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  1. Wild ride across Florida: 800 miles, alone on a bike

    Human Interest

    Spindly legs dangle from the frame of my glasses. A black body rappels down a silk filament, itsy-bitsy arachnid feet tickling my nose.

    Graham Brink completed an 800-mile bike race across the full length of Florida. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times]
  2. Florida's original water parks: the springs

    Human Interest

    ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK — In the summer of 1539, the conquistador Hernando de Soto and several hundred men lumbered up the Florida peninsula and stopped by this spring-fed river to rest.

    Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Gainesville is a great spot for tubing, and early starters have a chance at seeing North American river otters at play.
  3. Tampa Bay couples who latched locks on Paris bridges say their love will live on

    Human Interest

    They started unlocking the love in June, after the bridge collapsed and the locals complained and the city's leaders said no more.

    [Times files]
  4. Turn it all off and go outdoors

    Human Interest

    With a job title of digital audience manager, I get paid to be better than most at being digitally connected.

    Appreciating wildlife and the clear, cold, turquoise-tinted water of Manatee Spring.
  5. Famous people, famous places: Reflecting on the best parts of Florida

    Human Interest

    Ernest Hemingway once described Key West as "the best place I've ever been anytime anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms. ... Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks." That is a real, unedited quote. Although we might never know the result of that night of absinthe-induced …

    This photo by acclaimed Florida nature photographer Clyde Butcher is "Loxahatchee River State Park - 1991" will be included in the exhibit opening Jan. 8-29 at the Pasco-Hernando State art gallery. The exhibit Visions of Florida: The Photographic Art of Clyde Butcher is part of the Museum of Florida History's Traveling Exhibit (TREX) program. Butcher will will discuss his work in a special presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing, on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on the college's West Campus in New Port Richey.
  6. It never occurred to me that I was having a heart attack, but quick work saved me

    Health

    I was playing tennis one Friday morning last year when I felt a strange tightness in my upper chest. It was about 10:55 a.m., April 4.

  7. For breast cancer survivors, as the paint goes on, the pain comes off

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Karen Wardrop walks into a stranger's living room and takes off her clothes. Thick scars violate her chest and abdomen.

    Her psyche is just as maimed.

    Breast cancer survivor Karen Wardrop, 49, is photographed by artist Lisa Scholder in Scholder’s back yard after having her body painted for the Bodies of Courage art project. Below, Wardrop’s tattoo serves as a reminder of her fight with cancer.
  8. Love, etched in stone on Tampa's Riverwalk

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Love is patient, love is kind. Love is on a brick down by the Hillsborough River, which your correspondent noticed on a stroll a few months ago.

     Jennifer Rodriguez proposed to her boyfriend Roger Strawbridge with a brick in the Tampa Riverwalk section by Curtis Hixon Park last February.
  9. Letter from Japan: Living, and learning away from Florida

    Human Interest

    My most important lesson in Japan cost ¥190, and it came from a convenience store.

    Alex Orlando, a former Tampa Bay Times reporter, is now living — and learning — in Japan.
  10. Digital love: Couple goes from Tinder to #gio2016

    Human Interest

    One day in late November 2013, Nick Giovannucci was bored, playing on his iPhone. He was on Tinder, the dating app that matches your profile with eligible others based on shared interests and geography, then asks you to swipe right if you like what you see or left if you don't. If both parties swipe right, it's a …

    Kristina noticed Nick's Snapchat username was listed in his Instagram bio, so she addedhim with no intentions of actually sending him any photos.
  11. 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.
  12. 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]
  13. 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]
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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, …

  17. #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.

  18. 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.
  19. 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]
  20. 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.