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Peter Couture, Times/tbt* Staff Writer

Peter Couture

Peter Couture grew up in St. Petersburg and is a graduate of the University of South Florida. He has worked for the Tampa Bay Times full-time since graduating from USF in 1989. He was a member of the startup team for the daily edition of tbt*, where he is the editor of the weekly Rides, Office and Cuisine sections. He also edits the daily SportsTalk page. He co-writes the weekly auto review column, the Daily Drivers.

Phone: (727) 892-2938

Email: pcouture@tampabay.com

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  1. 27 new things at Walt Disney World this summer

    Florida

    When you are the world's most-visited theme park, people expect a lot. And with crowds breaking records every year, Walt Disney World seems to spend its time trying to get you to plan for Fast Passes and luring you out of the Magic Kingdom and into its three other theme parks. You don't have to go to a theme park to check out Disney Springs, the shopping and dining destination formerly called Downtown Disney, which has doubled in size....

    With digital upgrades and new footage, Soarin’ Around the World opens at Epcot on June 17.
  2. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Diesel

    Autos

    Land Rover's Range Rover has long been a favorite for those who like its combination of interior luxury, brand cachet and — for some — its well-deserved reputation for off-road agility. For 2016, the Rover line gets another option for U.S. buyers: a diesel engine for those who want better MPG from their large SUV.

    Appearance: The Range Rover — which has five luxury-laden trim lines — has been spruced up without taking away from what is, by now, a classic profile. The modern touches include slender headlights with circular LED running lights, a two-bar woven-metal style grille, prominent skid plates and lip spoiler on the power liftgate. Our HSE tester was an elegant Indus Silver Metallic, which has a slight bluish tint. Our Rover ran on 20-inch five-spoke wheels. A detail we liked: The rear glass is deeply tinted, which blocks prying eyes and the sun. A detail we found odd: The taillights are small for a vehicle of this size. ...

    The taillights seem proportionately too small, but at least they’re bright.
  3. 'Disney Dream' cruise indulges with dining, entertainment, private island

    Travel

    FADE IN:

    DISNEY DREAM CRUISE SHIP — DECK 11 — LATE AFTERNOON

    A HUSBAND and WIFE relax on deck chairs. They are quiet, having abandoned their conversation for a reverie that's broken only by the clink of ice in their cocktail glasses. The woman turns to her husband.

    WIFE (surprised)

    "You know, that was the longest conversation we've had since you started working nights again."...

    Tall “windows” along one wall in the Skyline lounge give guests a view of Paris, New York, Chicago and Hong Kong.
  4. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

    Autos

    The Hyundai Elantra has long shed its image as a budget compact sedan. For 2017, it matures into a stately ride and even gains some features that wouldn't be out of place in larger and more expensive cars.

    Appearance: Hyundai made a statement in 2011 when it introduced the Sonata and Elantra sedans with what was then a fairly radical design — with its swooping body creases and pronounced character lines. It's five years later, and Hyundai is evolving the design of both cars into a mature — some might call it bland — look. The 2017 Elantra has a far less busy design and loses some of its uniqueness. That's not to say it's not an attractive package, especially with its low sculpted hood, chrome-trimmed hexagonal grille and flared headlights with LED daytime running lights. You can definitely see the family resemblance to the Sonata. The upscale Limited that we drove has nice touches that include chrome door handles with approach lights and 17-inch alloy "in-motion design" wheels. ...

    2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited
  5. How much do you know about the Kentucky Derby? Quiz yourself

    Sports

    1. Which jockey has ridden in the most Kentucky Derbys?

    A. Bill Shoemaker

    B. Gary Stevens

    C. Calvin Borel

    D. Pat Day

    Fun fact: Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack are tied for most Derby victories by a jockey with five. Arcaro won with Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Hoop Jr. (1945), Citation (1948) and Hill Gail (1952); Hartack won with Iron Liege (1957), Venetian Way (1960), Decidedly (1962), Northern Dancer (1964) and Majestic Prince (1969). ...

