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WellCare-Centene deal gets key backing

Institutional Shareholder Services, an influential proxy advisory firm, recommended shareholders approve the planned $17 billion acquisition of WellCare Health Plans by Centene Corp. ISS said the deal “appears sound strategically and financially” and the terms provide a meaningful premium, according to Forbes. Both companies are scheduled to vote on the deal on June 24.

GoZone WiFi sets launch date for EDGE District project

GoZone WiFi will hold a wire cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 20 — World WiFi Day — to officially launch its free-to-the-public WiFI network throughout the EDGE District. The initiative gives visitors to the district easy access to WiFi while allowing businesses to learn more about their customers, as the St. Pete Catalyst first reported.  The project helps bridge the digital divide, a key focus for Todd Myers, GoZone CEO, and for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. "Bringing free WiFi to the heart of our city is a creative, innovative way to help everyone connect in new and exciting ways," Kriseman said in a news release, which has more details about the project.

Looper ridership grows

About eight months after Looper 2.0 took to the streets, riders are flocking to the revised transportation option. In May 2019, there was a 175 percent increase in ridership, compared to May 2018, according to St. Petersburg economic development officials. They credit the free fare and a more consistent and frequent route for the ridership increase.

Tropicana Field makes holiday plans

Enchant Christmas, a large-scale, immersive holiday light experience, will be at Tropicana Field Nov. 22-Dec. 29. The outfield will feature a Christmas Market stocked with over 60 local food and artisan merchant vendors. The infield will house an ice-skating trail. The RaysClub and other premium areas will become available for VIP and private holiday party experiences. More here.

PSTA fast tracks bus safety barriers

Leaders of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, with the support of the Service Employee International Union, have agreed upon safety barriers for all PSTA buses. The new barriers, with extended tempered glass to cover a larger area, will cost about $4,000 to $5,000 each, or about $840,000 to $1.05 million for all 210 buses, a news release said. Under an expedited approval process, the PSTA finance committee will consider the purchase on June 19th with the full PSTA Board approval scheduled for June 26. Installation is expected to begin in August and be completed by the end of October.

Raymond James branch manager killed in Memphis

Glenn Cofield, financial advisor and branch manager in Memphis for Raymond James, was shot and killed leaving a charity event Friday night, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. Cofield was a well-known community volunteer, and no suspects were arrested as of Sunday morning and a motive in the killing remains unclear, the report said. Cofield had been employed by St. Petersburg-based Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) since 1993, according to regulatory records.

Tampa tech company raises $1.25 million

Venuetize Inc., a mobile technology company in Tampa, raised $1.25 million in an equity offering, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is seeking a total of $4.5 million, the filing said. Venuetize has a mobile platform that integrates with existing venue infrastructure to deliver mobile wallets, contextual advertising and information to improve and innovate the guest experience.

Ironman parent company files for $500M IPO

Wanda Sports Group plans to raise $500 million in an initial public offering. The company is being spun out of China's Wanda Group. Wanda Sports owns Tampa-based World Endurance Holdings, the owner of the Ironman triathlon competition and brand. It also owns Wanda Sports Co., the owner of the China Cup International Football Tournament and the UCI Tour of Guangxi, and Infront Sports & Media. Wanda Sports was one of the world's largest sports events, media and marketing platforms in terms of revenue in 2018, according to Renaissance Capital.

St. Pete Free Clinic opens health education center

The St. Petersburg Free Clinic cut the ribbon today on its new Health Education Center. The center will offer a variety of free classes aimed at supporting uninsured adults in living a healthier, fuller life. It will host cooking classes focused on healthy eating and portion control in a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, as well as yoga, fitness and exercise training classes.

LGBTQ owned businesses to be included in City of St. Pete’s SBE program

Council member Gina Driscoll's resolution to include LGBTQ-owned businesses in the City of St. Petersburg's inclusionary measures for small business entities passed the St. Petersburg City Council unanimously Thursday afternoon. The resolution would include LGBTQ-owned businesses in tracking and monitoring of the City's procurement of goods and services. This data is already collected for minority and woman-owned businesses. The resolution also includes such businesses in the Small Business Enterprise program administered by the Greenhouse. 

Tampa General enters Pinellas County in deal with Fast Track

Tampa General Hospital and Fast Track Urgent Care have launched a new partnership to provide medical care at 10 locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, including two in Pinellas County. The 50-50 partnership between TGH and Fast Track marks the first time Tampa General has offered freestanding clinical care in Pinellas County. It also is an expansion for Fast Track, which currently operates eight clinics. The urgent care centers will be known as “TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track" and will offer board-certified primary care providers who can take care of common illnesses and injuries without an appointment.

St. Petersburg City Council passes resolution supporting Medicare For All

Council member Steve Kornell brought forward a resolution Thursday in support of the federal movement toward Medicare for All. St. Petersburg City Council adopted the resolution in support of H.R. 1384 by a 6-2 vote, with Council members Darden Rice and Ed Montanari voting against the resolution. Rice clarified that she has long been an advocate of universal healthcare and explained that her vote against the resolution was due to its lack of specifics.  While the resolution is largely a symbolic motion, it follows in the footsteps of other cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Cambridge in a national movement to show support for the proposed federal legislation. The resolution also instructs the City Clerk to forward a copy of the resolution to the Federal Delegation. 

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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