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

Email: mjpark@tampabay.com

@MJPARKTIMES link

  1. Rays on the Runway event breaks previous records

    News

    06.25.2014

    Fortune smiled on Peggy Weber of Seminole as Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer serenaded her at the annual Rays on the Runway charity fundraiser for the Children's Dream Fund.

    Archer was among the Rays players modeling clothes during the fashion show, and some of his teammates stood behind him as he performed Usher's Burn. It is a breakup song, but Weber beamed from her chair that was placed on the runway after a $3,000 bid won the impromptu performance....

    Jayden Laspada, 13, of Palm Harbor, walks down the runway with Rays pitcher Chris Archer at the annual fundraiser.
  2. Coming up: Foodscapes, fundraisers and craft beer

    Human Interest

    Club hosting food contests

    The General Federation of Women's Clubs' St. Petersburg Woman's Club will present two foodscape competitions, a business category open to chefs, caterers, food service professionals and supermarkets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 19, and an individual/family competition from 1 to 5 p.m. on July 20. Foodscapes are "landscapes made completely from food, mostly vegetables," according to event planners, and must fit atop a card table between 32 and 36 square inches. The event is to raise nutrition awareness; proceeds benefit the Mr. Strong Foundation, which helps special-needs families. The events will take place in the clubhouse at 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE. $3 adults; free for children 12 and younger. Email jbwjbw1@verizon.net; (727) 822-4982....

  3. From This Day: Kristine Ann Putrino and Kyle Robert Kirstein

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — They had many friends in common, and in fact they met during their first year at the University of Florida, in the library of their dormitory. Her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, often were paired for social activities.

    Over and over, Kyle Kirstein asked her out, and repeatedly, Kristine Putrino resisted.

    "Because we were friends," she says, then concedes that she had a crush on him from the start and suspected that if she agreed to a first date they might get a little more serious. As a freshman, she wanted to be more carefree....

    Kristine Putrino figured dating Kyle Kirstein would lead to something serious; she was right.
  4. Event introduces St. Petersburg debutantes

    Human Interest

    06.14.2014

    At its annual coffee, held this year in the waterfront home of Bill and Corrie Stover, the St. Petersburg Debutante Club introduced the 18 young women who will be featured at its Presentation Ball in December. Brooke Nelson is the club's 2014 president.

    As a community service project, the group will help 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....

  5. On the Town: Celebrate Sinatra and raise for the Rays

    Human Interest

    Coming up

    Celebrate Sinatra: Ken Walters' annual Celebrate Sinatra event expands to St. Petersburg on Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at NOVA 535, 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Great Explorations Children's Museum. Black tie optional. kenwalters.com /celebrate-sinatra; (813) 251-0500, $60 per person.

    Rays on the Runway: The annual fundraiser for the Children's Dream Fund, hosted by the wives organization of the Tampa Bay Rays, takes place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Palm Court Ballroom at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE. $125. childrensdreamfund.org; (727) 896-6390....

  6. St. Petersburg High Class of 1944 recalls D-day on 70th anniversary

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Martha Rudy Wallace remembers it well. Newly graduated from St. Petersburg High School, she and some friends had crossed the bay to celebrate.

    "We were enjoying our freedom after the graduation ceremony, and six of us went over to Tampa and found ourselves hungry," she said. Nothing would do but Cuban sandwiches, and they headed to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. "It might have been 1 or 2 in the morning at that time."...

    C.O. Ritch as a senior, above, and with historic papers in his home at left. Ritch, 88, served in the U.S. Navy on submarine patrol after graduating.
  7. Birthday Bash raises $40,000 in scholarship money

    Human Interest

    05.17.2014

    Nearly 200 people gathered at the St. Petersburg Country Club to raise scholarship money as a tribute to the late Jim Fischer and Skip Carr. The 10th annual Birthday Bash was a celebration of the lives of those two community leaders and was presented by the Kiwanis Club of St. Petersburg

    The event raised $40,000 for Take Stock in Children Scholarships through St. Pete's Promise and the Pinellas Education Foundation. The amount will provide 10 qualified students in grades six through 11 free college tuition if they graduate high school, maintain a C average or better in every class and remain crime- and drug-free....

    Jenna Worden Brooks, nominating chairwoman of the Junior League of St. Petersburg, left, poses with Andrea Winning, who won the league’s Mailand Holland Barton Award, and league president Lisa Johni.
  8. Abilities Foundation celebrates 25th anniversary at military museum

    Human Interest

    05.24.2014

    More than 700 patrons swept into the Armed Forces Military Museum to eat, drink and raise money for wounded veterans as the Abilities Wine Tasting and silent auction celebrated its 25th anniversary during Memorial Day weekend.

