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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. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri addresses the media early Saturday after officials said a St. Petersburg police officer fatally shot a man who was choking her. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Omega Water Sciences headquarters at 901 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Plant City is seen in this image from Google Earth. A group of investors who put $620,000 into its sister company, Omega Petroleum Sciences sued the company in March. [Google Earth]
  3. A house for rent in St. Petersburg. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently extended a moratorium on evictions through the end of September but revised the order to only halt the “final action” in court — a term that has no legal definition, but which housing lawyers have interpreted as meaning that new cases will be allowed to proceed up until the final judgement. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Susan Taylor Martin]
  4. Hillsborough Virtual School offers full-time enrollment and is a school choice option. [Twitter]
  5. Teenagers shoot hoops in front of a pile of concrete slabs that residents said have been piled up in the Woodberry Woods Apartment parking lot for months. The property management company is raising the rent by about $50 per month despite recommendations to keep rents stable during the pandemic. [Christopher O'Donnell]
  6. Patricia Brown, 54, in the doorway of her apartment at the Tampa Park Apartments on Nick Nuccio Parkway. Brown's 27-year-old son, Devanté Brown, was shot and killed on March 21. Brown, who could not bring herself to walk past the spot where he was shot, has now moved out. The complex is under contract for sale to Ybor City Developer Darryl Shaw. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  7. Hillsborough County school employees pass out free school meals to families at Brandon High School in March.  With schools set to reopen next month, officials are working to figure out how they will provide meals to students who qualify for subsidized lunches but whose parents want them to study online to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
  8. Two Florida foster care agencies have been awarded more than $1 million each in federal Payroll Protection Program funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration. [Small Business Administration]
  9. Analise Wetterling, 12, carries loaves of bread to gift while she and other volunteers operate a drive-through food pantry at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa on Friday. [IVY CEBALLO  |  Times]
  10. Michael Lundy is the former executive director of the Housing Authority of Birmingham Division. He started work as the new leader of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority on Monday. [BOB FARLEY/F8FPHOTO                     |  Bob Farley/f8Photo]
  11. A volunteer directs motorists during a mega-pantry food distribution effort by Feeding Tampa Bay outside the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Wednesday.  Within the first hour of the event, 444 adults were served, according to the nonprofit, which is among groups calling for a 15 percent expansion of food stamp payments. [IVY CEBALLO  |  Times]
  12. Don Royal and his son Legend Royal, 7, take a break from playing in the sun at the playground outside Fair Oaks Park Community Center in Tampa. Royal, who lost his janitor job because of the pandemic, said the city has not invested enough in his East Tampa neighborhood, where as many half of the children live in poverty. [IVY CEBALLO  |  Times]
  13. A Feeding Tampa Bay volunteer carries groceries to a car during a mega-pantry operation in Bradenton in May. Staff and volunteers will get a first weekend off in three months over this holiday weekend. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  14. A 3-year-old boy plays in the Pasco home of his foster mom Deborah Marlet. A judge on Wednesday ordered the boy be placed with a foster mom who is caring for two of his half siblings. Marlet, who has cared for the boy since he was 15 months old, fears the move will traumatize him. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  15. Deborah Marlet, 45, hugs her 3-year-old foster child at the family's farm on June 17 in Pasco County. Marlet, who has been the boy's foster mother for about half his life, is fighting to keep him from being removed from her home after Eckerd Connects and an adoption review committee began pushing for the boy to be placed with another foster mom, who is caring for two of the boy's half-siblings. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  16. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to the media after touring the Encore urban renewal project in downtown Tampa on Friday. [IVY CEBALLO  |  Times]
  17. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks during a roundtable with President Donald Trump about America's seniors in the Cabinet Room of the White House earlier this month. [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
  18. A resident walks to his tent with bags of personal belongings and supplies. After two days, the emergency homeless shelter set up by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the City of Tampa was completely filled. The shelter has since been disbanded after about 70 of its residents were placed in homes or permanent shelters. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  19. Robert Johnson, 77, and his wife Christie Brand-Edwards, 72, pictured on the front porch of their Madeira Beach home. Christie and Robert are seniors who rent out a second home in Tampa to supplement their fixed income. After not receiving rent payments in February, they started the process to evict their tenants. It almost went all the way through when the very last step was caught in DeSantis' eviction moratorium, spurred by the pandemic. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  20. MarQuav'is Hamilton, 22, left, distributes materials for Woodmont Charter School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center's summer program to students Ma'Kayla Clement, 13, center, and her sister Kamariah Garrison, 11, (both) of Tampa, on Friday at the school in Tampa. Hamilton said he experienced racism at Steinbrenner High School. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  21. Jayla El-Amin, 7, joins protest in St. Petersburg Sunday, June 14, 2020. "We wanted them to see what it means to come together and solve problems and speak out against racial injustice, and to learn lessons early so they will be less likely to become victims," said her mother, Kyandra Darling, 27. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
  22. Jayla El-Amin, 7, joins protest in St. Petersburg Sunday, June 14, 2020. "We wanted them to see what it means to come together and solve problems and speak out against racial injustice, and to learn lessons early so they will be less likely to become victims," said her mother, Kyandra Darling, 27. [Times]
  23. Demonstrators continue their messaging for justice in the George Floyd police killing along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr St. South in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sunday, June 7, 2020 in [BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Times]