Christopher O'Donnell - Vulnerable Communities Reporter

Vulnerable Communities Reporter

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

  1. Residents at Tampa Park Apartments have been told they must move out by Nov. 1 because the 21-acre property between downtown Tampa and Ybor City has been sold.
  2. The bungalows at Jordan Park in St. Petersburg sit empty behind a gate put up to enclose the properties. Federal money to rehabilitate the public housing project is in jeopardy.
  3. A boy named Jamal, 12, rummages through the toy shelf of his room at the Joshua House in Lutz. The Children's Home Society of Florida is planning on closing the group home in March.
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  5. Melanie, foreground, works on her doll bed with the help of volunteer Somer Palmer at the Florida Dream Center.
  6. St. Petersburg photographer Nicholas Pelak took this self-portrait. He died Friday in a road accident.
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  8. Nakeeba Ryan, 24, was arrested on Feb. 1, 2020 and charged with leaving in the scene of a crash involving injury. Deputies say she struck a teenage girl with her SUV on 15th Street in Tampa didn't stop to help or report the crash.
  9. Temple Terrace Mayor Mel Jurado faced calls for her resignation after a 2018 Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed her Ph.D. was from a notorious diploma mill. Now, she may be sanctioned by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
  10. St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, left, and U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announce the creation of the regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force.
  11. Chris Card, chief of community-based care for Eckerd Connects. His agency is now running the two biggest child welfare jurisdictions in Florida.
  12. Pinellas bus drivers carry tips on spotting signs of human trafficking under a new program called, "We are the Eyes Of The City." Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority buses also carry the anti-trafficking message, "See something, say something."
  13. Benjamin Douglas Ehas, 31, of Tampa, faces charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide after Tampa police said he struck and killed a man on Bayshore Boulevard's scenic sidewalk on Thursday.
  14. A jogger was fatally struck Thursday by a pickup truck that jumped onto Bayshore Boulevard's scenic sidewalk and crashed into the balustrade. Tampa police arrested the driver that night on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
  15. Homeless and needy people find a place to rest at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown Tampa. The number of homeless people declined 9 percent in Florida during 2019, and 40 percent over the past seven years, a new federal study says.
  16. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles surround and apprehend a bank robbery suspect on U.S. Hwy. 301 Saturday morning.
  17. Zephyrhills resident Alan Thomas Jerdan faces charges of DUI manslaughter after a Friday afternoon crash on Lynbrook Drive.
  18. The Tampa Housing Authority will begin a master plan in 2020 for the redevelopment of Robles Park Village. That is a year ahead of schedule, because of the discovery of an African-American cemetery beneath five of the community's 67 buildings. Residents who live over the cemetery are already being relocated.
  19. There aren't many signs that it's Christmas among the 67 buildings that make up the Robles Park Village public housing complex. But Louise "Wanda" Humphrey, 39, helped brighten the place by taking part in a Dec. 19 door-decorating contest.
  20. Tampa Park Apartments is on property between downtown and Ybor City, at East Scott Street and Nuccio Parkway.
  21. Chad Poppell, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, has ordered the state's attorneys to follow strict deadlines on when to ask courts to terminate parental rights. Critics fear more children will be permanently separated from their families as a result.
  22. Cesar Silva walks with his 7-year-old service dog Sophia at Rotary Riverfront Park in Temple Terrace. A disabled Iraq war veteran, Silva takes Sophia with him everywhere but ran into trouble with a park ranger during a 2016 visit to Veteran’s Memorial Park.
  23. No sign of graves was found during a survey using ground-penetrating radar at the Tax Collector's office on E Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. The survey was conducted based on a tip by a cemetery researcher.
  24. Roxanne Amoroso quit as a board member of the troubled St. Petersburg Housing Authority after less than five months.