According to U.S. News & World Report’s latest study, St. Petersburg College’s online bachelor’s program is the best in the Tampa Bay region. The publication also ranked it as the Best Bachelor’s Program for Veterans and said the school offers the Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Program. An SPC release states that this is the third consecutive year in which SPC has received top rankings from U.S. News & World Report.
City water customers with in-ground sprinkler systems can now take advantage of a free program that supports conservancy. Eligible residents can receive a free sprinkler evaluation with site-specific recommendations, installation of rain sensors and an automatic shut-off nozzle. For more information, visit the website here.
The new middle school and YMCA under construction near 62nd Avenue NE and Perishing Street NE now has a name - Mangrove Bay Middle School and the Speer YMCA. The Pinellas County School Board unanimously approved the new name during Tuesday’s school board meeting after receiving roughly 150 suggestions submitted by the public, according to an announcement. The new middle school at the 19-acre site will be a health and wellness leadership magnet school for 600 students.
Human resources teams and hiring managers from several Pinellas County Government departments are hosting a career fair Friday, Jan. 27. The event takes place from noon until 4 p.m. in the Magnolia Room at the Florida Botanical Gardens, located at 12520 Ulmerton Road. For detailed information, visit the website here.
Tickets for Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tampa Bay’s signature event are now on sale through the Palladium Theater box office. SVP is part of an international collective of successful professionals who provide their time, expertise and resources to develop local nonprofits. In partnership with the Community Foundation Tampa Bay, SVP established its Fast Pitch event in 2017. Participating organizations first complete a 16-week program designed to bolster operations and effectiveness, while a mentor helps the nonprofits’ leaders develop a three-minute pitch. The 2022 participants include Barbershop Books, Frameworks, Sweetwater Organic Farms, Florida Resurrection House, Green Book Tampa Bay, Alpha House, Act and Beth El Farm Workers. The event takes place Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Palladium’s Hough Hall. For more information and tickets, visit the website here.
Lakewood High School graduate and former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, the first one-handed player in the NFL, announced his retirement Wednesday. The St. Petersburg native experienced amniotic band syndrome in the womb, which resulted in doctors amputating Griffin’s left hand at the wrist at age 4. Despite the challenges of playing football as a one-handed defender, he went on to star for the University of Central Florida. The Seahawks drafted Griffin in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, reuniting him with his twin brother, cornerback Shaquill. In his announcement, Griffin wrote that “football was always Plan B,” and he now hopes to make a positive impact throughout the NFL Legends Community foundation.
The Saturday Morning Shoppe and Live Love St. Pete are hosting a back-to-school backpack giveaway Saturday, Aug. 6, in Lot 4 at Tropicana Field. Volunteers will hand out over 2,000 backpacks to anyone in need, and no registration is necessary. Several community organizations donated the bags, with Live Love St. Pete providing 1,000 and the Tampa Bay Rays contributing 300. Both the giveaway and market begin at 12 p.m. and run until 5 p.m. The event is at 198 17th St. S. in St. Petersburg, and admission and parking are free.
The Pinellas County Commission, in collaboration with the St. Pete Free Clinic and other community partners, is hosting a free fresh food giveaway on Friday, June 10. The drive-through event takes place at England Brothers Park, located at 5010 81st Ave. N. in Pinellas Park. Distribution is open to all county residents from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., or while supplies last. According to the release, food insecurity is on the rise in the community and the St. Pete Free Clinic is working to ensure everyone has access to quality food.
The University of South Florida recently reported it received gifts from nearly 5,000 donors during Giving Week this month, more than doubling the previous record. Over 10% were first-time donors. From April 4-8, alumni, friends and community partners joined together to support 198 funds at the university - from mitigating student hunger to providing scholarships. On April 6, Jeff and Penny Vinik gave $5 million for an on-campus stadium, matching Carol and Frank Morsani’s donation to the same effort in March. In a release, the university said the outpouring of generosity would positively impact the lives of students from all three campuses. “This groundswell of support underscores just how much our community values our students and understands the impact they have on Tampa Bay and beyond,” said USF President Rhea Law in the release.
The City of St. Pete Beach is hosting two Earth Day celebrations on April 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first is at Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Dr. and the other takes place at the Pass-a-Grille Concession area at 900 Gulf Way. Both events are free. The Horan Park celebration features landscaping demonstrations and water conservation tips, and the city is also offering free red maple, beautyberry, sugarberry, magnolia, red mulberry, slash pine, sycamore, cypress and loquat trees to residents. In Pass-a-Grille, local environmental organizations Keep Pinellas Beautiful and Sea Turtle Trackers will speak about their missions and offer informational handouts.
Graduating seniors in Pinellas County Schools now have another resource to help pay for furthering their education. The Pinellas Education Foundation is now offering its new Jump Start Scholarship for county students that meet eligibility requirements. Students with a demonstratable financial need could receive a Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarship valued at $3,100 to attend a Florida public college, university or technical school. Students must first complete a Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submit financial documentation and remain drug and crime-free. Over 100 scholarships are available, and the deadline to apply is April 30. To learn more and apply, visit the link here.