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Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner is a writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times.

In 2016, she and Times reporters Cara Fitzpatrick and Michael LaForgia won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for "Failure Factories," a series chronicling how a local school system turned five one-decent neighborhood schools into the worst in the state for black children. The series also won the Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal, among other honors.

Gartner joined the Times in 2013. 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.

Phone: (727) 893-8707


Twitter: @LisaGartner

  1. I fell down a mountain while hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc


    A few days after I'd flown across the world, I sent a text message to my parents, telling them I loved them.

    We're pretty close, and I knew they were itching for updates. My mom was first on the reply: "Love u too how r u?"

    "I'm good."

    "Done for the day?" she asked. I told her I was. "How was today's hike?"

    I thought for a minute. Took a deep, shaky breath to settle myself. Started to sob, anyway....

    Each day, I’d generally hike uphill for a few hours until I reached a “col,” or mountain pass. On my first day on the trail, I was joined by lots of fellow hikers, who were celebrating the ascent, and even more sheep.
  2. Fearing Zika, local businesses join the call for genetically-modified mosquitoes


    The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce is telling residents to lobby the federal government for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika in Pinellas County.

    "We cannot afford to have visitors cancel their vacation plans due to the Zika Virus and urge you to provide Pinellas County authorization to combat the Zika Virus immediately," reads a script the chamber is asking locals to read aloud on the phone or paste into an email to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell....

  3. My Outfit Monday: Glasses, life, et al.


    Gather round, young folk, and huddle near the fire, for it's time that I spin a tale for you about ancient times: the mid to late 1990s.

    It smells like Teen Spirit, and it sounds like the dial-up tones of connecting to America Online. All your friends are there, but younger, and wearing rhinestone denim and pilling plaid. Rilo Kiley has yet to drop "The Frug." Bill Clinton is having sexual relations with that woman....

    On a really important call, doing really important things, or: We Had To Break The Cycle Of Taking Photos In Front Of Construction Cranes
  4. Local leaders request permission to use genetically modified mosquitoes in Pinellas County


    Elected leaders from the Tampa Bay area are calling on the federal government to allow them to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight the spread of Zika in Pinellas County.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved the technology for a trial in Key West, saying it has no significant impact on the environment.

    But while the trial has been held up by Key West residents who mistrust genetic modification more than they fear the Zika virus, local leaders say that would not have an impact on their pursuit of this technology....

    This photo made available by Oxitec shows a genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquito in their U.K. lab. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the mosquitoes for a trial in Key West, saying it would have no significant impact on the environment. Modified male mosquitoes mate with the natural population of female mosquitoes and pass on a "death gene" that kills their offspring. Oxitec has used its technology to reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquito population by 90 to 99 percent in parts of Latin America. Key West residents, skeptical of the science, have held up the trial. Without an emergency use order, the technology cannot be used in any other city until that trial is completed. [Oxitec via AP]
  5. Federal government approves trial to fight Zika in Key West, but residents can still hold it up


    The federal government on Friday approved a field trial that would release millions of genetically-modified mosquitoes in Key West to eradicate the mosquito that carries Zika.

    But British company Oxitec, which has already used its technology to reduce the Aedes aegypti population by 90 to 99 percent in parts of Latin America, is still held up by residents of a Key West suburb who are skeptical of the science....

    Mosquito information covers a lab wall at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District office in Marathon. Employees worry that current control tactics aren't adequate for preventing Zika's spread. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  6. Mutant mosquitoes could fight Zika in Florida, but misinformation spreads

    Human Interest

    KEY WEST — There are many scary stories that start with a dark and stormy night, but this isn't one of them. It is the third day of summer in this island city, with its feral chickens and lemon-hued houses and women woohoo-ing by on rented motorcycles. Every bicycle has a basket, every mailbox is a manatee.

    "You can't be in a hurry if you're in Key West," the emcee of an outdoor restaurant tells passing tourists. "You're not doing it right if you're in a hurry."...

    Oxitec's Derric Nimmo leaves the podium after speaking at a Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board of commissioners meeting. The board has decided to let the people of Key West vote in November on a nonbinding referendum on whether to proceed with Oxitec's proposal. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  7. In move to reignite school desegregation case, plaintiffs say Pinellas has failed black students


    Despite promises made 16 years ago to settle a Civil Rights-era desegregation lawsuit, the Pinellas County School Board still isn't spending enough money to ensure black children catch up to their peers in reading and math, the plaintiffs said Friday.

    The allegation was one of 30 contained in a legal document delivered to the school district — the first step in a process that could land the 50-year-old case back in front of a federal judge....

