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  1. Tampa Bay sea grass beds expand, show water is now as clean as it was in 1950

    Water

    Tampa Bay now supports 40,295 acres of sea grass beds, the largest amount of sea grass measured since the 1950s, a new study by scientists at the Southwest Florida Water Management District has found.

    Then-Vice President Dan Quayle plants sea grass near the Gandy Bridge with Penny Hall of the Department of Natural Resources.
  2. Sea rise threatens Florida coast, but there's no statewide plan to deal with it

    Environment

    ST. AUGUSTINE — America's oldest city is slowly drowning.

    The Castillio de San Marcos fort, built over 450 years ago, is separated from the Matanzas River by a sea wall in St. Augustine. St. Augustine is one of many chronically flooded Florida communities afraid their buildings and economies will be inundated by rising seas in just a couple of decades. [Associated Press]
  3. A tale of two mothers: What one gave up to ease the ache of the other

    Human Interest

    LINDSAY

    When she got the call, Lindsay told herself not to get excited. So many things could still go wrong. Remember what happened last time?

    Denton August Lee, nicknamed Gus, gets tests in the hospital before he is allowed to leave with his new adoptive parents, Josh and Lindsay Lee.
[EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  4. Maxwell: Florida needs new amendment to protect environment (w/video)

    Columns

    Enough is enough.

    In its familiar dissembling way, the Republican-led Florida Legislature is contravening the official will of the people.

    Florida needs a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to clean air, safe drinking water and a healthy environment.
  5. A story about Harry Reid that was, in fact, too juicy to be true

    Perspective

    A month ago, before reporters from Las Vegas to Washington knew him by his real name, Larry Pfeifer told a lie.

    He doesn't dispute it.

    He promotes it.

    Larry Pfeifer concocted a story to show how lies get airtime easily.
  6. State You're In: A brief history of gyrocopters in the Times; 'Cuba Straits' excerpt; May's by the numbers

    Human Interest

    "Gyrocopter" became a term of interest when Ruskin postal carrier Doug Hughes landed his on the U.S. Capitol lawn last month to deliver letters of protest about campaign finance reform. But the adventures of gyrocopters specifically the Bensen Gyrocopter, named for Russian emigre Dr. Igor Bensen, …

  7. #BaltimoreMom talks about pulling her son out of a riot, city's frustration with police

    Nation

    BALTIMORE — Toya Graham, the mother caught on video smacking her 16-year-old son around Monday after he threw objects at police, voiced her opinions about rioting, looting — and the police — Wednesday during an appearance on CBS This Morning.

  8. Tampa attorney Barry Cohen pushes hard for conversation on race

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Barry Cohen is at it again.

    Barry Cohen sent some officials a sharply worded email outlining their obligation as civic leaders.
  9. Q&A: What's at stake in Supreme Court gay marriage arguments (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

    People wait to enter the Supreme Court in Washington. Only two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The decision did not address the validity of state marriage bans, but courts across the country, with few exceptions, said its logic compelled them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying. A look at what is now before the Supreme Court, and the status of same-sex marriage around the country.  [Associated Press]
  10. State officials ponder cattle ranching and more to make money off state parks

    Environment

    The new boss of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Jon Steverson, wants to make the award-winning Florida State Park system pay for itself.

    The DEP has been putting together a request for cattle ranchers to bid on taking over 6,630 acres of the 37,000-acre park, which hasn’t had any cattle in it since the state bought it in the 1930s. The proposed lease documents, which have not yet been released publicly, include a number of requirements to limit the impact from the cows’ grazing and subsequent fecal output.
  11. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio walk careful line on immigration reform (w/video)

    State Roundup

    NASHUA, N.H. — Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have turned explaining their similar positions on immigration reform into a political art form.

    “We need to control our border, first of all,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in New Hampshire.
  12. Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges Hall discusses Norman Rockwell's famous painting

    Visual Arts

    Ruby Bridges became a civil rights icon when she was 6. Yet she didn't realize it for decades.

    "The Problem We All Live With" is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way into an all-white public school in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960, during the process of racial desegregation. [Times files]
  13. Sexual predator gets second chance, now faces 14 new charges

    Crime

    PINELLAS PARK — They found the fliers on their doors in December, bearing the stiff-jawed mug shot of the stranger in Apartment 211.

    Michael Shepard lived in this Pinellas Park apartment. Neighbors say he lured children here with video games and toys.
  14. In court, the ethics of dementia patients' sex lives

    Health

    There is no question that Donna Lou Rayhons had severe Alzheimer's.

    FILE - In this March 10, 2015 photo, Henry Rayhons gets ready to leave court in Garner, Iowa. The nursing home staff caring for Rayhons' wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, told the former Iowa lawmaker that his wife of seven years was no longer mentally capable of legally consenting to have sex. Prosecutors say that Rayhons did not get the message. Rayhons has been charged with third-degree felony sexual abuse. [Associated Press]
  15. Finally, a family for Davion (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    For a long time after he was sent back to Florida, Davion didn't want to talk.

    Surrounded by his soon-to-be family on March 23, Davion Only, 17, plays NBA 2K15 on the Xbox in his bedroom. Behind him are Connie Going, left, her daughter Carley, 17, and her adopted son, Taylor, 14. Going has been Davion’s caseworker since he was 7.
  16. Stetson law prof took Gideon case to Supreme Court, but believed in the other side

    Courts

    Bruce Jacob, a bright young lawyer from Florida, had landed the case of his career.

    At 80, Stetson University law professor Bruce Jacob works many days in a cluttered office.
  17. Marco Rubio: The making of a presidential candidate

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Marco Rubio had just been sworn into office and sat down with a half-dozen reporters who covered Florida, an exclusive group by design. The senator had arrived in Washington amid red-hot fanfare and was trying to project readiness to keep his head down.

    Then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, the first-ever Cuban-American to have the job, jokes around  during a ceremony in his honor in 2008.
  18. Perspective: Tampa Bay and the Great Migration north of African-Americans

    Perspective

    Almost a century ago, a St. Petersburg resident sat down to write a letter. Perhaps he was writing on a kitchen table; perhaps she had asked a minister to type the letter. "Dear Sir," the letter began. "Please inform me of the best place in the north for the colored people of the south. I am coming north and I want to …

    At Eaton’s Grove, now the Euclid St. Paul’s neighborhood in St. Petersburg, a man hauled fruit in 1917, three years after a lynch mob killed a black man.
  19. Don Zimmer's wife documented every day of his 66 years in pro baseball (w/video)

    Human Interest

    By LANE DeGREGORY

    Times Staff Writer

    SEMINOLE — The last scrapbook has lots of blank pages. ¶ It ends on the first day of January, with the Boston Globe's Year in Review. "Gone but not forgotten," the headline says. The full-page photo is of her husband wearing his Red Sox …

    Carol Jean Zimmer, nicknamed “Soot” by her grandmother, holds one of more than 70 scrap and photo books she created to archive the life of Don Zimmer, who she married at a home plate ceremony before a night game in 1951.
  20. New year brings new violence to Tampa neighborhoods

    Public Safety

    TAMPA

    One minute, Devita Hutchins was congratulating herself on how smoothly her 14-year-old daughter's birthday party had gone. The next, she was running from gunfire.

    Danielle Williams of Tampa grieves over the body of her son, Richard Newton, 14, at Ray Williams Funeral Home in Tampa. Newton was killed while visiting friends during a birthday party in Sulpher Springs. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]