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Pop-up opera performances rescheduled

St. Petersburg Opera Company has rescheduled its three outdoor performances by "The Three Tenors,' postponed from Sept. 13 because of rain. The new date for the mini-concerts is Sunday, Oct. 4 at Westminster Palms, the Side Lot and the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Details are at stpeteopera.org.

Lightning, Viniks grant $400,000 to non-profits to improve racial equity and inclusion

The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation will donate $400,000 to the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, for the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals. The latest donations bring community contributions for the 2020 NHL playoffs to $1 million, the Lightning said in a news release. The funding is designed to address racial equity and inclusion in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, and the news release listed the organizations that would receive grants of $50,000 each. They are: United Way Suncoast and R Club, which work to ensure access to education; Community to Develop Communities in Tampa and the Pinellas County Urban League, which enhance workforce development; foundations for the Tampa and St.Petersburg police departments, to support training, education and fostering positive community relations; and University Area Community Development Corp. and St. Petersburg Free Clinic, both operating in the social service and humanitarian assistance space. 

Wells Fargo: Florida positioned for job gains

Florida is making good progress recouping jobs lost earlier this year from the business lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Wells Fargo Securities. Florida employers added almost 58,000 workers to payrolls during August, the fourth consecutive monthly gain, a report issued Friday by Wells Fargo said. The state lost nearly 1.2 million jobs between February and April, and has since regained 631,600 jobs, the report said. The state's unemployment rate in August was 7.4 percent, down 4 percentage points from July. Jobless claims, while  still high, also are dropping, Wells Fargo said. Florida could see hiring pick up in the coming months as the state draws vacationers from the Midwest and the Northeast, but those visitors also could re-accelerate Covid-19 case growth, Wells Fargo said.

PSTA announces participation in national health and safety program

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s “Health and Safety Commitments Program,” the public transportation industry’s overarching pledge to passengers that public transit systems are taking all the necessary measures to operate safely as the nation recovers from the pandemic. The program was developed after asking transit users from across the country what would make them feel more confident riding public transportation amid concerns about Covid-19. Their answers included following public health guidelines, enhanced cleaning measures, increased communication and prohibiting people exposed to the virus or feeling sick from using public transportation, all of which PSTA has implemented during the pandemic.   

Mahaffey Covid test site changes expected amid Grand Prix prep

St. Petersburg officials are looking at an alternative plan for the Covid-19 testing that's currently taking place at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater. The theater is in the area where organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be setting up the track for the race, which has been rescheduled to Oct. 23-Oct. 25. The city is working with Pinellas County and Florida health departments to keep testing going with as little interruption as possible, Amber Boulding, manager of the office of emergency management, told City Council members Thursday. The Mahaffey site, a drive-up site that offers free Covid-19 testing, currently is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Antibody tests also are available at the Mahaffey site. Additional test information is here.

Tampa Bay Rays launch sales for post-season merchandise

The Tampa Bay Rays have clinched a spot in Major League Baseball's postseason, and with that comes merchandise sales. T-shirts, caps and other items will be available at the Rays Republic Team Store at Tropicana Field beginning Sept. 18, a news release said. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with socially-distanced in-person shopping. Customers and staff will be required to wear masks. There's also curbside pickup and a variety of delivery methods available. Tropicana Field is a cash-free facility and only debit card and credit card transactions will be available. Visit RaysBaseball.com/teamstore for more information. 

City of St. Pete to launch Commercial Revitalization Program

The City of St. Petersburg will launch the application process for its Commercial Revitalization Program September 25 at 8 a.m. The program provides up to $100,000 in grant awards to projects that improve established business districts by redeveloping properties, decreasing vacancy rates, adding to the tax base, creating jobs, leveraging private sector investment and improving the quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods through removal of blight. For more information, click here

Historian, author Ray Arsenault to retire from USF

Ray Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and Program Advisor of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, has announced his retirement at the end of the 2020 fall semester. Arsenault's books include “St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950" - the definitive tome on local history - "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice," "Paradise Lost?" and the recent "Arthur Ashe: A Life."

Tampa’s Lumina partners with IBM

Lumina, a predictive analytics company in Tampa, partnered with IBM in a deal that the company said will improve the speed and accuracy of its work. Lumina moved its artificial intelligence-driven platform, Radiance, to the IBM Cloud, allowing searches that its clients perform to be completed more quickly and with fewer errors. "These advances will put our customers in a better position to prioritize their risks and protect the people and things that really matter," Michael Browne, Lumina's chief operating officer, said in a news release. Lumina also signed an IBM Embedded Solution Agreement that allows Lumina to go to market with IBM and provides better support to Lumina customers.

Tampa’s Fresco Foods gets U.S. Senate honors

Sen. Marco Rubio has named Fresco Foods of Tampa as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week. Fresco Foods is a family-owned company, owned by Rob and Tracy Povolny, that provides healthy prepackaged meals, including at Publix Super Markets through a partnership with the grocery chain. Rubio, a Florida Republican who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said Fresco Foods kept paying its 120 employees during the pandemic through a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program. Rubio also cited the company's donation of hundreds of meals to homeless and domestic violence shelters in the Tampa Bay area.

Florida senators want to put time change on hold

Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio have introduced legislation that would keep the United States on Daylight Saving Time through November 7, 2021. The bill would help provide stability for families who are already dealing with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic, a news release said. Daylight savings time is scheduled to end this year at 2 a.m. Nov. 1, and because the number of legislative days prior to then are limited, Rubio is taking steps to allow the bill to bypass the Senate Committee on Commerce and be placed directly on the Senate calendar.

St. Pete man charged in cryptocurrency scheme

The Pinellas County State Attorney's office has charged a St. Petersburg man with engaging in a fraud scheme for his alleged role in a cryptocurrency investment scam. Anthony Robert Greene reportedly represented that he had made millions of dollars in profits from his cryptocurrency trading efforts and had made payouts to investors, according to a news release from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.  A state investigation revealed he used most of the victims' money for his personal use and no cryptocurrency assets were sent to investors, the news release said.

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