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Good Reads

  1. Pam Bondi's career path could lead to post in Trump's White House

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Pam Bondi would bring personal loyalty to Donald Trump's future administration — and political baggage, too.

    Donald Trump and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi attend the Palm Beach Lincoln Day Dinner in March at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. [Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images]
  2. Holiday Hopes: This St. Petersburg family has the drive, just not a car

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Zeneta Jackson turns on the bedroom light. Willie Hairston squints in protest. He feels like he just closed his eyes. "It's time to get up," she says.

    Willie Hairston, 29, gets his three youngest children, Avery, 1, Madison, 3, and Aiden, 2, ready for the ride to day care with the help of their mom, Zeneta Jackson, 37, while Trinity, 4. Aliajh, 8, and Zeneta’s mother are on the porch.
  3. Lane DeGregory: Parents, be grateful for dishes and laundry

    Human Interest

    To all parents —

    Of little ones, who clang pots and crawl into your bed spewing scary dreams.

    Tucker and Ryland DeGregory watch their mom, Lane DeGregory, through the back window of their rented RV in May 2006. Now, she misses these moments.
  4. In rural-suburban Pasco County, Trump supporters see their lives getting great again

    Elections

    SHADY HILLS

    Two days after an election that promised to change everything, a tractor driving down Shady Hills Road pulled onto the grass. The local church was having a yard sale, long tables lined with shoes and blouses, dinette sets and baby clothes, to raise money for youth group activities like Christian …

    Richard Konst, 74, walks past a homemade Trump sign in the yard of his Shady Hills home on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Konst has never voted in his life, but felt compelled to change that for Donald Trump. He missed the voter registration deadline, unaware that one existed, but was thrilled that Trump was elected.
  5. A Purple Heart's journey from a flea market to a fallen soldier's family

    Human Interest

    The brass medal rested between satin and crushed gold velvet on a junk table at a dusty Orlando flea market.

    The seller wanted $10.

    DON MORRIS | Times illustration
  6. Up all night with the voters of Tampa Bay, watching a presidential election surprise (w/video)

    National

    At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a supervisor poked her head out of the double doors of a voting precinct in the University of South Florida student center. "Ladies and gentlemen," she announced, "the polls are closing." Four minutes too late, a young woman showed up, in tears. All she or anyone else could do now was wait.

    From left, Marjori Lobman, 52, Angel Rodriguez, 35, and Larry Beaududoin, 69, cheer after one news channel projected Trump to win in Florida during a presidential election watch party at The Hideaway in downtown Tampa on November 8, 2016. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  7. Time for a kindness break

    Human Interest

    Join hands with me, will you, for a pre-Thanksgiving prayer:

    First lady Michelle Obama hugs former president George W. Bush as they and their spouses President Barack Obama and former first lady Laura Bush arrive at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, a rare bipartisan moment in 2016. (Al Drago/The New York Times)
  8. Think you can guess whether these voters will choose Clinton or Trump?

    State Roundup

    Certain groups can be expected to vote a certain way each presidential election. Non-white voters, for more than half a century, have voted for a Democrat. The most recent polls in key states show Hillary Clinton winning that demographic. Gun owners voted against President Barack Obama and for President George W. Bush, …

    Faye Whitefield Morazan Carlton, 61, of Lakeland, Eric Maughan, 47, of Lutz, and Jordan Orr, 26, of Lakeland. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times

  9. Tampa and Cuba, once Cold War enemies, now work together to save the ocean

    Water

    FOUR MILES OFF THE COAST OF KEY LARGO

    Five scientists sit in a fishing boat on Aug. 21, waiting for divers to emerge. They stare at the water, struggling to keep the conversation going.

    JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times  Hanzel Caballero (left) and Pedro Chevalier (right) from the National Aquarium of Cuba prepare to dive to help set nets in an underwater nursery of elk horn coral run by The Florida Aquarium in anticipation of a coral spawn in the Florida Keys Sunday, August 21, 2016.
  10. Florida controls the road to the White House, so why not the White House?

    Human Interest

    You, as a Florida voter, hold the fate of the world in your hands.

