Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

For 'leapers,' waiting four years just means a bigger birthday party

ST. PETERSBURG — Casey Wilson has been looking forward to today since she can remember. The junior at Northeast High School can now claim an unusual bond with her father — a chance to be 16 together.

Her father, Dean Wilson, was born Feb. 29, 1948 — leap year. Though he has been on the planet 64 years now, the elder Wilson has had only 16 calendar birthdays, including today's.

"I think it's really awesome," said Casey, who turned 16 last April. "I've been looking forward to this for a really long time. You know how everyone says sweet 16?"

Birthdays of "leapers" — people born on Feb. 29 — have been causing consternation and amusement since 46 B.C., when the Gregorian calendar now in use was first adjusted to match the astronomical year.

The chance of being born on a day that occurs only every four years is one in 1,461.

Among those lucky, or unlucky, enough to have a Feb. 29 birthday: rapper/actor Ja Rule (36 today), actor Antonio Sabato Jr. (40), and self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins (52). Departed Leap Day birthday celebrants include entertainer Dinah Shore and musician Tommy Dorsey.

Today also marks an anniversary for the city of St. Petersburg, incorporated on Feb. 29, 1892.

Local leapers say they have mostly enjoyed the unique birthday, including the never-ending jokes.

Nichole Paquette (2/29/72), a human resources worker in Tampa, recalled a 20th birthday party her friends threw for her in college — "a Winnie-the-Pooh theme with adult beverages."

St. Petersburg lawyer Watson Sinden (2/29/52) will celebrate with 15 candles on his birthday cake. "It's fun," Sinden said. "In off years, year in, year out, you try to extend it into a week. And you play on it."

Other leapers have taken Feb. 28 and March 1 — and sometimes both — to celebrate a day that doesn't exist on the calendar three years out of four.

"The calendar, I think, is the hardest part," said Kelly Smith, whose daughter, Ashleigh, was born Feb. 29, 2000. Ashleigh, a sixth-grader at Randall Middle School, doesn't ask on which day of the week her birthday will fall, though her two brothers always do about their birthdays.

"She's never denied a birthday," Smith said. "Or two. Or three."

A leap year birthday can bring headaches. Some drop-down menus on the computer still lack a Feb. 29. Other programs have had glitches — even Facebook.

In off years, according to Paquette, the social networking giant has announced her birthday on Feb. 28.

Paying for auto maintenance with a check has proved time-consuming for Michelle May-Backlund (2/29/64), since the date of birth on her driver's license has caused problems with a check-verifying service.

With that in mind, what if you're expecting a baby about now? Would you be more likely to embrace a Feb. 29 birth because it's fun and unique? Or avoid it because of the potential hassles?

Calls to several Tampa Bay area hospitals indicate many try to steer clear of the unique distinction.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital in Tampa doesn't have many inductions of labor scheduled for today, "but a lot for March 1," said spokeswoman Jackie Tolley.

"It seems people are avoiding the day," she said.

As for scheduled C-sections, there are three today, just one fewer than the hospital has on an average day.

"Most of the time, when you're talking about a C-section or induction on leap day, there might be slight hesitation" from the patient, said Dr. Catherine Lynch, medical director of inpatient obstetrics and gynecology at Tampa General Hospital. "But when you present the alternative of having it a day or two later, Feb. 29 sounds like a cool day."

That was pretty much the case with Betsy Young, who was scheduled to deliver a girl today at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Young, 37, said doctors told her last week they had only the 28th and 29th available for C-sections — and the 28th was booked.

Kara Lynn Young was due for delivery at 6 a.m. today. "I think every four years we're going to have a big celebration," the mother said.

Meanwhile, Casey Wilson is planning a surprise for her father's birthday. Father and daughter have already shared an age. For a year starting April 7, 2010, both were technically 15.

This next bubble lasts only about five weeks. April 7 is her 17th birthday, when she will overtake him in years — kind of.

"This is the turning point," Casey said. "When I turn 17, he'll never be able to catch up with me again."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Richard Martin can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3322.

Comments
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of a small Florida town arrested for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits to park at city hall has resigned.The Bradenton Herald reports that Teresa Bradley resigned and was given six-months of probation as pa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Crash closes Lutz Lake Fern Road at Cypress Green Drive

LUTZ — Lutz Lake Fern Road is closed in both directions at Cypress Green Drive after a crash Sunday morning, deputies reported.The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash, said HCSO spokesman Danny Alvarez.Stay with tampabay.c...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Woman, 24, hit by Land Rover, in critical condition

LARGO — A 24-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle Saturday night, police said.Khadijah Wood was walking through the parking lot of the Sandy Lane Apartment Homes on Belcher Road about 7:30 p.m.At the same time, Ju...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Warm, sunny Sunday in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s another bright, sunny day in Tampa Bay. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaHigh temperatures should reach about 80 d...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Published: 12/16/17