Axios Tampa Bay

Picture of the Tampa Bay skyline with TPA written across it.

Hey there, Friday!

  • 😎 It's a Gronk day out there, aka a high of 87.

Situational awareness: Tomorrow marks five years since the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead. Here's a list of memorial events and a moving story by Ari Shapiro.

Today's newsletter is 893 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Critical race theory barred from state schools

Illustration of a student's notebook. On one side pages are torn out and on the other they are extended.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to America's foundations and legal system, now cannot be taught in Florida schools, a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis on the culture wars front.

What happened: The state Board of Education voted to ban critical race theory yesterday after a video address from DeSantis encouraging them to do so.

The new rule, NBC News reports, says in part:

  • "Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence."
  • It also banned any apparent effort by teachers "to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view."

The big picture: Critical race theory is not taught in any public school system, including Florida's, yet has become a target of GOP leaders.

  • More than a dozen states are considering banning it or have already made laws to limit the teaching of American history.
  • Axios' Russ Contreras called the battle "a new fault line in the culture wars, with implications for how the next generation of Americans understands U.S. history."

What they're saying: DeSantis put out an attention-grabbing press release, per Florida Politics, channeling the language of conservative pundits:

  • "The woke class wants to teach kids to hate each other, rather than teaching them how to read, but we will not let them bring nonsense ideology into Florida’s schools. I find it unthinkable that there are other people in positions of leadership in the federal government who believe that we should teach kids to hate our country."

The other side: The Florida Education Association opposed the rule change, arguing that "students deserve the best education we can provide, and that means giving them a true picture of their world and our shared history as Americans."

Go deeper with the Axios Today podcast: What is critical race theory?

2. We're the best at bikes (kind of)

Data: League of American Bicyclists. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: League of American Bicyclists. Chart: Axios Visuals

We may be one of the most dangerous places to bike in the U.S., but Tampa officially has the most bicycle-friendly businesses, as designated by the League of American Bicyclists.

  • And St. Pete isn't far behind, coming in at #4!

The criteria: Amelia Neptune, a program director at the League of American Bicyclists, described bicycle-friendly businesses as those "that [offer] encouragement, education, and resources to help commuters, both in their staff and in their surrounding communities, bike safely and confidently from day one."

3. Hot homes: 4 in St. Pete, from $290K

a house in st pete
Greenery abounds at 921 15th Ave. N. Photo courtesy of Steven Burk

Axios' Brianna Crane rounded up four absolutely gorgeous homes for sale in St. Pete, ranging from $290,000 all the way up to just under $3 million.

  • The one pictured above with a double-decker porch and tons of greenery really caught our eye.
  • Priced at $795,000, it has 3 beds and 2.5 baths over 2,175 square feet.

Why Bri loves it: The interior of this home is beautiful, but the outdoor spaces are what really shine. The backyard features a Japanese tea house, lagoon-style pool, detached studio and wood deck.

4. The Pulp: What's love got to juice, got to juice with it?

Illustration of an orange, instead of a sun, shining over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🐊 A 7-foot alligator was removed from the lobby of a Spring Hill post office. But where else was he going to get stamps? (Tampa Bay Times)

Three people are dead, including a child, after a shooting in a Palm Beach Publix. (Associated Press)

✈️ Direct flights from Tampa to Portland, Ore., will start in December. (Creative Loafing)

Rapper Shock G died of an accidental overdose, medical examiners determined. (Yahoo News)

😷 DeSantis wants schools to be mask-free in the fall. (Florida Politics)

🏒 The Lightning will face the New York Islanders in the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Fox 13)

Quote du jour
“Her eyes were empty. It’s like she has no soul, no remorse.”
— A friend of Karen Pais, speaking about Pais’ sister, Deborah Patton. Patton is accused of killing her sister and burying her in their Carrollwood backyard.

5. Things to do this weekend

a dog wearing a rainbow bowtie
Photo: Gergely Besenyei/AFP via Getty Images

Ink the Bay Tattoo Convention is taking over the Tampa Convention Center today through Sunday. $10-20.

Record Store Day hits Daddy Kool Records in Tampa on Saturday. More details here.

It doesn't matter what team you bat for. Saturday is Pride Night at BayCare Ballpark as the Clearwater Threshers take on the Tampa Tarpons. The night includes a car show and postgame fireworks. Gates open at 5pm for the 6:30pm game. $6-11.

Pets can have Pride, too! Join the pet Pride parade at Bayfront Park in Sarasota on Sunday at 10am. Free. Register here.

There's also a Pride Pup Crawl in St. Pete on Saturday 6-9pm. $25.

Get out in nature with a free photography hike at Weedon Island Preserve. Register here.

6. Degrees of Tampa Bay: Ewan McGregor

Photo illustration of Ewan McGregor inside of a location pin hovering over Tampa Bay.
Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Today's Six Degrees subject is the star of Netflix's "Halston" and is currently filming the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" miniseries for Disney+.

We've tried not to force this one:

  1. Ewan McGregor is also starring in the remake of "Pinocchio" with ...
  2. Finn Wolfhard, the "Stranger Things" star who shares a hometown of Vancouver, Canada, with ...
  3. Tommy Chong, who voices a character in the 2006 video game "Scarface: The World is Yours" along with ...
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who appears in a music video for ...
  5. Jay-Z, who assisted in the legal case of a 6th grader from ...
  6. Lakeland.

Wow, what a journey that was. No better time to break for the weekend, right?

😳 Selene is listening to the "Mortified" podcast and reading about Brazil's island full of abandoned cats. 🐈

❣️ Ben will be back with us on Monday! 🏠

See you then!