Daystarter: Marco Rubio, Venezuela and Twitter; WWE to announce WrestleMania coming to Tampa; documents detail horror in Bayshore crash

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Start your day with the latest news and information from
Start your day with the latest news and information from
Published March 7
Updated March 7

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

• If you don’t like today’s weather, you may want to rethink things, try a cleanse or maybe some meditation. Highs today should top out in the low 70s across much of the area, and maybe the upper 60s in more northerly spots. There is about zero chance of rain, according to the National Weatehr Service. Enjoy it while it lasts.

• 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 comedian Tom Segura on stage in Tampa and Christian superstars For King and Country at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

• For all the spectacles ― from Super Bowls to Frozen Fours ― his group has helped the bay area land, Rob Higgins had a white whale frothing and flourishing in the sports/entertainment expanse, eluding his dogged pursuit. For 10 years, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission’s indefatigable executive director couldn’t quite snag a WrestleMania. Until now. Stay with for updates on this morning's official announcement.

• For two months during Venezuela’s civil crisis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has spotlighted the country’s plight using the biggest platform available to him: his Twitter account. To some, Rubio’s Twitter campaign has helped keep American attention on a humanitarian emergency in an often overlooked part of the world. Others have accused the Florida Republican of stoking civil conflict there. Read more from Steve Contorno.

• Back in 2016, we told you about how the folks in charge of doling out help for people hurt in the foreclosure crisis engaged in some lavish spending on themselves, while not providing much relief to those who needed it most. Now comes a new report detailing more questionable expenditures in this morning’s business page at

• Times military reporter Howard Altman has spoken to families at MacDill Air Force Base about mold problems in some of the privately run housing offered to service members. In just the latest example of our reporting leading to action, the military is now responding with a proposed ‘Tenant Bill of Rights.’

• You likely recall the story of a mother and young daughter killed on Bayshore Boulevard last year in Tampa by a driver of a mustang that at one point was traveling at more than 100 mph. Investigative documents now reveal new details about what happened that day.

• Retired banker David Straz spent a bundle to claim just less than 16 percent of the vote in the contest to be the next Tampa mayor, which was enough to get him to a runoff. Now the millionaire says he’s planning to keep writing checks in an effort to upset former police chief Jane Castor, who came just shy of avoiding a two-person showdown. “The people that don’t like spending that much money are the people who don’t have it,” Straz said.

• Police responding to City Liquors, 9403 N Nebraska Ave., found one person dead at the scene and another wounded.

• Dozens spoke out against the way 15-year-old Josiah Pinner’s death two months ago has been handled by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office during a meeting of the County Commission on Wednesday. Read what they had to say about Josiah’s death after he was struck by sheriff’s deputy speeding in an unmarked car.

• Sure, most teachers are dedicated to educating the next generation, sacrificing of themselves for often little reward. But every once in a while, there’s that special teacher remembered for less noble reasons. Perhaps you had one of those. Now imagine them packing heat.

• Even as their idyllic, wooded neighborhood has been steeped in dissension over the issue of local historic designation, Driftwood residents have continued to hold their very own Fourth of July parade and renewed the tradition of gathering under a canopy of oaks for a Thanksgiving potluck. The City Council will decide whether to grant a request by a majority of Driftwood residents to make their southeast waterfront neighborhood a historic district

• Longtime Tampa Bay rock radio host Nick Van Cleve says he's signing off at the end of March. After 15 years hosting mornings on classic rock station 107.3-FM The Eagle, Van Cleve, 66, said he is still figuring out exactly what his last day on the air will be. Christopher Spata has more on Van Cleve's decision.

House panel makes quick work of ‘alternate pathways’ to graduation bill. The committee bill would require middle school students to take a career planning course that includes creation of a personalized academic and career plan. It would allow high school students to substitute certain industry certifications for their math graduation requirements, and computer science courses for up to one math credit and up to one science credit.

• A Largo man was arrested Wednesday in the death of his infant daughter a day earlier, police said. She was just seven weeks old.

• The celebrity lineup is growing for Tampa Bay Comic Convention, coming Aug. 2-4. Actor Ron Perlman, who played the title character in the Hellboy movies, actress Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films and Amy Jo Johnson, who played the Pink Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were announced Wednesday. The convention will also feature a number of comic artists, creators, vendors and cosplayers.

• The Air Force is showing welcome concern over complaints with military housing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited the base last week to meet with military families who have complained about mold and other issues. The secretary of the Air Force’s visit reflects concern about mold and other issues. That concern should be converted to action.

A Canadian woman was killed Wednesday night when she stepped into the roadway and was struck by a car in Dunedin, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

• Just so you know, Cuban sandwich-flavored potato chips exist and we had them shipped to Florida for a taste test. Here’s what we found.

• 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.

Florida officials used a federal fund designed to help struggling homeowners as a “deep pocket” for travel and stays in high-end hotels, a new report says. Between 2011 and 2016, officials of the Florida Housing Finance Corp. charged the Hardest Hit Fund all or part of the cost of attending conferences in San Diego, Orlando, Miami, Boston and Nashville, Tenn., even though less than two hours out of four days of meetings in each instance appeared to be related to the Hardest Hit mortgage relief program.

• For six decades in South Tampa, Dairy Joy has served up soft serve ice cream as a cash-only business. After operating for 61 years as a cash-only business, the South Tampa ice cream shop gets a new makeover including a credit card reader.

Troubled women’s retailer Charlotte Russe announced on Thursday it is going out of business, a month after filing for bankruptcy. In a post on its website, the company said it is ceasing online sales and that merchandise is now on sale at its brick-and-mortar stores.

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

• “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced in a YouTube video Wednesday that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. “I’m going to fight this,” the host said

• 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.

• 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.

• City streets have all kinds of imperfections: potholes, gouges, scrapes, crests, bumps. Race organizers do surprisingly little to buff out the imperfections on the asphalt before converting the streets into a race course. Drivers say that’s part of the fun.

• 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.

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

• 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 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.