Make us your home page
Instagram

Caitlin Johnston, Times Staff Writer

Caitlin Johnston

Caitlin Johnston covers transportation, breaking news and features in Hillsborough County. She is a graduate of Indiana University, with her master's from the University of Maryland.

She's always looking for story ideas.

Phone: (813) 226-3401

E-mail: cjohnston@tampabay.com

Twitter: @cljohnst

link
  1. Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They're free -- for now.

    Roads

    TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.

    But there's a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won't be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six miles later.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Veterans Expressway to gain higher priced express toll lanes in 2017 (March 4, 2016)...

  2. Jury awards former Tampa firefighter $245,000 in discrimination case

    Civil

    TAMPA — A jury awarded a former firefighter $245,000 in damages Thursday, deciding she had proved two allegations in her federal lawsuit against the city of Tampa: That she was discriminated against because she was pregnant and the city retaliated against her when she complained.

    But on the third allegation, the seven-person jury did not find that the city discriminated against Tanja Vidovic because of her gender. ...

  3. Jury begins deliberations in firefighter's discrimination lawsuit against Tampa

    Civil

    TAMPA — A federal court case that stretched well into its fourth week is now in the hands of jurors, who will decide whether or not a former female firefighter was discriminated and retaliated against while at Tampa Fire Rescue.

    The seven-person jury, comprised of four women and three men, listened to 13 days of testimony about Tanja Vidovic's experiences at the agency. Vidovic sued the City of Tampa for discrimination based on gender and pregnancy, and for retaliation after filling an EEOC complaint alleging, amongst other things, that multiple captains had asked her for sex....

  4. Men testify they were uncomfortable working with pregnant firefighter

    Civil

    TAMPA — The men who worked with the female firefighter suing the City of Tampa for discrimination testified in court Tuesday they were uncomfortable working with her and saw her performance drop during her pregnancy.

    Tampa Fire Rescue Firefighter Andre Williams, who was stationed with Tanja Vidovic for about two years, said that prior to her pregnancy he would vouch for her abilities as a fire fighter....

  5. Catch up on coverage of Tampa firefighter's discrimination trial

    Civil

    TAMPA — A federal judge hopes Tuesday will be the last day of testimony in a firefighter's discrimination and retaliation case against the City of Tampa that is now in its fourth week of trial.

    U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich encouraged attorneys for both sides to wrap up their case on Tuesday. That would allow attorneys to make their closing arguments Wednesday, before the case is handed over to the seven-person jury....

    Former Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter Tanja Vidovic stands outside the federal courthouse in Tampa during her discrimination lawsuit against the City of Tampa. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON   |   Times]
  6. Tampa fire chief testifies in gender discrimination trial

    Civil

    TAMPA — Tampa fire Chief Thomas Forward told a federal court Monday that he chose not to promote a female firefighter to driver engineer while she was pregnant, wanting instead to wait until after she returned to work several months after giving birth.

    Forward was on the witness stand for a majority of the day, answering questions about how he handled promotions, discipline and interactions with the media as part of a discrimination trial in U.S. District Court. Former firefighter Tanja Vidovic sued the city of Tampa, saying she was discriminated against based on her gender and pregnancy and that she was retaliated against after complaining, including being skipped for a promotion....

    Former Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter Tanja Vidovic stands outside the federal courthouse in Tampa during her discrimination lawsuit against the City of Tampa. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON   |   Times]
  7. Retired fire captain denies sexually harassing employee who sued Tampa

    Civil

    TAMPA — A Tampa Fire Rescue captain accused of harassing the female firefighter suing the city for discrimination and retaliation said Thursday that he never asked her for sex — and instead countered that she was the one who made inappropriate comments

    Chris Shepherd was one of four witnesses called by the city of Tampa during the defense's first day presenting its side of the case in U.S. District Court....

    Former Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter Tanja Vidovic is suing the city for discrimination and retaliation.
  8. City attorney grills ex-Tampa firefighter in discrimination trial

    Civil

    TAMPA — The female firefighter suing the city of Tampa for discrimination could not name who was harassing her when asked to identify those co-workers by the firefighters union.

    Tom Gonzalez, the city's attorney, questioned former firefighter Tanja Vidovic in federal court Tuesday in an effort to poke holes in her reports that she was discriminated against based on her gender and pregnancy and that she was retaliated against after complaining....

