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Good Reads

  1. In 24 years together, they avoided fights about politics. Then Donald Trump became president

    Human Interest

    PALM HARBOR

    For years, Steve and Chazzy Foy avoided talk of politics. It wasn't that important to them. And they had a vague awareness that, in their 24 years together, they had grown apart politically.

    Chazzy and Steve Foy pose for a photograph at their home Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 in Palm Harbor. The couple has always avoided talking about politics but this most recent election has sparked a controversy within their relationship. CHRIS URSO   |   Times
  2. Orthodox Syrians gather to pray, but talk of immigration ban is elusive

    National

    TARPON SPRINGS

    The special service wouldn't start for an hour. But by 5 p.m. Thursday, people were pouring into the church.

    Lexi Gabro plays the electric keyboard during a service Thursday at St. Athanasius Syriac Orthodox Church in Tarpon Springs. His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, who lives in Damascus, Syria, visited the church.
  3. I needed help finding love, so I turned to Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba

    Human Interest

    I had an idea growing up of what love should look like.

    Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba, left, and drummer Mike Marsh perform during the Ambassadors of Rock Tour at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  [Getty Images]
  4. Peter Pan and Wendy found love in real life

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — He first saw her onstage, dancing in a silver sequined dress.

    Taylor and Gabriella Simmons act as Peter Pan and Wendy in Peter Pan at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 12, 2017. Taylor and Gabriella got married in Bradenton on December 30, 2016.
  5. Can we get our beloved Publix to take over the business of running Florida?

    Human Interest

    It's no secret that I love Florida. I love our beaches, our gorgeous sunsets and state parks. I especially love our police-beat stories, where you regularly find headlines like, "Accused 'porta potty' puncher popped in toilet tantrum."

    Publix was founded in Winter Haven in 1930 and now has 700 stores around the country. It is the country’s largest employee-owned grocery chain.
  6. In the digital age, do blind dates still exist?

    Human Interest

    Troy Coker called it a "legitimate, classic blind date."

  7. Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco taught me everything I know about love

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Even on the outdoor patio of Ybor City's Cuban Club, the smoke hung like fog. It was a cigar festival, after all, and hundreds were puffing on stogies. Among the few not partaking were Dick Greco — the former four-time mayor of Tampa — and me. He was there supporting his wife, whose medical …

    (from left to right) Paul Guzzo, Dick Greco and Amy Guzzo pose for a portrait in the Tampa Bay Times studio in St. Petersburg on Friday, January 13, 2017.
  8. Time for a kindness break

    Human Interest

    Join hands with me, will you, for a pre-Thanksgiving prayer:

    First lady Michelle Obama hugs former president George W. Bush as they and their spouses President Barack Obama and former first lady Laura Bush arrive at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, a rare bipartisan moment in 2016. (Al Drago/The New York Times)
  9. Think you can guess whether these voters will choose Clinton or Trump?

    State Roundup

    Certain groups can be expected to vote a certain way each presidential election. Non-white voters, for more than half a century, have voted for a Democrat. The most recent polls in key states show Hillary Clinton winning that demographic. Gun owners voted against President Barack Obama and for President George W. Bush, …

    Faye Whitefield Morazan Carlton, 61, of Lakeland, Eric Maughan, 47, of Lutz, and Jordan Orr, 26, of Lakeland. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times

  10. Tampa and Cuba, once Cold War enemies, now work together to save the ocean

    Water

    FOUR MILES OFF THE COAST OF KEY LARGO

    Five scientists sit in a fishing boat on Aug. 21, waiting for divers to emerge. They stare at the water, struggling to keep the conversation going.

    JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times  Hanzel Caballero (left) and Pedro Chevalier (right) from the National Aquarium of Cuba prepare to dive to help set nets in an underwater nursery of elk horn coral run by The Florida Aquarium in anticipation of a coral spawn in the Florida Keys Sunday, August 21, 2016.
  11. Florida controls the road to the White House, so why not the White House?

    Human Interest

    You, as a Florida voter, hold the fate of the world in your hands.