    Kentucky Derby hopeful Nyquist, ridden by Jonny Garcia, gallops at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The 142nd Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
  6. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

    Autos

    When the Toyota Land Cruiser was delivered to us, our first thought was: "They still make these?" Yes they do. The 2016 model gets a midcycle refresh after its 2013 overhaul. But how does it fit in with everyday drivers like us?

    Appearance: The Land Cruiser, which has been around since the 1950s, has shed some — not all — of its boxiness and now resembles a large station wagon. Peter likened it to a "steroidal Subaru," and Lyra thought the look "a bit frumpy" from the back. The front end gets the most noticeable makeover, with a heavy chrome grille that extends into the headlights. (They have washers for when they encounter mud.) Our Cruiser had running boards, which is a must for short drivers like Lyra. But those boards might be a hindrance for hard-core off-roaders. The Cruiser comes in only one trim level with few package options....

     The gauges are simple and uncluttered.
  7. New Orleans Jazz Fest: Prince tributes abound from Janelle Monae, Trombone Shorty, more

    Blog

    Now that the second weekend of the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is here, it’s worth mentioning the artist who seemed to eclipse last weekend's opening three days: Prince.

    From its stages and tents to even skywriters overhead, the Purple One’s death weighed heavily on those at the festival as well as its eclectic mix of artists....

    The house lights glowed purple in tribute to Prince before Trombone Shorty's set at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
  8. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD

    Autos

    To say Kia's compact Sportage is all new for 2017 is underselling what is a dramatic makeover. While it wasn't bland in its previous incarnation, neither did it stand out in the sea of similar-looking SUVs. Well, no more.

    Appearance: Kia has given the Sportage an injection of European attitude with styling cues — a boldly creased hood and curvaceous fenders that remind us of Porsche, especially with our Sportage's Sparkling Silver paint. Even the swept-back headlights — ours had the Dynamic Bending Light feature and high-beam assist — are on the crest of the fenders, which house 19-inch alloy wheels. Beneath the lamps, four-part LED fog lights add a futuristic touch. We've heard that some find the overall look odd. We disagree. This new Sportage also is slightly longer and taller, with a longer wheelbase. ...

    When the seats are folded flat, there’s 60.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
  9. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD 1/2 ton LTZ

    Autos

    Thanks to lower gas prices, large sport utility vehicles are making a comeback. Among them is the stalwart, the Suburban, an SUV before there was the acronym. This large Chevy, which is based on the Silverado pickup, is now in its 12th generation.

    Appearance: Big and still boxy. The Suburban shares a bold front end with the Silverado with a chrome-trimmed split grille. Our 'Burb came with polished 20-inch aluminum wheels, and its almost 19-foot length was painted in a sharp Iridescent Pearl Tricoat. (Considering black? Only if your regular driving involves motorcades.)...

    The 8-inch touch?screen is vivid. The navigation can show the map in 3-D.
  10. The Daily Drivers: 2016 BMW 750i xDrive

    Autos

    The BMW 7 Series resides in the exclusive class known as "executive sedans." Indeed, its standard long wheelbase provides the cabin with roominess and comfort befitting of the C-Suite. But you don't have to be a corporate titan to appreciate BMW's flagship. We drove the all-wheel-drive 750i xDrive trim.

    Appearance: The car's contemporary look was showcased by our tester's brilliant Alpine White paint. The 7 Series avoids the bloated look of some large sedans. It benefits from subtle styling details such as its creased hood, which tapers to the familiar BMW kidney-shaped grille and upswept headlights with circular lenses. L-shaped accent trim on the lower side body panels accentuates the length of the car while adding some visual interest. The optional 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels are some of the sharpest we've seen on a luxury sedan and would not seem out of place on a sports car. ...