    Tanja Vidovic
  9. Jurors hear from firefighter who filed sex discrimination case

    Civil

    TAMPA — The firefighter suing the city of Tampa for discrimination took the stand for the first time Tuesday, telling the courtroom how other firefighters slammed the door in her face, refused to let her pump breast milk and propositioned her for sex.

    Tanja Vidovic told a judge and seven jurors at a discrimination trial in U.S. District Court that she did not want to file formal complaints because she "didn't want to be seen as a complainer." She said she was afraid of retaliation if she did speak up. Several of the people who harassed her, she said, were the people to whom she was supposed to report such activity....

    Former Tampa firefighter Tanja Vidovic is suing the city of Tampa for sex discrimination.
  10. Tampa Fire Rescue says pregnant firefighter insisted on working in the field much longer than others

    Civil

    TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue had never before had a firefighter in her third trimester of pregnancy who could get called into a hazardous situation at any moment.

    Former Personnel Chief Jace Kohan told a judge and seven jurors Thursday at a sex discrimination trial in U.S. District Court that Tanja Vidovic insisted on working in the field much longer than other pregnant firefighters before her. ...

    Tanja Vidovic worked into her third trimester.
  11. Witness in lawsuit tells of inconsistent treatment of Tampa female firefighter

    Civil

    TAMPA — In August 2015, a firefighter broke protocol and went outside his chain of command to email then Division Chief Jace Kohan.

    In a regimented organization like Tampa Fire Rescue, chain of command is part of daily operations. But Kohan told a judge and seven-person jury Wednesday that firefighter Mark Pattison wasn't reprimanded for his email, or even scolded.

    Two months later, he was promoted. ...

    Former Tampa firefighter Tanja Vidovic is suing the city in federal court, alleging sex discrimination. [Times (2014)]
  12. Fired Tampa firefighter's sex discrimination case opens with talk of shower peepers

    Civil

    TAMPA — The highest ranking woman in the history of Tampa Fire Rescue said Tuesday that she has been peeped on while showering. She said it in front of a judge and seven jurors at a sex discrimination trial in U.S. District Court, while describing the perils of a shared workplace bathroom.

    "The biggest struggle is when you're the only female and there's a bunch of men," Division Chief Susan Tamme testified at a former colleague's lawsuit against the city of Tampa. "One gender is going to get to use the restroom first and the other person is going to wait and hold it."...

    Vidovic
  13. The Cross Bay Ferry won't come back this fall. What about 2018?

    Mass Transit

    Still waiting for the Cross Bay Ferry to return? It's going to be a while — say, 2018 at the earliest.

    The ferry's supporters, most notably St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, had hoped to bring the boat back for another season after the first six-month trial run ended in April.

    But lack of regional cooperation and funding, the same things that routinely bedevil Tampa Bay's transportation system, stymied those efforts. In the end, there wasn't enough support from local governments — and by support, that means money — to run it again this year....

    The Cross Bay Ferry cruises along the Vinoy Yacht Basin after departing downtown St. Petersburg and headed across Tampa Bay to downtown Tampa. The ferry won't return for a second season this fall, but it could come back in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  14. Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Katharine Eagan, the leader of Hillsborough County's transit agency, is leaving the job just a month after implementing a widespread overhaul of the county's bus network.

    She will take over as CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pa., which provides public transportation in the Pittsburgh area. Her last day at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will be Jan. 5....

    Katharine Eagan, who is credited with making the most a shoestring budget as chief executive officer of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, is leaving the post after nine years. [GABRIELLA ANGIOTTI-JONES   |   Times]
  15. St. Pete Council District 2: Gabbard defeats Harless

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Realtor Brandi Gabbard will replace term-limited Jim Kennedy on the City Council, after defeating Barclay Harless by a substantial margin Tuesday.

    Gabbard beat Harless with 61 percent of the vote, wining by 12,519 votes. That was the preliminary result of all 92 precincts, early voting and partial mail ballots.

    The two first time candidates are both Democrats with ties in the community. Gabbard has been active in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the local realtor trade organization while Harless was state policy chair for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Pinellas Charter Review....

    St. Petersburg City Council District 2 candidate Barclay Harless (left) greets voters outside of the Coliseum during Election Day on Tuesday. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]