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Credit union to merge with First Citrus Bank

Michigan-based DFCU Financial will merge with the Tampa-based First Citrus Bank through n all-cash acquisition. Upon completion of the transaction, the entire management team of FCB will join DFCU. DFCU intends to keep all of FCB’s branches open following the completion of the transaction this fourth quarter. As of March 31, 2022, FCB had approximately $689 million in assets, $398 million in loans, and $622 million in deposits. The combined entity will have approximately $7.1 billion in assets and nearly $800 million in capital across its Michigan and Florida footprint with a total of 33 branch locations, according to a news release. Subject to the terms of the agreement, shareholders of FCB will receive $47.75 in cash for each share owned.

Early Learning Coalition hosts VPK events

In an effort to provide more access to parents, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Pinellas County is hosting Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) registration events throughout Pinellas County, beginning May 18. VPK is a free program for 4-year-old children whose families reside in Florida. According to the ELC release, the program builds a strong foundation for primary school by utilizing educational materials that correlate to different stages in a child’s development. Hundreds of public, private and faith-based schools and centers offer VPK programs in Pinellas County. Parents interested in registering their child must bring proof of residency, proof of the child’s age and their current immunization records. Registration events are as follows: Clearwater - 2536 Countryside Blvd. #500 on May 18 from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; St. Petersburg - 3420 8th Ave. S. on June 3 from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; and Lealman - 3815 43rd St. N., Building 8 on June 25 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. For more information, visit the website here.

Bolts continue quest for three-peat

The Tampa Bay Lightning forced a decisive Game 7 in thrilling fashion Thursday night, outlasting the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. The Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second period, but the Maple Leafs responded with three unanswered goals. Down 3-2, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov tied it up with a power-play goal in the third frame. With just 1:56 remaining in sudden-death overtime, Brayden Point once again lived up to his last name and scored the game-winner in front of a raucous crowd at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay continues its quest for a three-peat in Toronto on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Lightning face do or die Game 6 tonight

The Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in a rare position as they face the Toronto Maple Leafs in a crucial Game 6 Thursday night. Since the Columbus Blue Jackets handed them a shocking sweep in 2019, the Lightning has won eight straight playoff series and consecutive Stanley Cup titles. Tampa Bay now must win two in a row against Toronto or face a first-round exit. Tampa Bay could have avoided this scenario but let a 2-0 lead slip away in Game 5. The Maple Leafs, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, have not made it to the second round of the NHL playoffs since 2004. The Lightning will fight for their playoff lives at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night from the friendly confines of Amalie Arena.

St. Pete High students win national competition

Five students from St. Pete High School’s Junior Achievement 3DE program recently won the 2022 Home Depot National Case Challenge. The winning 10th-grade team consisted of Amaya Aikens, Kenyon Clarkson, Alisha Ford, Tate Keber and Mya Muar. The St. Pete High team took first place out of 15 teams nationwide. The 3DE program utilizes business professionals as student advisors and coaches, helping to bring real-world situations to the classroom. For the competition, Home Depot challenged the teams to create an innovative showroom-type experience based on kitchen products. St. Pete High hosted a watch party in the school’s cafeteria so fellow students could cheer on their classmates as they competed on a national stage.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport to host job fair for its tenants

The St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is hosting a job fair for its tenants, including airline and concessionaire jobs. It will be held on May 17 from 10 a.m. till noon, and then again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. The tenants hiring include Allegiant Air, the Hudson Group, SSP America, Sheltair Aviation and the airport itself. The interviews will be held on the second level inside the airport. All positions require a criminal background check.

Community Tampa Bay awards ceremony is May 25

Community Tampa Bay will recognize community leaders and advocates May 25 with its Silver Medallion Award. The honorees will be celebrated at Tampa River Center, in front of 150 event guests (registration is here). The awards have been given out every year since 1970. This year's honorees are the Green Book of Tampa Bay (Hillary Van Dyke and Joshua Bean) for their work establishing a directory of Black-owned area businesses, disability rights advocates Karen Clay and her son, Michael Phillips (posthumously), and Equality Florida's Director of Development Mark Puskarich.

Tampa commercial real estate tech startup raises $12M

Leasecake, a tech firm based in Tampa that aims to transform lease and location management with its cloud-based system, has raised $12 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round. The round was led by PeakSpan Capital, an investment firm in Silicon Valley and New York City that's focused on business-to-business software companies in the growth stage. Las Olas Venture Capital, an existing investor, participated in the round as well as Branded Strategic Hospitality, according to a news release. Leasecake allows tenants, brokers and landlords to manage leases, accounting, insurance agreements and franchise operations.

TBIC receives donation for the ARK Innovation Center

Al Steinberg, former vice president of Dillard's, and his wife Sandee, who is also a former executive at Dillard's, have donated $50,000 to the Tampa Bay Innovation Center's new hub in St. Petersburg dubbed the ARK Innovation Center. The ARK Innovation Center, opening July 2023, will be the new home to programs and resources that have been serving Tampa Bay entrepreneurs and emerging tech startups. 

KnowBe4 reaches nearly 50,000 customers

Clearwater-based KnowBe4 Inc. (NASDAQ: KNBE),  a provider of the world's largest security awareness training, has increased its total GAAP revenue increased 40.1% year-over-year to $75 million, according to its financial results for the first quarter. “We are pleased to report another outstanding quarter with ARR [annual recurring revenue] reaching $305.9 million and total customers closing in on 50,000,” said Stu Sjouwerman, founder and chief executive officer of KnowBe4. “As current geopolitical events have indicated, the need for organizations to establish a strong security culture has never been more important. We believe our current product portfolio coupled with new offerings planned for later this year positions us very well to take advantage of the market's heightened focus on security."

Pinellas Schools superintendent search update

The three finalists vying to replace Dr. Michael Grego as the Pinellas County Schools (PCS) superintendent will take part in interviews at the PCS administration building in Largo on Wednesday, May 11. Kevin Hendrick, Michael Ramirez and Ann Hembrook will interview with school board members as a group, followed by individual meetings with district departments. The public is welcome to attend and watch the livestream, but public comment is not allowed. The finalists will take part in private, individual interviews on Thursday, May 12. The board expects to select a new superintendent on May 17, and Grego retires on July 1. For more information and video links, visit the website here.

100 Women Who Care awards $22,000

During their latest fundraising event, 100 Women Who Care St. Petersburg awarded $22,000 to three carefully selected area nonprofits. Pineapple Projects, which helps the previously homeless start a new life by providing furniture and décor for their new homes, took home the impact award of $17,000. The money was raised through members contributing $100 each at the start of the event. Live, Love, St. Pete!, received $2,500 to purchase 301 backpacks stuffed with school supplies for local children in need. Remember Me, which helps those with mental illnesses recover through paddle boarding and water therapy, also received $2,500. The next 100 Women Who Care meeting and fundraiser is Thursday, Sept. 1.

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