Make us your home page


  1. Finding Fletcher: A man's search for what became of his troubled childhood best friend

    Human Interest


    A single spotlight illuminated one end of an otherwise dark room at the Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner's office. William Pellan sat behind a computer, eyes fixed to the image of a dead man. Everything I needed to know was on that screen, glowing on his face. But Florida law forbids non-family …

    Andrew Meacham is encouraged that others are now involved in 
the search for Fletcher, including St. Petersburg police.
  2. Warren Elly, in the fight of his life against cancer

    Human Interest

    Editor's note: Warren Elly, who retired from WTVT-Ch. 13 in 2011, was diagnosed with cancer late last year and has spent every day since then chronicling his life in his blog, "The Way Forward." Elly granted the Tampa Bay Times permission to publish excerpts from his blog, and wrote this introduction: …

    Mitotane, a form of oral chemotherapy, is part of Elly’s new routine. “It’s not just bags once a month. It’s pills every day.”
  3. Jameis Winston and me: The pain of covering the scandal

    Human Interest

    When the phone rang at my kitchen table, I had to follow the rumor wherever it led. I could never have imagined what would unfold next: That the star quarterback at Florida State University would wind up under investigation for rape. That Jameis Winston's accuser would be driven out of school. That a stream of national …

    Jameis Winston, right, was never charged after three separate investigations. But two of them didn't fully vindicate him, either, at least not in the eyes of some. [AP photo]
  4. The state you're in: The examined life

    Human Interest


    The examined life

    Mari Ebert worries.

    She worries that, despite all their hard work, her sixth-graders won't do well on Florida's new annual exams, which start Monday.

    “The world’s most unusual cowboy” rides a border collie rounding up sheep at the Silver Spurs midwinter rodeo in Kissimmee.
  5. Sen. Bill Nelson asks Justice Department to investigate Dozier boys' deaths

    Public Safety

    Sen. Bill Nelson has asked the Department of Justice to look into the decades-old deaths and burials of boys at the state's oldest reform school in the Panhandle town of Marianna.

    University of South Florida researchers hunt for gravesites at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna last year.
  6. States predict inmates' future crimes with secretive surveys

    Human Interest

    LITTLE ROCK — On a hot Friday in July, a parolee was mowing a lawn in a small cul-de-sac on the west side of the city when he stopped to ask for a glass of water.

    Diana Miller, 71, who agreed to be interviewed under her middle and married names,says Arkansas parolee Milton Thomas was mowing a nearby lawn, asked for a glass of water and then forced his way in and raped her.
  7. Mother hears late son's heartbeat, 18 years after transplant

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL — Vicky Brannon's heartache turned on a heartbeat Saturday.

    Jennifer Lentini, 31, left, received a heart transplant at age 14 from Matthew John McIntyre II, son of Vicky Brannon, right.
  8. As time wanes, a bucket list becomes less adventurous, more emotional



    Last Sunday, a couple of hours before their kids were supposed to come over, Robert "Smitty" Smith called his wife to his bedside and told her, "I'm sorry. I don't think I can make it."

    Robert “Smitty” Smith fist-bumps Scott Farrell during the Feb. 8 Tampa Bay Lightning game, the fourth of five items on his bucket list.
  9. Florida lab has one objective: Stop citrus greening (w/video)



    One of the best hopes to revive Florida's fast-fading citrus industry is a steam generator mounted on an old grove truck.

    Fruit infected with citrus greening becomes misshapen and bitter. In a test field in Lake Alfred, the difference between a healthy orange and an infected one is easy 
to see.
  10. Perspective: Three Muslims, lost to us all


    Last June, I went with a small group of Americans to visit Syrian refugees living in a Turkish border town named Kilis, a sleepy hamlet of dusty streets and low-rise apartment buildings surrounded by rolling brown hills. Kilis is the closest town to Aleppo, Syria's largest metropolis and focal point of President Bashar …

    While deployed in 2010, Kristen Rouse took photos with local Afghan children on a short foot patrol outside of a joint U.S.-Afghan base in Gardez, Afghanistan.
  11. Rolls-Royce emerges from the shadows for more days in the sun (w/video)

    Human Interest


    For decades, the two white houses had been dying.

