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Craig Pittman - Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

  1. Mohammed "Mo" Haitham, 19, was a track star at Lakewood High School. He was one of the victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting on Friday, according to his mother and Lakewood High principal Erin Savage.
    Mohammed Haitham just finished boot camp and had been reassigned to Pensacola.
  2. St. Petersburg police said they arrested Jesse Millis-Dwyer after Homeland Security detected him uploading a sexually explicit photo of a 12-year-old girl to a Russian photo-sharing site.
    Police said he uploaded photo to Russian picture-sharing site
  3. Previous competitions did not round up a lot of the invasive snakes
  4. An aerial view of the Apalachicola River near the Florida Panhandle town of Wewahitchka. Although the state has spent millions of dollars trying to protect the river from pollution, it is now planning to issue permit allowing a company to drill for oil near the river. Photo is by Rick Zelznak for Apalachicola Riverkeeper.
    State on the verge of allowing drilling in both the Everglades and Apalachicola basin.
  5. A sinkhole opened up beneath a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic's Mulberry plant in 2016, draining 215 million gallons of waste into the aquifer below. Neither the company nor the state Department of Environmental Protection notified the public until a television report revealed what happened. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2016)]
    Problem at Bartow plant began in October, but public was given no notice.
  6. Dr. Carlyle Luer and his wife Jane  with an orchid in Ecuador, one of the many countries where they searched for the flowers. Luer, co-founder of Marie Selby Botanitcal Gardens in Sarasota, died Nov. 9 at age 97. Photo courtesy of Selby Gardens.
    Dr. Carlyle Luer gave up a medical practice to pursue his orchid obsession.
  7. One of a pair of orphaned panther kittens is being examined by the staff at ZooTampa. The pair, named Pepper and Cypress, so far have shown no signs of the ailment that led to their mother's death, zoo officials said.
    The mother had to be euthanized because a mysterious ailment left her unable to walk.
  8. Archaeologist Terry Barbour excavates a bead-making site on Raleigh Island in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Barbour's team then used a drone with radar to map the entire village of 37 ring-shaped piles of oyster shells where ancient dwellers made beads out of shells.
    Scientists stumbled on the site while assessing BP oil spill effects in 2010
  9. This sinkhole opened up in September 2016 underneath a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry, leaking 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the aquifer.
    The panel rejected environmental groups’ challenge of a permit that would allow mining on 50,000 acres.
  10. Workers clean up thousands of small fish that washed onto North Redington Beach last year as a result of the worst Red Tide bloom in a decade.  A new Red Tide bloom began in September off Collier County and appears to be creeping northward. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]
    The bloom started off Collier County in September. It’s slowly moving north