5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

(1) Builders of Hope groundbreaking event

Builders of Hope will hold a groundbreaking event with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Wednesday.

The non-profit organization recently spent $1.6 million dollars to purchase 68 blighted homes in the Midtown and Childs Park neighborhoods. Builders of Hope will renovate the homes and turn them into affordable housing.

All the rehabilitation work is completed within just weeks, turning a home improvement project into a life-changing event.

The groundbreaking event will begin at 10:00 a.m. at 4735 17th Avenue, a home that will under the rehab process after today. In just three weeks, the house should be liveable for a family to move in.

For more information on Builders of Hope, visit their website at www.buildersofhope.org .

(2) Judges to tour Le Méridien Tampa

Mayor Bob Buckhorn along with current and former judges will tour the recently completed Le Méridien Tampa hotel on Wednesday.

The 130-room boutique hotel at 601 N. Florida Avenue sits in the old Federal Courthouse building in downtown Tampa. The building had been vacant for the past 16 years.

It took crews 16 months and $30 million to transform the courthouse into a hotel that features a signature restaurant, outdoor dining space, 2,400-square-foot ballroom, and meeting space.

The project was not without its challenges. Absestos had to be removed and historic guidelines required everything, including the old jury boxes and witness stands, to be repurposed somewhere in the building.

The hotel officially opens for business on Thursday. A formal grand opening is scheduled for June 26.

Le Méridien Tampa is part of the Starwood Hotels chain. For more information, visit www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3876&language=en_US .

(3) Manatee County mobile food bus

Manatee County School Food Service Programs begin a new program on Wednesday to make sure kids in the county get a healthy lunch.

Officials have transformed and retrofitted a former school bus into a mobile feeding unit.

The bus will deliver food to students who can get to the dozen county schools that run lunch programs during the summer each year.

The mobile food bus will make three stops. The bus will arrive at 993 26 Street E. around noon; at Bradenton Village at 1:00 p.m.; and at Lincoln Park around 2:00 p.m.

The bus is scheduled to stay at each stop for approximately thirty minutes. Officials say the arrival times are only an approximation and could change as the program continues.

The mobile school bus will operate through August 8.

(4) Counting Crows in concert

It will be like the mid-1990s all over again when the Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket perform in concert at the Straz Center on Wednesday night.

The Counting Crows exploded onto the music scene with their 1993 breakout album August and Everything After. They have since sold more than 20 million albums worldwide.

The band formed in Berekley, California, in 1991. The group consists of Adam Duritz (vocals), Jim Bogios (drums), David Bryson (guitar), Charlie Gillingham (keyboards), David Immergluck (guitar), Millard Powers (bass) and Dan Vickrey (guitar).

Counting Crows plan to release their seventh studio album, Somewhere Under Wonderland, later this fall.

The opening act tonight will be Toad the Wet Sprocket. The alternative rock band formed in Santa Barbara, California in 1986. Their biggest success came in 1994 with the hit songs, Fall Down and Something's Always Wrong.

Tickets to tonight's concert, which begins at 7:00 p.m., start at $49.50. For more information, call (813) 229-7827 or visit www.strazcenter.org .

(5) Polk County's Emergency Preparedness Be Ready Night

Polk County Emergency Management will hold its annual Emergency Preparedness Be Ready Night at the Lakeland Flying Tigers game on Wednesday night.

Attendees can enjoy bases and all-you-can-eat food for $11 a person.

Throughout the night, county officials will be passing out materials, including shelter maps, and answering fans' questions about preparing for the current hurricane season.

Selected fans will also get the chance to play games and compete in contests about disaster education.

Gates at Joker Marchant Stadium open at 5:30 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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