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. Foundation Fighting Blindness dinner tests the senses

    Human Interest

    Dinner to be a sensory experience

    Dining in the Dark, a fundraising dinner to benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness, will take place beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE. The meal is a sensory experience in which guests dine in complete darkness to better understand those who have limited or no vision. The foundation will honor philanthropists Joyce and Walter Larson and University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft. $150. Fight; (954) 496-0776....

  2. Linda Marcelli honored for work at Academy Prep of St. Petersburg

    Human Interest


    The annual Evening of Dreams benefit dinner for Academy Prep of St. Petersburg gave a nod to the culture of India in "Moon over Mumbai," held at the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach.

    Dinner featured a mango vinaigrette for the salad and green coriander oil with the entrees, and table favors included Himalayan salt.

    The evening was a fundraiser for the St. Petersburg preparatory school and a tribute to Linda Marcelli, who has held numerous leadership positions with the school and the Academy Prep Foundation. Marcelli received the Jeffrey L. Fortune Dream Maker Award, named for the school's co-founder....

    Linda Marcelli, left, shown with Dimity Carlson, received the Jeffrey L. Fortune Dream Maker Award at a benefit for Academy Prep of St. Petersburg.
  3. From This Day: a marriage of cultures


    He is a fourth-generation Tampa native whose family has a long history dating to Italy, but Anthony Scaglione flipped for the cultural attributes of Mexico during a study abroad program in Puebla in 2005.

    Diana Hernandez-Ontiveros grew up in Mexico and moved to Tampa in 1999 to be part of an English immersion program, choosing the area because her grandparents had retired to Sun City, and it was comforting to have family close by....

    Anthony Scaglione and Diana Hernandez-Ontiveros share a kiss in front of a mural in downtown Tampa after their March 1 wedding at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 
  4. Free Clinic benefit has Africa theme

    Human Interest


    With "Out of Africa" as an event theme, volunteers and staff of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic organized a fundraising event that drew more than 500 patrons to the Palm Court Ballroom of the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort, where many of the those attending wore safari or African-themed costumes.

    The benefit raised nearly $300,000 and took its theme from the trip executive director Beth Houghton won in last year's auction; the invitation, programs and other promotional materials included photographs she took on that adventure....

    Cary Cash, from left, Frank Wells and Janice Sharp celebrate as “Sharp Party of 8,” is presented the Battle of the Minds trophy.
  5. Florida Craftsmen event features custom art in auction

    Human Interest


    Who could resist an invitation to a party titled "Passion: Strike, Flame, Heat"?

    The fundraiser for Florida Craftsmen was a showcase for the dozen items commissioned for an auction that benefits both the artists and the organization. And it was a feast for the senses, with artists-in-residence from the Morean Center for Clay serving as docents in the home of artist and collector Kathryn Howd. Outdoors, metalsmith Eric Folsom and enamel artist Barbara Lewis played with fire, creating custom pieces. Even the pool had an ethereal, smoky vibe, with lighted orbs floating on the water's surface and co-host Edward Rucks supplying the dry ice that sent wisps into the atmosphere....

    Artist and collector Kathryn Howd, left, hosted the “Passion: Strike, Flame, Heat” benefit for Florida Craftsmen on March 15. The work of glass artist Duncan McClellan, right, was featured in the auction.
  6. Take part in a charity gala, lunch or tea party April 4-6

    Human Interest

    Upcoming events

    Gala for Academy Prep set for TradeWinds

    "Moon Over Mumbai," the annual Evening of Dreams fundraising gala for Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg, will honor longtime board of trustees chairwoman Linda Marcelli with the Jeffrey L. Fortune Dream Maker Award. The event benefits the student scholarship program at the school and starts at 6:30 p.m. April 4 at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. $200. (727) 322-0800....

  7. Wayne 'Skipp' Fraser named 2014 Mr. Sun

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg civic organization honored a longtime member and onetime president, accountant Wayne "Skipp" Fraser, on Friday, naming him the 60th Mr. Sun.

    The leadership award was presented at the annual Suncoasters Ball, held in the Grand Ballroom at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort.

