Friday, January 19, 2018


Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner is a writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times. In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for "Failure Factories," a series chronicling how a local school system turned five once-decent neighborhood schools into the worst in the state for black children. The series also won Gartner the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, the George Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal, among other honors. Gartner, who joined the Times in 2013, has also been recognized at the national and state levels for her feature writing, beat coverage and breaking news reporting. She grew up in Wellington, Fla., and attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After graduating in 2010, she joined The Washington Examiner to report on education in the D.C. metro area. At the Times, Gartner covered Pinellas County Schools and higher education before joining the enterprise team in 2016. She lives in St. Petersburg, and is always looking for a good story to tell.

Adam Sheppard, a social worker with Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services, helps a teen as part of a new program to try to keep juveniles from reoffending. Among other things, he helps the teen with his court appearances as well as a plan for getting his GED. He also helped the boy and his grandmother find housing.   DIRK SHADD   |   Times

Hot Wheels: Trying to turn around juvenile car thieves, one case at a time

LARGOThey knew something had gone wrong, but they weren’t sure what, climbing back into the car outside the courthouse. The kid had his phone pressed to his ear; he was trying to reach his probation officer. It rang and rang but she didn’t pick...
Updated one month ago
Maletsis Viera and her 12-year-old daughter, Lionetsis, have been living in a Clearwater hotel since mid-November. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

After evacuating Puerto Rico, family searches for normalcy in Christmastime

CLEARWATER — The tree in the hotel lobby was plastic, skinny and swaddled in shoeboxes, empty but gift-wrapped, and blotted with bows. For Gael Rodriguez, it was love at first sight. Every time the 9-month-old’s mother carried him outside, he smiled...
Updated one month ago
The state has decided to change the way it evaluates which juvenile offenders remain in custody when they steal car.    DIRK SHADD   |   Times

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft...
Updated one month ago
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  Rep. Wengay Newton (left), D-St. Petersburg, filed House Bill 927 this week, which would make it a second-degree misdemeanor to leave your car unattended without first stopping the engine, removing the key from the ignition, and locking the door.

Bill would punish car theft victims

Left your car running, and a teen stole it?Some state lawmakers think you should be criminally charged for that.Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg, this week filed House Bill 927, which would make it a second-degree...
Updated one month ago
Emergency personnel work to clear the scene of fatal high-speed crash on Aug. 6 in Palm Harbor. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the three boys who died in the crash had

DJJ proposes stronger consequences for teens who steal cars

Florida’s juvenile justice department will propose sweeping changes Monday that would make young auto thieves more likely to face consequences.This overhaul of the Detention Risk Assessment Instrument — the first time the tool has been modified...
Updated one month ago
Three teens died in a fiery stolen SUV crash on Tampa Road in Palm Harbor in August. Pinellas County is in the midst of a juvenile auto theft epidemic. [LUIS SANTANA |  Times]

National study to focus on juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas

A national think-tank has begun a sprawling study into Pinellas County’s juvenile auto theft epidemic, hoping to stop the problem before more teens die in stolen cars.The $85,000 research project, expected to culminate in policy recommendations...
Updated: 2 months ago
Lori Rosso, Ybor City
On loud nights Lori Rosso's whole apartment shakes and she keeps an odd sleep schedule to accommodate this. She goes to bed by 9, wakes up around 11:30, stays up until 3 or so, and then goes back to sleep until morning. While she's awake in the middle of the night, her table shakes and the walls reverberate. She calls these

She lives above the Ritz but is still searching for her place

YBOR CITY — The bouncer was already at the door, checking IDs, when Lori Rosso came home from work on a recent Friday. The sidewalk outside her building is usually lined with cross-legged adolescents waiting for a show to start at the Ritz Ybor; Lori...
Updated: 2 months ago
Pam Kelly, a gynecologist at Tampa General Hospital's Family Care Center at HealthPark, teaches future doctors at the University of South Florida how to identify and treat victims of sexual assault. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times

Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying ‘Me too’ for years

TAMPA — Meet her with her clothes on.Don’t make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are...
Updated: 3 months ago
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on

Speakers: Getting tough can’t be only response to teen car thefts

ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.Forty years later, Dillinger is the Pinellas-Pasco public defender, but the same poverty zones...
Updated: 3 months ago
This photo provided by Caribbean Buzz shows boats clustered together after Hurricane Irma Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The death toll from Hurricane Irma has risen to 22 as the storm continues its destructive path through the Caribbean.
The dead include 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands and four in the British Virgin Islands. There was also one each in Barbuda, Anguilla, and Barbados. The toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach some of the hardest-hit areas. [Caribbean Buzz via AP]

Historic and harrowing: Chronicling Hurricane Irma's destructive path

The storm left us powerless before moving on to devastate areas outside its path, that didn't see what was coming.
Updated: 4 months ago