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  1. It's no sweat for a machine to fix Florida's humidity

    Human Interest

    It's maddening. One state has too much moisture. Another too little.

  2. New dad tries to keep professional soccer dream going with Rowdies

    Human Interest

    Maria Isabel Carabano watches from the stands as her husband, Juan Guerra, helplessly paces the sideline during the Rowdies' season opener. His mood gets darker with every tick of the game clock.

    Maria Isabel Carabano, left, watches as husband and Rowdies midfielder Juan Guerra kisses their son, Santiago, after a season-opening 0-0 tie with the Indy Eleven on April 2. Guerra didn’t play in the game, something that in the past would have frustrated him for days. But since the birth of Santiago, Guerra says, his mind-set has changed.
  3. Hurricane season: Our annual reminder that Florida is trying to kill us

    Human Interest

    A couple of years ago, a real estate blog called Estately announced that, according to its highly scientific calculations, the scariest state in the union is Florida.

    Hurricane Dennis hits Key West in July 2005. A big hurricane hasn’t hit Florida in more than a decade.
  4. Here's what this high school teacher learned about life as an American in Hiroshima (w/video)

    Features

    HIROSHIMA, Japan — Reminders come, if she lets them, as Leslie Wier walks to school.

    Leslie Wier looks out on the view at a shrine at Miyajima island in Hiroshima, Japan, this past November. The former University of South Florida student teaches English at a high school in the city. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  5. Even in the pain at the beginning and the end, motherhood never wavers

    Human Interest

    I watched from the second-to-last basement stair, which was covered in the original short-pile marigold carpet from 1959.

    From left, Katherine Snow Smith; her mother, Nancy Snow; her father, A.C. Snow, and her sister, Melinda Snow, who was killed at 31 by a drunken driver 20 years ago this month.
  1. Hard deadlines, slow internet: Photographer explains how he and his photos got out of Cuba on time

    Human Interest

    When the Tampa Bay Rays and President Barack Obama made their historic trip to Cuba this spring, the Tampa Bay Times sent photographer Will Vragovic to cover the event. The challenge before him? Try to satisfy an international audience with photos focused on sports, politics and travel. Photos for the …

    Baseball fans cheer and take photographs as Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer makes his way into the crowd gathered in the "Hot Corner" in Havana, Cuba's Parque Central on Monday, March 21, 2016.
  2. Florida needs a new slogan, so how about 'Don't tase the lovebugs?'

    Human Interest

    Florida has a lot of symbols: a state animal (the panther), a state reptile (the alligator), even a state sand (Myakka fine) and a state pie (key lime, of course). I've got no complaints about those.

    A pair of love bugs climb across a car's freshly cleaned windshield in Brooksville.
  3. Chasing the light: A photographer faces frailty as she captures images of young lives in peril

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    In the morning, after driving her kids to school, after twisting silk flowers into her strawberry hair, Sheri Kendrick slides a memory card into her camera and heads to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

    Little Light of Mine founder and photographer Sheri Kendrick, center, photographs Maggie Hoyle, left, her husband Anthony DeLuna, and their son, Lincoln Avery DeLuna, 2, in their Tampa home Feb. 18, 2016. Maggie's sister, Katie Hoyle-Germann, stands on her toes to coax smiles as volunteer Tim Arruda takes video for the organization. Their son has X-linked myotubular myopathy, a rare genetic neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by muscle weakness that calls for his 24-hour care. Kendrick is a St. Petersburg photographer who takes photos of families with critically and terminally ill children for free.
  1. Those Florida mug shots aren't always funny

    Human Interest

    Since 1949, Florida prisoners have been stamping the words "Sunshine State" on our license plates, despite most of our cities getting more annual rainfall than famously gloomy Seattle.

    [ CAMERON COTTRILL | Times ]
  2. The fire inside: Manatee County finds itself at the epicenter of a heroin epidemic

    Human Interest

    BRADENTON — He hadn't heard from her in hours, which was unusual. Even if she was upset, even if she was high, Angel never ignored a text message.

    His last one to her lingered.

    Michael Dingman, 28, displays marks on his arm from regular heroin injection while at a residence where he sometimes stays in Bradenton on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Dingman injects heroin multiple times per day, he says. He gets very ill when he goes for long without it, he says. Dingman says he would seek help if it was easily accessible; he has been on waiting lists at multiple programs for more than a year.
  1. Nowhere to go: A judge and family members try to keep a mentally ill man from dying behind bars

    Health

    Robert Valdez is 71 years old and mentally ill. He's never had much trouble with the law — until he set a neighbor's shed on fire in 2014. Something was going on inside his head.

