5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, December 13

TAMPA BAY - Here are 5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, December 13.

1) Former Gov. Charlie Crist officially changes parties

Today is the day former Gov. Charlie Crist will officially become a democrat in Florida.

Crist plans to formally file his new voter registration application with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections this morning at their offices in downtown St. Petersburg.

He pledged to switch parties at a White House holiday celebration last Friday.  Speculation is growing that Crist made the decision to become a democrat because he is considering running for governor again in 2014.  In 2010, made a bid for a U.S. Senate seat as an independent, after serving as a Republican governor in Florida.

Crist will submit his form today at 10:30 a.m. at the County Building at 501 First Avenue North.

2) Florida Blood Service blood drive

Florida Blood Services is hosting a blood drive today in Hudson.

The organization says two blood types, O- and B-, are at minimum safe level.  That means they don't have enough blood to take care of patients in a major trauma or emergency.

The blood drive will be held at Regional Medical Center-Bayonet Point from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

FBS says all donors will receive a voucher for a FREE movie ticket, plus a wellness checkup of blood pressure, pulse, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening.

For more information, visit www.fbsblood.org or call 1-800-68-BLOOD.

3) FDOT releases its five-year work program

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting today to discuss road projects

planned for the next five years.  

FDOT has released its tentative work program online, and anyone who wants to weigh in on upcoming projects is invited to attend the meeting.

The hearing will be held today, December 13, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

It is being conducted as a webinar, (GoToMeeting) which is a live presentation delivered over the internet. Registration is required prior to joining the webinar.

To register, visit https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/694923066

Remote viewing locations are also provided at each of the following locations:

Florida Dept. of Transportation, 11201 N. McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Citrus County: Inverness Gov't Building, 212 W. Main Street, Inverness, FL 34450
Hernando County: MPO Offices, 20 N. Main St, Brooksville, Fla. 34601
Hillsborough County: MPO Offices, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 18th Floor, Tampa, FL 33601
Pasco County: West Pasco Gov't Center, 8731 Citizens Dr, New Port Richey, FL 34654
Pinellas County: MPO Offices, 310 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33755

The department will receive verbal and written comments from organizations and the general public at each location. Written comments not received at the public hearing must be postmarked by December 26, 2012 to become part of the official public hearing record.

Written comments may be mailed to:  Debbie Hunt, Director of Transportation Development, Florida Department of Transportation, 11201 N. McKinley Drive, MS 7-100, Tampa, Florida 33612-6456.

4) HCSO to donate bikes to Alex's BBQ

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is donating bicycles to Alex's BBQ Restaurant today.  

It's part of the restaurant's annual "Alex's Christmas for Kids" bike drive.  Just last month, a thief broke into the restaurant and stole the donation jar -- which contained $500 for this year's bicycle giveaway.

The sheriff's office plans to drop off 55 bikes at the restaurant around 9:30 this morning to help make up the difference--and give some kids a brighter holiday season.

Anyone interested in donating to HCSO Charities, Inc. to help with future projects can visit http://www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/Charities.aspx.

5) New Chick-Fil-A opens in Winter Haven

Chick-Fil-A is opening its first stand-alone restaurant in Winter Haven today.

Franchise operator Ed Murphy announced that the first 100 adults in line by 6:00 a.m. would receive a free, one-year supply of Chick-Fil-A meals.

That's 52 free meal certificates approximately $26,000!

Participants are required to be 18 or older, and can line up no earlier than 24 hours prior to the opening.

Since the "First 100" promotion began in 2003, Chick-fil-A has given away more than $16 million in free food. Chick-fil-A will award nearly $2 million in free food this year to the first 100 people in line at all its openings.

To celebrate the opening, all 28 Greater Tampa Bay Area stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurants will help kick off the New Year with a "Terrific Tuesday" free Breakfast Promotion starting January 8.

The deal is not available at Chick-fil-A mall locations, so refer to your local stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant in metro Tampa area for complete details.

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