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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

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  1. 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....

    Martinis for Moffitt chairman Kostas Stoilas, left, Jackie Zumba and Brian Kins arrive in high style wearing fashions from her St. Petersburg boutique Jackie Z.
  2. The parties may be over at Tampa's popular A La Carte Pavilion

    Business

    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.
  3. Family's health battle fuels Tampa Yacht & Country Club chef's spice business

    Cooking

    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....

    Jean-Christophe Setin works with the spices used in his 17-spice Provencal Rub, which he created in 2007, in the Tampa Yacht & Country Club kitchen.
  4. Ciccio Group partner envisions more SoHo success

    Business

    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.
  5. City, expressway authority team to create 'Swann Pond'

    Briefs

    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....

    Two shaded shelters and nine benches were also installed, including one painted red to thank a major donor. 
  6. 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....

    Top fundraisers Gayle Sapp, from left, Ed Ham, Erica Mandelbaum and Jan Wuliger celebrate raising $160,000 for the National Parkinson’s Foundation at Tampa Bay’s first Moving Day. 
  7. From This Day: Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray

    Relationships

    TAMPA

    Laughter isn't just curative for their patients. Massive doses of humor got Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray through medical school.

    Adam's wit runs wry and dry, with a sarcastic bite. Kyle's quick and clever wordplay would tickle Tina Fey. Observing the comical aspects of life keeps their own pulses steady.

    What's their Rx for romance under stress? Basketball, craft beers, Netflix and their two dogs, Butters and Waffles. Also the NBC series Friday Night Lights and an abiding interest in astronomy....

    Humor and basketball got Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray through med school, and also stargazing and their two dogs.
  8. After helping revive Ybor City, Pardo prepares for retirement

    Retail

    YBOR CITY

    Developers have driven residential and commercial demand to Ybor City's highest level in a decade.

    Crime is down 80 percent and 40-plus businesses, mostly tech firms, have opened in the past two years.

    Decades of rebranding and reinventing the historic district finally hits pay dirt as Urban Development Manager Vince Pardo signs off for retirement.

    "I have six multifamily residences in the permitting process and with Ashley Furniture about to move its 300-employee international data headquarters, the number of tech firms will outnumber bars and nightclubs," Pardo said....

    Vince Pardo, 67, has served as the city of Tampa’s liaison to the Ybor City Development Corp. He will step down Aug. 28, after spending his career delivering government services. He leaves amid strong residential and commercial growth.
  9. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Fork Fight 2015

    An army of chefs, waiters and food broker recruits fought the war on hunger at Feeding America Tampa Bay's five-course Fork Fight feast. Secret weapons included Fodder & Shine, Mise en Place and Vizcaya's fancy canapes followed by Café Ponte's smoked salmon; Pearl in the Grove's red snapper; Haven and Vinoy Renaissance's pastrami beef tenderloin and Parkshore Grille's dessert trio....

    Winn Dixie regional vice president Eddie Garcia, left, Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation director Elizabeth Frazier and Feeding America Tampa Bay executive director Tom Mantz visit at Fork Fight.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Storybook Ball

    The Gumbo Boogie Band fiddled guests into a black-tie bayou at Ronald McDonald House Charities' 16th annual Storybook Ball, this year Swamp Kids, Leif N. Pedersen's tales of Pierre a la Gator, Tutu the turtle and Sashay the Crawfish. Busch Gardens authenticated the series bringing a live gator, snake and owl to the Marriott Waterside on Saturday, plus gifted all 600 guests with a ticket to come see more. The String Divas electrified the music and the Southtown Fever band swamped the dance floor and s'mores melted over fiery logs....

    Arts patrons David and Sara Scher dress for Forbidden, the annual Pride & Passion benefit for the Tampa Museum of Art on May 16.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Purple Gala

    Lots of guests wore the color purple — neckties to evening gowns — to the Spring of Tampa Bay's annual Purple Gala, various shades of the bruises often seen on victims of domestic violence.

    "There's so much work to be done," said Mindy Murphy, CEO of Tampa's certified domestic violence center. "Advocating starts with you . . . listen, offer support, be available, as you are tonight as donors." Emcee Don Germaise did his part, upping the event proceeds by $6,000 when he auctioned an Arizona vacation and a St. Pete staycation....

    Crew 77 president Rachel Radawec, left, and members Jessica Craven and Lillian Chor dine at the Purple Gala with friends from the Spring of Tampa Bay’s social club.
  12. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Sixth annual Wishmaker's Ball

    Sporting hats and high hopes, the Wishmaker's Ball was off to the races Saturday, tying Make-a-Wish Central & Northern Florida's annual benefit to the 141st Kentucky Derby. Event chairman Steven Gillis kicked off the bash by inviting everyone in the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay lobby to join the 350 gala guests for mint juleps and $5 betting games, hopefully on thoroughbred American Pharoah....

    Samuel and Elizabeth Joseph helped sponsor the Wishmaker’s Ball.
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa General Hospital Foundation gala

    Gala chairwomen Catherine Christie-Zanghi, Heidrun Divers and Gretchen Dominguez made rounds, chief of staff Chas Edwards checked the party pulse and CEO Jim Burkhart scrubbed in Saturday at Tampa General Hospital Foundation's annual bash. Previous themes captured a specific moment in time, but "Channelside: Experience Industrial Elegance" glammed up a vast cruise terminal with galvanized aluminium chandeliers and silky white drapery. Puff n' Stuff catered tin can salads, scallops and short ribs, plus risotto, dessert and coffee bars. Casino tables, an artwork auction and Breezin' Mixology entertained the 600 guests in black-tie and white dinner jackets helping to raise $325,000 for the TGH Fund for the Future....

    Dr. Mark Frankle, from left, supports the TGH Foundation gala with Lynne Couchova and TGH orthopedics chief Dr. Roy Sanders and his wife, Melanie.
  14. From This Day: Sheena Swartz and Nick Bentley

    Relationships

    TAMPA — As her father's health worsened, Sheena Swartz widened her search for the perfect wedding gown. She didn't know if he'd live to see her marry Nick Bentley, but she promised that he would see his only child in the dress of her dreams.

    "I tried on more and more until I got the one he absolutely loved," Sheena said.

    Paul Swartz of Fort Myers, the victim of a 2004 car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, passed away at age 58. He exemplified how to make the best of any situation, Sheena said in her eulogy last year....

    Nick Bentley and Sheena Swartz wed Jan. 24 at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    22nd annual Magnolia Ball

    Earth Wind & Fire grooved its greatest hits, rewarding elated Magnolia Ball guests for raising $3,270,775 to expand research and treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Carol and Frank Morsani started the gala appeal with an offer to match the first $500,000. As donors' names flashed across video screens, CEO Dr. Alan List popped up to announce another $500,000 pledge, this one from Jeff and Penny Vinik who were off celebrating the Tampa Bay Lightning win Saturday....

    Magnolia Ball honorary chairmen Don and Mary Anne Shula enjoy the elegant evening.