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Mary Jane Park, Times Staff Writer

Mary Jane Park is a general assignment reporter and writes about south Pinellas County charitable and social events. She is editor of Bay, a bimonthly Tampa Bay Times magazine for select subscribers in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Mary Jane has been an editor in news and features. She came to the Times in 1983 from the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. Before that, she was a reporter and editor for her hometown newspaper, the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from Appalachian State University.

Mary Jane lives in St. Petersburg. She enjoys cooking, music, reading and traveling.

Phone: (727) 893-8267



  1. Ovarian Cancer Foundation gala features entertainment from Brazil

    Human Interest


    With samba dancers and performers of capoeira, a martial arts discipline, organizers of Celma Carniva'Le, a fundraiser for the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation, paid tribute to the woman for whom it is named.

    Celma Mastry, who gave much to the community in volunteer hours and financial contributions, died of ovarian cancer in 2004; the foundation was established to assist other women who have the disease, to further research about it, and to help with prevention and early detection....

  2. PACE students star in benefit fashion show

    Human Interest

    VALUE ME LUNCHEON: The eighth annual "Value Me" luncheon, which will feature students from PACE Center for Girls modeling fashions from Beth's Closet, will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, 950 Lake Carillon Drive. Proceeds benefit the Beth Dillinger Foundation, Beth's Closet, the Hope Chest for foster children, Nourish to Flourish and the Beth Dillinger Scholarship Fund. $65.; (727) 347-5600....

  3. Florida Orchestra Guild honors Bill Edwards

    Human Interest


    The Florida Orchestra Guild of St. Petersburg honored Bill Edwards with its 48th annual Golden Baton Award, presenting it to him at a dinner held in the Club at Treasure Island. The recognition is for persons who have made significant contributions to the orchestra's growth.

    Chairman of the Edwards Group, the entrepreneur and philanthropist has been influential throughout the Tampa Bay area, particularly in St. Petersburg....

    From left, Beth Houghton, of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, with trivia contest winners Lynne and Nelson Steiner, Marcia and David Feaster, Cary and Deb Cash, and Janice and Covington Sharp at a clinic fundraiser.
  4. American Stage park gala features 'In the Heights'

    Human Interest

    Social datebook

    American Stage Theatre Company's annual Gala Under the Stars starts at 6 p.m. April 24 in Demens Landing Park, First Avenue at Bayshore Boulevard SE, St. Petersburg. The evening features dinner, auctions and the opening-night performance of In the Heights. Benefits the theater's artistic and educational programming. (Rain date April 28.) $140.; (727) 823-1600, ext. 207....

  5. Wine, tapas event will benefit the Dali Museum

    Human Interest

    "Los Vinos de Dali," a museum fundraiser featuring wine and tapas, runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at 1 Dalí Blvd., St. Petersburg. The Guild at the Dalí will host the event, which includes access to the galleries. $75.; (727) 623-4726.

    Celebrate Me Home 2015, a fundraising dinner for the Pinellas-Pasco Heart Gallery, starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. $125.

  6. Alpha Kappa Alpha presents Essence of Ebony Pearls debutantes

    Human Interest


    More than 800 supporters of the Essence of Ebony Pearls filled the Coliseum for the debutante scholarship cotillion presented by members of the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in partnership with the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas County.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and the Rev. Kenneth Irby were masters of ceremonies for the evening....

    Jelani Pitts
  7. From This Day: J. Harrison and Mick Mosher


    They took the day off to attend the funeral of one of J.'s clients. Afterward, with several more free hours left, and three days after it became legal for them to marry in Florida, they headed to the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa to apply for a marriage license.

    They wore black T-shirts with white lettering that read: "Engaged for 30 years." People cheered and gave them high-fives....

    Mick Mosher and J. Harrison, who met in December 1984 in Binghamton, N.Y., were married Jan. 9 in Tampa. “It feels right,” Mick said. “We’ve earned it.”
  8. Orchestra Guild honors Bill Edwards

    Human Interest

    GOLDEN BATON AWARD: The Florida Orchestra Guild of St. Petersburg will honor philanthropist and entrepreneur Bill Edwards at its 48th Golden Baton Award dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Parkway. Proceeds benefit the orchestra. $100. Reservations accepted through Tuesday. (727) 896-5097.

    MAD HATTER FASHION SHOW: Members of the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce will present a "Mad Hatter Fashion Show" featuring clothing from Chico's at the annual luncheon and card party beginning at 11 a.m. April 9 at the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. Proceeds benefit the Arts Conservatory for Teens (ACT), the St. Petersburg City Theatre, and beautification of city medians. Reservations received through Saturday. (727) 347-5577; (727) 520-0286....

  9. Woman's Service League recognizes volunteer service

    Human Interest


    Celebrating its 73rd anniversary, the Woman's Service League honored seven community volunteers with its Spirit of Service awards at its annual Promenade and brunch in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

    The organization recognized Tom Chris Allen III, Virginia Meyer, Jill Oldenski, Dr. Jeffrey Paonessa, Crystal Peoples and Cheryl and Gary Sanchez.

