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Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner is a writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times.

In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for "Failure Factories," a series chronicling how a local school system turned five once-decent neighborhood schools into the worst in the state for black children. The series also won Gartner the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, the George Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal, among other honors.

Gartner, who joined the Times in 2013, has also been recognized at the national and state levels for her feature writing, beat coverage and breaking news reporting. She grew up in Wellington, Fla., and attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After graduating in 2010, she joined The Washington Examiner to report on education in the D.C. metro area. At the Times, Gartner covered Pinellas County Schools and higher education before joining the enterprise team in 2016.

She lives in St. Petersburg, and is always looking for a good story to tell.

Phone: (727) 893-8707


Twitter: @LisaGartner

  1. Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying 'Me too' for years

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Meet her with her clothes on.

    Don't make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are listening; that you will listen, to whatever she has to say. Observe what she is not saying. Ask the question you've been trained to ask:

    "Have you ever had sex against your will?"...

    Pamela Kelly teaches future doctors studying at the University of South Florida at Tampa General Hospital’s Family Care Center.
  2. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Forty years later, Dillinger is the Pinellas-Pasco public defender, but the same poverty zones still exist, he said, giving birth to most of his clients, including children who cycle through the juvenile system without hope. That hopelessness, Dillinger said, is at the center of the county's deadly juvenile auto theft epidemic....

    Wengay Newton (left), Florida House of Representatives (in front, on left), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth. Also pictured is Ashley Green (in center), Dream Defenders, attorney Dyril Flanagan and Bob Dillinger (far right), Public Defender Sixth Judicial Circuit.
  3. Historic and harrowing: Chronicling Hurricane Irma's destructive path


    We sawed through plywood and boarded up windows, hoarded water and bought stores out of batteries. We took down flags and porch swings and filled up with gas, hit the road or hunkered down.

    In short, we all made plans.

    But the impossibly large Irma, like every hurricane before and all that will come after, did not care about how well-prepared we were. The storm left us powerless before moving on to devastate areas outside its path, that didn't see what was coming....

    This photo provided by Caribbean Buzz shows boats clustered together after Hurricane Irma Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The death toll from Hurricane Irma has risen to 22 as the storm continues its destructive path through the Caribbean.
The dead include 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands and four in the British Virgin Islands. There was also one each in Barbuda, Anguilla, and Barbados. The toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach some of the hardest-hit areas. [Caribbean Buzz via AP]
  4. When life (and a hurricane) gave her neighbors lemons, this girl made lemonade


    ST. PETERSBURG — Danika Kubiak is no stranger to the lemonade business. When her neighbor's dog ate her retainer last year, Danika set up on their block. She asked for donations. She raised $15. Anything to lower that orthodonture bill, right?

    So when the freckled-nose 7-year-old woke up on Tuesday and realized some of her neighbors still didn't have power, she went up and down 14th Avenue NE, knocking on doors. "Would you like to do a lemonade stand?" she asked Meara Hill, still in her pajamas. The 8-year-old said sure, and they added coffee and power strips to the mix....

    Kennedy Waechter, 10, left, and Danika Kubiak, 7, wait for customers at their stand that included coffee and a power strip. 
  5. Fighting the fear, from the cot under the window


    They hardly slept at all the first night, too anxious to settle. The kids couldn't stay still, and the baby cried. "Is there anything you can do to quiet him down?" asked an older woman holed up in the same classroom. But there wasn't, and Jasmine Walker held him closer to her chest.

    No one believed her when she said this would be bad, and by Saturday, it had been too late: The roads were jammed to Georgia, friends told her; she and her family would have to stay in St. Petersburg as a Category 5 hurricane swirled closer and closer....

     Lavarious waits for the storm to arrive. He preferred to stay at home, in familiar surroundings.
  6. Questions. Worries. Fears. Oh, my.


    Editor's Note: We typically swim in our fishbowls, having a million different conversations as we go about our daily lives. But this week in Tampa Bay, we're all asking the same questions, speaking the same fears and telling the same jokes. Our reporter spent Thursday afternoon eavesdropping at a bar, a coffee shop, a hardware store, a Walmart and Tyrone Square Mall. Here's what she heard, woven together as we all anticipate the big storm....

  7. The rush for flood insurance comes too late


    GULFPORT — The calls kept coming, the ringing like a whine over the wall-unit air-conditioner in the little office, the messages piling up. Insurance broker Rob Sepúlveda leaned over his hands, his fingers laced together on his desk. "I want a policy that will protect me if my house blows away," the latest caller said. She wanted what everyone else did, the thing people usually never wanted: flood insurance....

    Caldwell Insurance agent Rob Sep?lveda is being inundated with flood insurance inquiries, but few people are buying when told coverage takes 30 days to kick in.
  8. Isaiah Battle, county's biggest car thief, sentenced to 20 months in prison


    LARGO — Isaiah Battle, who at 15 years old became the most arrested car thief in Pinellas County, was sentenced to 20 months in prison Monday.

