TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, June 26.
(1) Ulele Restaurant groundbreaking
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will join Richard and Casey Gonzmart, the owners of the Columbia Restaurant Group, to break ground on renovations at the Tampa Heights Waterworks building on Wednesday.
The Gonzmarts are redeveloping the historic property for a new restaurant and brewery called Ulele. The restaurant will serve unique foods from a variety of Native American and multicultural cuisines.
Eric Lackey will be the executive chef for Ulele. Lackey has spent 17 years in the Tampa Bay area, serving as the executive chef at The Grill at Feather Sound and the corporate chef for Flamestone American Grill and Besa Grill.
Ulele will offer indoor and outdoor dining along Tampa's Riverwalk with beautiful views of the Ulele Spring, the Hillsborough River and Water Works Park.
The restaurant will be located at 7th Avenue and Doyle Carlton Drive, approximately 400 yards north of Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. It is expected to be completed in February 2014.
The groundbreaking ceremony is set for 10:00 a.m. today.
(2) Lonnie Kocontes hearing
A Safety Harbor man is scheduled to appear in a California court on Wednesday to argue authorities there lack jurisdiction to prosecute him for murder.
Lonnie Kocontes was charged for strangling his ex-wife to death on a cruise ship and then tossing her overboard.
The 55-year-old Kocontes and 52-year-old Micki Kanesaki divorced in 2001 but had lived together on and off in Mission Viejo, California. They were sharing a cabin on a 2006 Mediterranean cruise when she went overboard. Her body later washed ashore.
An investigation into Micki's death began in 2008 after Kocontes started to transfer more than $1 million from her bank accounts into joint accounts he held with his new wife.
Police arrested Kocontes in February, but those charges were dismissed. Prosecutors then re-filed the charges that Lonnie is seeking to have thrown out.
(3) Hyundai Hope on Wheels
Tampa-area Hyundai dealers will present St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Erin Cockrell with a check for $75,000 on Wednesday.
The donation will support the development of a Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Patient Navigator Program.
Following the check presentation, pediatric cancer patients who have received treatment at St. Josephs Children’s Hospital will dip their hands in paint to place their handprints on a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Their hands on the SUV commemorate their brave battles with cancer.
The check presentation ceremony begins at 10:15 a.m. in front of St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa.
(4) First Lady Ann Scott in Tampa
First Lady Ann Scott will be in Tampa on Wednesday to host a 2013 Summer Literacy Adventure event.
Mrs. Scott will discuss the importance of continual summer learning for children. She will also read to a group of students attending the local YMCA.
The Literacy Adventure event will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Ybor City Museum State Park in Tampa.
To find out how your child can get involved in the 2013 Summer Literacy Adventure, visit www.justreadflorida.com .
(5) Blue Jays vs. Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays will look to sweep a three-game series from the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays are hoping the return of shortstop Jose Reyes will provide a spark. Reyes has been out since mid-April with a sprained left ankle. He is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list today.
Roberto Hernandez will start for the Rays. He is looking to avoid losing three straight starts for the second time this year. Hernandez allowed five runs in seven innings in a 6-2 loss to the Yankees in New York on Friday.
Knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey is Toronto's scheduled starter. He is 6-8 with a 5.15 ERA this year.
First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. To entice parents to bring their children to the matinee game, all kids 14 years and under will receive free cheer sticks while supplies last.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit raysbaseball.com .
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