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Tampa General in line for tech upgrades in deal with Philips

Tampa General Hospital and Royal Philips have agreed to a seven-year strategic partnership that will upgrade technology throughout the hospital. Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, will provide the hospital with millions of dollars’ worth of new solutions such as new software packages, healthcare informatics, unique workflow solutions and high-level consulting, a news release said. Tampa General will replace all bedside patient and vital sign monitors throughout the 1,006-bed hospital and upgrade key imaging equipment in the catheterization laboratories and interventional radiology rooms. Philips also plans to deliver a standardized platform, providing doctors and clinicians with a better overall view of the patient to help make the best decisions when it comes to diagnosis and providing world-class care, the news release said. Financial terms were not disclosed. Tampa General is the largest hospital in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

Pinellas County Schools to offer workshop for people interested in becoming teachers

Pinellas County Schools is holding a virtual information session for people with bachelor's degrees or higher who are interested in becoming teachers through the district's Transition to Teaching program, which helps with the certification process. The session will be held September 30 from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Register by September 25 by clicking here.   

UPC Insurance takes a hit from six storms

United Insurance Holdings expects to report $135 million in catastrophe losses before income taxes in the third quarter of 2020. After taxes, the losses will be about $107 million, the company said in a news release. The expected losses are net of expected reinsurance recoveries. Q3 catastrophe losses include claims from six named windstorms and other non-named windstorm catastrophe events. The named windstorms are: Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Hanna, Hurricane Isaias, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Marco, and Hurricane Sally. United Insurance (Nasdaq: UIHC) is a St. Petersburg-based property and casualty insurance firm that does business as UPC Insurance.

Pinellas commissioners approve 2021 budget

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday night approved a $2.7 billion county budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Commissioners separately approved budgets and millage rates countywide and for several municipal services taxing units and other taxing districts. The millage rates determine the amount of property taxes paid. The county is generating more revenue because of increased property values, so having the same millage rate equates to a tax increase, Bill Berger, director of the office of management and budget, told commissioners. Most of that is going into reserves, as the county is looking at a two-year budget cycle, said Barry Burton, county administrator.  Board members voted six to one to approve the budget, with Commissioner Kathleen Peters casting the only dissenting vote.

Pinellas County names new assistant county administrator

Kevin Knutson has been named assistant county administrator in Pinellas County. Knutson will be responsible for administrative services, economic development, marketing and communications, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, a news release said. Knutson was most recently a vice president with Envisio Solutions, a software company with local government clients, and he is a former assistant city manager and interim city manager for the City of Reno, Nevada. In Florida, he previously served as director of marketing and communications, and budget and strategic planning manager for the City of Coral Springs. Knutson replaces an ACA position that became vacant earlier this year.

St. Anthony’s Triathlon opens registration for 2021

The St. Anthony's Triathlon is back on the calendar for 2021. The annual race, with a course that takes participants through much of St. Petersburg, was cancelled this year due to Covid-19 but has been scheduled for April 23-April 25, 2021.  The event has been ranked as the fourth largest triathlon in the country. "Our goal is to have an in-person race in 2021. But it all depends on how well the pandemic is under control," Scott Smith, St. Anthony's Hospital president, said in a news release. Race organizers are looking at other races that have been staged successfully to gather their best practices, said Patrick McGee, Triathlon manager and race director. The three-day weekend includes an Olympic-Distance Triathlon and a shorter-distance Sprint Triathlon, both on on April 25, as well as a Meek & Mighty Triathlon, a race for novice adults and children new to the sport on April 24. The weekend also includes the St. Anthony’s Triathlon Sports & Fitness Expo. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Click here for more information.

Kriseman reacts to police funding announcement from DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is backing proposed state legislation to withhold funding from cities or jurisdictions that cut law enforcement budgets. “If you defund the police, then the state will defund any grant or aid coming to you, and that applies to any municipality in the state of Florida,” DeSantis, an ally of President Donald Trump, said during a news conference Monday in Winter Haven. "This wouldn’t appear to impact St. Pete as our police budget has increased," a spokesman for Mayor Rick Kriseman said in an email to the St. Pete Catalyst, adding "The mayor isn’t concerned with Trumpian threats and gimmicks." The St. Petersburg Police Department gave up a federal grant earlier this year that was intended to be used to hire new police officers. The police department is using city funding that was going to be used as a match for the grant to implement a pilot program that will augment the police department by retaining a social service agency to respond to non-violent calls for service. That program, the Community Assistance Liaison program, doesn’t “defund” the police department but simply shifts funds, a police department spokeswoman said. The city also is spending additional funds on body cameras for the police department, she said.  The legislation DeSantis backs also calls for penalties for protests where authorities say violence or vandalism has occurred.

Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete to hold mask distribution, census event

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, along with the Hispanic Outreach Center Centro de Apoyo Hispano, 8Kingz Collective and the Community Development and Training Center will hold an event Saturday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the CNA Technical Center, 11350 66th St. North, Ste. 115 in Largo, where people can fill out the 2020 census and receive complimentary reusable face masks made locally by Black-owned businesses. Free WiFi and access to electronic devices will be provided for those wishing to complete the census. 

Good ‘Burger Awards open for nominations

Nominations are open for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce's 8th annual Good 'Burger Awards. The awards were established to honor local businesses and individuals that contribute positively to the community. Categories include arts and culture, eats and treats, community conscious (grassroots and large), makers and creators, cool companies (small and large), trailblazers and change agents, MVB - Most Valuable 'Burger and Essential 'Burger. Nominations will be accepted through October 9 and awards will be announced at a virtual ceremony December 4. For more information, click here

Insurance industry veteran opens agency in St. Petersburg

 Clayton Vigrass, a 22-year veteran of the insurance industry, has opened opened Brightway, The Vigrass Family Agency. The agency, at 600 1st Ave. N., Suite 303A, offers home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat and umbrella insurance policies from several insurance brands including Bankers, Cypress, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Nationwide, Progressive and others.  Vigrass previously was senior vice president of retail at USI Insurance Services and prior to that was at Willis Towers Watson. Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance distribution company with more than $705 million in annualized written premium.

USF Muma business college plans second leadership course

The University of South Florida Muma College of Business will offer a second session of its "Post-Crisis Leadership" certificate program this fall. The online program is designed to give perspectives into the world of business in the times of Covid-19 and its impact on corporate America. There are seven separate modules dealing with topics such as marketing, accounting and entrepreneurship. The first session, offered over the summer, drew more than 8,000 registrants, with thousands more on a waiting list, Moez Limayem, dean of the Muma College, said in a news release. While the summer session was free, there will be a $250 charge for the upcoming session, which starts on Oct. 1 and continues for two months. Registration lasts until Sept. 30.  To register, click here.

Tampa systems integrator sells to Massachusetts security firm

Minuteman Security Technologies Inc. has acquired Skynet Integrations LLC, a systems integrator in Tampa. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Skynet offers security products and services, while Minuteman is a privately-held provider of enterprise security system technology solutions. The acquisition makes Minuteman the largest independent full-service provider of integrated security, communication, and life safety systems in central Florida, the news release said. Josh Williams, Skynet’s general manager, and Mike Andrews, Skynet’s operations manager, will run Minuteman’s combined Florida operations.

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