5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, January 29
8:23 AM, Jan 29, 2014
10:23 AM, Jan 29, 2014
TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, January 29.
(1) Andrew Fields sentencing
A judge will sentence Andrew Blane Fields at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa on Wednesday morning.
In November a jury convicted the 62-year-old Lutz man of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances such as Oxycodone, Dilaudid and Heroin; and sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
According to court records, Homeland Security agents say at least 20 women, some young as 17 years of age, bought drugs or prostituted for Fields.
On at least one occasion Fields was accused of forcing one woman to take prescription drugs when she refused to worked for him.
Fields faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of life. The sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
(2) Florida budget announcement
Governor Rick Scott is scheduled to submit his 2014-15 state budget proposal to the Florida Legislature on Wednesday.
Scott is asking for at least $500 million in tax and free cuts. He also wants to increase education by $542 million to $18.84 billion.
The Governor, who is running for re-election this year, is also asking for a 15-day hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday. It would allow people to buy items such as tarps and flashlights without having to pay sales tax.
A similar sales tax holiday was held in 2006 and 2007 under former Governor Charlie Crist, the candidate running against Scott this fall.
Governor Scott is proposing cutting vehicle-registration fees and eliminating .05% of a 6 percent sales tax businesses pay on rent.
(3) Midtown St. Petersburg Walmart Neighborhood Market opens
The new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Midtown St. Petersburg opens on Wednesday.
The store replaces a Sweetbay Supermarket that closed last year.
"I am pleased Walmart is a committed partner to the City of St. Petersburg, and I am grateful for their investment in our community," said Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg.
The new store employs up to 95 full- and part-time associates and features a full line of groceries, a bakery, a self-serve deli and a pharmacy.
A Big Family Welcome will take place on Saturday, February 1 at the store. Customer will be able to meet store manager Carl Spady and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples. The event will take place from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
The store is located at 1794 22nd Street South in the Tangerine Plaza. It will be open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
(4) Tampa Bay Senior Expo
The Tampa Bay Senior Expo is being held at the Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg on Wednesday. The event is designed to help seniors make the most of their golden years.
Local professionals will be on hand to offer expertise in financial planning, health, fitness, home improvement, recreation and more.
There will be over 50 local organizations offering products, tips, advice and free giveaways.
The Senior Expo runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Coliseum at 535 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. Parking and admission are both free.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will award the high schools who won The Battle of the Belts initiative on Wednesday.
Twenty-six county high schools participated in the competition last month sponsored by the Sheriff's Office
Chamberlain High School won the award with 99.2% of student drivers wearing seat belts. The contest was incredibly close as 99.1% of Steinbrenner High School students wore their seat belts to take second place.
Alonso High School won the Most Improved Award. Leto High School took home the win for Best Poster while Steinbrenner High School won for Best Overall Campaign.