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Floridian Archives

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 …

    ST. PETERSBURG 11/26/2012 7. Lane DeGregory. FOR FLORIDIAN.  SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES
  5. 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.

  6. How Tampa shaped Benjamin Booker, music's next big thing

    Music & Concerts

    Benjamin Booker's story is the kind to make any aspiring musician jealous. Less than two years after starting to play live, he has been signed to a record label, released his debut album, played festivals, opened for Jack White and appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman and Conan.

    Benjamin Booker performing at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in May in Atlanta.
  1. Aunt Mary joins the Greek gods for eternity

    Human Interest

    “Do you prefer a cliff, or water?" asked the owner of the lovely hotel at the foot of Mount Olympus.

  2. The raccoon and the U-turn — a back-road Florida fable (w/video)

    Human Interest

    The road to Pahokee is long and lonely: 38 miles around the southeast shore of Lake Okeechobee. During most of the drive, you can't see the state's largest lake. Just a towering cement wall, rimmed by old fish camps. And on the other side, endless acres of palmettos. You often go for miles without seeing a soul.

    MELISSA LYTTLE / Times
  3. From typing to HTML, teaching the tech revolution

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — In the back building at St. Pete High, in a third-floor corner classroom, Mrs. Mathis stood waiting to greet her students on her last first day of school.

    1974 Lakewood High School yearbook
  4. For sailboat designer Charley Morgan, life's still a breeze

    Human Interest

    Charley Morgan, who calls himself "the ancient mariner," felt like a kid again. Eighty-five candles will grace his next birthday cake, but when he noticed the palm trees swaying beyond the window, he marched outside to look at Boca Ciega Bay. Standing on his dock, he saw Blue Cloud prancing at the end of a rope like a …

    A self-portrait of Charley Morgan, who took up painting after his first wife died of cancer in 2001.
  5. Seven weeks in a Honduran prison: The untold story of the 'Aqua Quest'

    Human Interest

    [ CAMERON COTTRILL | Times ]
  6. Cut short by Gov. Rick Scott, climate scientist finishes his thought

    Human Interest

    David Hastings of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg recently traveled to Tallahassee to talk to Rick Scott about how to save Florida.

    Eckerd College marine science professor David Hastings, left, speaks to Gov. Rick Scott about climate change.
  7. Ideas don't fall from trees — you've got to climb for them

    Human Interest

    The magazine in your hand begins in a casual morning meeting held many days, even weeks ago. In a room that looks west over a crumbling YMCA and south toward a rising apartment complex, writers, photographers and editors share what's on their minds. It's an idea factory, but it's more like the place where hurricanes are …

  1. The second coming of Billy the Kid (w/ video)

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS —

    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.
  2. 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 …

  3. 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 …

     Handoutphoto
  4. 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.

    Instagram
  5. 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.

  6. Dispatches from Next Door: Burn survivor's words are the balm that soothe

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — “Joe Versaggi," he said, lightly bumping fists with the young man in the hospital bed. "Burn survivor."

    Joe Versaggi, 71, has always loved to fly. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and flew on hundreds of death-defying missions that he survived. But eight years ago, the Cessna a friend was flying crashed and left Joe with burns covering 35 percent of his body. He now volunteers at Tampa General Hospital, where he splits his time between driving the courtesy shuttle and talking to the survivors in the burn unit.
  7. For coffee shop owner, every day is a clean start (w/ video)

    Human Interest

    GULFPORT — At 5:30 a.m. Teddy Kehoe opens the door to his dark shop, and the smell of bleach from last night's scrubbing nudges him awake. He pulls the chain on a coffee-cup sign in the window. Steam blinks from the cup.

    Teddy Kehoe, 52, owner of the Gulfport Grind, opened the coffee shop after three years of fruitlessly trying to find a job.