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

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  1. Orphan Davion Only back in Florida; altercation ends dream of adoption (video)

    News

    He thought he had finally found a family.

    After 16 years of floundering in foster care, after taking the pulpit at a St. Petersburg church last September asking someone — anyone — to adopt him, after his story was shared around the world and 10,000 people offered to help or take him home, Davion Only moved to Ohio in March to live with the parents who had promised to care for him forever and love him no matter what....

    Davion Only, 15, follows along with the Sunday sermon at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. MELISSA LYTTLE   |   Times (09/22/13 St. Petersburg, Fla.)
  2. Orphan Davion Only back in Florida; altercation ends dream of adoption (video)

    Human Interest

    He thought he had finally found a family.

    After 16 years of floundering in foster care, after taking the pulpit at a St. Petersburg church last September asking someone — anyone — to adopt him, after his story was shared around the world and 10,000 people offered to help or take him home, Davion Only moved to Ohio in March to live with the parents who had promised to care for him forever and love him no matter what....

    Davion Only, then 15, follows along with the Sunday sermon at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg in September.
  3. Emails from France reveal a father's D-day horror and the hospitality that followed

    Human Interest

    GULFPORT

    He didn't open the first email. He thought it was spam, some memorabilia about World War II. The subject line said: "USCG in Normandy."

    Kirk Vail, 60, is a plumber, like his dad. He knew his dad had been stationed at St. Petersburg's Coast Guard station, and that he had turned 26 the day his cutter joined the D-day invasion — 70 years ago today.

    But that was about it....

    Kirk Vail holds a German helmet his father brought home from World War II. His father, Ralph Pershing Vail, served with the U.S. Coast Guard. Vail’s cutter was one of several assigned to patrol the shores of Normandy to keep the rivers safe for ships transporting supplies inland to the advancing troops.
  4. Beverly Young: I'm running against David Jolly in '16

    Blog

    Democrats failed to find a candidate to challenge Republican David Jolly for the congressional seat long held by the late C.W. Bill Young, but they may have one lined up for 2016: Beverly Young, the congressman's widow who campaigned for Jolly earlier this year.

    “I am absolutely going to run against David in 2016. I’d do it now if I could. If I’d known that the Democrats wouldn’t put anyone up on that ballot, I’d have been there myself this time. I thought they had a candidate. I wouldn’t have been ready. But I would have run anyway," Mrs. Young said Tuesday night in an interview. She is angry about the way Jolly fired her late husband's congressional staffers and feels he has turned one of her sons, Patrick, against her....

  5. Beverly Young vows to run for Jolly seat in 2016

    State Roundup

    Democrats failed to find a candidate to challenge Republican David Jolly for the congressional seat long held by the late C.W. Bill Young, but they may have one lined up for 2016: Beverly Young, the congressman's widow who campaigned for Jolly earlier this year.

    "I am absolutely going to run against David in 2016. I'd do it now if I could. If I'd known that the Democrats wouldn't put anyone up on that ballot, I'd have been there myself this time. I thought they had a candidate. I wouldn't have been ready. But I would have run anyway," Mrs. Young said Tuesday night in an interview. She is angry about the way Jolly fired her late husband's congressional staffers and feels he has turned one of her sons, Patrick, against her....

    Left: Beverly Young, left, the widow of the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Right: His successor, U.S. Rep. David Jolly.
  6. Former Bucs cheerleader hits team with claim for unpaid wages

    Civil

    TAMPA — A former cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers filed suit against the football team Monday, bringing to five the number of NFL franchises that have been hit with unfair labor claims this year.

    Manouchcar Pierre-Val alleges that she is owed at least minimum wage for more than 500 hours she worked for the team.

    "These women were required to attend multiple practices per week, be at the stadium all day on game days, and attend at least 40 hours of events for nonprofits throughout the season," said Kimberly D. Woods, the attorney for Morgan & Morgan, P.A. who filed the nine-page suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida....

    The Bucs' 2014 cheerleaders were introduced during the NFL draft party earlier this month at Raymond James Stadium.
  7. She waited years to find a family, now she must find the words

    Human Interest

    LAND O'LAKES — She has been thinking about this speech for weeks, writing it in her head, rehearsing it in the shower. She knows what she wants to say Thursday at Tropicana Field.

    She just isn't sure how to say it.

    How do you tell a stadium full of strangers what it's like to wake to your mom screaming, to watch her boyfriend beating her, to smell their drugs? To be only 8, but to know that, when the fighting got bad, if you turned up "Beauty and the Beast" really loud, the music would drown out the shouting so your three little brothers could fall asleep. How do you explain what it feels like for police to drag you from your mom, to spend five years bouncing between foster families, to be separated from your brothers, whom you spent your whole life mothering?...

  8. Bucs cheerleaders eager despite complaints of low pay, lechery from other teams

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    They streamed into the USF Sun Dome last weekend, 150 fit young women wearing shorts and sequined sports bras, shouldering bags bulging with makeup and hair spray, extra shoes and stockings. They turned in resumes and head shots, turned up their already outgoing personalities. Pasted numbers on their hips.

    For five hours, they rehearsed dance routines, trying to impress the 11 judges, hoping to earn one of 32 coveted places on the sidelines cheering for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers....

    Members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleading squad entertain fans during a break in the team’s practice Aug. 2, 2010, at One Buc Place.
  9. 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....

    Caroline Krueger reaches for the bouquet of flowers Ryan Anderson dangled for her.
  10. 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....

    John Ullrich, who used to do audits at Bama Seafood, stops by to shake Mr. Newton’s hand and congratulate him on his 100th birthday.
  11. 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....

    Thor’s Helmet 
(also known as 
NGC 2359) is a nebula that is approximately 15,000 light-years away and 30 light-years in size. To make this image on Big Scout Key, O’Neill took multiple images through four different color filters, a process that took nearly four hours. It took him another three hours to combine the images, balance the color and remove “stray cosmic rays.”
  12. 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."...

    Davion Only, then 15, takes to the pulpit at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in September to tell the congregation that he just wants a family. His plea, and the subsequent worldwide news coverage, brought in thousands of offers to adopt him.
  13. 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....

  14. 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.
  15. 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.