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Good Reads

  1. The warning shot that condemned Orville Lee Wollard to prison and changed Florida

    State Roundup

    SNEADS — Lee Wollard's life slowly spirals away, following the trail of the gunshot he fired into a wall.

    Orville Lee Wollard is seen inside the Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2015. He is serving a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot inside his home to defend himself and his daughter from his daughter's abusive boyfriend. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Bob and Nancy know what true love sounds like

    Human Interest

    LARGO

    For reasons no one can know now, Nancy loves to sit on the porch of her mobile home and listen to her dozen wind chimes tinkling.

    Nancy, left, whose outgoing nature wasn’t affected by her stroke, makes new friends with Bob on a shopping trip to Target in Largo: Chloe the dog and Carol Granese, visiting from New York.
  3. Two more sets of remains identified from Dozier reform school excavation

    State Roundup

    Some of the boys from the reform school use to take lunch down to the graveyard. They'd eat bologna sandwiches and wonder aloud about the boys buried beneath their feet. The dead boys' names were lost to time and neglect and, if you believe the men who made it out of Florida's oldest reform school alive, the callous …

    Anthropologists from the University of South Florida worked to exhume gravesites at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna in 2013. A total of 51 sets of remains were found on the campus. [Times files]
  4. I broke a would-be rapist's nose, but what if I'd had a gun?

    Features

    WHEN I OPENED MY EYES at about 2 a.m., a man was standing at the foot of the bed.

    [ CAMERON COTTRILL  |  Times ]
  5. Why I still want my gun

    Perspective

    FOUR HOURS. That's it.

    In order for me to get a concealed weapons permit in Florida, my firearm competency certification class took four hours.

  6. Special report: The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck

    News

    A year ago, a man drove to the top of a bridge, held his 5-year-old daughter over the side and let go.

    John Jonchuck Jr. drove to the top of the Dick Misener Bridge on the approach to the Sunshine Skyway and dropped his daughter Phoebe into the waters of Tampa Bay on Jan. 8, 2015. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
  7. USFSP class travels the Suwannee River for class on outdoors leadership

    Human Interest

    Paige McDaniel thought she knew the Suwannee.

     University of South Florida St. Petersburg students from the Leadership in the Great Outdoors class, pass the historic main spring at Suwannee Springs along the historic Suwannee River, 11/4/15. The main spring discharges sulphur water from behind a man-made limestone wall built in the 1890's near Live Oak, Fl. Students spent three days on the river and traveled 40 miles from the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs to the Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak.
  8. What happened to William Wade? After 35 years, hope for a real homecoming

    Human Interest

    TALLAHASSEE

    He stands in the tunnel that leads to the field, the fingers on his left hand opening and closing into a nervous fist.

    Five minutes until halftime.

    William Wade waits to walk onto the field Nov. 14 during homecoming at Florida State — something he couldn’t do 35 years ago. 
[EVE EDELHEIT, Times]
  9. Teen bowler finds himself on path of perfection toward sport's holy grail

    Human Interest

    CRYSTAL RIVER

    Everyone at Manatee Lanes had long since quit what they were doing and gathered behind the boy bowling on Lanes 9 and 10. This was a Saturday morning, Halloween.

    Christian Miller, 15, started bowling when he was 9 and got serious about the sport when he was 10. He wants to bowl in college and turn pro.
  10. For Farmer Dave and indoor farming, things are looking up

    Consumer

    TAMPA

    The white windowless box surrounded by heat-cracked asphalt gives nothing away. There's a discreet sign: Uriah's Urban Farms.

    Under LED lights farmer Dave Smiles of Uriah’s Urban Farms checks on his plants in the farm’s nursery room in their new building in Tampa. Smiles or “Farmer Dave” has spent his career building up: He is one of the country’s experts on urban vertical farming.  On July 27 he moved into  larger building. Already one of the country’s top four producing farms per square foot, this new venture (with sales to restaurants, wholesalers and now directly to customers via subscription) is a window into the changing face of American agriculture.  The LED’s produce very little heat and use a fraction of the electricity that traditional light that are used to grow plants.
  11. Friends finish odyssey to make sure UF remembers a Vietnam War hero

    Human Interest

    GAINESVILLE — The old men met after sun up Saturday in the parking lot of an abandoned Mexican restaurant on the south side of town. They shook hands and hugged and climbed aboard a bus, careful not to fall.

