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

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.

Florida National Guard

Florida sent hundreds of National Guardsmen to assist with security in Washington D.C. for the Inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Approximately 340 soldiers and airmen have been sleeping on cots set up in a gymnasium and going through outdoor chow lines while on assignment to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

Bobbie O'Brien/WUSF

It was one week ago today when a man pulled a semi-automatic weapon from his luggage and killed five people and injured six others at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

The suspect, Esteban Santiago, 26, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq. And that has an impact that reaches far beyond the airport.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs is not a veteran himself. And as the VA Undersecretary of Health, Dr. David Shulkin is, so far, the only holdover from the Obama Administration.

That means Shulkin is known to veterans groups like the American Legion.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You can hear the National Championship Fanfest before you ever get a glimpse of the flashing lights, huge video screens and brightly colored banners.

It’s just a ride up the escalator to second floor of the Tampa Convention Center and then a step into the cavernous hall where your instantly blasted by the musical rhythms coming from the Dance Off stage.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

From a sit-in Tuesday in Alabama to sign-waving protestors Wednesday outside Tampa's federal courthouse, there appears to be a ground swell of people objecting to President-Elect Donald Trump's nominee for Attorney General, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital / va.gov

With the New Year comes a new women veterans’ coordinator for the state of Florida, Army veteran Darlene Scully, and an ambitious agenda for 2017.

In addition to her job reviewing veterans’ claims, Scully took on the position two months ago to be a voice for women vets who currently make up 10 percent of the 1.6 million veterans in Florida.

FDVA

By its own analysis, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that Florida only has 20 percent of the VA-sponsored nursing home beds it needs to serve aging veterans. And it’s put the state on a “critical” list when it comes to building VA nursing homes.

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.

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