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Good Reads

  1. Seminole Heights hipsters wake up to a sign of the times … and they revolt

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The prankster went to work under the cover of darkness, sometime after last call. When the sun came up one recent Saturday morning and the tattooed denizens of Old Seminole Heights began to trickle into the Independent Bar and Cafe, they noticed the sign on the opposite side of Florida Avenue, planted near …

    This photo was circulated earlier this month after a mystery prankster erected a fake World of Beer sign on Florida Avenue.
  2. Tampa man shoots father of three, then calls 'stand your ground' hotline


    TAMPA — Carlos Garcia lay bleeding on the street in front of his family's mailbox.

    Yaileen Ayala poses for a portrait in her Tampa home with a photo of her ex-husband with their two children Nayelis Garcia now 9 years old and Giancarlo Garcia now 15. Yaileen's ex-husband Carlos Garcia was shot to death outside her home by a neighbor. The neighbor was never arrested.  LUIS SANTANA | Times

  3. Not even Hurricane Hermine can derail this couple's Florida beach wedding

    Human Interest

    REDINGTON SHORES — The women pulled into the parking lot in a rented minivan, waves from the swollen Intracoastal Waterway lapping at the tires.

    Lisa Grissman, 31, and Jessica Sundeen, 35, pose Thursday afternoon at Seabreeze Island Grill in Redington Shores. 
  4. Florida's craziness connected to Kafkaesque treatment of our mentally ill

    Human Interest

    In 1979, when I was in college, the Florida Legislature did something totally ridiculous. (I hope you're not too shocked.)

    Kenneth Donaldson, who took his case against Florida State Hospital to the U.S. Supreme Court, holds a copy of its ruling that states can’t confine without treatment mental patients who aren’t a danger to themselves or others.
  5. Lealman woman featured in food addiction story is on the road to recovery

    Human Interest

    LEALMAN — In July, the Tampa Bay Times ran a story about a woman struggling with food addiction. Cheryl Dixon, 44, shared how she sometimes ate 14 times a day and struggled to stop herself from topping 300 pounds.

    Cheryl Dixon cuddles with her dog, Piper, who plays a key role in her effort to control her overeating and lose more than 100 pounds. Cheryl walks Piper around her Lealman trailer park five times day.
  6. After bullying, St. Petersburg teen stumbles on a purpose, and the perfect viola


    From the first days of middle school, the bullies at John Hopkins in St. Petersburg were cruel.

    Ad?n Martinez, 16, busks with his viola — named Lamar — to help raise money to pay for the instrument, which he is paying off in monthly installments of $109 for two years.
  7. Cure your hangover with help from food critic Laura Reiley

    Taste Test

    Most of us remember our first time, the memory fuzzed with shame, or at least mild chagrin. As a seminal event, it may have set in motion a lifetime of proclivities, cemented a sense of self or delineated strong aversions.

    Close up of young adult hands holding colored cocktails and toasting in a night club
  8. Baking cookies helps Tampa couple start to heal after the stillbirth of their son



    It's late, and their day jobs are done, and here they are, just like every other night, baking cookies. Their kitchen is a tight fit, but they move around each other as if choreographed, this husband and wife, rolling dough, cutting shapes, watching the oven. In a side business they never foresaw, Bill and …

    Bill and Dulcinea Kimrey have cookie cutters for many occasions for their custom-made cookie business, Silly Monkey Cookie Co. in Tampa. Some of the cutters were handmade by Bill.
  9. After Hurricane Katrina, he stayed as society collapsed


    Time capsule: This is a recurring Floridian magazine feature that allows readers to re-experience some of the Tampa Bay Times' best stories with the wisdom of hindsight. This one provides an intimate glimpse into what wound up being one of Eddie Compass' last days as police chief of New Orleans. Two weeks …

    CAPTION: (New Orleans) 9/9/05 Friday- Eddie Compass, New Orleans Police Chief, reads the bible before going to bed at about 9:30 p.m. in his cot in front of the Police and Fire command center on the 9th Floor of City Hall. He's been sleeping here since Hurricane Katrina hit the city. 
(Times Photo by Cherie Diez)
  10. She's not at the Olympics — yet — but this 6-year-old swimmer is learning what excellence takes (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — She's sitting on the pool deck, chin between her knees, gazing at her feet. She peeks at the swim heats written on her arm in black Sharpie. Time for her favorite, the butterfly.

