Thursday, October 18, 2018
News Roundup

The Daystarter: Back to school in Hillsborough; quantifying the greatness of Taylor Swift; what did we learn from Bucs-Dolphins?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• In the morning, expect showers and thunderstorms along the coast and temperatures in the mid 70s, according to the National Weather Service. By afternoon, the showers will move inland and the high will be about 90.

• Expect a more westerly flow which will keep thundershowers away earlier in the day. Still, expect a 40 percent chance of scattered showers in the afternoon before it clears up, according to the National Weather Service. Temps will reach the low 90s, just a tad cooler than recent days.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• Starting today and resuming Monday, students and teachers across the Tampa Bay area will encounter major changes as they settle into the school year. From beefed-up security to expanded mental health services and later start times, the list of things that are different from last year is longer and more consequential than any back-to-school season in memory.

• As students head back to school today in Hillsborough County, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found that the school district didn’t tell parents for more than a year that it was discovering high levels of lead in some schools’ drinking water.

• For nearly a half century, Habitat for Humanity has been helping low-income Americans realize the dream of home ownership. In return for their sweat and labor, they get the deed to a new house and a zero-interest mortgage. Like most lenders, Habitat often sells its mortgages to raise money for more houses. But a recent sale of 12 mortgages by Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate has raised questions and concerns about the non-profit’s policies. Susan Taylor Martin has the details.

• Look what Taylor Swift made her do. T-Swift superfan and Times savante Tara McCarty charted, graphed and tracked 99 Taylor Swift songs for three years looking for answers. She didn’t find what she expected.

• With Taylor Swift coming to town, here’s information on parking, weather, setlists, surprise guests and everything else you need to know.

• The day after U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson claimed Russians had "penetrated" some Florida voter registration systems, he faced a growing backlash on Thursday with the state’s chief elections officer demanding information from officials in Washington and others saying they have seen no evidence supporting the assertion. The Democrat was especially criticized by his Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Gov. Rick Scott.

• The Democratic candidates for governor were all in the same place once again Thursday — but it wasn’t a debate. Instead, the candidates — Jeff Greene, Philip Levine, Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum and Chris King — participated in a series of one-on-one interviews with News4Jax reporter Kent Justice. Here are three key takeaways from the Jacksonville candidate forum, which may be one of the final times the candidates appear together before the August 28 primary.

• The Aug. 28 primary is almost here Florida. Time to start researching the candidates using the Times’ 2018 Florida Voter Guide. Find out everything you need to know about those running for governor, the Legislature and your local governments.

• Brian Sebring, the 44-year-old man facing charges after he shot and wounded another man over a Facebook post discussing politics, talked to reporter Anastasia Dawson after he was released from the Hillsborough County jail. "I’m not a bad guy," Sebring told the Times, "but I mean, this guy threatened to hurt my family, and I went off the deep end." To read the rest of the interview, click here.

• Good news, at least for those who believe in that old-fashioned notion that voting should be open and accessible to everyone who’s qualified, writes columnist Sue Carlton at tampabay.com. A federal judge struck down a rule prohibiting college campuses from serving as early voting locations. While it’s too late for the August primaries, campuses — like maybe USF? — could serve as early voting sites.

• What Ryan Fitzpatrick started, Jameis Winston continued and Ryan Griffin finished over the Miami Dolphins. It was a big night for the Bucs quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who called plays for the first time since coming to Tampa Bay. So what have we learned about Tampa Bay after one preseason game? Check out our coverage of the Dolphins game.

• A rapper who claims to be affiliated with the legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan was arrested last week after Pasco sheriff’s deputies said he refused to identify himself during a traffic stop. Jack Evans reports that Marques Andre Johnson, who performs under the rap name "Andre Roxx," believes deputies violated his rights. But is Johnson of the Wu?

• Our barfly checks out the newly opened Saigon Blonde which has only been open for two weeks in downtown St. Petersburg, "but it’s already one of the most exciting concepts" for a bar in the Tampa Bay area. If the designers of the queues for theme-park rides worked on a bar, it might look like Saigon Blonde, he wrote.

• Fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 5 things to do under $5 this week, including a free showing on the beach of the charming sleeper hit Paddington 2, a meteor show that will peak over the weekend and a six-piece Brazilian jazz group.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including Radioactive band Imagine Dragons and the return of Fetish Con to downtown St. Petersburg.

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