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Good reads

  1. Married for 82 years, couple celebrates birthdays

    Human Interest

    SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — A husband and wife thought to be one of the oldest married couples in New York have celebrated their birthdays — and their combined ages will be 212.

  2. 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.”
  3. 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]
  4. The state you're in: The examined life

    Human Interest

    PUT TO THE TEST

    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.
  5. 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.
  6. For Valentine's Day, Americans will spend billions on roses (w/video)

    Human Interest

    Valentine's Day is a $14 billion business in the United States, and one of the biggest contributors to that is roses. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 37.8 percent of Americans will buy flowers for Valentine's Day, spending a total of $2.1 billion. The Census Bureau says the United States …

    Bob Freeman makes arrangements at Jennie’s Flowers in Tampa for the rush brought by Valentine’s Day today.
  7. Rolls-Royce emerges from the shadows for more days in the sun (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    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.
  8. 80th Florida Strawberry Festival selects queen, court

    Human Interest

    PLANT CITY — Samantha Sun, a junior at Plant City High School, was crowned queen of the 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival on Saturday night.

  9. Floridian: The state you're in

    Human Interest

    Big Numbers

    3: Florida's national rank by population, having just passed New York

    Louis Armstrong appearing at the Manhattan Casino on March 3, 1957. Times photo by Bob Moreland.
  10. For women in the Pinellas County Jail, the Red Tent room offers tears, growth, hope

    Human Interest

    Editor's note: The four-hour Red Tent Project session was recorded. The women's words have been edited for length and clarity.

    LARGO

    Pinellas County Jail inmates Amanda Casler, left, and Yalira M. Perez have a light moment at a Red Tent Project meeting at the jail in December. Perez, 26, is in jail for forgery. “I’ve been rejected all my life, and I’m used to it,” she says. “I’m a loving, giving person. But I belittle myself, and I deserve that.”