Make us your home page

Times Investigations

Sharmel Troupe and Ryan Gormley play with daughter Jada, who is almost 1, in the Nebraska Avenue motel room they currently call home.CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

After paying $600,000 to 'Hoe' Brown, Hillsborough changes homeless program

TAMPA The only thing worse than the daily morning sickness that sent Sharmel Troupe shuffling from friends' couches to bathrooms last year was the fear that, when her baby came, the infant would be homeless. Troupe, then 30, was nine months pregnant when she and her boyfriend, an unemployed construction worker, ran …


  1. Sheriff: Shut down Goodwill work release center in Largo

    Public Safety

    After conducting an 11-day surveillance operation, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says the Goodwill-run Largo work release center should be closed immediately.

    Inmates at the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center, run by Goodwill Industries, congregate in an outdoor courtyard. The facility has been plagued by numerous issues including inmate escapes, lax supervision and violent crimes. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recommended Thursday that the program be shut down.
  2. Ongoing problems plague Goodwill work release centers

    Public Safety

    Five years ago, Goodwill put out a nationwide call to action.

    Inmates at the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center, run by Goodwill Industries-Suncoast, congregate in an outdoor courtyard.
  3. Editorial: Steps toward safety at work-release centers


    It took the murders of two men and the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl by escapees from a Largo work-release center for the Florida Legislature to finally make major security changes in the state's 32 centers. New rules, pushed by two Clearwater Republicans, Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Ed Hooper, include a $3.8 …

  4. Florida work-release centers about to get electronic monitoring for inmates

    Public Safety

    Florida is poised to make significant changes to privately operated work-release programs now that lawmakers have agreed to beef up security and limit the size of the centers.

    Law enforcement officers search room to room Jan. 7 at the Largo Residential Re-entry Center, which has had escape issues.
  5. Senate passes measure to downsize controversial Largo work release center

    Public Safety

    The Florida Legislature may soon downsize the controversial Largo work-release center, where inmates recently have been accused of a rape and two murders.

    The Florida Senate approved an amendment to limit the size of the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center, a Goodwill program that helps prisoners transition back into society.
  6. State removes murderers from work release centers after Times stories


    The Department of Corrections moved convicted murderers out of all of the state's work release centers on Friday and said it will no longer allow them to participate in the program.

    Law officers in January search the 280-inmate Largo Residential Re-entry Center, which has had numerous escapes.
  7. Best intentions, worst results at Largo work release center

    Public Safety

    Two men have been mourned, their killer has been sentenced, and the prison doors have slammed shut forever on Michael Scott Norris.

Times wins Pulitzer for fluoride editorials

The series of editorials was written last year by Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth after the Pinellas County Commission moved to stop putting fluoride in the drinking water, affecting the dental health of 700,000 people in the county.

Our Stand Your Ground investigation

A Tampa Bay Times investigation has found that Florida's "stand your ground" law is being used in ways never imagined — to free gang members involved in shootouts, drug dealers beefing with clients and people who shot their victims in the back.

  1. Times journalists win host of regional, national awards


    Tampa Bay Times journalists earned a host of top honors in the 2012 Green Eyeshade Awards, a contest that for 63 years has recognized the best journalism in the southeastern United States.

  2. Legislation addressing abuse at unlicensed religious children's homes passes House after failed attempt to strip it down



    A bill addressing some of the problems exposed by a 2012 Tampa Bay Times investigation into abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes passed the Florida House on Wednesday.

  3. Times writer wins prestigious investigative journalism award


    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Times staff writer Alexandra Zayas, who spent a year investigating abuse at unlicensed religious children's homes, has earned one of journalism's most prestigious awards for her series, "In God's Name."

  4. Judge allows military home to stay open despite abuse complaints


    FORT PIERCE — Despite a list of state findings that includes, most recently, bizarre punishment and a broken bone, a self-titled "colonel" and his unlicensed Port St. Lucie military academy can continue to house and discipline boys for 16 more months with no oversight.

    Alan Weierman listens to testimony during a court hearing in Fort Pierce Thursday afternoon. The state asked a Fort Pierce judge to shut down a children's home run by Weierman, the self-professed "colonel" who runs Southeastern Military Academy in Port St. Lucie. Circuit Judge Robert Belanger ruled that Weierman had until June 2014 to get accredited or be shut down. That date will mark an entire decade of no oversight at the military school run by the "colonel."
  5. State asks judge to shut military academy with abuse record


    FORT PIERCE — Alan Weierman, the self-titled "colonel" of an unlicensed military home with a yearslong track record of abuse findings, went to court Wednesday to defend against a state effort to shut him down.

    Alan Weierman looks through paperwork with his wife, Molly, during a court hearing Wednesday in Fort Pierce. The state wants to shut down his Southeastern Military Academy.
  1. Lawmakers battle behind the scenes for tutoring money


    TALLAHASSEE — As the legislative session neared an end this month, state Rep. Erik Fresen found himself in an awkward position.

    Sen. Anitere Flores, who withdrew her proposal to add subsidized tutoring to an unrelated education bill, talks with Sen. Rene Garcia, who later made an identical proposal May 1.
  2. Lawmakers end subsidized tutoring program


    TALLAHASSEE — A last-ditch effort by South Florida lawmakers to keep millions of dollars flowing to private tutoring companies suffered a resounding defeat on Wednesday, giving Florida school districts control over $100 million in federal education money for the first time in a decade.

  3. UPDATED: Flores makes last-minute move to protect subsidized tutoring


    Just when it looked like Florida schools would be freed from state requirements to hire private tutoring companies, a state senator is making a late push to mandate funding through a fast-tracked virtual learning bill.

    Sen. Anitere Flores, R- Miami talks with Sen. Rene Garcia, R- Hialeah, on the floor of the Senate. Flores  proposed an amendment to an amendment of HB 7029 that would require districts to pay 8 percent of roughly $1 billion in federal education money to private tutoring contractors.
  4. Tutoring for poor children under quiet debate


    TALLAHASSEE — The fight over subsidized tutoring in the Florida Legislature has come down to a quiet confrontation set against an unlikely backdrop — a series of budget talks between the House and Senate.

  5. State senator proposes crackdown on tutoring companies


    Criminals would be banned from running subsidized tutoring firms and state education officials would be required to track complaints and bar providers who cheat or commit fraud under a bill filed Tuesday in the state Senate.