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Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
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The Daystarter: The Rays' Blake Snell takes the Cy Young; Red Tide is stalling the growth of Pinellas tourism; and catch up on all the latest Florida recount news.

. There will be a chance of showers in the early morning as high as 30 percent, according to the National Weather Service. Then cool, dry arrives and with the clouds blocking the sun expect temperatures in the low 70s. That clears out by Friday, when it's sunny and cool.

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

. It's time to plan your weekend! Our critics and writers have laid out their top picks for date night or family fun in our Weekend Planner page.

. 'Hamilton' tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at Tampa's Straz Center. Here's what you need to know so you're not throwing away your shot (sorry, couldn't resist.)

. The most remarkable Rays' player from a remarkable season has received a remarkable award: pitcher Blake Snell was voted the American League Cy Young award winner after wining 21 games this season. Marc Topkin explains all the history Snell has made and how he earned the honor. "It means a whole lot," Snell said on the MLB Network show. "It was something I wanted to achieve this year."

. To get the latest on the Rays and Snell's shiny new trophy from the Times, click here and follow baseball writer Marc Topkin on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

. There's no lack of Florida recount news. The Florida Department of State asked federal prosecutors to look into faulty forms sent to voters in at least four counties by the Democratic party that may have caused them to miss the deadline for fixing problems with their mail-in ballots, reports Emily L. Mahoney.

. Meanwhile Samantha J. Gross reports that Democrat Bill Nelson has filed another recount-related lawsuit as he tries to hold onto his U.S. Senate seat against Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Now Nelson is suing Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen for copies of vote-by-mail ballots received via e-mail or fax.

. But Nelson's most important legal manuever may be getting a federal judge to challenge Florida's system of reviewing voters' signatures on mail ballots. Steve Bousquet reports that U.S. District Judge Mark Walker heard testimony and arguments for five hours in Nelson's lawsuit that seeks to count thousands of mail and provisional ballots that were disallowed because of the state's signature match law.

. Kirby Wilson reports that Scott's U.S. Senate campaign won its lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections and will now be allowed to witness the machine recounts from inside the room it's being conducted in, and not outside of it through a window.

. Meanwhile Politifact has weighed in on accusations by President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott of voting fraud in two left-leaning counties in the aftermath of the Florida election and recount. The verdict: There is no evidence of fraud, just questionable judgments and mistakes.

. For the latest on the Florida recount and all things politics, keep checking The Buzz all day every day.

. Scott Plantz, the former emergency room doctor who has fought for nearly a decade to clear his name after he was accused of medical malpractice, won a major victory Wednesday in appellate court. Josh Solomon wrote about Plantz's decade-long obsession to clear his name, which cost him his life savins and threatened his relationship with his wife and son.

. James Costello lived with a grim foreboding. "He told everybody that, 'If something happens to me, it's going to be my son,'" said friend Gina McNairy. Now Costello's son faces a first-degree murder charge as he stands accused of killing his father. Kathryn Varn recounts the life and death of James Costello.

. Little has stood in the way of Pinellas County's explosive tourism growth in recent years. Then came Red Tide. The arrival of toxic algae blooms on Pinellas beaches two months ago has finally stalled ever-climbing hotel bookings, reports Sara DiNatale. The latest data available shows a 6 percent dip in overnight room sales in September. That's the biggest dip local hotels have seen in years.

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

. 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.

. Erik Cernak, the Lightning's 21-year-old defenseman was nervous going into his first NHL game. But this wasn't just any first day on just any new job for Cernak. This was the dream. "I think that was my best feeling in my life stepping into my first NHL game," Cernak said after Tuesday's game. Diana Nearhos explains what a prospect's first call up to the NHL look like.

. 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.

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

. 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.

. 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.

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

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