Apr 9, 2021

Axios Tampa Bay

Happy Friday, neighbors. We hope you're thriving.

🌤 Partly cloudy and a high of 83 today.

  • Sunny and beautiful on Saturday, thunderstorms and cooler on Sunday morning. ⛈

Situational awareness: You weren't imagining it: the workday got 80 minutes longer in 2020.

Today's newsletter: 866 words, 3.5 minutes.

1 big thing: Checking facts in DeSantis' dust-up with "60 Minutes"

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fact-checking website Politifact has tried to tease out the truth after a controversial "60 Minutes" report drew a connection between Florida's vaccine partnership with Publix and a big contribution Publix made to Gov. Ron DeSantis' PAC.

  • DeSantis called the show "smear merchants" for reporting that poorer communities had been left behind, with no Publix Super Markets in Belle Glade, in the Glades area of Palm Beach County.
  • He said his response to CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi's questions were deceptively edited.

Details: Politifact compared a full transcript of DeSantis' 3-minute response to Alfonsi — who confronted the governor at a news conference — with a 1-minute version that aired during the segment.

The ruling: "While '60 Minutes' focused on his emphatic denial, it left out the background that he offered about how the state had been working with other retail pharmacies to distribute coronavirus vaccines at long-term care facilities in December and his own interactions with Publix customers," reported Politifact's Daniel Funke.

Of note: CBS says this part of his response did not directly answer the question.

What they're saying: "In the story, there was a direct line between the campaign contribution and the rewarding [of the Publix vaccine contract]. And they never proved that," said Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute.

  • "I think they owe it to everybody — they owe it to the governor, they owe it to Publix, they owe it to the public — to explain to us how they came to that conclusion."
2. Dozier School disciplinarian accused of abuse dead at 97

A screen shot from a video deposition Troy E. Tidwell gave in 2009 after former Dozier School wards brought a lawsuit against him for abuse. Credit: Masterson Law Group

Troy E. Tidwell, a former cottage father at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna who was accused of sadistic abuse, died on Monday at 97.

  • Known as the "one-armed man" by scores of tormented former wards, Tidwell was the subject of a class-action lawsuit and denied abusing boys in a deposition before the suit was dismissed on a technicality.

The big picture: The state formally apologized to the victims, but a bill for restitution continues to stall in the legislature.

3. Tampa Bay’s vegan scene is booming

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Did that vegan pizza we featured yesterday make you hungry for more?

The Tampa Bay Times has the story of the area's vegan evolution, featuring its biggest plant-based players: Nah Dogs, Golden Dinosaurs and 3 Dot Dash.

4. Hot homes: 5 in Tampa Bay starting at $315K

2412 W. Prospect Road. Photo courtesy of Autumn Etheredge

Still looking for the one? Maybe one of these five stunners will do the trick.

5. The Pulp: What do you give a sick fruit? Lemon-aid.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🛳 Florida will sue the federal government over the continued shutdown of the cruise industry, Gov. DeSantis said Thursday. (Bay News 9)

Cameron Herrin, guilty on two counts of vehicular homicide in the killing of a pedestrian and her baby on Bayshore Boulevard, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. (Tampa Bay Times)

🚨 Police say a $30,000 gold necklace might be at the center of the murder of a St. Pete mother who died holding her baby. (Tampa Bay Times)

🌀 Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season with 17 named storms and 8 hurricanes. (WTSP)

⚾️ The Toronto Blue Jays opened last night at Dunedin's newly renovated TD Ballpark after travel restrictions brought the club's regular-season games to Tampa Bay. (FOX13)

6. Piney Point worry turns from flooding to fisheries

A mangrove cluster at Bishop Harbor in the Terra Ceia Preserve, not far from where officials are dumping polluted water from the old Piney Point phosphate plant. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

"We cannot take any more loss. We need [sea grass] for the fish larvae. We need it for the small fish, for habitat. The manatees need it for food. It’s a big, big problem for our manatee population. That’s another big concern of ours."
— Charter fishing captain Justin Moore, who has made a living on the water for more than 20 years, to the Bradenton Herald, in a story about the negative effects of algae blooms on sea grass and other marine life in Tampa Bay.

The latest

7. Screen Time with Edwin Narain

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Florida House of Representatives

Despite all his accomplishments, Edwin Narain still proudly boasts that he was student body president at USF.

Since then, he's been elected as a state representative and worked for AT&T for almost two decades — now as assistant vice president of external and legislative affairs.

  • Narain is also the past chair of the Charter Review Board and chair of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, serves on the executive board of the Tampa Bay Chamber and is a trustee at Saint Leo University.
  • He was recently honored with the Tampa Bay Chamber’s H.L. Culbreath Jr. Award for service to the community. 

How does a guy like Narain interact with tech? We asked him about his habits.

📱 Device of choice: iPhone 12 Pro.

👇 First tap of the day: Email. 

📰 Go-to news source: New York Times and Apple News.

🎧 Podcast of choice: Elevation with Steven Furtick, Something to Wrestle With and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

📚 Reading list: "Kingdom Man" by Tony Evans, "Caste" by Isabel Wilkerson, anything written by Malcolm Gladwell.

📝 Most-used app: "The notes app on my iPhone is how I keep my life together. It’s the only way I can remember to do anything not work-related."

8. Poem du jour

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

For National Poetry Month we're bringing you samples from some of our favorite poets around Tampa Bay.

🖊 Today's is the first half of Dennis Lemmermann's "Masculinity:"

We strut into the same quicksand
over and over,
to watch ourselves drown,
then revel in the applause
of what a real man looks like
we are never told
that it is ok to stop struggling,
to stop fighting so
hard to prove
that we can die the best

Go deeper: Check out Lemmermann's spoken-word poetry on YouTube.

9. 1 weird old thing: The end-timers just never quit
An advertisement in the Tampa Sunday Tribune on April 9, 1921.

Oh, the dreaded "ouija-board craze" — a sure sign that the world has ended.

This ad for a free sermon in Tampa ran in the Sunday Tribune 100 years ago today, at the end of a war and pandemic.

  • Nothing is certain except death and taxes ... and hucksterism.

🎧 Ben is listening to James McBride's Deacon King Kong. 🌱

🎧 Selene is listening to The Bechdel Cast and eating funghi pizza at Bavaro’s (not vegan, sorry). 🍄

Have a memorable weekend and we'll see you Monday.