Thomas C. Tobin - Topics Editor

Topics Editor

No one is luckier than I am. As an assistant metro editor, I practice journalism every day with a talented team of writers who cover news about education, health and transportation. A mix of veterans and newer faces, they bring a passion to their work that makes me proud and helps keep our community better informed. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., but Tampa Bay and I go way back. When I got here in the late 1980s, our state was just coming into its own as the economic, political and cultural powerhouse it is today. Since then I've covered local and state government, legal issues and education. I have traveled across Florida as the Times state reporter and even delved into the world of Scientology. Each day I learn from people. Reach out and tell me something.

  1. Tyler Rorah, 18, of Brooksville, receives a Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine shot from LPN Sonia Woods, right, while receiving his CDC (issued) Covid 10 Vaccination Card during his vaccination appointment on Monday, April 5, 2021, at Saint Leo University, which is serving as the host for the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution for East Pasco County.

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  2. People arrive for their vaccination appointments on Monday, March 29, 2021, at Pinellas County’s COVID-19 vaccine site, 1197 E Bay Drive in Largo. The site, which opened in February, is the county’s largest COVID-19 vaccine site.
  3. Will Weatherford is former speaker of the Florida House and managing partner of Weatherford Capital.
  4. Nurse Joan Diehl prepares COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City, one of four vaccine distribution sites in Hillsborough County. Because of high demand and a limited supply from the state, appointment slots filled up quickly.
  5. Boxes containing the COVID-19 vaccine are seen in a freezer at Tampa General Hospital Monday in Tampa. Tampa General Hospital was one of the first hospitals to receive the vaccine.
  6. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, watches as Ramon Docobo, Asst. Director of the Pharmacy at Tampa General Hospital, removes the COVID-19 vaccine from boxes Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
  7. The Medicare open enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7 every year, giving millions of Americans a chance to adjust their coverage for the upcoming calendar year.
  8. The 138 Tampa Bay students selected as National Merit Semifinalists are among 16,000 high school seniors nationwide competing for some 7,600 scholarships worth a total of more than $30 million.
  9. Students move through the line toward the school entrance, on the first day of school for Hillsborough County students, at Hillsborough High School on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 in Tampa.
  10. Students arrive by bus at a drop off circle on the first day of school before the start of classes at the entrance of Gulf High School on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in New Port Richey.
  11. Aug. 24, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    Students lock up bicycles at Gulf Middle School during the first day of school for Pasco County Schools on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in New Port Richey.
  12. Aug. 4, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    From left, teacher Tara Hernandez and students Angel Lozano and Dominic Cuahutenango wear masks and practice social distancing during a summer program this year at Redlands Christian Migrant Association Academy in Wimauma. Similar practices will be used when the regular school year starts in late August.
  13. Aug. 4, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    Sunlake High senior Anna Nelson cleaned out her locker on May 26 as the 2019-20 school year came to a close amid a shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis. A new year starts soon, with Tampa Bay area school districts having moved their start dates to late August as the virus continues to make scheduling difficult.
  14. Jul. 29, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    The 2020-21 school year will start Aug. 24, the Pinellas County School Board decided Tuesday evening, a move that buys the district more time to figure out the logistics of offering two kinds of schooling. The original start date was Aug. 12.
  15. Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego, citing coronavirus concerns, is proposing that schools reopen on Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 12.
  16. Ezequiel Mezquite, 20, of Clearwater, faces charges of DUI and possession of marijuana, according to Clearwater police.
  17. Students from Hernando County's Central High line up on graduation day.
  18. University of South Florida president Steve Currall, left, and St. Petersburg College president Tonjua Williams have released statements on the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests that have ensued.
  19. May 27, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    In a time before social distancing, these graduates at Tampa's Carrollwood Day School stood together and threw their caps in celebration. The world is counting on a return to those days.
  20. This is the way it used to look when students lined up for graduation at Pasco High, before social distancing. For now, Pasco schools are holding virtual graduations, but officials say they want to hold in-person graduations in August if conditions regarding the coronavirus allow it.
  21. May 27, 2020• The Education Gradebook
    Madison Hickey, along with 137 other seniors from Clearwater Central Catholic High, participated in a social distancing graduation on Sunday.
  22. The Gibbs High Class of 2018 celebrated after graduation ceremonies at Tropicana Field, where the Pinellas County school system typically holds most of its graduations. In this most atypical of school years, district officials say they are discussing the possibility of in-person ceremonies at the indoor stadium this summer, providing conditions with the coronavirus allow it.
  23. Parents, family and friends observe social distancing guidelines while attending the senior graduation car parade May 1 at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa.