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Friday, May 25, 2018
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News Roundup

The Daystarter: St. Petersburg man is first vaping death; MacDill addressing AirFest traffic woes; Romano on how gun law really protects lawmakers; can Lightning even it up?

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

• Sick of all the rain? Too bad. More moisture is forecast. The chance of rain will jump from 40 percent to 70 percent chance of showers by 7 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. But the rest of the evening should be quiet after that.

• 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 including a Lightning watch party in the park, relive early 2000s at the Sun Dome with performances from Soulja Boy, the Ying Yang twins, Chingy, Petey Pablo, Twista, and Bow Wow.

• The May 5 death of a St. Petersburg man whose Smoke-e Mountain vape pen exploded, firing pieces of the device into his brain and setting his house on fire, presents an urgent question about the devices’ potential to kill or maim, Christopher Spata reports. What happened to 38-year-old Tallmadge D’Elia is a rarity, and likely the first vape-related fatality in the United States, said Larry McKenna, a fire protection engineer for the U.S. Fire Administration.

• Tom Jones explains that the most important contribution to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s breakthrough win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals was made by Coach John Cooper and the key decisions he made to help save the team’s season. The Lightning will have the chance to even the series against the Washington Capitals, who still hold a 2-1 lead, in tonight’s Game 4 in Washington. The puck drops at 8 p.m. and here’s how you can watch.

• The Lightning’s Steve Yzerman is a finalist for the NHL’s general manager of the year award, along with two other GMs whose teams are in the conference finals. The winner will be announced June 20.

• The Tampa Bay Rays finished a sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, improving to 19-22. Tampa Bay also made a bit of history, sweeping their first series at Kauffman Stadium since 2009 and against the Royals since 2011. Marc Topkin explains how the Rays did it and to make sure to keep up with all his Rays’ coverage throughout the season.

• Tampa Bay AirFest 2018 pulled in a whopping 150,000 people and more over three days last week, including practice on Friday. But that proved to be more people than the transportation plan could handle, delaying arrival by hours for some and preventing others from getting into MacDill Air Force Base at all. Howard Altman explains how efforts to alleviate the jam didn’t work out quite as planned.

• The Florida Orchestra will begin tutoring at-risk children free of charge, thanks to a Hillsborough County grant. The $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. pays for six weeks of violin instruction at select recreation centers, from the second week of June through the third week of July. Tentative plans call for another class from late August until the end of September. Andrew Meacham has the details.

• Hillsborough County’s last African-American art museum lasted only about six years before it closed in 1997 due to financial woes. Now, a decade later, County Commissioner Les Miller said it’s time to establish a new museum. Christopher O’Donnell explains how a new museum could happen.

• Once again columnist John Romano points out the flaws in the Legislature’s school safety law, which has left local school districts and law enforcement agencies scrambling to figure out a way to pay for it. As Romano writes, the bill seems written to protect lawmakers instead of students.

• It’s City Council day in the Tampa Bay area. To find out what’s happening at the 9 a.m. Tampa City Council meeting, follow Charlie Frago at @CharlieFrago for updates. To catch up on the 3 p.m. St. Petersburg City Council, follow Caitlin Johnston at @cljohnst for updates.

• It all started a little more than two months ago in teacher Tiffany Rasmussen’s third-period dual enrollment class at Seminole High School. The seniors began discussing what they would wear to graduation at Tropicana Field. Girls were required to wear a "white or light colored dress" and "white or light-colored shoes." Sarah Agee’s idea? Crocs. Laurel Demkovich describes how that late lesson resulted in color-coordinated footwear. Also, check out the photos as high school graduation season begins in earnest.

• Put out the welcome mat — more people are on their way to Tampa Bay. Judging from loan applications, the bay area ranks sixth among the 10 metro areas where prospective home buyers are most likely to move in the next few months, Susan Taylor Martin writes.

• Amid cyber-security threats to their voting systems, Florida elections supervisors are eager to get access to more than $19 million in federal money Congress sent to states nearly two months ago. But they say all they’re hearing from the state is crickets. Steve Bousquet explains why.

• It’s time to plan your weekend! Our critics and writers have mapped out their top picks this week for concerts, shows and family fun on our Weekend Planner page including royal wedding watch parties, a deal at the Dali Museum for National Museum Day and our top picks for concerts and stage shows.

• In 2015 a Pinellas sheriff’s deputy shot a handcuffed man. He lost his job over the incident, and now as Laura C. Morel reports he’s going to avoid prison after striking a plea deal with prosecutors this week.

• SeaWorld is joining its sister park, Busch Gardens, in offering free cups of beer this summer. Guests 21 and up can receive up to two complimentary 7-ounce beers per visit at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio in the park starting Friday through Sept. 2.

• From our book editor Colette Bancroft comes a review of Stephen King’s latest, The Outsider in which evil can’t be true but must be true.

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