Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.
• It will actually warm up just a tad before another cold front arrives and sweeps east across the Gulf coast. Tuesday’s highs will be in the 70s but expect cooler temperatures Wednesday and Thursday (the panhandle could even see some snow in mid-week), according to 10Weather WTSP.
• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.
• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.
• For the latest legislative coverage from Tallahassee, keep checking The Buzz, which is updated throughout the day by the reporters of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau.
• A 42-year-old woman who was among the 50 people who leaped off of a burning boat on Sunday was pronounced dead later that night. News of her death devastated the neighborhood that worked hard to try to save the survivors of Sunday’s ill-fated trip to a gambling boat in the Gulf of Mexico. To read the latest at tampabay.com.
• From a boat puttering along in the water, the sandy beach seems to go on and on. Then, abruptly, it ends at a mass of tangled, overturned mangroves where a great blue heron sits on an exposed root. And there, stretching for the next 120 feet, is a brand new opening in Shell Key. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, you need a boat to get to Shell Key again, Craig Pittman writes.
• The recent cold snap has been more than just an inconvenience for Floridians. It’s been tough on fish and potentially hazardous to flights at MacDill Air Force Base. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has received more than 110 calls as of Jan. 11 about fish kills across the state. The more fish die, the more that scavengers like vultures show up to feed on the carcasses. The more vultures, the greater the chance flight operations will be affected. Howard Altman has the details.
• It was a brutal year. That’s how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs’ 2017 season. Start with Hard Knocks and the surrounding expectations, some he embraced and others he "cringed at." They all went unfulfilled, mostly due to injuries, including the right shoulder sprain suffered by quarterback Jameis Winston. In his first interview since the season ended, Licht was candid about the Bucs’ failures and their plans to fix the many problem areas on the team. Rick Stroud has the details.
• Last week, state Sens. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, apologized for their friendship evolving "to a level that (they) deeply regret"— a level that an anonymous website characterized as an extramarital affair. Two consenting adults. They’re married, but why is this a public matter? One reason why: The appearance of a big fat conflict of interest for Braynon.
• A bill that would outlaw the breeding and performing of killer whales in Florida has cleared the initial hurdle that kept it off the table last year: getting a lawmaker to file it in the first place. Tracey McManus has the details.
• Before his free talk tonight as part of the USF Lecture Series, we talked to Harry Belafonte. Now 90, the World War II veteran, cancer survivor and award-winning singer and actor reflected on his life of social justice activism and his deep friendship with Martin Luther King Jr.
Last year was still a deadly one for pedestrians and bicyclists in the Tampa Bay region. Caitlin Johnston explains why at tampabay.com.