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All stars for charity

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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 18, 2002

JOCKS OF ALL TRADES: Beefy guys and sultry blonds steamed up the first DeBartolo Family Foundation All Star Charity Spectacular on Oct. 11. The dinner and auction, hosted by Candy and Eddie DeBartolo, attracted 550 guests and a roster of athletes, making the lobby of the A La Carte Pavilion feel a little like a locker room.

Familiar faces at the $250-ticket benefit: former Devil Ray Wade Boggs, flashing his New York Yankees World Series ring; former San Francisco 49er Harris Barton; NFL All-Pro defensive end Reggie White; ex-49er Ronnie Lott and his son, Tampa Bay Buc Ryan Nece; and hockey legends Phil and Tony Esposito. From the Buc camp, past and present: coach Jon Gruden, Ronde Barber, Steve DeBerg and Lee Roy Selmon.

Two cancellations: Ex-49er Joe Montana and Buc linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Lisa DeBartolo, 32, the oldest of three DeBartolo daughters, introduced a video of the foundation's work while guests dined on sea bass and tenderloin. Her sisters, Tiffanie, 31, of New York and Boulder, Colo.; and Nikki Heldfond, 27, of Tampa, helped with the fundraiser, too.

DeBartolo son-in-law Ben Heldfond ran the live auction, selling Tiffanie's first novel, Super Bowl tickets and a pitching clinic with New York Yankee Andy Pettitte.

ESPN commentator Chris Berman entertained at length with tales of the early years at the sports network. He was delighted to point out musician Gary Puckett, of Union Gap fame, and take questions from the crowd.

The dinner event was expected to raise at least $100,000 for the DeBartolo Foundation. Each month, the foundation gives $10,000 to a charity selected as its Spirit of Humanity recipient. To nominate a nonprofit group, click on

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HIZZONER HONORED: The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce gave the ninth Cesar Gonzmart Award to Mayor Dick Greco for his vision of a revitalized historic district. Holding up the bust of restaurateur and civic leader Gonzmart playing the violin, Greco recalled when the two got bullfighting legalized in Ybor City, "back when you could get things passed in a hurry." They were thinking tourist attraction until the Humane Society stepped in. "As quickly as the ruling passed, it got reversed," Greco said.

WFLA-TV Ch. 8's Brian Fasulo and Debra Schrils pushed the silent auction as 180 guests ate 1905 Salad and paella from the Columbia Restaurant on the third floor of Centro Asturiano. The evening was dedicated to the late Adela Gonzmart, whose son Casey proudly showed off a picture of the newest Gonzmart, his daughter Marlena Adela, born Sept. 20.

The crowd cheered last year's Gonzmart Award winner , Fernando Noriega, who's looking chipper after recent surgery. The band Breezin' played for dancers, including my colleague, Ernest Hooper, and Linda McClintock Greco.

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SHEER AND SEXY: For the 15th year, Georgette's of Old Hyde Park styled the runway for "Putting on the Glitz," a fashion show benefit for PhoneFriends of the Northside Mental Health Auxiliary. WFLA-AM's Jack Harris narrated and modeled; the auxiliary calls him their "permanent emcee."

Choreographer Jackie Loto directed five dancers through each style segment -- from casual to formal. The Moulin Rouge number led to bustiers of spandex, lace and sequins. A Cirque de Soleil routine swirled into evening gowns.

The show almost didn't go on. Earlier that morning, Dorene Collier, president of Evention Show Productions, discovered her van was missing, including $30,000 worth of costumes. Luckily, the van was recovered, trashed, but with the costumes still inside.

A silent auction and raffle in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Downtown preceded the Oct. 10 luncheon show. Height helped as raffle tickets sold "$20 for strip as long as your arm."

Since 1984, the PhoneFriend Latchkey program has offered a friendly voice for kids coming home from school to an empty house. Weekdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., they can call and hear a joke, ask a cooking question or get homework help.

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PATRON APPRECIATION: For the third year, the Florida Orchestra lets Amadeus say thank you to its $1,500 and up annual fund donors. Who is Amadeus? Organizer Jan Audette borrowed Mozart's middle name for the series of six intimate concerts, staged only for those patrons.

"It's the loveliest way to thank a donor that I've ever experienced," said Vicki Fox, Amadeus co-chair with husband, Frank. Her goal is to attract about 75 others at that contribution level. Upcoming Amadeus concerts with Roger Williams and Marvin Hamlisch should be big incentives.

The first concert brought 225 to the Waterside Marriott on Oct. 10 to hear pianist Misha Dichter. Guests munched hors d'oeuvres before the concert, then stayed for dessert and coffee.

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BOPP TILL YOU DROP: Dr. Thomas Bopp, co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp, was the guest of CIRQLE, a support group of the Museum of Science and Industry, at the home of Suzette and Monroe Berkman on Oct. 11. Over poolside cocktails, the 60 guests enjoyed a stunning sunset and shared a telescope for a lovely view of Venus in the evening sky. Bopp charmed MOSI supporters at the buffet dinner with his fun explanation of seeing the comet near Phoenix on July 22, 1995, then driving 90 minutes to the nearest phone to report his sighting.

CIRQLE is an acronym for Curiosity, Inquiry, Research, Question, Learn and Enrich.

-- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or


OCT. 23: "All that Jazz and then Some" presented by VIVO; 7:30 p.m.; Lifsey House at USF; $45; 839-3800, ext. 2525.

OCT. 25: Nauti-Night Masquerade benefit; 8 p.m.; open bar, hors d'oeuvres, music, costume contest; Florida Aquarium; $50 members, $60 nonmembers, $70 after Oct. 21; 273-4568.

OCT. 25: SMAsquerade, Hannah's Buddies support spinal muscular atrophy research; food, music, prizes; 8 p.m.; the Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba; $55; 259-8097.

OCT. 30: "Here and Now" fashion seminar and continental breakfast benefits Las Damas de Arte; 8:30 a.m.; Neiman Marcus; $10; 839-1471.

NOV. 2: Pavilion XVII benefits Tampa Museum of Art; dinner, dancing, auction, 6:30 p.m. 600 N Ashley Drive. $350 and up; 2nd Wave, 10:30 p.m., $100; 274-8294.

NOV. 7: March of Dimes Gourmet Chef's Auction; samplings from 25 restaurants; 6:30 p.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $40; 287-2600.

NOV. 9: Zoofari food festival benefits Lowry Park Zoo; tastings from 80 restaurants; 7-11 p.m,; $70 in advance; $80 day of the event; 935-8552, Ext. 276.

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