Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.
Is that a hint of summer? The weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the low 80s, with just isolated showers possible today, Saturday and Sunday, according to 10Weather WTSP. Great weather for the Florida State Fair ... or anything, really.
• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.
• After years of speculation and courtship, the Tampa Bay Rays are finally expected to announce that they want to relocate the team to Tampa, according to Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan. Rays Principal owner Stuart Sternberg will for the first time state publicly that the team’s preferred location for a new ballpark is in Ybor City near the Channel District, the commissioner said. A news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Tampa Baseball Museum; stay with tampabay.com for updates.
• Robert Beach never thought he’d be a lawyer, much less a judge. Raised by a single mother in the Great Depression, he moved to Florida in the early 1950s and worked as a bartender to put himself through college and then law school. Now, half a century later, he retires as one of Florida’s longest-serving judges — and one of the most fascinating. Laura Morel profiles Judge Beach’s life and career.
• Before Billy Joel takes the stage in Tampa tonight, the Piano Man talked to our pop music critic Jay Cridlin. Despite hinting at quitting the business for at least the past quarter-century, he is, by many metrics, as popular as ever. Read what he had to say about his third return to Tampa in five years and the latest chapter in his late-in-life love affair with Florida.
• Billy Joel is one of just a number of celebrities who will be in Tampa Bay this weekend, including Tony Bennett, and a conversation between Ric Flair (woooooo!) and Hulk Hogan (brother!). Here’s a closer look.
• The way that Tampa Bay residents donate to charities and nonprofits is evolving. Last year’s tax reform is pushing many taxpayers to donate in bulk to accounts that can disperse money to organizations over several years instead of giving directly to those organizations annually, the customary pattern for years. And Tampa Bay organizations that manage these bulk accounts are already seeing an uptick in gifts. Malena Carollo has the details.
• As most lawmakers head home Friday, House Speaker Richard Corcoran jets to Las Vegas to hobnob with well-connected donors at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Billed as a weekend of "politics, policy and poker," the event is another sign of Corcoran’s interest in running for governor. Oh, and Rick Scott will be there too, along with Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham and Anthony "the Mooch" Scaramucci.
• For the latest legislative coverage from Tallahassee, keep checking The Buzz, which is updated throughout the day by the reporters of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau. One of Thursday’s most popular Buzz items was about Florida lawmakers trying to capitalize on the cancellation of a Lorde concert in Israel.
• This weekend the Florida Holocaust Museum opens a blockbuster exhibit on Adolph Eichmann that recounts the daring capture and riveting trial of the notorious Nazi officer. Unfolding more like a spy novel than a museum exhibit, we talked to the curator of the highly anticipated exhibit and found out why the former spy calls this his "last mission." The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through July 15 at the St. Petersburg museum.
• At Saturday night’s home game, the Lightning will honor Vinny Lecavalier, a No. 1 overall pick who remains active in the Tampa Bay community.