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Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381


  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Byers, 33, who plays Anika Calhoun on the FOX TV series Empire, began by crediting her alma mater for directing her career path....

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tuxes & Tails

    Who could resist Event Show Productions showgirls samba-ing down the Tuxes & Tails catwalk carrying furry homeless pets? With Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister, family restaurateur/event co-chair Andrea Gonzmart and a dozen other "celebs" right behind them showwalking the bigger breeds on leashes.

    Saturday's Rio de Carnaval gala was huuggge for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay: huge crowd (more than 1,000; huge venue (Tampa Convention Center); huge moneymaker ($400,000.) Fox13 news anchors Cynthia Smoot and Russell Rhodes emceed as they have for a decade; Gabriel Butu, auctioneer for the third time, pitched dinner with George Clooney, a guitar of Tom Petty's and other cool stuff. The lively celebration continued upstairs with deejay Arthur Lastras, complimentary cigars, Brazilian coffee and a flambe station while 31 pets were packed up to go home with their new owners....

    Tom and Tracy Hayes and their table of friends were top bidders at $16,500 for a dinner with George Clooney auctioned at Tuxes & Tails.
  3. Documentary filmmaker Nancy Spielberg speaks to temple sisterhood

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — One imagines lively conversations around the Spielberg family dinner table, undoubtably spurring the creativity of one of the most popular film producers and directors in history.

    Documentary film producer Nancy Spielberg, the youngest of the four children, is likely to reveal some family dynamics and insights of her influential brother, Steven Spielberg, when she addresses Congregation Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood's 16th annual Franci Golman Rudolph Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood Star Event on Monday (Oct. 23) at the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza....

    Documentary film producer Nancy Spielberg will address guests at the Star Event, 
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    CITY, Art-a-Porter: Susanne Bartsch

    New York City nightlife icon Susanne Bartsch and seven fashion designers came to disrupt and distort, producing off-the-chain creations from the sublime to the ridiculous, upstaging anything ever seen at CITY: Art-a-Porter, the annual fashion-as-art benefit for Tampa Museum of Art. Coiffed like Olive Oyl and wearing a pink leotard and tulle, Bartsch sent her provocateurs spiraling through the atrium, VIP lounges and terrace Oct. 6, to the crowd's gawking amusement....

    Brad Prechtl, Florida Cancer Specialists CEO and chairman of the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation, left, thanks 50 Shades of Roaring Pink co-chairmen Drs. Christopher George and Julio Lautersztain.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Imagination, A Gala

    From devil crab lollipops to virtual reality games, "Imagination, A Gala" entertained and educated Glazer Children's Museum guests as per the mission, and on a weeknight no less, no thanks to Hurricane Irma, which bumped the cocktail bash to Sept. 28.

    Instead of baskets of "stuff," a Dream It, Be It silent auction offered cool career days parents bought for their kids, such as a Bay News 9 anchor or a Clearwater Marine Aquarium biologist or a museum CEO like Jennifer Stancil....

    Gorrie Elementary principal Marjorie Sandler, left, and Lee Elementary assistant principal Philip Cottone appreciate the creativity of the Glazer Children’s Museum at the annual benefit.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Boys & Girls Clubs Steak Dinner

    "Community Hero" Luis Garcia filled four tables with family members as the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay honored his philanthropy and 20-plus years on the board of directors at the organization's 36th annual steak dinner. "I can't do what I do without the support of the family," said Garcia, who came to the United States from Cuba in 1961. A certified public accountant and father of six, Garcia and his wife, Mary, have 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild....

    Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay 2017 Community Hero Luis Garcia and wife Mary Garcia thank family and friends during the annual steak dinner benefit Sept. 21 at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre.
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    FARA Energy Ball

    Familiar faces - researchers, scientists, hospitality honchos and 20 Friedreich's Ataxia "warriors" inched closer to a cure for the progressive neurodegenerative disease as the FARA Energy Ball advanced the FA Research Alliance and USF Ataxia Research Center by $1.75 million Saturday, thanks to some bodacious auction bids and $600,000 texted-donations.

    The Rocky theme song thundered across Knock Out FA co-chaired again this year by Janell and Tampa Bay Lightning CEO Steve Griggs. "FARA is family and you really fight when it's family," he said, following emcee Wendy Ryan, WFTS-Ch. 28 anchor, up to a boxing ring podium. Hot pink, turquoise and orange boxing glove centerpieces brightened the Marriott Waterside ballroom....

    Sandra, left, and Evelyn Todd sell raffle tickets at the third annual Beer & Bowties benefit for the Crisis Center of Tampa on Aug. 25 at the Cuban Club.
  8. With largest kosher inventory in Tampa Bay area, Hyde Park Winn Dixie is a boon to Jewish cooks



    “Miracles do happen," says Rabbi Levi Rivkin, joyously leading the way down aisle six at the Winn-Dixie in Hyde Park, pointing out dozens of bright blue circles indicating kosher cereals, crackers, soups and such.

