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Pinellas, Pasco counties join the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative

Pinellas and Pasco counties have joined the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative to create more dementia-sensitive communities. The goals of the initiative are to increase awareness of dementia and available services; help communities provide a supportive and engaging environment; and advocate for programs that provide care and promote research efforts towards a cure. There are more than 15,000 individuals living with probable Alzheimer’s disease, the most well-known form of dementia, in Pasco County and more than 33,000 in Pinellas County, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. 

Delta launches Tampa to Seattle service

Delta Air Lines will launch daily nonstop service between Tampa International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport beginning March 11, 2020, expanding Tampa International Airport's connections to the West Coast. The flight will operate on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, departing Tampa at 4:45 p.m. and arriving in Seattle at 8:15 p.m., and departing Seattle at 7:40 a.m. and arriving in Tampa at 4 p.m..Delta is Tampa International's second airline to offer nonstop service to the Pacific Northwest after Alaska Airlines launched daily nonstop Tampa-to-Seattle flights in 2014.

$11M capital raise by portfolio company of Tampa PE firm

The Whole Coffee Company has closed an $11 million Series A capital raise. The fresh capital, along with recent sales and executive talent recruits, will enable the company to begin scaling its recently announced and expanded Tim Hortons, Dunkin’ and internally branded nudge Edible Coffee Products, a news release said. Tampa private equity firm ProspEquity Partners is the majority owner of The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami.

Tarpon Springs business owner pleads guilty to violating federal law

The owner and operator of Sponges Direct Inc. in Tarpon Springs pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Endangered Special Act. Nicholas Skaroulis faces up to one year in federal prison, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida said. From 2014 to 2018, his company sold and exported non-living sponges to customers outside of the United States, but failed to disclose the contents of the shipments as required by federal regulation, and evaded the payment of inspection and user fees, prosecutors said, citing a plea agreement. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Federal legislation to help Tampa Bay Times, other papers stalls in Senate

The Tampa Bay Times is among the 20 local newspapers impacted by proposed pension relief legislation pending in Congress. The measure would give the newspapers more time to catch up on required contributions to pension plans, according to a report in Roll Call. Times Publishing Co., the parent company of the Tampa Bay Times, owes nearly $32.3 million in contributions to its pension plan, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. said in a lien filed June 24 in Pinellas County. The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed the pension relief bill last May, but it's stalled in the Senate, Roll Call said. Advocates said some newspapers could go bankrupt if Congress fails to act.

Florida governor recommends pay raise for teachers

The minimum salary for Florida teachers would increase to $47,500 under proposed 2020 budget recommendations from Gov. Ron DeSantis. Starting teacher pay in the state currently is $37,636, ranking Florida No. 26 in the United States, according to the National Education Association. The proposed pay raise, which would cost about $600 million, would boost Florida's starting teacher pay to No. 2 in the nation, a news release said.  The proposal would help alleviate a teacher shortage and elevate the teaching profession, DeSantis said.

Tampa General remembers surgeon killed in plane crash

Dr. Daniel Greenwald, a Tampa physician who was killed when the small plane he was piloting crashed Saturday in Indiana, was "an immensely talented surgeon who took on the most complex cases and mastered them," a statement from Tampa General Hospital said. Greenwald, a plastic surgeon, was a member of the TGH medical staff for more than 20 years. "We will remember Dr. Greenwald’s sparkling intellect, his kindness to everyone he met, and his great enthusiasm, not just for surgical innovation, but for living life to the fullest. He cared intensely about his family, his colleagues, and his friends. No matter how busy he was, he always took time to connect with the people around him with sincerity and empathy. He was deeply dedicated to his patients, including those who faced devastating traumatic injuries, and his rare skills brought so many of them healing and renewed health," the statement said.

Defense firm building US headquarters at Tampa International

CAE USA expects to create 100 jobs when its new U.S. headquarters opens at Tampa International Airport. The training and simulation company broke ground Friday on the project, a 290,000-square-foot facility scheduled to open in 2022. The building will be leased from Space Florida and will be home to 600 workers, including those holding the newly created jobs, a news release said. The state and Hillsborough County approved up to $880,000 in incentives under the Qualified Target Industry tax refund program in 2017 for CAE USA, if the company fulfills its promise to create jobs paying an average annualized wage of at least $74,561, according to documents filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Rays’ on-again, off-again talks with Hillsborough, Tampa are back on with a caveat

The Tampa Bay Rays can talk with officials in Tampa and in Hillsborough County about moving to the eastern side of Tampa Bay, as long as the talks are about 2028 and beyond, per the terms of the use agreement, a spokesman for Mayor Rick Kriseman said. Earlier discussions between the Rays and Hillsborough County fell apart in December, after the commissioner of Major League Baseball said the framework for a deal lacked  specific details needed to understand the proposal.

KnowBe4 posts 3Q sales gains

KnowBe4, a Clearwater cybersecurity training firm, said sales grew 55 percent in the third quarter of 2019, compared to the same quarter in 2018 and customer accounts now top 28,000. The privately held company did not disclosed sales numbers, but said the increase was driven by increased demand for its security awareness training and a rapidly expanding portfolio of training content. KnowBe4 recently bought video production company Twist and Shout, adding to growth in the European market, and is moving into new markets such as Asia Pacific, with the establishment of offices in Australia and Japan, Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, said in a news release.

Valpak goes to Hollywood for new partnership

Valpak, a St. Petersburg-based direct marketing company, is partnering with Metro Goldwyn Mayer on a nationwide, multi-platform promotion for the upcoming animated film "The Addams Family."  Valpak said the blue envelopes it sends to about 36 million homes nationwide will be timed with the Oct. 11 release of the movie. In addition to regular coupons, there will be a chance to win extra treats, like a free Fandango movie code good towards two movie tickets, a news release said. Valpak's audience is 16 percent more likely than the average U.S. consumer to have gone to a movie in the past 30 days, said Mike Davis, Valpak president and CEO.

Jabil commits to plastics pledge

Jabil Packaging Solutions signed the New Plastics Economy Global Committment, an initiative to address plastics waste and pollution at its source. By 2025, Jabil Packaging has pledged to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging in customers’ packaging; move from single-use toward reuse models; increase use of post-consumer recycled content in customer packaging; and make 100 percent of customers’ plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable, a news release said. Jabil Packaging, a unit of St. Petersburg-based manufacturer Jabil (NYSE: JBL) is one of 400 signers, including brands such as Nestlé, PepsiCo and Target Corp.

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