     The rear windows have power mesh shades.
  11. The Daily Drivers car review: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

    Autos

    This may be the best time to shop for a small crossover, with several redesigned models already on the market or about to be rolled out. Case in point: The Mazda CX-5, which gets a mid-cycle refresh that, to quote Lyra, gives it an air of "aggressive elegance."

    Appearance: The new design features that stand out are mainly up front. The CX-5 now sports a bolder five-slat grille with thicker chrome trim. The headlights get new LEDs and the fog-lamp housings have been redesigned. The hood gains more pronounced creases and the front fenders are more curvaceous. Our Grand Touring tester came in Titanium Mica, a dark bronze that lessens the visual distraction of the wheel-well cladding. This trim comes with 19-inch dual-spoke alloy wheels....

     The gauges are surprisingly simple, but easy to read.
  12. The Daily Drivers car review: 2016 Volvo XC90

    Autos

    Welcome to Volvo's future. The XC90 is the first fully redesigned effort from the Swedish brand since it was bought by China's Geely Automobiles. How successful is the result? It was named North American Truck of the Year, a category that includes SUVs.

    Appearance: The Scandinavian design philosophy still rules. While there's nothing dramatic about the XC90, it looks elegant without looking bulky like some third-row SUVs. The most striking feature is — for Volvo — a bigger and bolder rectangular grille, flanked by eye-catching headlights with LED running lights that the automaker calls "Thor's Hammer." Our model was the R-Design trim, which adds chrome-trimmed gloss-black grille slats, integrated aluminum roof rails and "silk-metal" trim. ...

    The far-back seats are more than just benches, but they’re difficult to climb into.
  13. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE

    Autos

    Toyota's RAV4 has been around since the beginning of the SUV trend — indeed, it may have started it. For 2016, it gets a slight refresh inside and out. Our RAV4 was the XLE model, which is nicely equipped for a mid-level trim.

    Appearance: Toyota has tweaked the exterior, most notably giving it a more chiseled front fascia whose headlights now appear to extend out of the grille. It's a more sporty look, which goes along with the rest of the automaker's recent surge of style. Our tester was came in the new Electric Storm Blue — a brilliant hue that was a hit with Lyra — and set off by 17-inch twin five-spoke alloy wheels. The front and rear bumpers have silver-painted "skid-plate garnishes" that are more cosmetic than functional. Let's face it: The RAV4 is not much of an off-roader....

     Our tester had a charcoal and ivory interior.
  14. Recognition puts female sportscasters at risk

    Sports

    Even before revelations that the Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews was secretly videotaped naked by a stalker in a hotel room in 2008, female sportscasters have understood how frightening obsessed fans can be.

    Andrea Kremer recalled being in a hotel room while she was at NFL Films in 1988 when a man called late at night as she was falling asleep.

    "He started saying all these things he wanted to do to me, and it scared the living hell out of me," Kremer, who is now with NFL Network and HBO Sports, said. "I hung up, called downstairs, and said: 'I got a really threatening call. Can you trace it?' They said it was coming from inside the hotel. Then he called back — it was so chilling and terrifying. I was shaking. My heart was beating fast."...

    Erin Andrews testifies in her lawsuit against a hotel and the man who secretly videotaped her. Jurors awarded her $55 million in damages Monday.
  15. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Nissan Altima SL

    Autos

    Nissan has followed Honda and Toyota by giving its midsize sedan, the Altima, a mid-cycle refresh that brings a much-needed injection of style that recalls its big brother, the Maxima.

    Appearance: The Altima was looking stale, so this refresh injects some much-needed character into the midsize sedan. Most notable is the "V-Motion" grille that it now shares with other Nissans. If you stand in front of it, you'll appreciate the confluence of lines that flow down from the hood to the grille and its dramatic new "boomerang" headlights. Those changes, along with newly muscular fenders and chiseled front bumper, make the Altima one of the sharper looking midsize sedans on the market. Less successful: Lyra wasn't a fan of the black cladding that accents the rear bumper....

     2016 Nissan Altima SL Photo by Lyra Solochek, Tampa Bay Times