ST. PETERSBURG — There were too many plaintiffs to fit on one line.
That is what the lawyer that night in 1965 told his clients, a dozen black police officers who had been meeting in one another's living rooms for a year and a half.
If these officers were going to file their discrimination lawsuit, one of them needed to be the face of it, lawyer James B. Sanderlin said.
Adam Baker stood up....
02/27/15 Human Interest
A single spotlight illuminated one end of an otherwise dark room at the Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner's office. William Pellan sat behind a computer, eyes fixed to the image of a dead man. Everything I needed to know was on that screen, glowing on his face. But Florida law forbids non-family inspection of autopsy documents. If only I could see, I might be able to answer a question that has haunted me for 15 years, leading me on one fruitless search after another. I might finally learn what became of my childhood best friend. Stewart Fletcher Currin has been missing since 1999. The last time I saw him, he was homeless and paranoid, and his time at a motel was about to run out. The last time anyone saw him was about a month later, when a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy shooed him off a bench. Now here I sat, watching the director of investigations study actual photos of unidentified body 99-1145, a man found five days after Fletcher's last sighting, 5 miles away, by a bus bench. The identity had puzzled the office for years. Even though the medical examiner gets about one unnamed body a week, fingerprints and facial recognition solve most cases within a day or two. Investigators had ruled out this one for 170 missing persons cases. Pellan knew what was at stake, and left the room to talk with Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin. He emerged several minutes later. Solving the case, he said, outweighed any legal technicalities. I braced myself as he turned the screen....
ST. PETERSBURG — Margaret Crist Wood, a sister of former Gov. Charlie Crist who managed his 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate, died of cancer Tuesday at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, her family said.
She was 60.
Mrs. Wood had been treated for a malignant brain tumor. The cancer reappeared in recent months.
The eldest of four children by Dr. Charles J. Crist, a former Pinellas County School Board chairman, and his wife Nancy, Mrs. Wood grew up in a close-knit family that has been anchored in St. Petersburg since 1960. Its members even now live within 2 miles of each other....
ST. PETERSBURG — Judge Mark McGarry Jr. flew airplanes around the country.
He excelled at golf and marksmanship, taught badminton and raced canoes and kayaks all over Florida.
He was competitive, encouraging his children not only to throw themselves into sports, but to win.
Mr. McGarry — "the Judge," as most everyone called him — also played piano and classical guitar. He also drew, creating several cartoon books about lawyers and judges....
TAMPA — The fugitive wheeled around and leveled his pistol.
Phil McNiff pulled his own gun and said, "FBI, don't move!"
The suspect ran. As Mr. McNiff rounded a corner in pursuit, a bullet from the fugitive's gun whizzed past his head and lodged in a drain pipe.
Another agent stopped the fugitive, a member of the Black Liberation Army, with a shotgun blast, killing him....
For a neurosurgeon on call, there are no real work hours.
You show up at the hospital whenever someone needs your help staying alive.
Also, forget about working eight hours and going home. Dr. R. Clinton Pittman, a neurosurgeon for many years, once pulled 24 hours straight performing surgery at Morton Plant Hospital.
To compensate for the unpredictable schedule, he sometimes slept in an apartment closer to the hospital than his Tarpon Springs home....
TAMPA — It might have sounded like an easy job, supervising children and playing games with them all summer at Hillsborough County parks.
Ed Radice, who led the county's Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department for 28 years, knew that workers could get tired and frustrated by the end of those hot days. So every morning throughout the county, Mr. Radice showed up looking fit, wearing shorts over his brown legs and a coach's whistle around his neck....
ST. PETERSBURG — Miriam Williams was a 21-year-old recent college graduate and teaching school when a phone call brought her the worst possible news.
Her parents, Oscar and Finnette Gilbart, had been struck Nov. 30, 1948, while crossing Fourth Street N. Her father was killed instantly; her mother died the next day.
She would marry Gene Williams the next year, a union that lasted the rest of her life and produced four children. Memories of the tragedy nipped at her each November, but Mrs. Williams stayed ahead of the grief. "God has a plan," she told her children, "and so far his plans are far better than mine."...
EAST LAKE — It was a borderline crazy idea, getting a hockey club together in the southernmost state of the continental United States. But a few enthusiasts made it happen in 1989 at the University of South Florida.
A critical step along the way: finding a coach.
For that, a handful of USF students turned to former minor-league player Tony Mancuso. The Canada native was nearly 60 and had operated several businesses....
01/02/15 Human Interest
Bubba the Love Sponge Clem will drop some news sure to delight fans on Monday involving his return to the Tampa Bay airwaves.
Rumors had circulated for a month that the shock jock — known for a passionate "army" of loyal listeners, and feuds with fellow disc jockey Todd "MJ" Schnitt and wrestler Hulk Hogan — might be headed for WHFS-FM in Holmes Beach. That's thanks in part to an ownership swap by CBS Radio, which recently dealt several stations, including WHFS and 1010-AM, to Beasley Broadcast Group in return for stations in other cities ....
ST. PETERSBURG — In the late 1980s, when the college scholarship offers started coming in, Derrick Golden didn't know where to turn for advice.
The Northeast High safety and National Merit scholar went to a family friend, retired educator Rubye Wysinger. Because he and his mother lived in a small apartment, Wysinger hosted visiting college football coaches, including Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt, in her living room....
CLEARWATER — That day in 1942, pulling back the joystick on his fighter plane, Lt. James Martin must have thought he didn't have a chance.
An incoming squadron of Japanese Zero planes had just let loose. Lt. Martin's P-40 Kittyhawk, which had taken off from Canberra, Australia, began falling toward the southern Pacific Ocean.
On the way down, Lt. Martin tried to stay calm and focus only on his actions moment by moment. He emptied all six of his .50-caliber machine guns, three on each wing....
LARGO — In the mid 1950s, Alan J. Snider was a middle-aged surgeon living in Maine. He had fulfilled all of his ambitions except the biggest one — to start a hospital.
When a Florida doctor he had met urged him to move to this state, he laughed.
"And treat all those old people?" he said.
Yet in 1956, Dr. Snider bought a former nursing home on Indian Rocks Road. He opened the 14-bed Sun Coast Osteopathic Hospital in January 1957. The next day, doctors removed a fatty tumor and also performed an appendectomy, a hysterectomy and a tonsillectomy....
ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of mammals have lost an important friend and ally, and only some of them are human. Albert Few, one of the longest-serving veterinarians in Pinellas County, died Friday of pancreatic cancer, his family said.
He was 79.
Dr. Few owned Skyway Animal Hospital from 1972 until his recent illness. For more than 40 years, he helped sick or injured animals get well or, when necessary, helped them die....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Over his 30 years at the New Port Richey campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College, Michael Sadusky developed the kind of reputation many professors covet.
Mr. Sadusky, who spent 25 of those years as chairman of the psychology department at what is now Pasco-Hernando State College, was the kind of teacher around whom core groups of students planned their schedules. They argued with him and changed their majors to psychology because of him. They attended the interdisciplinary events he cofounded, including Peace Week, Art and Culture Week and a "Love Symposium" held on Valentine's Day....