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Roundup: Covid-19 sacks the XFL, St. Pete software firm connects Covid-19 resources, Ignite goes virtual

Margie Manning

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Tampa Bay Vipers (Photo credit: Twitter)

Today’s roundup includes news about the Tampa Bay Vipers, NIX United, University of South Florida, University of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College and Technova Florida.

Blink and you missed it. The new XFL has suspended operations and laid off almost all of its staff, with no plans to return in 2021.

That could mean the end of the road for the Tampa Bay Vipers, the local XFL team that played just five games before the league suspended play in early March due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The team lost four of its five games.

NIX, a software engineering company in St. Petersburg, has created a website to connect the community with resources and support during the pandemic. NIX is working with St. Pete Together on the initiative.

By clicking on the website, volunteers can offer to babysit, teach, run errands and provide professional services such as legal advice or financial planning. People who need help, such as doctor who needs child care or an elderly person who cannot leave the house, can find a volunteer online. The website also has a collection of helpful resources from the official sources with reliable information. Both volunteers and people seeking help can register at the portal.

NIX also said it will work with nonprofits and volunteer groups in other communities to create similar websites at no charge.

Three universities and colleges in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area will get more than $58 million in emergency CARES Act funds. The University of South Florida is in line for $34.8 million, University of Tampa will get $6.9 million and Hillsborough Community College will get $16.3 million, according to an announcement from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.

The schools can use the funds to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students and to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. Each institution must use at least half of their grant allotment to provide financial aid to students, Castor said.

Ignite Tampa Bay, the annual celebration of cool ideas presented with 20 slides in five minutes, had to cancel because of the pandemic, but the show will go on, virtually.

Technova Florida, the nonprofit that produces Ignite Tampa Bay, will air a “Best of Ignite” series of videos on Facebook Live starting at 7 p.m. on April 16.

“We decided to do this because the messages from past Ignite events are just as important today, and we as a community can rally around these messages and rally around each other to listen, laugh, learn, and enjoy,” said Ken Evans, a Technova board member. “We will offer highlights and uplifting messages from previous years to lift people’s spirits and connect (remotely) the community around interesting causes and ideas.”

Click here for the Facebook event page. It will go to the live stream the night of the event.

 

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