1. News

The Daystarter: Why Jim McElwain sold his home at a loss; Republican governor candidates' shift on immigration; Catholic parish's unique Tampa history; one-and-done for Kevin Knox?

The Rev. Henry Lyons poses for a photo in his study in his Tampa in 2017. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
The Rev. Henry Lyons poses for a photo in his study in his Tampa in 2017. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
Published Apr. 6, 2018

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

• Enjoy a sunny Friday with temperatures in the mid-80s. Then it'll get cool at night and drop into the mid-60s. But the dry weather may end this weekend. There's a 50-percent chance of rain Saturday afternoon and then thundershowers could head our way Sunday, 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.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.including Robert Cray kicking off the first day of the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in Vinoy Park and American Idol standout and St. Petersburg native Michael Lynche joins the Florida Orchestra pops show to perform the music of R&B legends.

• The joke was easy when Jim McElwain took a $400,000 hit for selling his Gainesville home. The ousted University of Florida football coach took another loss. What isn't yet public is WHY he did it: To give the wheelchair-accessible home to a family with two disabled children and a foundation that has helped raise millions to research a movement disorder, dystonia.

• A given in this year's Republican primary for governor is that the probable frontrunners need to emphasize how tough they are on immigration to lock up the nomination in August. But the voting records of all three likely candidates — Richard Corcoran, Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam — reveal exceptions to their current hardline stances, a reminder of how Florida's Republicans have been transformed by the "BUILD THE WALL!" orthodoxy of President Donald Trump's nationalist movement. Read more from Emily L. Mahoney.

• Columnist Sue Carlton writes about the Florida mayors who are fighting the state law that prevents them from passing their own gun restrictions.

• On our travel page today, see what it's like to visit the lovely Joshua Tree National Park in California . Our writer finds it feels a little out of this world.

• Andrea and Christopher Gebbia recently learned that their 90-year-old South Tampa home is actually the first location of the Christ the King rectory, where the original parishioners gathered nearly a century ago. Even the Rev. Len Plazewski didn't know that, because the history of one of Tampa's first Catholic parishes was lost to its members. Read more about this discovery by Paul Guzzo.

• Wallet a little light these days? Here's this week's list of 5 things to do under $5 including an enchanted village springing up in Gulfport with pixies and gnomes and sprites. The SunLit celebration of the local literary scene has lots of free parties and events and Tuesday brings an Unhappy Hour where women in April finally "catch up" to their male co-workers in earnings.

• The BMW driver accused of fatally stabbing a man in a road rage incident set off by errant spit was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder on Thursday night, according to Tampa police. Teddy Baltimore Smith Jr., 44, was arrested about 10 p.m. Police had said earlier in the day that they had found the black convertible BMW and the driver from Wednesday's deadly road rage incident.

• Almost a year after elected officials abruptly backed out of a deal with the Church of Scientology to trade a cluster of low-profile downtown properties, negotiations are now back on the table. The City Council is scheduled on April 16 to discuss swapping three small city-owned properties for a vacant lot Scientology owns just east of downtown to be used for retail parking, City Attorney Pam Akin confirmed. Tracey McManus has the details.

• Japanese Breakfast, aka musician Michelle Zauner visits Ybor City on Saturday after Hurricane Irma cancelled her scheduled visit to Tampa last year. Read Ashley Dye's interview with Zauner at the Soundcheck music blog.

• After weeks of anticipation and intrigue, the decision on Kevin Knox's basketball future is nearing an end. The announcement on whether his college career at Kentucky will continue — or end — will be made in roughly the same fashion as it began, at home without much fanfare. Kevin Knox Sr. said his son will announce today or early Saturday to either declare for the NBA draft after one year of college or opt to return for another season with the Wildcats.

• Follow the Lightning' sprint into the NHL playoffs via the Times' Lightning Strikes blog — including the latest on Steven Stamkos' lower-body injury. Also keep tabs on the Tampa Bay Rays as they try to get off the slide this season with beat writer Marc Topkin.

• Read the Tampa Bay Times investigation into the Rev. Henry Lyons: How the pastor cheated a Temple Terrace church and one of the world's wealthiest charities by reporter Corey G. Johnson. And to read more about the Times' reporting on Lyons over the years, click here.