5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, February 21

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, February 21.

(1) Job & Community Resource Fair

Congresswoman Kathy Castor is hosting her second annual Job & Community Resource Fair in downtown St. Petersburg on Thursday.

"This event is a one-stop forum for those who are seeking job opportunities and job development resources," said Rep. Castor. "Tampa Bay's economy is improving and employment is up, but many of our neighbors are in search of opportunities."

The job fair is taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 at The Coliseum at 535 Fourth Avenue North in St. Petersburg. It is free and open to the public.

Over 50 companies with active openings are participating including: Amscot Financial, Bank of America, Bright House Networks, Brightstar Healthcare, Datex, Health Plan One, The Home Depot, Marshalls, Moffitt Cancer Center, Northwestern Mutual Financial, Primerica, Quest Diagnostics, United Health Group, Valpak, Vitera Healthcare Solutions and Walmart.

For more information about the Job Fair, visit castor.house.gov or call U.S. Rep. Castor's District Office at (813) 871-2817.

(2) PSTA SmartBus Rollout

Following the job fair on Thursday, Representative Castor will join PSTA Board Chairman Jeff Danner for a kick off celebration for the transit agency's new SmartBuses.

The buses use a special battery pack to power the motor from a dead stop. As the bus picks up speed a computer adds power from a diesel engine until the diesel engine takes over completely at higher speeds.

The PSTA SmartBuses are quieter and more fuel efficient than conventional diesel vehicles. To learn more about the technology in the new buses, visit www.psta.net/smartbus.php .

The kick off event will take place at 2:00 p.m. outside of The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

(3) Hard Rock Rising

Local bands will kick off the local Hard Rock Rising battle of the bands competition on Thursday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Tampa.

Nine Bay Area bands will compete in one of three qualifying rounds over the next three Thursdays. One band will advance to the Tampa final round on March 14.

The local winner will receive gifts and prizes and will represent the Hard Rock Tampa in the worldwide competition.

Ninety-seven local competitions are occurring at Hard Rock Cafes in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The best 25 finalists from all the local competitions will be named global finalists in April. People will be able to vote on which band they like the most on the Hard Rock Cafe Facebook page, www.facebook.com/hardrock , from April 22 to May 1.

A grand prize winner and two runners-up will be selected from the 25 finalists.

The grand prize includes an album contract and a six-city concert tour with stops in Sydney Australia; Tokyo; Hong Kong; London, England; Chicago; and Honolulu.

Tonight's competition at the Tampa Hard Rock Cade features three local bands: Sunshine and Bullets, Nation of Wealth and Scliter. They will perform from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/HardRockCafeTampa .

(4) Bruins vs. Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Boston Bruins for the first time this season on Thursday night, after a snowstorm postponed their first game two weeks ago.

The Bruins enter tonight's game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum having lost their last four games in Tampa. In each of those games the Lightning scored at least five goals.

Tampa head coach Guy Boucher is hoping his squad can extend their two-game winning streak. Before beating Florida and Toronto, the Lightning were winless in their previous six games.

Tampa Bay leads the NHL with 59 goals in 15 games this season.

The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (813) 301.2500 or visit lightning.nhl.com .

(5) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel

The starting grid for this weekend's Daytona 500 will be determined at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday afternoon.

Only the two front row starters were determined by qualifying timed laps last weekend.

The Budweiser Duel consists of two 150-miles races. The remaining starting grid for the 500 will be set by how drivers finish in these two 60-mile races.

The top 14 drivers in each race, excluding the two previously qualified drivers, will qualify for the Daytona 400.

The grandstand gates to the public open at 9:00 a.m. today with the Budweiser Duel races starting at 2:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.nascar.com .

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