5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

(1) Jacob's Ride 180 begins

Jacob Landis on Wednesday will start riding his bike in Polk County to complete 11,000 mile bicycle ride that was cut short last September.

Landis will leave from Frostproof today and arrive at Marlin's Stadium in Miami on Saturday.

Last year, Landis nearly finished his 175 day ride to every Major League Ballpark in the country to raise awareness and $1 million for cochlear implants. He was only 180 miles from his goal when a semi-truck hit him in Polk County.

Jacob suffered serious injuries in the accident. He vowed to return to Florida to finish his ride as soon as recovered.

In Frostproof, he will reunite with the EMTs who treated him at the accident scene before beginning the 180 mile journey to Miami.

Jacob, who was deaf by age 10, received a cochlear implant allowing him to function in a hearing world. He is raising money to allow other deaf children to receive for cochlear implants who otherwise could not afford them.

You can help Landis give the gift of hearing by donating to the non-profit Jacob's Ride fund at www.jacobsride.com . He hopes to raise at least $18,000 for cochlear implants over the next three days.

(2) 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

There are 281 spellings competing this year. They hail from all 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

Two Tampa Bay area boys are competing in the bee: 13-year-old Alexander Manning and 12-year-old Riju Datta.

Manning is an eighth-grader at Lakeland Highlands Middle School. He enjoys working on computers, playing golf and has an interest in politics.

Datta is in the sixth grade at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS in Tampa. He plays on the school's tennis team, takes music lessons and recently won his school's National Geographic Bee.

The Spelling Bee's preliminary round will be televised online at ESPN3 at 8:00 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. today.

The Semi-Finals will be broadcast on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on ESPN2. The Finals will be aired live on ESPN Thursday night at 8:00 p.m.

For more information, visit www.spellingbee.com .

(3) Fort De Soto Park cleanup

Staff members from the Florida Aquarium and volunteers will join with Keep Pinellas Beautiful to conduct an underwater cleanup effort at Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde on Wednesday.

The team will SCUBA dive and kayak through the waters of the park to collect trash, fishing lines, and any other items found after the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The group will be talking to people at the pier about the importance of properly discarding fishing line and other items for the safety of animals like endangered sea turtles.

The cleanup effort is scheduled to begin around 11:00 a.m. and conclude around 12:30 p.m.

(4) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens

Walt Disney World's newest ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, will officially open to the public on Wednesday.

The family-style roller coaster features a new ride system that allows the cars to swing back and forth as they travel down the track. The cars are designed to reflect the wooden, axe-shaped vehicles used in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie.

"The attraction appeals to everyone in the family and provides just the right blend of heart, humor, and thrill while keeping with the charm of this special land," said Tom Staggs, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman.

The ride is accompanied by music from the movie. It shows scenes with Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, and the movie's forest critters.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is part of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. For more information, visit disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/magic-kingdom/seven-dwarfs-mine-train/ .

(5) FWC Lionfish app debuts

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will unveil a new lionfish smartphone app during a live Twitter chat on Wednesday.

Lionfish are an invasive species that are negatively impacting Florida's reefs and wildlife.

These spiny fish have no natural predators in Florida waters. They prey on native species and compete for food with economically important species such as grouper and snapper.

To participate in the chat, all you need to do is sign in to Twitter at 2:00 p.m. and follow @MyFWClife or #FWCLionfish.

The chat will begin with a short video and the chance to ask questions about lionfish and the new app.

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