    An abundance of kosher inventory makes preparing celebration meals for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days remarkably easier for the bay area's kosher-observant families....

    Kosher butter and kosher Brie cheese in the kosher dairy section at the Winn-Dixie at 2100 W Swann Ave. in Tampa.
  9. Irma the uninvited guest waylays nonprofits' fundraisers

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — No one invited Irma to their party last week, but she showed up anyway, waylaying the carefully-laid plans of numerous non-profits counting on achieving significant fundraising goals.

    Instead, community safety was paramount as organizers rushed to inform guests, sponsors and vendors of cancellation announcements. Caterers took their perishable foods to hurricane shelters, florists scrambled to cancel deliveries and decorators stashed their centerpieces....

    Stephen Koch, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, with Ron and Tami Sheehan-Broadrick of the Broadrick Family Foundations, sponsors of the BBBS Art of Helping Children Gala. [Photography by MamaRazzi Foto (2016)]
  10. Emergency food supplies beefed up during Hurricane Irma

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — On any given day, 700,000 people in Tampa Bay are considered food insecure, meaning they lack ready access to adequate and affordable nutrition on a daily basis.

    That number could surge proportionately in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

    Feeding Tampa Bay stepped up to the plate, strategically planning with local emergency management operations to provide vital food and supplies before, during and after one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic....

    Feeding Tampa Bay volunteers gathered Thursday to help put together meal kits for the area’s 700,000 food insecure people.
  11. Hillsborough Society Datebook 2017-18

    Human Interest

    Voila, presenting the annual Tampa Society Datebook, featuring more than 100 nonprofit fundraising and gala events scheduled today through May 2018. Time to start budgeting your time and donations! Compiled by Amy Scherzer


    Sept. 8: Imagination: A Gala to benefit Glazer Children's Museum; 6:30 p.m.; Glazer Children's Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza. $125 for ages 21 to 25, other starting at $250; (813) 443-3861 or

    Downtown Tampa skyline on the Hillsborough River [CHERIE DIEZ  | Times]
  12. Scherzer: Social scene still thrills after 30 years

    Human Interest

    Thirty years on the beat, and I still marvel at the extreme generosity and dedication I witness throughout our non-profit community.

    It took about 10 minutes for the annual Freidrich's Ataxia Research Alliance Energy Ball to reach $550,000 in text-pledges.

    The American Heart Association instantly gained $85,000 with a retail developer's nod to an auctioneer pitching an Anguilla villa vacation. ...

    Rob Thomas, frontman and composer of Matchbox Twenty, thrilled the Magnolia Ball crowd at the annual Moffitt Cancer Center benefit in May.
  13. New millennials connect through Tampa entrepreneur's innovation

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Andrew Machota has made nearly 700 friends in the six years since he impulsively moved to Tampa.

    He'd be glad to have you meet them, too.

    The gregarious certified public accountant from Rolling Prairie, Ind., population 500, knew only one person when he came to town. Mingling at networking events with other young professional millennials could be interesting, but then what?...

    New Town Connections members Beth Lukens, from left, Danielle Kielpikowski, New Town Connections CEO Andrew Machota and Cara Tolzman chat at Beer & Bowties, an annual fundraiser for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay on Aug. 25 at the Cuban Circle.
  14. Model of Excellence

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — One of Tampa's first female television show hosts and a prominent etiquette instructor, Joann Torretta Guagliardo modeled professionalism, on and off the runway.

    "She crafted character... not just which fork or perfect posture," said her daughter Gayle Guyardo, WFLA-Ch. 8 morning news anchor and "her ultimate student."

    Torretta broke into the broadcast industry right out of college, starting off behind the scenes writing for a television fitness show. By 1957, the Tampa native was on-camera, chipping away at WFLA's glass ceiling as host of Fashions for You....

    The family of the late Joann Torretta Guagliardo, seen here at her Northwestern University 50th college reunion, has endowed an annual School of Communication award in her memory at her alma mater. The class of 1953 broadcasting pioneer and fashion director died July 8.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    13 Ugly Men '80s Party

    Skaters in spandex, Miami Vice pastels and Top Gun flight suits, parachute pants and fanny packs, some 1,200 MC Hammer and Madonna wannabees dressed to play at the 13 Ugly Men's timestopping '80s party, packing Pattini's Bistro and Skate all night Saturday. DJ Mat the Brat and MTV videos made singalong millennials yearn for the good old days. At midnight, Debbie Deb performed her '80s skating rink jams, Look Out Weekend and When I Hear Music. All that partying raised more than $10,000 for High Risk Hope programs helping families with high risk pregnancies and premature babies....

    Noble Crust Chef Colin Reinsmith won the Epic Chef Showdown benefit for Feeding Tampa Bay on Aug. 21 at the Epicurean Hotel.