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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

States are competitive whether they’re vying to keep their military bases or to attract new corporate headquarters. And now, there’s a new tug of war over military retirees who come with pensions, health care and are a proven workforce.

Florida, already a retirement haven, is adding veteran specific programs to entice even more military retirees to the Sunshine State.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

If you can’t make it to a Veterans Day parade or ceremony, there are other ways to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions - you can practice them year-round:

James A. Haley VA

Special ceremonies throughout the Tampa Bay region, Florida and the nation will recognize the sacrifices of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and those who are currently active-duty.

You can find Veterans Day events celebrated nationwide at the Department of Veterans Affairs website. For local, regional and statewide observances, check the listings below. More will be added, so, check back often.

USF Health

Florida is home to 20 million people and nearly 3 million of them are family caregivers. That means they dedicate their time, energy and money tending to a spouse, parent, children or loved ones. But the face of those providers is changing.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County veterans with outstanding traffic tickets or past due court costs are being given a chance to resolve their minor legal issues.

Hillsborough County is holding a one-day, Veterans Outreach Court Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at the James A. Haley Primary Care VA Annex, 13515 Lake Terrace Lane, Tampa.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning opens its regular season Friday night at Amalie Arena against their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers.

And the 2017-2018 season is expected to be special as the team celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a full schedule of events.

The 927th Air Refueling Wing

Thousands of American military personnel are now assigned to the Hurricane Maria relief effort. Among them is the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.

Air Force Major Gavril Goodman was on one of the first humanitarian evacuation flights that landed in St. Croix five days after the Category 5 hurricane destroyed the island's power grid.

DeVaughn Putna Farrington / Facebook St. Croix Hurricane Maria Check In page

The U.S. Coast Guard opened the seaports in St. Croix, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico over the weekend, but only for daylight operations at many sites.

Getting supplies onto the islands and people off after Hurricane Maria devastated the region continues to be a challenge.

Tech Sgt Peter Dean / U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is helping to evacuate critically ill and injured patients from three Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One of the first evacuation flights left from Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base Sunday with a crew of Air Force Reservists from the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Residents in cities and counties across Tampa Bay heeded the call to place storm debris on the curbs of their homes. But now, some are worrying the debris still hasn't been collected.

Caleb Anduze / Facebook Hurricane Maria St. Croix Check In Group

Before Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on St. Croix, the island was serving as the hub for recovery efforts from earlier storms in other U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

A resident of St. Croix for more than three decades, Ditty Layton, survived Maria inside her home on the East End. Layton said, remarkably, she has not lost cell phone service and was reaching out to friends in Florida.

Salvation Army

It’s been more than a week since Hurricane Irma.

Yet many smaller communities in Florida’s rural counties are still suffering and need basic resources, according to a disaster relief expert with the Salvation Army.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The tragic deaths of eight nursing home residents after Irma knocked out their air conditioning has prompted the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to offer up available beds at federal VA Community Living Centers.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane Irma has left the state. Now, the cleanup begins. From downed tree limbs to damaged household items like appliances and furniture. Every city and county has its own guidelines for pick-up.

Debris collection, rescheduled trash pickup and guidelines on how to handle the debris are listed below. Be sure to check what your service provider or local government requires.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Port Tampa Bay reopened to vessel traffic Tuesday at 2 p.m. And 10 ships are scheduled to unload more than 10 million gallons of gasoline in the next 48 hours for the gas starved state.

Too much water is typically the problem when storms blow through Tampa Bay. But for a few brief hours Sunday, the bay's fortunes were reversed as Hurricane Irma's counterclockwise winds blew the water out.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, all Tampa residents are under a mandatory curfew, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced during a late morning news conference carried live on Facebook.

He said the curfew will be indefinite or until a neighborhood is deemed safe from downed power lines, overturned trees and storm debris.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It seemed an obvious solution to Michael Oded, who was asked at the last minute Friday to get sandbags and secure his friend’s Davis Islands home from flooding.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Only  ”mission essential” personnel  are on duty at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base through Monday. All others and their families have been ordered to evacuate the base ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Samara Sodos / Port Tampa Bay

Supplying gasoline to evacuating Floridians is a top priority according to the governor. 

That has meant an accelerated tempo at Port Tampa Bay, which provides the gas, aviation fuel, diesel and oil to Central Florida and the Tampa Bay region.

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