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.

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WLRN.org

The end of the year is a popular time for charitable giving thanks to the “holiday spirit” and possibly to get a tax deduction. But Florida’s consumer protection agency cautions that it’s also a time of year to be wary of scams.

Any charitable organization asking Floridians for money – with a few exceptions like religious, political and educational groups – must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. And thousands are registered.

Ileana Morales Valentine

Cookbooks can be both inspirational and useful, making them exceptionally good gifts, according to Tampa Bay Times cookbook reviewer Ileana Morales Valentine.

Stetson

For a fifth year, the Stetson University College of Law is offering free will services to older veterans and their spouses who need to draft a will or end-of-life directives.

Even if you’re a veteran of modest means, you should still have a will according to Stetson’s Elder Consumer Protection Fellow, Brandon Robinson.

NPS Photo

The “day that will live in infamy” – December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day – will be commemorated during an 11 a.m. service today at the Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, 3602 U.S. Highway 301 N. in Tampa.

The 75th Anniversary Remembrance will honor U.S. military service members who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The event will include presentations by:

·        LeRoy Collins, III, son of Rear Adm. LeRoy Collins, Jr.

·        Gen. James Dozior, U.S. Army, Retired

President Barack Obama arrives in Tampa this afternoon to meet with the men and women who have been on the front-lines enforcing his policies in the fight against terrorism. And he plans to deliver his last major counter-terrorism speech.

U.S. Department of Defense - Defenseimagery.mil / U.S. Department of Defense

President-Elect Donald Trump has named a former leader of U.S. Central Command to become the next Secretary of Defense.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis led U.S. Central Command, which is based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base before relinquishing command in March 2013.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s a small but growing legal community in the U.S. that’s helping veterans with their benefits claims while working to improve the VA system. And their work continues even as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to name a new VA Secretary to “make the VA great again,” as promised during his campaign.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Former Army Sgt. Justin Lansford will be home – truly home - for the holidays this year. The Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran and his wife were handed the keys to a brand new, three bedroom bungalow in Tampa’s Seminole Heights thanks to the Gramatica Family Foundation.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You have today and Wednesday to catch a free ride on the new Cross-Bay Ferry. The “Test the Waters” promotion is taking passengers on a first come basis with no reservations needed.

Organizers are hoping the free 60-minute cruise will attract passengers willing to pay for the ferry service. in the future. The one-way fare between Tampa and St. Petersburg will be $10 for adults.

U.S. Department of Defense - Defenseimagery.mil / U.S. Department of Defense

Retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis, who was part of the military leadership based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, is being considered for a cabinet post in the new Trump Administration.

On March 22, 2013, Gen. Mattis handed over command of U.S. Central Command to Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III. In tribute to Mattis’ leadership, several high ranking officers including then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, attended the ceremony at MacDill AFB.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You can't hear the story of combat veteran Leonard (Mr. Steve) Stevens without learning about the woman he calls his body guard. Their stories are now deeply connected.

As connected as the 95-year-old is to his blue ball cap that reads: "WWII Combat Glider Pilot."

Benedictine Sisters of Florida

If you’ve not yet bought your turkey and want to share the day with others, there’s an opportunity in San Antonio. The Benedictine Sisters of Florida are hosting a free Thanksgiving meal and fellowship for the 21st year in a row.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Friday is Veterans Day - a time set aside for Americans to pay tribute to those who have served in uniform.

But if you’re unsure what to do or how to reach out, The Military Times suggests 8 Ways to Express Appreciation on Veterans Day and United We Serve, the National Service Blog, posted 10 Ways to Support and Honor Veterans.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

To get past this week's divisive presidential election – some people are choosing to move forward and work together as a community. So, WUSF News reached out to an expert in conflict resolution for some ideas.

Holy Name Monastery is nestled in the rolling hills of Pasco County. It was founded by the Benedictine Sisters  of Florida 127 years ago, and has a tradition of offering a “welcoming hand, kind heart and listening ear” to those who seek harmony with others.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling with another huge backlog and this time it is not veterans waiting for medical appointments.

Currently, a veteran who has had a disability claim denied must wait - on average four to five years - for an appeals hearing. VA Secretary Bob McDonald predicts that will grow to a 10-year backlog if laws aren’t changed.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Joe Biden describes himself as a "Middle Class Joe.” And during a campaign swing through Tampa on Wednesday, he called on other "middle class folks" to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

About 150 supporters greeted Biden under a blazing sun outside the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. He took the stage just before noon, noting Florida is seeing another razor-thin race for president.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Ever since Tony Jannus flew the first scheduled airline flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa in 1914, people have looked for ways to “bridge” the bay.

Now, for $10 and 50 minutes of your time, the Cross-Bay Ferry can transport you between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Public service starts Friday.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

As Nov. 8 draws closer -- more and more ads, polls, and political pundits are defining what the election means. WUSF News is turning to you to learn the issues that will decide your vote.

So,we set up "Listening Posts" around the Bay Area.

Courtesy of the American Dental Association

A one-day, free dental clinic for military veterans will open its doors Friday to provide urgent care from root canals to tooth fillings. And there are no empty chairs.

That’s because the second annual “Stars, Stripes and Smiles” event, organized by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and the West Pasco Dental Association, has already filled its allotted 75 slots. But veterans’ names are still being taken for a waiting list.

Tampa Bay Lightning TV

The Tampa Bay Lightning won their season opener Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Tampa's Amalie Arena. The final score was 6-4 with the Lightning scoring four goals in the third period.

Before the game, Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos warned against getting "caught up in predictions" that have the Lightning as a Stanley Cup favorite. The team has gone deep in the playoffs the last two seasons.

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