Daystarter: Five things to know about today’s mayoral election in Tampa; Florida’s opioids lawsuit is in trouble in Tallahassee; new dad Mike Zunino lead Rays to win

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published April 23
Updated April 23

 

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

 

• It’s Election Day in Tampa, and for the first time in a while voters won’t have to worry about rain when they go to the polls. Expect sunny and dry skies with a high temperature of 84, according to the National Weather Service. The rain won’t return until the end of the week.

 

• The Tampa mayor’s race that began 15 months ago with seven candidates is down to today’s runoff election between Jane Castor and David Straz. Three City Council races have runoff elections, too. Click here for full coverage of the race and follow Tampa city hall reporter Charlie Frago on Twitter for the latest developments.

 

• What are the five things you need to know about today’s mayoral election in Tampa?. The race began 15 months ago with seven candidates. Now we’re down to two — Jane Castor and David Straz.

 

• 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.

 

• Two Tampa Bay Times reporters were named finalists for a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their stories exposing major problems in the heart surgery unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Read the series “Heartbroken” by Deputy Investigations Editor Kathleen McGrory and investigative reporter Neil Bedi.

• Heartbroken: Johns Hopkins promised to elevate All Children’s Heart Institute. Then patients started to die at an alarming rate.

• Warning signs were ignored: State, federal officials missed warnings at All Children’s heart unit.

• Reputation, not results: Johns Hopkins wrote the rules on patient safety. But its hospitals don’t always follow them.

Florida could have fined All Children’s millions for late reports. It went with $4,500.

All Children’s works to restore faith, but families struggle to forgive.

 

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including Whitesnake, former Sunset Music Festival headliner RL Grime and Taste of Science continues with local scientists giving talks, this time talking galaxies and criminology at at Ybor City brewery Rock Brothers.

 

Florida’s Hispanic electorate grew by 81 percent between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections, and Hispanics who registered to vote as independents grew by 101 percent, meaning Hispanics are the fastest-growing portion of Florida’s electorate heading into the 2020 election, reports Alex Daughtry, which changes what campaigns and candidates will do in the future.

 

• Florida is suing the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors, accusing them of recklessly supplying Floridians with millions of drugs per year. But a bill that is critical to the lawsuit moving forward has stalled in the committee of a powerful lawmaker: Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Lawrence Mower reports that the Fort Myers Republican said her committee won’t hear it because of concerns that it could invade the privacy of patients — not because her brother-in-law is a lobbyist whose clients include Walgreens.

 

• The Sunshine State may not be ready for a rainy day. The $1.4 billion that Florida holds in reserves is enough to operate state government for 16.2 days, reports Times Political Editor Steve Contorno. That’s well below the state average of 23 days and less than half of where Florida was in 2002, when it could have run on its rainy day fund for nearly 33 days.

 

• State and local gas prices are down over the week, but where prices go next depends heavily on how the market reacts to recent oil news, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Florida’s gas prices averaged $2.74 a gallon Monday, down 5 cents over the week, while Tampa Bay prices were $2.71 a gallon on average, down 7 cents over the week.

 

• A Pine Grove Elementary School kindergarten teacher came under fire after parents say they secretly recorded audio of her yelling at students has received instructions from administrators to watch her tone and volume, according to disciplinary records released Monday.

 

Abigail Disney is ready to see change among the structural obstacles that everyday workers face, starting with the company that bears her family name. After calling Disney CEO Bob Iger’s 2018 salary of $65 million “insane” on a panel Thursday, the granddaughter of company co-founder Roy Disney fired off a series of tweets about how the company could better allocate its money and pay every worker a “living wage.”

• When it came to population growth last year, Tampa Bay grew by more people than can fit into Tropicana Field, making the region one of the fastest growing in the nation, U.S. Census data shows. More than 51,000 people moved into the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area last year, earning the ninth spot on the Census’s Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Numeric Growth: 2017 to 2018 list.

 

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

 

• Seminole Heights has a new sports bar, one that offers typical sports bar fare but also Florida fare like gator bites and conch fritters.

 

• 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.

 

• A shuttered fitness center could be swapping out rock hard abs for beer bellies. A Seminole Heights craft brewery is considering expanding to property that formerly housed the Sports & Field training center at the northwest corner of State Road 56 and Arrowgrass Drive. Plans call for turning the building into a 27,000-square-foot brewery, restaurant and bar with outdoor seating and private event space.

 

Taste test: New frozen treats: Springtime is the season when ice cream makers start rolling out their new frozen options for the hot and humid months ahead. This week, our panelists sampled four new frozen treats for the dog days of summer.

 

• Volkswagen, the world’s largest auto manufacturer, again is driving toward a dealership along State Road 56. Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel filed its proposed site plans with Pasco County last month for a nearly 28,000-square-foot dealership on Silver Maple Parkway, on the south side of SR 56. The site, just east of Interstate 75, sits nearly directly across SR 56 from an existing Mini dealership.

 

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

 

• It’s not every day that one of the most buzzed-about new artists of the year books a show at a club in our neck of the woods. But Lizzo has decided to grace us with her presence. Times pop culture/music critic Jay Cridlin writes that the much-hyped rapper behind the increasingly omnipresent Song of Summer contender Juice has booked a show at Janus Live in St. Petersburg on Sept. 10.

 

• Catch up on the latest with the Rays, Bucs and prep sports on the Times’ online Sports page.

 

• You also can get a rundown on all the area sports from the Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast with host Rick Stroud.

 

• Mike Zunino was playing his first game back with the Rays after being with his wife Alyssa on Friday night in Gainesville for the birth of their first child, a boy they named Rhett Michael. All was blissful, as Alyssa and Rhett were healthy, even home for Easter dinner. Then they packed up Monday morning, with Alyssa’s mom and grandmother along to help, and made the drive back to St. Petersburg.

 

• The Bucs start a two-day minicamp Tuesday while continuing to prepare for Thursday’s NFL Draft. We take a look at potential first-round pick Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle out of Alabama. All of our draft coverage is just a click away at tampabay.com.

 

• Rays beat writer Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) reports that Austin Meadows’ thumb injury won’t require surgery. Click here to get more Rays’ news, including the results of Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

 

• Where do the Lightning go being swept out of the first-round of the NHL Playoffs. Check out the Times throughout the offseason to see how Tampa Bay puts the pieces back together and follow beat writers Diana C. Nearhos @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello @faiello_mari.

• Writer Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 6-3 Monday win over Royals. On Yandy Diaz’s homer power, Chaz Roe’s struggles, back-to-reality small crowds.

 

•And here’s an interesting story: a high school pitcher has managed to recover from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The sport? Surprisingly, its softball. Read the courageous tale of Palm Harbor University’s Savanna Bennett as she readies for the district tournament.

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