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

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and his wife, Renee, from left, dine with Tampa Bay Heart Ball co-chairs Nina and Trey Traviesa on April 30 at the Marriott Waterside.
Published Jun. 1, 2016

Tampa Bay Heart Ball

Jaws dropped, hearts nearly stopped at the Tampa Bay Heart Ball when the bid reached $55,000 for a one-week vacation at a 15th-century villa in Florence, Italy, donated by Jarrett and Veturia Preston on behalf of Obsidian International. Real estate developer Bob Schmidt made the bid, surely a local record, even though the package didn't include airfare or food. Elated co-chairs Trey and Nina Traviesa celebrated their 16th anniversary raising $1.3 million for the American Heart Association.

Bids continued to soar, including $16,000 for a weeklong catamaran voyage and a seven-night Mediterranean cruise donated by Tom and Lauren Pepin sold twice for $19,000. The official Red Sofa went to Debbie and Lee Arnold for $12,000. Clearly, the auctioneers, Florida Sen. Aaron Bean, R-District 4, and retired broadcaster Don Germaise earned their dinners Saturday at the Marriott Waterside. WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Stacie Schaible emceed for 650 guests as the Aerial Dragons acrobats performed high above the $500-ticket gala.

An arresting video of Charlie Curtis, 17, surviving a heart attack at Plant High two years ago opened the "Charlie is Why" donor appeal. "We forget it happens to young people," said his mother, Lisa, before DJ Bash lured dancers to the after-party at the far end of the ballroom.

13th annual Fashion Funds the Cure

Every day, more than 40 children are diagnosed with cancer, making the dozen cherished patients on the Fashion Funds the Cure runway all the more inspiring. Another 50 fashion show alumni in remission joined them Saturday in a Port Tampa cruise terminal packed with nearly 1,000 National Pediatric Cancer Foundation supporters. Chairmen Christopher Carrere, Jay Langford, Jeff Maxwell and Alex Sullivan pulled the crowd from the busy bars and stand-up hors d'oeuvres from 10 restaurants to hear CEO David Frazer's rebranding update. Sponsorships, three live auction bids and an appeal to fund new drugs pushed net proceeds to $630,000.

Celebrity host Giuliana Rancic, a mother and a cancer survivor herself, enjoyed spending time with the kids, each outfitted by Dillard's and paired with a career role model, including Sheriff David Gee, fashion designers Sigrid Olsen and Tracy Negoshian, oncologist Dr. Damon Reed, nurse Sarah Haines, NPCF co-founder Melissa Helms and firefighters, beauty queens and newscasters.

Community Tampa Bay: Transformations

Every speaker made a powerful impression at Transformations, an annual Community Tampa Bay benefit introducing the 2016 Silver Medallion Award recipients, four champions of diversity and inclusion. Molly and Brian Auld, president of the Tampa Bay Rays, live those values personally and professionally as he leads the first major sports team to formally support marriage equality, and she chairs Project Prosper. Machelle Maner, Wells Fargo vice president of community development, spoke of authenticity, stressing that "diversity doesn't mean squat without inclusion." Florida State student Ana Gomez credited Anytown youth leadership week for utterly transforming her beliefs.

Other students sharing "transformations" with the 200 guests April 21 at Maestro's at the Straz Center included Maya Barrett describing the eye-opening "Privilege Exercise" and Amirah Rivers' intense poem on tempering rage with self-awareness. Dennis Amadeus Lemmermann and Liz Prisley riveted the room with a Hunger Games analogy, now on YouTube. Proceeds of $70,000 will fund three Anytown sessions this summer.

Sunday in the Arts

Such a talented bunch, those members and friends of Las Damas de Arte who exhibit and sell their work to fund grants and scholarships for art students. The annual Sunday in the Arts party impressed with 45 women artists, including two fabric artisans: Carolyn Kossar's Artical Silk scarves and Leeann Kroetsch's Threaded Art Wear silk chiffon felted wraps. Carolyn Gaynor and Teri Willis co-chaired and Pane Rustica catered the creative affair April 24 at Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at the University of Tampa.


  1. A Brinks security guard and a Good Samaritan who came to his aid were shot during a robbery attempt at GTE Financial credit union in Brandon on Friday. Tony Marrero, Times Staff
    The search continued into the evening Saturday for the shooter, who is believed to be a serial bank robber.
  2. Mohammed "Mo" Haitham, 19, was a track star at Lakewood High School. He was one of the victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting on Friday, according to his mother and Lakewood High principal Erin Savage. CARRY PRATT  |  Photo by Carrie Pratt
    Mohammed Haitham just finished boot camp and had been reassigned to Pensacola.
  3. Paul Skalnik in a 1987 Pinellas County Sheriff's Office booking mug. He played a pivotal rule in the death row sentences of multiple inmates.
    From the archives: The Tampa Bay Times has covered Paul Skalnik, the subject of ProPublica and New York Times story, since 1987.
  4. St. Petersburg police said they arrested Jesse Millis-Dwyer after Homeland Security detected him uploading a sexually explicit photo of a 12-year-old girl to a Russian photo-sharing site. St. Pete
    Police said he uploaded photo to Russian picture-sharing site
  5. This photo taken from video provided by WEAR-TV shows emergency responders near the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  The US Navy is confirming that an active shooter and one other person are dead after gunfire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Area hospital representatives tell The Associated Press that at least 11 people were hospitalized. The base remains locked down amid a huge law enforcement response.   (WEAR-TV via AP) AP
    Family members on Saturday identified one of the victims as a 23-year-old recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who alerted first responders to where the shooter was even after he had been shot...
  6. Lawanda Ravoira, DPA, president & CEO, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, said girls are subject to an alarming rate of violence and bullying and are not getting the help they need from counseling and other social services. CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL  |  Times
    Leader of Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center comes to Tampa to warn of “unchecked crisis” of violence and victimization of middle and high school girls.
  7. This rendering shows Scientology's proposed L. Ron Hubbard Hall, a 3,600-seat auditorium with an all-glass facade at the corner of Garden Avenue and Court Street in downtown Clearwater. [Courtesy City of Clearwater]
    Plans for L. Ron Hubbard Hall go back 26 years. If constructed, it would have more seats than Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  8. Classic Reflections Carriages is offering carriage rides starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 19-21 throughout downtown Brooksville. Reservations are made in person on each event date, starting at 4 p.m., in front of the historic courthouse. Brooksville Main Street
    Holiday events in Pasco and Hernando counties
  9. A huge number of homes owned by Baby Boomers will sell in the next 20 years. How will the trend affect the Florida housing market? CAMERON GILLIE  |  NAPLES DAILY NEWS
    The enormous generation born between 1946 and 1964 owns about 40 percent of the homes across the country.
  10. A Brinks security guard was shot during a robbery attempt at a GTE Financial credit union in Brandon Friday morning. TONY MARRERO  |  Times
    Deputies thought they had the suspect pinned down at the Bridgeport Apartments, but he fled.