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Electric bicycles banned from St. Pete Beach

A new ordinance now prohibits electric bicycles from operating on St. Pete Beach, and regular bicycles could be banned next. St. Pete Beach city commissioners recently passed the “Micromobility Ordinance” banning motorized bicycles, scooters and hoverboards from both the beach and city sidewalks. The ordinance was in response to resident and visitor safety. In 2020, the Beach Stewardship Committee recommended that no bicycles of any type should be allowed on the beach. The commission will address that recommendation in February.

Zillow projects Tampa Bay will be the top housing market in 2022

Zillow has named Tampa Bay the top hottest housing market in the nation going into 2022, according to Zillow's annual analysis on the top 10 housing markets. Jacksonville followed close behind at the No. 2 spot. The other top cities that Tampa surpassed include Nashville, Tennesse; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia and others. Tampa claimed the top spot for Zillow's list of hottest housing markets due to the strong forecasted home value growth, a thriving job market, relatively scarce and fast-moving inventory and demographics that indicate a good number of potential buyers, according to Zillow. The markets expected to have the least amount of activity in 2022 are New York, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Chicago, and San Jose – each characterized by relatively fewer new jobs and less favorable demographic trends than other large markets. 

Vinik sells minority stake in Lightning to Arctos Sports Partners

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik announced Tuesday that Arctos Sports Partners has made a minority investment into Vinik Sports Group. The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors approved the transaction in December. The minority sale takes effect immediately, and Vinik will retain control of the team and VSG as the majority owner. In a press release, Vinik said there would be no noticeable change in the day-to-day operations of the Lightning or VSG. Dallas-based Arctos is a private equity firm that provides customized liquidity and passive growth capital solutions to sports franchises. Details of the transaction remain private.

Welch tests positive for Covid, Inauguration ceremony canceled

Mayor-elect Ken Welch tested positive for Covid Monday, causing him to cancel his inauguration plans. In a press release, Welch said he is following CDC guidelines and isolating at home for the next five days. As a result, his swearing-in ceremony on the steps of City Hall will no longer take place. Instead, Welch said he would be sworn in virtually on Thursday, Jan. 6, and provide a short speech. Welch said he would continue to conduct city business virtually after his inauguration and will announce several senior members of his administration in the coming days. The press release stated that Welch was vaccinated and received a booster in November. Welch postponed his post-inauguration celebrations last week due to the surge in Covid cases stemming from the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Dali joins the Museum for All program for SNAP recipients

The Dalí Museum has joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that allows those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits to visit the museum for minimal fee of $3 per person, up to four people. The museum is also offering complimentary parking, when available, for those patrons. Visitors should present their SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at the museum ticket desk.

Arts Alliance’s MUSE Awards to return Feb. 4

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance will present its 2022 MUSE Awards Friday, Feb. 4 at the Morean Center For Clay. Honoring artists and art supporters, the event did not take place in 2021. The six winners will be announced in increments Tuesday and Wednesday, with event tickets going on sale Tuesday. Details are here.

St. Pete real estate firm buys Kentucky apartments in a $230M deal

St. Petersburg-based Stoneweg US has purchased two apartment complexes in Louisville, Kentucky through a $230 million deal. Stoneweg bought Middletown Landing and Mallard Crossing. The purchase was the largest deal to date for Stoneweg, according to a news release. “We’re fortunate to acquire two high-quality assets that significantly bolster our overall unit count and allow us to extend our reach in a market that we’ve been so successful in,” Ryan Reyes, chief investment officer for Stoneweg US, said in a news release. “Middletown Landing and Mallard Crossing at St. Matthews represents a giant step forward in our growth strategy and this move is indicative of our capabilities to source and close quality deals on a large scale." 

Brown no longer a Buc after meltdown

Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the team after making a dramatic departure from the sideline during the second half of Tampa Bay’s game against the New York Jets on Sunday. Brown stripped off his gear and undershirt before waving and jumping around in the endzone while the teams were still on the field. The Bucs would go on to beat the Jets 28-24. After the game, head coach Bruce Arians said Brown was no longer a Buccaneer. Arians told NFL reporter Jay Glazer that Brown refused to return to the game in the second half, prompting Arians to tell Brown he was no longer welcome on the team. Brown missed several weeks of the season with an ankle injury and was only one game removed from serving a three-week suspension over faking his vaccination status. The Bucs are now without two of their three top wide receivers, as Chris Godwin is out for the season after tearing his ACL.

Bucs complete last-second comeback, beat Jets 28-24

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to pull off a last-second, comeback victory on the road against the Jets Sunday, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 15 seconds remaining on the game clock. A 33-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Cyril Grayson Jr. - recently called up from the practice squad - sealed the 28-24 win for the Bucs. Tampa Bay is now 12-4 for the season with one game remaining, matching a single-season franchise record. The week leading up to the game was full of turmoil for the Bucs, with several players and head coach Bruce Arians on the reserve-Covid-19 list. All made it to New Jersey for the game, but Tampa Bay, with the NFC South division title already secured, stumbled out of the gates. The Bucs went down by as many as 14 in the second half before the embattled wide receiver threw a sideling tantrum and exited the game. The Bucs offense then scored to make it a 24-20 game. New York’s decision to attempt a 4th and 2 conversion at their own 7-yard line instead of kicking a field goal backfired. Tampa Bay’s defense made the stop, and Brady led the offense 93 yards down the field with 1:57 remaining.

No Catalyst New Year’s Eve, Catalyze ’22 wrap-up coming Saturday

The St. Pete Catalyst will not publish Friday, Dec. 31, because of the New Year's Eve holiday. On Saturday, Jan. 1, we'll publish a special wrap-up of the Catalyze 2022 series, and will resume our regular schedule Monday, Jan. 3. Happy New Year!

USF introduces new trustee

The University of South Florida will welcome a new member to its Board of Trustees (BOT) in 2022, as Rogan Donelly was recently appointed to the board by the governor. Donnelly, a USF alumnus and resident of Sarasota, is the president and CEO of the Tervis Tumbler Company. Donnelly earned his master’s degree in business administration from USF and was the 2020 recipient of the university’s Outstanding Alumni Award. Donnelly also serves on the Board of Trustees for Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Donnelly fills John Ramil’s seat on the USF BOT. Ramil has served on the board since its inception in 2001 and leaves as USF’s longest-tenured trustee. USF plans to honor Ramil at a future BOT meeting.

Mayoral receptions canceled due to Covid

Mayor-elect Ken Welch has postponed two events following his inauguration after a spike in Covid cases due to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant. Welch announced Wednesday the Community Reception scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 6 in Williams park immediately following his inauguration is no longer taking place on that date. The Mayoral and City Council Reception planned for Jan. 8 at the Dali Museum is also on hold. Makeup dates are not yet known. “Out of an abundance of caution, we will postpone these events till such time that we can safely celebrate together,” said Welch in a press release.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

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