    Allen volunteers with the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Ready for Life's transportation committee and the SPCA. Meyer founded the Abilities Guild Veterans Mall. Oldenski, an artist, works with Creative Clay. Paonessa founded the Gulfcoast Oncology Foundation, is a founding member of the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation and is involved with the Boca Ciega High School medical magnet program. Peoples is a national senior rights advocate for AARP and has coordinated voting security in South Africa and relief efforts in Haiti. She volunteers as a tutor and genealogical consultant at the Largo public library and has been active in the NAACP and the MLK Neighborhood Coalition. The Sanchezes support the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation and efforts to fight pediatric cancer. Cheryl Sanchez has held leadership roles in Girl Scouts and the annual PARC gala committee, and Gary Sanchez is associated with the St. Pete Open Spear Fishing Event and the Florida Free Dive Association. They also support a Bahamian community improvement program....

    Spirit of Service award recipients Gary and Cheryl Sanchez, Crystal Peoples, Chris Allen and Virginia Meyer were honored by the Woman’s Service League.
  10. Handbag showcase benefits YWCA

    Human Interest

    Social calendar

    PURSES & PASSION: The YWCA of Tampa Bay launches its annual "Purses & Passion" campaign from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday March 20 at Shapiro's Gallery, 4004 S MacDill Ave., Tampa.

    TOSS OUT HUNGER: The Kind Mouse Productions will conduct its second annual Toss Out Hunger event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Hosts are the Burg Exchange Club and The event sends home 200 meals each weekend with chronically hungry children. (727) 518-5575....

  11. St. Petersburg's Mr. Sun revealed

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Peter R. Betzer, president and chief executive officer of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and dean emeritus of the University of South Florida College of Marine Sciences, became the 2015 Mr. Sun on Friday.

    The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg civic association announced the recognition at its annual black-tie gala, held in the Mahaffey Theater. Alicia Klingensmith is the new Sungoddess Ambassador....

    Alicia Klingensmith, a UNF junior, is named the Sungoddess Ambassador.
  12. St. Petersburg designer Kimberly Hendrix dies at 45


    ST. PETERSBURG — Friends and clients throughout the Tampa Bay area are remembering designer Kimberly Hendrix as an energetic woman who was nearly always in motion.

    Her clothing line, which she sold under the k.hendrix label, was showcased in several Tampa Bay Fashion Week celebrations and was photographed in national magazines including Vogue and Elle, and in numerous local publications, including the Tampa Bay Times and its Bay magazine....

    Kimberly Hendrix styles used recycled materials.
  13. Dalí anniversary dinner celebrates new exhibition

    Human Interest


    Patrons of the Dalí Museum look forward to the anniversary dinner each year, which often features culinary interpretations of some of the artist's works. The 33rd annual celebration also included a nod to Leonardo da Vinci and what organizers called the grand "preopening" of the newest exhibition: "Dalí and da Vinci: Minds, Machines & Masterpieces."

    The chief components in the menu from Michael's on East in Sarasota were burrata mozzarella, sea bass and short ribs; the dessert was a fun-filled chocolate orb that contained ganache, pretzels, pecan toffee brittle, warm caramel sauce — and an edible red candy lobster, a nod to Salvador Dalí's Lobster Telephone....

    The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg’s Junior Sungoddess leadership program recognizes student achievement, volunteerism and leadership. From left are Melissa Brizzi, a senior at Admiral Farragut Academy, first runnerup; Lauren Crandall, a junior at Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, the 2015 Junior Sungoddess; and Sashinya DeSilva, a junior at Admiral Farragut Academy, second runnerup. The young women were recognized March 9 in a program held in the All Children’s Hospital Education and Conference Center.
  14. Woman's Service League honors volunteers

    Human Interest

    Social datebook

    Promenade, brunch

    The Woman's Service League presents "Through the Years," its 65th annual Promenade and brunch, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. The event benefits Ready for Life and will honor seven community volunteers. $60. (727) 381-7443.

    Islettes luncheon

    The Treasure Islettes will host a luncheon and fashion show featuring clothing from Macy's beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Treasure Island Community Center, 1 Park Place (behind Walgreens). $25. (727) 367-1301; (727) 360-9181....

  15. From This Day: Sheri Jeanette Nichols and Clinton Parker Johnston


    A mountaintop proposal in Montenegro. A wedding in Florence, Italy.

    Their passion for travel eventually brought Sheri Nichols and Clinton Johnston together, aided by mutual friends who gave them a nudge.

    Clinton was working too many hours to focus on meeting people in Tampa when a friend of Sheri's invited both of them to brunch at the old Lime restaurant in Tampa's Hyde Park in November 2012. As the party broke up, someone suggested they exchange phone numbers....

    Sheri Jeanette Nichols and Clinton Parker Johnston married Jan. 1, 2015, at the Palazzo Capponi in Florence, Italy. Behind them is the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River.