12/07/13 Human Interest
MADEIRA BEACH — The medicine man planted his sneakers on the deck of the fishing boat, bowed his head and asked God in an ancient tongue to lead the way, to help them find some remnants of the woman who saved the Seminoles, if only her spirit. Tourists lined the boardwalk and watched him pray, cameras clicking.
"We will bring her back in memory," he said.
With that, the Florida Fisherman II shuddered and spit and started plugging out of John's Pass, then south, toward Egmont Key, which soon came into view through thick fog....
11/22/13 Human Interest
TAMPA — The show was about to start, but the fresh-faced missionaries were just getting warmed up.
"Good evening folks," Elder T.J. Peters said to a middle-aged man and his wife hustling toward the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts to catch Friday's staging of The Book of Mormon, the hit musical that pokes all sorts of fun at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....
10/09/13 Human Interest
Frank Hallam Day has toured the world to photograph ship hulls and shipwrecks, mannequins and cherry trees, American waterways and the after-dark time of those giant balloons you see floating over New York City parades. It's good stuff. But his recent work that's getting a ton of attention — including the Oskar Barnack Award from Leica — is a series called "RV Night," and it takes a turn that's haunting and creepy, and at times funny and pathetic. The series evokes a theme of Man versus Nature with an almost post-apocalyptic tilt....
08/31/13 State Roundup
MARIANNA — At sunup Saturday, in a clearing surrounded by kudzu-heavy woods on the campus of a brutal reform school, a team of researchers carefully began digging holes around a little clandestine cemetery, hoping the red dirt would give up its secrets.
They were searching for the remains of young wards of the Dozier School for Boys, who died in state custody and were buried without the dignity of a permanent marker....
08/28/13 State Roundup
For decades, the little graveyard on the campus of the old Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna was all but forgotten. Once in a while, inmates from the nearby county jail would cut the grass at Boot Hill while the Panhandle sun baked the crooked rows of 31 pipe crosses that didn't even mark actual graves. But visitors to the clearing in the pines were few and far between.
On Saturday, as forensic anthropologists and archaeologists from the University of South Florida will begin unearthing remains of the boys buried here, many will turn their attention to the cemetery on the edge of town, about an hour's drive west of Tallahassee. ...
08/15/13 Human Interest
By BEN MONTGOMERY
Times Staff Writer
When a tornado dropped out of the sky over Moore, Okla., in May, the scene on the ground was chaotic. Emergency medics sped toward the jagged trail of destruction left by the EF5 tornado to provide aid. First responders advanced toward the storm's path. Parents rushed to find their children.
High in the sky above, a company called DigitalGlobe positioned a satellite over the scarred swath and captured a high-resolution image of Moore. It then plugged the image into a crowdsourcing application and sent out a call for help via email and social media, asking people across the country to decipher what they saw in the image. Hundreds joined in, scanning the satellite photo for three pieces of information: destroyed buildings, blue-tarped roofs and downed trees. When something fit the bill, they marked it on the communal map....
TALLAHASSEE — They call themselves the White House Boys, but they're old men now. Gray hair falls from their ball caps. They have bad backs and failing hearts and pictures of grandchildren in their wallets.
Tuesday morning, they slid into chairs before the Florida Cabinet. In the 1940s, '50s and '60s, Florida carried them away from their families and deposited them at one of the country's largest reform schools, in the Panhandle town of Marianna, a place where, some of them say, they were beaten so badly they can still feel it....
After decades of questions about how many boys are buried on the abandoned grounds of the state’s first and oldest reform school on the outskirts of the Panhandle town of Marianna, a team of anthropologists and archaeologists from the University of South Florida may soon use science to provide some answers.
The Cabinet agreed Tuesday morning to allow the researchers to continue with the next step in a project they started two years ago: to account for all the burials by unearthing the boys’ skeletal remains and, hopefully, identifying each of them....
You love guns. You don't love guns. You think George Zimmerman is a racist wanna-be cop. You think he is a Second-Amendment saint. You think Florida's "stand your ground" law is perfect and flawed. You think the American justice system worked and failed.
Zimmerman's trial, which ended with his acquittal on July 13, opened debate on a spectrum of hot-button issues in a way few public events have. Protesters marched in cities across the country. President Barack Obama weighed in. Leaders called for a national conversation on race, whatever that means....
TAMPA — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called out Gov. Rick Scott on Monday for saying the state doesn't have the legal standing to allow the exhumation of graves at the infamous Dozier School for Boys.
"This is a good example of the ridiculous stance that the state of Florida has taken," Nelson said, "and I believe this is under the direction of the governor."
The University of South Florida researchers who discovered numerous unmarked graves at the state-run reform school also sent a legal reply to Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Monday. Detzner issued last week's ruling, saying the state doesn't have the power to allow the unearthing of graves at Dozier. Guards spent decades abusing the troubled youth sent to live at the Panhandle reform school....
07/22/13 Public Safety
The University of South Florida argued Monday that the state has the authority to allow researchers to excavate graves around a clandestine cemetery at a notorious state-run reform school.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner last week denied USF's request to exhume bodies from the old cemetery at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna to learn how they died and return their remains to families. He said his office didn't have the authority under Florida law to give the green light....
The University of South Florida will appeal a ruling by the state that denied anthropologists and archaeologists a permit to exhume human remains on the campus of Florida's oldest reform school.
The USF researchers met with Florida Attorney General's Office representatives and both agreed to appeal the ruling from Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
"We believe Secretary Detzner has misunderstood his office's authority and jurisdiction under Florida law in this matter, specifically in USF researchers' discovery of what appears to be unidentified human remains at the Dozier site and the danger of those remains being destroyed," USF said in a statement. "The discovery of human remains requires state action under Florida Statutes section 872.05."...
07/15/13 Human Interest
The state on Monday denied the University of South Florida's request to exhume the bodies of dead boys from a clandestine, unmarked cemetery at the Dozier School for Boys in the Panhandle town of Marianna, where troubled youths for decades were severely beaten and abused by guards.
In a letter to the USF professors leading the project, Secretary of State Ken Detzner wrote that he understood the importance of telling the story of the Dozier School....
SANFORD – Inside the courthouse, the jury was deliberating. Outside, the protesters were yelling.
The folks on one side of the fence held signs that said SELF DEFENSE IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT! and GEORGE GOT HIT YOU MUST ACQUIT.
Those on the other side held signs that said JUSTICE 4 TRAYVON and END RACIAL OPPRESSION.
Alexander Duncan walked among them, shaking hands, no matter the shade of skin. He lives nearby, in Eatonville, but he has shown up here almost every day since jury selection began four weeks ago....
A jury of six women late Saturday found that George Zimmerman shot to death 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to save his own life on a rainy night in February 2012 when the two met in a gated suburban neighborhood.
After deliberating 16 hours and 20 minutes over two days, jurors found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Zimmerman, 29, showed little emotion as the verdict was read about 10 p.m....