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September 24, 2011

Recurring theme these past several weeks: Shared-byline 1A stories. A good way to make a story the best it can be, especially on deadline – and double especially if all hell is breaking loose – is to work together.

Murder!  When deputies caught up to Jeremiah Fogle on Sunday, after two pastors were shot in church, the accused gunman told them what to do: “If you go to my house, you will find a full confession and my wife.” They found 56-year-old Theresa Fogle, dead. And they found a confession, but not the one they expected. It was written in her voice, a catalog of sexual infidelities with a list of partners at least 25 long. Polk County deputies said Monday her husband may have forced her to write it. Jeremiah Fogle told the deputies he loved her. But he had loved others before. The 57-year-old former deacon with a velvet voice had married at least six women before he made Theresa his wife. And he had killed one…

Mayhem!  They found ingredients to build pipe bombs. They found schematics for Freedom High School. They found a manifesto, a plot to kill even more people than the 13 massacred in 1999 at Columbine High. Police this week thwarted a “catastrophic event the likes of which Tampa has not seen,” Chief Jane Castor said at a news conference midday Wednesday. An hour earlier, skinny, shaggy-haired Jared Cano had appeared in juvenile court, accused of it all…

Crazy punctuation! He considers himself a “sovereign citizen,” above the laws of government and, apparently, the rules of grammar. He punctuates his name Jacob-Franz: Dyck. He is a disgraced former dentist who went to prison for stealing silver and gold. He has sued the banks, a governor, the United States of America. Yet Dyck’s name appears on hundreds of real estate records throughout Florida, written into the deeds of homeowners desperate to try anything to avoid foreclosure — including paying him to put their properties in “pure trusts.” Dyck says such trusts can’t be taken or taxed because they fall under “common law,” out of the reach of government. One problem: That’s not true…

Flying Cubans! They loaded airport luggage carts with thousands of pounds of America, zipped up in duffel bags and stacked on more duffel bags and shrink-wrapped for protection from pilfering. The Thursday flight to Cuba would span only 344 miles, but its 67 passengers were packed for a voyage to another planet. Because, in many ways, that’s where they were headed — an island severed from free commerce for half a century, where basic necessities are scarce, the black market reigns and the only way to experience certain comforts is to get them imported by relatives in the States. And so, those relatives packed: Clothes, medicine, diapers, toilet paper. Christmas decorations. A candelabra. A 47-inch LCD TV…

Wilderness rescue by cute schoolchildren!  Francis Netto set out Wednesday with books, snacks and a cell phone and walked into Wilderness Park for the 15-mile hike he makes several times a month. Along the way, he greeted a group of kids on a field trip, and they had a chat about fishing before parting ways. “Bye!” they told him. Neither the hiker nor the kids could have predicted the circumstances under which they’d meet again. Netto kept walking. By official account, he stopped to eat, opened a book and took his sinus medicine. Then, he did something a hiker should never do when he has only a snack and a book and antihistamine: Amid 16,000 acres of cypress swamp, hardwood floodplain forest and pine flatwoods — amid the alligators and the mosquitoes and the snakes — Netto fell asleep…

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