1. News

Daystarter: The bizarre backstory of a Largo man's death; report confirms CareerSource's shady dealings; are the Buccaneers better off with Suh?

Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published May 22

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

• Guess what? Hot again, with the highs in the mid 90s, according to the National Weather Service. If there's any rain, it'll be inland in the evening.

• 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

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including Freefall Theatre's Buyer and Cellar, an absurdist comedy set in Barbra Streisand's mall basement. Also, celebrate Bob Dylan's birthday and reinvent artist Allan Kaprow's 'Pose' with USF.

• Federal regulators lambasted two Tampa Bay CareerSource offices once lauded among Florida's best at putting people to work, revealing how they cultivated lies and shady spending of more than $17 million in public money, writes Zachary T. Sampson.

• READ: The Tampa Bay Times investigation of CareerSource.

• Has Tampa Bay's hot home market finally cooled off? Real estate reporter Susan Taylor Martin reports that the steady price gains of the past few years might be coming to an end, and bay area homes may have peaked in value.

• AdventHealth and the Moffitt Cancer Center are teaming up to build a 100,000-square-foot, three-story outpatient center for cancer patients in Pasco County, reports Justine Griffin.

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

• A woman claimed she was raped. A 60-year-old Largo man was fatally stabbed. The man who did it claimed self-defense. How did a false rape allegation lead to a man's death? Kathryn Varn tells the bizarre backstory behind this tragic case.

• Ex-Pinellas school teacher Betty Jo Soto walked out of jail flanked by television reporters Monday night, after posting $500 bail. She covered her face with pieces of white paper, mostly ignoring the barrage of questions about why police say she brought a loaded gun and two knives to her fourth grade classroom at Starkey Elementary School. Then she uttered four words captured in a video by WFLA Channel 8: "Ask DeSantis. Your governor." Megan Reeves asks: Was this a political protest aimed at Florida's new law allowing teachers to be armed?

• A Brandon man faces a charge of first-degree murder in the death Monday of the mother of his 3-month-old child. John James McQueen, 26, was arrested Monday night and is being held without bail at the Hillsborough County Jail.

• Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers a small blow to those who would take control from local governments. It's something, says Sue Carlton, though there's plenty more pre-emption to come. Maybe we are starting to see what kind of governor DeSantis will be.

• The opening of a new Caddy's restaurant continues to be delayed pending resolution of a legal battle led by residents opposed to a plan for an open-air window at the rear of the restaurant. What is at issue is the contention by some residents that Caddy's open window facing the Intracoastal Waterway would allow noise from music and activity in the restaurant to disturb nearby condominiums and single family homes that face the same waterway.

• Two bins, sitting side-by-side near a Wesley Chapel retail center, are the new poster children for a renewed county crackdown on used-clothing donation containers. Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore shared a photograph of the debris and this week pushed for stronger enforcement.

New habitat area for gopher tortoises in eastern Hernando County, which required the tree clearing, will be smaller than previously planned. Commissioners voted unanimously last week to prepare areas already cleared to become homes for protected gopher tortoises, but agreed not to take down any more trees.

• Boley Centers' plan for a 20-unit development on the edge of St. Petersburg's Lakewood neighborhood is welcomed by a nearby church, but not by homeowners.

• Pasco School Board members and teachers have called for bigger salary boosts than the district has been offering. The district should receive added flexible funds because lawmakers increased the base student allocation by $75 per student, said superintendent Kurt Browning.

• 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.

• Before her sold-out show in Tampa next week, pop music critic Jay Cridlin retraces the 10 key moments that transformed Ariana Grande and sent her career into the stratosphere into perhaps the biggest pop star Florida has ever produced.

• Belly up, South Tampa. The Chicken Salad Chick is expanding again, and a fourth location is poised for Brandon. Why have we been going nuts for a variety of homemade, Southern-style chicken salad sandwiches with flavors like the Fancy Nancy, Nutty Nana and the Fruity Fran?

• Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports. Times sportswriter Rick Stroud has the latest reaction and analysis from the whole team via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.

Veteran USF softball coach Ken Eriksen will lead the U.S. National Softball team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, reports Joey Knight.

• 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.

• Rick Stroud calls it a do-over of the 2010 draft. The Bucs got pro bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy that year but missed out on pro bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Now McCoy and his $13 million salary are gone, while the Bucs signed Suh to a cheaper one-year deal. But the Bucs are also getting Suh's on-field history of nastiness out of the deal.

• Ndamukong Suh brings — what shall we call it? — a certain reputation and history to Tampa Bay. Eduardo Encina recounts the controversial and fine-laden history of a man called Suh.

• Ask Aric Almirola: Times reporter Matt Baker asked the Hillsborough High alumnus in this week's installment of Ask Aric what's different about preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 compared to other races on the schedule?

• Clearwater welterweight champion Keith Thurman did not mince words Tuesday during a New York media conference aimed at promoting his World Boxing Association championship bout with the legendary Manny Pacquiao. "I believe boxing has come to a new era. Floyd (Mayweather) is gone, Pacquiao is here. Come July 20, he will disappear." said Thurman.

• A day after releasing Gerald McCoy and clearing $13 million in salary cap space, the Buccaneers moved quickly Tuesday to fill the void along their defensive line. Word is that Ndamukong Suh is their target. Are the Buccaneers better off with Suh?

• What exactly was Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier doing making the first out of the eighth inning at third base Tuesday? Kiermaier led off as a pinch-hitter and laced a ball to left-center, then decided to stretch it into a triple, only to be nailed by centerfielder Alex Verdugo.

• Get the latest Bucs news as coach Bruce Arians gets ready for the 2019 season and follow Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD on Twitter and fellow beat writer Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.


  1. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    John Clark used a shotgun to kill his mother and another man. Then he returned to the crime scene with a shotgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  2. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  3. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  4. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
  5. Reclaimed water rates are increasing 6 percent in St. Petersburg.
    Potable, waste and reclaimed water fees will all increase. So will garbage fees, though the stormwater fee will drop for some.
  6. Joshua Russell, 26, faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter, according to deputies. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A dose of kratom caused the caretaker to fall asleep for hours inside a hot minivan with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  7. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  8. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Friday about a child protection investigator who was arrested on charges of falsifying reports. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon
    It’s the second time in two years a Pinellas child protection investigator has faced falsification charges.
  9. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    The Challenger K-8 student didn’t have access to a gun, deputies said.
  10. Life changed for Chad Cagley with the birth of daughter Aaliyah, now 3. Cagley was killed Monday when a drunk driver slammed into the back of his motorcycle on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FAMILY PHOTO  |  Courtesy Stephanie Coomes
    The drunk driver who ran into Chad Cagley was caught after a witness followed him, troopers said.