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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

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Camping is usually a popular recreation over the Easter holiday. But the state’s wildfire emergency could mean a change of plans for some.

All of the campgrounds managed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s 16-county region are closed until further notice because of threat of wildfires.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drafted more than a million family members into caring for returning wounded and injured troops. They've been called "Hidden Heroes" - the military caregivers of Post-9/11 veterans.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Florida is green pretty much year-round. So, it's difficult, sometimes, to mark the change of seasons. But a sure sign of spring in St. Petersburg is the annual Art in Bloom exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE.

And there’s a chance to talk with the floral designers Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

HEP

A community leader and advocate for homeless people – especially veterans – has died. Bruce Fyfe served more than 23 years as chairman of the board at Clearwater’s Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP).

www.hrpdcva.gov

The lead contamination in Flint, Michigan and the sewage spills in St. Petersburg are only two of many examples of why more consumers are asking questions about the quality of their own drinking water.

That's one of the findings of a new survey being released this week by the Water Quality Association, a national trade organization representing the water treatment industry.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The recent scandal over Marines sharing nude photos of female Marines online hasn’t demoralized some women veterans. Two female West Point graduates from Florida refuse to let it overshadow recent gains women have made in the military. And they have some ideas on how to prevent similar incidents.

MyFloridaHouse.gov

A new political survey shows just over half of Floridians rate Gov. Rick Scott’s job performance as “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable.” But there are still strong divisions in the state, as 39 percent gave him an “unfavorable” ranking.

Bolts TV / Tampa Bay Lightning

By winning Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning moved ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League standings. The two teams will go head-to-head Thursday night.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base put on an impressive show of skill and threw in a bit of fun for some 1200 school students who visited the base this month to check out military careers linked to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Never before in our nation’s history have we depended more on technology and the application of technology to win – not only in the air – but in space and in cyber space,” said MacDill Commander Col. April Vogel. “You know our mission is to fly, fight and win. So, we need to create people who can do that. And there are some amazing young minds here today which is why this is so special.”

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Artists have been a part of Tampa’s Gasparilla annual event for almost half a century. This year, more than 250 artists displayed their works in the 47th Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. And the judges awarded $76,500 in prize money to more than three dozen winning artists.

City of Tallahassee

Just as the doors close on the presidential race, candidates are lining up to run for Florida governor in 2018.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy. There’s also been speculation that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has his eye on the governor’s mansion.

The 43rd president appeared on national television, the Today Show, Monday to kick off his book tour and is followed that with an appearance at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base in the afternoon for a book signing.

Farmer Veteran Coalition

A growing number of veterans are looking to agriculture for their next career and entrepreneurial opportunity.

Megan McCollumn / IBM

It’s estimated the high tech industry will create more than 200,000 "new collar” jobs in the next three years. To fill those positions, IBM is tapping into a workforce that’s already well trained - veterans.

“We need to get people to hit the ground running and be productive,” said Tampa IBM executive Stuart Bean. “And you just can’t fill them unless you have people who are already disciplined, already trained, mature enough, (and) can hit the ground running.”

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A ceremonial seed planting will be part of today's official opening of the Veterans' Garden, 918 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa,  across from Lowry Park Zoo.

The event is set for 10:30 a.m. and will include recognition of USAA, which provided  a grant to expand the sustainable garden for veterans.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

The Tampa Bay region has a thriving Syrian American community that is in shock after President Trump signed an executive order suspending, indefinitely the acceptance of Syrian refugees.

Born in Damascus, Samar Hennawi moved to the United States with her family in 1984 when she was 17. She said she became a U.S. citizen as soon as she was eligible. She talked with WUSF's Bobbie O'Brien.

Radiant Hands Inc.

The Tampa Bay refugee community is confused and concerned over President Trump's executive order suspending the country's refugee program for four months and indefinitely stopping Syrian refugees from entering the country.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The crowd that crammed onto Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard and downtown for Gasparilla 2017 on Saturday was estimated between 300,000 and 400,000. There's no estimate yet on the amount of trash the paraders and pirates left in the wake.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s a growing movement to help veterans transition from the battlefield to a more bucolic setting. Whether it’s a community agriculture initiative or a functioning farm – researchers are finding that raising food can offer veterans both a therapeutic and an economic value.

Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes / U.S. Air National Guard

You can expect to hear the increased roar of fighter jets across Tampa Bay’s skies for the next week as MacDill Air Force Base hosts the 180th Fighter Squadron.

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