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Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner covers Pinellas County Schools, colleges and universities. Before joining the Times in 2013, Lisa covered D.C. Public Schools for The Washington Examiner. Herself a product of Florida public schools, Lisa grew up in Palm Beach County. She attended Northwestern University after purchasing a very heavy coat.

Phone: (727) 893-8707


Twitter: @LisaGartner

  1. Workout clothes that won't thin your wallet


    I recently started exercising, a sentence I have said so many times in my life that a guffawing studio audience should follow me around. But this time I'm sticking with it! [they laugh]

    I joined a fitness studio where I pay out the butt for small classes with a personal trainer who designs intense workouts. Because I have to sign up for each pricy session, I am actually getting out of bed and going. To put it in other words, suck it, studio audience. [they boo]...

    This exercise tee is $7.99 at Kohl's, because you should be burning calories, not your credit line.
  2. On Wednesdays, we wear struggle


    You know how sometimes your apartment can pass for a crime scene and not even the white-collar kind? Well it's that kind of Wednesday for me. Not only is it the cruelest day of the week, but I'm not feeling well, work deadlines are looming hard, and my folks are getting into town in mere hours - while my apartment is calling out for Olivia Benson*....



    You know how sometimes your friends say "Free coffee!" and point and you look but it's only a ruse to eat some of your sandwich? WELL THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES. And also your friends are kind of mean. BUT ON TO THE NEWS:

    Kahwa, beloved local coffee purveyor, has opened its seventh Tampa Bay location inside Bob Lee's Tires (1631 4th Street North), and is giving out free coffee all day for the next several days....

    Here's what the newest Kahwa location, inside Bob Lee's Tires, looks like.
  4. It's spraaang break, y'all (and yet we are grown-ups)


    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and naturally, I am talking about spring break. What did you think this was? A blog about literature? Please.

    Come mid-March, Tampa Bay beaches always become ground zero for bikini bods, beer funnels and other hallmarks of an ancient college ritual called "Miller Time."

    But for real-life adult humans who actually exist here year-round, spring break is a time of eye-rolling and hiding; do not take your 8-year-old to Clearwater Beach, for instance, unless you want him to later ask you what it means to "hit it and quit it."

    The end result is that we, effectively, do not have spring break. But that doesn't mean we can't get in the spirit just a little bit. And what better way than through our clothes?...

    OPI has a whole neon collection. This hot orange is called "Juice Bar Hopping."
  5. The Bachelor contestants' budget-friendly buys


    Confession time, y'all: I watch The Bachelor. I would say it's a guilty pleasure but I've lost the guilt element: There's nothing more watch-worthy in my book than people genuinely trying to fall in love, and also people genuinely crying in rugged terrain while helicopters abandon them on opposite sides of mountains....

    Jade's final rose ceremony dress was from Nasty Gal. NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING...
  6. Kate Spade Saturday offers 40 percent off as it closes


    Most of you by now have heard the thunderclap in the arena signaling that Kate Spade Saturday has been killed by another tribute. At the end of January, the high-end brand announced it would close all 19 Kate Spade Saturday retail and partner stores by summer, leaving its website active in the meantime....

    Kate Spade Saturday is offering 40 percent off of everything but probably not these models
  7. Federal discrimination complaint filed over alleged assault of girl at middle school


    Times Staff Writers

    A couple who says their 12-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted during band class at John Hopkins Middle School last month filed a discrimination complaint against the school Thursday with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

    The girl's mother, Annette Vedsegaard-Ross, wrote in the complaint that her daughter was targeted because she is female and that the attackers likely knew she suffers from a hearing disability. The Tampa Bay Times reported Jan. 30 that the family believes the Pinellas County School District and John Hopkins administrators attempted to minimize the assault to protect the school's reputation....

  8. Looking for home decor? Try your clothes


    I am finally in that stage of my life where I know it's frowned upon to go to Goodwill and buy a new pair of jeans instead of just going to the damn laundromat. So I started going to the laundromat every week -- just kidding, I moved to an apartment with a washer-dryer! I am a child.

    While moving is stressful (I timed mine around Christmas, to impress the Olympic judges), I really love getting to decorate my new place. My old stuff, some from six apartments ago, finds new life and use in each home. I have a heavy old bookcase that's taken turns as a dish display case and a bath towel organizer. It's fun making everything fit....

    Your hat collection could make for a neat display.
  9. Pinellas considering teacher training partnership with USF St. Pete


    Pinellas Superintendent Mike Grego is in preliminary talks with the University of South Florida St. Petersburg to create a teacher's school, mirroring a partnership the district recently formed with St. Petersburg College.

    Grego told the school board the "lab school" was in "the very preliminary idea stage," explaining he only wanted to bring it up at Tuesday's workshop so that board members wouldn't hear whispers from someone else....

  10. Two students arrested at Lakewood High over ice pick, fake gun


    ST. PETERSBURG — Two students were arrested for bringing a fake handgun and an ice pick to Lakewood High School today, St. Petersburg Police said.

    The school was on lockdown from 10:20 to 11:36 a.m. as police and gun-sniffing dogs searched for weapons.

    The incident began when a student alerted the school resource officer that another student may have a gun on campus, St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz said....

  11. Glitch withholds kindergarten assignments from 670 Pinellas families


    It was a big morning for parents across Pinellas County: Results of the annual school lottery for spots in magnet and fundamental schools were set to be available online when families woke up Wednesday.

    But the parents of 670 incoming kindergarten students were instead thrown for a loop by a computer message saying their child wasn't old enough to receive a spot in the school system.

    Pinellas County Schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said not to fear: These kids did receive seats or spots on wait lists; but due to an apparent glitch, families won't be able to see them until noon....

  12. In John Hopkins sex assault case, school's handling in question


    ST. PETERSBURG — It was almost too heavy for her to carry, but she fell for the saxophone all the same, practicing in the band room at John Hopkins Middle School. She named her instrument "Reed." It made her feel calm. She would come in an hour early to play. She would stay long after the last bell.

    Then one recent Monday, the 12-year-old girl hurried out of school. She was pale. Her face was drawn....

    Annette Vedsegaard-Ross and Stephen Ross talk about their daughter, whom they withdrew from John Hopkins Middle School after she says she was sexually assaulted in the band room. They agreed to be identified for this report.
  13. Pinellas proposes spending $1 million to improve behavior at five schools


    LARGO — Pinellas County school officials want to spend $1 million to teach classroom management techniques to teachers and administrators at struggling St. Petersburg elementary schools.

    The partnership with the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit based in Brooklyn, started at Campbell Park Elementary, one of five schools undergoing significant turnaround efforts, deputy superintendent Bill Corbett said at a School Board workshop this week....

  14. Charter schools vary in focus, providing another option for families


    Looking for an alternative to a traditional public school, but not willing or able to pony up private school tuition? Look no further than the district's growing network of charter schools.

    If you don't know too much about charter schools, you're not alone: In Pinellas, they've only taken off in the last few years. This year, more than 6,000 students attend charters, more than double the number who did five years ago, as new campuses open every year....

    Students at Plato Academy of Tarpon Springs perform Kounelaki, a Greek nursery rhyme, while Skyping with fifth- and sixth-graders at the 1st school in Kalymnos, their sister school in Greece.
  15. Private schools boom as economy picks up


    When the bottom fell out of the economy, thousands of Florida families pulled their children out of private schools. With a second mortgage, who could afford the luxury? But with the economic rebound has come a resurgence of interest in private schools as more and more families are able to sign tuition checks.

    Private school enrollment hit 325,000 in Florida last year, the largest number of students since the 2007-08 school year. That's about 11 percent of the state's school-aged children....