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Travers, Atlanta Rhythm Section among the performers at Williams Park festival

The City of St. Petersburg is one of the sponsors of the St. Petersburg Seafood & Music Festival, planned for Jan. 28-30 in Williams Park. Among the performers will be blues guitarists Pat Travers, Selwyn Birchwood and Albert Castiglia; Saturday night ends with a set from 1970s hitmakers Atlanta Rhythm Section. For more information, click here.

2022 State of the Region postponed due to Covid

The 2022 State of the Region Community Luncheon, originally scheduled for Jan. 21, is postponed due to a surge in Covid cases stemming from the highly contagious Omicron variant. The makeup date is April 13, and those wishing to attend will need to re-register. The State of the Region is held in the University Student Center Ballroom at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information and to re-register, visit the website here.

St. Pete Beach announces traffic impacts from annual St. Pete Beach Classic

The City of St. Pete Beach announced it is temporarily shifting traffic to accommodate the 17th annual St. Pete Beach Classic. The race takes place Saturday, Jan. 15, and Sunday, Jan. 16, on Gulf Boulevard. Traffic impacts occur from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. On both days of the race, the outside, southbound lane on Blind Pass Road will close from 93rd Avenue to 75th Avenue. Both southbound lanes of Gulf Boulevard will also close for the duration of the races, and opposing traffic will run in the northbound lanes from 75th Avenue to 43rd Avenue. From 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Sunday, the southbound lanes of Pass-a-Grille Way will close from 35th Avenue to 22nd Avenue. Alternating one-way traffic will occur on 21st Avenue to Vina Del Mar.

Tampa Bay Times CEO Paul Tash to retire

Paul Tash, the Tampa Bay Times’ longest-serving CEO and chairman, announced he will retire. Times Publishing Co. President Conan Gallaty will step into the CEO role. Gallaty is also expected to become chairman when Tash leaves its board of directors July 1. Tash will continue to chair the board of trustees at the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which owns the newspaper, the Times announced. Tash joined the Times in 1978 as a reporter and was named CEO in 2004. 

Covid testing site opens at Tropicana Field

The City of St. Petersburg has partnered with Impact Health and the Tampa Bay Rays to open a drive-thru Covid testing site at Tropicana Field. The free testing site is now open. It will stay open all week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for PCR and rapid antigen testing. The testing is available on a drive-up basis.

County announces closures ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Pinellas County government offices are closing on Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. All departments under the board of county commissioners, clerk’s office, tax collector, property appraiser and supervisor of elections will remain closed in honor of the federal holiday. The county parks administrative office, Heritage Village and all educational centers will also close. However, county parks and preserves, Florida Botanical Gardens, county boat ramps and beach access points will remain open. The Solid Waste Disposal Facility is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, although the administration building and Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center will close.

Erasure ‘postpones’ American tour, including Sunday’s St. Pete concert

The Mahaffey Theater concert by the British synth-pop duo Erasure, schedule for Sunday (Jan. 16), has been canceled - along with every other January and February stop on the group's tour, "as a result of circumstances beyond our control" according to the official Erasure website. "We will announce the rescheduled shows shortly, so please hang on to your tickets and we will bring you more information very soon."

ReliaQuest opens its first office in India

Tampa-based cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest, which recently reached unicorn status, has opened a location in Pune, India. Located in the state of Maharashtra, the office will employ 50 people, according to a news release. “2021 was an incredible year of growth and milestones for ReliaQuest, and we are continuing that momentum into 2022 — beginning with this new office location in India,” ReliaQuest CFO Greg Farrell said in the release. “Pune is known as a major IT hub with an exceptional talent pool, which makes it a perfect location for our first expansion into the country. ReliaQuest is uniquely positioned for major growth this year, and we are incredibly excited to welcome new team members in India as an impactful part of that growth.” The news follows ReliaQuest's decision to locate its corporate headquarters building in Water Street Tampa and open a new office near Salt Lake City.

St. Pete-Clearwater airport’s passenger activity in December reaches new record

This December, the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport saw over 200,000 passengers arriving and departing at the airport--setting a new record for the passenger activity in the month of December. The number of passengers the airport saw this December surpassed the previous December by 67%. It also surpassed the pre-pandemic activity in December 2019 by 2%. The airport recently added two new airlines-- Swoop and Sun Country Airlines. Today, the airport has 65 non-stop destinations, which is the largest amount of non-stop connections in its history. 

Squaremouth is named a winner of innovation award

St. Petersburg-based travel insurance insurtech company Squaremouth has been named a winner of the 2022 BIG Innovation Awards. The company was recognized for how it responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Business Intelligence Group named 13 executives, 56 companies and 81 products as leaders and winners of the 2022 BIG Innovation Awards. During the pandemic, Squaremouth built new internal systems and developed customer-facing website improvements to help customers quickly identify the lowest-priced policies with Covid-19 benefits. The company’s proactive response following the initial Europe travel ban resulted in $2.6 million in savings for affected customers, according to the company. Squaremouth said it also offers the largest portfolio of products with Covid coverage of any travel insurance aggregator. 

Covid postpones ‘Jersey Boys’ at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Performances by a touring company of the award-winning musical Jersey Boys have been canceled today and Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The Clearwater venue said that members of the cast had tested positive for Covid-19, and that the shows would be rescheduled when feasible.

County seeks construction licensing board member

Pinellas County is now accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. Applications are due by 3 p.m. on Feb. 4. The licensing board consists of 15 members representing various trades, building officials, a fire official and two consumer representatives. The county seeks a beach community governmental building official from the City of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Redington Beach, North Redington Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Treasure Island or St. Pete Beach. The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners will review all applications and announce its selection at an upcoming meeting. Applications can be found here.

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