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

Photo from Lorena Hardwick The inaugural Table in the Park benefits MacDonald Training Center on Nov. 18 in Curtis Hixon Park.
Published Nov. 24, 2017

The Table in the Park

Downtown Tampa was the place to be Saturday night specifically Curtis Hixon Park, where the city rinked an ice tent for skaters; Tampa Theatre screened a holiday movie and MacDonald Training Center hosted its inaugural Table in the Park dinner party to support its technology training program for young people on the autism spectrum.

CEO Karenne Levy, development director Rita Hattab and event chairwoman Angela Ruth seated 160 supporters at end-to-end tables across the width of the park, serving a choice of three entrees from Tampa Bay food trucks' Dochos and Lizzie's Cucina Italiana. Minarets gleamed to the west; sky high condos lit up the easterly view and Tampa felt like the city it has always wanted to become.

MDA Muscle Team dinner

Pop, pop, pop …those were balloons bursting as guests bought chances to win prizes at the Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Team dinner honoring Champion of Hope Ray Fernandez, pediatric neurologist and director of the Tampa MDA Care Center, who spoke about new treatments for neuromuscular diseases made possible by MDA funded research, including the first new FDA-approved drug for ALS therapy in 22 years. MDA awarded more than $16 million for nearly 70 research grants last year. Auctioneer Jason Alpert rallied the 250 guests to raise $250,000, including $91,000 in "mission moment" donations Nov. 9 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.

Best Buddies Tampa Bay Champion of the Year gala

Congratulations to Best Buddies Tampa Bay 2017 Champion Sheba Lucas, top fundraiser for the second time, this year with Campaign Manager Jenna Dinilla, at the fifth annual gala Nov. 10 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside. More than a dozen teams competed in the 12-week philanthropic race by hosting beer-tastings, spa days, even a haunted house. Auction buys for anything the teams procured were also added to their tally, such as $2,700 for a training package from WWE superstar Sheamus credited to his campaign manager Nick Altieri.

Busch Gardens belly dancers and the Portico Chorus entertained; ambassador Buddies Andi Walker, Josh Felder and Lindsey Danner spoke movingly and gala chairman John Schroeder raised $170,000 for programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Great Gatsby Party for H.B. Plant Museum

Waiters in white gloves served blue champagne, fortune tellers predicted happy futures for flappers, more gloomy for gangsters at the Henry B. Plant Museum's Great Gatsby Party, thrown by Theodora Klein-Carroll and co-chairs Lester Ryals and Christopher Butler on Nov. 11. Guests, 300-plus fringed and fedora-ed, bubbled into the University of Tampa, passing La France's 1920s-fashionable mannequins en route to Fletcher Lounge where they learned to dance the Charleston to Ward Cook and the Blue Notes featuring drummer Lenny Vidal, 94. The $60,000 raised Nov. 11 supports community, conservation and preservation programs at the museum.

Dessert First

Girl Scouts of West Central Florida judges awarded Trinity Cafe chef Doug Wanek top honors for his Thin Mint chocolate raspberry brownie at Dessert First on Nov. 17, made from ingredients donated to feed hundreds of homeless people every day. And once again, Don CeSar Hotel chef Jake Yergensen won the People's Choice, voted by the 200 guests for his Thin Mint Crunch Bar topped with a Samoa meringue frozen in liquid nitrogen. The other five competitors were every bit as delicious: Brio Tuscan Grille's Tagalong cheesecake with Trefoil crust; Ocean Prime's lemon verbena gateaux; Season 52's Samoa swirled mousse; Maggiano's Thin Mint Tiramisu and event host Tampa Airport Marriott's Tagalong Gelato.

Hearing CEO Jessica Muroff and ambassador Emma P speak, two "fierce advocates" for girl scouting, helped auctioneer Christopher Marchand rack up bids and donations.


  1. Amber Carr, center, wipes a tear as her sister, Ashley Carr, left, and attorney Lee Merritt, right, listen to their brother Adarius Carr talk about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson during a news conference Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. The family of the 28-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth home as she played video games with her 8-year-old nephew expressed outrage that the officer has not been arrested or fired. (Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News via AP) AP
    The white, former Fort Worth police officer has been booked in jail on a murder charge for the shooting of a black woman through a window in her home.
  2. Tikerria Nashay Bell, 21, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    She fled with their 18-month-old daughter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
  3. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    Police say it appears the girl was accidentally left inside the Jeep on Monday morning.
  4. The Tampa Bay Times' annual Medicare Guide explains how the program is set up, helps you compare options available in the Tampa Bay area, and points the way toward help, including free, one-on-one assistance. This illustration will grace the cover of LifeTimes on Oct. 23, when the guide will be published in print. RON BORRESEN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    As the open enrollment period begins, it’s time to review your coverage.
  5. The Medicare Handbook for 2020 is a good resource to have as the annual open enrollment period gets under way. The government usually mails beneficiaries a copy. Find a PDF version to print at, or call 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE) to order a copy. THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The open enrollment period, which lasts into December, is a time for millions of beneficiaries to review, and possibly change, their coverage.
  6. Medicare's online Plan Finder has been redesigned and is available at THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The most-used tool on will look different this year.
  7. Jim Tolbert, left, staffs a booth at a senior expo for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, or SHINE, a state program that answers Medicare and other insurance questions. The program has scheduled a number of events around the Tampa Bay area during Medicare's open enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Times (2015)
    About 500 volunteers statewide are at the ready. They work for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, or SHINE, now in its 28th year.
  8. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Fort Myers woman stepped in front of the plane and was struck.
  9. James Dailey, 73, is set to be executed on Nov. 7 for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. Tampa Bay Times
    James Dailey’s execution remains set for Nov. 7. On Monday, a judge denied efforts to overturn his death sentence after a former prosecutor testified.
  10. Investigators are collecting evidence at the scene of a fatal stabbing on the 4000 block of 68th Street N. The victim was trying to break into a house, the Sheriff's Office said. KATHRYN VARN   |   TIMES  |  Kathryn Varn
    The dead man had sneaked out of a group home a block away. It’s unlikely charges will be filed, the Sheriff’s Office said.