5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

(1) FWC black bear meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold the first of four public meetings on Tuesday to discuss black bears.

Wildlife officials want to talk to people how they can get involved in the conservation and management of black bears in central Florida.

The four meetings will allow citizens to provide input on local bear issues and allow those interested to sign up for the Central Bear Stakeholder Group.

Tonight's meeting is scheduled for DeLand City Hall. Future meetings will be held Wednesday in Fort McCoy, Thursday in Palatka and March 25 in Gainesville. All four meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

In 2012, authorities approved a plan to establish seven FWC bear management units throughout Florida.

For more information, call the FWC at (850) 488-4676 or visit myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/bear/ .

(2) Bartow Northern Connector Phase II meeting

The Polk County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) will host a special meeting on Tuesday to address the status of the Phase II of the Bartow Northern Connector highway project.

When completed, the Bartow Northern Connector will connect State Road 60, US 98 and the Polk Parkway.

Phase I of the project from US 98 to US 17 opened to traffic in 2012.

Phase II will run 2.4 miles and will go from US 17 to an intersection with State Road 60.

The purpose of today's meeting is to address the priority status to fund completion of the Connector project. Officials say they want to finish the project while not affected the funding of other road projects within Polk County.  

Today's meeting will start at 11:00 a.m. in the Polk County Commission Boardroom in the County

Administration Building in Bartow. Citizens attending the meeting will have the opportunity to give comment on the project.

For more information on the meeting or the project, call TPO staff at (863) 534-6486.

(3) Remington College 3 Lives blood drive

Remington College's Tampa Campus is hosting a 3 Lives effort to recruit minority blood donors on Tuesday.

The blood drive helps supply local hospitals with blood from African-American donors who can provide blood with unique antigens vital for people battling sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell trait occurs in high frequency among African Americans and Hispanics.

You do not need to be a minority to donate today.

Any healthy person at least 17 years old and weighing 110 pounds can donate blood. All the blood collected today will be used to help people in the Bay Area.

 You can donate blood from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Remington College Tampa Campus at 6302 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 400.

For more information, visit www.3Lives.com .

(4) The American Soldier - A Photographic Tribute

The American Soldier photography exhibit opens at the St. Petersburg Museum of History on Tuesday.

The exhibition features 116 photographs that capture the essence of American troops for more than 150 years. The photos were taken during the Civil War, Spanish American War, Boxer Rebellion, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, and on the streets of Baghdad.

The exhibition captures the danger, camaraderie, death and victory American soldiers have endued through history.

This will be acclaimed exhibit's only Florida stop on its national tour. The American Soldier - A Photographic Tribute will be open through July 13.

The St. Petersburg Museum of History is located at 335 2nd Avenue NE on The Pier approach. Museum hours for the exhibit are Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information, call (727) 894-1052 or visit www.spmoh.com .

To learn more about The American Soldier exhibit, visit www.american-soldier.com/about/ .

(5) Evita at Straz Center

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award-winning musical Evita opens at the Straz Center on Tuesday.

The musical tell the true story of Eva Perón, who used her beauty and charisma to rise from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady.

Perón was adored by her people as a champion for the poor. Her greed, ambition and poor health also made her a tragic figure.

Among the beautiful songs performed during Evita include Don't Cry for Me Argentina, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and High Flying, Adored.

Show times are Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Matinee performances will also be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets start at $46.50. For more information, call (813) 229-7827 or visit www.strazcenter.org .

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