Good reads

  1. Home Depot go-to guy with cerebral palsy celebrates 20 years

    Human Interest


    Tim Dutka, wearing his Home Depot apron and a winning smile, heads out on the circuit in his powered wheelchair, delivering returned items to the various departments. At the paint counter, he presses a button on a machine, and a resonant voice asks, "Can you please take it out of my basket?''

    Marney Dutka, left, opens a gift for her son Tim, right, during a party in the break room to celebrate his 20-year anniversary at the Carrollwood Home Depot.
  2. Ministry in Dade City helps east Pasco's poor and homeless

    Human Interest

    DADE CITY — While his laundry spun in a dryer at the Restored Hope resource center, a 47-year-old homeless man sipped coffee from a plastic foam cup and told his story.

    Restored Hope resource center is a Christian ministry in Dade City that serves the poor and homeless.
  3. Scholarships give notice to kids who have siblings with autism

    Human Interest


    It was a wistful conversation prompted by a roadside Powerball billboard and his wife's altruistic notion that gave Ernie Black the idea.

    From left, sisters Sydney and Regan sit with their parents Becky and Ernie Black alongside the family’s chocolate Labrador, Jack. Regan is autistic, and the sacrifices Sydney has made over the years for Regan’s needs inspired her parents to found a scholarship program.
  4. The lies my mom, TV and just about everyone else told me about being pregnant

    Human Interest

    By Emily Kaye Lazzaro

    Before I got pregnant, I told my best friend: "I can't wait to be pregnant. I'm going to get so fat and not even care and take prenatal yoga, and it will be so easy, and I'm going to make a million pregnant friends."

    The author at 28 weeks. Guess what? You don’t get to just lie around, eat cupcakes and glow.
  5. FBI closes book on Claude Neal's lynching without naming killers

    Human Interest


    Claude Neal couldn't read or write. He was short and scrawny, and scraped by, picking peas and cotton, mending fences and tending hogs, trying to provide for a wife and 3-year-old daughter against the tides of the Great Depression.

    At a family reunion in July in Marianna, E’Laycia Williams, 10, left, and Ja’Niya Hayes, 11, tie balloons to the wheelchair of Allie Mae Neal. She was 3 when her father, Claude Neal, was lynched in Marianna in 1934.
  6. The second coming of Billy the Kid (w/ video)

    Human Interest


    Guy on the phone says to "Google 'Billy the Kid' Emerson. He's old now, but he was really famous once. He lives here." // So I Google. An African-American piano player born in Tarpon Springs, Emerson ended up at Sun Records in Memphis. Elvis recorded one of his songs. // Talk to Billy the …

    Billy Emerson holds a picture of himself he said was made on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, when he was 15.
  7. The rocky history of kids' play

    Human Interest

    When Ben Montgomery proposed writing a defense of Tampa's Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, I didn't expect that it would launch me on a meandering tour of the playgrounds of my youth. Turns out that the hilly and somewhat scruffy park across from downtown was designed by the same landscape architect who transformed the …

  8. Revive, don't raze, Tampa's Riverfront Park

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — This past Christmas we bought for my middle child something called a Spooner Board, which is marketed as a toy for gifted children but is really just a sort of a curved plastic skateboard without wheels. She dragged it to the front yard and tried to scoot around, and was bored in about two …

  9. Tumbleweaves: Stray hair woven into fabric of city life

    Human Interest

    Mark Spence was watching the storm approach when he saw it crawling along 57th Street S.

  10. The ride never ends, it just gets wet for a bit

    Human Interest

    A reporter driving home from work in a thunderstorm passes four motorcyclists huddled under a highway overpass. She wonders what they're doing out in this weather, so she pulls over. The short answer? They're debating — risk, freedom and the best place for dinner. The usual.