Daystarter: Charlie Crist’s questioning of William Barr was a breakthrough for Democrats; what could replace St. Pete’s old police station; ‘Gumbo’ of blue-green algae stinks up beaches

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 May 16
Updated May 16

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

• It’ll be a partly-cloudy morning with lows in the 60s. But it’ll clear up and warm up into the upper 80s in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. No rain forecast for the rest of this work week, however. Lows will be in the upper 60s to 70s range.

• 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 a free movie and picnic in the park, Chelsea Handler at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Whitechapel at Jannus Live and Shamarr Allen stops by Crowbar.

• Florida’s governor is facing calls to name the two local election offices he says were hacked ahead of the 2016 election. But based on his own comments, he’s not the only one in Florida choosing to keep that information secret. The Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald asked each of the state’s 67 elections offices whether their offices were hacked and here’s what they said.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist quietly traveled to Cuba last month to meet with officials there amid mounting tension between the Communist island and President Donald Trump’s administration over the crisis in Venezuela, reports Times Political Editor Steve Contorno. And there’s already a backlash.

All lanes on U.S. 19 are closed near Drew Street following a single-car crash early Thursday morning. Police say the crash occurred on southbound U.S. 19 around 4:15 a.m.

A man suffered life-threatening injuries in a shooting early Thursday morning at the Flagler Pointe apartment complex in St. Petersburg. The circumstances behind the shooting were not immediately known.

• The Florida Legislature has finished the 2019 session. But what exactly did lawmakers do? The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau has coverage of all the fallout coverage from the state capital at the The Buzz.

• Charlie Crist’s questioning of William Barr was a breakthrough for Democrats — and for Crist. The St. Petersburg Democrat stumbled into a flashpoint in the fight between Trump and the House. Here’s how he got there.

• The Hillsborough County Commission spent two hours discussing regional ferry service on Wednesday and you won’t believe what happened next. Actually, you will. They voted to delay making any major decisions, reports Caitlin Johnston, on the project to bring year-round, permanent ferry service connecting South Hillsborough County, MacDill Air Force Base, and downtowns Tampa and St. Petersburg.

• Another day, another ecological crisis in Florida. Last year a persistent Red Tide algae bloom touched all three of Florida’s coasts, but Southwest Florida had to put up with it the longest. Now Craig Pittman reports that a new algae bloom is threatening the same beaches in Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties: It’s a type of blue-green algae known as “Lyngbya,” which has long caused problems in the state’s springs.

• Despite an appeal to the courts, time is running out for the three St. Petersburg Housing Authority board members that Mayor Kick Kriseman wants to remove from office for lax oversight of the agency. Chris O’Donnell reports that a circuit judge denied the housing agency’s emergency motion to halt today’s schedule City Council vote. The housing authority’s request was part of a lawsuit filed against Kriseman and the city accusing the mayor of wanting to stack the board with members who will fire Tony Love, the agency’s beleaguered chief executive.

School districts are considering technology focused on making schools safer, and at least one vendor’s product soon will make its way onto smart phones and computers in the Hernando County School District. They signed a $33,500 contract for an emergency communication app last month. But officials don’t want to start jumping too quickly.

• Hernando County Commission says no to another community seeking to build houses on smaller lots. Developer wanted to build 223 homes in the second phase of the Village Van Gogh subdivision, instead of the 170 previously approved.

Lacoochee community not giving up on its school. A new group of parents, business and community leaders is working to bring jobs and housing to the area, which also would bring more school children. Another idea is to make Lacoochee Elementary a magnet school for performing arts.

Amendment 4 led to 99 times as many formerly-incarcerated Floridians registering to vote as normal, and those new voters are more likely to be black and residents of lower-income neighborhoods than the rest of the electorate, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

• We talked to Chelsea Handler before she takes the state in Clearwater tonight. The brash comic has turned more introspective as she talks about personal growth, her distaste for Donald Trump and her foray into the weed business.

• 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.

• Three simple truths regarding Gerald McCoy: 1. His play is no longer worth his salary. 2. The Bucs are a better team with him than without him. 3. The team has handled this poorly. Columnist John Romano writes that the Bucs are struggling to reconcile those truths, because they’ve made it harder to convince McCoy to stay for less money — and the defense will be worse if he leaves.

• 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.

• For only one run being scored over more than three hours of play, the Rays had to lot to unpack as they packed for New York with their lead in the American League East intact following a 1-0 win over the cross-state Marlins. Marc Topkin tries to unpack everything that happened in Miami and what it means for the Yankees rematch.

Region softball: Tampa Catholic ends state semifinal drought. The Crusaders show off their power to beat Calvary Christian and advance to the final four for the first time in 22 years.

Region baseball: Jefferson manages arms, extra innings. A premium is on pitching in the postseason, with the Dragons topping Land O’Lakes 5-2 in 10 innings as Jesuit awaits next.

Region baseball: Jesuit notches five-inning shutout. The Tigers get the mercy-rule victory vs. Wesley Chapel, prepare for Saturday’s district final rematch with Jefferson.

Region baseball: Lakewood proves it can pull out a close one. It’s a see-saw battle with Lemon Bay that the Spartans eventually win 4-3 in nine innings.

• The Rays have started this season strong, but can they keep it up? Rays beat writer Marc Topkin will be there every step of the way. Follow him at @TBTimes_Rays.