TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, October 2.
(1) Michael Lander trial
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Wednesday for a former Schrader Elementary School teacher accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
Michael Lander is charged with four counts including Lewd & Lascivious Sexual Battery.
Prosecutors say the victim lived with Lander and his wife in 2008, after telling his wife the fifth grader's mother was addicted to drugs.
Officials say Lander home schooled the girl and then is when the inappropriate relationship began.
Jury selection begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. Lander faces up to life in prison if convicted.
(2) Fire Station #19 groundbreaking
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will help breaking ground on the city's new Fire Station #19 on Wednesday.
The new station is located at 7910 Interbay Boulevard, just north of MacDill Air Force Base.
"The new station will ensure that the first responders serving the Port Tampa area have the tools they need to deliver the quality of services the residents deserve," said Mayor Buckhorn.
The station will replace the aging Station #19 that was built in 1961.
The $2.5 million station will include high efficiency lighting and controls, solar powered exterior lighting, an energy efficient HVAC system, solar powered hot water heating, and Florida-friendly landscaping. It is scheduled to be completed by June 2014.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 10:00 a.m.
(3) Prescribed burn at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is planning to conduct a prescribed burn at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park in Port Richey on Wednesday.
Weather permitting, crews will burn approximately 60 acres of flatwoods and marshland at the park.
Prescribed burning mimics natural fire cycles. The flames help restore healthy forests and natural communities by reducing undergrowth that accumulates over time. Prescribed burns also decreases the potential for a destructive wildfire.
For more information on Florida's state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org .
(4) Blessing of the Animals
The Franciscan Center is inviting everyone to bring their pets to the center on Wednesday to get blessed.
The Blessing of the Animals occurs in observance of the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. The center hopes the event will foster greater reverence for the Earth's animals and resources so they exist for future generations.
Father Sean O'Brien, Associate Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, will conduct the blessing ritual at 6:00 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend the blessing and no reservations are required.
The Franciscan Center is located at 3010 Perry Avenue in Tampa. For more information, call (813) 229-2695 or visit www.franciscancentertampa.org .
(5) Food Truck Fiesta
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's Food Truck Fiesta returns for to downtown Tampa on Wednesday.
Four new food trucks join the Fiesta this month: The King Bistro, La Boutique Fashion Truck, Holy Crepe, and I Wanna Wok.
Pita on the Run, Roaming Gourmand, Kind Grind, Hot Box'd Steamed Burger and Lucia Gelato, join the Fiesta this month.
Returning trucks include Tropiccool, Michelle Faedo, Maggie on the Move, and Fat Tortilla.
The Food Truck Fiesta takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lykes Gaslight Square Park on Franklin Street between Madison Street and Kennedy Boulevard.
For additional information, visit www.tampagov.net/foodtruck .
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