The Daystarter: Couple gets bigger, better boat for $1; Strawberry Festival opens today; John Romano takes legislature to task; Willie Nelson still has it at 84

Brad Paisley, shown performing at his 2011 H20 Tour in Tampa. He returns to the bay area for the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
Brad Paisley, shown performing at his 2011 H20 Tour in Tampa. He returns to the bay area for the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published March 1, 2018

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

• Could it actually get cooler? Actually, yes, it could. While highs are in the 80s and lows in the 60s, that's expect to shift at the end of the week as a cold front and rain could bring temperatures back down to the 70s-60s dynamic through the weekend, according to 10Weather WTSP.

• 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 comedian Howie Mandell and indie rockers Fleet Foxes

• With the Strawberry Festival opening today, pop music critic Jay Cridlin picks the best concerts in the festival lineup including Brad Paisley and Reba McEntire.

• Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh sold everything they had in Colorado, bought an old 28-foot sailboat and planned to live their dream of sailing the Caribbean. That dream turned into a nightmare at John's Pass when their boat, the Lagniappe, crashed into something underwater, causing it to sink. The couple lost everything, but now has a new sailboat and raised $16,000 in donations. Christopher Spata has the details.

• Columnist John Romano takes the Florida Legislature to task for focusing on their personal ambitions in Tallahassee instead of on what their constituents actually want them to do. Do legislators really know better than the voters? Read more at

• It's time to plan your weekend! Our critics and writers have mapped out their top picks this week for concerts, shows and family fun on our Weekend Planner page including professional skateboarders in Tampa, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the start of the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival and what to expect at this year's Tampa Bay Beer Week.

• Last year Keely Hightower discovered that a T-Mobile store employee had stolen an intimate video of herself from her phone while she was in a store in Pinellas Park. That employee spent six months in jail, but now Hightower thinks the store's owner should be held responsible as well. Kathryn Varn explains at why she's suing the company.

• Were you at Willie Nelson's sold-out show last night at Ruth Eckerd Hall? Brittany Volk says she partied with everyone's grandparents and loved every moment.

• The Tampa City Council will be site of another battle over trees. The city's nearly half-century-old tree ordinance has developers fuming. They want to make it easier, less expensive and less confusing to remove a healthy tree from private property. Environmentalists and tree enthusiasts are concerned proposed changes could harm the city's canopy. The battle begins during the council's meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. Follow the action with Tampa City Hall reporter Charlie Frago at @CharlieFrago for updates.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

• A-plus passion" was how Yanni Gourde described the energy the Lightning played with Monday in beating the playoff-bound Maple Leafs in a shootout. Wednesday, against a Sabres team that sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, that energy was nowhere to be found. The Sabres outplayed the Lightning, rallying for a 2-1 overtime victory, on the same night the the gold medal-winning U.S. women's hockey team was honored during a pregame ceremony.

• The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority meets at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to rank four firms for a $184 million expansion of curbside operations at the main terminal, plus a $120 million project to move the airport's central energy plant to accommodate the curbside expansion. The work wouldn't start until late 2019 or later. It's all part of a $2 billion expansion to handle growth at the airport. Check here later for more coverage from Times business reporter Richard Danielson.