  2. They paved paradise — and put up a memorial to what's under the parking lot

    Human Interest

    If you drive in Florida, you're familiar with Traffic Jam Season, which is what other parts of the country call fall and winter. This is the time of year when, instead of leaves turning color or snowflakes tumbling out of the sky, we see a sudden influx of Bob's Barricades and paving crews languidly waving you along.

    Traffic backs up on Gandy Boulevard near Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg as crews build a six-lane elevated road with walls that have images of manatees, sea turtles and pelicans.
  3. It's no day at the beach: Imagining all the presidential candidates gathered in Florida

    State Roundup

    Super Tuesday is when voters in a dozen states and one U.S. territory hold their nominating contests for the presidential candidates.

    A detail from Cameron Cottrill's illustration.
  1. The warning shot that condemned Orville Lee Wollard to prison and changed Florida

    State Roundup

    SNEADS — Lee Wollard's life slowly spirals away, following the trail of the gunshot he fired into a wall.

    Orville Lee Wollard is seen inside the Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2015. He is serving a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot inside his home to defend himself and his daughter from his daughter's abusive boyfriend. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Bob and Nancy know what true love sounds like

    Human Interest

    LARGO

    For reasons no one can know now, Nancy loves to sit on the porch of her mobile home and listen to her dozen wind chimes tinkling.

    Nancy, left, whose outgoing nature wasn’t affected by her stroke, makes new friends with Bob on a shopping trip to Target in Largo: Chloe the dog and Carol Granese, visiting from New York.
  1. USFSP class travels the Suwannee River for class on outdoors leadership

    Human Interest

    Paige McDaniel thought she knew the Suwannee.

     University of South Florida St. Petersburg students from the Leadership in the Great Outdoors class, pass the historic main spring at Suwannee Springs along the historic Suwannee River, 11/4/15. The main spring discharges sulphur water from behind a man-made limestone wall built in the 1890's near Live Oak, Fl. Students spent three days on the river and traveled 40 miles from the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs to the Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak.
  2. What happened to William Wade? After 35 years, hope for a real homecoming

    Human Interest

    TALLAHASSEE

    He stands in the tunnel that leads to the field, the fingers on his left hand opening and closing into a nervous fist.

    Five minutes until halftime.

    William Wade waits to walk onto the field Nov. 14 during homecoming at Florida State — something he couldn’t do 35 years ago. 
[EVE EDELHEIT, Times]
  1. Teen bowler finds himself on path of perfection toward sport's holy grail

    Human Interest

    CRYSTAL RIVER

    Everyone at Manatee Lanes had long since quit what they were doing and gathered behind the boy bowling on Lanes 9 and 10. This was a Saturday morning, Halloween.

    Christian Miller, 15, started bowling when he was 9 and got serious about the sport when he was 10. He wants to bowl in college and turn pro.
  2. For Farmer Dave and indoor farming, things are looking up

    Consumer

    TAMPA

    The white windowless box surrounded by heat-cracked asphalt gives nothing away. There's a discreet sign: Uriah's Urban Farms.

    Under LED lights farmer Dave Smiles of Uriah’s Urban Farms checks on his plants in the farm’s nursery room in their new building in Tampa. Smiles or “Farmer Dave” has spent his career building up: He is one of the country’s experts on urban vertical farming.  On July 27 he moved into  larger building. Already one of the country’s top four producing farms per square foot, this new venture (with sales to restaurants, wholesalers and now directly to customers via subscription) is a window into the changing face of American agriculture.  The LED’s produce very little heat and use a fraction of the electricity that traditional light that are used to grow plants.
  1. Fate works its magic in reuniting two orphaned sisters from South Korea

    Human Interest

    SARASOTA — When the police pulled 5-year-old Pok-nam Shin out of school, the little girl who now goes by Holly Hoyle O'Brien asked the only question that mattered: Where's my daddy?

    Visa photos of half-sisters Holly Hoyle O’Brien , left, and Meagan Hughes for their adoptions out of a South Korean orphanage to two American families.
  2. Take the True Florida Quiz: Can you spot the bogus Florida headline?

