Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The DayStarter: State House candidates face off, new 9/11 records are released and Lowry Park Zoo after dark

• Expect a muggy commute to work this morning and — you guessed it — more afternoon showers. We'll have the latest forecast on

• A prolonged battle to declassify sensitive records on Saudi Arabian officials who helped hijackers plot to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 may end today when lawmakers expect a secret chapter of a congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks to be released. The so-called 28 pages have been the center of a personal crusade by former Florida Sen. Bob Graham. He was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of a joint congressional commission that investigated the attacks and wrote the full 838-page report.

• There will be two interesting candidate forums today starting at noon hosted by Suncoast Tiger Bay in St. Petersburg. In the state Senate District 19 Democratic primary, state Reps. Ed Narain and Darryl Rouson will likely continue their jousting, joined by fellow candidates Betty Reed and Augie Ribeiro. There will also be a forum featuring the three men vying for the Democratic nomination for House District 17: former St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton, small business owner Dan Fiorini and attorney Christopher "CJ" Czaia. To get the latest reports via Twitter, follow Tampa Bay Times reporters Caitlin Johnston (@cljohnst) and Mark Puente (@MarkPuente).

• How can southeastern Florida overcome the algae bloom crisis that has devastated the region? Look to Tampa Bay. The same guacamole-colored, putrid goop once plagued our shores and the cleanup here could serve as a blueprint for Lake Okeechobee and the Indian River region. Hint: It takes time and money, but mostly collaboration. Look for that story later today on

• At the height of the recession, Florida was a Dumpster fire of low-rated banks. Years later, the state is awash in highly rated banks, including nearly a dozen in the Tampa Bay area that earn the highest marks possible. But business reporter Jeff Harrington finds that while banks have recovered, customers aren't reaping many benefits.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including 98 Degrees and other boy band favorites in Tampa, comedians Jon Lovitz and Alonzo Bodden in town and the Garden Brothers Circus at the Sun Dome.

• The Lowry Park Zoo's new Sunset Celebration is tonight and Saturday, and will continue on weekends through the summer. We checked it out, and we have some tips for what to see when the zoo is illuminated after dark.

• Before you curl up with a book or head out to hear some live music this weekend, check out our critics' picks of the top albums from the Tampa Bay music scene as well as the literary greats who call Tampa Bay home.

Add the laser light show at the Lowry Park Zoo's sunset celebration to your list of things to do this weekend. [Lowry Park Zoo]

Add the laser light show at the Lowry Park Zoo's sunset celebration to your list of things to do this weekend. [Lowry Park Zoo]

The DayStarter: State House candidates face off, new 9/11 records are released and Lowry Park Zoo after dark 07/15/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2016 12:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  2. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  4. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues


    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind


    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.