Daystarter: ‘Scientology’ viewers suspicious of Clearwater police; Tampa Bay going all Marie Kondo; Callahan loses spot, then delivers for Lightning

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
social card for daystarter, for web only
social card for daystarter, for web only
Published February 11
Updated February 11

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

• Today we’ll see partly cloudy skies with a chance of showers, mainly to the south of Tampa Bay, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures will be in the upper 70s to mid 80s.

• Plan your week! Here’s the top things to do this week in Tampa Bay, including Hamilton starting a four-week run at the Straz Center. Also, say ‘Huzzah!” to the Bay Area Rennaisance Fest, the second week of the Florida State Fair and we have some romantic Valentine’s Day options.

• In case you missed it, a number of buy one, get one free options and other deals have surfaced for Florida residents during this slow time of year at theme parks.

• The social media comments started a few weeks ago, then only intensified, devolving into what Police Chief Dan Slaughter called a “public relations nightmare.” Police Chief Dan Slaughter said despite Scientology’s contentious history, he must treat them as any other tax exempt church.

• Many Wells Fargo customers woke Thursday to find they couldn’t access their accounts — whether to get cash, pay bills or swipe a debit card for gas. What to do when a banking outage occurs.

• On Tampa Bay stages this past weekend, composer Anton Coppola watched as the only scheduled performance of his newest creation, Lady Swanwhite, was performed Saturday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, while his nephew and muse, film director Francis Ford Coppola, watched from a box just off stage right with him Saturday. Read about the show here. And pop music critic Jay Cridlin was in the audience Saturday when the pop singer Seal lent his voice to the Florida Orchestra for its grand gala fundraiser.

• For most of his life, Jake Holehouse followed his dad into crumbling buildings and sagging houses and thought: “My God. Why aren’t we knocking this down?” But look around Pass-a-Grille now, and it’s easy to see the impact of his dad’s belief in rescue and revival. Ron Holehouse, an insurance agency owner and developer, died on Dec. 20, from multiple myeloma. He was 68.

• An internal review by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has found more than a dozen incidents in which children in the hospital’s heart unit were harmed by the care they received. Johns Hopkins “let this organization down,” the health system’s president told staff members. The disclosures came during a pair of wide-ranging and remarkably candid town hall meetings that Kevin Sowers, who is president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and has also been the interim president at All Children’s since December, held with hospital staff earlier this week. In November, a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the unit’s mortality rate had tripled in just two years to become the highest in Florida.

• Electric scooters are popping up in cities nationwide as the latest attempt to solve transportation needs. Yes, we mean scooters like the old Razor your kids love to ride, but with an electric kick. Several larger companies like Bird and Lime are staking their claims in different cities, trying to corner the market. Hillsborough County and Tampa are courting contracts to see how this new transportation option might fit in here. St. Pete seems to be sitting back and watching how others regulate before taking the plunge. Caitlin Johnston looks at other cities to see how they’ve navigated the fad so far (safety, where scooters can ride, who’s responsible for them) and gather some lessons for Tampa Bay.

• Across Tampa Bay, Goodwill has seen an increase in drop-offs throughout its 10-county region — an additional 5 million pounds of clothes, furniture and other items in just one month. Part of the reason: the Marie Kondo effect. Her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” encourages people to go through their possessions and discard everything that doesn’t “spark joy.” In January, Netflix debuted a series starring Kondo. Lane DeGregory spoke with people around Tampa Bay who, by following Kondo’s lead, are trying to take control of the clutter in their lives.

• When the USF system consolidates, its two smaller campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota will take on one of two very different designations. If deemed next week by USF leadership to be “branch” campuses, the institutions will operate independently of USF Tampa, with full autonomy over hiring and finances, and the ability to design curriculum that leads to a degree. However, USF trustees could opt to downgrade the two campuses into “instructional sites” that would be stripped of their long-enjoyed independence, requiring students living nearby those campuses to travel to Tampa to complete their degree. Those close to the consolidation process have different ideas about what is best and on Tuesday, USF leaders will wade through recommendations to make a final decision.

How will Tampa’s next mayor handle climate change? The seven candidates running to succeed Bob Buckhorn as Tampa’s mayor have a variety of answers ranging from forming a task force to becoming the cutting-edge city for combating rising seas and severe storms. But transportation and affordable housing have dominated Tampa’s mayoral race so far. Climate change, surprisingly, has been a second-tier topic. Despite numerous studies that say Tampa is at high risk for flooding and rising sea levels, the problem is mentioned infrequently at forums, when it’s mentioned at all.

• Columnist Ernest Hooper writes that, when Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl earlier this month, law enforcement there made nearly 170 arrests related to human sex trafficking. With Tampa set to host the Super Bowl in 2021, officials here have started to focus on how the game exacerbates trafficking.

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

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

• Check out the Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

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

• • •

Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports.

What a week for Ryan Callahan. He went from being told he was out of the Lightning’s plans to providing the game-winner in the team’s 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers Sunday. Keep up with the quest for the cup by following beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari.

View Photo Gallery: USF Bulls fall to the Houston Cougars.

• History will note that the first touchdown in the history of the spanking new eight-team Alliance of American Football was scored Saturday night by the Orlando Apollos at Spectrum Stadium on a play designed and called by … Steve Spurrier. The Orlando coach had another one for you as he walked from the turf on the UCF campus in a steady rain after Orlando’s 40-6 win over the Atlanta Legends. Columnist Martin Fennelly weighs in on how the former Gators coach didn't miss a beat in Orlando team’s opener.

• Spring training is almost here. Plan your spring training trips by using the Times’ handy 2019 spring training guide for Grapefruit League schedules, maps and daily planners.

• The Rays open spring training this week, feeling they’ve improved from last season’s surprising 90-win success and are positioned to contend for an American League playoff spot. Here are 10 of their most intriguing players heading into camp.

• Bucs coach Bruce Arians believes he has the right strategy to get the most out of quarterback Jameis Winston. Rick Stroud has that story and all the team’s offseason news. Just click away at

• The University of South Florida men’s basketball team notched a big win over East Carolina Sunday. 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.

• Get the latest sports news, reaction and analysis from Times sportswriter Rick Stroud and the rest of the crew on the Bucs, Bulls, Lightning, Gators, ‘Noles and Rays via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.

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

• Rap artists and women have felt shunned by the Grammy Awards in recent years. But this year, they both took center stage. Childish Gambino's disturbing look at race relations, This is America, won record and song of the year on Sunday's telecast. It was the first time a rap-based song won both of those awards, considered — with album of the year — the recording industry's most prestigious.

• 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.