TAMPA BAY - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, April 11.
(1) Hakken parents in court
The parents accused of kidnapping their children and then sailing to Cuba will make a first court appearance in Tampa on Thursday.
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are facing kidnapping, child neglect, false imprisonment and burglary charges. They lost custody of their children after police found the family in a Louisiana hotel room with drugs and weapons.
After the boys' maternal grandparents were granted custody last week, police say Joshua Hakken broke into the home, tied up his mother-in-law, taking the children to his boat docked in Madeira Beach and set sail for Cuba with Sharyn.
A tip led authorities to locate the couple in Cuba on Tuesday. Following negotiations with Cuban authorities, the Hakkens were returned to Tampa early Wednesday morning.
The couple is scheduled to make a first court appear sometime after 8:00 a.m.
The grandparents of Cole and Chase are scheduled to speak about being reunited with their grandchildren at 11:00 a.m.
(2) Pasco Sheriff Facebook Fugitive of the Day
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Sgt. Daniel Olds will discuss the agency's new tactic for capturing fugitives on Thursday.
Last week, the Sheriff's Office launched the "Fugitive of the Day" on the department's Facebook page.
Within minutes of their first post, deputies received tips where 26-year-old Nicole Graham could be found. Deputies found Graham and took arrested.
Multiple tips were also received after the mugshot of 23-year-old Robert Kyle Ryan was posted on their Facebook page. He was also quickly arrested.
Sheriff Nocco and Sgt. Olds will speak at 10:30 a.m. on how the Sheriff's Office is using social media to keep the residents of Pasco County safe.
To view the "Fugitive of the Day", visit www.facebook.com/pascosheriff .
(3) Ray LaHood visits Tampa
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will be in Tampa on Thursday for the Southeast Regional Bicycle Safety Summit.
The summit brings together Federal, state and local officials; planners, designers and engineers; law enforcement and safety experts; and others to identify innovative ideas for improving bicycle safety in communities.
Secretary LaHood and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will kick off the summit at the Tampa Convention Center with a National Bike Safety Rally. They will arrive at the rally on bicycles after a short tour of the city
For more information, visit: www.dot.gov/bikesafetysummits .
(4) Veterans Expressway widening project information
ABC Action News is expecting to learn more information about the upcoming Veterans Expressway widening project on Thursday.
The project involves the widening of the roadway from four lanes to eight lanes from Memorial Boulevard to South of Gunn Highway.
That portion of the Expressway will also be changed to an all electronic tolling system. Because of the change, the Anderson Toll Plaza will be replaced and the Anderson Road ramps will be realigned to alleviate congestion.
Construction is set to being on April 21. Most of the lane closures for the duration of the project will occur at night.
For more information, visit www.veteransexpresswaywidening.com .
(5) USF Spring Football Game kickoff dinner
The University of South Florida Green Machine is holding a kickoff dinner for the USF Spring Football Game on Thursday.
Green team coach Chuck Bresnahan and the chosen Bulls on his roster will gather for the dinner at Lee Roy Selmon’s at 14457 North Dale Mabry Highway today from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
During the dinner, USF will unveil the new football uniforms.
USF fans are welcome to attend the event that features happy hour specials and a 10% discount for anyone wearing green.
Coach Bresnahan will choose the best green outfits and the winners will be honorary captains/ and/or water boys/girls for this Saturday's Spring Game.
The USF Spring Game starts at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.
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