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SPCA opens ‘foster-to-adopt’ program for dogs

SPCA Tampa Bay recently launched a pilot dog adoption program to assist its partners at Pinellas County Animal Services (PCAS) as they address an outbreak of canine pneumovirus. According to the Dec. 15 announcement, SPCA’s Largo shelter has over 40 dogs available for adoption, and officials hope to get as many as possible into homes by the end of December. The program allows families to take a dog home for up to 30 days before completing the adoption. PCAS temporarily paused intakes and adoptions, and the SPCA hopes to expand its capacity through the program. Interested families must register at the SPCA Tampa Bay shelter at 9099 130th Ave. N, in Largo. They will receive food and supplies for the dog and medication if the pet contracts the upper respiratory virus. For more information, visit the website here.

St. Petersburg welcomes new government affairs director

Mayor Ken Welch has officially named David Thompson as the city’s new government affairs director, according to a press release Tuesday morning. Thompson recently served as the senior legislative assistant for Ohio Congresswoman Shontel Brown. A graduate of USF St. Petersburg, Thompson served as the student body president, external vice-chair of the Florida Student Association and the university’s campus board. He was also a legislative staffer for local Congressman Charlie Crist. Thompson will report directly to Jordan “Doyle” Walsh, Welch’s chief of staff.

City invites public to weigh in on Trop proposals

Starting Dec. 19, Monday, the City of St. Petersburg is inviting the community to give feedback on the four proposals submitted for the Historic Gas Plant District/Tropicana Field redevelopment project, according to the city's announcement. The proposers are 50 Plus One, Hines and Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates and Sugar Hill Community Partners. Submissions by individuals, organizations and businesses will be considered by St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, who will select the developer by the end of January. Responses from the public will be accepted through Monday, Jan. 23. The community is also invited to hear from the four proposers at a community presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 4, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Coliseum. The feedback can be submitted here. 

Tampa inflation rate drops; still among highest

Inflation fell below 10% in the Tampa metro area last month for the first time since January. A subsequent Bloomberg article said the abatement could be “the strongest sign yet that the worst may be over for U.S. consumers.” However, consumer price index data shows that Tampa Bay’s 9.6% year-over-year increase is the fourth-highest in the nation, behind Phoenix, Miami and Atlanta, respectively. According to a WalletHub report, November’s local inflation rate was 1% higher than September, also tied for the fourth highest in the nation.

Police caravan visits All Children’s Hospital

A large group of St. Petersburg Police cars, motorcycles and a SWAT vehicle - all with lights and sirens activated - made a trip to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Monday afternoon. According to Yolanda Fernandez, public information officer, the caravan is the department’s way of spreading cheer and wishing happy holidays to kids in the hospital. Children able to come down and meet the officers received stuffed animals. Those too sick to come outside watched the procession from their windows with the help of staff members.

Tampa General invests in medtech company

TGH Innoventures, Tampa General Hospital's innovation center and venture fund, has participated in a $27 million round for Medical Informatics Corp. (MIC). The Texas-based company, which is a leading provider of virtual care and analytics, announced it raised $27 million in financing with a $17 million Series B co-led by Catalio Capital Management (Catalio) and Intel Capital. The financing also includes an additional $10 million in debt led by Catalio through Catalio’s structured equity strategy. Notley, and existing investors DCVC, TMC, and nCourage also participated in the round, according to a press release. 

Dynasty Financial Partners scraps IPO

St. Petersburg-based Dynasty Financial Partners announced Monday it has ditched its planned initial public offering (IPO). The firm planned to raise $100 million through the IPO. "After evaluating the state of the public markets, our board decided to have a handful of conversations with potential private investors. Having been afforded the luxuries of optionality and time, there were two requirements that were atop my list as we went through the process – partnership and alignment,” Dynasty’s President and CEO Shirl Penney said in the company's news release. “I am delighted to say that several firms viewed the process in the same light and am excited to welcome Abry and Schwab to sit alongside our already extremely supportive group of investors. I also want to thank both our legacy investors and new board members that have also invested in the round; their unwavering support is inspiring. Lastly, I want to welcome many of our RIA partners as investors in Dynasty and appreciate their commitment to the partnership, our community, and to growing together.”

County program offers sewer inspection, replacement rebates

The Pinellas County Utilities Department recently announced that eligible single-family homeowners could apply for rebates to inspect and fully replace or rehabilitate their private sewer lateral. Those approved can receive up to $350 for inspections and $3,500 for replacement or repairs. According to the county release, officials hope to encourage property owners to fix pipes that carry wastewater to the public sewer collection system, which helps prevent overflows from heavy rains. For more information, visit the website here.

Catalyze 2023 begins today

Starting today and continuing through the end of the year, Catalyst reporters Mark Parker, Veronica Brezina and Bill DeYoung will be talking with thought leaders, business people and creatives about 2023, what they're looking forward to, and their best and brightest ideas for positive change. What should our city look like? What are their hopes, their plans, their problem-solving ideas? Let's Catalyze 2023.

Cultured Books seeks local artists for children’s program

The Cultured Books Foundation needs local visual and multidisciplinary artists to join The Art of Literacy Residence Program. Participants will engage with you and families along St. Petersburg’s Deuces Corridor during monthly book club meetings and help create a workshop with Cultured Books Foundation’s staff to “bring books to life through their artistic medium.” The foundation will provide a $200 honorarium per month and a supply stipend. To apply, visit the website here.

Red tide blooms increase locally

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) latest red tide update, bloom concentrations of Karenia brevis, the red tide organism, were present in 18 samples in and offshore Pinellas County. The latest red tide map shows blooms continuing to move northward from Sarasota and Manatee County. The FWC also reported fish kills and respiratory irritation around southern Pinellas due to the high concentrations.

School superintendent receives national recognition

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Kevin Hendrick has received national recognition in less than a year on the job. District officials announced Thursday that the National School Public Relations Association named Hendrick as a “2022 Superintendent to Watch.” He joins just 24 other superintendents nationwide. According to the release, the NSPRA selected honorees for their innovative use of technology to engage and inform the school community and to expand two-way communication and outreach efforts.

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