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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. Holiday Hopes: Persecuted in Egypt for their Christian faith, a family starts over in Tarpon Springs

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS — "I have a present for you!" the boy called to his mom. He bounded off the school bus and jumped into her arms. "It's in my backpack. And it's real."

    In their tiny apartment, the first-grader set his Ninja Turtle backpack on the sofa, then stood beside the Christmas tree that filled the front window.

    This is Andrea's first Christmas tree. It's the first one for his mom, Amal Mikhail, 42, too. In Egypt, even those who were brave enough to have Christmas trees hid them away from windows, so no one would know they were Christian....

    Andrea, 7, places a Christmas ornament on his tree at his apartment Wednesday in Tarpon Springs. His mother, Amal Mikhail, 42, brought Andrea with her to the United States from Egypt in 2013.
  2. 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]
  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. 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. 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."...

  6. For Plant City's strawberry queen, the reign never ends

    Human Interest

    PLANT CITY — The queen was late.

    By the time she pulled into the new RaceTrac, hundreds of people already packed the parking lot for the grand opening.

    The high school marching band was tuning up, the Budweiser Clydesdales were huffing in their harnesses, and the queen's court was waiting beneath a balloon arch. The four teen girls wore what the queen wore: ruffly red sundresses, white jackets with strawberry sequins and the mandatory lipstick they called "old lady red."...

    Former Strawberry Queen Ruby Jean Redman, Chelsea Bowden’s grandmother, applies special red lipstick in her Plant City home on Jan. 25.
  7. From first to arrive to last to leave, Tampa Bay Rays fans are sorry to see season end

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — They pulled into Lot 6 just before 10 a.m. Parked in the middle of Row M, under a little live oak. The only circle of shade on that side of Tropicana Field.

    From the back of the SUV, they unloaded a plastic table, five canvas camp chairs, four coolers and a Weber grill. The game wouldn't start for four hours.

    Tim Capps and his buddies were Tuesday's first tailgaters....

    From left, Rays fans Tim Capps, 41, Will Price, 32, Brennan Guinagh, 37, and Chris Bell, 29, start tailgating before anyone else in the Tropicana Field parking lot before Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers playoff game. The foursome arrived in Lot 6 just before 10 a.m. They even beat the team bus carrying the Texas Rangers to the ballpark.
  8. Two friends, two games, two sports, one night

    The Heater

    Jeff Hausinger wore a dark blue Rays cap, Todd O'Donnell wore a light blue Rays visor, and Hausinger steered his silver Infiniti SUV out of his South Tampa neighborhood and onto Gandy Boulevard on Monday afternoon just after 4.

    ST. PETERSBURG, said the sign, 14 MILES. The speedometer went from 60 … to 70 … to 80.

    Big night for Tampa Bay sports. The Rays had a game against the Texas Rangers in the baseball playoffs in St. Petersburg at 5. The Bucs had a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football in Tampa at 8:30....

    Jeff Hausinger, right, and Todd O’Donnell, middle, don Bucs gear at Raymond James Stadium after running to the Bucs game from the Rays game Monday. Michael Baracz helps the pair.
  9. The president, 'The Pet Goat,' and a changed world: 10 years later, Sarasota students remember 9/11

    Human Interest

    SARASOTA — Her grandma made grits that morning. Her mom tied white bows on her braids.

    Natalia kept telling them, "I'm going to be famous. I'm going to meet the president!"

    That day, Sept. 11, 2001, the president of the United States was coming to her class at Booker Elementary. Natalia Jones-Pinkney and 15 other second-graders were going to read him a story.

    "I remember being so excited, driving into school," said Natalia, now 17. But when her mom pulled up in the car circle, Natalia wouldn't get out. "There were all these big horses and dogs and men with guns." ...

    At Booker Elementary in Sarasota on Sept. 11, 2001, chief of staff Andrew Card tells Presi­dent George W. Bush of the attacks. He continued to sit as students read The Pet Goat.
  10. Father's tender act of kindness for disabled son makes impression

    Human Interest

    LEBANON, Tenn.

