SPL News Around St. Pete

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The Florida Holocaust Museum  has announced  the 2017 Loebenberg Humanitarian Award winners: John Rinde, Toni Rinde, Lisl Schick, and Mary Wygodski . All four recipients are Holocaust survivors and will be honored for their outstanding contribution to the museum at a sold out  gala, To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future!  on Feb. 10 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

All of the award recipients are prominent ambassadors for the museum, sharing their stories at the museum and across the state.  One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country,  the St. Petersburg museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The  museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL


In its 10th year, the US 103.5 FM Cares for Kids Radiothon raised a record-breaking $406,488  for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, the regional Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. During the two-day on-air event in December, supporters presented checks and kept the phone lines ringing as grateful patients and families shared their personal stories of care and healing.  Part of what made this year’s Radiothon such a success was a generous matching donation from former Tampa Bay Lightning player, Vinny Lecavalier. A long-time supporter of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Lecavalier pledged to match every donor dollar up to $200,000.


The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the City of St. Petersburg with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community  award.  The Silver level recognizes the city’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies – a ranking that no other mid-or large-size city in Florida has attained. Congrats, St. Pete!


The Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) has announced Diane Bailey Morton as its new Executive Director. Morton is a fixture in the local arts community having served over 20 years on the Board of Trustees of American Stage. She and her family sponsored all 10 years of the August Wilson Century Cycle at American Stage. She served on the International Relations Commission for the City of St. Petersburg.   Morton has sponsored numerous theatre productions for The Studio@620, Stageworks and FreeFall theatre. She served on the Boards of Great Explorations, USF Alumni Association and the Florida Bar Grievance Committee. 

 Morton has practiced law in the Tampa Bay Area for over 30 years. She began her career as an Assistant State Attorney  and opened her own trial practice in St. Petersburg handling labor and employment cases. She served as General Counsel of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association and the Tampa Firefighters. She was named General Counsel to C1 Bank and guided the bank through the successful merger with Bank of the Ozarks. 
“Diane has a true love of the arts and is a consummate professional in all the tasks she undertakes.  We are lucky to have her and are excited about her advancing the mission of the Warehouse Arts District,” said Rob Kapusta, WADA Vice President.


The revitalization of Williams Park continues. In 2016 and 2017,  the park in the heart of downtown served as a venue for festivals,  film screenings and monthly food truck rallies. Local efforts to make the park a true hub of activity show no signs of stopping.   On January 13,  the City introduced Second Saturdays at Williams Park, which will be a monthly happening.  The inaugural event  from 6-9 pm featured live music by  Mighty Good & Strong Band, as well as a beer and wine garden, a cigar lounge hosted by Central Cigars, a vendor fair, a food court, and a kids zone. Come April 21, Williams Park will be the site of the  annual  St. Pete Earth Day festival,  filling the park with green, eco-friendly  vendors and crafts, demonstrations, sustainability and clean energy info, kids activities, live music and more. 


The  upscale and trendy Garden&Gun magazine sang the praises of the Burg’s emerging culinary, craft beer and cocktail scene in the October/November issue. In an article titled “The South’s Five Best Food Towns,”  St. Petersburg joined Birmingham, AL; Greenville, SC; Knoxville, TN.; and Raleigh, NC, as the editors’ top 5 picks as rising stars.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The craft beer craze jumped the bay from Tampa with a vengeance a couple of years back, which in turn begat micro-distilleries and other food businesses. The new Ichicoro Ane izakaya, for example, will feature ramen, and the city also now boasts the Mandarin Hide’s craft cocktails and the artisanal pickles of the Urban Canning Company. St. Pete has even attracted interest from afar: New York’s Empire Oyster launched a pop-up oyster bar in the Edge District’s Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails. Chefs who worked together in Asheville opened the Reading Room, building a menu around produce from their own garden. And serial restaurateur Michael Mina, with Don Pintabona—former executive chef at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill—parachuted in with Locale Market (now FarmTable Cucina at Locale).”