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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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....

    The America Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter salutes Patte Ayala, left, Bev Austin and president Steve Dickey at the annual meeting June 5 at the University of Tampa.
  5. From This Day: Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray



    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....

    Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray met at the University of Florida. Drs. Dalton and Gray received their diplomas a week after their wedding.
  6. After helping revive Ybor City, Pardo prepares for retirement



    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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....

    Avis Bradley, left, Candace McCowan and Toiaya Crawford party at the 14th annual SeaGrapes wine and food festival at the Florida Aquarium on April 25.
  11. 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....

    Pam Muma, president of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, hugs John Brabson, chairman of the TGH board, at the April 25 gala at a dressed-up cruise terminal.
  12. From This Day: Sheena Swartz and Nick Bentley


    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.
  13. 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....

    Kara Van de Carr, left, and Daryl Byrd dine with Peggy and Bob Rothman at the Magnolia Ball on April 18 at A La Carte Event Pavilion.
  14. Museum explores the story behind Rockwell civil rights paintings

    Visual Arts

    TAMPA — Ruby Bridges couldn't have imagined the millions of lives she would change that day, Nov. 14, 1960, when U.S. marshals walked her into first grade. Nor was it likely Norman Rockwell anticipated the effect his painting of those historic steps would have.

    An artist who specialized in magazine covers, Rockwell stretched the era's publishing boundaries to depict the lone 6-year-old, black child integrating an all-white, public school in New Orleans, the first in the Deep South. Rockwell didn't even know Ruby's name when he painted The Problem We All Live With for the cover of Look magazine in 1964....

    Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With depicted young Ruby Bridges in 1960. She will speak April 28.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay

    Heart Ball

    Red wine, red evening gowns and a rosy outlook for cardiac research primed Tampa Bay Heart Ball guests to pump more than $1 million into the American Heart Association. Even absentee patrons participated: Jeff and Penny Vinik and Chris and Sandi Sullivan phoned in their $50,000 donations to seed the Open Your Heart appeal Saturday at A La Carte Event Pavilion. Co-chairs Lorraine and Bob Dutkowsky followed with $25,000, then Lauren and Tom Pepin with $30,000 and 2016 Heart Ball co-chairs Nina and Trey Traviesa with $10,000. As dozens of donors popped up, heart transplant recipient Madeline Jones delivered each a framed copy of a poem she wrote....

    Mary Field, left, and Suzanne Levine organize the annual Tampa Palms Women’s Club fashion show April 9 at the country club.