Good reads

  1. Dancing priests become Internet sensation (w/ video)

    Human Interest

    ROME — A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keyes-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract.

    Father David Rider, left, and father John Gibson dance before an interview with the Associated Press at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. [Associated Press]
  2. Time is short, but Zeke the Labrador lives to keep his owner alive

    Human Interest


    The first time it happened, Gerald Rittinger was driving to buy his gravestone. His diabetes was getting worse. Doctors had just diagnosed him with prostate cancer. They gave him six months. Gerald's wife, Jeanne, was in the passenger seat of their Lincoln that day. Their puppy, Zeke, was supposed …

    Zeke, 13-year-old Labrador retriever, spends time with his owner, Gerald Rittinger, 74, at home in St. Petersburg in early October. Zeke has notified neighbors and Rittinger’s wife, Jeanne, numerous times when Gerald has had diabetic episodes of low blood sugar and his second stroke. “He knows when things are not right with Gerald,” Jeanne Rittinger said. Gerald Rittinger has been a diabetic since he was 39. 
  3. A state-by-state look at gay marriage bans (w/video)

    Human Interest

    State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since summer 2013, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The high court Monday cleared the way for more expansion by turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit it.

  4. For Largo homeowner, fuzzy alpacas 'are addicting'

    Human Interest

    Is there an alpaca in your closet?

    If not, you may be behind the times. Already, the fashion industry is hinting at alpaca sweaters and coats for autumn. Lightweight as silk and soft as cashmere, the fiber shone in designs from Louis Vuitton and Versace in Paris and Milan earlier this year.

    A curious alpaca roams behind Jamie Flores’ home at Shi’Lo’ Alpacas in Largo.
  5. Football concussion brings relationships into focus

    Human Interest

    The shoe painter spreads clean white acrylic over the tongue of a Nike Vapor Carbon Elite football cleat, erasing dirt and grass stains from the mesh.

    Geary “Rasta” Taylor, 44, left, poses with his son, Taj Taylor, 16 in the locker room of Largo High School. Taj, a Largo High football player, suffered a concussion in a game last year.
  6. Gaping crusaders help protect Florida's bats

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — Bat people develop superior eyesight. They often develop acute hearing. Sometimes they develop painful cricks in their neck. Bat people are always looking up.

    Bats stream out of what might be the state’s oddest tourist attraction: the two bat houses at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The houses shelter roughly 400,000 bats of several species.
  7. Artists to show their work up close in Studio Waltz

    Human Interest


    Lorraine Potocki dabbled in painting as a hobby for years while working her way through the corporate world.

    Lorraine Potocki is one of nine artists whose home studios will be open for Studio Waltz on Saturday. She does both pastels (left work) and palette knife painting with acrylics (right front) and will be demonstrating both styles.
  8. 1984 VA death was ruled a suicide, but was it really murder?

    Human Interest

    An hour or so before midnight on Aug. 27, 1984, Bud Thompson put on his light blue pajamas, tossed his clothes in a paper bag that he shoved in a closet and climbed into bed. He locked away his belt with his dirty clothes.

    Undated photo of brothers Charles and Bud Thompson on either side of their mother, Nellie Thompson taken in New Jersey. Bud is on his mother’s left.
  9. Where did peace and quiet go?

    Human Interest

    I just needed a quiet corner to curl up in, to finish writing. I had spent a year reporting a story, which was set to run in Sunday's newspaper. But my son had been invited to a dance competition, so we had driven almost two hours to Orlando, to a Disney resort. While he rehearsed, I had to finish editing the …

  10. The thrill of the sandy hunt is their treasure

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — The sun is low on the horizon, splaying yellow light across the pale blue, cloudy sky. Two small girls squeal as they chase each other along Clearwater Beach. The gulf is calm and low.