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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. 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....

  2. 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.
  3. 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....

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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....

  8. 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.
  9. Mary Maloof is 2015 Queen of Hearts

    Human Interest


    Former Treasure Island Mayor Mary Maloof is the 2015 Queen of Hearts, a distinction that recognizes her extensive service even beyond that role in communities in Pinellas County and Tampa Bay.

    Among her many involvements, she has been a member of: the Pinellas and Tampa Bay Regional planning councils; Gulf Beaches Rotary; the Margaret Acheson Stuart Society of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; Family Service Centers, the Florida Orchestra Guild; the Pinellas Mental Health Association; the Community Visioning Project of Treasure Island; and the Agency on Bay Management. She was sponsored by Boley Angels....

    Mary Maloof, the 2015 Queen of Hearts, is surrounded by princesses from the court. They are, from left, Shirley Bonney, Kay Brown, Elaine Mikurak, Alison Lescarbeau, Sarah Galiger and Rachael Russell.
  10. Luncheon, fashion show, benefit All Children's

    Human Interest

    Social datebook

    Hospital guild luncheon

    The Beach and St. Petersburg branches of the All Children's Hospital Guild will present a spring luncheon and fashion show from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Bayou Country Club, 7979 Bayou Club Blvd., Largo. Entrepreneur Lindsay Phillips, creator of Switchflops sandals, will attend, and representatives from the Bronze Lady will present jewelry, handbags and accessories. For tickets, $35 per person, send checks payable to ACH Guild Beach Branch to 7979 Bayou Club Blvd., Largo, FL 33777. Please include a note with name, address, phone number, email address and lunch selection (salmon or chicken) for each attendee. (727) 278-2554....

  11. Pass-a-Grille home tour is Saturday

    Human Interest

    Pass-a-Grille tour

    Six residences will be showcased on Saturday in the 18th annual Pass-a-Grille Women's Club Home Tour. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., buses will shuttle patrons to and from free parking lots with stops where patrons may visit the Suntan Art Center, the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum and shop and dine on historic Eighth Avenue. $20 advance; $25 day of tour. Patrons must be able to use stairs. Ticket locations, other information:; (727) 362-8041....

  12. Habitat for Humanity gala has African theme


    Habitat for Humanity fundraiser is Saturday

    "Blueprint: Afrika — Land of Contrasts," a fundraising gala for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, will feature work by more than a dozen Tampa Bay area interior designers and celebrate the cultures and natural wonders of Africa. The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S. $150. (727) 536-4755, ext. 220....

  13. Museum of Fine Arts Wine Weekend St. Pete brings in record donations

    Human Interest

    Visitors packed into the galleries on Saturday for a free Founders Day event celebrating the half-century mark for the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and its anniversary exhibition, Monet to Matisse — On the French Coast.

    Connoisseurs crowded the Marly Room, the conservatory and a spacious tent north of the museum for sold-out wine events; organizers estimated they raised more than $700,000....

    Chef Tyson Grant talks to the audience during “Dinner at Maxim’s,” part of the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg Wine Weekend that celebrated the museum’s 50th anniversary.
  14. From This Day: Emilia Hoppes and Robert Lenzen


    ST. PETERSBURG — They were made for each other. Their friends said so. Except that they had never met.

    Close friend Alison Christol invited Emilia Hoppes to be a bridesmaid in her October 2012 wedding to Nick Christian, who asked Robert Lenzen to be a groomsman.

    "Alison and Nick kept saying, 'You're going to fall in love, you're going to get married,' " Emilia said. "They were very insistent on this."...

    Emilia Hoppes and Robert Lenzen were married Jan. 2 in St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in St. Petersburg.
  15. Junior League presents Whale of a Sale fundraiser

    Human Interest

    'Sip & Sea' today

    The Junior League of St. Petersburg presents "Sip & Sea," a preview of its fundraising "Whale of a Sale," from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday in Harbor Hall at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 1000 Third St. S. Participants are able to shop early and enjoy food and music. $50. The sale itself is free and open to the public. It runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday in the same location and features gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, clothing, toys and more.