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St. Pete-Clearwater Airport adds nonstop flight

Allegiant Airlines will offer nonstop flights from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Bismarck, North Dakota, beginning May 15. According to the announcement, one-way fares will start at $79. Tom Jewsbury, airport director, said the destination would provide opportunities “to explore history, nature and culture in vast open lands on the Missouri River.”

‘Snow Days’ return to Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium kicked off its annual Snow Days event Saturday, providing winter-themed activities every weekend through December. The downtown Tampa institution will feature a snowball toss and slingshot, snow painting, a snow maze and several other holiday activities. The event is included with membership and general admission, and for more information, visit the website here.

Publix names new CEO

Kevin Murphy, current president of Publix Super Markets, Inc., will become CEO Jan. 1. Murphy replaces Todd Jones, who will move into the Executive Chairman role. Both men began their Publix careers in entry level roles at stores. 

CRA Microfund applications begin Dec. 14

Applications for the second round of the South St. Petersburg CRA Microfund Program begin Dec. 14. Administered by the South St. Petersburg CRA (Community Redevelopment Area), the initiative is designed to foster the success of small businesses in South St. Pete. The initial round awarded $440,000 to 53 participants. The 30-day open application period will end Jan. 15.

St. Pete steakhouse closes

The owners of Oaks on 4th have announced that the “refined rustic” casual steakhouse at 4351 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg has closed. A social media post attributed the closure to “unforeseen challenges and obstacles that ultimately hindered our ability to continue operations.” Those with unused Oaks on 4th gift cards can redeem them at Bascom’s Chop House, which operates under the same ownership.

No Catalyst Thursday or Friday this week

Happy Thanksgiving! The Catalyst staff is taking Thursday and Friday off this week, so we can be with our families. We'll be back Saturday, Nov. 25.

Florida Association of Counties showcases St. Pete skyline

The Florida Association of Counties selected 15 photos from 580 submissions encompassing 52 counties for its annual calendar. St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront features prominently as the back cover. The photo, representing Pinellas County, was taken by Bruno Rivera. To view the 2023-24 calendar contest winners and pictures, visit the website here.

Police officers ensure families have clean Thanksgiving clothes

The St. Petersburg Police Department has partnered with Tampa-based nonprofit Current Initiatives to help ensure local families have clean clothes in time for Thanksgiving. Officers will personally pay for the service at Soapy’s Laundry, located at 3435 15th Ave. S., from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Current Initiatives launched the Laundry Project to assist families and foster positive relationships with officers.

Tampa International ranks among nation’s best airports

The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Tampa International Airport (TPA) 10th among the nation’s best midsize airports. California's San Jose Mineta International Airport took the category's top spot. TPA earned high scores for its lack of security clearance delays, baggage claim efficiency and number of on-time departures. The Wall Street Journal utilizes 30 data points from government agencies and passenger surveys to rank the country’s 50 busiest airports.

Health officials warn flu is on the rise in Florida

Flu season is underway, with at least seven states reporting high levels of illnesses and cases rising in other parts of the country. In its most recent update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted new flu data, reporting that seasonal influenza activity continues to increase, most notably in the South Central, Southeast and West Coast regions. Florida, Alaska, New Mexico and Puerto Rico reported "high flu activity." Puerto Rican health authorities declared an influenza epidemic, the territory's first since 2016.

USF Health plans $16.7 million infectious disease lab

The University of South Florida’s finance committee recently approved spending up to $16.7 million to build an infectious disease research lab within the new USF Research Park building in Tampa. The Morsani College of Medicine’s research foundation will provide the funding. If approved by the university’s board of trustees, the facility will provide 21,604 square feet of space to study potentially lethal infectious agents.

Report: St. Pete arts nonprofits generated $132 million in 2022

According to a new Arts & Economic Prosperity study from the group Americans for the Arts, St. Petersburg arts and culture nonprofits generated $132.5 million in economic activity during 2022 - $61.6 million in spending by arts and culture organizations, and an additional $70.9 million in event-related expenditures by audiences. That economic activity supported 2,121 jobs, provided $85.1 million in personal income to residents, and generated $26.5 million in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments. The full report is available on the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance website.      

The St. Pete Catalyst

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