    Shadows line the walkway as students line up in the courtyard at Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg, one of five schools highlighted in the Tampa Bay Times' "Failure Factories" series. Citing problems at Lakewood and other Pinellas schools, the plaintiffs in a 50-year-old desegregation lawsuit are invoking its provisions to push the district to take more drastic action. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  8. Linen: It might save us all yet


    You know how, when it's blizzarding around the rest of the country, and people are hoarding groceries and hashtagging the "snowpocalypse," you and I are posting pictures of palm trees and beaches and captioning it "Florida winter"?

    I can't help but feel that summer is the North's revenge.

    But I was reminded yesterday of one way to get through this already interminable Florida heat when, after interviewing a source for an hour in a poorly air-conditioned coffee shop, all of my clothes were sweat-pasted to me except for one article: my linen t-shirt....

    Misred on Central Ave. in St. Pete has fold-over linen shorts in tons of colors for only $28.
  9. That line about college kids surviving on Ramen? No longer funny at many Florida schools


    TAMPA — There was nothing in the fridge. No pastrami, no eggs. Nothing to pack for lunch, nothing to eat that day. Nathalie Mompremier, a senior at the University of South Florida, zipped up her backpack and went to her job as a pharmacy technician. Her bag was full with the things she had spent her loan money on: textbooks, course lists, the lease to her apartment. She tried not to think about how empty her stomach felt....

    USF students grab a bite at the campus food court in this file photo. During the 2015-16 fall and spring semesters, more than 200 students visited USF’s food pantry 510 times.
  10. Memorial Day Weekend sale alert: Cerulean Blu


    Officially, summer starts on June 21.

    Unofficially, it started when all the skin started peeling off my arms, c. two weeks ago. Sunscreen is important, and you need more of it than you think! Who knew? Everyone. Everyone knew.

    So, anyway. It's hot out. Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you about all the sales going on around town.

    Here's one you don't want to miss, though: Cerulean Blu (400 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg) is having a 50 percent off select swimwear sale Friday through Monday....

    I wonder what kind of sunscreen she uses.
  11. My Outfit Monday: You may have noticed it is Tuesday


    Webster's Dictionary defines "the worst" as beginning any blog post, wedding toast or varietal speech with a reference to a Webster's Dictionary definition. But lately, I also fit this "worst" category.

    When did I post last? Kind of a long time ago. Why am I posting a My Outfit Monday on a Tuesday? Did you know you could see Mars with the naked eye the other night?

    Long story short, it's been a crazy few months, but I'm going to be posting regularly again. So without further ado: What I wore yesterday, the Monday in question....

    Well, here we are.
  12. Pinellas superintendent Mike Grego moves to overhaul leadership at troubled schools


    LARGO — Principals at three of five failing elementary schools will be replaced at the end of the school year, the latest of several major steps being taken to transform the south St. Petersburg campuses, superintendent Mike Grego announced late Tuesday.

    Melrose, the lowest-performing elementary school in Florida, will get a new principal. So will Campbell Park and Fairmount Park. No decision has been made about the principals at Maximo and Lakewood....

    Superin-tendent Mike Grego: “Our work . . . is not done.’’


    You know the old adage that, before you leave the house, you should remove one accessory? Well, throw out grandma's ring AND toss those bracelets in the gutter, because you're about to arm yourself with America's favorite accessory: free Kahwa coffee.

    Once again, this is not a drill.

    In honor of Kahwa's 10th anniversary, the beloved local coffee purveyor is holding a "10 Days of Kahwa" celebration with new deals and surprises announced every day....

    All these treasures can be yours.
  14. Black leaders skeptical about district plan to fix 'Failure Factories'


    ST. PETERSBURG — Black leaders on Wednesday vented frustration at being left out of new proposals to aid St. Petersburg's black students and failing schools, but said they welcomed the spotlight that has been cast on the problem.

    They said that a revolving cast of district officials have come before, with promises and plans but little change.

    "We've had conversations with people who preceded you and here we are having it again," said Goliath Davis, a former police chief and deputy mayor, during a packed meeting of the Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students. ...

    Wednesday's meeting of the Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students drew a full house as discussion centered around five failing schools in St. Petersburg and a decision by the U.S. Department of Education to investigate whether the Pinellas school district has violated black students' civil rights. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  15. U.S. Education Department opens civil rights investigation into Pinellas schools


    The U.S. Department of Education on Monday opened a civil rights investigation into whether the Pinellas County School District systematically discriminates against black children, the agency said.

    The review will determine if Pinellas is denying black children access to the courses and special programs they need to be successful in high school and after graduation.

    It also will assess whether the district is denying black children access to quality teachers, school leaders and support staff, an education department official told the Tampa Bay Times....

    Tyree Parker walks toward the front doors of Maximo Elementary, one of the five elementary schools in St. Petersburg’s black neighborhoods where children are still failing at some of the highest rates in Florida despite policy changes and new initiatives.