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Good Reads

  1. Her journey to Breezy Boards, a custom-made skateboard company, started at age 10

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Can you point to the moment that planted that seed?

    Brianna Enders, 24, can.

    Brianna "Breezy" Enders, 24, with an inventory of her skateboards at her home in St. Petersburg Monday afternoon (11/29/16). Enders has been skateboarding since she was small. She used to tell her friends in middle school that she would one day make her own boards. And now, at 24, she is. She used her education at USF St. Petersburg to start her own business and it is just now taking off. Enders has five different boards with five original pieces of art work on the bottom of the deck that were created for the Adjective Dragon collection by local artists.
  2. Before you curse at someone in traffic, consider this story

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Just before 7 a.m., Pamela Block's iPhone alarm chirps on the kitchen counter. She has been awake since 3:30. She tried to watch a movie to fall back asleep. She Googled retinitis pigmentosa and worried. She moved the Elf on the Shelf she hadn't moved in three days.

    Pamela Block, 53, gives her dog Mishu a kiss as Anna Block, 11, (right) and Lily Block, 9, (rear left) get ready for School Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Anna was born with Bladder Exstrophy Syndrome. Her bladder was inside out and poked out of her belly. Since being adopted by Block in 2009, she has had two corrective surgeries. Lilly, who adopted by Block in 2008, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a cardiac abnormality. Recent genetic tests have begun to explain a host of subtle symptoms; she runs out of breath quickly, has low muscle tone, always seems to have headaches and stomach aches. ?ˆš’When we leave the house, as far as the neighbors are concerned, we look like a family without a care. Because the kids are so outgoing and have these great personalities, our struggles are pretty much silent. But medical issues and medical appointments define our lives. When most kids are going to camps for vacation, we?ˆš•re going to hospitals,?ˆš“ Block says.
  3. Here's a resolution, Florida: Let's stop being suckers

    Human Interest

    Florida has several leading industries that keep our economy roaring. Tourism is No. 1, of course. Without it, we'd have far fewer tattoo parlors and strip joints. Development is booming again, and (judging by their regular appearances in police reports) sales of machetes and Samurai swords are doing well.

    In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.  (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)  MANDATORY CREDIT BX101
  4. At 17, she gave him up and 45 years later, her son called

    Human Interest

    She wasn't expecting the call or inclined to take it.

    Linda Palm never saw the baby she gave up for adoption as a teenager. Forty-five years later, he tracked her down. In July, Brent Reichert flew from Ohio to meet his birth mother. Courtesy of Linda Palm.
  5. Time Capsule: What we didn't know the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated

    National

    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. So what didn't we know the day of President Barack Obama's inauguration that we know now? Floridian asked Times Political Editor Adam C. …

    Shirley Tigg, right, then-owner of Shirley & Lee’s Soul Food in St. Petersburg;  her son Landry Tigg, center,  and friend and customer Peggy Elias watch President Barack Obama give his inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 2009, at Tigg’s restaurant. “I really never thought I’d see this,” Shirley said.
  6. One-time Bill Clinton impersonator hopes Donald Trump will make his career great again

    National

    TAMPA

    Bill Clinton walked into the men's room and evaluated himself in the mirror, his bottom jaw jutting ever so slightly past his top as he laughed in his signature hoarse, southern drawl. "Oh, man, you are slick. I'm gonna miss ya," he chuckled as he gave himself a thumbs-up and bit his lower lip.

    Then, …

    Tim Watters made a name for himself as a Bill Clinton impersonator. Now he's trying his hand at Donald Trump.  As soon as he puts the wig on, he transforms into "The Donald."
  7. Holiday Hopes: Persecuted in Egypt for their Christian faith, a family starts over in Tarpon Springs

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS — "I have a present for you!" the boy called to his mom. He bounded off the school bus and jumped into her arms. "It's in my backpack. And it's real."

    Andrea, 7, places a Christmas ornament on his tree at his apartment Wednesday in Tarpon Springs. His mother, Amal Mikhail, 42, brought Andrea with her to the United States from Egypt in 2013.
  8. 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.
  9. After bullying, St. Petersburg teen stumbles on a purpose, and the perfect viola

    Features

    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.
  10. 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
  11. Baking cookies helps Tampa couple start to heal after the stillbirth of their son

    Features

    TAMPA

    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.
  12. After Hurricane Katrina, he stayed as society collapsed

    Features

    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)
  13. 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]
  14. 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.
  15. True life cartoon: A ride with two dogs goes really wrong

    Pets

    It was a quiet Saturday morning until Cyrus, a German shorthaired pointer, escaped out the kitchen door. I reached into my son's car and started honking the horn.

    Don Morris rides with Omar and Cyrus.
  16. Florida Found: Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park

    Human Interest

    It would be easy to drive past Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park. Nestled in the sleepy town of Taylor Creek, a few hundred yards from the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, this National Historic Landmark has no signs at its main entrance. On nearby U.S. 98-441, a marker points observant drivers in the right …

    Lake Okeechobee, in Taylor Creek, is a few hundred yards from Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park, which commemorates the Battle of Lake Okeechobee in 1837.
  17. Hey, Florida, show us your guns!

    Human Interest

    Over the years, a lot of people have suggested that Florida's shape resembles various objects: a frying pan, a chin, a uvula (look it up.) A handgun has become the most common comparison, which is apt because we have so many guns that some people call us "The Gunshine State."

  18. Mutant mosquitoes could fight Zika in Florida, but misinformation spreads

    Human Interest

    KEY WEST — There are many scary stories that start with a dark and stormy night, but this isn't one of them. It is the third day of summer in this island city, with its feral chickens and lemon-hued houses and women woohoo-ing by on rented motorcycles. Every bicycle has a basket, every mailbox is a manatee.

    Key West is a perfect breeding ground for the Zika virus because of its tropical climate, its huge number of international visitors and the travel associated with its naval base. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  19. St. Augustine haunted by ghosts of civil rights turmoil 50 years ago

    Perspective

    No city in Florida embraces its past with as much ardor as St. Augustine. As the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States, history is its main industry. Hordes of tourists and busloads of schoolkids troop through its streets to watch the (pretend) guards patrolling Fort Matanzas, to fire the (fake) cannon …

     After The Press Conference: King Encourages Demonstrators.  Segregation: St. Augustine
  20. Joy of Merchant Marine's visit to SS 'American Victory' ends in sorrow

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Earl Joseph Mayo had a knack for timing. Married for 56 years, his wife, Fran, said the hands of a clock could fall off and Earl would still rise each morning at 6:30 on the dot. • The morning of Nov. 16 began in the usual way, with Earl and his wife sharing a quiet breakfast in their scenic senior …

    Fran Mayo holds the American flag given to her family by Bill Kuzmick, executive director of the SS American Victory. The flag was raised and lowered on the day her husband was aboard.