Gina V’s Facebook presence is of a piece with her journalism — wry, funny, embracing, but fierce when she needs to be — and that combination made her voice particularly welcome during Irmageddon. She was candid about her fears and asked serious questions about subjects like evacuation traffic, but she also opened up threads on lighter but no less necessary topics such as stress-eating and fake Irma events. (And because she’s a smart, funny person, she has many smart, funny friends, so the threads were always good for some cathartic laughter.) Always a passionate advocate for St. Pete and Florida (even though — waah! — she’s moving to Asheville), she defended those who chose not to evacuate from the state with points like “This is crucial: there is only ONE direction we can leave the state. North.” And she was also good at offering reassuring words like this passage, which oughta be engraved on a plaque somewhere: “In our own little inter-county community of misfit artists, musicians, activists, and other assorted weirdos, there are literally thousands of us looking out for each other — not just now, but always. Irma is a whopper, but we're an amazing bunch of people with big hearts and a lot of ingenuity. We're going to have dark days, but the sun is our friend. She's coming back. And one day this will make a hell of a story. Hang on so you can tell it.” —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