    Let's put a Florida man, or woman, in the White House. (Times illustration  |  Ron Borresen)
  12. Readers respond to young violist with generosity and support

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    More than 100 emails and phone calls poured in after September's Floridian story about 16-year-old Adán Martinez and the viola that changed his life. He had been busking to make payments on the instrument he named Lamar and had more than $1,200 to go. But within a week, readers calling Violin …

    Adán Martinez, 16, tries a cello at Violin Shop Tampa after a reader and the shop pledged $3,000 to help him add the second instrument he needs to qualify for the Juilliard music school in New York.
  13. Time capsule: On a beach, he found a box containing a stranger's ashes

    Human Interest

    Time capsule: This is a recurring Floridian magazine feature that allows readers to re-experience some of the Tampa Bay Times' best stories with the wisdom of hindsight. Writer Lane DeGregory got a phone call last month about this story, from the children of Dr. Ayestaran. He held on to that box for years, …

    photo 1 CAPTION: (02/13/2008 St. Petersburg, FL) Dr. Emilio Ayestaran found a cedar box with personal items from Sept. 11 which included a polaroid picture, watch, rosary, flag, candle, woman's hair clip, and clippings from the 9/11 anniversary.  He found them at Ft. De Soto beach.   JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
STORY SUMMARY: guy finds box of momentos
  14. Ghostly warning: Dead gangster Ma Barker doesn't want her house moved

    Human Interest

    OCKLAWAHA — He called the newsroom with a warning: They can't move that house.

    The Historic Bradford House is the site of the 1935 FBI shootout with the Barker Gang in Ocklawaha, near Ocala. Patched bullet holes are easily visible throughout the two-story house.
  15. How do you tell a story without words? Two dancers give it a spin.

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — The dance came from a conversation. About having conversations. Some of the best ones, the two dancers agreed, had been with strangers.

    So they started there.

    Kellie Harmon and Crystal DelGiudice will perform their piece at the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, as part of the festival.
  16. Time Capsule: The day that Tampa banned lap dancing

    Human Interest

    Time capsule: This is a recurring Floridian magazine feature that allows readers to re-experience some of the Tampa Bay Times' best stories with the wisdom of hindsight.

    TP	95418	- DELIVER TO:	Tampa and State	- 11/19/99	- Tampa	- CAPTION INFO:	"Chelsea", a dancer at Mons Venus in Tampa, performs a lap dance for a customer at the adult entertainment club on Friday, November 19, 9999.  (Depending on the time of day, most lap dances begin with clothed dancers, who disrobe as part of the act.) Tampa City council voted 5-0 Thursday night on an ordinance that would force adult dancers to stay 6 feet from customers and other entertainers.  It would also apply to lingerie modeling shops. - -	Times Photo by-	Toni L Sandys	- -	Story By:	LInda Gibson	- -	SCANNED BY:	tls	- -  RUN DATE: 	11/20/99
  17. In his own words: I'm a 12-year-old international go-kart racer

    Human Interest

    I was 4 years old when I started racing. … I remember going out on the track for my first time and, like, just going around, like, really slow. …

    Ira Mattice Jr. poses with the trophies and plaques he has won for go-kart racing around the world. Eight years after started, he won his first race this year. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  18. The 'F' in Florida often stands for 'fake'

    News

    Living in Florida is an adventure, and not just because of the hurricanes, lightning, sinkholes, shark attacks and nudist resorts. A big part of what makes living here so — interesting? is that the right word? — is knowing that much of what you see isn't real.

    FILE - In this April 28, 2015, file photo, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., appears, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Durbin is taking the rare step of weighing in on the states handling of a health insurance rate increase request by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. The state's leading insurer is suggesting price increases for 2017 ranging from 23 percent to 45 percent for individual health plans. Durbin, the state's senior senator, says the company could be more competitive and reduce costs, and he's pressing state regulators to take action. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke File)
  19. In her own words: Dangling from my piercings makes me comfortable in my own skin

    Human Interest

    Shannon Michael, 29, Palm Beach | body suspension artist

    Shannon Michael, 29 of Palm Beach. Body suspension artist. The photo is courtesy of  Shannon Michael
  20. From Disney's Space Mountain to SeaWorld's Mako: We're pushing the limits on roller coaster thrills

    Florida

    ORLANDO

    I n January 1975, Mickey Mouse donned a space suit to herald the newest attraction in Disney's Tomorrowland, the first roller coaster on Earth to be controlled by a computer.

    Riders get their kicks on SeaWorld’s Krakken. As theme parks continue upping the thrills, the floorless roller coaster that reaches heights of more than 150 feet is getting more intense next year.  SeaWorld plans to retrofit Krakken with virtual reality headsets to give riders the sensation of traveling through the sea amid mythical creatures.