Daystarter: Big day for the Lightning in Game 2 tonight; Jane Castor scoffs as David Straz attacks crime stats; the intense battle to rewrite Florida’s alimony laws

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published April 12
Updated April 12

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

• Expect partly cloudy skies in the morning that should clear by the afternoon. Lows will start out in the upper 60s and warm into the upper 80s, according to the National Weather Service. That night, there will be clear skies and lows in the 70s. Saturday will partly sunny with highs in the upper 80s, then it’ll get cloudy and cooler in the 70s. Sunday brings a slight chance of afternoon showers, but the chance of rain will increase to 50 percent 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.

• After dropping Game 1, tonight the Lightning get the chance to re-assert itself against the Blue Jackets in Game 2 of this first-round playoff series. Get the latest on the Lightning’s quest for the Stanley Cup by click here throughout the season and follow beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari.

• Columnist John Romano writes that blowing a 3-0 lead against Columbus in Game 1 is symptomatic of Tampa Bay’s biggest problem in recent weeks: It has given up 63 goals in 21 games. You can’t keep giving up that many goals and win the Stanley Cup, writes Romano.

• Lightning coach Jon Cooper deserves to win the award for NHL coach of the year. He deserved the contract extension he received during this Lightning season of seasons. But now, columnist Martin Fennelly writes, Cooper needs to earn it all over again and then some to get the Lighting past Game 1’s disasterous loss to the Blue Jackets. Cooper must lead the Lightning to a Game 2 win.

• The Lightning’s star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was victimized four times in that 4-3 Game 1 loss. But his teammates don’t blame him, writes Mari Faiello as special teams and defense let him down. That can’t happen again in tonight’s Game 2.

• In the latest Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast. Times sportswriter Rick Stroud discusses the Lightning’s stunning playoff loss, the Rays hot start and sweep of the White Sox and the rise of Bucs receiver Chris Godwin. Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes and the Podcasts app.

• What has 162 pages, hundreds of photographs of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest for the Stanley Cup playoffs and would look great on your coffee table? Why it’s the hard-cover book the Tampa Bay Times will produce about this most extraordinary Lightning season. Order your copy (why stop at one though?) by clicking here.

• In 2015, John Jonchuck dropped his dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, off a St. Petersburg bridge. She plunged 62 feet to her death in the cold waters below. His day in court is finally here, and the defense plans to argue that he is not guilty by reason of insanity. Follow the Tampa Bay Times for full coverage of the Jonchuck trial. Here’s the latest developments:

• CATCH UP: The Trial of John Jonchuck, Day 18: Watch as rebuttal (probably) continues

LIVE BLOG: Follow today’s courtroom developments.

WATCH: Check out the live freed from the courtroom at

THE FOCUS: The trial of John Jonchuck comes down to one question: Evil or insane?

FULL COVERAGE: Why is the Times covering the Jonchuck trial gavel-to-gavel? Senior Deputy Editor Amy Hollyfield explains why.

GOT QUESTIONS? Follow the Times coverage at and share your questions in the comments. We’ll answer as we go.

READ: The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck by Pulitzer-prize winner Lane DeGregory

• The winds of Hurricane Michael might have uncovered another clandestine burial ground on the campus of Florida’s oldest and most infamous reform school, the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, where boys were neglected, died and disappeared. Ben Montgomery writes about the discovery of 27 “anomalies” that could be possible graves.

• Read the 2009 series about the boys who suffered at Dozier: “For Their Own Good.” It was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for local reporting.

• Leonora LaPeter Anton writes about the latest battle to rewrite Florida’s alimony laws, as the first wives who depend on monthly checks fight their husbands and their second wives, who want to permanent alimony.

• A pair of seemingly popular bills have been flying through the Florida Legislature, quietly passing through committees and likely headed to their respective chamber floors. On its face, the combined effort looks like good news for Floridians: It aims to strengthen the electric grid and minimize damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. But Samantha Gross reports that the bills include plans to bring power lines underground, an expensive process that would allow investor-owned utilities to profit from capital improvements — charges that will show up on customers’ bills.

• The Florida Legislature is in session. The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau has the latest coverage from the state capital at the The Buzz.

• Has Tampa ever had a mayor’s race like this one? Nope, writes columnist Joe Henderson, not with philanthropist David Straz using his fortune to try to buy the office nad convince voters that former police chief Jane Castor’s election will mean the end of civilization, or something like that.

• The last TV debate took place Thursday night and David Straz continued to attack former police chief Jane Castor over the department’s crime stats. “He has no idea what he’s talking about,” Castor said. Charlie Frago writes about the last debate and the problem with Straz’s line of attack.

• The Tampa mayor’s race is headed down the stretch. Click here for full coverage of the race and follow Tampa city hall reporter Charlie Frago on Twitter for the latest developments.

• Democrats in the Senate have an agreement with the Republican majority to at least consider not making all teachers eligible to have guns in the classroom, according to Sen. Perry Thurston, Jr.

• 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.

Disney Plus will roll out in the U.S. on November 12 at a price of $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year. That’s well below the $13 monthly fee Netflix charges for its most popular streaming plan.

• An uptick in foreign buyers has Tampa Bay bucking a trend of declining investment in Florida from overseas. Broker Alex Jansen attributes the gain in large part to “the ease of access’’ through Tampa International Airport.

Life of the Party podcast: Why online dating apps are the real black hole. The Life of the Party podcast welcomes reporter and avid dating app user Kathryn Varn to talk pitfalls, tips and horror stories. What is Hinge? Why are so many men holding fish in their profile pictures? Can we ever really get to know anyone online?

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

• What’s behind the Rays’ fast 10-3 start that has propelled them to the top of the American League East? Marc Topkin writes that it goes back to Tampa Bay’s unpopular-at-the-time decision to transition to a core of young players and the accompanying flexibility. Everyone groaned as Evan Longoria and a host of veterans were all moved in the housecleanings of the past two seasons — but it worked, Topkins writes.

• Tampa Bay lost its third straight playoff series opener on Wednesday. But history shows this loss is even greater cause for concern. They are still the No. 1 seed. And they still have plenty of time.

The Lightning passed on Seth Jones in the 2013 NHL Draft, but the 24-year-old is perfectly fine with where he’s landed as a leader of a playoff team in Columbus. The 6-foot-4 blue liner is a big reason — both literally and figuratively — why Columbus believes it can upset the Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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

• The Chris Godwin era looks like it’s about to arrive. Godwin’s role is expected to increase after the Bucs traded DeSean Jackson to the Eagles and Adam Humphries signed with the Titans., writes Rick Strou. New Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he expects Godwin will “be close to a 100-catch guy” this upcoming season. Did you read that, fantasy owners?

• Last season, Bucs defensive star Gerald McCoy arrived to training camp last season in a custom-built, Batman-themed Rolls Royce. But now, Rick Stroud reports, the defensive tackle is suing a different custom car builder for not delivering a vehicle as promised in 2015.

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