Features

  1. Beloved Angelus resident 'taught us how to live'

    Human Interest

    In the early days of January 1984, Pauline Shaver drove from her home in St. Petersburg to the state mental hospital in Fort Myers. She tiptoed past the empty front desk and down the hallway toward a room where Gene Campbell, 21, lay strapped in a large crib.

    Gene Campbell, right, a longtime resident of the Angelus, died recently. His younger brother, Jimmy, made a push to get Gene out of a state hospital and into the Angelus House in 1984.
  2. For Harold P. Curtis Honey Co., the family business is the bees' knees

    Human Interest

    LaBELLE

    Sure, things look bad for the bee man. But we are talking about Harold P. Curtis. Bees sting him and he hardly flinches. Bees die by the thousands and he raises another brood. Just let a bear approach his hives. He will not surrender a hive without a fight.

    A frame inside one 
of the Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. hives shows a queen bee, center, with the red dot, and her worker bees in action.
  3. Lying to enlist in World War II began 15-year-old's long journey

    Life Times

    Like millions of Americans during World War II, James Carroll considered himself a patriotic person.

  4. Do this before you retire: Stop giving money to grown kids

    Life Times

    It was one of those online teases I couldn't resist: Three Retirement Moves You Should Make in Your 50s.

    iStockphoto.com
  5. The art of the 'promposal': Go big or go alone (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    He skipped his last class Thursday, raced up three flights of stairs at the back of his high school, into Room 302, where he had stashed the flowers and his fishing pole.

    Caroline Krueger, 18, of St. Petersburg, a senior at St. Petersburg High School, gets a kiss from her friend, Ryan Anderson, 17, of St. Petersburg, a junior at the school, on Thursday after saying “yes.”
  6. Perspective: For bombing victim, normal is extraordinary (w/video)

    Perspective

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby's room to paint and some Ikea furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.

    Jeff Bauman, who lost his lower legs in the Boston Marathon bombings, rested between occupational therapy sessions last May. He will be at the finish line of Monday’s marathon, just as he was last year when he was waiting for his girlfriend, now fiancee, to complete the race.
  7. Mental illness doesn't breed killers, anger does (w/video)

    Perspective

    In the 1980s, I was working toward my degree in clinical psychology by training at a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. One sweet, diminutive, elderly patient sometimes wandered the halls. She had been committed to the hospital after she stabbed someone in a supermarket. She was what is sometimes referred to as a …

    Spc. Ivan Lopez is suspected of fatally shooting three people before killing himself at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas on April 2.
  8. Early lab work suggests existence of undiscovered Dozier cemetery

    Crime

    TAMPA — Coffin nail by coffin nail and bone fragment by bone fragment, University of South Florida forensic anthropologists are learning more about the identities of remains exhumed months ago from a hidden cemetery at the state's longest-running and most criticized reform school.

    An artist's rendering provided by USF shows what one of victims at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys may have looked like based on forensic evidence unearthed at the school.
  9. 35 years later, he's leaving Gulf High School — again

    Human Interest

    Dan Barrus walked across the stage at Gulf High School in the spring of 1974, accepted his diploma and returned to his seat. In his green cap and gown, he gripped the sheepskin and offered this promise to his buddies: "I'm never coming back to this (expletive) place.''

    Gulf High English teacher Dan Barrus talks with his third-period students during class Wednesday morning. Come May 30, he’s retiring after 35 years.
  10. At 100, Mr. Newton still working, just a little slower (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    His boss at Bama Sea Products told him to take Friday off. Sleep in, relax. Enjoy your birthday.

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor gives a birthday kiss to Mr. Newton at his party Friday at Bama Seafood, where he has worked longer than anyone can remember. Colleagues, friends and strangers came to celebrate as Newton Murray turned 100.
  11. The last Martin of Gilchrist County (w/video)

    Human Interest

    BELL

    A traveling day. Nathan Martin is going to town. He is going to have a meal with the woman he loves. He usually hates wearing a shirt, but Vida will tsk tsk if he shows up with chest bare. He also needs to decide what to do about footwear. He hates shoes even more than he hates wearing a shirt.

    Most of the time, Nathan Martin, 72, prefers to go barefoot, like he did when he was a boy. 
  12. How one of the Blind Boys of Alabama regained his soul (w/video)

    Human Interest

    Illustration by Don Morris

    I WAS IN A DARK PLACE.

  13. A nebula awaits astronomer's eye — and his pro-grade RC

    Human Interest

    He left home before dawn that Saturday, followed two friends in a caravan to the Keys.

    John O’Neill saw a comet flash through the sky and, 20 telescopes later, the amateur astronomer is now a noted astrophotographer. He’s shown at the Science Center’s observatory.
  14. Did Westboro Baptist Church's new hater-in-chief once call Tampa home? (w/video)

    Human Interest

    The recent death at 84 of Fred W. Phelps Sr., founder of Westboro Baptist Church, has left an opening at the top of the tiny congregation notorious for its hate-filled rants about homosexuality at soldiers' funerals. Westboro's new leader, according to news accounts, is Steve Drain, who lived in Tampa and attended the …

    For Steve Drain, the road from Tampa student to Westboro Baptist Church leader included protests at funerals of military service members. He helped Fred Phelps create the “God hates …” signs and produced hundreds of videos for the church’s website, Godhatesfags.com.
  15. Madame Kinney, the psychic, is no more, but daughters will carry on

    Human Interest

    Madame Kinney spent a lifetime peering into the future, but even she could not have envisioned the throng that gathered in St. Petersburg for her memorial.

    A vintage billboard points the way to the palmist. She and Bob bought a house in the ’70s before U.S. 19 was a major artery. 
  16. Eddie Gonzalez was great police chief, even better party guest

    Human Interest

    Eddie Gonzalez, who died March 14 at 73 of a heart attack in South Florida, wasn't Tampa's longest-serving police chief, but he may have been its most relaxed.

    The packed news conference in the mayor’s office was nearly anticlimactic, a simple confirmation of what then-Mayor Sandy Freedman said she had known for a long time: that Eddie Gonzalez was the right choice.
  17. After 'Shark Tank' spot, balloon business takes a nasty twist (video)

    Human Interest

    LAND O'LAKES — If you believe the clowns, everything was hunky-dory until 2007, when Ben Alexander came along.

    Ben Alexander inflates a balloon for Amelia Woltmann, 4, at a Sweet Tomatoes in Brandon. He recently pitched his Balloon Distractions business plan to investors on ABC’s Shark Tank.
  18. Perspective: Hope for springs eternal (w/video)

    Perspective

    I have photographed Florida's gorgeous springs for decades, and that means — sadly — that I have documented their decline.

    A Clear Vision for Florida: River of Dreams/Fireflies on the Ichetucknee is my title for this photo from Mill Pond Spring at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, south of Lake City, which I made in 2006. Our springs, “bowls of liquid light” in the words of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, are world-class treasures. They deserve world-class protection.
  19. Tampa couple's divorce could challenge same-sex marriage ban

    Civil

    TAMPA — A few months ago, Mariama Changamire Shaw called the courthouse in the small town of Sunderland, Mass., where she married her wife four years ago. Could she file for divorce in Massachusetts even though she and her wife now lived in Florida, she asked.

  20. In tiny Hampton, national shame will be hard to shake

    Politics

    HAMPTON

    For years, she saw signs that something was awry in her quiet city.

    Hampton, a city of fewer than 500 residents, carries the labels “most corrupt town in America” and “a speed trap” after more than $1 million in traffic tickets were issued, mostly on U.S. 301, and a state audit revealed numerous irregularities.