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Tonight’s League of Women Voters virtual forum to feature candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff

The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area will hold its second Thursday Nights With The League virtual forum tonight (Thursday, Sept. 10) at 7 p.m. with the two candidates vying for Pinellas County Sheriff. They are incumbent Bob Gualtieri (R), and Eliseo Santana (D). This forum will be moderated by local attorney Tamara Felton-Howard. To watch live, visit the League of Women Voters Facebook page or YouTube channel

St. Pete’s Oaklawn Cemetery focus of USF research funding

A research project that will identify, preserve and record unmarked and abandoned African American cemeteries is one of 23 research projects that will be funded by University of South Florida. The African American Burial Grounds & Remembering project will focus on Oaklawn Cemetery in St. Petersburg and Zion Cemetery in Tampa. The project was among those that will share $500,000 in funding in an initiative announced earlier this year. See a full list of projects here.

Glazer Vision Foundation to contribute $1.5 million for the Glazer Family Playground at The Pier

The City of St. Petersburg has announced a 30-year agreement with the Glazer Vision Foundation in which the foundation will support the playground at the St. Petersburg Pier, which opened in early July. An unveiling ceremony with new signage for the playground will be announced at a later date. The Glazer Vision Foundation honors the legacy of the late Malcolm Glazer, who attributed his first pair of prescription eyeglasses to an enhanced ability to learn and succeed. To date, the foundation has provided more than 100,000 free eye screenings and 20,000 free prescription glasses to local students. 

StPete2050 close to completion

St. Petersburg city officials expect to release a final report on StPete2050, a citywide visioning process, next month. The report will be presented to the City Council when it is meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Oct. 22, Derek Kilborn, manager of urban planning and historic preservation, told the Community Planning and Preservation Commission on Tuesday. It will first be made public around the beginning of October. The community was very engaged in the visioning process and the city received a lot of feedback about successes from an earlier Vision 2020 plan, as well as opportunities for improvement, Kilborn said. The final report will include a summary and recommendations, as well as three appendices: a progress and opportunities report, a market assessment and a public engagement report. After the City Council's Committee of the Whole presentation, the next phase of StPete2050 is to incorporate the feedback into the city's comprehensive plan and long-range planning efforts, including land development regulations, Kilborn said.  

Tampa private equity firm rebrands

Skyway Group Private Equity Funds, a Tampa private equity firm has changed its name to SCP & CO.  The name change reflects the company’s new strategic direction to make larger investments on a national scale and draw a greater distinction between its past history and future plans, a news release said. The company was originally founded in 2002 as Skyway Capital Partners, and more recently was Skyway Group Private Equity Funds after selling its investment banking operations, Skyway Advisors, in 2016. SCP & CO focuses on control investments across the healthcare, human capital, information technology, and real estate industries, and is headed by co-founders Bryan Crino, who is president, and Scott Feuer, who is CEO.

BayCare to resume limited visitation at its hospitals

BayCare Health System will resume limited visitation at its hospitals starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, allowing most inpatients to have one visitor a day from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors must be 18 or over, pass a Covid-19 screening and wear a mask during their entire visit. Extended hours and provisions are allowed for pediatric, neonatal intensive care, labor and delivery and mothers and newborns. No visitors will be allowed for Behavioral Health or Covid patients, and those arriving for surgeries and procedures will be allowed one visitor during pre-operation and recovery times. Special circumstances can be approved by hospital leadership on a case-by-case basis.



Tampa International Airport marks busiest day since pandemic began

Tampa International Airport served nearly 27,000 passengers on Friday, Sept. 4, its busiest day since the Covid-19 pandemic reduced business by more than 90 percent in late March and early April. Between Thursday, Sept. 3, and Monday, Sept. 7, more than 117,000 arriving and departing passengers traveled through the airport, a news release said.  However, Tampa International is still seeing significantly less traffic than it did prior to the pandemic slowdown. During the same Labor Day period last year, about 293,000 passengers flew through TIA. September and October typically are slow months for Florida airports.

CEO of St. Pete-based Minor League Baseball will retire

Pat O'Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, has announced he will retire on Dec. 31. O’Conner has spent 38 years in professional baseball and 28 years with St. Petersburg-based Minor League Baseball. He joined the Minor League Baseball staff in 1993 as chief operating officer and was named vice president, administration, following the 1995 season. In December 2007, O'Conner was named the 11th president of Minor League Baseball, embarking on a 13-year run as president as he was re-elected in 2011, 2015 and 2019. O'Conner's tenure is the fifth-longest presidency in Minor League Baseball's 120-year history, a news release said. This year's Minor League Baseball season was cancelled in June, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pinellas County webinar series offers guidance for CARES grant application process

Pinellas County will host a series of Zoom webinars for businesses owners who need assistance applying for the Pinellas CARES Local Business Grant. The webinars will cover a variety of topics including eligibility, required documents and how to submit a completed application. The 30-45 minute sessions will be held September 10 at 12 p.m., September 11 at 2 p.m. and September 15 at 10 a.m and will be recorded and posted on Pinellas County's YouTube channel. To register, click here

The Greenhouse to host listening tour to learn more about the small business landscape during the pandemic

The St. Petersburg Greenhouse is hosting a virtual listening tour for small business owners where they can share their Covid-related challenges, pivots and plans. Information collected from these sessions will be used to help The Greenhouse craft aid and additional services to support small businesses during and after the pandemic. Sessions will be held September 9 at 12 p.m., September 17 at 8:30 a.m. and September 22 at 6 p.m. To register, click here

State economic development leader to speak at FIBA event

Jamal Sowell, Florida Secretary of Commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, will provide an update on the state's tech ecosystem at Innovation Fusion 2020. Sowell joins other speakers, including Janet Echelman, the creator of Bending Arc, the aerial sculpture at the St. Pete Pier; and Ori Kaufman-Gafter, head of international and tech banking at Bank Leumi USA. Innovation Fusion, scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, is a signature event for the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator, a Tampa-based business development and community engagement project. It will be held online this year. Register here.

Wall Springs Park expands in Palm Harbor

The Wall Springs Park Coastal Addition is now open at 621 Wai Lani Road in Palm Harbor. It adds 125 extra acres to the existing 84-acre Wall Springs Park area. The coastal addition adds a large picnic shelter, wooded areas with natural trails, and a winding paved trail that leads to the water, where an elevated observation deck allows visitors to enjoy a coastal view. Visitors will find a natural stone seawall at the northwestern boundary of the park expansion. The park has restrooms and a five-foot sidewalk along Wai Lani Road leading to Alternate 19, for pedestrian safety. The addition protects a variety of native habitats and associated plant and animal life including 18 species of fish, 148 species of plants and 127 species of birds, a news release said. Construction was funded by the Penny for Pinellas sales tax and the Florida Communities Trust/Forever Florida grant program.

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