Daystarter: The governor unveils his education plans in Tampa; revisit one of the most infamous crimes in bay area history; and check out the new Lightning jerseys

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published February 8
Updated February 8

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

Expect another sunny day with highs in the low 80s and a light breeze out of the east. A weak cold front is coming through which could bring some rain this weekend. There will be a 20 percent chance of rain Saturday, and with the cloud cover temperatures will drop to the mid to low 70s. Same thing for Sunday.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including the Florida State Fair’s first weekend, St. Pete Opera performs Kiss Me Kate and the Tampa Theatre will have a live band and film to show the Simon and Garfunkle Story.

• Wallet a little light? Here’s 5 things to do under $5 this week including a Ham-Fest for fans of history and the Broadway show that includes expert panels, sing-alongs and a costume contest. There’s also a free Chinese New Year celebration and a Must Love Dogs 5K.

• Gov. Ron DeSantis visited his second Hillsborough County school in the past two weeks and continued his push for improvements in Florida’s education system, outlining a plan to ease the teacher shortage and eliminate a controversial component of the state’s teacher bonus program. Marlene Sokol explains the governor’s ideas and why Hillsborough educators are on board.

• 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.

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

• Adam Davis took part in one of the most infamous murders in Tampa Bay history: conspiring with his then-girlfriend, Valessa Robinson, and a third teen in the vicious 1998 stabbing death of Robinson’s mother. The daughter served 13 years in prison and is free. Davis spent years on death row but must now be re-sentenced. Dan Sullivan reports that prosecutors want to send him back to death row using a video of Davis recorded in jail last year discussing his strategy to win a reduced sentence.

• The problems at CareerSource Pinellas, the embattled job placement center in the middle of a year-long scandal over allegations of phony hiring reports and questionable spending, have now attracted the attention of federal agents. Mark Puente and Zachary T. Sampson report that agents from the FBI and the Department of Labor’s Inspector General have started interviewing employees.

• Mirror Lake residents lost their fight to keep an Illinois company from building a 21-story, 270-unit apartment tower that will displace dozens. Susan Taylor Martin explains what happened at the City Council meeting and why residents fear that it will destroy the character of their neighborhood.

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

• Tampa Bay is one of the most affordable areas of its size in the nation. That’s according to new data released this week. A recent report from the Council for Community and Economic Research found that Tampa Bay now has the lowest cost of living out of all of Florida’s urban areas. Gabrielle Calise put together an interactive graphic that shows how the bay area ranks in six categories: housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

• We have a new episode this morning of our Life of the Party podcast. Listen as Stephanie Hayes and Brittany Volk brief you on the latest celebrity news, entertainment headlines and gossip that will help make you far more interesting at the next party. This week’s topic: How do you make friends in a new city? Kameel Stanley tells us how she went from knowing no one to leading a brunch group for dozens of women of color.

• Read the story of Diane Crump, the Oldsmar woman who became the first woman in the U.S. to race as a professional jockey when she finished 10-of-12 in the seventh race at Hialeah Park astride her mount Bridle ‘N Bit. A few weeks later, she won her first race at her home track Florida Downs, now known as Tampa Bay Downs.

• Anton Coppola led Opera Tampa through 17 seasons. He retired seven years ago at the age of 95. But now, Andrew Meacham writes that a month before the conductor’s 102nd birthday, Coppola is back to unveil what he has been working on since, Lady Swanwhite.

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

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

• Cue AC/DC. The Lightning is back in black. Check out the Lightning’s new alternate black jerseys, which are throwbacks to the original jerseys Tampa Bay wore when it won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

• 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.

• Speaking of throwbacks, Marc Topkin reports that the Rays plan to bring back their original Devil Rays uniforms for four games this upcoming baseball season.

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

• 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 A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• During National Signing Day this week, USF coach Charlie Strong said his program would lean on the NCAA’s transfer portal — and said there were already 1,4000 names in there. Is that true? Joey Knight did his best to perform a Politifact-style factcheck of Strong’s claim. While the portal is not a public record, Florida coach Dan Mullen confirmed that he believes Strong is right, that he believes there are over 1,000 players who have applied to transfer programs.

• All the Bulls news you can use is right here from Knight. Follow him on Twitter for the latest at @TBTimes_Bulls.

• Keep up with coverage of Gators’ athletics this winter by following beat writer Matt Baker on Twitter at @MBakerTBTimes.

• 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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