    Frank DeLucia, the charity's president and chief executive officer, has attended every one of the events, from the first iteration, under a tent at the ICOT Center in Clearwater, to a hangar at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, to the museum in Largo, where it moved in 2012....

    Dan Karikas pours for Roslyn Puderbaugh at the Abilities Foundation’s 25th benefit Wine Tasting and silent auction on Saturday.
  9. Fundraisers to help purchase flamingos

    Human Interest

    Coming up

    Funds for flock of flamingos

    Marion's Gifts & Clothing will hold two fundraisers, "Flamingo Flocking Fun," from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, and "Pink Partay," from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 6, to promote awareness and help buy a new flock of flamingos for Sunken Gardens. Information is available at the boutique, 1301 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 821-2345.

    High Heel Hike on June 14...

  10. From This Day: Tracy Negoshian and David Phillips

    Relationships

    ST. PETERSBURG — Her mom saw him first, in the family portrait in an Atlanta trade-show booth.

    "Is that your husband?" Linda Smith asked Lindsay Phillips, a Clearwater native and creator of SwitchFlops, a line of stylish interchangeable sandal straps.

    The man in question was Phillips' brother, David. Once Smith learned that he was single, "the questions started flowing," Smith's daughter Tracy Negoshian says. "My mom is outspoken. I love it to pieces."...

    Tracy Negoshian and David Robert Phillips were married April 19 along the waterfront in Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas.
  11. Adoptee speaks at Heart Gallery gala

    Human Interest

    05.15.2014

    If you read my colleague Lane DeGregory's story in the Tampa Bay Times on Mother's Day about Justice, the 15-year-old who fought to find an adoptive family for herself and her three younger brothers, Jeremy, Max and Randy, you likely had an emotional response.

    You surely would have if you heard Justice's speech at the annual "Celebrate Me Home" gala for the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco, where she and her brothers and their adoptive parents, Lesley and Danny McGuill, were present as a family. The adoption took place in November, after the four siblings had been featured in a Heart Gallery video....

    Broadcaster Gayle Guyardo, mistress of ceremonies, with St. Anthony’s Hospital president Bill Ulbricht at the hospital’s May 3 Foundation Gala. 
  12. Bar Foundation sponsors 'Evening With the Rays' on Saturday

    Human Interest

    Coming up

    'Evening With the Rays'

    The St. Petersburg Bar Foundation sponsors its annual "Evening With the Rays" fundraiser Saturday at the Trop for the foundation's community projects. Gates open at 2:10 p.m. for the Rays game against the Boston Red Sox at 4:10 p.m. Group seating is in the left-field 162 Landing. Unlimited food and soft drinks; drawings for Rays game tickets, autographed memorabilia. $125. (727) 823-7474....

  13. Edie Windsor visits Equality Florida St. Petersburg gala

    Human Interest

    05.03.2014

    "Hello, Edie!" the singers from Penguin Entertainment belted out at the Equality Florida St. Petersburg gala, held in the Mahaffey Theater.

    Their musical tribute celebrated special guest Edith Windsor, the octogenarian whose lawsuit led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

    Additional honorees were Anastasia Hiotis, who received the Voice of Equality Award, and Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, the law firm where Hiotis is chief operating officer. It received the Equality Means Business Award. The event included a presentation from Equality Florida's chief executive officer, Nadine Smith....

    Honoree Edie Windsor, who fought DOMA, is escorted by Marjorie Sherwin at the Equality Florida St. Petersburg gala.
  14. From This Day: Couple reunites, marries decades after losing touch

    Relationships

    She was a student at Grady High School in Atlanta, and he attended rival Bass High. Neither remembers how they met, although Nancy Holman said a girlfriend of hers thinks it was at Davison's, the department store where she worked in the mid 1960s.

    Randy Robinson didn't wait to register for the draft back then.

    "I was 17 years old when I signed up for the Marines," he said, even though he stood a good chance of qualifying for a college football scholarship. Nancy did go to college, first to Abraham Baldwin in Tifton, later graduating from Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta....

    Nancy Holman and Randy Robinson pose for a photo taken in 1964 at his mother’s home in Atlanta. He joined the Marines at age 17.
  15. Equality Florida gala honors Edie Windsor

    Human Interest

    Equality Florida to celebrate trailblazers

    Edie Windsor, whose lawsuit led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, will be the honoree at the Equality Florida Greater St. Petersburg Gala. The fundraiser begins at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S. The organization will present its Voice for Equality Award to Anastasia C. Hiotis, chief operating officer of Carlton Fields Jordan Burt, which will receive the Equality Means Business Award. The evening includes food, drink, entertainment and a silent auction. $125. eqfl.org/greaterstpetegala; (813) 870-3735....