Tampa Bay already knows the impeccable research and storytelling skills of Times enterprise reporter Ben Montgomery, and readers in the wider world have gotten to know him through his books Grandma Gatewood’s Walk and The Leper Spy. But it still made us inordinately proud to hear the local guy get some national props recently on the WNYC/National Public Radio show Radiolab, broadcast hereabouts on WUSF on Sunday mornings. Radiolab was justifiably impressed by Montgomery’s important in-depth project “Why Cops Shoot” for the Times, in which, after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, he investigated every officer-involved shooting in Florida over a six- year period. Radiolab then partnered with him for “Shots Fired,” a two-part story which went even deeper into a few of the stories uncovered by Montgomery’s research, including an extraordinary gathering in Deland which brought together the families of people killed by police all over the country. —David Warner
Movers. Shakers. Scandal-makers. Your picks and ours.
Body farms, or places where donated corpses rot naturally in the name of science, are simultaneously unsettling and ever-so-fascinating. Studying how bodies decompose in various climates and conditions can help police solve crimes, and train forensics scientists to estimate time of death with hands-on learning about how carrion insects crawl in our orifices and lay eggs that become maggots that eat us from the inside out; then those cute little maggots grow into flies who get busy with the important work of eating the newly dead. The circle of life. Five creepy acres in Pasco County, forensics.usf.edu. —Amy Beeman
First of all, thank you — not only Duke Energy (we’ll go back to being pissed about the nuclear thing and our high bills soon enough, don’t get used to this wash of kindness) but to all the out-of-state power companies who sent linemen here in one of our hottest months (was that fun for you, Quebec power company?) to restore power to Tampa Bay in what, really, was a ridiculously short amount of time. Think about all the meals, hotel rooms and incidentals these men and women bought from our local businesses, who certainly could use the cash after losing at least three days of revenue. —Cathy Salustri
The Saturday before Irma hit, the city told all non-essential staff to go home and take care of their homes and families and to return to work after the storm passed. Then the police received a call about someone setting out a big-ass pile of garbage — including a lot of glass — that would become airborne when the storm came through. Damon Weisz, one of the few staff who can run the city’s bulk pickup claw truck, volunteered to get the pile. He didn’t stop there, though — he made passes throughout the city and picked up as much debris as he could to protect residents and businesses from flying debris, not stopping until Sunday evening when the storm arrived. —Cathy Salustri
Look, everybody lets a typo slip by every once in a while. CL is as guilty as the next news site. But online outlets like wtsp.com, abcactionnews.com, wfla.com and others are often so choked with misspellings, grammatical errors and mishaps of syntax that it inspires one to wonder whether the stories are being written by fledgling robots or enthusiastic but unsupervised children. I gotta read the feeds every day to cull stories for Sh*t Happened. Please, people — don’t make that part of my job more painful than it needs to be while alienating smart readers in the process. —Scott Harrell