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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. Art Festival Beth-El opens Jan. 31

    Human Interest

    Art Festival Beth-El celebrates its 42nd year with a three-day extravaganza Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Temple Beth-El, 400 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The invitational juried show and sale features works indoors and outdoors.

    A purchase award patrons reception runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 31 for those who have prepledged a minimum of $500. From 6 to 10 p.m., there is a patrons review and cocktail reception (free for purchase award patrons, $500 and above; sponsors, $250 and above; and benefactors, $150 and above). Donors ($25) are welcome at 7 p.m....

  2. Guild presents annual All Children's Charity Ball

    Human Interest

    All Children's charity ball

    "Ooh La La, Amour au Clair de Lune," the 84th annual Charity Ball presented by the All Children's Hospital Guild Evening Branch, starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Black-tie optional. $250.; (727) 424-2531.

    Bar salutes 'Heroes Among Us'

    The St. Petersburg Bar Foundation "Heroes Among Us" event honoring Robert Kapusta Jr., William D. Slicker and Kira B. Doyle, starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. $150.; (727) 823-7474....

  3. From this Day: a couple, right off the bat


    ST. PETERSBURG — His profile on mentioned baseball, and Betsy Dunn thought they would have at least that in common.

    Growing up in New Jersey, she was enthusiastic about the sport. She watched games with her dad and brother and was a statistician for her high school team.

    "Baseball was my life," she said. "Right off the bat, it was something we could talk about."

    Gary Bozich, a St. Petersburg native, has played since he was a youngster, including professionally in the minor leagues with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers organizations....

    Betsy Dunn and Gary Bozich were married Nov. 26, 2014, on Limetree Beach in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
  4. Quintessence to benefit three bay area charities

    Human Interest

    Big benefit for three charities

    "Quintessence," a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Julie Weintraub's Hands Across the Bay and the Ryan Nece Foundation, takes place from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands in Tampa. The event features dinner, a fashion show, dancing and auctions. $200.; (727) 269-9462.

    All Children's charity ball...

  5. St. Petersburg debutantes in the spotlight

    Human Interest


    For more than three-quarters of a century, the annual presentation ball hosted by the St. Petersburg Debutante Club has brought together friends and families during the winter holiday season.

    The tradition continued in the Coliseum, with former St. Petersburg Mayor Bob Ulrich as master of ceremonies, introducing the 18 young women in this year's class:

    Caylee Biddison, daughter of Marcie Biddison and Rick Biddison, presented by her father and escorted by Kenneth Scott Corrigan....

    Samantha Amy Moench, left, and her father, Christopher Scott Moench, Nicole Carole McQuillen and her father, John Michael McQuillen, and Brooke Alexander Tanner with her father, Terry Finley Tanner Jr., take part in the first dance with dad Saturday at the St. Petersburg Debutante Club’s Presentation Ball at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg.
  6. Gingerbread competition heats up holiday merriment

    Human Interest


    What's a little pastry and frosting among friends?

    When it comes to the yearly build-your-own gingerbread house competition, held in the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, the competition is more fierce than ever.

    True, the event benefits the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Red Cross, and longtime hostesses Karol Bullard and Mary Critchfield do a remarkable job of keeping participation levels high....

  7. St. Petersburg debutantes to be presented at Coliseum

    Human Interest


    The St. Petersburg Debutante Club will recognize 18 young women and their families on Saturday at its annual black-tie Presentation Ball, a tradition since the late 1930s. As a community service project, the young women have helped young children who are served by the Barth Syndrome Foundation with crafts activities. The organization serves boys who have Barth syndrome, a congenital heart condition. Here is the 2014 class, which will be celebrated at the Coliseum:...

  8. From This Day: After 16 years, couple ready to tango for life


    The year was 1998. Desiree Munera moved to Clearwater that summer. Her father had died, and she came up from Fort Lauderdale to be nearer to her mother, Minerva.

    Living in South Florida, Desiree had begun taking Argentinian tango lessons. She had even signed up for a trip to Buenos Aires. Her instructor referred her to Victor Crichton, who teaches in the Tampa Bay area.

