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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. Home cook in Davis Islands shares her healthy habits, hummus recipes


    Three steps out the back door and snip, snip. Parsley and mint for tabbouleh; rosemary, basil, dill, sage and fennel to trick up hummus. Harvesting homegrown herbs brings Valarie Blau joy every time.

    Both Mediterranean mezzes are mainstays for the health-conscious Blau family. Val, a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Medical Mobile Clinic, runs, bikes, swims or works out six days a week, her family history of heart disease never far from mind. ...

    Valarie Blau collects basil from the backyard garden of her Davis Islands home. “We’re all about the food in this family,” she said.
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa General Hospital Foundation gala

    Pow! Bam! Kaboom! Supermen, Batmen, Catwomen, Thors and Hulks got a kick out of the comic theme of A Night to Marvel, Tampa General Hospital Foundation's celebration of super heroes of health care. As Captain Americas, hospital CEO Jim Burkhart and gala co-chairs Mickey and Dianne "Wonder Woman" Jacob empowered Saturday's benefit for TGH Children's Medical Center. USFHealth chief operating officer Ed Funai made a suave Penguin; gala sponsor John McKibbon identified as his hero, Donald Trump; Alexis and David Ciesla came as the Bolts, caped in Tampa Bay Lightning banners ...

    Steve Ratcliff, left, Dana Philp and Harold Oehler receive the Dottie Berger MacKinnon Guardian Angel Award on behalf of the Lazydays Employee Foundation at A Kid’s Place annual luncheon.
  3. Sunday Conversation: Lee Bird Leavengood inducted into Hillsborough County Women's Hall of Fame

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Lee Bird Leavengood has spent the better part of four decades rushing to class, running meetings and developing programs at the University of South Florida. First she was a volunteer, then a graduate student and, before long, an instructor and administrator. She was the first female named to the USF Foundation, founded the Friends of the Library and a gallery at a contemporary art museum bears the Leavengood name. Leavengood, 87, and her late husband Vic immersed themselves in campus life practically from the moment they arrived in Tampa in 1960....

    Lee Bird Leavengood immersed herself in a life of learning and service at the University of South Florida starting in the ’60s. She’s “retired” but still volunteers at the Tampa Bay History Center.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Heroes Ball

    More than just this year's honorees, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital board member Lauren Dungy and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dungy contributed quite the New York adventure to the Heroes Ball live auction Saturday. Coach Dungy arranged for a tour of NBC Studios, tickets to a Saturday Night Live dress rehearsal and a live taping/behind-the-scenes visit to Football Night in America, with hotel and airfare included. Mike and Lori Kosloske were top bidders at $16,000....

    St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Heroes Ball honorees Lauren and Tony Dungy, from left, visit with Brian and Amanda Adcock at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital benefit May 7 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Heart Ball

    Jaws dropped, hearts nearly stopped at the Tampa Bay Heart Ball when the bid reached $55,000 for a one-week vacation at a 15th-century villa in Florence, Italy. Real estate developer Bob Schmidt made the bid, surely a local record, even though the package didn't include airfare or food. Elated co-chairs Trey and Nina Traviesa celebrated their 16th anniversary raising $1.3 million for the American Heart Association. ...

    Bob Schmidt, shown with and Cathy Schoeppler, wowed the Tampa Bay Heart Ball with his $55,000 auction bid for a week at an Italian villa.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Pride & Passion

    Always colorful, Pride & Passion burst the rainbow at Now in Technciolor, hosted by the LGBT community and friends for the Tampa Museum of Art. Hundreds of colorful celebrants hopped the galleries, admiring Jaume Plensa's Human Landscape exhibit — and one another — Saturday. Dan Medina, one of the 20 artists exhibiting technicolor-inspired work in the atrium, handed out markers for drawing on his white suit jacket. Jauntily clad in the full spectrum — pastel tuxedos to bold gowns — the 900 guests were rewarded for their creativity with a one-year membership from museum executive director Michael Tomor....

    Jeremiah Bicknese, left, Kara Mihelich and Michael Brennan party in style at the 11th annual Pride & Passion party, Now in Technicolor, on April 23 at the Tampa Museum of Art.
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Karamu XXVIII

    Lowry Park Zoo baited and captured Karamu donors with gamboling giraffes and lumbering elephants, tiger paw art and a chance to bid on an exclusive clouded leopard meet and greet, all while dining and dancing at the black-tie benefit.

    "The zoo is an easy sell," said Jenny Jones, co-chair with husband Ken of the sold-out gala in the Safari Lodge and surrounding savannah. Their theme, Legacy, salutes the mission of caring for 1,300 diverse animals at the community asset led by CEO Joe Couceiro. Also saluted: former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, recovered from serious health issues, with a standing ovation for his government legacy....

    Jane Toombs and Ross Ferlita support the Lowry Park Zoo at Karamu, the annual black-tie gala benefit, on Saturday.
  8. CEO for the Next Gen: Jen Stancil, leads Glazer Children's Museum

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Jennifer Stancil is that cool mom who flashes the newest apps and plays the latest games.

    As the new Glazer Children's Museum president and CEO, she's presenting her latest game to more than just the kids in her neighborhood.

