10/03/12 Human Interest
BROOKSVILLE — Cindy Boyer was browsing through online profiles of children with no families when she stumbled upon a little girl from Russia.
An adoption advocacy organization, Reece's Rainbow, had named the girl Adalyn. She is a year and a half old, has short hair, dark eyes, and a bilateral cleft lip, gum and palate.
Cindy stopped scrolling. She stared at the picture.
Adalyn's situation was all too familiar to her....
I like to talk about sex.
This is natural for a woman who grew up in a culture that surrounds us with it, who is the product of parents who taught me no topic is taboo.
But few who discuss sex with me are prepared for what I divulge: I'm a virgin.
Responses to my decision to save sex for marriage range from awkward silence to sympathy and have included the following question: "Do you really want to ruin your wedding night that way?"...
05/19/12 Human Interest
Outside a Concord, N.H., theater where Dave Cruz had sung in the opera La Traviata, he tucked his helmet into his black motorcycle's backpack and slid onto its leather seat. It was July 1998. The sky was blue. A day too beautiful to ride with a helmet. Headed for a friend's house, he traveled east on Highway 393, riding in the inside lane at 40 mph. As he approached an intersection, a 19-year-old in the left turn lane abruptly pulled into traffic to turn right. Her white Subaru sedan crossed Cruz's path and they collided....
Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli de Veracruz
The acclaimed traditional dance and music group, direct from Veracruz, Mexico, performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets $28, $24. (727) 942-5605.
'Jackpot': A Las Vegas revue with matinees and evenings through April 22 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Dinner and show, $49.50; show only, $38.45, plus tax and tip, for adults, $24.95 and $19.95 for 12 and younger. (727) 863-7949 or toll-free 1-888-655-7469....
Facebook is going public, with a stock offering worth untold billions of dollars. But two years ago this month, I stopped going public. I quit Facebook.
Wary of what the social network does to relationships, I walked away from it at 24. I said an e-farewell to more than 500 friends. I haven't heard from 490. I don't know their Facebook statuses or their Farmville scores. They don't send me party invitations or show me their latest pictures....
09/10/11 Human Interest
At his kitchen counter, Tim Harrigan flipped through the yellowing, plastic pages of the scrapbook. Part is pictures he took at ground zero. The other part, clips of Newsday articles about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Ten years ago, he put the book together for his kids.
"I didn't know how long I was going to be around," he said. He didn't know if he'd get to tell them his story. ...
A friend of a friend recently asked a little girl a question: What's the one thing in the world you want most?
"To look like Hannah Montana," she said, referring to the Disney Channel pop-star played by actor Miley Cyrus.
My friend's friend retorted: "But I'd miss your face!"
Disgusted, the little girl shook her head.
"No," she said. "You couldn't miss that."
She is one of many girls who sees her face and says it could be better, who believes something has to change before she can be good enough. But she is only 4 years old....
04/30/11 Human Interest
Heading north on U.S. 19, I noticed a bunch of children buckled up in a big, black sport utility vehicle. Their chauffeur? A distracted driver.
One hand on the wheel, his other typing on a smart phone. Eyes on the road only in short intervals. So when I moved from the middle lane to the right, and in front of him by a few car lengths, I had a feeling I shouldn't. But I did.
I should have known better....
03/05/11 Human Interest
NEW PORT RICHEY
While steak simmered in a pan on the stove on a recent Friday night, Lauren Rivera slipped out to the back yard through the sliding screen door in the kitchen.
She noticed no-see-ums. Watched her children play. Ten-year-old Lily laughed. Caitlyn, also 10, had her curly brown hair pulled up in a bun and held back by a black plastic headband. Lucas' black and blue sneakers slipped off the 12-year-old's feet while he hugged the football and ran across the yard....
02/05/11 Human Interest
HUDSON — While his students decorated a set of 13 fire hydrants, Eric Johnson watched.
They used paper and glue to commemorate Sept. 11, 2001, and paint and gold leaf to express their feelings about it.
"One said it gave her a chance to give a voice to the voiceless," he said. "That's deep for a 14-year-old."
It's also part of the point of the project, he said. The hydrants honor the emergency responders who lost their lives on 9/11. The set, an exhibit called Three Hours, Two Towers, A Lifetime to Remember, is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa through Saturday....
12/30/10 Human Interest
CARROLLWOOD — At the start of 2010, the Carrollwood Players struggled to make ends meet. The theater company couldn't promise the public the Carrollwood Playhouse could stay open much longer.
As the year comes to a close, group president James Cass admits things aren't necessarily looking up. But, said Cass, "they're not getting worse."
Cass replaced Toni Germinario as president of the Carrollwood Players when Germinario's term ended over the summer....
12/09/10 Human Interest
ODESSA — All her life, Lori Diez has looked for a big way to help others. "I wanted to do something to better the world," she said. In childhood, she hoped to someday feed all the world's hungry children. That didn't quite happen, but the wife and mom of three still wanted to help kids in need. This year, she found a way. When Diez, 48, wrote a children's book, she decided to donate the proceeds to the Heart Gallery Tampa Bay, a traveling exhibit that encourages adoption so kids in foster care can get permanent families — something Diez doesn't take for granted....
While I clutched my purse and pushed a cart through the juniors department at Target, I stopped short when I saw it: a sale on skinny jeans.
I picked out a pair of them — whiskered, medium wash, skin-tight and perfect to wear with flats when it's hot or boots when it's cold. I'd been trying to find a pair for a while. Stoked about scoring a deal, I took my impending purchase to the fitting room and pulled it off the hanger....
09/30/10 Human Interest
NORTH TAMPA — For now, Jean Francois Dujour spends his days in classrooms at the University of South Florida, studying and teaching French.
In time, he hopes to have classrooms of his own back in Haiti, the homeland never far from his thoughts.
After finishing his master's degree, Dujour plans to start a school so he can give to other Haitians something he says is invaluable: a good education. Getting that, he said, can be the reason a person solves problems instead of causes them....
NORTH TAMPA — At the University of South Florida, nearly 600 golf carts regularly cross paths with students and staff on the Tampa campus' streets and sidewalks. About 75 percent of the carts are powered by gasoline. The rest run on batteries — with one exception.
"I have been stopped by students who ask me what's on top of the golf cart," said Jose Rodriguez, assistant manager of building maintenance at USF's physical plant. ...