    Ellie Petrillo, a junior at Florida State University, was named Sungoddess Ambassador....

    The 2013 Sungoddess Kelly Kidwell, left, congratulates the 2014 Sungoddess, Ellie Petrillo, at the Vinoy on Friday.
  8. Tarpon Springs High senior named 2014 Junior Sungoddess

    Human Interest

    Lindsey Karamihalis, a senior at Tarpon Springs High School, was named the 2014 Junior Sungoddess in a March 11 program presented at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club by the Suncoasters of St. Petersburg.

    She has been recognized for maintaining principal's list and honor roll grade levels throughout middle and high school and has held leadership roles including National Honor Society president, Key Club president and secretary and Women's Show Choir Group vice president. She also has volunteered at Mease Dunedin Hospital, Highland Lakes Elementary School, vacation Bible school and the Palm Harbor Food Pantry. She is a recipient of the Florida Holocaust Museum's Anne Frank Humanitarian Award....

    2014 Junior Sungoddess Lindsey Karamihalis, center, stands with court members Bailee Anne Whipple, second runnerup, left, and first runnerup Lindsey Settlemire.
  9. Social events include Girl Scouts Women of Distinction, Promise awards

    Human Interest


    Actor Jane Seymour had flat feet and difficulty speaking as a child, but she eventually excelled at ballet and then began a successful movie and television career. Several misfortunes taught her the value of her mother's counsel, which was to focus on other people. In Seymour's case, young people often are the beneficiaries of her philanthropy with the Red Cross and other organizations....

  10. Chamber event benefits city beautification projects

    Human Interest

    Get some 'Glitz' at fashion show, party

    "Glitz and All That Jazz," the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon, fashion show and card party, gets started at 11 a.m. Thursday in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. The event raises money for city beautification projects and other civic needs. $50. (727) 217-4929; (727) 392-6235.

    Battle of the Minds dinner and contest...

  11. Charitable lunches and a gala March 18-21

    Human Interest

    Jane Seymour toasts distinctive women

    Actor Jane Seymour will be the keynote speaker at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Women of Distinction Award luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the A La Carte Event Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa. Honorees include Molly Crews, Dotti Groover-Skipper, Nancy Ridenour, Leslie Waters and Heather Barrow. $75.; (813) 262-1688....

  12. On the town: Celebrity floral designer headlines Art in Bloom

    Human Interest


    The bride carried a bouquet of bright-yellow freesias. Chris Giftos was the floral designer, and in his presentation at the annual Art in Bloom luncheon to benefit the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, he entertained the crowd of more than 400 guests with celebrity anecdotes along with creating six impressive floral arrangements.

    His client? Actor Elizabeth Taylor, for her first wedding to Richard Burton....

    Chris Giftos demonstrates floral design at Art in Bloom at the Vinoy Renaissance.
  13. From This Day: They met in Tampa, but share a love for St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — He likes to say they met along the Gasparilla parade route in Tampa, and technically, that's true: They were in the same social group and attended a friend's private party after that.

    Peter Pastman, 27, was living in Vero Beach at the time. "She's really cute," he says now, five years after he met Sara Campbell, who took his last name when they married in January. "She's really smart. She's a dynamo."...

    Sara Campbell and Peter Pastman were married on Jan. 18, 2014, at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in St. Petersburg. They live near downtown St. Petersburg and enjoy all the city offers.
  14. Habitat for Humanity event features creative design

    Human Interest

    Artistic blueprint for Habitat dining gala

    "Blueprint ArtScape," a Saturday gala to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, will feature Daytime television hosts Jerry Pennacoli and Cyndi Edwards and dining-room scenarios created by Tampa Bay area artists and designers. The dinner event begins at 6 p.m. in the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S. $150.

  15. Mardi Gras fashion event benefits abused children, adults

    Human Interest

    Fashion fights abuse

    Members of Infinity, the League to Aid Abused Children and Adults, will present "Mardi Gras Madness VIII," a fashion show and luncheon at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. The even benefits Brookwood Florida, Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA) and the Suncoast Center, a child-abuse prevention and awareness program. $50. (727) 544-4409....