    Argentine tango differs from other versions in that it is "an intimate dance between two people," Desiree says. "It's not a dance for show. It's a personal conversation between two people."...

    Desiree Munera and Victor Crichton married at Cay Pointe Villas in Indian Rocks Beach.
  9. Christmas Belles bring in visitors, toys

    Human Interest


    The Christmas Belles are a team of big ideas, marvelous culinary skills and organizational genius who meet throughout the year to plan the annual Christmas coffee to benefit the Christmas Toy Shop.

    They spend hours preparing treats, savory and sweet, to feed the hundreds of guests who bring toys enough to fill several sleighs. This year's casserole, with a base of sausage and grits, won raves, along with the tiny tomato and cucumber sandwiches that are perennial favorites, and the many trays filled with sweets....

    Barbara McCoy opened her home for the 52nd annual Christmas Belles Coffee in St. Petersburg on Dec. 5, a benefit for the Christmas Toy Shop.
  10. Museum of History presents craft beer festival

    Human Interest

    Craft Beer festival: The St. Petersburg Museum of History will host "Beers on the Pier," a craft beer festival, from 5 to 9 p.m. today at the museum, 335 Second Ave. N. The fundraising event is presented by J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida and will feature unlimited tastings from more than 20 breweries and music by Rachel Alex and Chloe & Angela. $35 advance, $45 at the door (includes museum access, commemorative cup);; (727) 894-1052....

  11. Steve Yerrid tells CASA audience of the abuse he suffered at his own father's hands

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As the hard-charging Tampa lawyer who has fought for clients against the tobacco industry, BP and many others, Steve Yerrid keeps a high profile.

    Yet he stunned an audience of about 400 people gathered at a fundraiser to fight domestic violence Tuesday morning with this admission: As a child, Yerrid was a victim of his own father's abuse.

    His voice occasionally breaking, Yerrid said that by the time he was 7, he had suffered four or five concussions from his father's blows. Stepping in front of his mother to protect her from his father, he said, "I had never been so terrified in my life."...

    Linda Osmundson, CASA executive director, is trying to raise $5 million for a new facility.
  12. Cookie decorating fun benefits St. Anthony's foundation

    Human Interest

    Cookies for a cause

    "Sprinkles," a holiday cookie-decorating event presented by the St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation, takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the ballroom at Staybridge Suites, 940 Fifth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The event, open to all ages, benefits the hospital's Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center. $45.

    Holiday house tour...

  13. Panhellenic Association plans holiday party

    Human Interest

    Panhellenic holiday party

    The St. Petersburg Panhellenic Association hosts a holiday party and ornament exchange on Wednesday at Middle Grounds Grill, 109025 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. (727) 543-7286.

    Cookie decorating

    "Sprinkles," a holiday cookie decorating event presented by the St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation, takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the ballroom at Staybridge Suites, 940 Fifth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The event, which is open to all ages, benefits the hospital's Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center. $45.

  14. St. Petersburg Museum of History's "Hot Havana Nights" sizzles

    Human Interest


    With authentic music from Ybor City's Orquesta Infinidad, and food from Parkshore Grill, the St. Petersburg Museum of History's "Hot Havana Nights" fundraiser also offered spectacular nighttime views of the city's waterfront from inside historic Hangar 1 at Albert Whitted Airport.

    Organizers called the evening a celebration of "the golden age of passenger airline service," when flying from St. Petersburg to Cuba was an actuality....

    David Jezek, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, left, with Bob Ulrich, former St. Petersburg mayor.
  15. From This Day: Their paths finally crossed


    ST. PETERSBURG — They'd both been in long-term relationships that had ended. Hope trumped experience, and they turned to the Internet.

    Posting on the free dating site PlentyOf Fish, Lori Ann Clark said, was "my one last-ditch effort to meet someone online. I was over it."

    She had a few other dates before connecting with Byron Spradlin.

    "He had a good personality. He seemed kind of real."...

    Byron and Lori Spradlin included their Labrador retriever, Hank, in the wedding party.