated up the crowd of 1,100 guests dining over the ice at Amalie Arena on Sunday. About 100 major donors and sponsors, many dressed in Indian garb, arrived early to meet the superstar....

    Mother and daughter co-chairwomen Wakefield Brabson Anderson, left, and Tilda Brabson chose artistic lighting as the theme of the 29th Pavilion gala.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary takes in the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    TBBCA Impact Awards

    Investing in the arts brings jobs, tourists and tax revenues to the region, and that's music to the ears of Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts, a medley of corporations and artists formed 25 years ago. President Lorna Taylor paid tribute to founder Robert Rowan and past chairmen at the annual Impact Awards dinner Oct. 23. Event chairman Stephen Gay stood in for his late partner, Charlie Hounchell, who launched a scholarship program now named in his memory....

    NAACP Unsung Heroes, nominated by the community, are Pastor Ricky Brown, from left, Lena Young Green, Doris Cannon and Mario Wilcox.
  5. From This Day: Couple connect through love of sports


    TOWN 'N COUNTRY — It's amazing Brandan Teague didn't pull a muscle straining to stare at Angela Hall working out at the University of Tampa gym.

    "Everybody noticed her," said Teague, who played third base and pitched for UT in 2008-09. Eyeing Hall certainly reduced his teammates' complaints during those grueling workouts.

    Hall wasn't exactly oblivious to the attention, but stayed focused on her trainer, who arranged for the former cheerleader to use the campus gym. A year or so later, he coincidentally invited them both to participate in his running club. That's where Teague finagled an introduction....

    Since he first saw Angela Hall in the gym, Brandan Teague was her biggest fan. The couple connected through a love of sports, especially college football.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Broadway Ball

    "One singular sensation," as the lyrics say in A Chorus Line, that's Martin Silbiger, honored at the Broadway Ball for eight years as president of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Executive director Judy Lisi and new board chairman Gary Sasso topped off their appreciation with a bike helmet for the avid cyclist. What Broadway role best describes Silbiger? Suggestions ranged from Henry Higgins to Mustafa to Capt. Von Trapp to Jean Valjean. All five Silbiger children were there, including Eve, who surprised him and flew in from Australia for the Motown Soul & Glamour dinner on the Morsani Hall stage. ...

    USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy honorees Elizabeth Fowler and Lee Leavengood, from left, visit with swimmer Diana Nyad and Carol Morsani, co-founder of WLP, at the annual luncheon and symposium Oct. 17.
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay History Center Gala

    Over cocktails in the Lykes Atrium, descendants of pioneer families mixed with more recent Tampa arrivals, such as Air Force Col. Dan Tulley, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, at the annual Tampa Bay History Center Gala. So entwined are the city's social and historical roots that I counted more than a dozen Gasparilla royals, including museum board and gala chairman Jim Robbins, 1971 Queen Brenda Ketchey, 1977 King Richard Clarke and new Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Capt. Rex Farrior. That's "living history."...

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photos Herb and Sharon Gold enjoy the Tampa Bay History Center gala Oct. 10  black-tie benefit at the downtown waterfront museum.
  8. Amy Scherzer's weekly wrapup of the social scene

    Human Interest

    18th annual Night of the Iguana

    Landlubbers sailed into a nautical-themed Night of the Iguana, sampling from 14 restaurants, dancing to the Black Honkeys and fulfilling Make-A-Wish Foundation's list of dreams for seriously ill children. The party, begun 18 years ago at the Green Iguana restaurant, docked a fleet of 600 guests at Mainsail Suites Hotel on Sept. 26. Several "WishKids" expressed their appreciation, including Parker Lentini, who got to hang out with Tampa Bay Rays player Ben Zobrist....

    Candy buffet at Imagination 2014, the 12th annual gala benefit for Glazer ChildrenÕs Museum, themed The Road to Emerald City at TPepinÕs Hospitality Centre on Sept. 27.
  9. Noi and the Bake cook Italian to Interbay; the Joint cracks Palma Ceia, Amelia's Abubut fashions for kids


    INTERBAY — An Italian renaissance is under way at the southern end of Bayshore Boulevard with the arrival of the Bake, a cafe and bakery, and Noi (translates as "us") Italian Kitchen and Bar.

