Features & Profiles

A Tampa Bay retirement community’s unwelcome guest: wild, destructive hogs

When Pete Pullen stumbled across three baby wild hogs on a patch of land near his home, he knew he had to back away immediately. The piglets were harmless, but he was sure their mother was nearby. “If you get between a mother and her babies, you get attacked,” Pullen, 77, said. “And I can’t run as fast as I used to.” Pullen was used to seeing wild hogs outside his home in Sun City Center, an expansive retirement community in Hillsborough County covering about eight square miles. The hogs hang

One man’s mission to curb violence in Hillsborough County

Freddy Barton held a sugar-free Red Bull in one hand and a stack of small plastic mirrors in the other. He handed the mirrors to about 20 energetic kids — some as young as 12, others as old as 17 — seated at round tables in the Carey Family Boys & Girls Club in Brandon. “Look at yourself, take your time,” Barton said. “Fix your hair and all that.” Backpacks and lunch boxes hung from the wall, some decorated with Disney princesses or Marvel superheroes. Shelves of hula hoops, basketballs and bo

What does the Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling mean for Florida?

In a case decided last week, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling on Miranda rights that has some advocates and legal experts concerned. The ruling makes it impossible to sue a police officer for a Miranda violation. Experts say this could undermine constitutional rights stipulated in the Fifth Amendment and reduce police accountability. However, the leaders of several local law enforcement agencies in the Tampa Bay area say the ruling is no big deal. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Cl

Where are 3 missing Tampa Bay women? The answer may rest with ‘the devil.’

The families sat in lawn chairs, watching big yellow machines claw through the earth. The summer sun bore down on the empty lot in Largo nestled between a Baptist church and the Pinellas Trail. Drivers and pedestrians stopped, curious, as about a dozen forensic investigators continued their rhythm of digging: shovel, sift, discard. They were searching for the remains of Retha Hiers. In the 39 years since Hiers went missing, the Berlin Wall fell, the internet was born and America elected its f

Dust from the Sahara Desert is bringing heat and dry air to Tampa Bay

A large cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert blew into the Gulf of Mexico last weekend and will float over the Tampa Bay area for the coming days. Covering parts of central and southern Florida, the dust cloud brings higher temperatures and hazy, dry air. Tampa will not see its usual rain and scattered thunderstorms this week due to the dust, said hurricane scientist Jason Dunion of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “That dust is the reason it’s going to be 95 degrees today,

Who will enforce Florida’s 15-week abortion ban? And what if they refuse?

When the U.S. Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v. Wade, new laws in several states carried various promises to restrict or outright ban abortions. In Florida, lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis, anticipating Roe’s downfall, this spring passed a law making abortions in the Sunshine State illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The new law, which went into effect last week, carries with it a promise of a third-degree felony if broken. Doctors could also face the revocation of their medical licen

Mayoral Candidate Javiera Caballero Envisions a Durham for All

Until a few months ago, Durham City Council member Javiera Caballero had no plans to run for mayor. She was in the middle of serving her four-year term on the council when Mayor Steve Schewel unexpectedly announced he would not be running for reelection. After years of public service, Caballero decided to take her leadership to the next level. “It created an opportunity and an open seat that I felt compelled to at least try for,” Caballero said of Schewel’s retirement. She’s motivated to contin

Garden Terrace Tenants Are Still Fighting for Repairs and Fair Housing

At Durham’s Garden Terrace Apartments in Lakewood, resident Maryeri Sarmiento is tired of being ignored. Her apartment is riddled with maintenance concerns, she told the INDY through a translator, and her requests for repairs regularly go unanswered. Wood is rotting under the kitchen sink, and mold is growing on air vents in the bathroom. Water seeps under the front door when it rains, she says, and a wooden cabinet is missing its fourth wall. Sarmiento says her husband, Santos Ortiz, has been