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Good Reads

  1. Sun City Center couple's dance of life now moves to different rhythm

    Human Interest

    In a small room at Palm Garden nursing home in Sun City Center, two souls draw closer.

    John Breslin, a World War II vet, looks at photos from his service on the submarine USS Cavalla. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve at 17, met Rita Hughes, 14, during training in 1943 and wrote her after he went to sea.
  2. A retired trauma doctor, his future out of his control, wonders what his next chapter will be

    Human Interest

    The doctor waited in the emergency room for the crush of patients to come.

     David and Tiffany Kramer during their routine walk on the beach in Naples Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.   Dr. David Kramer was an incredibly bright emergency room physician in Pennsylvania when he started to notice his memory fading. It was getting harder to remember patients' names and follow along with stories his kids told. He had to work harder at preparing for lectures; he kept asking his wife if familiar dresses were new. After about 5 years of increased struggling, he saw a series of doctors and was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at age 56. Now he's 59 and he and his wife live in Naples. Their motto is to live the hell out of life while they still have time. There's no definite time period before the disease gets worse, so they're trying to live every day to the fullest. On the 25th of August, I'm going to spend some time with them to get a sense of their average day in Naples, including sitting in on a session of the Early Onset Alzheimer's group meeting at the Alzheimer's Support Network there.
  3. Dark places breed Gulfport woman's Halloween haunts

    Human Interest

    "I'm no Mary Poppins," Amy Slone says.

    If Poppins was obsessive-compulsive about a holiday, it would be Christmas. Slone hates Christmas. She has self-diagnosed OHD — Obsessive Halloween Disorder. Months before Halloween, she begins turning her Gulfport home — front to back, top to bottom — into …

    Amy Slone, sufferer of self-diagnosed Obsessive Halloween Disorder, has for the past 10 years built a haunted house at her Gulfport home. This year’s theme: post-nuclear apocalypse clown terror.
  4. St. Petersburg man stayed connected to grandfather through battered old canoe, until it was stolen


    ST. PETERSBURG — In December, Brad Stigleman propped his battered old canoe behind his in-laws' home in Feather Sound, right beside a pond perfect for fishing.

    He thought it'd be safe there.

    Brad Stigleman, 38, of Clearwater, is pictured with his daughter Aubrey in his grandfather's canoe. [Photo courtesy of Brad Stigleman]
  5. Merl Reagle transformed modern culture into puzzle wit

    Human Interest

    Merl Reagle was a breakfast guy.

    Everybody thinks of him as a word guy, which he certainly was, but the word was coffee. Decaf. Merl didn't require artificial stimulants. His mind worked, near as I could tell, with the relentlessness of a hydroelectric dam. He transformed the torrent of modern culture into …

  6. Two empty-nesters quit their jobs, sell their house and take to the sea

    Human Interest

    The ceilings were low. The carpet, yellow shag. The windows were outdated. But the house opened out to the water, and that was all that mattered.

    The Sea Gypsy has been home for former Tampa Bay Times writer Kris Hundley and her husband since they quit their jobs and in January sold the house in which they raised their family for more than 25 years.
  7. A mom ponders her identity as her firstborn leaves for college

    Human Interest

    All year, I watched our son plan his escape.

    CAPTION: (Suwannee River, 07/29/2006) Ryland (cq) tells his mother, Lane DeGregory (cq) a story as they cruise in a houseboat on the Suwannee River.
SUMMARY: Travel feature
(Times photo by Lara Cerri)
  8. Pining for the perfect movie ending


    Movie endings aren't what they used to be.

  9. A family mourns cancellation of 'Sábado Gigante'

    The Feed

    The news jumped out at me from Twitter. I stared for several seconds in disbelief.

    Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, center, is the creator and host of  S?bado Gigante, TV’s longest-running variety show. It began in Chile in 1962. It ends Sept. 19.
  10. For one man, owning dogs has created a warm and fuzzy change

    Human Interest

    We went to brunch on Father's Day, me and my parents, who had driven over from West Palm Beach. We'd gone to a nicer restaurant than usual, and my father had let me order oysters even though he thinks they're gross.

    David Gartner plays with dog Daisy, 13, who was adopted for the two Gartner children but has had David as primary caretaker.
  11. A high school junior faces her future without her biggest ally

    Human Interest

    It's so quiet in the van, rain is all we hear on the two-hour drive to Gainesville. My friend has let me tag along with her family to tour the University of Florida. No one is doing much to break the awkward silence.

    "Cheetos?" my friend asks at one point.

    A half-hour passes.

    "We have granola bars, …

    Hillsborough High School junior Annie Aguiar of Tampa, center, tours the University of Florida in July with her best friend, Meghana Bhimreddy, left. Aguiar had planned to tour UF with her grandfather, who was her biggest ally.
  12. When closure is elusive: Fletcher Currin buried 15 years after his death

    Human Interest

    OLIVIA, N.C.

    A worker struggles to lift the steel vault, then position it over a hole in the lawn behind a country church. • Three of us watch as he lowers the remains of Stewart Fletcher Currin, my closest childhood friend, into the ground. • My girlfriend takes my elbow. "Now you have closure," she …

    Stewart Fletcher Currin
  13. For two who teach it, the best Florida literature recognizes the surreal


    Florida literature has a longer history than you may think.

    Spouses Tom Hallock, left, and Julie Buckner Armstrong teach literature at USF St. Petersburg.
  14. Fictional Florida: a look at 80-some writers with state roots, settings


    "Literary" is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind when you think of Florida.

    STEVE MADDEN | Times
  15. Orlando's Crayola Experience a fascinating wonderland of color, technology and nostalgia



    Fred Rogers' sweater is a hue Crayola might call Forest Green, or maybe Aquamarine, or maybe Illuminating Emerald. He sketches a simple rainbow on an easel in his modest TV living room, the one decorated like childhood, and turns to the camera.

    A “crayonologist” creates a batch of crayons for Crayola Experience visitors.  “This brand has certainly evolved and changed,” Crayola president and CEO Mike Perry (not pictured) says. “But that mission of sparking the creative spirit of a child has never changed.”
  16. Tampa Bay: 'the hottest cult horror movie scene in the country'

    Human Interest

    Call them a creatively incestuous bunch of filmmakers, often working on each other's movies, sometimes helping each other to distribute their macabre artistry. Grisly loves company. Especially in Florida.

    Krista Grotte, who often stars in Tampa Bay movies, teases a killer clown during a break in filming.
  17. For Sale Facebook groups spread online yard sale craze to Tampa Bay


    TAMPA — Charlene Cardona used to be addicted, skimming the classified ads for time and place, rising early nearly every Saturday to make someone else's junk her treasure.

    Not anymore.

    Facebook's For Sale groups, unveiled in February, are drawing buyers and sellers from the traditional Saturday morning yard sale.
  18. Wild ride across Florida: 800 miles, alone on a bike

    Human Interest

    Spindly legs dangle from the frame of my glasses. A black body rappels down a silk filament, itsy-bitsy arachnid feet tickling my nose.

    Graham Brink completed an 800-mile bike race across the full length of Florida. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times]
  19. Florida's original water parks: the springs

    Human Interest

    ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK — In the summer of 1539, the conquistador Hernando de Soto and several hundred men lumbered up the Florida peninsula and stopped by this spring-fed river to rest.

    Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Gainesville is a great spot for tubing, and early starters have a chance at seeing North American river otters at play.
  20. Tampa Bay couples who latched locks on Paris bridges say their love will live on

    Human Interest

    They started unlocking the love in June, after the bridge collapsed and the locals complained and the city's leaders said no more.

    [Times files]