Lane DeGregory, Times Staff Writer

Lane DeGregory

Lane DeGregory is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times feature writer who prefers writing about people in the shadows. She sweated with a mailman who was mowing strangers' lawns; hung out with a mother who was giving up custody of her adopted son; followed the guy who carries the "THE" flag in a rodeo.

Lane graduated from the University of Virginia, where she was editor in chief of the Cavalier Daily student newspaper. Later, she earned a master's degree in rhetoric and communication studies from the University of Virginia.

For 10 years, she wrote news and feature stories for the Virginian-Pilot, based in Norfolk, Va. In 2000, Lane moved to Florida to write for the Times. She's married to a drummer, Dan DeGregory, and they have two sons, Ryland and Tucker.

Lane's stories have appeared in the Best Newspaper Writing editions of 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. She has been a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Conference at Harvard University and has won more than a dozen national awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Other awards include:

2009: National Headliner Award for feature writing

2008: Winner, American Society of News Editors Award for nondeadline writing.

2007: Winner, Ernie Pyle Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation for human interest writing.

2006: Finalist, American Society of News Editors Award for nondeadline writing.

Phone: (727) 893-8825

Email: degregory@tampabay.com

Twitter: @LaneDeGregory

  1. The art of the 'promposal': Go big or go alone (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    He skipped his last class Thursday, raced up three flights of stairs at the back of his high school, into Room 302, where he had stashed the flowers and his fishing pole.

    His friends already were there helping: Shannon on the floor, coloring a poster. Brendan, who was going to hold it. Matt had brought the bullhorn.

    None of them were in this seventh-period health class. But the teacher had agreed to let Ryan Anderson, 17, use her window....

    Declan Abernethy, a student at St. Petersburg High, produced this video of senior Alexander Witherspoon, 17, asking his girlfriend, Emma Weiland, 17, to the prom.
  2. At 100, Mr. Newton still working, just a little slower (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    His boss at Bama Sea Products told him to take Friday off. Sleep in, relax. Enjoy your birthday.

    Oh, and stop by the warehouse so we can buy you lunch.

    Newton Murray turned 100 this week.

    And every day he is able, he still wakes at 3:30 a.m., makes tea, wraps a paper towel around a piece of Walmart fried chicken, and carries his little Coleman cooler two blocks to the bus. He gets to work by 8 a.m. and sweeps inside and around the sprawling buildings, as big as two city blocks. He naps in the supply room....

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor gives a birthday kiss to Mr. Newton at his party Friday at Bama Seafood, where he has worked longer than anyone can remember. Colleagues, friends and strangers came to celebrate as Newton Murray turned 100.
  3. A nebula awaits astronomer's eye — and his pro-grade RC

    Human Interest

    He left home before dawn that Saturday, followed two friends in a caravan to the Keys.

    South of Miami where the light is too bright, north of Key West where Navy planes distort the air, the men pitched their tents and telescopes in a shoreside Girl Scout camp.

    Big Scout Key. The best place in the world, they say, to capture the stars.

    "You can see things there that you can't see anywhere else," says John O'Neill, 69, an advertising salesman and amateur astronomer from Seminole....

    John O’Neill saw a comet flash through the sky and, 20 telescopes later, the amateur astronomer is now a noted astrophotographer. He’s shown at the Science Center’s observatory.
  4. Davion Only still not adopted despite worldwide attention (w/video)

    Human Interest

    He stood at the pulpit that Sunday in September, sweating in a donated suit, clutching a Bible he had borrowed from his boys home.

    "My name is Davion," he said softly. "And I've been in foster care since I was born."

    Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, told the church full of strangers he never knew his real family. "But I know God hasn't given up on me," he said softly. "I just hope he finds me a home — and a family."...

    Connie Going, who was, but is no longer, Davion’s adoption specialist, says she thinks “he just wants it all to be over.”
  5. On Valentine's Day, a boy's rite of passage is finding the right words

    Human Interest

    TRINITY — In the passenger seat of his mom's SUV, Austin Erickson sits silently, clutching his wallet, watching as his subdivision slides by.

    "So Publix?" asks his mom, turning onto the highway. "Target?"

    Austin, who is 11, doesn't look at her. "The Hallmark store," he says. "This has to be special."

    Normally, Austin hates going to the Hallmark store, waiting for his mom and older sisters to sift through Vera Bradley bags while surrounded by all the candles that are supposed to smell like rain....

  6. In Florida, a magic carpet turns a molehill into a ski mountain

    Human Interest

    PINELLAS PARK

    From the top of the ski deck, the view is terrifying.

    Jamila Chedid, 27, scanned the scenery and stared at the crowd gathering below.

    Flat fir trees with painted snow caps hugged the wall. Mannequins grinned in bright Under Armour jackets. Ahead, a dozen shoppers stood between shelves of boots to watch her slide down the cream carpet at Florida's only ski slope.

    "Okay, keep your hands in front of you and bend your knees," said Michael Schenker, who teaches skiing at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure. "Are you ready?"...

    As customer’s stop to watch, Jamila Chedid of St. Petersburg takes her third and final ski lesson on the motorized carpet of the indoor ski deck at Bill Jackson’s with ski school instructor Michael Schenker on Sunday.
  7. Barber's final cut severs ties with a half century of St. Pete history

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    He unlocked his shop just after 8 a.m., clicked on the neon "Open" sign in the window facing Fourth Street.

    To his right, just outside the door, the barber pole was still spinning.