    Brinkleigh Hansen, 6, is breaking decades old records at Northshore Pool. She is pictured practicing butterfly, her favorite stroke in July at North Shore Pool. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times]
  11. Pain of communist Cuba still vivid for Tampa woman

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Isela Perez sleeps in on most days, when her only tasks are to clean the house, watch Fox News and keep up with her telenovelas.

    On Saturdays, Isela Perez, 85, of Tampa meets with others who lived through Fidel Castro’s takeover — and share her anger.
  12. True life cartoon: A ride with two dogs goes really wrong


    It was a quiet Saturday morning until Cyrus, a German shorthaired pointer, escaped out the kitchen door. I reached into my son's car and started honking the horn.

    Don Morris rides with Omar and Cyrus.
  13. Florida Found: Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park

    Human Interest

    It would be easy to drive past Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park. Nestled in the sleepy town of Taylor Creek, a few hundred yards from the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, this National Historic Landmark has no signs at its main entrance. On nearby U.S. 98-441, a marker points observant drivers in the right …

    Lake Okeechobee, in Taylor Creek, is a few hundred yards from Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park, which commemorates the Battle of Lake Okeechobee in 1837.
  14. Hey, Florida, show us your guns!

    Human Interest

    Over the years, a lot of people have suggested that Florida's shape resembles various objects: a frying pan, a chin, a uvula (look it up.) A handgun has become the most common comparison, which is apt because we have so many guns that some people call us "The Gunshine State."

  15. Mutant mosquitoes could fight Zika in Florida, but misinformation spreads

    Human Interest

    KEY WEST — There are many scary stories that start with a dark and stormy night, but this isn't one of them. It is the third day of summer in this island city, with its feral chickens and lemon-hued houses and women woohoo-ing by on rented motorcycles. Every bicycle has a basket, every mailbox is a manatee.

    Key West is a perfect breeding ground for the Zika virus because of its tropical climate, its huge number of international visitors and the travel associated with its naval base. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  16. At almost 300 pounds, a Lealman woman battles food addiction

    Human Interest

    LEALMAN — From a faded green recliner in her tiny mobile home, Cheryl Dixon punched a number into her phone. Behind her, kitchen cabinets burst with Hamburger Helper and ramen noodles, bags of doughnuts and Cocoa Diamonds cereal.

    As Cheryl Dixon neared 300 pounds, her doctor warned that she would likely die if she didn’t change her eating habits.
  17. A month after mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, survivors struggle to keep the dead alive

    Human Interest

    ORLANDO — They stood on the second-floor balcony of his townhouse, staring over the chain-link fence, into the parking lot of what's left of Pulse nightclub.

    Samantha Stone, left, and Brock Cornelius visit the memorial in front of Pulse on Tuesday, a month after the shooting. Stone was working the front door June 11 and ran to Cornelius’ condo next door after the shooting began. See
  18. For these sick children, each tiny bead is a badge of courage

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — After the transplant team finished its rounds, after nurses checked her oxygen level and a doctor came to say: Yes, she would have to have surgery again today, Maddie Price asked her mom to hand her the paisley drawstring bag hanging in her hospital room.

    Maddie Price, 16, is comforted by her mother, Melanie Price, left, and child life specialist Loren Mirsky-Piatkin as she prepares to undergo another procedure Wednesday in the wake of her second heart transplant in June.
  19. Senior Melody Sister fights to stay on the stage, even if the notes aren't always right

    Human Interest


    Sara Ann Butler puts on her '80s-style headband and tries to curl her stiff fingers around the neck of a bass guitar.

    Sara Ann Butler, 77, center, leads Susan O’Gara, 69, and Bill Houser, 64, in A Bicycle Built for Two during a Senior Medoly Sisters rehearsal recently.
  20. After a lifetime of labor and sleepless nights, a Tampa doctor decides to deliver his last baby, No. 7,357

    Human Interest

    By LANE DeGREGORY | Times Staff Writer


    His pregnant patient was progressing slowly at home. So the doctor told her to head to the hospital. He would meet her there.

    Dr. Bruce Shephard, 72, delivers his last baby, the son of Elizabeth DeRocher and Antonio Davalos III, at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Registered nurse Sandy Viliquett watches at left as DeRocher’s mother, Cheryl, takes photos.