Shoshana Walter


Shoshana Walter loves to write stories.

She has her pick of them at The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida, where she began as a police reporter in Nov. 2007.

In July, she completed a summer reporting fellowship at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. where she took lessons and meals with some of the best in field, wrote articles for, and did her best to avoid sunburns. She was one of 16 young journalists nationwide selected for the program.

Shoshana graduated from Mount Holyoke College in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and a concentration in ethnic and gender studies. During her first year at Mount Holyoke, she founded a print magazine called Feminist Uproar. She interned for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, MA in 2006, where she wrote local news including profiles of some of the Pioneer Valley�s most colorful citizens, as well as community responses to national and international developments, such as the crisis in Lebanon and Israel.

Before she became interested in newspaper journalism, Shoshana worked and wrote for the National Organization for Women of New York City, Shelterforce Magazine of the National Housing Institute, and historical feminist magazine, Off Our Backs in Washington, D.C.

Personal Narrative – Shoshana Walter

Editor’s note: The original version of this article included the name of the artist, his wife and his friend. At the request of the family, their names have been removed.

It was an awkward goodbye.

The dying artist wanted to stay
in the restaurant and talk some more, finish his second glass of sweet
tea, but his wife  knew better. Since he was sick, she knew he would
get tired soon. Better to leave earlier, while he was still talking and
energized, than later. She thanked me for coming and helped her husband
out of his seat – my cue to leave.

Instead I stood there with my
reporter’s notebook in hand, waiting for the scene that would tell me
my story, that would give me the answer to all the questions I had
about the artist and what he was going through as a dying man. Read more


In pageant’s glow, ushers reflect on glamour

The Miss Florida pageant is about to begin and friends and family of the 40 contestants pour through the doors of the Mahaffey Theater. They are decked out in dresses and jewels, suits and ties, perfume and hairspray.

Neither the tall lobby ceilings, the dark, reflective beams, nor the thick, gray carpet quell their voices. They are eager fans. They want to know how their “girls,” as many call the contestants, will measure up.

But most don’t notice the other unofficial judges in the crowd. The ones dressed in more sensible style: maroon vests over white button-down shirts, black pants, black bow ties and flat-soled shoes. Compared with the glitz and glamour of the pageant-goers and the girls themselves, these women are nearly undetectable.

They are the ushers of the Mahaffey Theater, a group of volunteers whose chance at a crown would have come many years ago. Read more


A St. Petersburg artist wonders, What have I given the world?

Jack Barrett did not have an appointment when he and his wife marched into the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and handed the chief curator a stack of Barrett’s sketchbooks. He has filled hundreds over his lifetime, and considers them his most valuable work. He hoped to have them accepted for a one-man show, something that would secure him a place in history as a serious artist.

It is the last thing he wants before he dies.

“My dream is to have my work in a museum,” Barrett says. “You feel like you’ve arrived.”

That dream has taken on special urgency for Barrett, 77. The local painter and illustrator is weakening after years of illness. He has cancer in both legs and a heart condition that affects his stomach and his lungs. Read more


A gallery of memory

Pat Burgess, the owner of Salt Creek Artworks, doesn’t have
a favorite painter.

She likes Cezanne, whose home she saw on a group tour of France
earlier this year. She likes that other impressionist painter who cut his ear
off. She is 68 years old. She likes what she likes and she doesn’t know what
that is.

“I have no clue about art,” says Burgess, walking through
her gallery. “Maybe it’s the expression of the face or the eyes. The sadness.
Maybe I can relate.”

Burgess walks in small, slow steps. The current show is by a
long-time Salt Creek artist. Every once in a while, when her vision blurs or
her eyes itch, she removes her glasses and rubs her eyes. She likes his
paintings, the flamboyant colors, but she can’t afford them. Read more


New terminal, new life for Albert Whitted Airport

For years, the green bench outside of the Bay Air office building has been the only spot at Albert Whitted Municipal Airport to sit and watch planes fly by. Its green paint gleams beneath the open sky on sunny days. The enamel is scratched and chipped from years of wear.

But aside from this bench, perched upon a concrete slab, visitors have found little to welcome them at the airport, which serves as home to a fleet of 183 small private and business planes.

That will change by the end of this summer, when the airport opens a new terminal building with an observation deck. It also will include retail and office space, a restaurant and a conference room.

The new building is one of a series of projects set to modernize the 80-year-old airport. Read more