Philanthropists Carol and Frank Morsani have gifted $7 million to the University of South Florida, to endow the Morsani Scholars, which will offer scholarships to USF students; create an endowed chair in geriatrics; and a directorship and professorship focused on ethical leadership in business. In March, the couple gave $5 million to support the development of an on-campus stadium.
Brightline, a high-speed passenger rail system that operates in South Florida, will no longer have a Disney stop between the planned Orlando-to-Tampa route. Walt Disney World said it was pulling out of a Brightline station at its Disney Springs site due to changes in its route configuration, according to multiple reports. The plans for the Brightline Disney station were unveiled in late 2020. Route maps Brightline submitted to the state also showed a Disney station. The Disney stop was planned as Brightline formed plans to connect from the Orlando International Airport to a site in Tampa. With Disney out of the picture, the passenger train will now travel directly from International Drive in Orlando to Tampa. The news follows Brightline receiving $15.875 million through a federal grant toward its Tampa-to-Orlando connection.
Code-X, a St. Petersburg-based cybersecurity company, has closed a Series B funding round. Sagewind Capital LLC, a New York-based middle-market private equity firm, announced that it led the round. “The Sagewind team has an impressive track record of working constructively with management teams in government services and the corporate sector to help drive growth and deliver successful outcomes. We believe this enhanced partnership will better position us to execute on our strategic objectives," Code-X CEO Darren LaCroix said in a statement. The financial details of the round were not disclosed. Code-X is a data security firm focused on working with the Department of Defense and AWS has many military customers who use its platform to process, store and transmit DoD data. Several months ago, the startup inked a partnership deal with Amazon Web Services.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 5-2 Saturday night, earning their first win at Highmark Stadium since joining the USL Championship in 2017. The victory is even more impressive considering the Rowdies only scored twice in five prior trips to Pittsburgh. Leo Fernandes found the net twice for the two-time defending Eastern Conference champs. Tampa Bay is riding a seven-game winning streak, making up for somewhat of a slow start to the season. Now sitting at third place among the 14 teams in the East, the Rowdies will face division leader Memphis 901 in a conference showdown on Saturday, July 2, at Al Lang Stadium.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s streak of 11 straight NHL playoff series victories came to a halt at home Sunday night following a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup in over 20 years, while the Lightning lost the last game of the season for the first time in three years. Playing without star center Brayden Point, Tampa Bay jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after veteran captain Steven Stamkos found the net in the first period. Nathan MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen got the puck past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in the second, and neither team scored in the third. Most of Tampa Bay’s core remains signed through the 2022-23 season, and coach John Cooper told fans after the game that “we’re not done.” The next NHL season begins on Oct. 11.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DOJJ) has decided to close St. Petersburg’s Charles Britt Academy after two employees were arrested on child abuse charges earlier this week. The allegations involve a 17-year-old resident at the state-owned treatment center for boys. The facility’s residents will be moved to nearby detention centers until the DOJJ can admit them to other programs.
With their hopes of winning three-straight Stanley Cups hanging by the smallest of threads, the Tampa Bay Lightning staved off elimination with a gritty 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche Friday night. NHL officials had the Stanley Cup ready to present to the Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, but the Bolts’ Game 5 win ensures the Lightning faithful will get one more chance to watch the team at home. Colorado now leads the two-time defending champs 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, with every game a must-win for Tampa Bay. Ondrej Palat, an afterthought when drafted in the seventh round in 2011, slapped in the game-winner with 6:22 remaining in the game. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 35-save performance that embodied the determination and heart the Lighting displayed in a hard-fought win. The series returns to Amalie Arena Sunday night.
The St. Pete Pride parade is celebrating its 20th anniversary Saturday, and organizers expect nearly 300,000 people to descend on the downtown route. St. Pete is known for its inclusivity, and Pride celebrations take place throughout June with the parade billed as one of the largest in the Southeast. The event drew a reported 260,000 in 2019, making it the 13th largest in the country. Organizers hope to crack the top 10 this year. Saturday’s parade, the largest yet with 175 entries, begins at 2 p.m. and will last about four hours. The route spans the St. Petersburg downtown waterfront, beginning at Vinoy Park and running along Bayshore Drive to Albert Whitted Park.
St. Petersburg-based Raymond James announced Wednesday the addition of two financial advisors to its independent Financial Services channel. C. Jefferson A. “Skip” Parker and Harriet M. Parker operate Four Corners Private Wealth, based in Connecticut. They provide wealth management services and previously managed nearly $150 million in assets. “Raymond James offers all the products and services that we’re accustomed to, with the added benefit of superior technology and account security for our clients,” said Skip Parker in a statement. Harriet Parker said she also appreciates the firm’s philanthropic reputation as a well-known supporter of the arts.
The City of St. Petersburg is once again lighting up the downtown waterfront in honor of Independence Day. The annual celebration takes place Monday, July 4, beginning with St. Pete Runs the 4th that morning. The 5K fun run starts at 7 a.m. near Spa Beach at the St. Pete Pier. According to the city, fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m. but could start anytime between 8:30 and 10 p.m., depending on the weather. Revelers can view the display along Bayshore and North Shore Drive, and from Albert Whitted, North Straub, South Straub, North Shore, Elva Rouse and Flora Wylie Parks. Admission is free and parking garages, city lots and metered parking are available for a fee downtown. For more parking information, visit the website here.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s dream of becoming the first NHL team to win three-straight Stanley Cups since Ronald Reagan’s first term got a lot more difficult following a dramatic 3-2 loss Wednesday night. Playing in front of a raucous home crowd at Amelie Arena, the Bolts took control of Game 4 early but failed to put the Colorado Avalanche away. With Tampa Bay battling a series of injuries, the game went into sudden-death overtime tied at two. Colorado’s Nazem Kadri found the net with 7:58 remaining in the extra period, sealing an Avalanche victory. The goal shocked the Lightning and the Tampa Bay faithful, as it appeared Colorado had too many men on the ice during the play. After the game, the NHL released a statement calling the potential penalty a “judgment call.” The call, or lack thereof, is not subject to review. Tampa Bay now heads to Denver for Friday’s Game 5, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Pinellas County Schools (PCS) is offering a solution for students and families in need of reliable internet access outside of the classroom. Beginning July 18, a student or parent can contact their school and request a free, T-Mobile LTE wi-fi hotspot that connects up to 15 devices. Unlimited high-speed data is also provided at no cost.