    Stancil brings the Situated Multimedia Art Learning Lab (SMALLabs), developed at Arizona State University, to the museum this month and it will allow visitors of all ages to enjoy an embodied-learning exhibit loaded with hundreds of interactive game-based scenarios— from learning the ABCs to chemical titrations — with the help of 12 motion-capture cameras....

    Glazer Children’s Museum CEO Jennifer Stancil hopes to build on the number of visitors, about 215,000 last year. “We are trying to position ourselves to age up with our visitors,” she said.
  9. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Magnolia Ball

    Moffitt Cancer Center CEO Alan List and "guiding star," retired legislator H. Lee Moffitt, celebrated 30 years of medical break-throughs, expansion to four campuses and 1,000 researchers at the Magnolia Ball headlined by the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday. Fueled by filet mignon and lobster tail, gowned and tuxed supporters added $2.5 million to the search for a cure through auctions, raffles and appeals at the $1,000-ticket bash....

    Newlyweds Frank and Jackie Sanchez enjoy the annual Magnolia Ball on April 9.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Bolts Better Halves' Fashion for a Cause

    The Bolts Better Halves, a.k.a. Tampa Bay Lightning wives and significant others, must have used all their feminine wiles to assemble the unrivaled lineup of player experiences auctioned at the first Fashion for a Cause benefit for the Spring of Tampa Bay. Rarely has an event raised so much, so fast — $97,000 in about 20 minutes, thanks to a small audience of fans, suite and season ticket holders, some Spring board members and friends. ...

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photos  Chris Ragusa of Ye Loyal Krewe of Sam Bellamy does a split while selling raffle tickets at the Bootlegger Ball hosted by the Bootlegger Belles and Beaus on March 26 at the Centre Club.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    DeBartolo Foundation's 13th All Star Charity Gala

    "You're family," sisters Lisa and Nikki DeBartolo greeted a wide-ranging roster of guests and celebs, from NFL legend Jim Brown to NBC's Cheers' George "Norm" Wendt at the 13th All Star Charity Gala, "one helluva party," said Joanne Petrella emceeing for the DeBartolo Family Foundation on Saturday. ...

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photo Actor Drake Hogestyn stands behind his wife Victoria Hogestyn and Eddie V?•s general manager Stephen Hickey at the DeBartolo Family Foundation?•s 13th All Star Charity Gala on April 2 at the Marriott Waterside.
  12. Leeza Gibbons speaks at Girl Scouts of West Central Florida luncheon

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — When things aren't going her way, pop culture pro Leeza Gibbons recommends visualization.

    To remind herself who's in charge, the Emmy Award-winning former co-host of Entertainment Tonight pictures herself wearing a tiara.

    "I am queen of my life," Gibbons said. Feeling glum, head cast downward, "will only make the crown fall off.

    "So throw your shoulders back, look up and stand tall."...

    KRT ENTERTAINMENT STAND ALONE PHOTO SLUGGED: DESPERATEHOUSEWIVES KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY AMANDA PARKS/ABACA PRESS (February 23) Leeza Gibbons attends "An Evening With 'Desperate Housewives'" presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and held at the Academy's Leonard H. Goldenson Theater in North Hollywood, California, February 22, 2005. (lde) 2005
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest


    Rob Canton beamed at Athletes + Causes, the third annual benefit he has hosted for Athletes and Causes. Huh? One is the name of the auction fundraiser, the other is the organization he founded to provide "major-league athletes and coaches strategic financial planning to leverage celebrity and brand philanthropy," explained Canton, senior adviser to ownership for the Vinik Family Office....

    Cheryl and Randy Latorre, from left, chat with Mike and Deana Wallace at the fourth annual Around the World fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Cheryl and Deana served on the gala committee.
  14. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Dream Keepers Ball

    Like excited new parents, Champions for Children executive director Brian McEwen and development director Liz Kennedy hovered, pampered and coddled guests at the Dream Keepers Ball, a first-time benefit emceed by Mark Rivera of WTSP-Ch. 10 and board member Peter Lewis for the rebranded Child Abuse Council. While entertained by Aerial Dragons acrobats on silks, supporters learned about developmental play groups, home visits, parent education classes as well as Kids on the Block, Layla's House and other programs to help families overcome society's challenges. During dinner at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, auctioneer Greg Benjamin pitched fancy dinners, trips and staycations, getting a $4,100 bid from board member James Armstrong for week at a Manasota beach house....

    Opera Tampa gala supporters Cookie and Charlie Simmons, standing left; Gina D’Angelo and Barry Levine, standing right; and Ernie and Straz Center CEO Judy Lisi at the benefit.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Jesuit High: Gaudiosa, An Evening in London

    School spirit swept the Gaudiosa gala, galvanizing Jesuit High parents, alums and other guests to help cover tuition costs for 25 percent of the all-male Catholic school. Example? Four guests raised their hands when asked to fund a full year at $14,000. That's when a lively math lesson took off, as donations added up to $660,000, averaging $1,000 per partygoer, all while having a jolly good time at An Evening in London on Feb. 27....

    Jesuit High seniors Chris Yatsula, left, and Trevor Wilson dress for An Evening in London, the theme of Gaudiosa 2016.