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Mental health care provider appoints new senior vice president

St. Petersburg-based Ascellus (formerly known as IMCS Group), a provider of mental and behavioral health services for injured workers, has hired Jim Harvey as senior vice president of national account management and strategy. According to a press release, Harvey brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in health technology to the role. He previously worked at Memphis, Tenn.-based Sedgwick, where he served as vice president of managed care client services. “Jim has that rare talent for developing relationships, deeply listening and then inspiring genius collaborations that create win-win outcomes," Ascellus CEO Lori Daugherty stated in the release. "We're excited to team with Jim on introducing our solution-oriented Ascellus Connect platform to our industry partners."

St. Pete’s Neptune Flood hits milestone

Neptune Flood, a St. Petersburg-based insurtech company focused on flood insurance, has surpassed $20 billion in total insured property value. The milestone was achieved in less than four years in operation, Trevor Burgess, CEO, said in a news release. The company has more than 70,000 clients and 6,000 active insurance agents. It offers residential, commercial and residential condominium building flood insurance products as an alternative to those from the federal National Flood Insurance Program.

Credit union executive honored with marketing award

GTE Financial Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mandy Zurbrick has won a bronze “Stevie” award in the Marketing Executive of the Year category at the 19th annual American Business Awards. The Stevie Awards, which derive their name from the Greek word for “crowned,” will be presented virtually on June 30. The 2021 American Business Awards, according to a press release, received more than 3,800 nominations from for-profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes. Zurbrick, the release stated, has led a rebranding initiative at GTE Financial in addition to handling the Tampa-based credit union’s email marketing program; publications, advertising and social media strategy; layouts and design; market research and analysis; brand positioning and awareness; product development; member communication; and new market planning.

Pinellas County DOH earns national award for Covid-19 efforts for helping the homeless

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has received an award for helping curb the spread of Covid-19 among the homeless. DOH-Pinellas was one of only eight large health departments to earn a 2021 Gold Innovative Practice Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The designation as a Gold Innovative Practice is the highest level of program innovation and reflects collaboration, adaptability and program resilience. The DOH in Pinellas and its partners provided non-congregate sheltering to safely isolate and quarantine homeless individuals so that hospitals and other shelters were not burdened. A shelter liaison position was created to help reduce the spread of Covid transmission in shelters and other facilities. In all, the initiative assisted 188 individuals, with 58 of those being not previously connected to health care enrolled in Pinellas County's Health Care for the Homeless Program, according to the DOH.

Pinellas County starts red tide cleanup for beaches

Pinellas County has initiated a cleanup of dead marine life from the county’s beaches as red tide persists. The crews are expected to begin work late today or on Wednesday. Patches of the toxic algae bloom were captured via satellite imagery. Forecasting models show it moving north for the next seven to 10 days, according to the county's news release on Tuesday. Red tide produces a toxin that can harm all forms of marine life and can cause respiratory issues in humans. Although red tide is present off the Pinellas County coast, it is not necessarily present at all beaches, according to the county. People can check beach conditions at and via the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast Tool.

Johns Hopkins ties for best children’s hospital in Florida in new ranking

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg has tied with the UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville for the No. 1 spot for best children’s hospital in Florida on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital’s list. The hospital ranked in eight specialty areas. U.S. News & World Report also announced new regional rankings, where Johns Hopkins All Children’s tied for fifth place in the Southeast region. As in previous years, Johns Hopkins All Children’s is the only pediatric hospital on Florida’s West Coast to make the list, according to the Tuesday news release. The hospitals are ranked based on certain measures such as patient outcomes, including mortality and infection rates, as well as clinical resources and compliance with best practices. More than 110 pediatric hospitals across the country participated in the 2021-2022 survey

Scripps launches 24-hour news in Florida

The E.W. Scripps Co. is launching the Florida 24 Network, a statewide news network that will air real-time, enterprise reporting from Scripps' TV stations in the Tampa, Miami, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee and Fort Myers markets. The network will be available to over-the-top viewers, a news release said. Over-the-top television is streamed using the internet rather than the traditional distribution methods of cable or satellite. The Florida 24 Network will be led News Director Nicole Wolfe, based at Scripps' WSFL in Miami, and Senior Director of Digital Matt Borek, based at Scripps' WFTS in Tampa.

Tampa insurance firm makes largest deal this year

Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners and Millennial Specialty Insurance have agreed to buy substantially all assets of RogersGray, Breakwater Brokerage, and Monomoy Insurance Group. The three firms, collectively known as RogersGray, are based in South Dennis, Massachusetts and have annual revenue of about $38.8 million, a news release said. They provide commercial lines, personal lines and employee benefits insurance services to large and mid-sized companies and individuals.  It's the largest deal so far this year for BRP Group (Nasdaq: BRP), the Tampa-based parent company of Baldwin Krystyn Sherman and Millennial. The deal is expected to close July 1.

SunRunner project receives $3.3M in federal funds

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is set to receive a $3.3 million allocation of American Rescue Plan funding for the $44 million SunRunner bus rapid transit project. The 10.3-mile route will connect downtown St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach via Central Avenue. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden on March 11, provides some $250 million for public transit projects across the country.

Airline launches charter service to Atlantic City

Sun Country Airlines announced on Friday that it will offer roundtrip, nonstop charter flights between St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey. The new route is part of the MGM Direct charter program and will include ground transportation and three nights’ accommodation at MGM Resorts International’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Travel packages start at $553 per person; to make a reservation, call 1-866-755-7117.

Westshore Plaza owner files for bankruptcy

Washington Prime Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Washington Prime (NYSE: WPG) is a real estate investment trust with a national portfolio that includes Westshore Plaza in Tampa. The Covid-19 pandemic created significant challenges for many companies, including Washington Prime Group, making a Chapter 11 filing necessary to reduce the company’s outstanding indebtedness, fhe Columbus, Ohio-based company said in a news release. Washington Prime said it has executed a restructuring support agreement with creditors that hold most of its debt. The bankruptcy filing will allow the company to substantially deleverage its balance sheet and strengthen its business and operations going forward, the news release said. Washington Prime Group’s guests, retailers and business partners can expect business as usual at all of the company’s retail town centers throughout the proceeding, the company said.

Tampa Bay Times receives its 13th Pulitzer Prize

"Targeted," a 2020 Tampa Bay Times series about grave misdeeds by the Pasco County Sheriff's office, was the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting Friday. The award for the investigative series, by reporters Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi, brings the newspaper's Pulitzer count up to 13.

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