Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
• Expect another cool morning with temperatures in the mid 40s, according to the National Weather Service. It will be sunny and slightly warmer, with highs in the 70s. By the evening, it will be partly cloudy in the upper 50s. The weekend will see cloudy skies but no rain. Highs will be in the mid 70s on Saturday and Sunday. Weekend lows will be in the upper 50s to 60s.
• Meet the man that Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht called “the coolest damn coach in the NFL.” Rick Stroud reports on Bruce Arians’ first day as Tampa Bay’s new head coach, one the Glazers can turn around their franchise and their franchise quarterback.
• The Bucs didn’t just hire a new head coach in Arians. They also took on a brand-new identity from one of the most distinctive leaders in the NFL, writes Rick Stroud. Arians is a man of many facets, and may be the closest thing the NFL has to a Joe Maddon, the former Rays skipper who charmed the bay area for years.
• Here are five important takeaways from Arians’ first news conference at One Buc Place. Eduardo Encina reports that Arians covered a variety of topics, from the reason he emerged from retirement, how far the Bucs are from winning, his coaching staff and his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston.
• Standing in the back of Arians’ news conference was a sight for sore eyes for Bucs’ fans: former coach Tony Dungy. He came to wish Arians well, and Ernest Hooper reports Dungy wasn’t the only Buccaneers’ alum on hand to greet the new coach.
• Here’s a transcript of Arians’ comments at his introductory press conference at One Buc Place:
• More Bucs’ news, including a Martin Fennelly column on Arians’ wife and an Eduardo A. Encina story about Arians’ plans to develop players will be just a click away on tampabay.com.
• It’s been 70 years since four young black men entered one of the worst chapters in Florida’s history, wrongly accused of raping a white woman and tortured, killed or wrongly imprisoned at the hands of racist mobs and a racist sheriff. But there’s a chance their names are cleared today. Florida’s new governor and Cabinet will meet this morning to discuss their case, although families of the Groveland Four and their supporters aren’t expecting a pardon just yet.
• Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigned on his close relationship with President Donald Trump, but he indicated Thursday that the federal shutdown is the responsibility of Washington. “I have my hands full down here,” he told reporters. “I’ve been there and done that and have the T-shirt.”
• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.
• The 2017 assassination of Pasco Outlaws motorcycle club leader Paul Anderson, who authorities said was shot by rival gang members on motorcycles in rush hour traffic, is just the latest in a long, violent history of motorcycle gangs in Tampa Bay. Gabrielle Calise recounts the long and dark history of such gangs in Tampa Bay.
• The Tampa Bay Rays showed they were ready to play hardball in December when they walked away from a proposal to build a stadium in Ybor City. But Anastasia Dawson reports that the Hillsborough County Commission showed that it’s still looking for ways to stay in the game by defeating a motion to disband its baseball group.
• Tampa Bay’s much-needed road projects aren’t all win-win for businesses, especially along Gandy Boulevard. During construction, businesses owners feel the pinch. Some don’t make it after the new roads open. Times Business Columnist Graham Brink explores the hardship.
• Six years after his death, there’s no end in sight to the finger-pointing over some late-in-life decisions made about the fortune of Home Shopping Network co-founder Roy Speer. Speer, who was 80 when he died on Aug. 19, 2012, had about $192 million in six Morgan Stanley accounts during the last year of his life. Now financial regulators say two investment brokers who then worked in Morgan Stanley’s Palm Harbor office churned those accounts, generating more than $9 million in commissions in 10 months.
• For $3.6 million, Michael Hettrich purchased a piece of West Tampa's past on Monday — the Y. Pendas y Alvarez Cigar Factory and its iconic clock tower. Meantime, two miles away, the city of Tampa again shut down remodeling at the factory, prompting renewed calls for the city to safeguard the building. Despite repeated warnings, Paul Guzzo explains, Hettrich failed to obtain permits for the work or to certify that new electrical work is safe, despite repeated warnings.
• A Wisconsin teenager missing for nearly three months after her parents were killed in the family home was found alive barely an hour's drive away, by a woman who stumbled across the 13-year-old girl and pounded on her neighbors' door shouting: "This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!" Jayme was skinny and dirty, wearing shoes too big for her feet, but appeared outwardly OK when she was discovered Thursday afternoon near the small town of Gordon, the neighbors said.
• Here are the top things to do in Tampa Bay.
• The best journalism in the bay area is all in one place. Check out all the Tampa Bay Times investigations and special reports.
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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.
• It's never over for the Lightning until it's over. Even when nothing seems to go right for the Lightning, it can't get the puck bounce it needs and it looks as if it might not walk away with any points, Tampa Bay finds a way. All it needed Thursday in a 3-1 victory over Carolina: five minutes and two power plays.
• The Bucs are not just getting an experienced offensive mind in their new head coach. They’re also getting a look with Arians, and the staple of that look is his signature hat. Where does Arians and his trademark Kangol cap rank among the great headwear of the sporting world? Eduardo Encina puts it all in perspective.
• The University of South Florida is set to announce it has hired Valdosta (Ga.) State coach and former University of Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell as its new offensive coordinator, reports Joey Knight. Blazers offensive line coach Jeremy Darveau, a former quality-control assistant at UF, reportedly also could join Bell in Tampa.
• 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. For the latest updates on @Twitter, follow Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and fellow Lightning beat writer Nick Kelly at @_NickKelly.
• 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 Times online Arts and Entertainment page tells you everything you need to know about what to do, see, eat and experience around town.
• Florida will once again be the beneficiary of the cruise industry’s biggest and best offerings, but it’s not just ships that will be of interest to Sunshine State cruisers in 2019.
• 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 Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.