    It was just a small show of tenderness and sacrifice. But I can't stop thinking about that moment on the midway.

    I was in Tennessee reporting another story when I saw it. It was Saturday morning and the county fair was opening early for kids with special needs.

    When the gates parted at 9 a.m., hundreds of families flooded through. Some children ran, pulling their parents toward the rides. Others made their way on crutches and walkers. Many were in wheelchairs. ...

  11. Three years later, 'The Girl in the Window' learns to connect

    Human Interest

    LEBANON, Tenn.

    For a few minutes, the school bus sat outside the old farmhouse. The driver looked out, waiting for someone to come. The girl in the front seat sucked her fist and stared through the window. • The driver honked. He couldn't just open the door and let this child into the afternoon sunshine. Who knew what she would do? Or how far she would go? • He honked again. A man in work boots hurried from the far pasture. "I'm coming," called the man, Bernie Lierow. • The doors opened and Danielle Lierow, 12, stepped out onto the gravel. • "Hi, Honey," Bernie said, as an aide handed him Dani's backpack. "What did you do today?" • Dani shuffled her sneakers. Didn't answer. Then she reached out and grabbed her dad's hand — a meaningful gesture for a child who, it seemed, would never connect with anyone. • "Pick up your feet, Honey. Walk," he kept saying, steering her up the drive. "You're doing great."...

    As Bernie Lierow moves the horses from the barn out to the field for the evening, he encourages Dani, 12, to help. “Do you want to walk the horsie?” he says as she takes the lead.
  12. A rush of visitors pays respects at Florida's Navy SEALs museum

    Human Interest

    FORT PIERCE — The boy pressed his nose against the museum case, staring at the World War II diving mask and guns. "Is that the real stuff?" he asked. "Is that what the Navy SEALs used?"

    His dad laughed. "Oh, they got newer stuff now, buddy."

    "But those are real, right?"

    Joseph Thomas, 4, had been begging his parents to take him to see "the SEAL stuff" for months. But they kept driving by the beachfront museum, promising him "another day." ...

    Jodi Catapano takes a photo of her son, Joseph Thomas, 4, in front of a display at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce on Tuesday. The museum’s visitors have nearly doubled this summer, after members of SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden in May in Pakistan. Joseph, a big admirer of the unit, says he’d like to be a Navy SEAL when he grows up.
  13. Eviction leaves St. Petersburg couple 'broke and broken'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Rose Woodworth stood in the center of a weedy parking lot off Fifth Street, surveying what was left of her life:

    A wooden coffee table. A plastic dish drainer. Three Southern Living cookbooks.

    Everything was strewn around the asphalt. Off to one side, she kept the things she wanted to take with her: Blue flowered sheets. Red Huffy bicycle. A portrait of Jesus, drawn by a friend....

    Rene “Rose” Woodworth weeps and gets a hug from friend Marty Shanahan as she tries to sell what’s left of her belongings July 19 in a lot near the apartment from which she was evicted.
  14. The state you're in: From fast-food places to 50 million visitors, the Orlando area by the numbers

    Human Interest

    Welcome to the Orlando area, home of fairy tale princesses and killer whales, where knights joust at buffet banquets and tourists talk to animated turtles and even the power poles are shaped like giant mouse ears.

    Here, believers stroll the Bible-based paths of Holy Land theme park while partiers revel at Pleasure Island; shoppers flock to one of the world's largest outlet malls and time-share owners come from all around the world. ...

  15. Dreams for Princess Diana's gowns die with bankruptcy

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The princess was gone, but her dresses were supposed to travel the world, keeping her legacy alive.

    They were going to inspire girls, help raise money for charity and honor the memory of Princess Diana.

    After Tampa entrepreneur Maureen Rorech Dunkel bought 14 of Diana's evening gowns in 1997, she talked about international exhibits, museum showings, a series of children's books. She even planned a $35,000-per-couple champagne fundraiser at Britain's Kensington Palace....

    Maureen Rorech Dunkel paid $670,000 for 14 of Princess Diana’s gowns in 1997. Then, when Diana died, Dunkel tried to honor her memory.