    Michael Adamo, who previously owned Cellini's and later Mario's Trattoria at the site, stayed on as a consultant to the new operators.

    "The original entrance now leads to two entities," Adamo said. ...

  10. Fresh Kitchen bowls over SoHo; jeans and java in Ybor


    SOUTH TAMPA — It doesn't get much easier — or healthier — than a breakfast, lunch or dinner bowl at Fresh Kitchen, the newest addition to the Ciccio Restaurant Group.

    It's this simple: Pick a starch (rice, quinoa, kale slaw, sweet potato noodles and more); then choose two proteins, two veggies, a sauce (maybe ginger or coconut Sriracha) and pay $9.50 ($6 for kids' size; additional charge for steak, shrimp and tuna). A family-style order feeds four or five people for $33....

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

    Human Interest

    CITY: Fashion+ Art+Culture

    "Gray matters … it replaces basic, boring black," said Robert Robideaux, Neiman Marcus public relations manager, assessing the anything-but-boring runway parade that was CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture. Heads bobbed as the Prada-and-prosecco crowd took in leggy models and stunning spectators at the Tampa Museum of Art. Grille One Sixteen passed hors d'oeuvres, complementing Eddie V's Prime salmon and steak buffet; Chocolate Pi and this newspaper's Sweet Times tendered desserts. Timing the Sept. 19 benefit to fashion week, co-chairwomen Mary Kelly and Sandy Juster's glam scene attracted hundreds of stylish young donors. Congrats to Gail Chibani, winner of the Treasures of Vienna and Prague vacation drawing....

    Fran Davin, chairwoman of the MacDonald Training Center Foundation, left, celebrates with Karen Dearolf, president of the MTC Parents’ Group. 
  12. J. McLaughlin dresses Hyde Park Village; California Tacos opens ; Veya Spa pampers downtown


    HYDE PARK VILLAGE — Tradition tweaked, classic yet contemporary — that's J. McLaughlin, Hyde Park Village's newest tenant. The fashion retailer's 84th store, featuring women's and men's sportswear and accessories, opens today near Piquant Cafe.

    No two stores are alike, and this time the high-end clothier, owned by brothers Jay and Kevin McLaughlin, has stocked a transitional fall collection, including cashmere sweaters. Resort wear will debut next month, said manager Lauren Young, formerly of the Sarasota store that is one of 10 Florida locations....

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

    Human Interest

    Art of Helping Children Gala

    Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, now CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, gladly presented local "Bigs" and "Littles" of the year at the 16th annual Art of Helping Children Gala on Saturday. Sponsor Rod Broadrick, smiling like a Cheshire cat, ran down the math: With expenses to match a child with a mentor running $1,000, the 600 guests raised enough to get 400 kids off the waiting list in the seven counties served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay....

    John Gilmore, left, Gourmet Feastival co-chairmen Dave Williams and Sul Hemani and Big Nasty (a.k.a. Keith Kunzig) support the Centre for Women’s annual Gourmet Feastival.
  14. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    FARA Energy Ball

    A couple of chocolate Labrador puppies fetched bids of $30,000 and $35,000 each at the FARA Energy Ball, unleashing an auction frenzy that helped raise $1.8 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the USF Health Ataxia Research Center.

    Between dinner and dancing to the Spazmatics' rocking hits of the '80s, another $306,000 sprang from co-chairs Tara and Tod Leiweke's "James Taylor Challenge" — two tickets to a November concert at Amalie Arena for all $1,500 donors. The top 10 givers will get backstage passes and an autographed guitar, emcee and WFTS-Ch.28 anchor Wendy Ryan announced at A La Carte Event Pavilion....

    Past Rotary Club of Tampa president Jean Yadley (1976-77) and his wife, Ruth Yadley, have supported the civic group for 56 years.
  15. Everybody's Business for Sept. 19: 'Tampa Cuban' cuisine


    SOUTH TAMPA — Third-generation Tampa natives Rodney and Ricky Rodriguez honor Cuban national hero José Martí with a modern menu of island specialities at their new restaurant, Café Martí, which opened Sept. 4 on Gandy Boulevard, near S Dale Mabry Highway.

    Martí knew their great-grandfather and wrote poems to their great-aunts, and they were surprised to learn the name wasn't already taken....