05/24/13 Human Interest
John Childers and Jerry Brewster thought they knew pretty much everything about their hometown. But when they sat down at Mosquito Grill & Bar last month with veteran coaches from Land O'Lakes High School to consider who should be the first named to its athletics hall of fame, they were amazed to learn about a 1979 graduate now recognized among the nation's best doctors.
"Google him,'' ordered John Benedetto, the legendary football coach....
05/17/13 Human Interest
Her customers at the beauty salon wouldn't know unless she told them. Same for the folks at the New Port Richey farmer's market who buy her orchids.
But in the summer of 1966, Barbara Gose achieved a celebrity status at what once was considered America's greatest entertainment complex. She did it on the bare back of a quarter horse named Gamal in front of thousands of people who also caught a glimpse of her own bare back....
In 34 years of practice, cardiologist Steve Goldman has formed a pretty good idea about his fellow doctors.
Most start out full of altruism, he says, ready to save the world. Then reality sets in. They get caught in the medical industrial complex, "the meat grinder.''
"It becomes a business,'' he said last week as we toured the Good Samaritan Health Clinic in New Port Richey. "This place allows doctors to recapture that spirit, the reason they got into medicine in the first place.''...
04/19/13 Human Interest
In 14 years, Brian Dunning had played just about every position on the baseball field, running free with other special needs children. More important to his mother, he had found a comfort zone, a place where it seemed everybody welcomed him with a high-five or fist-bump.
As he approached the age where he would no longer be eligible to play, Shady Hills Little League officials wanted to grant him a wish. They had a pretty good idea what it might be, especially since Brian talked about it all the time....
04/19/13 Human Interest
NEW PORT RICHEY — Mike Carver calls himself a "lucky one," which seems odd when you see that he is missing his right arm and leg. He has only two fingers on his remaining hand, and they had to be surgically separated. He has only four toes on his left foot.
"I was all messed up," he said, "but I never knew anything different. I was born this way. I didn't have to endure trauma like most of these folks."...
04/16/13 Human Interest
John Gallagher is nearing the end of a remarkable career in local government, soaking up the accolades for his role in making this county better. But as he'll quickly tell you, he owes much of his success to a gruff, plain-speaking former New York cop named Walter Jones.
In those early days, when Gallagher walked into a hornet's nest and a grand jury pronounced Pasco government corrupt and broken, it was Jones who guided his friend and provided the toughness needed to dispose of the trash....
04/12/13 Human Interest
Pat Mulieri has achieved uncommon success in her 75 years, the last 18 as a Pasco County commissioner. She earned a doctoral degree and taught college English for 26 years. She is known for a kind heart, for aiding the poor and homeless. She rescues stray animals.
But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't save her own daughter, the pretty cheerleader and prom queen who grew up to be a drug addict....
04/08/13 Human Interest
Last Sept. 28, Steve Wrubel, 103, called a cab to his home on Melody Lane in Holiday. He paid $6 for a ride to a nursing home in Tarpon Springs, his daily routine for two years as his wife, Vickie, needed special care for a broken hip and other problems related to old age.
They sat together in silence. They held hands. She told him, again, that she just wanted to come home. He told her, "Soon.''...
03/30/13 Human Interest
The smooth new sidewalk along 2 miles of busy Moon Lake Road allows safe passage for children walking and bicycling to the sprawling River Ridge middle/high school complex. It has a name — Corey's Trail — although there are no signs.
For those who know the story, the sidewalk itself is the sign. It's proof that for all the naysayers who think the world is going to hell, we're actually in pretty good hands....
03/28/13 Public Safety
DADE CITY — Six months after Edward Young died from injuries he sustained in a wreck at U.S. 98 and U.S. 301, his family and neighbors this week celebrated the state's decision to install a traffic signal at the intersection.
"We're thrilled,'' said Don Reno, who was Young's neighbor in the Southfork Mobile Home Park. "People in Dade City said they would never put a light there, even though everybody seemed to agree it was needed. This will save lives. Unfortunately it comes too late for Ed.''...
At 4 a.m. March 30, 1968, Bravo Company Marines set out from their base at Khe Sanh to recover the bodies of 25 comrades killed Feb. 25 in a North Vietnamese army ambush.
Pfc. John DeBok, fresh out of boot camp, had arrived just a week earlier. He volunteered for the patrol. At 19, he considered himself "bulletproof.'' He wanted some "payback.''
Pfc. Robert Hanna, 20, carried 60mm mortar ammunition. He knew DeBok from Chicago, where they had enlisted....
03/23/13 Human Interest
Rosie Capehart had spent much of her 58 years wondering about her father. It took a typo to open the floodgates.
"I went looking for a picture of him,'' the retired school cafeteria worker said last week, "and I found out he was a hero.''
Capehart had pieced together bits of information about Gordon Spickelmier. She knew from her mother that he had fought in World War II and Korea, that he bore a scar across his chest from a Japanese bayonet. She knew he had disappeared on Jan. 4, 1954 with nine other Navy aviators near Korea....
03/16/13 Public Safety
Shortly after 7 p.m. Aug. 23, Edward and Sally Young left their home near Dade City and headed for dinner at Arby's in Zephyrhills. Ed, five days shy of his 82nd birthday, slid behind the wheel of his blue 2011 Ford Fiesta and drove 1 mile on U.S. 98 to an intersection many consider among the most dangerous in Pasco County. Friends and family say he had never been in an accident; never even had a ticket....
03/12/13 Human Interest
Twenty years dim memories, but not these.
Lee Cannon will never forget.
In his first two months as Pasco's sheriff, his deputies investigated the biggest fire in our history and a heartbreaking murder of a 12-year-old girl who had just stepped off her school bus. Then in the third month, as if the news could not get any worse, a squall line formed in the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into our shore, filling hundreds of homes with four feet of water....
03/11/13 Human Interest
WESLEY CHAPEL — A sense of terror jars Jan Soran awake in her bed. She can't remember the details of the nightmare, but she knows where they originate.
Twenty-seven years have not erased what she saw. How could they? Sometimes she thinks it might all be over, that she has found a level of personal happiness to match her professional success. And then she has another nightmare.
Lately, she blames the book, Relentless Reality. She's glad she wrote it, but the process has freshened old wounds and insecurities. That's okay, she says, if it gives hope to others in desperate situations....