    Pamela Nickels kept this 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in the garage beneath her old duplex in St. Petersburg. Her father, John, top right with Nickels’ mother, Gerry, collected classic cars, but the Silver Cloud was Nickels’ favorite.
  12. Unsolved murder from 1955 still nags Pinellas detective (w/video)



    The box for case No. 55-352 had not been opened in years when Pinellas sheriff's Detective Michael Bailey removed its cover, revealing crumbling rice paper, typewritten witness statements, and handwritten notes by detectives from more than half a century ago. • The brittle pages chronicle what …

    In 1955, Henry Shelton was shot dead in front of his slaughterhouse in Pinellas Park. Sixty years later, the case is likely the oldest recorded unsolved murder in Pinellas County. [Evidence images provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  13. For women in the Pinellas County Jail, the Red Tent room offers tears, growth, hope

    Human Interest

    Editor's note: The four-hour Red Tent Project session was recorded. The women's words have been edited for length and clarity.


    Pinellas County Jail inmates Amanda Casler, left, and Yalira M. Perez have a light moment at a Red Tent Project meeting at the jail in December. Perez, 26, is in jail for forgery. “I’ve been rejected all my life, and I’m used to it,” she says. “I’m a loving, giving person. But I belittle myself, and I deserve that.”
  14. Greg Baker resurrects Florida Cracker cuisine at Fodder & Shine

    Food & Dining


    Greg Baker stands in the Fodder & Shine kitchen explaining what will happen in a vast room full of gleaming ovens and prep counters when his phone rings for the fifth time. "And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate. Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake. Shake it off." // Wife and business partner …

    Cornmeal, chicken fat fried chicken with sides of cornbread, and tomato gravy and rice at Fodder & Shine, in Tampa. Photographed on Friday January 9th, 2015.

  15. In My Shoes: Stopping is not an option for Lois Huyghue

    Human Interest


    Lois Huyghue, who hates cold like cats hate getting wet, pulled into Coachman Park to run a marathon. At 5 a.m., it was 36 degrees. Wearing two coats, three T-shirts and two hats, she peered out of her car window at a park full of skinny people in shorts and tank tops.

    None of them looked scared, …

    Lois Huyghue, 55, had a stroke when she was 18 months old and has limited control of her left arm and leg. She ran her first marathon last year in the Clearwater Distance Classic.
  16. Better watch Saul: Why Tampa Bay lawyers love devious attorney from 'Breaking Bad'

    The Feed

    Jot down every negative lawyer stereotype you can think of: greedy, arrogant, double-talking, backstabbing. Keep going, there's more.

    Bob Odenkirk plays ethically challenged lawyer Saul Goodman, who rose to fame in AMC’s Breaking Bad and is getting his own TV series, Better Call Saul, which debuts Feb. 8 on AMC. Better Call Saul begins six years before the start of Breaking Bad, when the lawyer didn’t work out of a strip mall, have drug-dealing clients and say things such as “You don’t want a criminal lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer.”
  17. 70 years after Auschwitz liberation, a survivor remembers (w/video)


    JERUSALEM — Marta Wise was ill and emaciated when she heard the distant sound of soldiers marching toward Auschwitz. The 10-year-old Slovakian Jew assumed it was German troops coming to get her, but once she saw the red stars on their uniforms she realized they were Russian.

    Jewish deportees, with identifying yellow stars sewn on their coats, arrive at the Auschwitz concentration camp in May 1944.
  18. The audacity of Jeb Bush: A governor goes all in on the Terri Schiavo case

    State Roundup

    Tricia Rivas had never written to an elected official, but gripped with emotion, she composed an urgent email to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "Please save Terri Schiavo!" she wrote from her home in Tucson, Ariz., on March 20, 2005. "Do something before it is too late … please! Every parent is watching this drama unfold …

    Danielle Harris, of Pinellas Park, Fla., leans against a large photo of Terri Schiavo and her mother, Mary Schindler, during a vigil outside the Woodside Hospice Villas on Oct. 15, 2003, in Pinellas Park. (AP)
  19. A look at Guantanamo Bay prison, then and now (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Thirteen years ago, a U.S. Air Force C-131 Starlifter cargo plane set down at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dislodged 20 men in orange jumpsuits brought from Afghanistan and started the Pentagon's experiment in offshore detention.

    In this handout photo from the Department of Defense, Taliban and al-Qaida detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the watchful eyes of military police at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during in-processing to the temporary detention facility on Jan. 11, 2002. [Associated Press 2002]
  20. Florida rancher's wish: a legacy of his land pristine forever

    Human Interest

    FORT PIERCE — Bud Adams, slim and dressed in blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt and cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, drove his Ford Explorer around his ranch in western St. Lucie County, looking at his land and his cattle. His truck, with manure caked in the tires, jounced in the ruts of rough paths. He's been …

    Bud Adams sits in his back yard at his ranch in Fort Pierce on a December day. He wears hearing aids. He has to have skin cancer spots removed from his face, the result of a life spent riding horses. He had a quadruple bypass a few years ago and gets short of breath. But he still works on his land. He loves his land. “I hate to leave it,” he says.