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Local experts to discuss red tide, sea level rise

The Ocean Conservancy is inviting the public to listen to a roundtable discussion where local scientists and policy experts will discuss the biggest issues threatening Florida's water quality today. The Our Bay, Our Future event will be held Wednesday, Aug. 24th, at 6 p.m. at the St. Petersburg College STEM Center. The panelists include experts from Tampa Bay Watch, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tampa Bay Waterkeeper and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. The issues that will be covered include red tide, harmful algae blooms and sea level rise.

Enchant to return for the 2022 holiday season

Recently partnered with the Hallmark Channel, Enchant - formerly known as Enchant Christmas - will return to Tropicana Field Nov. 25. The 10-acre walk-through holiday extravaganza includes more than four million lights, a 100-foot-tall holiday tree, an ice skating trail and more. Tickets go on sale Sept. 15. 

Pinellas School district continues free wi-fi program

With a new school year in full swing, Pinellas County Schools is once again providing free wi-fi to students in need. The district is offering 20,000 T-Mobile internet hotspots to ensure kids have reliable internet access outside of the classroom to help ensure academic success. Students can use the hotspots for their personal devices or school-issued electronics through the PCS Connects program. The LTE hotspots support up to 15 devices and include unlimited high-speed data. There is no liability or cost to students. If interested, a parent or guardian should contact their child’s school.

Tampa Bay Wave relocates to new local office

The Tampa Bay Wave, known for its startup accelerators, located at 500 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, is moving across the street to the WeWork building. Tampa Bay Wave CEO Linda Olson wrote on LinkedIn that the Wave has enjoyed the current space for the last seven years, but the new location will support the organization's growth. A grand opening date will be announced soon. 

Tampa Bay companies rank on Inc. 5000 list

Several Tampa area-based companies have been named on the Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest growing privately held companies in America. Clearwater-based Kitrum was ranked No. 50, Tampa-based Ideal Agent ranked No. 73, Tampa-based Soma Global ranked No. 141, Tampa-based PainTEQ ranked No. 149, St. Petersburg-based Neptune Flood ranked No. 205, Tampa-based Blue.cloud ranked No. 533, and St. Petersburg-based Innowise ranked No. 554. More local companies also ranked in the list, which can be found here. 

Gas prices continue to fall back to earth

The average gas price in Florida dropped by 14 cents last week, the ninth consecutive decline since reaching an all-time high in June. According to AAA, the average price of gas was $3.65 per gallon, its lowest since early March and $1.24 less than the mid-June record. The auto club reports it now costs $55 to fill an average-sized 15-gallon gas tank. The Crestview-Ft. Walton Beach metro area recorded the state’s lowest price at $3.48, according to AAA’s running survey. The Villages were the second lowest at $3.50, followed by Panama City and St. Petersburg with a $3.54 per gallon average. The national average was $3.96 Monday.

Rowdies unbeaten streak ends at 13

The Tampa Bay Rowdies saw their 13-match unbeaten streak snapped Saturday night as the club lost a road match 1-0 to the Louisville City FC. The Rowdies, previous winners of seven straight, dropped from second to third place in the USL’s Eastern Conference following the loss. Louisville, which now sits four points ahead of Tampa Bay in first place in the East, set an attendance record with an announced crowd of 14,673 at Lynn Family Stadium.

Howard Frankland Bridge to close tonight

The Florida Department of Transportation announced it will close all of the southbound Interstate I-275 travel lanes on the Howard Frankland Bridge from 11 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16. The temporary closure is taking place to allow crews to install overhead signs as part of the Gateway Expressway project. During this closure, motorists needing to cross Old Tampa Bay will be directed to exit the interstate using U.S. Highway 92 West (Dale Mabry South) Exit 41A, continue south on Dale Mabry Highway, west on Gandy Boulevard, then north on Roosevelt Boulevard towards the southbound I-275 entrance ramp.

Piney Point releases rainwater ahead of closure

Workers at the shuttered Piney Point fertilizer plant in Manatee County began releasing rainwater stored at the site into Tampa Bay over the weekend. Unlike the millions of gallons of polluted water pumped into the bay in April 2021, the current discharge is treated and safe for release, according to the Florida Department of Environmental protection. After officials discovered a leak in one of Piney Point’s reservoirs last year, they ordered the release of about 215 million gallons of nitrogen-rich contaminated water into the bay to prevent the potential flooding of surrounding neighborhoods. Environmentalists said that likely helped fuel a massive red tide outbreak last summer. State leadership has since dedicated millions to treating and draining all of the water from the site, but workers must first remove the rainwater. Officials said the discharge would last about six days and conclude towards the end of this week.

Master Chorale names new artistic director

The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay has announced Matthew Abernathy as its new artistic director, replacing Brett Karlin, who resigned in June. The Chorale's 44th season begins in October with performances of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana alongside The Florida Orchestra.

Early Voting begins in Pinellas County

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Election’s Office opened early voting Saturday for Florida’s primary election. As of Saturday, there are over 691,000 active registered voters in the county. Residents can vote at the following locations until Aug. 21: the Election Service Center at 13002 Starkey Rd. in Largo, the County Building at 501 1st Ave. N. in St. Petersburg and the Pinellas County Courthouse at 315 Court St., room 117, in Clearwater. Voting is open from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends, and until 6 p.m. on weekdays.

MacDill meets ‘Shark Tank’

Described as a sort of Shark Tank for the military, MacDill Airforce announced plans Thursday for a pitch competition dubbed the CENTCOM Innovation Oasis. At the Oct. 12 event, service members and civilian employees will offer ideas to improve operations at the base, which includes U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Representatives from Google and SpaceX will help pick the winners, and military officials are looking for both high and low-tech solutions. Judges will name five finalists from email submissions, who then pitch their ideas at the on-base event. The winner receives a service medal and a four-day leave pass, and officials will consider the concept for implementation across CENTCOM.  

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