Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.
DEPUTIES PULL WOMAN FROM SUBMERGED CAR NEAR TAMPA
A Florida sheriff's dive team pulled a woman to safety early on New Year's Day after another driver cut her off on Interstate 4 and her vehicle wound up upside down in a muddy ravine. Amanda Antonio, 33, called 911 at 3:48 a.m., telling dispatchers the water was rising in the foggy darkness near Tampa, said Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokesman Danny Alvarez. A deputy eventually spotted the rear of her car sticking out of waist-deep muddy water, Alvarez said. He calmed Antonio and kept her in an air pocket until the sheriff's dive team members arrived to help.
HERE ARE FLORIDA'S NEW LAWS, EFFECTIVE TODAY
Minimum-wage workers will get a pay raise, businesses will get a break on insurance bills and a few new laws will take effect today as 2019 begins in Florida. Minimum-wage workers will start earning $8.46 an hour today, up from $8.25 an hour in 2018 — and more than a dollar above the $7.25 federal minimum wage. Florida's minimum wage ticks up each year because of a 2004 constitutional amendment that ties the rate to inflation. Also, businesses across the state will begin to see lower workers' compensation insurance rates. Regulators have approved an overall 13.8 percent decrease in workers' compensation rates for 2019. The decrease follows a 9.5 average rate reduction in 2018.
WHAT FOUR EXPERTS PREDICT FOR TAMPA BAY'S REAL ESTATE MARKET IN 2019
Trade wars, interest rates, extreme weather — all these factors and more could affect residential real estate in the Tampa Bay area this year. Will we see the same trends as in 2018, when prices rose due to a relatively scant supply of available homes? To get some answers, we spoke with four experts — a Tampa Bay home builder; a top executive with an online real estate service; a vice president of Coldwell Banker; and a Tampa appraiser who had some interesting comments on how the popularity of HGTV's Fixer Upper with Joanna and Chip Gaines has affected Tampa Bay's market.
WHY IS JASON LICHT STILL THE BUCS' GENERAL MANAGER?
The return of Bucs general manager Jason Licht gives Times sports columnist Martin Fennelly a sinking feeling about this franchise. Five awful, dysfunctional seasons and Licht not only keeps his job, but he's in charge. That's appalling, Fennelly writes. Obviously, Licht must have convinced the Glazers that a 5-11 team should have been an 11-5 team, that the team he built, the personnel he chose, deserved better coaching. Fennelly isn't saying the Bucs should have kept Koetter. But this should have been a package deal.
LOW CARB? LOW FAT? WHAT THE LATEST DIETING STUDIES TELL US
Bacon and black coffee for breakfast, or oatmeal and bananas? If you're planning to try to lose weight in 2019, you're sure to find a fierce debate online and among friends and family about how best to do it. It seems like everyone has an opinion, and new fads emerge every year. Two major studies last year provided more fuel for a particularly polarizing topic — the role carbs play in making us fat. The studies gave scientists some clues, but, like other nutrition studies, they can't say which diet — if any — is best for everyone.