The Daystarter: A call for Rep. Spano's resignation; huge night for Steven Stamkos, Lightning; challenges ahead for Florida’s housing market

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published December 11 2018
Updated December 11 2018

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

• The skies over Tampa Bay will be mostly cloudy this morning, with a slight chance of sprinkles, gradual clearing and a high in the upper 50s, according to the National Weather Service. Tonight, fireplace weather — clear with lows in the mid 40s.

• If he broke campaign finance laws, congressman-elect Ross Spano says it was an accident. Okay, we'll accept that for now, columnist John Romano writes. But the Dover politician still won a tainted election, and needs to resign, he writes.

• The red hot Lightning notched its NHL-best 24th victory of the season Monday night and Steven Stamkos got a hat trick, including a goal scored on a wicked one-timer from the left circle. He now has 700 career points. Lightning beat writer Diana C. Nearhos and photographer Dirk Shadd were at Amalie Arena to bring you color, quotes and images. Read Diane’s report and click here for the latest Lightning news throughout the season. For updates on @Twitter, follow her at @dianacnearhos

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including guitar greats filling the Ruth Eckerd Hall stage for the Generataion Axe tour, with Nuno Bettencourt, alongside Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and Tosin Abasi.

• The state’s housing market is digging out from the Great Recession thanks to rising home prices and now there are fewer underwater mortgages in Florida. But challenges remain, explains Times Business columnist Graham Brink.

• With the Seinfeld-created holiday of Festivus upon us, we are once again asking readers to share your grievances and complaints, no matter how petty or minutiae-related, and we will publish them. Extra points for funny grievances that aren’t about presidential politics.

• Balmy St. Petersburg will have a real ice skating rink set up starting Saturday in Albert Whitted Park. Ice skates are provided, but be sure to bring socks. The rink will be open through January.

• Late Monday, a Pinellas County judge made a key ruling in the case of John Jonchuck, the man who dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, from a bridge in 2015. At issue: whether a controversial psychiatrist can testify at Jonchuck’s upcoming trial. Read our report here in case you missed it.

• Police have arrested two suspects in the July shooting death of 20-year-old Nicholas Mortazavi at a South Tampa McDonald’s. Find out how investigators think it happened.

• Florida's incoming class of lawmakers gets its start at the 2019 legislative session today, as they kick off the first of six committee weeks leading up to March 5. Here's what to expect.

• ZooTampa officials said Monday a review found that a top veterinarian there is not responsible for killing two manatees with his medical treatment, but they are not ready to let him resume treating marine mammals. Senior veterinarian Ray Ball will be treating other types of animals at the zoo, while another vet, Lauren Smith, takes charge of treating manatees in its care, the officials announced during a news conference.

• The best journalism in the bay area is all in one place. Check out all the Tampa Bay Times investigations and special reports.

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

• For the latest education coverage, 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 photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

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

• The College Football Playoff field is filled with predictable big names and has stolen the focus from the other bowls. Which is probably for the best, because most of the other matchups are pretty lame, Matt Baker writes. The whole postseason system needs a reboot. He offers five ways to spruce it up.

• In their search to add a proven power bat to their lineup, the Rays have discussed contract parameters with free agent DH Nelson Cruz, and his agent says the matchup would be "a perfect fit.'' But penciling him into the lineup might be premature, baseball writer Marc Topkin explains. Check out our Rays page and follow him on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays for the latest on the winter meetings.

• The latest Times coverage of the Bucs is just a click away at tampabay.com. For the latest team news on @Twitter, follow beat writers Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD and Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• Check out the Times coverage of Gator football all season long and keep up with college football beat writer Matt Baker on Twitter at @MBakerTBTimes.

• 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.

• Check out the latest episode of the Times sports podcast Sports Day Tampa Bay led by veteran sportswriter Rick Stroud.

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

• Listen to our new podcast, Life of the Party, that keeps you caught up just enough to get by in small talk. Times staffers Stephanie Hayes and Brittany Volk will discuss what’s going on, from celebrity news to movies and music, plus offbeat info that will make you the most interesting person in the room.

• Don’t just write the right way — write the Lane way. Keep up with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Lane DeGregory’s podcast, WriteLane, and learn about her approach to the craft of storytelling.

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

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• The Tampa Bay Times online Opinion page has the latest editorials, columns and letters to the editor.

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