08/18/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.
It was the 1990s. Roller blading was hot. And out of that mania rose a Team USA that won the medal count at the World Roller Speed Skating Championships from 1991 through 1999.
If the United States is to return to those glory years, the journey will pass through the Tampa Bay area — home to five of the 24 Team USA members competing at the world championships Aug. 27 in China....
Besides fine tobacco, Ballet Nacional de Cuba is considered by many to be the island nation's most distinctive export.
Tampa Bay-area cigar aficionados can still only purchase Cuban stogies by traveling to the socialist country, but next year, for the first time in 15 years, local performing arts fans need only take a short trip to enjoy the Cuban ballet company.
Ballet Nacional de Cuba will perform a rendition of the two-act romance Giselle at 8 p.m. May 23 in Morsani Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts....
TAMPA — Tattooed in black lettering on the top of Rick Karczewski's right forearm, made to look like it was inked by someone with shaking hands, is "Parky" — a nickname reflecting the Parkinson's disease he has been living with since he was diagnosed five years ago.
"There ain't no changing it, so I might as well embrace it," the 52-year-old Brandon man said. "I'm not going to let Parkinson's kick my a--. I'm going to kick its a--."...
TAMPA — Mary Elizabeth "Bettie" Perez liked to say writing was in her blood.
Her grandfather was the founder of one of Tampa's first Spanish-language newspapers. Her mother and two sons also pursued journalism careers.
So it was only natural that she became a published writer, even if she didn't actively pursue a career as a wordsmith until late in life.
She released her book of poems at age 89....
On Sunday night, a day after white nationalists incited violence in Charlottesville, Va., while protesting the pending removal of a Confederate statue, hundreds gathered in Tampa and St. Petersburg for candlelight vigils to honor those killed and injured in the Virginia city.
At Joe Chillura Courthouse Square, those in attendance — diverse in age, ethnicity and sexual orientation — hoped for solidarity among people of all backgrounds....
08/11/17 Human Interest
Legs pressed tightly together, 7-year-old Amelia Collins stood at the edge of her grandparents' pool and smiled.
Then, the Ocala girl with the brunette, Shirley Temple curls screamed, "I have my fins back," and jumped into the water.
Without separating her legs, she swam by whipping her lower body up and down — like a mermaid.
"She's always wanted to be a mermaid," said her mother, Kathryn Collins. "It's her dream."...
Scott Maiden was hoping for a government commendation when the Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network he runs marks its 30th birthday on October 1.
Instead, that will be the day the City of Tampa could end its financial partnership with the nonprofit network, which supports local educational institutions such as the Hillsborough County School Board.
"Happy birthday to us," Maiden, the network's CEO, said with a dejected laugh....
Tampa's premium cigar dealers aren't ready to light a stogie in victory yet, but they have more time now to argue against proposed federal regulations that would add to their costs.
The Food and Drug Administration had ordered cigarmakers to send the agency detailed ingredients and manufacturing processes for each of their products, complete with lab testing, by February. The same requirements applied to makers of pipe and hookah tobacco....
Two different clusters of showers and thunderstorms that could strengthen into tropical storms are being monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center.
The storm closest to landfall was near the Yucatán Peninsula in Caribbean waters and had a wind speed of 35 miles per hour as of Sunday night, 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey said....
08/04/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Why did the chicken cross the road?
Perhaps to get from Key West to Ybor City.
For five years, Eben Gering, an evolutionary biologist and professor at Michigan State University, has been conducting DNA tests on populations of feral chickens to understand how they evolve in ever-changing environments.
The chickens of Kauai, Hawaii, have been his primary focus.
But now Gering is turning his attention to Key West and Ybor City, in hopes of learning whether any of the chickens that roam wild in these two Florida communities 425 miles apart share a genetic link....
08/01/17 Human Interest
Karl Istaz lived quietly in the Tampa area for 30 years. When he died, his friends followed his wishes and scattered his ashes without ceremony over Lake Keystone in Odessa.
But the European-born Istaz — or more to the point, his alter ego Karl Gotch — was revered across Japan as a hardnosed, professional wrestler whose style so influenced the industry that fans and peers nicknamed him "Kamisama," or deity....
07/31/17 Human Interest
Tedd Webb, the longtime co-host of News Radio 970 WFLA's AM Tampa Bay show, was hospitalized a week ago due to congestive heart failure.
AM Tampa Bay personality Jeff Kuyrkendall said Webb, 68, could be released from St. Joseph's Hospital by Wednesday. But there is no time line for Webb's return to the show, said station manager David Bell.
"We want him to do what is best for him," Bell said....
07/24/17 Human Interest
The Knight family has replaced their roof and people are celebrating.
Well, it's not actually their roof anymore. The 1,700-square-foot Victorian cottage it tops at 245 S Hyde Park Ave. now belongs to the nonprofit Tampa Historical Society.
Still, it's forever known as the "Knight Home," erected in 1890 by Peter O. Knight — Davis Islands airport namesake and city forefather — a fact that landed the structure on a city list of 48 historic landmarks....
TAMPA — Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.
So in 1967, when his father offered to sell the eatery at the bargain price of $1, a then-37-year-old Mr. Scaglione immediately said yes.
But, as the story goes, with a straight face he then jokingly asked to borrow two dollars.
That playful banter helped turn what had been called Americus Restaurant into the beloved institution known as Tony's Ybor Restaurant....
07/20/17 Visual Arts
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Bad weather rocked the Southwest Airlines flight from Havana to Tampa.
It was Havana artist Marian Valdes' first ever trip to the United States — a scary prospect by itself. Turbulence made it more frightening, she said.
Then she arrived and was greeted with a hug by her host Tracy Reller.
"I felt comfortable and welcome," Valdes said. "Now I want to stay longer."...