5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, January 28

TAMPA BAY - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, January 28.

(1) HART / PSTA joint meeting

Officials with the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) will attend a joint meeting in Tampa on Monday.

For the past year leaders of the two transit authorities have studied if a merger would make financial sense.

While a final decision is expected to be announced during today's meeting, it appears no merger will occur.

The Tampa Tribune reported authority officials already drafted a letter that will be sent to the Florida Legislature saying HART and PSTA have not agreed to a merger.

The two transit agencies are required to submit recommendations to the Legislature on any merger or reorganization by February 1.

Today's meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. at the HART Administrative Office at 1201 East 7th Avenue in Tampa.

(2) Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn memorial service

The United States Coast Guard will hold the 33rd anniversary memorial service of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn in St. Petersburg on Monday.

The Blackthorn sank on January 28, 1980 after colliding with the tanker Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Twenty-three of its 50 crewmembers died in what is still the Coast Guard's worst peacetime disaster.

A memorial inscribed with the names of the crewmembers who died stands two miles north of the collision site.

Today's memorial ceremony will consist of an aerial salute by aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, a Posting of the Colors and reading of all the lost crewmembers' names.

The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. at Blackthorn Memorial Park off Interstate 275, north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

To learn more about the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn, visit www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Blackthorn1944.pdf.

(3) French Consulate honors 15 World War II veterans

The French Consulate will honor 15 United States veterans who fought alongside France during World War II in a ceremony on Monday.

The Consul General, Mr. Gaël de Maisonneuve, will award the insignias of "Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur" (Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor") to the veterans.

The Legion of Honor, founded by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802, is the highest distinction that can be conferred by France on one of its citizens or a foreigner.

Americans previously awarded include Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, General Douglas MacArthur, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Today's ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. at MacDill Air Force Base.

(4) Cleveland Orchestra in Sarasota

The world-acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra will perform with violin soloist Joshua Bell at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on Monday.

The orchestra will perform the "Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61," by Beethoven and "Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14," by Hector Berlioz.

Joshua Bell is one of the world's most celebrated violinists. He received his first violin at age four, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17.

Bell's extensive career has spanned over 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor. He is now music director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

Tickets to tonight's 8:00 p.m. performance begin at $40. For more information, call (941) 955-0040 or visit www.scasarasota.org.

(5) Caroline Manzo & Jacqueline Laurita in Carrollwood

Members of Bravo TV's Real Housewives of New Jersey will make an appearance at the Whole Foods Market in Carrollwood on Monday.

Caroline, Albie, Christopher, & Lauren Manzo, along with Jacqueline & Chris Laurita will be at the store promoting Blk. Water and providing samples to customers.

Albie and Christopher Manzo are the sons of Caroline Manzo. The brothers joined their uncle, Chris Laurita in marketing Blk. Water, which is the first ever fulvic enhanced mineral water.

Fulvic trace minerals, derived from plant matter and fulvic acid, are added to water turning it the color black.

Customers have the opportunity to purchase a limited number of VIP tickets to mingle with the Manzos and Lauritas after their BLK Water appearance from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

VIP attendees will join cast members in the Whole Foods Market cafe for a Q & A, while dining on complimentary hor d'oeuvres and Blk. samples.

All proceeds for the VIP event will benefit charities www.autismspeaks.org and www.generationrescue.org.

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