Advertisement
  1. News

Daystarter: State to ramp up work on West Shore interchange; Sen. Rouson lands $1 million for wife's project; near-record high temperatures all week

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Everything you need to know to start your day is at tampabay.com
Published Feb. 18

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

• In the weather on this President's Day, look out for areas of patchy fog before 9 a.m. and a 20 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Otherwise, high pressure remains in firm control across the region, meaning enough sunshine, minimal rain chances, and temperatures that will be well above average — and even flirting with record highs.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including Fleetwood Mac at Amalie Arena, the last day of the Florida State Fair, and getting serious about your training for this weekend's big Gasparilla Distance Classic.

• After the only winless season of his full-time NASCAR Cup Series career, Tampa-born Denny Hamlin drove his way back into Victory Lane in the 2019 opener. He outlasted Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch and withstood a wreck-filled final 30 laps to win Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

• The state Department of Transportation has decided to go full steam ahead on a $1.1 billion project to revamp the Interstate 275 interchange at West Shore Boulevard. It's a shift for the state — moving forward with both West Shore and expansion of the interstate footprint in the urban zone through downtown Tampa. But with the public still pushing back against the Tampa portion, the state is hoping to score a win at West Shore while buying time to get community consensus on the rest.

• Florida Sen. Darryl Rouson sought $1.7 million in the 2017-2018 state budget for a daycare center tied to his church. He eventually got the center $1 million. But the St. Petersburg Democrat didn't disclose that his wife, Angela Rouson, held positions in both organizations, according to Florida Senate records. Read how Rouson justifies the overlap.

• Florida Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings criticized President Donald Trump for ignoring the topic of gun violence during his State of the Union address.

• More and more workplaces are offering pet insurance as an optional benefit for its workers. Florida is one a leading market for one of the country's biggest pet insurance companies. Take a closer look at workplaces that build their culture around pets.

• Florida school districts are trying to figure out what to do about approving and buying new textbooks after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he wants to get rid of the Common Core state standards. All the books are based on the standards.

• Pitch clocks in baseball? MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Sunday that they're coming to exhibition games to get players and umpires used to them for the regular season. This "soft phase in" will include no penalties for violations and may be the easiest to implement of several "pace of play" adjustments under consideration.

• The comic strip Non Sequitur leaves the pages of the Tampa Bay Times today after creator Wiley Miller slipped in a slur aimed at President Donald Trump without telling anyone. The Times joins a number of newspapers nationwide in taking the action. Read what's behind the decision and look for a reboot of the classic comic strip Nancy as a replacement for now.

Tampa Bay Times Executive Editor Mark Katches has a message for our readers: Quality journalism takes money, and the Times must sustain itself to keep producing the kind of journalism that has informed Tampa Bay residents for decades. That's why the Times set up a pay meter to access tampabay.com. That means there is a limit to how many stories someone can read without paying. Times subscribers will enjoy unlimited access to our website, and we thank you for it. But other readers must pay for digital content we can no longer give away. Please consider subscribing — and supporting — Florida's best newspaper (and its brand-new website) by clicking here.

• Some not-so-sweet emotions are probably swirling through Plant City right about now. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler cancels Strawberry Festival concert.

• Going to Hamilton? Here are some tips on where to park.

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

• Names fly around Twitter, Reddit and everywhere else people talk hockey when the NHL trade deadline approaches. Here are five questions about the Lightning and Simmonds.

• 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.

• 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 tampabay.com. 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.

• 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.

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

• Check out the Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Move over, Honeycrisp: New apple to debut at grocery stores
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  3. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister [CHRIS URSO | Times]
    Yes, that’s an "R" next to his name on the ballot. But if you dig deeper, Sue Carlton asks, does the sheriff bleed blue? And a follow-up: Does it matter?
  4. The projected path of Nestor National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  5. Earlier today• Pinellas
    Fin is Pinellas County's Pet of the Week. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
    The 4-year-old mixed breed is available for adoption at Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
  6. A semi-trailer truck fell onto an SUV on Interstate 4 on Friday night after a reported tornado touched down and crossed the highway near Lakeland. No one was injured. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    A tornado caused damage and power loss but no injuries in Pinellas County. In Polk County, I-4 drivers were fortunate no one was injured when another tornado crosses the interstate.
  7. The Florida Department of Transportation is installing lights on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as part of a $15 million project. During tests this weekend, engineers will illuminate the bridge in a pink hue to commemorate breast cancer awareness month. Courtesy of Florida Department of Transportation
    The Florida Department of Transportation is lighting up the span this weekend to commemorate breast cancer awareness month.
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 63-year-old crossing guard was hospitalized, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement