The Daystarter: What's up with that boat off the Howard Frankland; read the conclusion of Blood and Truth; father-son teams and the high school playoffs

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published November 30 2018

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

• The forecast calls for cloudy skies and high in the mid-70s, as temperatures start to warm, according to the National Weather Service. Expect a 20 percent chance of rain and low temps in the mid-60s. Saturday could be even dreaier as meteorologists predict a 50 percent chance of rain with highs in the 80s. The sun will finally come out on Sunday, despite a slight chance of rain. The highs will be in the 80s.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including Tampa’s official tree lighting, the indie rock band Better Than Ezra, the opening of Sparkman Wharf, and a free screening of The Santa Clause in Curtis Hixon Park.

• Two years ago, Bill Denham was beaten to death as he walked home. Police identified three named suspects, but so far only the woman has been charged. Is this justice? Read more from Sue Carlton.

• Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to become U.S. Sen. Rick Scott five days before his term as governor will end. But new senators aren’t sworn in until Jan. 3 while new governor Ron DeSantis won’t be sworn in until Jan. 8. That five-day gap could only be filled by Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Steve Bousquet and Samantha Gross ask: Will Scott resign and give the lieutenant governor the perk of a lifetime?

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

• A white boat has been sitting in clear sight of cars crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge into Tampa for about a month. We tell you whose boat is it and why was it abandoned there.

• Elton John’s long yellow brick road to retirement just got a whole lot longer. The legendary singer has announced makeup dates for two concerts he postponed this week in Tampa and Orlando due to an ear infection. The Orlando show has been moved to March 18, but Jay Cridlin writes that for some reason the Tampa show won’t take place until Nov. 4, 2019.

• Hurricanes have a ceiling, a limit to how strong they can get. Scientists say that ceiling is going up. With hurricane season ending today, Josh Solomon explains why a Category 6 storm is not out of the question.

• 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.

• 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 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.

• Blood and Truth Chapter 4: Science offers scrutiny.

• Blood and Truth Chapter 5: Could he be innocent?

• Blood and Truth: Epilogue.

• 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 and attracted a few hundred diehards. But as Kirby Wilson reports, one out-of-hand party is bringing that tradition to an end.

• Don Dingman has been a charter captain for more than 30 years. Back in the early 2000s, a TV production company approached him about hosting a show. Dingman didn’t like the pitch, so the company asked what he would do? His plan was simple: “I’d take kids fishing.” They told him he was nuts, that it would never work. But they gave it a shot. Some 16 years later, that show — called Hook the Future — is still going strong. And this weekend, he will hold clinics for kids at the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show.

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

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook.

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

• 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.

• Sunday night is the first night of Hanukkah and we have a round up of local celebrations. There will be concerts, family friendly parties and lots of fried goodies for the Jewish celebration of the Festival of Lights.

• Folks in Seneca Falls celebrate Frank Capra’s crowning achievement, boasting that the famous director based the movie’s fictional Bedford Falls on this Finger Lakes community. Check out our travels there.

• Here’s a nice read: With grandkids and an injury, a baseball fan wonders when he’ll get that precious game of catch back.

• 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. Executive Editor Mark Katches also writes about the journalists who produced the report and how they did it.

• A new episode of our super fun Life of the Party podcast is up this morning. Our staffers get you through awkward silences by filling you in on 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. This week we talk about the death of Glamour and Seventeen magazines, and discuss our favorite teen magazines of yore with food critic Laura Reiley, who had a poem about ground beef published in Seventeen.

• has a new look, and so does the Times’ sports section. Check out the Times coverage of tonight’s high school football playoff action at the Home Team:

• It was up and down and back and forth. The Lightning led. The Sabres led. The Lightning led. The Sabres led. The Lighting won. The Sabres' winning streak ended at 10 games. Neither team ever had more than a one-goal lead. Diana Nearhos has the details.

• Ricardo Watson Jr. and Ricardo Watson III display the same confident swagger. So it is only natural the banter between father and son inevitably sways toward their athletic exploits, virtually and in real life. Bob Putnam writes that their biggest disputes come when they discuss their accomplishments as players for Armwood High’s storied football program as it aims for a second straight state title appearance.

• Former Bucs lineman Jerry Wunsch’s NFL career left him unable to “do the things normal dads do.” So Wunsch became a coach, sharing what he’s learned with his two sons and the Clearwater Central Catholic team that faces Chaminade-Madonna (10-2) in the Class 3A state semifinals Friday at CCC.

• Jason Odom and Tony Mayberry used to be Tampa Bay Buccaneer teammates. Now they both coach their sons at Jesuit High School, tight end Jonathan Odom and offensive lineman Trevor Mayberry as the Tigers (­­12-1) enter Friday night’s Class 5A state semifinal at Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (11-2).

• Despite the defense’s woes this season, the Bucs’ bookend defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib find themselves leading one of the team’s most prolific pass rushes and creating double trouble. Rick Stroud writes that in the past two games against the Giants and 49ers, the Bucs have produced eight sacks, half of them belonging to Pierre-Paul (2½ sacks) and Nassib (1½). Thanks to the tandem the Bucs are on pace to record 42 sacks this season, the most since 2004’s 45 sacks.

• Bucs receiver Mike Evans is on pace for the best season of his career. His worst game, however, came the last time he faced Carolina cornerback James Bradberry, who will be in Tampa with the Panthers at 1 p.m. Sunday. Is Evans in for another long afternoon? Rick Stroud looks at some underlying causes for what happened Nov. 4 in Charlotte.

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

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

• 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.

• 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.

• Education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a talk every week on the latest in Florida education. Check out the Gradebook podcast.