Bobbie O'Brien

Reporter

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.

Bobbie also produces the blog, Off the Base, and covers military affairs, veterans’ issues and military families. She was named a Rosalyn Carter Fellow in 2010-2011. She supervises WUSF’s news interns and frequently contributes to NPR programs.

Prior to joining WUSF, she worked at WTVT- TV as a researcher/segment producer, at the Tampa Tribune and at WFLA-TV. She attended Kent State University and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida in 1980.

Her work has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Inc., American Women in Radio & Television, the Florida Associated Press and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Ways to Connect

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The Tampa Bay Rays plan to launch a website soon that will let the public contribute their ideas, and feedback on what they'd like to include in a new ballpark.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

 The nation will remember those killed while serving their country on Memorial Day in just over a week. But a local group called Veterans Counseling Veterans wants people to think about another kind of Memorial Day – one honoring those who served in uniform and died by suicide -- and is planning such as service this Sunday in Tampa at American Legion Post 5.

The Chalcraft Family

The toughest writing assignment 16-year-old Konner Ross will have this year is to write a eulogy for a young man she’s never met. But there’s a part of him the Largo High School junior never forget – his green eyes.

“They have his wallet from when they found it on the beach and on his identification card, it says (he has) green eyes and brown hair,” Ross said. “I didn't know he had green eyes until then. So, that seems like something small, but it was really cool to learn for some reason.”

Hillsborough County

It was supposed to be “The War To End All Wars.” But World War I  lasted more than four years: July 1914 to November 1918. More than 20 million soldiers died, either killed in action or by disease, and another 21 million were wounded.

Image based on data mapped by Olga Wilhelmi / NCAR GIS program

At least two Florida Republicans in Congress have broken with their party and are calling on the GOP leadership to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat, said her fellow Floridians, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep.Vern Buchanan, understand the virus is a threat to the state’s top industry – tourism.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

When’s the last time you received a personal, handwritten or typed letter in the mail – snail-mail that is? There’s a concern that emails have turned letter writing into a lost art and is going the way of typewriters.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Many endured starvation, torture, forced labor, and others died unable to return home. They are the former POWs who will be honored Saturday during the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.

U.S. Department of Defense / Pentagon Channel

The U.S. Secretary of Defense joined other top military leaders in Tampa Wednesday to mark the change of leadership at two major, joint military commands at MacDill Air Force Base.

Army Gen. Raymond "Tony" Thomas III is the new leader at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It may seem counterintuitive – but a military medic or corpsman, trained to save lives in combat and provide health care at home, does not qualify for most civilian medical jobs.

What’s worse – many veterans are at a competitive disadvantage when seeking admittance into nursing colleges.

MacDill AFB

You can expect crowd skies and streets this weekend in south Tampa as the MacDill Air Fest takes off. Admission is free and so is the parking, so, it's expected to draw 100,000 people.

Now that Donald Trump has won Florida's Republican presidential primary and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has suspended his run, members of the GOP are dealing with the fallout at the state and local levels.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Ever since the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was founded almost 50 years ago, Congress has been tweaking the federally backed program.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

After a delay of 65 years and an Act of Congress, a Polk County soldier has finally been acknowledged for his heroism and sacrifice while a prisoner of war in Korea.

More than 100 friends and family crammed into the Medulla Community Center in Lakeland last week to watch as Edward “Grady” Halcomb was presented the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor.

Museum of Fine Arts

One of St. Petersburg’s strongest art advocates and community leaders has retired. Kent Lydecker, executive director of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), stepped down after six years at the helm so he can focus on recovering from heart surgery.

Joe Skipper / Reuters

The polls open today in Florida for the Presidential Preference Primary as early voting begins in some counties.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

As the number of veterans grows after 15 years of war, so do the number of veteran- and military-related charities. Today, there are an estimated 40,000 charities listed as serving vets and active duty military. But not all are legitimate.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF

February 16 is the last day to register or change your party affiliation if you want to vote in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary which is set for March 15, 2016.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Stories about veterans waiting years - decades even - to resolve a disability claim are not uncommon.

“I have a claim from 2003 that’s still not found yet. Nobody knows where it’s at,” said Gustavo Nunez, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. “I actually gave up on it a long time ago. I was so frustrated with the system.”

AP

Florida’s “brand” and $10-billion economic driver, the citrus industry, could be headed for collapse if stop-gap measures aren’t found to slow citrus greening, said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“What we don’t want to see is this catastrophic collapse of a 300,000 acre industry where you have fire sale real estate prices and you end up with a sprawl,” Putnam said.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The 112th Florida State Fair with its corn dogs, midway rides and life-stock shows opened Thursday on grounds just east of Tampa.

Flanked by law enforcement officers and in front of several TV news cameras, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi flipped a ceremonial  lever as a profusion of multi-colored hues lit up the midway.

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