03/12/14 Human Interest
Sometimes it's the first sign of affection shared by preschoolers.
Sometimes it's the hors d'oeuvre to a romantic meal.
Sometimes it's the dessert at the end of a loved-filled feast.
Sometimes it's the warm embrace that begins a platonic conversation.
Sometimes it's a long and meaningful moment shared after years apart.
Sometimes it's a man-crush acknowledgement between two guys....
03/09/14 Human Interest
The Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association needs one last helpful push.
Its renovation of the historic Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Palm Avenue into a youth development community center got a boost last month when TV star Ty Pennington and Sears employees helped with repairs.
The four-year public/private partnership also counts the Florida Department of Transportation, the city of Tampa and the Columbia Restaurant, which will install a full kitchen for culinary training, among its contributors....
03/05/14 Music & Concerts
Pastor Calvin Callins stands tall in the pulpit at Greater New Hope Annointed Ministries in Plant City.
In a YouTube video, you can see Callins — pacing back and forth in a gray three-piece suit, perfectly accented with a black dress shirt and black pocket square — deliver a spirited sermon.
A big sermon.
Gripping the microphone, piano and organ chords softly playing in the background, he preaches the word. His voice rises in pitch and volume as he emphasizes the most important points of his message. He grabs the attention of his congregation in a huge way....
03/05/14 Human Interest
Amid all the requests popping up on Facebook, a recent one did more than catch my attention. It stirred my soul.
That happens when a simple game reminds you of your late father's greatest passion.
In an effort to promote visual arts, my friend Leggie (yes, she is leggy) asked people to sign up so they could be assigned an artist whom they could then promote on their Facebook page.
I drew Marie Laurencin, a French painter who rose to prominence in Paris in the early 20th century....
03/02/14 Human Interest
Their struggle lies a world away, but for Venezuelans living in Tampa Bay, the strife facing their fellow countrymen as they fight for basic goods and against police repression causes alarm.
"It's terrible," said Tampa's Norma Reno. "I still have my family there. My daughter is in the streets, defending freedom and democracy. Many of those young people have been killed, many are in jail and many have disappeared."...
02/26/14 Human Interest
From every indication, two-button and three-button suits converted a small space inside the Children's Board of Hillsborough County into a mini showroom you might find at the Men's Wearhouse.
Yet they only appeared to be suits. Magical capes and empowering costumes really hung from the racks, and every young man who found the perfect fit transformed into a superhero.
You need only witness one recipient to see the glow that came with each suit....
02/23/14 Human Interest
I'm not sure what federal administrator approved putting up billboards around Tampa Bay that encourage people to get flood insurance, but they're tone deaf and politically unwise.
With many facing exorbitant price hikes for flood insurance because of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, the billboards — you can see one on Ulmerton Road — add insult to injury.
I keep waiting for President Barack Obama, the ultimate head of FEMA, to help mitigate the problem. He can curry favor for the state's midterm elections. …...
02/19/14 Human Interest
I so wanted to be chosen.
Not since my one and only Sadie Hawkins Dance back in high school did I want to be picked this bad.
As I sat in the central jury auditorium in the George Edgecomb Courthouse Monday, I fought the urge to raise my hand and shout, "Me, me, me. Right here. Me. Pick me."
People usually act that way when they're sitting in the audience at Let's Make A Deal, and if it took donning a costume and shouting kudos to Wayne Brady, I would have walked into the courthouse dressed like Buzz Lightyear....
02/16/14 Human Interest
Gun control needs to be more about controlling the mentality of gun owners and less about the sale of guns.
A gun emboldens, so we end up with murders in movie theaters instead of an annoyed attendee changing seats.
Jacksonville teen Jordan Davis is dead and assailant Michael Dunn may spend the rest of his life in jail because a gun prompted him to act upon faulty impulses of fear and anger (and in this case, race), but it's the gun that tilts the scales toward action and away from discretion. How many more people have to die before we seriously challenge this mentality? Guns should mitigate misguided deaths, not create them. ......
02/14/14 Human Interest
In the 1500s, St. Ignatius of Loyola set out on a pilgrimage from his native Spain, eventually determining he needed to reach the Holy Land. • His travels and spiritual growth continued after he left Jerusalem, and the journey helped shape the man who would eventually establish the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. • It's a story Jane Younger knows well. • As coordinator of special events for Jesuit High School in Tampa, Younger spearheads the school's annual Gaudiosa gala, an event that raised a record $665,000 last year for grants for students who can't afford to pay full tuition. • Each year, the gala's theme comes from one of the pivotal places Ignatius visited during his pilgrimage. This year, decorations and presentations will center around the Holy Land, with students wearing fezzes. • Younger's journey to her position hasn't been as global as Ignatius' travels, but it has seen her transcend from volunteer in the event's first year — when two of her three children still attended Jesuit — to paid staffer the past four years. • She recently spoke with Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper about why she didn't return to nursing, her chosen profession, and the challenges of staging a fundraiser some call Tampa's best black-tie event....
02/12/14 Human Interest
Show his smiling photo.
Show the trophies he won playing football for the Brandon Ravens.
Show the sterling report cards he received as a student at St. Stephen Catholic School.
Show the anguish of the parents as they grasp for answers and only come up with more questions.
Show everything left in the wake of Andrew Joseph III's death.
Show it all to the kids who ignited a wild rampage at the Florida State Fair on Feb. 7, and then ask them why they chose to embark on a senseless, chaotic, riotous spree that played a factor in Joseph's death....
02/09/14 Human Interest
Some questions remain after former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy and his wife revealed last week in a book that they received racist, threatening letters after enrolling their son Eric at Plant High School in 2008. At the top of the list: Who sent the letters? The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office had its intelligence division investigate and identify "the man" who sent the letters, but the Dungys chose not to press charges so detectives never made an arrest. Still, there's unease with the incident being swept away. ......
Estrellita "Lo" Berry always shared a concern for the health of others.
Even in first grade at College Hill Elementary, she wondered why some of the classmates seemed to be in better condition in terms of attitude, physical appearance or physical health.
"I always bee-lined to those who seemed to have more medical problems," said Berry, 58.
Those early days of having a caring attitude led to a career in the health profession, and now Berry serves as president and CEO of REACHUP (Respond, Educate, Advocate and Collaborate for Health in Underserved Populations), a community nonprofit that seeks to help communities with health care challenges....
02/07/14 Human Interest
This story has been changed to acknowledge the following clarifications: Rob Nelson, the principal of Tampa's Plant High School, now says he remembers Tony and Lauren Dungy's son receiving racist hate mail in 2008. When the story was first published Feb. 7, Nelson told the Times, through a district spokesman, that he was unaware of the incident. And the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it was able to locate part of an investigative report on the incident. Sheriff's officials had previously told the Times no report existed....
02/05/14 Human Interest
The officers showed up at the home just outside of Kansas City and knocked on the door.
As his two children looked on, the father answered and heard the officers exclaim, "You're under arrest." Then they took Tony Dungy to jail.
Yes, the ex-Bucs and Colts coach and all-around good guy revealed he once spent three hours in jail after failing to pay a $5 traffic citation.
"Suddenly, paying the five dollars seemed like a good idea," Dungy wrote in Uncommon Marriage, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Lauren, and Nathan Whitaker....