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Stetson Law opens applications for civic education program for teens

Applications are now open for a new summer program aimed at training underrepresented teenagers to advocate for themselves and others. The weeklong course is hosted by Stetson University College of Law, in partnership with Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. The course is designed for Pinellas County teenagers, between the ages of 15-17, considered underrepresented because of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, or school performance.The class will be virtual due to the pandemic. It will be highly interactive and feature Stetson Law faculty and students, as well as local judges and attorney volunteers, a news release from Stetson said. The program will run from July 19- July 24, and applications are available at: stetson.edu/law/youth-program. The deadline to apply is May 31.  All student participants in the summer program will receive a financial stipend to facilitate their participation.

Westbound lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard to close near airport

Portions of Roosevelt Boulevard near St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport will be closed to westbound traffic on May 9, 11 and 17 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. because of roadwork associated with the Florida Department of Transportation’s Gateway Expressway project. According to a news release, vehicles exiting the airport will not be able to turn right into westbound lanes and will be detoured east and rerouted to Ulmerton Road.

Regal Park Place movie theaters to re-open today

Regal Theatres' Pinellas Park location, the Regal Park Place & RPX (7200 US Highway 19 North) re-opens today after months of Covid closure. Regal is also re-opening its movie theaters in Tampa and Sarasota. All venues will adhere to the company's CinemaSafe guidelines.

Pedestrian killed in Pinellas Park crash

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle early Friday morning in the 6900 block of 66th Street North in Pinellas Park. The driver of the 2016 Nissan Sentra, 23-year-old Carly Christopher of St. Petersburg, was arrested for driving under the influence booked into the Pinellas County Jail with a blood-alcohol content above 0.15. The identity of the pedestrian, who was crossing 66th Street mid-block and outside of a crosswalk, is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

Tampa marks Castor’s two years in office as mayor

The City of Tampa on Thursday celebrated the two-year anniversary of Jane Castor taking office as mayor by highlighting some of her major achievements. Castor, who previously served as Tampa’s chief of police, succeeded two-term Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Some of the changes she’s shepherded include raising the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour; issuing an executive order recognizing LGBT businesses as part of the city’s Women and Minority Owned Businesses Program; and leading the city through the Covid-19 pandemic with critical recovery efforts such as $3.45 million in One Tampa relief, Lift Up Local program, distribution of over 650,000 free face coverings and vaccine distribution; and launching the Bridges to Business vendor certification tour to help small business owners learn how to become certified and work with city government.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s raises minimum wage

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $15 an hour, effective Jan. 1, 2022. That's five years ahead of the requirement for a $15 an hour minimum wage that Florida voters approved last year. It will directly benefit more than 300 employees at the St. Petersburg-based pediatric hospital, a news release said. It applies to temporary workers, student workers and contract employees who work full time on campus. It's part of a move by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System to adopt an enterprise-wide $15 an hour minimum wage. "This decision reflects Johns Hopkins’ broader commitment to increasing opportunities in the communities the university and health system serve, creating a ripple effect in the local business community," the news release said.

Tech firm opens Tampa office, plans 500 jobs

ID.me, a technology firm focused on identity verification, said it has opened an office in Tampa and plans to hire more than 500 employees from the local area by the end of the year.  ID.me, headquartered in McLean Virginia, provides digital identity credentials to consumers and recently raised $100 million. The Tampa area has "a great talent pool," Blake Hall, CEO and founder, said in a news release. The company did not provide a specific location for the Tampa office. It said the new office will be closed to all but essential workers, but upon resumption of normal operations it would welcome the full team with perks such as a fully-stocked kitchen, lounge areas and a cafeteria. Employees will receive accrued PTO on an annual basis as well as medical benefits, the company said. The company is recruiting member support representatives and community managers. Click on id.me/careers to learn more.   

OPSWAT fills out executive team with new hires

OPSWAT, a fast-growing cybersecurity firm that recently moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa and is eyeing an IPO in the near future, has added two people to its executive leadership team: Chief Operating Officer Mike Barker and Corporate Secretary Eric Spindel. According to a news release, the duo will support two key areas of the business — international operations and legal compliance. Barker’s career, the release stated, started with the U.S. Air Force and he later played pivotal roles in prominent technology companies such as Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks, Syniverse and J2 Global. Prior to joining OPSWAT, Spindel was general counsel and corporate secretary at Nasdaq-listed cybersecurity company Cyren and previously practiced corporate and securities law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

CVS launches mental health services in five Tampa-St. Pete stores

CVS Health is now providing mental health counseling and care services at five Tampa-St. Petersburg area CVS HealthHUB store locations. One of the sites is at 8001 9th St. N. in St. Petersburg. The others are 8905 Bryan Dairy Rd. in Largo, 303 U.S. Highway 19 N. in Clearwater, 5905 U.S. Highway 301 S. in Riverview, and 5357 Ehrlich Rd. in Tampa. CVS has added licensed clinical social workers to its MinuteClinic staff at these locations. Individuals can receive private mental health assessments, counseling and personalized care plans and referrals to a higher level of care as needed, in person in the clinics or through a video consultation. To learn more and schedule an in-store or telehealth appointment, call 1-855-417-2486 or visit cvs.com/mentalhealth

Miami healthcare organization buys Largo medical practice

ClareMedica Health Partners acquired the practice of Dr. William T. Keweshawn, Dr. Allison Howard, and Dr. Chris Patterson, known as the Anona Medical Center, in Largo. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. The acquisition represents a significant milestone for ClareMedica, a Miami-based healthcare organizations focused on the delivery of primary care to seniors. "With almost 1000 Humana Medicare Advantage customers, the acquisition deepens our relationship with one of our premier plan partners and sets the stage for our continued expansion in Pinellas, a county with a robust Medicare Advantage population and one we have been targeting for some time now," said Roberto L. Palenzuela, CEO of ClareMedica. ClareMedica now has 34 owned and affiliated primary care practices throughout Florida.

Aquarium board elects new chairman

Paul Auslander has been elected chairman of the board at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. He will succeed John Draheim, who, according to a news release, has decided to step down after serving as chairman for 10 years. Auslander served as the board’s vice chairman under Draheim, who will remain on the board as past chairperson and chairman of the board's development committee. Auslander, the release states, is the director of financial planning at ProVise Management Group, a financial planning and investment management firm with offices in Tampa and Clearwater.

Publix profit more than doubles in Q1

Publix Super Markets reported a 124 percent increase in net earnings for the first quarter of 2021. The Lakeland-based grocery chain said it had $1.5 billion in net earnings, or $2.16 a share, for the three months ended March 27, compared to net earnings of $667.3 million, or 94 cents a share, for the three months ended March 28, 2020. Sales for Q1 2021 were $11.7 billion, a 3.9 percent increase from $11.2 billion in the year-ago period. Publix said in a news release that about $900 million of the increase in sales in Q1 2021 was due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The company's stock price increased from $60.20 a share to $61.30 a share, effective May 1. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current employees and members of the board of directors. Publix is one of the largest employers in St. Petersburg, with about 2,400 employees in the city in 2020, according to the city's comprehensive annual financial report.

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