    Let's put a Florida man, or woman, in the White House. (Times illustration  |  Ron Borresen)
  11. Readers respond to young violist with generosity and support

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    More than 100 emails and phone calls poured in after September's Floridian story about 16-year-old Adán Martinez and the viola that changed his life. He had been busking to make payments on the instrument he named Lamar and had more than $1,200 to go. But within a week, readers calling Violin …

    Adán Martinez, 16, tries a cello at Violin Shop Tampa after a reader and the shop pledged $3,000 to help him add the second instrument he needs to qualify for the Juilliard music school in New York.
  12. Time capsule: On a beach, he found a box containing a stranger's ashes

    Human Interest

    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. Writer Lane DeGregory got a phone call last month about this story, from the children of Dr. Ayestaran. He held on to that box for years, …

    photo 1 CAPTION: (02/13/2008 St. Petersburg, FL) Dr. Emilio Ayestaran found a cedar box with personal items from Sept. 11 which included a polaroid picture, watch, rosary, flag, candle, woman's hair clip, and clippings from the 9/11 anniversary.  He found them at Ft. De Soto beach.   JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
STORY SUMMARY: guy finds box of momentos
  13. Ghostly warning: Dead gangster Ma Barker doesn't want her house moved

    Human Interest

    OCKLAWAHA — He called the newsroom with a warning: They can't move that house.

    The Historic Bradford House is the site of the 1935 FBI shootout with the Barker Gang in Ocklawaha, near Ocala. Patched bullet holes are easily visible throughout the two-story house.
  14. How do you tell a story without words? Two dancers give it a spin.

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — The dance came from a conversation. About having conversations. Some of the best ones, the two dancers agreed, had been with strangers.

    So they started there.

    Kellie Harmon and Crystal DelGiudice will perform their piece at the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, as part of the festival.
  15. Time Capsule: The day that Tampa banned lap dancing

    Human Interest

    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.

    TP	95418	- DELIVER TO:	Tampa and State	- 11/19/99	- Tampa	- CAPTION INFO:	"Chelsea", a dancer at Mons Venus in Tampa, performs a lap dance for a customer at the adult entertainment club on Friday, November 19, 9999.  (Depending on the time of day, most lap dances begin with clothed dancers, who disrobe as part of the act.) Tampa City council voted 5-0 Thursday night on an ordinance that would force adult dancers to stay 6 feet from customers and other entertainers.  It would also apply to lingerie modeling shops. - -	Times Photo by-	Toni L Sandys	- -	Story By:	LInda Gibson	- -	SCANNED BY:	tls	- -  RUN DATE: 	11/20/99
  16. In his own words: I'm a 12-year-old international go-kart racer

    Human Interest

    I was 4 years old when I started racing. … I remember going out on the track for my first time and, like, just going around, like, really slow. …

    Ira Mattice Jr. poses with the trophies and plaques he has won for go-kart racing around the world. Eight years after started, he won his first race this year. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  17. The 'F' in Florida often stands for 'fake'

    News

    Living in Florida is an adventure, and not just because of the hurricanes, lightning, sinkholes, shark attacks and nudist resorts. A big part of what makes living here so — interesting? is that the right word? — is knowing that much of what you see isn't real.

    FILE - In this April 28, 2015, file photo, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., appears, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Durbin is taking the rare step of weighing in on the states handling of a health insurance rate increase request by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. The state's leading insurer is suggesting price increases for 2017 ranging from 23 percent to 45 percent for individual health plans. Durbin, the state's senior senator, says the company could be more competitive and reduce costs, and he's pressing state regulators to take action. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke File)
  18. In her own words: Dangling from my piercings makes me comfortable in my own skin

    Human Interest

    Shannon Michael, 29, Palm Beach | body suspension artist

    Shannon Michael, 29 of Palm Beach. Body suspension artist. The photo is courtesy of  Shannon Michael
  19. From Disney's Space Mountain to SeaWorld's Mako: We're pushing the limits on roller coaster thrills

    Florida

    ORLANDO

    I n January 1975, Mickey Mouse donned a space suit to herald the newest attraction in Disney's Tomorrowland, the first roller coaster on Earth to be controlled by a computer.

    Riders get their kicks on SeaWorld’s Krakken. As theme parks continue upping the thrills, the floorless roller coaster that reaches heights of more than 150 feet is getting more intense next year.  SeaWorld plans to retrofit Krakken with virtual reality headsets to give riders the sensation of traveling through the sea amid mythical creatures.
  20. This painting made two people fall in love and helped a man connect with the dead

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    One night last spring, Gordon Stevenson plugged his name into Google. Up popped a link to an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

    Gordon Stevenson poses with a portrait that his grandfather painted that dates to about 1940.  Stevenson first found out about the oil on canvas when a stranger brought it to a taping of Antiques Road Show in Charleston, SC. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]