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Take the AP 2012 news quiz

 How well do you remember 2012? Try this interactive quiz created by the Associated Press.

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Video:

When Michael Gannon talks about history, people listen. In October he made a speech in Jacksonville about the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s arrival. He talked about what we know and what we think we know about the conquistador. Ponce didn’t discover Florida, Gannon said, he only named it.Full Story

Video: Gannon on Ponce de Leon

When Michael Gannon talks about history, people listen. In October he made a speech in Jacksonville about the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s arrival. He talked about what we know and what we think we know about the conquistador. Ponce didn’t discover Florida, Gannon said, he only named it.

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Family calls for end to celebratory gunfire

 A nonprofit campaign started by the family of a boy seriously injured by a bullet during last year's New Year's celebration makes a renewed call for safety and common sense.

 

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Top videos on tampabay.com for 2012

This year, tampabay.com made a commitment to provide more video for our readers. And it resulted in a record number of video plays on our site. Here are the Top 5:

 [Please note that the links unfortunately do not work on mobile devices due to a technical issue.]

1. Betrayed by her body, she lives in agony, not ecstasy (469,314 views). This video ran with the story of Gretchen Molannen, a woman who suffered from an unusual sexual disorder. Before the story published, she committed suicide, resulting in the story taking on a huge Internet life that drove views of the video.

2. For parents of micropreemie, a wrenching decision (102,166). This video accompanied the series of stories called "Never Let Go" and previewed the narative that was about to unfold of a baby born four months too early and the fight to save her life.

3. Rays ace David Price (and Astro) get keys to Tampa (41,078). Tampa honored Cy Young Award winner Price, but it was Astro who stole the show with a short little "speech." (A snippet of the video on ESPN's SportsCenter didn't hurt this either.) …

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Links to the top stories on tampabay.com for 2012

A tragic coda to the story of a woman who suffered from an unusual disorder. A timely endorsement on the eve of the Republican National Convention. Shocking poll results. And, lest we forget, a guy who ate off another man’s face.

These were the stories that generated millions of page views on tampabay.com in 2012. We’re listing several of the headlines here, along with some annotations.

1. Woman featured in Times story about sexual disorder commits suicide. With 580,000+ views, this story drew the attention of people nationwide, including 376,000 who found the story through the Drudge Report. (The original story, Persistent genital arousal disorder brings woman agony, not ecstasy, also was viewed by hundreds of thousands as people sought to find out more about this disorder that affected Gretchen Molannen, who was profiled in a Floridian magazine piece that published Dec. 2. Police say it appears she killed herself before the original story ran online. …

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Tell us about your experience with charities

It's the giving season, and you've probably been solicited in one way or another by a charity asking for a donation. But was the person on the other end of the phone a member or volunteer of that charity, or was it a telemarketer? And do you know who sent you the flier in the mail? 

The Tampa Bay Times has partnered with the Center for Investigative Reporting to work on a series of stories related to charities that engage professional marketing firms to raise funds.

We want to hear your experience to give us a better idea of how different folks approach charitable giving. We've created this website that makes it easy to share your insights so we can better inform our reporting. Everything you share within the Times and the Public Insight Network is confidential unless you give us explicit permission to publish it.

So if you could take a moment and fill out this short questionnaire, we'd appreciate it.

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Florida snowmen

 One of our favorite traditions in recent years has been traveling to Pass-a-Grille Beach on Christmas Day in search of Florida snowmen. This year featured a nice collection, as well as some beach Christmas trees. We thought we'd share them with you.

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Did you get an ... um ... unusual gift?

Sometimes the anticipation of Christmas is better than the reality. Because, face it, not everyone can know your exact tastes. And so along comes a present that leaves you thinking, '"REALLY?!?!" We thought it might be fun to see what some of you could be re-gifting next year. So we're asking you to tag some of your unusual "what were they thinking" gifts using #tampabaytimes on your Instagram photos. (We've started with our own, a whirlygig grouchy old man in a golf cart.) Go ahead, it'll make you feel better.

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Here comes Santa Claus!

One of the most joyful discoveries for children at Christmas is that moment when they find out they can actually watch Santa Claus fly around the world toward them as they follow him on the official NORAD Santa Tracker site. In the olden days, you were limited to updates by the TV weather guy, showing a little red dot (Rudolph!) flying over Mongolia.

Now NORAD features Santa and his reindeer flying across images of Earth along with apps and videos and even Twitter feeds.

But now NORAD isn't the only one watching Santa. Google has its own Santa Tracking Dashboard. It features a slightly southern trek for Santa, but is roughly parallel to the NORAD Santa. It also offers a chance for you to send a personalized recorded Santa message via phone or email to that special someone on your list.

We also spied this fun video of Santa getting ready to take off on his journey around the world. Enjoy!

 

  Can't see the video? Try this link.

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Toys given to needy children at Mosley Motel

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A history of gun control in America

 The Associated Press has provided this interactive look at the history of efforts to enact gun control in the United States. Click "Read more" to see the presentation. Then use the Menu button in the upper left to look at various aspects of the issue.

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Poll: Armed guards at schools?

The National Rifle Association held a news conference to propose a National School Shield Safety Program providing "armed security personnel," training armed volunteers for schools that request them. What best describes your reaction? Click "Read more," and vote below:

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Video: NRA news conference

Click "Read more" for video of today's 30-minute NRA news conference. (The Washington Post has a full transcript of the news conference, as well.)

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Holiday Hopes: Young classical guitar player needs a guitar

Luis Rosado-Bermudez, 17, auditioned for Blake High School with a performance of Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit when he was 13, played a guitar from a pawn shop. He now uses a school guitar to play classical music "because it's so beautiful," but for Christmas he (and the school) hope donors will help him get a concert-quality guitar. (To hear Luis play, click "Read more.")

To give, call Sandy Rowe at (813) 732-6611; visit hwbsota.org and click on Friends of the Arts; email sandyrowe@tampabay.rr.com; or make out checks to Friends of the Arts, reference "Luis Rosado-Bermudez," and mail to FOTA, 1701 N Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607.

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