TALLAHASSEE — Fans of the football team here at Florida State University last week called the woman who says the star quarterback raped her a liar and a whore.
They used these words and worse in anonymous posts in ugly Internet caves. The vitriol festered as the state attorney continued to weigh whether to charge Jameis Winston, the Heisman Trophy front-runner and the leader of a team that has a perfect record and a chance to play for its first national championship since 1999, with felony sexual assault....
10/24/13 Human Interest
In the dark, in the wet, whirling roar of Hurricane Sandy, on a ship tipping so badly the deck felt like a steep, slick roof, the desperate, damaged sailor searched for a spot from which to jump. Close to the stern, he gripped the helm, now all but touching the water's high black churn. He let go and paddled and kicked in the buoyant but clumsy blood-orange suit he had wiggled into not long before. The ship spat up a heavy wooden grating, and it landed on his head. Crack. His adrenaline surged. He thrashed, straining to get away from the heaving ship, her three masts of tree trunk heft rearing up and slamming down like lethal mallets, her thinner, sharper spars piercing the surface like darts, the ropes of the rigging like tentacles, grabbing, yanking. Pfffffft. The tip of a spar sliced down, catching the sailor, pushing him below. He gasped, choking on water, struggling back to where there was air....
09/26/13 Human Interest
Andrew Jagger of St. Petersburg left France in early August headed west on a 41-foot catamaran sporting a Spanish name. Adelante. Onward.
On Sept. 7, about 100 miles from Bermuda, on a sunny afternoon with no wind and flat seas, one of the crew spotted something roughly a quarter mile to their right.
"Hey, Captain," he said, "what do you think it is?"
Jagger, 59, raised his powerful binoculars, magnifying by 14 times what there was to see. Life jackets. One life jacket is not unusual, he thought. A bunch of them, though, and all roped together — that suggests a ship abandoned. He put Adelante in reverse and approached the cluster, shaded orange and sun-stressed yellow. The crew member leaned over the side and reached down....
06/21/13 Human Interest
SARASOTA--One afternoon earlier this month, Tropical Storm Andrea's blustery back end toppled potted plants, tugged at the tops of palms and yanked people's umbrellas inside out. Nik Wallenda, meanwhile, climbed into the basket of a hydraulic lift, which took him 20 feet above the ground, where he removed his running shoes and stepped with his balance pole and plain white socks onto a taut, 2-inch-thick wire that stretched 900 feet from one crane to another....
Jim Greer, hand shaker, party thrower, power seeker, former head of the Republican Party of Florida, was sentenced in Orlando on Wednesday to 18 months in state prison.
Greer, 50 and a father of five, last month pleaded guilty to money laundering and theft charges, admitting he had created a company called Victory Strategies to siphon to himself and an associate some $200,000 of party donations....
ORLANDO — Jim Greer, hand shaker, party thrower, power seeker, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 months in state prison plus one year of probation.
Greer, 50 and a father of five, last month pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and one count of money laundering, admitting he had created a company called Victory Strategies to siphon to himself and an associate some $200,000 of party donations....
For four weeks, more than 1,500 people from 38 states and Canada have been beating the bushes across South Florida, hunting pythons and hoping to win a prize.
Florida's Python Challenge, which began with a lot of hoopla Jan. 12, winds down with a whimper Sunday night. As of Friday, the hunters had found only 50 snakes out of a population estimated to be 5,000 to 10,000. A female python can replace that number with a single clutch of eggs. ...
02/01/13 Human Interest
The crowd gathered on the grass around the man with the bag. In the bag was a 13-foot Burmese python. This was last month, a hot, sunny Saturday morning, in Davie at a University of Florida research center, the official start of the state-sanctioned snake hunt in the Everglades called the Python Challenge.
Gawkers, contestants and cameras waited for the tutorial by Jeff Fobb, a snake expert with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. He let the python out of the bag but held on to her tail. He pointed out what she wasn't doing. She wasn't trying to attack him. What she was doing was trying to get away. She slithered around the ground. People gasped and took pictures. He quickly grabbed her behind the head....
01/03/13 Human Interest
Joy Hunley crossed her arms and stood still. She watched her attorney walk up to the clerk in the courthouse in Clearwater to ask for the adoption records a judge finally had said she could see. She breathed in. She breathed out.
Something happened in July of 1981. It triggered a process at the end of which Joy no longer had custody of her toddler daughter. For more than a quarter century, she convinced herself she had made an awful mistake, had signed something she shouldn't have signed. Over the last few years, though, she had learned new information. She believed she had been the victim of a fraud. ...
11/30/12 Human Interest
The city wanted a sign saying St. Petersburg out on the Pinellas County side of the Howard Frankland Bridge. It just couldn't afford it. Local businessman Bill Edwards did a few things. He paid for it. He decided it had to be huge, because "if you're going to put up a sign," he reasoned, “put up a sign.” And he wanted it to be finished in time for the Republican National Convention in August so those thousands of visiting strangers would see it and know where they were. It was nice of him to do all that. ...
11/02/12 Human Interest
St. Petersburg's Frank Strunk III, the well-known metal artist, has a tree-trunk torso, tattoos up and down his arms, red-head scruff on his face and a hairdo that conjures a bowed-up rooster. How he looks and what he makes seem somehow linked. His stern vibe is an almost imposing industrial aesthetic. But these days? Conversation with him gets most real when he talks about his dog. Michael Kruse, Times staff writer ...
Those are the first two words of the title of a recently released chart from a food industry research company called Datassentials. It manages at once to be utterly unsurprising and totally startling. Over the last five years the use of pumpkin flavor in beverages at major restaurants in this country has gone up . . . 400 percent.
Starbucks has the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Fancy bars coast to coast make pumpkin cocktails that cost 13 bucks. Breweries, craft or not, have Punkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Imperial Pumpkin Ale . . . ...
A black man named Joseph Green Brown was accused of raping and killing a white woman in 1973 in a Tampa clothing store called the Just Kids Shoppe. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Fitted for a burial suit. Granted a stay some 15 hours before his scheduled electrocution in 1983. He was set free in 1987.
In the years since then, Brown worked as a truck driver, a homeless shelter cook, a convenience store clerk. He got married. He moved from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte, N.C. He talked to church groups about staying out of trouble....
Middle of the day, middle of the week, and two instructors and a dozen others readied for a waltz class in the Hillsborough County retirement enclave Sun City Center. They have time to read and watch the news. They had heard about what Mitt Romney said.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," the Republican presidential candidate said in a speech to a small group of rich donors a while back in Boca Raton. A video of which was leaked earlier this week. He said this 47 percent are "people who pay no income tax" and "who are dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims."...
JANESVILLE, Wis. — The Labor Day parade here in Paul Ryan's hometown started with a police siren. It moved slowly down Milwaukee Street, followed by clowns, a green-fatigued Vietnam vet with a rifle and a limp, a high school marching band's pimple-faced clarinetists, members of the United Auto Workers Local 95, and its many retirees.
Sitting in a lawn chair on the curb, Lisa Hansen watched the parade move past in the direction of her former workplace — the shuttered General Motors plant on the bank of the Rock River, more than 4 million empty square feet surrounded by chain-link fence and barbed wire....