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Fundraisers don scrubs

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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2002

DRINK TWO MARTINIS and call me in the morning.
Fred and Merci Karl, from right, longtime Red Cross supporters, dressed up MASH-style for the Feb. 9 dinner and auction, with their son, Rick Karl and granddaughter Erin of Gainesville.
Those were the marching orders for more than 300 guests at the second MASH Bash benefit for the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Red Cross.

Hawkeye and Hot Lips dictated fashion. Hospital-green scrubs and army fatigues became cocktail attire at the Feb. 9 auction and dinner at the A La Carte Pavilion. Tampa General Hospital CEO Ron Hytoff zipped up a flight suit; his wife Julie, chairwoman of fundraising for the chapter, earned her stripes in sequined camouflage pants.

Orthopedic surgeon Roy Sanders posed as off-duty MASH surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, with cigar and dog tags. Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Frank Ragano left his medals at home and scrubbed up as a military surgeon, stethoscope, operating room booties and all. He put down his syringe to dance with wife Myra. The Raganos were among three couples whose bids earned the use of Vince Naimoli's Tropicana Field luxury box for a Devils Rays game.

Juli and Dan Greenwald, from left, Malcolm and Lori Root, and Roy and Melanie Sanders were in a MASH mood at the Feb. 9 benefit for the American Red Cross.
Honorary chairmen Mary Jane and former Gov. Bob Martinez entertained some special guests from MacDill Air Force Base, including members of the U.S. Joint Command and coalition forces from New Zealand, England, Austria and Germany.

Emcee Dick Crippen opted for a suit and tie, but auctioneer Laura York was a scream in a hospital gown and a bedpan purse. York got Steve Barbas to bid $500 for an unusual item: a Korean blood chit donated by board member Rear Adm. Bob Gallen, Ret. U.S. Navy.

Ron and Julie Hytoff had a blast at the MASH Bash benefit.
A blood chit is a 1-foot-by-2-foot silk cloth sewn into pilots' flight suits to communicate in the event of capture. Gallen's never-used chit is dated 1951. An American flag with only 48 stars fills the upper quadrant. Across the bottom, a request for humane treatment and assistance is printed in 10 languages.

Dane Cutler was the high bidder, $900, for a non-speaking, walk-on role in a major movie to be filmed in New York. Event planner Patti Palmer got Kee Casting to donate the bit part, most likely in a Sandra Bullock movie now in production.

Red Cross board chairwoman Merci Karl perfected her bedside manner in a white lab coat. She totally surprised devoted Red Cross "Angel" Margaret Ann Koulouris with the Halo Award. The annual award for volunteerism was not mentioned in the program, so no one had a clue.

* * *

Smith & Associates Realtor Mary Kelly holds a copy of Unique Homes magazine featuring the $5-million Avila property she listed.
There's a piece of Tampa on a recent cover of Unique Homes, a real estate magazine that features luxury estates from around the world.

Mary Kelly of Smith & Associates is the Realtor to see if you're in the market for a $5-million, 12,000-plus square foot Avila mansion called Villa Theresa. Owners ask to remain anonymous. (Hint: a 7-letter word that starts with T might be one of the names on the deed.)

The six-bedroom estate sits on almost 2 acres overlooking the 12th and 17th greens. Besides five full bathrooms, there's a tiered media room, a wine room and a mahogany bar.

Sometime this month or next, you can tour Villa Theresa with Kelly and NBC Extra host Michael Corbett on a segment called "Mansions and Millionaires."

* * *

MARDI GRAS PARTY: The Fat Tuesday party thrown by Nootchie and Vance Smith and sons, C. Vance and Cam, had 200 people celebrating New Orleans-style at the Merrymakers Club. Son Layton, a Tulane grad well-versed on Mardi Gras protocol, sent long distance party advice from Vanderbilt, where he's now a doctoral candidate.

Mallory Lykes, David Belcher and Cynthia Gandee cavorted behind feathered masks.

Another masked trio arrived together, Jean Ann Cone, Alma Holtsinger and Ann Scott Knight, escorted by Hal Holtsinger.

[Times photo: Patty Ryan]
The week's events included Saturday's Krewe of Sant'Yago Illuminated Knight Parade, presided over by the father-daughter king and queen pair of Tony and Monica Martino.
Nootchie need not have worried that no one would be dancing on a Tuesday night. The Willie Lomax Blues Revue got them jamming, with Mattie Vega leading the second-line dance around the clubhouse.

Patty D'Avanza's Cafe Creole crew supplied the authentic menu, with bites of fried dill pickles and oysters Rockefeller.

The Smith family had shopped Whaley's Market for coconuts to paint and pass out, a la the Zulu krewe in New Orleans.

"They are quite the prize in New Orleans," says Nootchie, "better than any beads."

* * *

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA: University of South Florida faculty and friends are due for a treat when music professor Kay Lowe sings at a faculty recital March 4 at 8 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

Married to Michael Rierson, USF's new vice president of University Advancement, Lowe has performed at Carnegie, Weill and Tully halls in New York City. She began her training at North Carolina School of the Arts at age 14.

She did doctoral work at FSU then taught at Duke, the University of North Carolina and the University of Miami before joining the USF faculty.

Lowe and Rierson are singing Tampa's praises. Lowe says it reminds her of her hometown, Durham.

"We love Tampa and its warmth and friendliness and the variety of arts here," says Lowe.

Lowe's concert program that night will include "The Poems of Margaret Proctor Wood," a series of 11 songs about life at the turn of the century in Danvers, Mass.

Soprano Lowe has recorded the musical poetry twice, first with piano accompaniment in 1999 and a year later with the Moravian Philharmonic in Czechloslovakia.

Tickets to the recital are $6 for adults; $4 for students at the Fine Arts box office, 974-2323.

* * *

CASH IN SOME FAB BUCKS: Here's a fabulous shopping tip for the 32nd annual Gasparilla Festival of the Arts presented by Raymond James Financial on March 2 and 3.

For every $100 that patrons pre-pay before the Festival begins, they will receive $110 in FABs (Festival Arts Bucks). That's a 10 percent bonus on anything purchased at any of the 300 artists' booths lining Ashley Drive: paintings, photographs, jewelry, glass, wood and mixed media.

The FABs idea came from arts diva Marilyn Mars, who will miss her first Gasparilla Arts Festival in decades to spend 12 days in China. She's handing over the FABs duty to Festival board member Sara Richter.

Patrons must pay by Feb. 27. Those who buy at least $300 worth of FABs get breakfast and a sneak peek on March 2 and an invitation to the Juror's Party that night.

Call Richter at 837-3140 for further details, or check the Web site at

* * *

CHANGE OF SCENERY. The Florida Orchestra Guild/Tampa has moved its March 25 "Soiree No. 4" to the Palma Ceia home of Mark and Deborah Rosenthal. The wildly successful series of concerts at private homes has been around off and on, mostly on, for 30 years. Tickets are $35 for an intimate concert with an orchestra ensemble, preceded by wine and hors d'oeuvres and followed by dessert. Proceeds are earmarked for the annual Young Artist Competition, including prizes and judges' stipends.

- Pass along tips to Amy Scherzer at 226-3332 or

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