Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:
PARTY'S OVER FOR DJS WHO ENTERTAINED AT SUNSHINE SKYWAY REST STOPS
Since at least the 1980s, up-and-coming DJs have brought their equipment to the rest stops on the Pinellas County side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for overnight performances. Local DJs saw it as a rite of passage in the Tampa Bay electronic music scene: they’d perform for hours, often free of charge, honing their sets. A typical show would attract a few hundred diehards. But after more than 3,000 people flocked to the Skyway on Aug. 4, causing a chaotic scene that quickly drew the attention of law enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol announced that it would close the bridge’s rest stops to all overnight visitors. One 50-word press release effectively drew the curtain on decades of musical tradition.
CHRISTMAS TREE SALES ARE OFF TO A STRONG START IN TAMPA BAY
Last year, rumblings about a Christmas tree shortage juiced early-season sales. Blame the Great Recession a decade ago, when sales slowed so much that growers responded by planting fewer saplings. The trees take about seven to 10 years to reach the right size, so fears arose that there wouldn’t be enough to go around last year, and potentially this year. Doug Hundley, spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, said talk of a national shortage was overblown. Some individual lots sold out but nearly anyone who wanted a real tree could find one. As for this year, he thinks growers have the numbers about right. They will harvest about 30 million, of which about 27.5 million will sell.
WILL ROSS SPANO FACE AN INVESTIGATION INTO CAMPAIGN LOANS BEFORE HE EVEN GETS TO CONGRESS?
The Democratic candidate who lost to Republican Ross Spano for the congressional seat from District 15 said this week she has requested an FBI investigation of Spano's campaign financing. Kristen Carlson wants the agency to investigate loans Spano received from friends and loans he made to his campaign around the same time. He reported on campaign finance reports that his loans came from his own personal funds, not from others. Under federal campaign finance law, a loan made to a candidate with the intent of providing money for a campaign must be considered a campaign contribution. But the loans Spano received from friends far exceeded the legal limits on campaign contributions.
TEN HITTERS FOR THE RAYS TO CONSIDER
The Rays' premise in getting rid of leading home-run hitter C.J. Cron last week was to create the opportunity to add a better bat. Either to upgrade at the first base / DH spot Cron shared or, better, to add a right-handed hitter with more positional versatility who can make the lineup better in different ways. So, who? Here are 10 hitters the Rays will at least consider to some degree, ranked in our order of appeal, with Josh Donaldson out after signing with Atlanta, and Manny Machado out of their range.
HUGH JACKMAN COMING TO AMALIE ARENA IN TAMPA
Can Hugh Jackman really deliver The Greatest Show live? We'll find out next summer, as the Hollywood superstar's first-ever world tour comes to Tampa. The Oscar-nominated, Tony- and Emmy-winning Jackman is bringing his live tour, dubbed "The Man. The Music. The Show," to Amalie Arena on July 5. Tickets are $29.50 and up, and they'll go on sale Dec. 7. Jackman is a widely acclaimed musical theater actor, who won a Tony for The Boy from Oz and once won an Emmy for hosting the Tony Awards. He earned an Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe for his role as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Most importantly, he starred as P.T. Barnum in last year's circus musical The Greatest Showman. The show promises songs from "Broadway and film, accompanied by a live orchestra."