1. Hillsborough

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

Events were also held for the Florida Holocaust Museum, Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's, Preserve Vision Florida and United Way Suncoast.
Published Feb. 15

To Life

Florida Holocaust Museum guests moved and grooved at To Life: Rock, Roll and Remember, celebrating the current exhibit, Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution and advancing the mission of tolerance and compassion by honoring the iconic music promoter and Pittsburgh physician Jeffrey Cohen. Last October, Dr. Cohen's roles intersected at the Tree of Life synagogue massacre as a congregant, nearby neighbor and president of the hospital that treated the murderer.

"I am honored, humbled and saddened to be here," said Cohen, who knew all 11 victims. He praised his medical team, "including two Jews who easily could have been praying at the synagogue."

Holocaust orphan Bill Graham, born Wolfgang in 1931 Berlin, fled to America at age 11. He grew up spreading peace, love and harmony at humanitarian concerts. Sons David and Alex Graham, accepted the award in his memory.

Museum director Beth Gelman announced the new interactive Walter and Edie Loebenberg Center for Children and Family; introduced Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent's virtual reality film and joined gala co-chairs Shari Mezrah and David Pearlman thanking the 650 supporters Feb. 9 at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel.


Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's

Yes, George Clooney is a great kisser (duh!) and yes, people ask her medical advice all the time, said Julianna Margulies, star of NBC sitcom ER and the CBS' The Good Wife during the Q & A at the annual Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's luncheon Feb. 7. The actor/producer chatted candidly with Gayle Sierens about career choices, pregnancy at 41, adult chickenpox and love of Pinterest. Her spotlight helps promote Erin's Law and Project ALS, she told 300 guests at the Tampa Yacht Club. More than $1 million has been collected and 35 innovative projects funded since Donna Jordan and Elaine Shimberg founded the club of $1,000-and-up annual donors.


United Way Suncoast

Celia and Jim Ferman, Mary and Tom James, Cathy and Bob Smith, Barbara and Al Siemer, plus Publix' Barnett family, are the newest members of the Million Dollar Roundtable for donations of $1 million and up to the United Way Suncoast. Dade City residents Debbie and Dave Walker joined them with a gift of $2 million split between their hometown of Cincinnati and Tampa Bay. "Our first such gift from a living donor," said CEO Suzanne McCormick.

"It's not a quick fix," said Dave, admittedly "getting wonky" speaking of overcoming inter-generational poverty Jan. 17 at the Tocqueville Society's 30th anniversary dinner at the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art. Tocqueville members give $10,000 annually, totally nearly $50 million in the last 30 years.


Preserve Vision Florida

The adjectives just kept coming — driven, determined, doggone stubborn — when Preserve Vision Florida named H. Lee Moffitt its 2019 Person of Vision at its 40th anniversary dinner for leadership launching the cancer center that bears his name. Six "toasters"— Doretha Edgecomb, Judy Lisi, Betty Castor, Sam Bell, Rep. James Grant and Dr. Alan List — spoke for the whole Moffitt fan club Feb. 11 at the Hilton Downtown Tampa. Emcee Ernest Hooper worked in several surprises: co-chair Lorna Taylor receiving the Mildred Baynard Award and singer Belinda Womack dedicating The Impossible Dream to Moffitt. The benefit raised $100,000 for vision services for those in need, especially kids.

Contact Amy Scherzer at


  1. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  2. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  3. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  4. Life changed for Chad Cagley with the birth of daughter Aaliyah, now 3. Cagley was killed Monday when a drunk driver slammed into the back of his motorcycle on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FAMILY PHOTO  |  Courtesy Stephanie Coomes
    The drunk driver who ran into Chad Cagley was caught after a witness followed him, troopers said.
  5. Snack-focused delivery app GoPuff launched in Tampa in February. It serves the area surrounding the University of South Florida. GoPuff
    Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Funyuns? GoPuff says it has the data for which snack Floridians love the most.
  6. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    One woman, 82, was crossing 50th Street, and the other, 58, was struck on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
  7. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    A seriously injured man found near Fowler Avenue and 22nd Street died at a hospital, police said.
  8. Erik Maltais took an unconventional path to becoming CEO of Immertec, a virtual reality company aimed at training physicians remotely. He dropped out of school as a teenager, served in Iraq in the Marine Corps and eventually found his way to Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Software from Immertec can bring physicians into an operating room thousands of miles away.
  9. A company called Flock Safety is selling automatic license plate readers to neighborhood associations to cut down on crime, and Tampa neighborhood Paddock Oaks is one of their customers. Pictured is a Flock camera on Paddock Oaks Dr. | [Luis Santana | Times] LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Atlanta-based Flock Safety has provided 14 area communities with high-speed, high-definition cameras for surveillance.
  10. The number of single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during August rose 2.8 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to a monthly report from Florida Realtors. (Times file photo)
    The midpoint price in the bay area rose to $250,000, which is still lower than the state and national median prices.