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Amy Scherzer's Diary

By Amy Scherzer, Social Scene
Published February 22, 2008


Romancing the heart 

Comedian Norm Crosby showed that laughter is good medicine when he entertained 300 guests at Romancing the Heart, a Valentine's Day gala to support the Pepin Heart Hospital coronary care unit at the Pepin Heart Hospital & Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute. Tom Pepin, his mother, Polly, and sister Pam hosted the steak and lobster tail dinner at the Pepin Hospitality Center.

"Norm's practically family," said Tom Pepin, presenting the longtime Anheuser-Busch spokesman and one of his late father Pep's best friends. Crosby's squeaky clean monologue and malapropismsbrought giggles and groans when he described "meeting sturgeons and nurses" on a hospital tour. Recently, he quipped, he asked his banker to check his balance, "and she pushed me."

Event co-chairs Elena and Mike Azzarelli, and their daughters Miranda andDanika Azzarelli and Melanie Jorgensen, also made the evening a family affair. All five serve on the Pepin hospital advisory committee.

Another family connection followed attorney general Bill McCollum's introduction of CNN talk show host Larry King Sr. via video to announce his partnership with Pepin Heart Hospital. His son, Larry King Jr. of Lutz, called it "our beachhead in the Southeast for people who fall through the cracks when it comes to cardiac care."

Guests found plenty of activities at the $200-ticket party, including an oxygen bar, aromatherapy booth, couples' palm readings, Valentine crafts and cigars.

Thanking members of the crowd, Tom Pepin urged them to visit the heart hospital "and lunch is on me."

305 Circle for Centre for Women  

Centre for Women board member Bill Shorrock turned a lucky hand into a big win when he persuaded his poker buddy David Scher and his wife, Sara Golding Scher, to host a 305 Circle reception at their Davis Islands home Feb. 13. A $100 or more donation to the Centre makes you a 305 Circle member.

Over martinis and hors d'oeuvres from the Rack, nearly 60 guests heard an update on the Centre's accreditation renewal and congratulated executive director Beth Ficquette on her 20th year overseeing programs for women, children and seniors of Hillsborough County.

New board member Nancy Phaneuf shared her "pay it forward" testimony, that a Centre divorce counselor "gave me the strength to do what I needed to do." Phaneuf went on to start CREW Tampa Bay Commercial Real Estate Women which supports many projects of the Centre for Girls.

Soiree a la Monet  

Say merci beaucoup to Friends of the Tampa Garden Club, organizers of the fifth annual For the Love of a Garden, the Valentine's Day cocktails-and-auction benefit for the Bayshore Boulevard property. The party let the green thumbs implement the master landscape restoration plan for the grounds and garden.

This year's buffet picked up a French accent with a Soiree a la Monet theme featuring fondue, oysters by Israel Diaz, Crepe d'Or buckwheat crepes made by Glen Cryerand a cupcake tower by Chocolate Pi. Patty Ayala's decorative table touches added Impressionist style.

Laura York's live auction exceeded $9,000 in bids from the 250 guests. That includes $1,050 for a Rosemary Henderson original painting and $1,800 for a Holland America cruise. Carla Reiger's Monet-inspired paper mosaic collage of a garden bridge fetched $1,450.Reiger cut and layered thousands of tiny pieces of magazine pages "to create shadows and depth, as if producing a brushstroke," she said.

Other hot sellers included Carole Guyton's shell-framed mirror and Becky Savitz's pique assiette covered watering can. Illness kept honorary co-chairwoman Linda Teasley away; husband Harry promised to deliver everyone's get-well wishes.

Got gossip?E-mail Amy Scherzer at or call 226-3332. Party online:For more party pictures, visit hillsborough.tampabay.


Saturday: Dinner benefits Florida Holocaust Museum; guest speaker Ann Curry; 6:30 p.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $225; (727) 820-0100, ext. 242.

Sunday: Oscar Night America-Tampa Bay, benefits Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St.; 6-7:30 p.m. VIP reception, hors d'oeuvres and champagne; $130; 7:15-8 general admission and fun, $30; 8 p.m. live telecast; 274-5507 or

Thursday: Jocks and Jewels Celebrity Fashion Show benefits Tampa Bay chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; guest speaker Christopher Kennedy Lawford; 6 p.m.; Saks; $125; 915-7447.

Feb. 29:Tampa Black History Committee Scholarship Gala; Lion's Eye Institute, 1410 N 21st St.; 6:30 p.m.; $50; 814-3031.

[Last modified February 21, 2008, 19:57:59]

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