The Daystarter: Elton John postpones Tampa concert; read 'Heartbroken,' the new investigation into All Children’s Hospital; latest chapter of 'Blood and Truth' looks at forensic science

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published November 28 2018

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

• Expect a cold morning, with temperatures in the upper 30s to 40s. Temps will rise to the upper 50s for most areas, according to the National Weather Service. The winds will be lighter, just 10 to 15 miles out of the north. The next two nights will be the coldest of the week, as temperatures from into the low 40s and high 30s.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.

• The Tampa Bay Times has launched a redesigned website at with a new commenting platform. Executive Editor Mark Katches explains what’s new and how you could win $200 by taking a quick survey.

• If you have tickets to tonight’s Elton John concert in Tampa, Jay Cridlin has bad news for you: The pop superstar postponed his sold-out farewell concert at Amalie Arena on “doctor’s orders.” Tickets for the postponed Tampa and Orlando shows will be honored at the rescheduled date, which will be announced shortly.

• After Johns Hopkins took over St. Petersburg’s All Children’s Hospital in 2011, residents believed the beloved local hospital could only get better. But two of our investigative reporters started hearing troubling rumors that the exact opposite had happened in All Children’s heart-surgery unit. They spent a year digging into the program and discovered a litany of problems that were hidden from the public — and the parents who entrusted their kids to the hospital’s care. The consequences were tragic. Read Heartbroken, the investigation into Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital by Tampa Bay Times reporters Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi.

• On Christmas Eve 1975 four people were killed in a Winter Garden furniture store. The next year a jury convicted Tommy Zeigler of the murders of his wife, in-laws and a longtime customer in one of Florida’s most infamous crimes. He was sent to Death Row, but has maintained his innocence ever since. But again and again for the past two decades, the state has refused to allow for full DNA testing of the evidence in his case. In fact, the state has rejected post-conviction DNA tests 70 times, or almost three out of every four requests, according to a review of 500 death penalty cases going back four decades. Times reporter Leonora LaPeter Anton and photographer Cherie Diez chronicle the Zeigler case and reveal how Florida fights DNA testing in the multipart series “Blood and Truth: The Lingering Case of Tommy Zeigler.” Read a new chapter online every day this week:

• Blood and Truth Chapter 1: The lingering case of Tommy Zeigler.

• Blood and Truth Chapter 2: Finding a killer.

• Blood and Truth Chapter 3: Trial and errors.

• After a breach in background checks for Florida’s concealed weapons permitting program was revealed earlier this year, it became apparent that change was imminent. But the direction that change would take has become a tug-of-war between Florida Senate Democrats and powerful National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. Samantha J. Gross and Lawrence Mower explain how the NRA wants to move the program out of the agriculture commissioner’s office, which also happens to be the only statewide office held by a Democrat, Nicole “Nikki” Fried.

• When Hurricane Michael destroyed the Panhandle last month, Panama City officials asked state emergency managers to send tents and portable showers for residents after the storm had destroyed thousands of homes, torn up roads and knocked out the power everwhere. Mark Puente explains what happened and why lawmakers may step in.

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

• After one last, hard smack at Fort DeSoto and Shell Key over the Thanksgiving holiday last week, Red Tide has disappeared from Pinellas County’s beaches. Craig Pittman reports that Pinellas officials are wrapping up cleanup efforts even as Red Tide bloom still afflicts beaches and wildlife to the south.

• For the latest in Tampa Bay politics, make sure to check out The Bay Buzz.

• A Pasco County School District psychologist who strives to help LGBTQ students adjust as they struggle with their identity has come directly into the crossfire of conservative groups. But Jackie Jackson-Dean says her main concern is helping transgender students who have a high suicide attempt rate as a result of discrimination, harassment, rejection and depression. Jeffrey Solochek writes about how the district is defending itself, re-examing its policies and trying to correct the record.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. Solochek also leads a talk every week on the latest in Florida education. Check out the Gradebook podcast.

• In the days after 7-week-old Gwendolyn Eydelman died, her mother took to Facebook. “My perfect little angel,” Mariah Samon wrote on Nov. 21, two days after the child died at a hospital. “The happiest time of my life was getting to be your mommy.” Then on Monday the mother wrote: “UPDATE: Artem Eydelman is officially under arrest for 1st Degree Murder!” Kathryn Varn explains what led deputies to arrest Eydelman, the mother’s boyfriend, on Monday.

• This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday came together in perfect materialistic harmony. Sara DiNatale reports that shoppers are learning to navigate both in-store and online deals to get what they want, picking the best of both retail worlds. Those “multi-channel shoppers” grew by nearly 40 percent this year, according to the retail trade groups, and spent on average $93 more dollars than those who shopped only in stores or only online.

• Check out the latest business news from the Times on the economy, jobs, real estate and retail.

• As Florida celebrated its rout of Florida State last week, the Gators weren’t shy about sharing their belief that they belong in a prestigious New Year’s Six bowl game. “Absolutely,” defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson said, and it looks like he and his teammates are right. Matt Baker reports that the No. 9 Gators now appear to be a near-lock for a top-tier bowl game — and could even still make the Sugar Bowl.

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

• Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has reached a settlement to end the sexual battery lawsuit filed against him by an Arizona Uber driver who accused him of groping her in March 2016. Baker explains what we know about the joint notice of settlement filed in federal court. An NFL investigation found her claim “consistent and credible” and determined that Winston touched her “in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent.” The league suspended him for the first three games of this season for violating its personal conduct policy.

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

• The only two Hillsborough County teams are still alive in the fourth round of the playoffs, one game away from the title game in their respective classifications. Bob Putnam writes how both coaches, Evan Davis and Matt Thompson, are connected to Armwood High School’s first state championship team back in 2003.

• 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 Lightning beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Nick Kelly at @_NickKelly.

• To get the latest Rays’ news from the Times this offseason, click here and follow baseball writer Marc Topkin on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

• 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.

• 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.