Daystarter: Autopsy shows violent death for Jordan Belliveau; Deondre Francois' ex-girlfriend steps back abuse claims; predicting Florida's next recession

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published February 5
Updated February 5

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

• Expect warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights for the next week or so, according to the National Weather Service. The morning should see some cloudy skies and patch fog before it starts to clear up in the afternoon. Highs will be in the upper 70s but it’ll cool down to the upper 50s in the evening. Wednesday will see warmer afternoons with temperatures reaching the low 80s. The evenings will remain cool, however.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including a free talk at the University of South Florida by Black Panther star Winston Duke and there’s free admission today at Glazer Children’s Museum.

• An environmental group is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to step in to correct what it says is the state’s failure to fix repeated violations at Tampa’s wastewater system. Tampa officials are vigorously contesting the group’s findings, saying it took data out of context and misrepresented the city’s wastewater spills. And as Charlie Frago reports, the city is also questioning the timing of the group’s complaint.

• One thing is becoming clear this upcoming legislative sessions: the Florida Legislature wants to address plastic straws.

But that’s where the clarity ends. Josh Solomon reports that there are several bills floating around Tallahassee that could expand the bans local municipalities like St. Petersburg enacted to ban single-use plastic straws and carryout bags — or ban them from banning those things. The tug-of-war has cities like St. Petersburg caught in the middle.

• Gov. Ron DeSantis has named commercial real estate executive Jonathan Satter to lead Florida’s Department of Management Services, he announced today. Satter was a former board chairman of the Palm Beach County Health Care District.

• In the five days following the story’s publication, Taylor said they received approximately $16,200, a massive uptick. Of that, about $7,100 came in the mail from Times/Herald readers who referenced the story in their letters, all of whom asked that the funds be designated for the Bay County group. The United Way of Northwest Florida received more than 40 checks in the mail plus thousands given online.

• And the mega-mansions just keep on coming. A day after real estate investor Ben Mallah paid a record $16.5 million for a Belleair Shore home, the founder of Lazydays RV has put his lakefront estate in eastern Hillsborough County on the market for $22 million.

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

• The Tampa Bay Times editorial board recommendations are out for the 2019 City of Tampa elections: former Tampa police chief Jane Castor is the editorial board’s recommendation for mayor. For the City Council races, read the recommendations of Joseph Citro, Charlie Miranda and John Dingfelder in Districts 1-3 and Bill Carlson, Jeffrey L. Rhodes, Guido Maniscalco and Luis Viera in the District 4-7 races.

• The Nine-O-Nine is a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and one of three World War II planes the public can come see and ride in as part of the non-profit Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom tour this week. Howard Altman writes about the memories the Nine-O-Nine stirred up for one local family.

• A federal arbitrator says Hillsborough County was justified in firing a Fire Rescue medic who belonged to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, noting the negative attention his membership brought the county. Anastasia Dawson writes that the firing of Clinton Neal Walker last year ago was upheld after an internal investigation concluded he had “unwavering loyalty” to the Outlaws, long considered the state’s dominant motorcycle gang.

• Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to fund the Florida Department of Corrections next year at $2.7 billion, a spending plan that has some criminal-justice reform advocates pointing to struggles facing Florida’s prison system as a result of increased health-care costs.

• The autopsy report into the death last year of 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau offers the most detailed depiction yet of how the toddler died, reports Kathryn Varn. His mother awaits trial on a charge of first-degree murder, while her child’s death rattled the community and triggered intense scrutiny of Florida’s child welfare system.

• The economy is bearing down on an impressive record: longest uninterrupted expansion. Come July, with any luck, it will surpass the 120-month mark set between 1991 and 2001. But business columnist Graham Brink wonders: Is there a correlation between how long an economy grows and the severity of the next recession? In other words, what are we in for when the economy sours? Read his latest column at tampabay.com.

• If you were once a regular at the original Lee Roy Selmon’s on Boy Scout Boulevard, you might not even recognize the space that newcomer Outback Steakhouse has redesigned. Lee Roy Selmon’s officially closed at the end of June after 17 years at the location, and Outback celebrated its grand opening Feb. 1.

• Check out the Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

• From our food editor, a winning recipe: A spicy ginger shortbread cookie for Valentine’s Day.

• Find out what food critic Laura Reiley found when she checked out Guac Tequila and Tacos in South Tampa.

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

• 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 on its way, and the Times has everything you need to plan to watch the boys of summer take the field as they get ready for a new season of Major League Baseball.

• One day after the Rams lost 13-3 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, Bucs fans should be glad their team didn’t try to hire the next Sean McVay. The Bucs went against this year’s NFL trend by hiring 66-year-old Bruce Arians.

• For nearly two decades, Michele Smith has made Eddie C. Moore softball complex her second home, whether to conduct clinics or put together an annual college softball tournament to benefit pediatric cancer. An ESPN-backed, talent-packed college invitational is coming to the Eddie C. Moore Complex next week.

• When you’re top dog, everybody nips at you. So it is with hockey’s best team. Tampa Bay’s finest just returned from a quick jaunt northeast, where it couldn’t quite catch up to the Penguins, won in a shootout over the surprising Islanders — one of the most rousing 1-0 games you’ll ever see — then held off the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Sports columnist Martin Fennelly writes that kind of competition is exactly what the Lightning need.

• The Times can keep you up-to-date on the Lightning’s quest for the Stanley Cup: Click here for the latest news throughout the season and get the updates on @Twitter from beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari.

• We’re there any lessons for the Buccaneers to glean from Sunday night’s mostly boring Super Bowl save for those five minutes in the fourth quarter? Thomas Bassinger outlines some things the Bucs should pay attention to.

• Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy took fans on a tour of his man cave in a YouTube video released Monday morning through apparel company Fanatics. Check out the story by Bucs writer Eduardo Encina.

• The Bucs have a new head coach. Keep up with all the offseason changes and get ready for the NFL draft 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 Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• For the latest Rays news, click here and follow baseball writer Marc Topkin on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

• A day after Florida State announced the dismissal of starting quarterback Deondre Francois, college football writer Matt Baker reports that the woman who accused him of abusing her walked back some of her claims. But it’s already too late for Francois. FSU coach Willie Taggart didn’t specify his reasons for dismissing Francois in his statement Sunday, but said the Seminoles “have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we will not shy away from those high standards of conduct.”

• The Francois situation has Martin Fennelly thinking that this is the latest example that everything seems to be going wrong as Taggart heads into his second season, which looms as make or break. What, exactly, gives anyone confidence in FSU and its coach at this point?

• 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 anaylsis 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.

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