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Good Reads

  1. 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 FBI shootout with the Barker Gang in Oklawaha, Fl. The two story frame house was built in 1930 with four bedrooms and two baths, totaling 2,016 sq. ft. Patched bullet holes are easily visible throughout the house. Photo shot September 10, 2012.
  2. How do you tell a story without words? Two dancers give it a spin.


    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.
  3. 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
  4. 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]
  5. The 'F' in Florida often stands for 'fake'


    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)
  6. 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
  7. From Disney's Space Mountain to SeaWorld's Mako: We're pushing the limits on roller coaster thrills



    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.
  8. This painting made two people fall in love and helped a man connect with the dead

    Human Interest


    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]
  9. Here's how NASA is preparing to go to Mars



    Imagine yourself, feet planted in the soil, staring into the night sky. Your eyes focus on one bright dot, a shining star. It seems brighter than most others. And it looks bluish.

     NASA is currently constructing platforms in its Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for assembly of the new Space Launch System rocket which will carry astronauts to Mars and deep space. The view is from the 16th floor of the building. The platforms allow workers to access the rocket.
  10. 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.
  11. 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

  12. 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. 
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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)
  19. 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]
  20. 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.