    Features

    You're reading this, which means you know Florida, which means you know Florida has a legendary case of the crazies. As with all good legends, over time, it can be tough to sort the myths from the truth.

    The True Florida Quiz is here to help.

    Josie Hollingsworth | TIMES
  3. Homosassa woman feels the sway of her native Cuba

    Human Interest

    Ingrid Ricci's view of Cuba is a complex one, formed during three different periods over more than half a century.

    Ingrid Ricci, left, and her cousin Ermalita Alameda pass a government building with Fidel Castro's image while touring the streets by foot in Santiago de Cuba. [Photo by Amber Sigman]
  4. Drones and dogs save suicidal avocados from the dreaded redbay ambrosia beetle

    Agriculture

    REDLAND

    Foreign invaders are decimating Florida avocados.

    A drone flies over the 20-acre avocado grove in Redland on Oct. 14 that belongs to Art Ballard.
  1. As dementia symptoms increase, doctor living with Alzheimer's knows exactly what his future holds

    Human Interest

    UPDATE: In the days since this story was published, readers have responded to the portrayal of Dr. David Kramer by sharing the struggles their afflicted family members face. They also commented on the difficulty for society and the plan Dr. Kramer has for the end stage of his disease:

     David and Tiffany Kramer during their routine walk on the beach in Naples Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.   Dr. David Kramer was an incredibly bright emergency room physician in Pennsylvania when he started to notice his memory fading. It was getting harder to remember patients' names and follow along with stories his kids told. He had to work harder at preparing for lectures; he kept asking his wife if familiar dresses were new. After about 5 years of increased struggling, he saw a series of doctors and was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at age 56. Now he's 59 and he and his wife live in Naples. Their motto is to live the hell out of life while they still have time. There's no definite time period before the disease gets worse, so they're trying to live every day to the fullest. On the 25th of August, I'm going to spend some time with them to get a sense of their average day in Naples, including sitting in on a session of the Early Onset Alzheimer's group meeting at the Alzheimer's Support Network there.
  2. Sun City Center couple's dance of life now moves to different rhythm

    Human Interest

    In a small room at Palm Garden nursing home in Sun City Center, two souls draw closer.

    John Breslin, a World War II vet, looks at photos from his service on the submarine USS Cavalla. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve at 17, met Rita Hughes, 14, during training in 1943 and wrote her after he went to sea.
  3. Dark places breed Gulfport woman's Halloween haunts

    Human Interest

    "I'm no Mary Poppins," Amy Slone says.

    If Poppins was obsessive-compulsive about a holiday, it would be Christmas. Slone hates Christmas. She has self-diagnosed OHD — Obsessive Halloween Disorder. Months before Halloween, she begins turning her Gulfport home — front to back, top to bottom — into …

    Amy Slone, sufferer of self-diagnosed Obsessive Halloween Disorder, has for the past 10 years built a haunted house at her Gulfport home. This year’s theme: post-nuclear apocalypse clown terror.
  1. Merl Reagle transformed modern culture into puzzle wit

    Human Interest

    Merl Reagle was a breakfast guy.

    Everybody thinks of him as a word guy, which he certainly was, but the word was coffee. Decaf. Merl didn't require artificial stimulants. His mind worked, near as I could tell, with the relentlessness of a hydroelectric dam. He transformed the torrent of modern culture into …

  2. Two empty-nesters quit their jobs, sell their house and take to the sea

    Human Interest

    The ceilings were low. The carpet, yellow shag. The windows were outdated. But the house opened out to the water, and that was all that mattered.

    The Sea Gypsy has been home for former Tampa Bay Times writer Kris Hundley and her husband since they quit their jobs and in January sold the house in which they raised their family for more than 25 years.
  3. A mom ponders her identity as her firstborn leaves for college

    Human Interest

    All year, I watched our son plan his escape.

    CAPTION: (Suwannee River, 07/29/2006) Ryland (cq) tells his mother, Lane DeGregory (cq) a story as they cruise in a houseboat on the Suwannee River.
SUMMARY: Travel feature
(Times photo by Lara Cerri)
  4. Pining for the perfect movie ending

    Movies

    Movie endings aren't what they used to be.

    THE GRADUATE
  5. A family mourns cancellation of 'Sábado Gigante'

    The Feed

    The news jumped out at me from Twitter. I stared for several seconds in disbelief.

    Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, center, is the creator and host of  S?bado Gigante, TV’s longest-running variety show. It began in Chile in 1962. It ends Sept. 19.
  6. For one man, owning dogs has created a warm and fuzzy change

    Human Interest

    We went to brunch on Father's Day, me and my parents, who had driven over from West Palm Beach. We'd gone to a nicer restaurant than usual, and my father had let me order oysters even though he thinks they're gross.

    David Gartner plays with dog Daisy, 13, who was adopted for the two Gartner children but has had David as primary caretaker.
  7. A high school junior faces her future without her biggest ally

    Human Interest

    It's so quiet in the van, rain is all we hear on the two-hour drive to Gainesville. My friend has let me tag along with her family to tour the University of Florida. No one is doing much to break the awkward silence.

    "Cheetos?" my friend asks at one point.

    A half-hour passes.

    "We have granola bars, …

    Hillsborough High School junior Annie Aguiar of Tampa, center, tours the University of Florida in July with her best friend, Meghana Bhimreddy, left. Aguiar had planned to tour UF with her grandfather, who was her biggest ally.
  8. When closure is elusive: Fletcher Currin buried 15 years after his death

    Human Interest

    OLIVIA, N.C.

    A worker struggles to lift the steel vault, then position it over a hole in the lawn behind a country church. • Three of us watch as he lowers the remains of Stewart Fletcher Currin, my closest childhood friend, into the ground. • My girlfriend takes my elbow. "Now you have closure," she …

    Stewart Fletcher Currin
  1. For two who teach it, the best Florida literature recognizes the surreal

    Books

    Florida literature has a longer history than you may think.

    Spouses Tom Hallock, left, and Julie Buckner Armstrong teach literature at USF St. Petersburg.
  2. Fictional Florida: a look at 80-some writers with state roots, settings

    Books

    "Literary" is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind when you think of Florida.

    STEVE MADDEN | Times
  3. Orlando's Crayola Experience a fascinating wonderland of color, technology and nostalgia

    Florida

    ORLANDO

    Fred Rogers' sweater is a hue Crayola might call Forest Green, or maybe Aquamarine, or maybe Illuminating Emerald. He sketches a simple rainbow on an easel in his modest TV living room, the one decorated like childhood, and turns to the camera.

    A “crayonologist” creates a batch of crayons for Crayola Experience visitors.  “This brand has certainly evolved and changed,” Crayola president and CEO Mike Perry (not pictured) says. “But that mission of sparking the creative spirit of a child has never changed.”
  4. Tampa Bay: 'the hottest cult horror movie scene in the country'

    Human Interest

    Call them a creatively incestuous bunch of filmmakers, often working on each other's movies, sometimes helping each other to distribute their macabre artistry. Grisly loves company. Especially in Florida.

    Krista Grotte, who often stars in Tampa Bay movies, teases a killer clown during a break in filming.
  1. Wild ride across Florida: 800 miles, alone on a bike

    Human Interest

    Spindly legs dangle from the frame of my glasses. A black body rappels down a silk filament, itsy-bitsy arachnid feet tickling my nose.

    Graham Brink completed an 800-mile bike race across the full length of Florida. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times]
  2. Florida's original water parks: the springs

    Human Interest

    ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK — In the summer of 1539, the conquistador Hernando de Soto and several hundred men lumbered up the Florida peninsula and stopped by this spring-fed river to rest.

    Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Gainesville is a great spot for tubing, and early starters have a chance at seeing North American river otters at play.
  3. Turn it all off and go outdoors

    Human Interest

    With a job title of digital audience manager, I get paid to be better than most at being digitally connected.

    Appreciating wildlife and the clear, cold, turquoise-tinted water of Manatee Spring.
  4. Famous people, famous places: Reflecting on the best parts of Florida

    Human Interest

    Ernest Hemingway once described Key West as "the best place I've ever been anytime anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms. ... Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks." That is a real, unedited quote. Although we might never know the result of that night of absinthe-induced …

    This photo by acclaimed Florida nature photographer Clyde Butcher is "Loxahatchee River State Park - 1991" will be included in the exhibit opening Jan. 8-29 at the Pasco-Hernando State art gallery. The exhibit Visions of Florida: The Photographic Art of Clyde Butcher is part of the Museum of Florida History's Traveling Exhibit (TREX) program. Butcher will will discuss his work in a special presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing, on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on the college's West Campus in New Port Richey.