TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, September 19.
(1) Keosha Jones plea hearing
Keosha Jones is scheduled to change her plea in federal court in downtown Tampa on Wednesday.
Jones is charged with engaging in the commercial sex trafficking of two 14-year old runaways in Pinellas County, a crime that could put her in prison for life.
Authorities say Jones posted nude pictures of the girls to www.backpage.com, a classified ad site, and then made them perform sex acts at the Bayway Motel in St. Petersburg. Jones and her boyfriend allegedly kept all the cash the teens collected.
According to detectives, the girls said they thought Jones would kill them if they didn't make money.
Jones originally pled not guilty to the charges, but her attorney says she will change her plea to guilty today.
The change of plea hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse in downtown Tampa.
(2) Tampa City Council funding hearing
The Tampa City Council is holding a special funding hearing on Thursday.
Council members are expected to discuss a number of monetary issues including the funding being allocated to address homelessness in the city; the accounting of funds dedicated to the expansion of the New Tampa Recreation Center; and restoring $25,000 in funding to the Ybor City Museum Society.
The City Council will also discuss the amount of money the city is contributing to the expansion of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard from Bearss to Palm Springs.
Today's Council meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
For more information, visit www.tampagov.net/dept_city_council/ .
(3) Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the first of two pre-season games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday night.
The Lightning opened up their pre-season slate of games with a 4-3 shootout win in Orlando on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues.
All-stars Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone are scheduled to play tonight as are 2013 1st round draft pick Jonathan Drouin and goaltender Cedric Desjardins.
The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lightning.nhl.com .
(4) "Rock the Tot" Tater Tot Eating Contest
The Bar Louie locations in Clearwater and Tampa are participating in the 6th annual "Rock the Tot" Tater Tot Eating Contest on Thursday.
The contest is broken up into two parts: team relay races and a solo competition.
During the relay race, teams of four will, in succession, try to eat one pound of tater tots as fast as they can. Solo competitors will try to eat as many tater tots possible in three minutes.
Local solo winners will receive a $250 Bar Louie gift card, champion trophy, t-shirt and free tater tots for one year.
The top five winners at each Bar Louie will be awarded airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and compete in the "Rock the Tot" national championship at Bar
Louie on Saturday, October 5 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The grand prize winner in Cleveland will receive a $500 cash prize and free tater tots for life.
People wishing to compete in the contest should arrive no later than 7:30 p.m. For more information visit www.rockthetot.com or facebook.com/barlouie .
(5) International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Arrr! Thursday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
In honor of the day, the Seminole Hard Rock Café in Tampa is hosting a Gasparilla Treasures Mixer from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. There is no cover charge and drink specials will be offered.
Pirates from Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla are scheduled to join in the fun.
Next year the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa will return as the title sponsor for the Gasparilla Pirate Fest. The annual Gasparilla Invasion is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2014.
For more information, visit www.gasparillatreasures.com .
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