Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
• We'll see isolated to scattered thunderstorms inland today with highs in the upper 80s to lower 90s, according to the National Weather Service.
• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.
• Don't forget, this week is Florida's annual sales tax holiday on hurricane preparedness supplies which runs through June 7.
• If Florida is hit with a major hurricane this season, 459,000 homes in Tampa Bay could be at risk for damage by storm surge, the third-most among major metro areas. And rebuilding them all could top $79 billion. According to the CoreLogic Storm Surge Report released Thursday, the Sunshine State has 2.7 million homes at risk for storm surge, the largest number of homes of the 19 states assessed for the report, Malena Carollo writes.
• The start of hurricane season also coincides with that time of year when termites start new colonies. Laurel Demkovich reports that termites can render homes and trees even more vulnerable to storm damage and offers some tips to protect your property.
• Keep these links handy throughout hurricane season: Read our
• A Sebring couple crossing Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island Saturday evening were struck and killed by a driver who fled the scene and who later refused to be tested for alcohol, deputies said. Beverly J. Gran, 80, and Nicholas Michael DeSanta, 74, were walking across the road about 6:45 p.m., when deputies say Aleem Reezan Temon Hamid, 38, and of Land O'Lakes, was driving a Ford Explorer on the road. The incident comes less than two weeks after street racing on Bayshore Boulevard claimed the life of an Ohio woman and her daughter.
• When Brandon Russell joined the Florida Army National Guard in January 2016, the service noted the radiation-warning symbol tattooed on his right shoulder. No one saw it as suspicious. Seventeen months later, it figured into the slaying of two young men, a federal explosives case and investigations into the prevalence of neo-Nazis in the military. An investigation revealed that Russell was the leader of a neo-Nazi organization called The Atomwaffen Division and his roommates all were members. Russell's case highlights challenges the military faces
• Florida House Republicans are playing mythbusters on claims of stagnant school spending. The House Majority Office, which is overseen by Speaker Richard Corcoran, released a five-minute video May 17 that takes aim at teachers' unions and state educators (and unnamed "media allies") who say the 2018-19 education budget isn't enough to cover the costs of running a school district. PolitiFact Florida examines this claim.
• Early voting made a big comeback in 2016 in Florida — so big that counties are convinced that in-person, election-day voting will become obsolete in the next few election cycles. They are embracing a new concept called vote centers, which are super-sized early voting sites where people can cast ballots whenever and wherever they like. It reflects the growing mobilization in society and spells the end of the neighborhood voting precinct at the local church or VFW hall. A new statewide survey of elections officials shows strong support. Hillsborough loves the idea, but Pinellas doesn't. Steve Bousquet has the details on tampabay.com.
Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines
Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
• Columnist Ernest Hooper writes that Treasure Island is onto a good thing
• If you've made a trip to the tax collector's office or paid a utility bill recently, you were likely charged a small amount extra if you used a credit card. Under Florida law, it historically has been illegal to charge an extra fee if a customer wants to pay with a credit card. Unless, that is, the entity charging the fee is a government agency or public utility. Malena Carollo has the details.
• Blake Snell started Sunday's game on fire, tying an American League record with seven strikeouts to start the game against the Mariners. But his teammates stayed mostly cold on offense, culminating in a 2-1 loss as the Rays were swept out of Seattle for the third straight year.
• We caught up with comic Jim Norton as he walked on a New York City sidewalk. He'll be in Tampa from Thursday to Saturday performing at Side Splitters Comedy Club; catch his interview with Christopher Spata.
Plan your week! Here are the top things to do this week in Tampa Bay including a visit by former Vice President Joe Biden on a book tour, extreme magician David Blaine