The Daystarter: A harrowing New Year’s Day rescue; shutdown hits Coast Guard personnel hard; Iowa withstands Mississippi State in Outback Bowl

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published January 2
Updated January 2

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

• The year may be new but the weather is not. Look for morning fog, highs in the low 80s and lows in the mid 60s today and through the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. But those temps will cool by the end of the week, which will see a 50 percent of rain showers on Friday.

• Here are the top things to do 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.

• Officials say at least six passengers fell ill on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Tampa. According to reports, the passengers who traveled on Tampa-bound Frontier Airlines Flight 1397 on Tuesday fell ill after leaving Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Water fountains at the Cleveland airport may have been the cause.

• Police are conducting a death investigation after more than one body was found in a Tarpon Springs home on Tuesday afternoon. The number of people in the home, and the circumstances behind the deaths, are not immediately known. Stay with for updates.

• A dramatic rescue unfolded early New Year’s Day as Hillsborough deputies mounted a frantic search-and-rescue operation for a woman trapped in a car sinking into the muck off Interstate 4. Megan Reeves explains how deputies rescued the woman, and how 20-year-old Amanda Nicole Antonio’s quick-thinking helped save her own life from an upside down car sinking into a muddy ditch.

• Amy Shimberg was a busy woman, right up to the end. The Tampa philanthropist delivered her last meal for Meals of Wheels just two weeks before she died Monday, before New Year’s Eve. Go to to read Charlie Frago recount the life of this mother of five and grandmother of 15 who lived every minute of her 94 years.

• Eliza Kate Donoghue was the first baby of 2019 born at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital on Tuesday. She arrived just 21 minutes after the ball dropped in Times Square. She may also be the first baby of the new year born in the Tampa Bay area.

• Josephine Hall never had a family of her own. Then she moved to St. Petersburg and fell in love with the small university across the street. Megan Reeves tells how a mutual ‘love affair’ led to a $2 million gift for USF St. Petersburg.• Columnist Ernest Hooper writes that you don’t have to agree with the politics of the local leaders he compiled, but you do have to recognize that they’re the ones willing to take a stand and lead.

• With no end in sight for the government shutdown, Coast Guard helicopter mechanic Bradley Jones prepared for an overnight shift on New Year’s Eve worried that his family’s mounting bills won’t get paid. Howard Altman reports on the uncertainty facing more than 1,100 other Coast Guard personnel living and working in the Tampa Bay area, who will be paid through Jan. 1 but face uncertainty after that.

• 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 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.

• Ground game? What ground game? Iowa’s one-dimensional offense found a way to defeat Mississippi State’s top-flight defense in an exciting Outback Bowl. Kelly Parsons reports that it all came down to Mississippi State’s miscues and a fourth-quarter goal-line stand on the way to a 27-22 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

• Meanwhile columnist Martin Fennelly professes his love for the Outback Bowl.

• 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.

• Rookie defenseman Erik Cernak has been getting more involved with the Lightning attack recently, which Diana C. Nearhos reports is just one of the things he’s doing well for Tampa Bay this season.

• 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 Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and fellow Lightning beat writer Nick Kelly at @_NickKelly.

• The Bucs coaching search is on and Rick Stroud has the latest developments: The team is hitting up some of the hottest candidates in the NFL, starting with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is being considered for a head coaching job by the Bucs and three other teams. The Bucs also plan to interview Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. Stroud has more on the coaching search and what Bucs general manager Jason Licht is looking for.

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 at For the latest team news on @Twitter, follow Stroud at @NFLSTROUD and fellow beat writer 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 latest episode of the Times sports podcast Sports Day Tampa Bay led by veteran sportswriter Rick Stroud.

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The 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 Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

• 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? Susan Taylor Martin quizzed four experts to see what the future of bay area real estate looks like.