Thursday, October 18, 2018
News Roundup

The Daystarter: Hurricane Michael takes aim at Florida Panhandle as a Category 4; live coverage in Tampa Bay and the Panhandle; some say they are too poor to evacuate

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

• Tampa Bay will dodge much of what Hurricane Michael threatens to do to the Pandhandle. Expect intermittent thundershowers, wind gusts up to 35 mph and an increased risk of isolated tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. While no major rain event was forecast locally, that could change once Michael makes landfall this afternoon.

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

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including a Pulitzer Prize-winning play at American Stage and CNN analyst Bakari Sellers.

• The threat of Hurricane Michael is growing as it speeds toward the Florida Panhandle. Forecasters believe it could remain a deadly Category 4 storm when it makes landfall this afternoon, with wind speeds early this morning at 140 mph. Zachary T. Sampson and Doug Clifford are reporting from North Florida today so follow our live blog throughout the day for storm news from the field, and impact in Tampa Bay and the Florida Panhandle.

• The situation also grew more dire in the poorer towns along the Gulf Coast, where residents tell Emily Mahoney and Samantha Gross that they’re going to ignore all the dire evacuation orders and try to stay put because they can’t afford to leave towns like Panacea.

• Before hurricane news, NBC’s Lester Holt was already scheduled to bring his Across America series to Tampa today. We talked to the veteran newsman about his plans to report on Red Tide on NBC’s Nightly News as well as a feature on four Tampa Bay girls all being treated for the same type of brain cancer.

• Tampa philanthropist David Straz has gotten lots of deserved accolades for his acts of generosity over the years. Now Straz, 75, wants to be the mayor of Tampa. So might it have been wiser last week to skip being feted in the latest expression of civic gratitude in favor of letting voters finally get a good look at Straz the candidate? Read more from Times columnist Sue Carlton.

• Some people are actually excited for Hurricane Michael: stone crabbers. They are hopeful the storm may clear out Red Tide and improve their haul when the stone crab season opens Monday. Food writer Laura Reiley talks to them about this year’s prospects.

• A couple key Tampa Bay sports figures woke up this morning with the security of new contracts. Rays manager Kevin Cash’s extension is a nice reward for Tampa Bay’s 90-win season and further proof the Rays know what they’re doing. Marc Topkin explains why the Rays signed Cash through at least 2024.

• And on the other side of the bay, the Bucs on Tuesday made guard Ali Marpet the NFL’s third highest-paid player at his position.

• A slate of mostly fresher faces leads the just-announced lineup for Tampa’s 10th Jingle Ball, scheduled for Dec. 15 at Amalie Arena. Veteran heart throb Shawn Mendes is joined by pop’s hottest hitmakers. For that and more music news, check out our Soundcheck music blog

• From our food editor: The chefs at Il Ritorno in St. Pete. showed us how surprisingly easy it is to make fresh pasta and the flavor is worth it. Recipes included.

• Florida ranks behind many states when it comes to teacher pay, and Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, wants to change that. His proposal to raise starting teacher pay to $50,000 has attracted attention, but is it realistic? Read today’s report from education writer Jeff Solochek.

• We’re seeing a generational shift in the way younger adults go to the doctor. Many are spurning the traditional trip to the primary care physician, with it’s long wait times and uncertain pricing, in favor of more convenient options. A report from Kaiser Health News takes a closer look at the trend and its impacts.

• Rick Scott may be a lame duck governor but he’s still trying to seat three new justices onto the Florida Supreme Court just before he leaves office. Josh Solomon reports that that 59 have applied for the three jobs, and that six of them are judges from the Tampa Bay region.

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