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Good reads

  1. 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.”
  2. In My Shoes: Stopping is not an option for Lois Huyghue

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER

    Lois Huyghue, who hates cold like cats hate getting wet, pulled into Coachman Park to run a marathon. At 5 a.m., it was 36 degrees. Wearing two coats, three T-shirts and two hats, she peered out of her car window at a park full of skinny people in shorts and tank tops.

    None of them looked scared, …

    Lois Huyghue, 55, had a stroke when she was 18 months old and has limited control of her left arm and leg. She ran her first marathon last year in the Clearwater Distance Classic.
  3. Florida rancher's wish: a legacy of his land pristine forever

    Human Interest

    FORT PIERCE — Bud Adams, slim and dressed in blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt and cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, drove his Ford Explorer around his ranch in western St. Lucie County, looking at his land and his cattle. His truck, with manure caked in the tires, jounced in the ruts of rough paths. He's been …

    Bud Adams sits in his back yard at his ranch in Fort Pierce on a December day. He wears hearing aids. He has to have skin cancer spots removed from his face, the result of a life spent riding horses. He had a quadruple bypass a few years ago and gets short of breath. But he still works on his land. He loves his land. “I hate to leave it,” he says.
  4. Red-cockaded woodpeckers better off at forest in Hernando and across the country

    Human Interest

    BROOKSVILLE

    The fire-groomed forest — the tall, well-spaced longleaf pines, the floor of ferns and wire grass speckled with the last of the fall wildflowers — was proof that nature can thrive with a little help.

    The red-cockaded woodpecker, a federally endangered species, is a target of preservation efforts in the Withlacoochee State Forest near Brooksville.
  5. Movies by moonlight

    Human Interest

    People can catch a sunset then sit in the grass near Pier 60 and watch a free movie during Sunset Cinema every Friday and Saturday about 6:30 p.m. in Clearwater Beach. Step Up All In played on Friday night. Men in Black 3 will be shown tonight.

    
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  8. 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.
  9. 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. 
  10. 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.