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  1. Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property


    OMAHA, Neb. — The smell of Cuban coffee drifts from the kitchen as Carolyn Chester digs through photos, faded with age, that fill four boxes spread across the dining table.

    Edmund and Enna Chester and their daughter, Patricia, arrive in Cuba on a flight from Florida. When Fidel Castro's government began confiscating the property of thousands of U.S. citizens and companies in 1959, the Chesters lost an 80-acre farm and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock. [Photo courtesy of Carolyn Chester via AP]
  2. Openly gay athletes challenge NCAA's culture of silence (w/video)


    Taylor Emery was in seventh grade at Grayslake Middle School outside of Chicago when she first wondered about her sexuality. But as soon as the thoughts entered her mind, Emery immediately pushed them out.

    Freedom High School senior Taylor Emery came out when she was in middle school. The Tulane commit says her future college is supportive of her being gay and she remains unfazed that some may not agree with her sexual orientation. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  3. Column: Inside a pilot's mind (w/video)


    I worked as a pilot for about 10 years before going back to school to become an architect. There are a few oddballs I can remember flying with, but mostly we're just talking quirks and eccentricities. Never did I fear a colleague intended to kill himself, or everyone onboard.

    Being a pilot is a unique working environment. You’re stuck with someone one on one, mostly in a tiny room, for days.
  4. Like Angelina Jolie, women at risk for ovarian cancer face complex decision (w/video)


    Actor and director Angelina Jolie has ignited another worldwide conversation about cancer, revealing in the New York Times on Tuesday that she had undergone surgery, at age 39, to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent ovarian cancer. As she did 22 months ago, when she announced that she had had …

    Angelia Jolie announced in an article she wrote for The New York Times that she has had preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, two years after having a preventative double mastectomy. [Getty Images]
  5. Rashia Wilson says she was no queen, just a woman struggling with a past


    TAMPA — She recalls, as a kid, coming home to an empty refrigerator in a house where food stamps were traded for crack.

    Rashia Wilson held herself out "as a sort of anti-role model, calling herself the 'queen' and 'first lady' of tax fraud while publicly bragging about her crimes,'' federal prosecutor Sara Sweeney has said.  

  6. Perspective: How this Marine learned to kill


    The voice on the other end of the radio said: "There are two people digging by the side of the road. Can we shoot them?"

    Like these Marines in Afghanistan, the author says “I practiced the techniques of killing for more than a year before taking command of a platoon. ... Mastering the tactics of killing would have been useless if I wasn’t willing to kill.”
  7. Deadly WWII firebombings of Japanese cities largely ignored


    TOKYO — It was not Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but in many ways, including lives lost, it was just as horrific.

    A photo taken March 19, 1945, shows the incendiary bomb-devastated Kameido district after a firebombing raid, as seen from Kameido Tenjin Bridge. [Associated Press / The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage]
  8. Column: Ready or not, change coming for utilities


    Management theory says, "Stick to what you know. Don't stray from your core business." But what happens when the core is changing and it's no longer a reliable source of profit?

  9. Rare Everglades plants in peril, study finds


    FORT LAUDERDALE — A landmark report — 10 years in the making — looked at critically imperiled plants at Everglades National Park and found that 16 of them may already have vanished from there.

    This photo taken by Roger Hammer in 2011 at Everglades National Parkshows a cyrtopodium punctatum orchid, also known as the cowhorn orchid, which is considered endangered. The park commissioned the Delray Beach-based Institute for Regional Conservation for a 10-year study of 59 endangered plant species. [Associated Press]
  10. 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.
  11. 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.”
  12. 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]
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.