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Good reads

  1. In Pahokee, football serves as a way out

    Human Interest

    PAHOKEE — On the day he thought would change everything, Fred left home early while his siblings, nieces and nephews slept. He skipped breakfast, not even a Pop-Tart. His stomach was tight with excitement.

    The summer before his junior year at Pahokee High, Fred decided to focus on raising his grades, and to get away from friends who might be a bad influence. So he transferred to Everglades Prep charter school across town. He often stayed in class to work and ate a late lunch by himself.
  2. McDonald's recalls Hello-Kitty Happy Meal toy

    Human Interest

    WASHINGTON — McDonald's is recalling a Hello Kitty-themed whistle given to children in Happy Meals, citing a chance they could choke on some of its parts.

  3. A girl falls for her teacher …

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Addison Allen was 16, about to start her senior year at Tampa's Robinson High School, when the police called. They wanted to talk about the rumors.

    Addison Allen, 19, in her dorm at New College of Florida in Sarasota. She says that during her junior year at Tampa’s Robinson High School, she had a sexual relationship with her history teacher, Robert Lunsford. Lunsford denies it, saying Allen is lying because she was obsessed with him.
  4. Threat of prison looms for woman who eased chronic pain with marijuana

    Human Interest

    Seated in a wheelchair and wearing a jail-issue jumpsuit, Amanda Gould felt certain the judge would release her. Her lawyer, her kids and husband thought so, too.

    Amanda Gould has spent two months in the Pasco County jail after testing positive for marijuana, a violation of her DUI probation. She has many ailments, for which she is prescribed pain medication. She says marijuana is the only thing that helps. 
  5. From brassy writers to fussy publishers, Florida journalism had it all

    Human Interest

    When I started at the Miami News in 1966, I remember that reporters typed their stories with two fingers on cheap paper. If they needed to move paragraphs around, they did so with scissors and glue. They impaled finished stories on metal spikes for a psychopathic editor who forbade talking until sunrise.

    Miami News reporter Milt Sosin calls in his story about a hurricane from Jacksonville beach on Jan. 1, 1962. 
  6. Meet Bill Koch, the other Koch brother (w/video)

    Human Interest

    "I'll let Mr. Koch know you're here," says the man at the door.

    Bill Koch poses in the back yard of his Palm Beach home. Brother to polarizing political figures David and Charles Koch, with whom he has had a tumultuous relationship, Bill, 74, owns energy company Oxbow Carbon and is estimated by Forbes to be worth $3.2 billion.
  7. Dry Tortugas are pure Florida, but for how long?

    Human Interest

    In June, photographer Carlton Ward Jr. went to the Dry Tortugas to illustrate a story on the Gulf of Mexico for Nature Conservancy magazine. He picked the national park because the health of its reefs is an exception among reefs in Florida. Coral reefs are in bad shape worldwide, especially in the upper …

    Courtesy of Carlton Ward Jr.
  8. A Q&A with the Dr. Doug Stein, vasectomy king

    Human Interest

    One day several years ago in Kenya, Dr. Doug Stein performed vasectomies on 53 men who had fathered a combined 358 children. Afterward, the men were waiting beneath a corrugated roof for a bus to take them back to their villages when a filmmaker who was making a documentary on Dr. Stein gathered them together to take a …

    Dr. Doug Stein, 61, has performed almost 34,000 vasectomies in his career. He believes every vasectomy affects the planet, controlling population growth and reducing our carbon footprint.
  9. There's a wealth of difference, and similarity, between rich and us

    Human Interest

    “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." That might rank as one of the most promiscuously misused quotes in all of literature. It's F. Scott Fitzgerald, of course, but it was hardly his intention to glorify the wealthy or to suggest that they possessed talents as well as bank …

  10. Local author's book provides images of Dade City history

    Human Interest

    DADE CITY — Unearthing the past been a long-favored hobby for Madonna Wise. It's a passion that often has the local historian digging through old letters and ancestry websites to connect with her own heritage, and poring through other people's yellowed photographs to create a cohesive record of what once was.

    Madonna Jervis Wise’s Dade City is a part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series that shares the history of small towns and cities. Her first book chronicled Zephyrhills.