    Capt. William Edward Taylor speaks to his men in Vietnam in 1966. Taylor was killed in August of that year and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. [Picasa]
  12. Fate works its magic in reuniting two orphaned sisters from South Korea

    Human Interest

    SARASOTA — When the police pulled 5-year-old Pok-nam Shin out of school, the little girl who now goes by Holly Hoyle O'Brien asked the only question that mattered: Where's my daddy?

    Visa photos of half-sisters Holly Hoyle O’Brien , left, and Meagan Hughes for their adoptions out of a South Korean orphanage to two American families.
  13. Take the True Florida Quiz: Can you spot the bogus Florida headline?

    Features

    You're reading this, which means you know Florida, which means you know Florida has a legendary case of the crazies. As with all good legends, over time, it can be tough to sort the myths from the truth.

    The True Florida Quiz is here to help.

    Josie Hollingsworth | TIMES
  14. Homosassa woman feels the sway of her native Cuba

    Human Interest

    Ingrid Ricci's view of Cuba is a complex one, formed during three different periods over more than half a century.

    Ingrid Ricci, left, and her cousin Ermalita Alameda pass a government building with Fidel Castro's image while touring the streets by foot in Santiago de Cuba. [Photo by Amber Sigman]
  15. Drones and dogs save suicidal avocados from the dreaded redbay ambrosia beetle

    Agriculture

    REDLAND

    Foreign invaders are decimating Florida avocados.

    A drone flies over the 20-acre avocado grove in Redland on Oct. 14 that belongs to Art Ballard.
  16. Perspective: Do polls have problems?

    National

    In the Republican presidential nomination contest, the polls have been the outsiders' best friend. Billionaire Donald Trump and physician Ben Carson gained early momentum and critical debate exposure thanks almost entirely to their consistently high rankings in any number of public opinion surveys.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
  17. As dementia symptoms increase, doctor living with Alzheimer's knows exactly what his future holds

    Human Interest

    UPDATE: In the days since this story was published, readers have responded to the portrayal of Dr. David Kramer by sharing the struggles their afflicted family members face. They also commented on the difficulty for society and the plan Dr. Kramer has for the end stage of his disease:

     David and Tiffany Kramer during their routine walk on the beach in Naples Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.   Dr. David Kramer was an incredibly bright emergency room physician in Pennsylvania when he started to notice his memory fading. It was getting harder to remember patients' names and follow along with stories his kids told. He had to work harder at preparing for lectures; he kept asking his wife if familiar dresses were new. After about 5 years of increased struggling, he saw a series of doctors and was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at age 56. Now he's 59 and he and his wife live in Naples. Their motto is to live the hell out of life while they still have time. There's no definite time period before the disease gets worse, so they're trying to live every day to the fullest. On the 25th of August, I'm going to spend some time with them to get a sense of their average day in Naples, including sitting in on a session of the Early Onset Alzheimer's group meeting at the Alzheimer's Support Network there.
  18. Sun City Center couple's dance of life now moves to different rhythm

    Human Interest

    In a small room at Palm Garden nursing home in Sun City Center, two souls draw closer.

    John Breslin, a World War II vet, looks at photos from his service on the submarine USS Cavalla. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve at 17, met Rita Hughes, 14, during training in 1943 and wrote her after he went to sea.
  19. Dark places breed Gulfport woman's Halloween haunts

    Human Interest

    "I'm no Mary Poppins," Amy Slone says.

    If Poppins was obsessive-compulsive about a holiday, it would be Christmas. Slone hates Christmas. She has self-diagnosed OHD — Obsessive Halloween Disorder. Months before Halloween, she begins turning her Gulfport home — front to back, top to bottom — into …

    Amy Slone, sufferer of self-diagnosed Obsessive Halloween Disorder, has for the past 10 years built a haunted house at her Gulfport home. This year’s theme: post-nuclear apocalypse clown terror.
  20. St. Petersburg man stayed connected to grandfather through battered old canoe, until it was stolen

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — In December, Brad Stigleman propped his battered old canoe behind his in-laws' home in Feather Sound, right beside a pond perfect for fishing.

    He thought it'd be safe there.

    Brad Stigleman, 38, of Clearwater, is pictured with his daughter Aubrey in his grandfather's canoe. [Photo courtesy of Brad Stigleman]