5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, April 21, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, April 21, 2014.

(1) Hillsborough Avenue student shuttles begin

The Hillsborough County School District begins on Monday to make it safer for dozens of students who walk to school.

The district is paying for a shuttle bus to transport students from the Meridian Pointe Apartments across Hillsborough Avenue to Middleton High School.

The shuttle will operate four times a day at 6:45 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. It is costing the School District $8,000 to operate the shuttle for the remainder of the school year.

Cars struck and killed two Middleton students crossing Hillsborough Avenue in the past three years.

The City of Tampa and Florida Department of Transportation are working together to make that section of Hillsborough Avenue safer for pedestrians.

Plans are in place to add a crosswalk and a traffic signal near Meridian Pointe. The City will retime traffic signals on Hillsborough Avenue to give pedestrian additional amounts of time to cross the road.

(2) La Joyce Houston court hearing

A hearing is scheduled on Monday in the welfare fraud case involving former Tampa Police Officer La Joyce Houston.

Houston was fired last October after her arrest for allegedly working with a Hillsborough County inmate to fraudulently use food stamp benefit cards. She was charged with two counts of welfare fraud and one count of grand theft.

The purpose of the hearing is whether to all parties agree to send Houston to an intervention program or instead set a trial date.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

(3) Fire Station #11 ribbon cutting

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the city's new Fire Station #11 on Monday.

"Tampa Fire Rescue Station #11 is by far the busiest house in the city," said Mayor Buckhorn. "The crews there need to have a station that can accommodate today's vehicles and apparatus."

The new station at 1500 West Waters Street will serve the Sulphur Springs, North Tampa, Lowry Park, and Forest Hills neighborhoods. It replaces the former Fire Station #11 which had been built in 1956.

The Fire Station #11 is a 8,660-square-foot facility. It features a three bay garage, sleeping quarters, energy efficient HVAC system, solar powered hot water heating and Florida Friendly landscaping.

The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. A public open house of the fire station will occur starting at 8:30 a.m.

(4) New Sarasota science center

Dr. Fritz Faulhaber, chairman of the Faulhaber Family Foundationm, is holding a news conference on Monday afternoon to announce a new science center for Sarasota.

The Suncoast Science Center will be the city's first since the closure of the G-Wiz Science Museum in 2012.

The Faulhaber Fab Lab was part of the old G-Wiz facility.

The new science center announcement is scheduled to occur at 4:30 p.m. at the SRQ Magazine building.

(5) Zobrists autobiography book signing

Tampa Bay Rays utility player Ben Zobrist and his pop singer wife Julianna will hold a book signing event on Monday for the new autobiography.

Double Play gives fans of the Zobrists a look into the devotion the couple have for each. During the baseball off-season, they speak to groups about marriage, relationships, baseball and their faith.

The book signing event will start at 5:00 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble at 2501 Tyrone Boulevard North in St. Petersburg.

For more information on the Zobrists, visit their website at www.thezobrists.com .

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