1. News

The Daystarter: Things are booming near the Gandy Bridge in Tampa; 100 New Year's Eve parties in Tampa Bay; Bolts survive in OT

Published Dec. 28, 2018

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

• A chance of showers after 1 p.m. today with a high near 80 and a low in the upper 60s tonight, according to the National Weather Service. Weekend temperatures will stay about the same, with clouds giving way to sunny skies on Sunday and Monday.

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

• St. Petersburg's huge Webb's City, billed as the World's Most Unusual Drug Store, closed in 1979. Now there are fears that "Doc'' Web's stately house could be doomed, too. Susan Taylor Martin has the story.

• Big projects underway in Tampa include a new Westshore Marina District and elevated Selmon Expressway Connector. That adds up to $1 billion in changes at the Tampa end of the Gandy Bridge.

• What issues are the Tampa Bay Times keeping an eye on for utilities, consumer issues and insurance in the new year?

• Blue Jays renovations will start soon in Dunedin. What about spring training? While builders will work around the Toronto Blue Jays major-league schedule, renovation plans are pushing the franchise's minor-league team, the Dunedin Blue Jays, to find a temporary home.

• Charisse Stinson, the woman accused of leaving her toddler son for dead in a wooded area in Largo and then coming up with a false story of his abduction, was pregnant when she left jail Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. When she returned Sunday, she wasn't. Officials won't confirm Stinson, 21, gave birth. But Jordan Belliveau, the father of the toddler Stinson is accused of killing, filed a petition for paternity Monday, naming Stinson. The court docket shows Stinson giving birth Saturday to Serenity Marie Stinson.

• Ready for New Year's Eve? We have rounded up more than 100 parties in Tampa Bay, including masquerades, firework shows and "noon year's eve" celebrations for kids.

• One more thing to brag about to the relatives up North: You can see movies for free on Clearwater Beach every day this week through New Year's Eve

• Ready to give your credit card a rest? Here are 5 things to do under $5 this week including some free ways to entertain visitors, such as seeing manatees swarm the warm waters of TECO's Big Bend power plant or the nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 party at Clearwater Beach.

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

• Pam Stewart has led the Florida Department of Education for the last five years, overseeing the state's school system during a time of major change. Now that she's leaving, the outgoing education commissioner spoke with the Gradebook podcast about her time at the helm and the future of Florida schools. Listen to Jeff Solochek's interview, and keep up with the education coverage at The Gradebook blog.

• Check out the Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

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• Leading 5-2 over the Flyers heading into the third period, the Lightning gives up three goals in the first nine minutes. But Alex Killorn saved the day in overtime in a 6-5 win.

• If missed it, here's that acrobatic save by Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in last night's game against the Flyers. For game highlights and the Lightning's quest for the Stanley Cup: Click here. For the latest updates on @Twitter, follow Lightning beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Nick Kelly at @_NickKelly.

• Rays outfielder Tommy Pham said Thursday he thinks the team needs a new stadium or a new city. Pham's comments came during an interview on MLB Radio on SiriusXM.

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 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.

• It's bowl season and we've got you covered with our guide of "can't miss" games to "why, just why."

• 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.

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

• Happy New Year! Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the final days of 2018.

• Speaking of the new year, we take a look at the year that was with our look back at the best in Tampa Bay theater, orchestra and dance; songs; and books about Florida or by Floridians that ruled in 2018.

• Someone always has to play the villain. We've rounded up five groups of people, businesses, entities and algae that played the role in 2018.

• 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.


  1. The ceremonial groundbreaking of Saint Leo University's Wellness Center was held Feb. 6. Pictured from left: Jon Akvan, project manager, JLL; Troy Powell, project manager, Creative Contractors; Melanie Storms, Saint Leo University senior vice president; Jose Caban, Saint Leo associate vice president of facilities management; Jeffrey D. Senese, Saint Leo president; Celine-Deon Palmer, student government union president; D. Dewey Mitchell, Saint Leo Board of Trustees chair; Alan Bomstein, CEO, Creative Contractors; and Joshua Bomstein, president, Creative Contractors.
  2. Justin Callahan, 34, from St. Pete, looks out to the water as the sunrises on a crips morning at North Shore Park on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  3. A Burmese python moves through the grass during a demonstration by the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission for the news media to promote the Python Challenge in 2015. Florida is hiring more python hunters and expanding the area where they can stalk the invasive snakes. [Associated Press]
  4. Nathan Myers, left, embraces his uncle, Clifford Williams, during a news conference after their 1976 murder convictions were overturned March 28, 2019, in Jacksonville. The order to vacate the convictions originated from the first ever conviction integrity review unit set up by State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
  5. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he steps off Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  6. Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
  7. The Hernando Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Michele DiLuzio, will present the Spectrum concert this weekend at the Central High School theater. Courtesy of Jeff Turner
  8. Daniel Lee Martin performs during a 1999 benefit concert at Coachman Park in Clearwater. Martin was found dead Friday at his New Port Richey home.
  9. Deputies are looking for a shirtless man who stole a gun from a pickup truck near Plant City on Friday morning and later fired rounds at a convenience store.