Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
• There’s a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms coming off the coast in the morning then moving onshore, according to National Weather Service. So get ready for more heavy rains, which will eventually drop to 40 percent that night. Highs will be 87 and lows will be 78.
• 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.
• Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s agency told lawmakers in September that the record surge in requests for concealed weapons permits was one of his agency’s "chief ongoing concerns." Equipment used to process weapons permits and other licenses was "redundant," inefficient and outdated, leading to higher costs and "greater operational risk." A $13.3 million fix was needed to meet demand, his agency said in a 2017 budget request. But that blunt assessment conflicts with how Putnam has characterized the concealed weapons program amid reports his department mishandled applications for licenses. Read more from Steve Contorno.
• As a promotion for its new rewards program, Winn-Dixie and its parent company will give out 100 tanks of free gas later this morning. Details of the gas giveaway are being kept secret until 10 a.m., when Southeastern Grocers will announce where drivers can line up to get the fill-up valued up to $40. The free gas will be dispensed to the first 100 drivers starting at 11 a.m.
• A compromise could save the Janet Echelman aerial sculpture that was rejected by the City Council earlier this month. Justin Trombly reports that city officials met with opponents of hanging the sculpture over Spa Beach last week to consider a new site pitched by council member Gina Driscoll: a spot on the uplands leading to the new Pier District, just east of the St. Petersburg Museum of History And Driscoll, who voted against the Spa Beach site, said she’ll likely support this one.
• A week before a garbage truck backed over a Davis Islands woman, a driver wrote this in the vehicle’s inspection log: "No reverse lights, no backup camera, no backup alarm, no marker lights on rear half of truck." The lingering question: Was it all fixed? Read Bre Bradham’s story.
Columnist Sue Carlton writes about the push in Hillsborough County to get a transportation penny sales tax on the November ballot. The grassroots group All for Transportation is racing to collect nearly 49,000 signatures by Friday, and Carlton writes at tampabay.com that after that it’s another mad dash to convince taxpayers that it will be worth every extra cent.
• Family members of Markeis McGlockton implored the state attorney during a news conference Tuesday to file charges in the death of their loved one. McGlockton’s mother, father and girlfriend, alongside three attorneys, spoke of McGlockton as a loving son and father of three who enjoyed to sing and was always there for his children. McGlockton, 28, was shot by 47-year-old Michael Drejka last week during a fight over a parking space in what Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri deemed a justified use of force under Florida’s controversial "stand your ground" self-defense law.
• You better shop around. We compared food, prices and experiences at five specialty grocery stores in Tampa Bay, from Trader Joes to Sprouts and more. Check it out at tampabay.com.
• An unlicensed Pinellas County contractor who faked his death last summer to avoid paying back a Seminole couple for incomplete work, reached a confidential settlement to end a lawsuit that accused him of stealing more than $20,000. Now Marc Anthony Perez faces criminal charges. Catch up on this story later this morning at tampabay.com.
• In a news conference this morning in Miami, state Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, and the Florida House Democrats will demand that Gov. Rick Scott address the statewide problems with the SunPass tolling system, specifically that the state suspend all SunPass toll collections until the system is fixed and to appoint an independent auditing committee to investigate FDOT’s "mishandling of the SunPass electronic tolling system upgrade."
• There is no dispute that Nicole Black called 911 around 3 a.m. July 4 after she found her daughter slumped over the bathtub, unresponsive and drooling. Crystle Galloway, 30, had given birth by Cesarean section six days earlier. When she came round, she kept screaming "Mommy my head," Black said. But what happened next at Galloway’s Temple Terrace apartment is very much in dispute. Christopher O’Donnell has the details.
• That there is a lot of chatter swirling about the Rays with the non-waiver trade deadline less a week away is logical, obvious and expected. Several names — including Chris Archer, Nathan Eovaldi and Adeiny Hechavarria — could be valuable trade chips. What was a little surprising was how certain manager Kevin Cash was before Tuesday’s game that the talk would lead to action, Marc Topkin writes.