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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.

St. Pete’s Flying Boat Brewing sells production facility to Tampa brewer

St. Petersburg’s Flying Boat Brewing announced Monday it is selling its production facility at 1776 11th Ave. N. to Tampa’s King State Brewing. The facility will now be known as Brutalist Brewing. While King State owns the site, Flying Boat will continue brewing from the location as a contract brewer, and five of its beers will remain on tap. Flying Boat said the move offers the company the opportunity to pursue multiple satellite locations across the Tampa Bay region.

Surf park to be built in Tampa Bay

A massive surf park dubbed Peak Surf Park is slated to be built in Tampa Bay. The park will recreate ocean-like waves to give experienced and aspiring surfers an opportunity to catch some waves. The exact site in Tampa Bay was not disclosed, but its website states Peak Surf Park will also feature a 1/2-mile long beach with cabanas and bars. The adventure park will also have an area for concerts and recreational areas for skateboarding and more. The latest information on the park can be found on its website. 

Former Holocaust Museum CEO joins Creative Pinellas

Elizabeth Gelman, former CEO of the Florida Holocaust Museum, has joined Creative Pinellas as the arts support organization's Interim Gallery Director. “As we cautiously find our way out of isolation, what a joy to be asked to oversee the gallery for the next few months," Gelman said in a prepared statement, "to help create and drive the strategic vision of an arts venue that has the potential to become an essential regional player for artists, residents, and tourists alike.”

Yankees hire MLB’s first female manager to lead Tampa affiliate

The New York Yankees are promoting Rachel Balkovec to serve as the new manager for the Low-A Tampa Tarpons, making Balkovec the first woman to ever manage a minor league team. Balkovec became the first female to ever coach in the minor leagues when the Yankees made her a hitting instructor in 2019. Balkovec played NCAA D1 softball for the University of New Mexico and broke through with the MLB as an intern for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. She also had brief stints with the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros. Balkovec takes over for David Adams, who managed the Tampa Tarpons last season.

Crunch Fitness opens gym in St. Petersburg

The Crunch Fitness franchise has officially opened a massive gym in the Northeast Park Shopping Center. The gym, called Crunch St. Petersburg, is a 40,280-square-foot facility that occupies a former Stein Mart box space. Brandon-based CR Fitness Holdings LLC operates the gym at 218 37th Ave. N. in the Northeast Park Shopping Center. The gym has $1 million worth of fitness equipment including equipment for a group fitness studio, a hot yoga studio, a cycling studio and body imaging equipment.  

St. Pete museums to offer Covid vaccinations Jan. 16

Five St. Petersburg museums will offer free Covid-19 vaccinations Sunday, Jan. 16 from 12 to 4 p.m. Participating in "Museums For Immunity" are the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum, the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the Florida Holocaust Museum and the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. Participants will be eligible to receive their first or second Covid immunization, or their booster – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and adult and pediatric Pfizer vaccines will be available, long with flu vaccines for children and adults. Museum admission is not required. Check each venue's website for additional details; advance registration is recommended.

Bucs blast Panthers, set franchise record for wins

Tampa Bay overcame a week of turmoil resulting from the Antonio Brown situation and a slow start to Sunday’s game against Carolina before ultimately blowing out the Panthers, 41-17. After going down 7-0 at home in the first quarter, the Bucs reeled off 17 straight points en route to their 13th win of the season, a new franchise record. The Bucs were led by quarterback Tom Brady who racked up 326 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski stepped up for a depleted offense missing several starters due to injuries and Brown’s release, finishing with seven receptions for 137 yards. A 24 point fourth quarter sealed the decisive victory for Tampa Bay, who now await the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs at Raymond James Stadium.

Welch adds to his administration

On Friday, Mayor Ken Welch announced the promotion of three City of St. Petersburg employees to new positions. Rob Gerdes, former neighborhood affairs administrator, will now serve as assistant city administrator. Welch originally announced this move during his inauguration Thursday as a means to address the affordable housing crisis. Replacing Gerdes as neighborhood affairs administrator is James Corbett. Corbett is the former director of code compliance, a position also once held by Gerdes. Welch also appointed Joe Zeoli as interim city development administrator. Zeoli has served the city for nearly 35 years, most recently as managing director of administration and finance. Prior to this latest staffing announcement, Welch named Stephanie Owens as his deputy mayor and chief of policy, Tom Greene as interim city administrator, Janelle Irwin Taylor as communication director and Doyle Walsh as his senior adviser.

St. Petersburg Opera Company cancels Saturday’s events due to Covid

The St. Petersburg Opera Company announced it has canceled Saturday’s “Gallery Songs” program along with its participation in the Saturday ArtWalk. In a statement posted to social media, the company said the decision was made due to “the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant in our community and considering our health concerns about large crowds with our performing and unmasked artists … ” The company said it will also institute new safety measures that align with CDC guidelines moving forward.

USF installs reverse vending machines to increase recycling

The University of South Florida has partnered with Coca-Cola to increase recycling efforts through reverse vending machines (RVM). Funded by Coca-Cola, the six machines accept plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The company is donating five cents to the USF Feed-A-Bull Food Pantry for every can or bottle the six machines receive, up to $5,000 a year. Coca-Cola maintains the machines, although they accept empty cans and bottles from any brand. No cleaning is required, but the RVM returns materials that do not meet recycling criteria, such as glass. The RVM crushes and sorts the recyclables before Coca-Cola’s subcontractor, Atlas, collects them. Each machine’s capacity is about 900 crushed containers. Coca-Cola installed four machines on the Tampa campus and two on the St. Petersburg campus.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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