    In 46 years, he had never turned it off.

    "Cold out there this morning," he said to his partner on Wednesday. "Don't know that we'll get many today."

    The shop was small. Three chairs lined the northern wall, but his was separate. They all had cushioned footrests — with ashtrays carved into the right arm. The black seats sagged with the weight of four generations....

    Barber Carl Troup cuts the hair of one of his former junior high school teachers, Ted Dahlem, 82, one last time Wednesday.
  8. Giving daughter's organs can't save mother from grieving

    Human Interest

    Second of two parts

    TAMPA

    She kept expecting her daughter to come home. It wasn't denial. Or even hope. She just couldn't imagine her world without Liane.

    Even while she was choosing a casket, even when she was selecting flowers for the funeral, Charla Moye was watching for Liane to walk through the door.

    "I keep hearing her voice," Charla said.

    A week had dragged by since she had found her only child dying in a friend's bed, bloated and blue. Charla, a 58-year-old cardiac nurse, had tried to revive Liane, 31. Two days later, she took her off life support....

    “She was my baby,” Charla Moye says of her daughter Liane, who died at age 31. “She’ll always be my baby.”
  9. Mother hopes daughter's spirit lives through organ donation

    Human Interest

    First of two parts

    TAMPA

    When Charla Moye finally found her daughter sprawled on a friend's bed, naked and blue, she knew Liane was dying. ¶ "Call 911!" Charla screamed to her daughter's friends, who were just standing there. "Someone, call 911!" ¶ Charla planted both hands on her daughter's chest and started pumping. When that didn't work, she leaned down and covered her daughter's mouth with her own. She could taste the bile, what was left of the vomit. ¶ Charla, a 58-year-old cardiac nurse, had spent decades caring for strangers, from South Tampa to South America. But on that Saturday afternoon in April, the week before Easter 2011, she couldn't save her only child. ¶ She followed the ambulance to the hospital. Through tears, Charla asked the emergency room doctor to do something other parents might not have thought of during such a crisis: ¶ "At least save her organs."...

    Liane Adgate’s 2003 college graduation photo.
  10. Egyptian Christian family celebrates holiday, free of persecution

    Human Interest

    PALM HARBOR

    For weeks, Bishoy had begged his parents. "Please, take me to see Santa!"

    The other kids in his first-grade class already had gone. They talked about sitting in Santa's lap. They'd placed their orders.

    "Well, we prayed about it," his dad kept saying. "Papa Noel knows you want a bike."

    "No, no, no," Bishoy Hana, 6, kept trying to explain. "That's not how they do it here. You can't just pray. You have to go tell Santa what you want. At the mall."...

    Bishoy Hana, 6, admires his family’s small Christmas tree in their apartment. Someday, his mother said, they will have a big one.
  11. More than 10,000 families want to adopt orphan Davion Only

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — He went to church that Sunday to plead for a family.

    Over the next two weeks his story spread across the world, popping up on websites, TV screens and front pages from here to India.

    The Florida teenager says he has found his purpose.

    And 10,000 people believe they have found a son.

    • • •

    Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, was born in prison, raised in foster care, and lives in a group home with 12 other boys. He has never had his own room or felt wanted....

    Adoption offers from around the world poured in after a story ran in the Tampa Bay Times about Davion Only taking to the pulpit at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg to talk about his life in foster care and tell the congregation that he’s a good kid who just wants a family.
  12. St. Petersburg teen actor's dilemma: to cut or not to cut his hair

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Nico Hendriks' drama teacher called him out of class the other day with an urgent question: Would he like to play the young soldier in the school production of Clybourne Park?

    Nico nodded, grinning. He had auditioned for the part, but it had gone to a senior.

    Now that boy was out of the show (something about leaving campus without permission) and Nico was in....

    With his mom, Cindy Hendriks, taking photos, Nico Hendriks, 14, gets a haircut, his first since kindergarten, from hairdresser Austin Eisenhardt at Salon Lofts in Tyrone Square. Nico had to get it cut for a role in a high school play.
  13. Guide dog leads vision-challenged professor to new insight

    Human Interest

    JANUARY

    On the beach that evening, after they played catch for almost an hour, Deni Elliott knelt in the sand beside her partner, cupped his wet chin in her hand, and started to cry.

    "You're a good boy, Wylie," she said, tipping her forehead to touch his. "I'm sure they will have beaches where you're going."

    They sat together in the crisp wind, listening to the sea gulls fussing overhead. Wylie loved chasing birds, but now he just leaned against her, letting her hold him....

    Deni, left, holds a harness while training with Megan Crowley in the streets of Yorktown Heights, N.Y. What Deni reveals about herself to Guiding Eyes for the Blind will help match her with her new dog.
  14. Amid churchgoers, orphan Davion Only pleads for a family

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.

    "Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."

    In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.

    Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one....

    Davion Only, 15, right, plays video games with a housemate at Carlton Manor, a group home for teenage foster kids. Behind the television is a wall of photographs hoping to serve as inspiration of people who went from "foster kid to famous."
  15. The hardest decision Alex Sink ever had to make - and w/out Bill McBride

    Blog

    She had hoped to decide by January. Then she said summer, which turned into September. All year, she had agonized: Should she run for governor again?

    Finally, with time to launch a campaign running out, Alex Sink broke the news last Friday: She would not try in 2014 for the job she almost won in 2010.

    Instead, she would continue to work with entrepreneurs through her Florida Next Foundation and support candidates "who I believe share my vision."...