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The Daystarter: Bucs fire Koetter (and possible replacements); what killed Florida's panthers in 2018?; where to celebrate New Year's Eve

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Published Dec. 31, 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• The humidity and warmth will remain with us, with overnight lows in the 60s and patchy fog, according to the National Weather Service. Later we'll see partly cloudy skies with highs in the low to mid 80s.

• Here's how you can celebrate New Year's Eve in Tampa Bay.

• The best journalism in the bay area is all in one place. Check out all the Tampa Bay Times investigations and special reports.

• Dirk Koetter's offense shattered a lot of Buccaneer team records this season. Unfortunately, the won-loss record didn't show the same improvement. The Bucs fired Koetter Sunday after the Bucs' 34-32 loss to the Falcons. His three seasons as head coach produced only one winning record and no post-season appearances. Check out these possible replacements, how Koetter saw it coming, why we should expect the Glazers to seek a big-time replacement, and how the search is all about saving Jameis Winston.

• Johns Hopkins wrote the rules on patient safety. But its hospitals don't always follow them. Its hospitals have been accused of making preventable errors or setting aside basic safety rules in at least nine recent cases. Read the latest story by Neil Bedi and Kathleen McGrory.

• Basic necessities are back for the most part in Panama City since Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle two months ago. But now the city is grappling with another crisis: housing. About 90 percent of all homes and businesses were either destroyed or damaged. What's left? Campers in their driveways, tent cities, lesser damaged units in condemned apartment complexes and, for one 72-year-old woman, a few days in a red Hyundai Accent already stuffed with everything she owns.

• A year ago, authorities arrested five members of the 69ers motorcycle gang, alleging they murdered the president of the rival Outlaws motorcycle club in a brazen shooting in the middle of rush-hour traffic. Since then, more details have quietly surfaced in a federal racketeering case against the 69ers. Court documents say the fatal shooting was the culmination in a series of violent acts the groups directed toward each other. They included the burning of the Outlaws' St. Pete clubhouse. Read this story later on

• Of the 29 endangered Florida panthers that died this year, cars killed 26 of them, two died of unknown causes and one was killed by another panther. But the numbers aren't necessarily reliable because the state agency in charge of panther science has all but stopped tracking them via radio collars. That means there might have been other panther deaths.

• Those flashing-light crosswalks are popping up all over Tampa Bay. Experts say they're safer, giving pedestrians options in the middle of the block. But some people aren't quite sure how to interact with them. (Yes, a driver has to stop whenever its flashing. No, you don't have to wait for the pedestrian to cross the opposite traffic lanes.) Read how these work and why they're gaining in popularity.

• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

• Check out the Tampa Bay Times photo and video channels for the most compelling visuals.

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Read the Tampa Bay Times new online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports.

• With so much going right for the Lightning this season, the team has been able to outscore its problems. Tampa Bay did it again Saturday in a 6-5 win over the Canadiens, but winning might be a little easier for the No. 1 team in the league if it gave up fewer goals.

• 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.

• Former Bucs kicker Matt Bryant sent Tampa Bay to its fourth straight loss Sunday, hitting a 35-yard field goal to end the game. The Bucs finished the season 5-11, losing 11 of their last 14 games.

• Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Buccaneers' 34-32 loss to the Falcons on Sunday

What should the Bucs look for in their next head coach? Here are the thoughts of the Times' Bucs coverage team.

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

• To get the latest Rays' news from the Times this offseason, click here and follow baseball writer Marc Topkin on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

• 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.

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The Tampa Bay Times online Arts and Entertainment page tells you everything you need to know about what to do, see, eat and experience around town.

• 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.

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• Check out the Tampa Bay Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

• St. Petersburg's huge Webb's City, billed as the World's Most Unusual Drug Store, closed in 1979. Now there are fears that "Doc'' Webb's stately house could be doomed, too.

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• The Tampa Bay Times online Opinion page has the latest editorials, columns and letters to the editor.