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Tampa woman pleads guilty to role in drug overdose death

Tampa resident Joamary Rosario pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges related to the November 2018 death of a person who overdosed on a mixture of heroin, acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl supplied by Rosario. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Rosario, 30, faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and could be incarcerated for life. The case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gordon.

Health department scheduling Covid vaccines for younger teens

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has started scheduling appointments for Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccines for students who are 12-to-15 years old, per new CDC guidelines. Centers in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park and mid-County will offer the two-dose vaccine on a rotating schedule that starts on Monday, May 17. Vaccines are provided at no cost with an appointment and the parent or guardian must accompany the minor. To make an appointment call (727) 824-6931. DOH-Pinellas is already providing the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to those 16 years of age and older

St. Pete tech firm gets industry recognition

Spirion, a St. Petersburg-based data privacy company, was recognized as a pioneer within the data discovery market in a new report from International Data Corp., a company that provides market intelligence and advice for the tech industry. The IDC MarketScape report said Spirion can not only scan and identify personally identifiable information such as social security numbers and credit cards, but also health-related information. The report also highlighted Spirion's ability to discover sensitive data with 98 percent accuracy. The IDC MarketScape report evaluated 11 vendors and called Spirion a "major player" in the field, a news release said.

Pinellas County tourism, historic preservation panels seek new members

Applications are being accepted for positions on the Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board and the Tourist Development Council. The Historic Preservation Board has one opening. Responsibilities include recommending the designation of historic districts and landmarks, nominating historic resources for listing on the National Register of Historic Plans, reviewing and approving applications for impacts to properties in a historic district or a landmark and landmark site, and producing educational materials, programs and publications. The Tourist Development Council also has one opening, for a member from either the tourism-related category or hotel/motel category. The council makes recommendations to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners as to the effective use and expenditure of tourist development tax revenues. Applications for both positions are at www.pinellascounty.org/boards. The deadline to apply for the TDC position is Friday, May 28 and the deadline to apply for the Historic Preservation Board is Friday, June 11.

Empath Health and Stratum Health System to combine under one name

Following months of research, including 5,000 hours of interviews with stakeholders, the recently merged equals with come together under the name Empath Health.  “The naming project was very enlightening—and very rewarding,” said Rafael Sciullo, CEO of the new organization. “Although the people interviewed were separated by organizations and sometimes by service lines, the sentiments and strengths mirrored one another. The similarities between the Empath and Stratum organizations were almost uncanny. Many shared that they themselves identify as empaths: those who can deeply sense the feelings and experiences of others.”

Logistics firm sells division to rail giant

Quality Distribution, a Tampa-based logistics and transportation company, has agreed to sell its Quality Carriers business to CSX Corp., a leading rail cargo carrier. Quality Carriers specializes in liquid bulk chemical trucking throughout North America. According to a press release, Quality Carriers will become a standalone entity within CSX and remain headquartered in Tampa. Additionally, according to terms of the deal, Quality Distribution’s other wholly owned subsidiary, Boasso Global, will become a standalone entity and be headquartered in Tampa. Boasso Global, the release states, is an international provider of intermodal tank container and depot services with operations in seven different countries. “Transitioning Quality Carriers to CSX is a tremendous positive for all of our key stakeholders, including our drivers, employees, customers and investors,” Quality Distribution Chairman and CEO Gary Enzor stated in the release. “It’s incredibly exciting to see the creation of the CSX/Quality Carriers combination, which has the potential to be a game-changer for our industry.”

Motorsport Network plans to buy Clearwater’s duPont Registry

Motorsport Network, a Miami-based digital platform, has agreed to acquire duPont Registry. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Clearwater-based duPont Registry connects affluent buyers with high-end exotic cars and luxury brands. Motorsport Network, an integrated platform with a global reach of 56 million auto and racing fans, said duPont Registry will be the focal point of its newly created Driven Lifestyle division. duPont Registry was established in 1985 by founders Thomas duPont and Steven Chapman. Once the acquisition is finalized, Chapman will retire as CEO and president of duPont Publishing. His sons will remain as shareholders and oversee duPont Registry's digital transformation. William Chapman will be CEO and Steven Chapman Jr. will be president.

BayCare revenue and income improve in Q1 2021

BayCare Health System, the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, posted gains in operating revenue and income in the first quarter of 2021. BayCare reported $1.18 billion in total operating revenue for the three months ended March 31, an 8.8 percent increase from the same quarter in 2020. The company reported $119.4 in operating income for Q1 2021, a 139 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. The total surplus, including non-operating revenue such as investment income, for Q1 2021 was $256.1 million, compared to a $656 million loss in the year-ago quarter, when the Covid-19 pandemic started to take a toll on the system. BayCare, headquartered in Clearwater, includes 15 hospitals, including St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, as well as hundreds of other healthcare locations throughout the Tampa-St. Pete area and central Florida.

Pinellas commissioners appoint three to St. Pete citizens committee

The Citizens Advisory Committee for the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area has three new members. The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to appoint Erin McFarley, Tracy Mater and Steven Morrison to the committee. A fourth potential nominee, committee member Javan Turner, was not re-appointed to a second term after Commissioner René Flowers said Turner had missed attending several committee meetings. The committee, created by an interlocal agreement between the St. Petersburg City Council and the Pinellas County Board, advises the St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Agency on the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Plan. The committee has nine members, six appointed by the St. Pete mayor and three appointed by the county commission.

Gourmet grilled cheese restaurant to open downtown location in June

Celebrity chef Robert Hesse and his business partner Craig Munroe announced on Monday that their second Fo’Cheezy Twisted Meltz restaurant will open in late June in downtown St. Petersburg. Hesse, who trained under Gordon Ramsay, is a St. Pete native who recently returned to his roots to launch Fo’Cheezy, a gourmet grilled cheese food and truck and restaurant concept, in St. Pete Beach. The downtown location will be at 111 3rd St. N. Munroe, in a press release, said he and Hesse plan to open two more Fo’Cheezy restaurants and add a second food truck by the end of 2022.

HGreg.com opens storefront in Brandon

HGreg.com, an auto retailer, has opened a storefront at 1207 E. Brandon Blvd. The storefront is on a 10-acre property. The site features a 42,000 square foot, next-generation storefront, fulfillment center and inventory of more than 1,000 pre-owned vehicles, a news release said. HGreg.com bought the property on March 16 and invested more than $30 million to transform the showroom, the news release said. The company is in the final stages of hiring and training a team of 100 full and part-time associates, and expects more jobs in the upcoming months.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s expands air transport operation

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has expanded its critical care transport team, allowing the hospital's helicopter service to respond directly to medical and trauma accident scenes. The critical care transport team, also known as LifeLine, is adding an adult-focused paramedic and expanding training to current pediatric flight crew members in order to provide these air transport services to both children and adults in the Tampa Bay area. LifeLine will now be able to accept EMS requests for air support and offer faster response, particularly in the Pinellas and Manatee county areas, a news release said. Johns Hopkins All Children's, a pediatric hospital in St. Petersburg, has an affiliation with Med-Trans Corp., a national medical transport provider, on its helicopter service. 

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