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Daystarter: Amendment 6 confusing for law enforcement; Bucs' approach as NFL free agency opens today; does Straz have path to victory?

Everything you need to know to start your day is at tampabay.com.
Everything you need to know to start your day is at tampabay.com.
Published Mar. 11, 2019

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

• We'll have a mostly sunny day, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

• It costs money to produce quality journalism. Please support the Tampa Bay Times by buying a digital subscription to Florida's best newspaper and its redesigned website tampabay.com.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.

• U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spent Sunday in Tampa huddling with environmentalist activists and local leaders about climate change, a problem she promised to make a focal point of her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

• Hundreds of patients were stunned when the Laser Spine Institute suddenly closed March 1, leaving a trail of questions. Among them: How could such a formidable player in the health care world have fallen so far, and so fast? While the answer remains cloudy, a series of developments — including a statement last week by the company's CEO — suggest Laser Spine suffered a number of hits that eventually brought financial calamity.

• A portion of U.S. 19 is closed in Pinellas Park early Monday morning after a pedestrian was fatally struck by a vehicle.

• A man was killed Sunday night in Dover when he was struck by a train after his car got stuck on the tracks.

• Former police chief Jane Castor got three times as many votes as runner-up David Straz in last week's primary. He says there is still a path to victory. The retired banker has a formidable task ahead of him, needing to get more people to the polls and capture most returning voters to have a shot at beating Castor.

• DNA supports the rape claim from a woman who is intellectually disabled. Why no charges? St. Petersburg police detectives were ready to make an arrest, but prosecutors didn't believe they could prove the case. The issue, they said: "Whether the victim is disabled to the point where she could never consent."

• Amendment 6 put new restrictions on the disclosure of information that could identify victims. But law enforcement agencies find it vague, confusing and in conflict with existing public records laws. The result: Law enforcement agencies have settled on different interpretations of the amendment, leading to inconsistent policies throughout Florida. Meantime, open government advocates say the amendment is reducing transparency because agencies are automatically walling off information the public has a right to know.

• The peace lasted about five years. But Murielle Fournier and Terry Power, whose split was the subject of a 2013 story in the Tampa Bay Times titled The divorce from hell, the battle for alimony and emptied pockets, are at it once again.

• An internal investigation found a 23-year veteran of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office acted out of anger at a neighbor, and lied to police, after tossing nails in his neighbor's driveway. The Sheriff's Office opened an internal investigation into the incident, but Lance Chambers resigned last month before it was complete.

• For 31 years, biologist Brandt Henningsen restored wetlands for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He retired recently from a job he's always loved. Henningsen stresses that the work never ends. Mother Nature needs a lot of helpers, especially in Florida.

• Five years ago, then-Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford sought state dollars for a convention center and performing arts complex in Wesley Chapel with a few-thousand-seat capacity. The proposed center would be used for trade show, concerts, high school graduation ceremonies and other special events.

• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

• Check out the Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

• The Times online Arts and Entertainment page tells you everything you need to know about what to do, see, eat and experience around town.

Tampa Bay's top things to do for the week of March 11-17. St. Patrick's Day parties bring a green river and green beer, Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival opens and Pi Day arrives. St. Patrick's Day parties bring a green river and green beer, Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival opens and Pi Day arrives.

• Check out the Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

• Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports.

Team Penske earned another Grand Prix of St. Petersburg victory Sunday when Josef Newgarden led 59 of the final 60 laps at IndyCar's season opener. It was his team's ninth Grand Prix win in the last 14 events.

First, DeSean Jackson was going to be re-recruited by new coach Bruce Arians. Then, Jackson openly lobbied to play for the Los Angeles Rams when appearing in Atlanta during Super Bowl week. Three weeks ago, the Bucs say Jackson met with Arians and indicated he would like to remain with the Bucs. Jackson's future is just one of the storylines to watch as NFL free agency begins today.

• Spring training is here. Plan your spring training trips by using the Times' handy 2019 spring training guide for Grapefruit League schedules, maps and daily planners.

• Get the latest Rays' spring training news from Marc Topkin and follow him throughout baseball season on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays .

• The Rays made official their decision to stick with their salary structure and gave Blake Snell only a meager reward for winning the Cy Young Award, renewing his contract for a $573,700 on Sunday, a raise of just $15,500.

• Salomon Artiaga is remembered fondly by many who went on to became stars in the sport. He spent a career in baseball, offering support and consejos to young ballplayers.

Photos: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2019.

• For the latest on the Lightning's quest for the Stanley Cup, click here throughout the season and follow beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari.

• The Bucs have a new head coach and the NFL draft is just weeks away. Keep up with the latest offseason changes by following the Times' Bucs page which is just a click away at tampabay.com. For the latest team news on @Twitter, follow Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD and fellow beat writer Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• All the Bulls news you can use is right here from Times beat writer Joey Knight. Follow him on Twitter for the latest at @TBTimes_Bulls.

• Get the latest sports news, reaction and analysis from Times sportswriter Rick Stroud and the rest of the crew on the Bucs, Bulls, Lightning, Gators, 'Noles and Rays via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.