Daystarter: St. Petersburg welcomes the Grand Prix; revisiting the ‘divorce from hell;’ takeaways from the WrestleMania announcement

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 8
Updated March 8

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

• After a chilly week, Tampa Bay will see warmer weather today and through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The next three days will be sunny, with temperatures in the low to mid 70s Friday and climbing to near 80 on Saturday and Sunday.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.

• It’s Grand Prix weekend in St. Petersburg. Here’s your guide to the race — from a full schedule of events to information on tickets, parking, street closings and more. Will two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais bring home another win?

• The Tampa city election isn’t over just yet. Starting at 8 a.m. today, the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections will conduct machine recounts for the District 1 race between Walter Smith II and Alan Clendenin and the District 3 contest between Stephen Lytle and Nicholas Glover. The recount is open to the public at the supervisor’s facility at 2514 Falkenburg Rd.

• The last time we checked in on Terry Power and Murielle Fournier, their “divorce from hell” had taken five years, four judges, six lawyers and $400,000 in attorney and expert fees. Now they’re fighting over money again. Years after the bitter end, she’s reopened the case for alimony, and he’s fled the state.

Jane Castor sent David Straz a letter Thursday asking him to go positive and join her in three televised debates as the race to become Tampa’s next mayor enters its stretch run. The former police chief said she wants to avoid a divisive campaign. The Straz campaign says it is still deciding on debates.

SpaceX’s swanky new crew capsule has undocked from the International Space Station and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown. It’s aiming for a morning splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast, the final hurdle of the six-day test flight. Saturday’s launch and Sunday’s docking were spot on.

The University of South Florida is one of the biggest economic engines in the Tampa Bay area. The next president of the major research university with three campuses, 50,000 students and 15,000 employees will play a key role in shaping the region’s economy, national competitiveness and quality of life. This public university has a public mission, and the selection process for hiring the next president should be entirely in public.

• It’s that time of year again. Sunday at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time will officially begin for 2019, lasting until 2 a.m. on Nov. 3. Senator Marco Rubio introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 this Wednesday to the U.S. Senate. If passed, it would make Daylight Saving Time year-round in Florida.

• As the nation’s biggest retailer, Walmart stores contribute a lot to the waste stream. But the company is seeking to make a difference by packaging products with materials that are more easily recycled and better labeling plastic containers in a way that helps customers know which can go in the blue bin on garbage day and which should just go in the trash. Will other retailers follow?

• In case you missed it, the folks from WrestleMania came to town Thursday to formally announce that WrestleMania 36 will be held at Raymond James Stadium next year. Organizers say it will rival such big events as the Super Bowl and the Republican National Convention. Sports writer Joey Knight has the story, and Thomas Bassinger has takeaways from the WrestleMania announcement.

• St. Petersburg is getting yet another downtown tower, an 18- to 25-story building on the southeast corner of First Avenue N and Fifth Street. But unlike many of the other local buildings under construction, this one will have lots of office space. Staff Writer Waveney Ann Moore reports from City Hall.

• A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy got so angry with a neighbor that he spread nails on her driveway, then lied about it to St. Petersburg police. Staff Writer Kathryn Varn reports on what happened next.

A bill in the Florida Legislature would have consumers pay a 20-cent deposit on plastic, glass and aluminum containers between 6 fluid ounces and a gallon. It’s a way to boost recycling. But will the beverage industry let it happen?

• Florida is inching closer to allowing patients to smoke medical marijuana. By a vote of 34-4, the state Senate approved a bill Thursday that adds the word “smoking” to the medical marijuana constitutional amendment and allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of the drug every 35 days as recommended by a qualified doctor. Now it’s up to the House if the Legislature is to meet a March 15 deadline for action set by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

• 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

• Check out the Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals, including eye-popping images from last night’s Lightning game against the Minnesota Wild.

• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.

• For the latest education coverage, visit The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

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

• Call us “Hallywood.” Just weeks after a Hallmark movie wrapped a production filmed primarily in St. Petersburg, Elayne Schmidt, who produced that one, told the Tampa Bay Times she will helm a second on both sides of the bridge toward the end of the month. Another Hallmark movie is coming to Tampa Bay, and possibly eight more.

Domenic Haynes of Tampa, 18-year-old contestant blew away The Voice judges — and the rest of the Internet — with a blind audition for the ages. Moments before his big blind audition on The Voice, Domenic Haynes felt a “nostalgic” and “adrenaline-filled” sensation that reminded him of running track in high school.

• Tampa blogger Ayana Lage joins the podcast to take us inside the world of life as an influencer on Instagram, from working with brands to taking a great photo. Plus, the Jonas Brothers are back together, and we mourn the loss of Luke Perry. Life of the Party Podcast: The life of an Instagram influencer.

• At last, the Force is with us. Walt Disney World announced that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in Orlando on Aug. 29. The 14-acre theme park will open first at Disneyland in California in May before landing at Hollywood Studios in Orlando.

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

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

• Immediately following Thursday’s formal announcement that WrestleMania 36 is headed to Raymond James Stadium, Tampa-reared WWE icon Hulk Hogan, 65, sat down with the Tampa Bay Times for a wrestling-related chat. Among the topics: His future role with the WWE, the recent deaths of some of his beloved peers, and the moment he got hooked on professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan eyes ‘really active’ future role with WWE.

Tampa Bay ends an eight-game home winning streak and loses its first chance to clinch a playoff berth. It wasn’t 12 hours ago that Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said the Lightning had no weaknesses, that a team with 106 points and some of the best talent in the league often “put the fear of God in you.”

• Rays communications manager Ryan Sheets figured to have his hands full escorting two players to a season ticketholder event in the leftfield concourse before Tuesday’s game. Ryan Sheets performed the Heimlich maneuver on a man who was choking on his food before Tuesday’s game.

• 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.