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Thomas C. Tobin - Assistant Metro Editor/education, health and medicine

Assistant Metro Editor/education, health and medicine

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. The National Merit Scholarship program has announced the names of semifinalists for scholarships to be offered in the spring.
    These students are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the nation.
  2. Capt. Matthew A. Thompson, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard in St. Petersburg, presented the Meritorious Public Service Award to members of the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team during a ceremony Monday on the Eckerd campus.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  3. Pinellas County students Caleb Ruddock, left, and Daniel Tibma were members of the Capital District Youth Pipe Band that won the 2019 World Pipe Band Championship and Best Drum Corps titles last month in Scotland.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  4. A student crosses the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. The school continued to monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian but planned to reopen on Wednesday.
    Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando schools plan to reopen Wednesday, as does USF. The University of Florida will resume classes Thursday.
  5. Emma Jacobs, left, a sophomore at USF St. Petersburg, and Andrea Rodriguezpos, a junior at the school, show off a new system in the university cafeteria that naturally breaks down non-edible food. It's part of an effort to reduce food waste on campus. Known as ORCA, the system uses oxygen, water and microorganisms that flourish in cold water to decompose foods. Rodriguez and Jacobs are leaders of the Student Green Energy Fund.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  6. The desks were empty during Wednesday night's open house at Memorial Middle School in Tampa. Their new occupants arrive today for the start of the 2019-20 school year. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
    Classes begin in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. Pinellas follows on Wednesday.
  7. School taxes make up the single largest part of your property tax bill. [Times (2017)]
    Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties are proposing lower property tax rates this year. Their final votes are set for next month.
  8. Students across the Tampa Bay area return to classes in mid-August. The Times' annual back-to-school coverage offers a helpful starting point as families make ready for 2019-20. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
    The mid-August start of classes is just around the corner.
  9. Campbell Park Elementary was one of 10 Pinellas County schools to improve its state rating by two letter grades this year. The school rose from an F last year to a C in 2019. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
    Another 22 rose by one grade, and 14 fell back.
  10. It's been 20 years since Florida started using school grades as one of the cornerstones of its education accountability system. Grades for the 2018-19 school year were released Thursday. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.