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 went to work with a 100-year-old man who still swept out a seafood warehouse, hung out beneath a bridge with a colony of sex offenders, followed a feral child who was adopted.

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 teenage sons, Ryland and Tucker.

Lane's stories have appeared in the Best Newspaper Writing editions of 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. She has taught journalism at the University of South Florida - St. Petersburg, been a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Conference at Harvard University and has won dozens of national awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Other awards include:

2014: Finalist, American Society of Newspaper Editors Batten Medal for portfolio.

2012: Finalist, American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for nondeadline writing.

2011: Inducted as a Fellow with the Society of Professional Journalists for lifetime achievement.

2010: Winner, American Society of Newspaper Editors Batten Medal for portfolio.

2009: Winner, National Headliner Award for feature writing.

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

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

Phone: (727) 893-8825

Email: degregory@tampabay.com

Twitter: @LaneDeGregory

Phone: (727) 893-8825

Email: degregory@tampabay.com

Twitter: @LaneDeGregory

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  1. Losing his mother turned USF student all business

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    He got the letter in July, at his mom's house in Seminole. She never would have believed it. ¶ Not after everything that had happened. ¶ Dakota Rockwell, 20, had applied to the University of South Florida as a long shot, hoping — but never dreaming — he would be accepted. ¶ Then the admissions office emailed. He could start in August, in the business school. ...

    Dakota Rockwell, 20, hugs Barb Bushnell, from the USF College of Business, for helping him shop for his first suit at Macy's. [MELISSA LYTTLE   |   Times]
  2. Newton Murray, 100, enjoyed his work until the end

    Features

    ST. PETERSBURG — His worn broom propped him up, almost until the end.

    Even after his boss threw him a party for his 100th birthday, and kidney stones bent his back with pain, and he got so weak he had to go to the hospital, Newton Murray came back to his little boiler room at Bama Sea Products.

    And kept working. Shuffling around the sprawling warehouse in his worn coveralls, sweeping shrimp shells from the vast parking lots, greeting the guys in his thick island accent, "Hello, Cap'n!"...

    Newton Murray was a constant at Bama Sea Products.
  3. The struggles of Bill Young's widow and her feud w David Jolly

    Blog

    The congressman's widow couldn't stop crying.

    Curled in the corner of her leather couch, clutching her new Yorkie, Camo, she sat alone in her immaculate townhouse. Love songs from the '70s wafted from the kitchen radio. Outside the doors, the sun slid toward the sea.

    That evening, the first Sunday in July, was dragging on like so many others. Ten months after her husband died, she still expected him to come home....

  4. Bill Young's widow struggles to find peace and meaning in life without congressman (w/ video)

    Politics

    The congressman's widow couldn't stop crying.

    Curled in the corner of her leather couch, clutching her new Yorkie, Camo, she sat alone in her immaculate townhouse. Love songs from the '70s wafted from the kitchen radio. Outside the doors, the sun slid toward the sea.

    That evening, the first Sunday in July, was dragging on like so many others. Ten months after her husband died, she still expected him to come home....

    Beverly Young with son Patrick in 2006.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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
  7. 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....

    Ralph Pershing Vail, Tommy Thompsin and Lesley Sizemore with Mr. and Mrs. Krieg, proprietors of the hotel and restaurant in Le Trait, France.
  8. 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....

  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?...

    From left, Max, 8, Randy, 11, Justice, 15, and Jeremy, 13, with their adoptive parents, Danny and Lesley, on Thursday.
  12. 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....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders wear their own version of throwback uniforms during a Bucs game against the Green Bay Packers Nov. 8, 2009, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  13. 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....

    St. Petersburg Catholic junior Grant Larson, 17, promposes to St. Petersburg High junior Alex Adair, 17, in the school’s senior courtyard on Thursday.
  14. 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....

    Newton Murray turned 100 on Thursday. On Friday, Bama Seafood, where he’s worked for over 34 years, threw a party where about 75 coworkers, friends and strangers came by to eat fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cupcakes and celebrate his milestone with him.
  15. 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.”