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Morning Watch: Getting ready for the cross dive at Epiphany in Tarpon Spirngs

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

LIVE NOW: EPIPHANY 2017 IN TARPON SPRINGS

Today Tarpon Springs celebrates the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere, celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The church service starts at 8 a.m., then at 12:30 p.m. the faithful will head to the waterfront where teenage boys dive into the chilly water in an attempt to be the first to find the Holy Cross that will be tossed into Spring Bayou by the archbishop. Follow our live blog for updates throughout the day.

U.S. ADDS 156,000 JOBS; UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TICKS UP TO 4.7 PERCENT

U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December,/a>, capping a year of slower but solid hiring. The report is the last major snapshot of the economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit from President Barack Obama.

TRUMP TWEETS THAT MEXICO WILL PAY FOR WALL WHILE CONGRESS DISCUSSES OPTIONS

Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump's transition team are exploring whether they can make good on Trump's promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without passing a new bill. Under the evolving plan, the Trump administration would rely on existing legislation authorizing fencing and other technology along the southern border. Trump said in a tweet early Friday that Mexico will reimburse American taxpayers.

MARCH COLUMN: IF CASTOR RUNS FOR TAMPA MAYOR, BIKE TICKETS MAY BE ISSUE

[Times photo]

Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor may face a challenge winning black votes if she decides to run for mayor of Tampa, some leaders in the black community say.

Tampa political insiders are saying former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor is acting a lot like a candidate for mayor, hitting community events and meetings, William March writes. But several black political leaders say if Castor runs, she may face an obstacle — resentment in the black community over ticketing of blacks on bicycles. .

TAMPA INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS SEE DANGER IN RIFT BETWEEN TRUMP, SPY AGENCIES

People in the Tampa area who used to spy for a living say they are troubled by tensions between the intelligence community and President-elect Donald Trump over allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. While they don't agree on who is to blame for the division, those contacted by the Tampa Bay Times say they fear it will erode mutual confidence and cooperation and present a potential danger to national security.

CRASH CLOSES NORTHBOUND LANES OF INTERSTATE 75 AT BIG BEND ROAD IN APOLLO BEACH

Authorities have closed a stretch of northbound Interstate 75 near the Big Bend Road exit because of traffic crash. The crash happened about 7:15 a.m. Friday. Emergency crews were working to extricate a patient from a vehicle, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. Motorists should use an alternate route.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: CLEMSON'S MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER DEFENSE

[Jennifer Stewart | Getty Images]

Clelin Ferrell (99) of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with teammate Carlos Watkins during the first half of the 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.

It's atop Page 1 of Power Ranger protocol: The superhero identity remains a secret. Even when you're super-sized. Tall order. Wide one, too. Clemson's defensive linemen found anonymity hard to maintain last Halloween night when, at the behest of 310-pound sophomore Christian Wilkins, they squeezed their flanks and forearms into Power Rangers costumes and showed up at the doorstep of several Tigers coaches. Read more about the Tigers' talented unit.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND

Let us help guide your TV viewing with these highlights, including a documentary on the lives of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds on HBO, and Emerald City on NBC.

Nicolaos Solis from Greece holds up the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in in Istanbul, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. [Associated Press]

Nicolaos Solis from Greece holds up the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in in Istanbul, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. [Associated Press]

Morning Watch: Getting ready for the cross dive at Epiphany in Tarpon Spirngs 01/06/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 6, 2017 8:56am]
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  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.