TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, January 3.
(1) Steven Louis sentencing
A 29-year-old Osceola County man who pled guilty to killing his ex-girlfriend in Polk County is scheduled to be sentenced in Bartow on Thursday.
Steven Louis had been charged with second degree murder for fatally stabbing Nicole Fields in November 2011. Authorities say Louis and Fields had a daughter together and were arguing over child support payments when he stabbed her with a folding knife.
Detectives questioned Louis who say he admitted to killing Fields and dumping the 26-year-old's body in a wooded area.
Louis pled guilty in November without having a plea agreement in place with prosecutors. He faces up to life in prison.
(2) 113th Congress sworn in
Members of the 113th United States Congress are set to be sworn into office on Thursday. It is the first Congress to be elected using congressional districts apportioned using the 2010 U.S. Census.
The new Congress will have 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents in the Senate, and 200 Democrats and 233 Republicans with two vacancies in the House of Representatives.
Congress continues to show more diversity. There will be 43 African Americans, 100 woman and 7 LGBT members as part of the 113th Congress.
Florida's delegation contains seven freshmen members for their districts, including Democrat Representative Alan Grayson who now represents Florida's 9th Congressional district which includes parts of Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties. Grayson previously represented Florida's 8th Congressional District.
The 113th Congress will meet from January 3, 2013 to January 3, 2015.
(3) UPS busiest day for returns
UPS says Thursday will be their busiest day of the year for holiday returns. The Atlanta-based shipping company projects they will return more than 520,000 packages back to retailers today.
"We've seen a 15 percent increase in retail returns over last year," said David Sisco, UPS retail marketing director. "UPS research shows that 63 percent of online shoppers review a retailer's returns policy before making a purchase."
UPS encourages retailers to include a return label in the package, or have the labels available on the Internet for consumers to print themselves.
UPS is holding a #HassleFreeReturns Twitter party starting at 3:00 p.m. EST at twitter.com/UPS . Twitter users can learn helpful tips for holiday returns and ask UPS representative questions.
(4) Circus clowns visit Tampa General Hospital
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clowns will take a break from their busy show schedule to bring some joy and entertainment to pediatric patients at Tampa General Hospital on Thursday.
The appearance ties into Thursday night's benefit: the 22nd Annual Tampa General Hospital Foundation "Night at the Circus." Part of Thursday night's Circus ticket proceeds benefits the Children's Medical Center at TGH.
The clowns will appear in TGH's Children's Medical Center beginning at 10:30 a.m.
143rd Edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is playing at the Tampa Bay Times Forum through Sunday. For more information, visit www.ringling.com .
(5) Red Bull Crashed Ice qualifier
The world's fastest ice cross downhill sport will hold a qualifier for the U.S. Championship at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar on Thursday.
Red Bull Crashed Ice features a glacial downhill course with turns, canals, chutes and jumps. Athletes go four-at-a-time through the course. The first to cross the finish line wins.
Qualifiers will have two identical obstacle courses and each skater will have to take on each course. Each downhill passage will remain the same at each qualifier around the world, ensuring only the best athletes move on to their respective country championships.
The best scores will be used to produce the final list of participants for the U.S. finale event at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in Saint Paul, Minnesota on January 24-26, 2013.
Three Americans and one reserve will move on to form Team USA 2013 and head to the three next stops of the World Championship.
Beside people who previously pre-registered online, there will be 24 open walk-up spots available for today's qualifier. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. You must be registered by 5:50 p.m. or you will not be allowed to try out. Qualifying begins at 6:00 p.m.
To learn more about Red Bull Crashed Ice, visit www.redbull.com/CrashedIce .
The Tampa Bay Skating Academy is located at 255 Forest Lakes Boulevard in Oldsmar. For more information, call (813) 854-4010 or visit www.tbsa.com .
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