TAMPA BAY, Fla. - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, August 24.
(1) Python death sentencing
A Sumter County couple found guilty in the death of a two-year-old girl killed by the family's pet python will learn on Wednesday how many years they will spend in state prison.
Shianna Hare died in July 2009 when the eight-and-a-half foot-long Burmese python named Gypsy got out of its unsecured tank and suffocated the toddler as it was looking for a meal.
During the trial prosecutors say Jaren Hare, mother of Shianna, and her boyfriend Jason Darnell, had not fed the snake in a month.
Gypsy was living in an aquarium that was secured on top with just a quilt. During the trial it came out the snake had escaped from its enclosure more than once before it killed Shianna.
In July it took jurors under two hours to find Hare and Darnell guilty of manslaughter, third degree murder and child neglect. The couple is facing up to 35 years in prison.
The sentencing hearing begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Sumter County courthouse in Bushnell.
(2) Tampa Bay pollution protest
Tampa Bay Sierra Club members will gather in Tampa's Lykes Gaslight Park on Wednesday to draw attention to the health risks of dangerous air pollution.
The demonstration will in front of an 18-foot tall inflatable prop shaped like a human hand holding an asthma inhaler.
According to public health numbers, more than 210,000 children in Florida suffer from asthma. The burning of fossil fuels for electricity and use of gasoline in cars generates pollutants like smog and soot which can exacerbate asthma and other health problems.
Hillsborough County has the state's worst air pollution with an average of 21 unhealthy days a year. Local Sierra Club members are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to enact laws to reduce the amount of asthma-causing particles in the air.
Today's demonstration begins at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call (727) 824-8813 or visit www.sierraclub.org/asthma .
(3) Adam Putnam serving lunch
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam will serve lunch to students at Valrico Elementary School on Wednesday.
Commissioner Putnam will talk with school staff and students about how they are incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their school lunch program. He will also serve the vegetable of the day to students and join a few classes for lunch.
Earlier this year the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) took over food services at public schools from the Department of Education with the goal to make lunches healthier and fresher for children.
For more about Commissioner Putnam and the DACS, visit www.freshfromflorida.com .
(4) Rehabilitated manatee released
An adult female manatee that has spent more than three months under going rehabilitation at the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo will be released into the wild on Wednesday.
"Frieda Ghates" was rescued May 12 in Englewood by officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory.
The manatee was brought to Lowry Park Zoo for assessment and care. Her tail was partially amputated after being struck by a boat propeller.
The Zoo's manatee rehab team is scheduled to release the manatee around 12:00 p.m. into at the Palcida Road Ainger Creek in Englewood.
The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital is the only non-profit hospital in the world specifically dedicated to treating manatees. For more information, visit www.LowryParkZoo.com.
To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at (888) 404-3922.
(5) National Waffle Day
Wednesday is National Waffle Day. August 24 is the anniversary of Cornelius Swarthout receiving the first U.S. patent for a waffle iron in 1869.
The Troy, New York, resident's early waffle iron was used with coal stoves and consisted of a griddle with a cover that had to be flipped to cook both sides of the waffle.
According to food historians, the first waffles were cooked in Ancient Greece. The Greeks would cook a flat cakes they called an "obelios" between two metal pans over a fire.
One of the most popular types of waffles in the United States is the Belgian waffle. It became popular after being showcased by Maurice Vermersch at the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing, New York.
A native of Brussels, Belgium, Vermersch had originally called them Brussels waffles but changed the name after seeing most Americans did not know where the city was located. He sold the waffle for one dollar and served it with strawberries and whipped cream.
Here is a recipe for Belgian coconut waffles we found on food website Mr. Breakfast.com :
- 1 and 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 to 1 cup reduced fat milk
- 6 egg whites
- 1/2 cup fat-free-egg-substitute
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat your waffle iron. In a large bowl,