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The Daystarter: Chilling 911 calls after stand your ground shooting; USF shedding commuter-school reputation; remembering Aretha Franklin

Singer Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009. The"Queen of Soul" and one of the greatest singers in American singers, died on Thursday. She was 76. [Bloomberg photo by Dennis Brack]
Published Aug. 17, 2018

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

• The rain chance is slightly lower today than it's been, with rain about 40 percent likely, according to the National Weather Service. What rain we get will likely appear in the afternoon or evening. And temperatures should hit the low 90s.

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

• Even before the 911 operator could ask about the emergency, the caller was screaming. "Baby! Oh my God!" she yelled, as the operator tried to calmly ask for the address. "I need help now! I need help now!" the caller pleaded, her voice cracking in hysteria. Listen to the chilling 911 calls after Markeis McGlockton was killed by Michael Drejka in what authorities at first called a stand your ground case.

• Meanwhile, The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into one of the lawyers who signed on this week to represent Drejka. A spokeswoman for the Bar said the complaint is related to solicitation and centers on a visit Lysa Clifton made to Drejka at the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday. The office declined to release more details, citing confidentiality rules.

• U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to visit Tampa today to give the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a boost. The event starts at 11 a.m. at the Armature Works. For live coverage, check out The Buzz throughout the day.

• Ron DeSantis told a gun rights advocacy group that people should not need a permit to openly carry a firearm in public, according to the group's lawyer and a release sent out by the organization this week. Eric Friday, the general counsel for Florida Carry, said he met with DeSantis in Kissimmee while the Congressman was there for the Republican "Sunshine Summit" in June, which featured a debate between DeSantis and his rival in the governor's race, Adam Putnam, as well as prominent speeches from prominent Republicans like Ben Carson.

• Red Tide hits Florida on a regular basis, but it's rarely this bad. Why so strong this year? The Sahara Desert may be to blame. Winds in Africa pick up tiny dust particles from the desert and carry them across the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes the dust creates beautiful sunsets. Sometimes it causes a thick haze to hang in the air over Texas. Sometimes it suppresses hurricanes from developing in the Gulf. And sometimes it feeds a Red Tide bloom. Learn more about the impact of Sahara dust on Red Tide.

• Pop music critic Jay Cridlin reflects on the unmatched career of Aretha Franklin, who died at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. "More than peers like Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole, Franklin established the archetype of the modern pop diva: Possessed of blinding talent, and refusing to suffer fools who questioned it or rivals who challenged it," Cridlin writes.

• Three new residence halls opened Thursday on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, bringing the number of students living on campus to more than 6,300 — the most ever. It's part of USF's effort to shed its commuter-school reputation and give the campus a more residential feel, Claire McNeill writes.

• We got an early look at an unusual exhibit opening at the Florida Holocaust Museum this weekend. Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution is a display of the life and rock memorabilia of the flamboyant concert promoter synonymous with classic rock, who organized Live Aid and Rolling Stones tours. He also was a Holocaust survivor who was sent to America for his own safety in 1941 by a mother he would never see again.

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

• After the Rays exhaled following Thursday's tense-as-they come 3-1 win, they were able to appreciate the significance of what they'd done. For now. And, more importantly, for the future, Marc Topkin writes.

• We'll find out where Miami, Florida State and the rest of Florida's teams start the season Monday when the AP releases its preseason Top 25 rankings. Until then, Matt Baker offers sneak peek, in the form of the AP ballot he submitted last week.

• Fun doesn't have to be expensive. Here are 5 things to do under $5 this week, including a rubber duck race crowding the Hillsborough River.

• The live action version of The Little Mermaid opens today and it is much darker than the animated classic. It also has a Tampa connection. It was produced by lifelong Tampa resident Robert Molloy, the grandson of the late George Steinbrenner. Read about the story behind the story.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including violinist Lindsey Stirling paired with Goth-influenced Evanescence with an orchestra backing them at the Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Grammy legend Chick Corea performing piano greats at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre, and you'll find loads of craft beers and Lightning personalties at the Bolts Brew Fest.


  1. Joshua Michael Nichols, 21, was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday in connection to the early morning shooting death of an unidentified man during an argument outside a Spring Hill home. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One person is in custody. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
  2. Yesterday• Pasco
    Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, received his third “Paul Harris Award.” the highest recognition from the Rotary Club, on Aug. 15. The pin was presented to Dr. Musunuru, a nationally-recognized cardiologist, by Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic services to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida for nearly 40 years. Pictured: Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, (left) and Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins. Jemith Rosa/Hudson Rotary Club
    News and notes about your neighbors
  3. A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy walks around the Old Skool Sports Bar and Grill, the scene of a shooting early in the morning, north of Lancaster, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  Lancaster County Sherriff's Office said in a statement that the agency was investigating a fatal shooting that also injured several people.  (Jessica Holdman/The Post And Courier via AP) JESSICA HOLDMAN  |  AP
    Two adult males were shot and killed.
  4. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, listens to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, during the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez) EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ  |  AP
    Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg started the climate strike movement with her lone protest in front of her country’s parliament.
  5. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    She was not in a crosswalk when she was hit, troopers say.
  6. Vice President Mike Pence reacts during an immigration and naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    Katie Waldman, a former University of Florida student senator, was accused of helping discard independent student newspapers with a front-page endorsement of a rival party’s candidate. | Analysis
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    John Clark used a shotgun to kill his mother and another man. Then he returned to the crime scene with a shotgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  8. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  9. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  10. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.