    At an emotional hearing that in many ways served as an indictment of the juvenile justice system, Isaiah also received four years probation.

    "In Pinellas County, youth stealing cars, fleeing from police, and getting in crashes is out of control," said Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Coyler. "This is extremely concerning behavior that puts everyone at risk....

    Isaiah Battle talks with Public Defender David Moran, left, before he is taken from the courtroom after he is sentenced at the Pinellas County Justice Center on Monday afternoon. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  9. State plans to examine scoring tool key to juvenile auto theft epidemic


    State juvenile justice leaders have set a date to re-examine the tool that makes it easy for kids to steal cars with few legal consequences.

    For the first time in about a decade, Secretary Christina Daly and national experts will convene on Dec. 11 and 12 in Lake Mary to consider changes to the Detention Risk Assessment Instrument, a spokeswoman for the Department of Juvenile Justice said Thursday....

    Christina Daly during an interview last year. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  10. What do kids need to stay away from deadly auto theft epidemic?

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — More than a dozen black teenagers told U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist on Wednesday that children need stronger mentors and youth programs to steer clear of the auto theft epidemic plaguing Pinellas County.

    "I don't want to sit in a room with someone who's never been in my situation, or is scared to be in my neighborhood," said Angelique Evans, 15. "We need more role models. We need more people who are willing."...

    Eritha "Akile" Cainion, a City Council candidate and member of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, chants as a security guard (on left) waits to have her escorted out of Wednesday's meeting. She and sveral other Uhurus disrupted a youth round table with Congressman Charlie Crist  to discuss the ongoing car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth and how law enforcement, elected officials, and community organizations can work together to put an end to this dangerous trend. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  11. Wrong Way: At 15, he was the county's No. 1 car thief. He had every reason to stop.


    Isaiah Battle believes in heaven. When he pictures it, everything is gold, everyone sitting on couches among clouds. He is not sure if people in heaven have to share rooms. But if they do, he hopes he can share one with his sister, Dominique.

    They shared one on earth, in St. Petersburg, back before she drowned in a stolen car in a cemetery pond. Two beds where they'd lie side by side and joke about their boyfriends, girlfriends, school. Smoke weed and watch whatever was on TV. Tell each other I love you before lights out each night....

    Isaiah Battle stole eight cars by the time he was 16. Then his sister died in a stolen car. Read our special report, 'Wrong Way.' [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  12. Boy who died in stolen car did wrong, but was still a boy, mom says

    Public Safety

    She closes her eyes and sees them clearly, the first moments of Jimmie Goshey's life.

    Shalanda Marshall had gone to the hospital early, throwing up, the baby pushing hard. But the doctors said he was hours away, so she sent her daughters home to get things ready for Jimmie.

    Then, all of a sudden he was coming, fast. "You better get back here or you're going to miss it," she told her daughters, but by the time they got up the elevator and to the door, Jimmie was born....

    Memorial from a Facebook page for the three teens killed when the stolen SUV they were in crashed violently in Palm Harbor early Sunday morning. Clockwise from top left; Dejarae Thomas, 16, Keontae Brown, 16, and Jimmie Goshey, 14.
  13. Teens in stolen car crash had 126 arrests; murder charges possible (w/video)


    The last thing Keondrae Brown remembers before he blacked out is lying in shattered glass on Tampa Road, next to the burning wreckage of a stolen car, lucky to be alive after a high-speed crash that killed his brother and two of his friends.

    TIMELINE:Three boys died in a stolen vehicle: Here's how it unfolded (w/video)...

     screen grab of car crash that killed three boys, early Sunday morning, Aug. 6, 2017. Dash Cam video of first deputy arriving at the scene.
  14. Sheriff releases video showing teens reaching 140 mph before fatal Palm Harbor SUV crash


    Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a news conference Monday afternoon in which he showed dash-cam footage from the first officer to respond to the Palm Harbor crash. Here is some of what he said in the news conference:

    TIMELINE:Three boys died in a stolen vehicle: Here's how it unfolded (w/video)...

    Deyon Kaigler appears in court the morning being arrested for driving a stolen car and playing a "cat and mouse" game with friends in another stolen car that crashed killing there boys. Also present in court was Kaigler's mother, Demetria Coley. Kaigler was driving the stolen Chrysler Sebring that deputies found at Sunset Point and Keene roads in Clearwater. Kamal Campbell, 18, and Deyon were taken into custody and face charges of grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence. Deyon Kaigler said in December that he was done stealing cars. His friends were still posting videos of high-speed joyrides to Facebook, wearing key fobs on lanyards around their necks. But Deyon, 16, had decided it was too dangerous. "I value my life," he said. "I'm not trying to be dead." Just eight months later, on Sunday morning, three boys died and Deyon was led away in handcuffs after a fiery, high-speed crash sent a stolen Ford Explorer pinwheeling through the air down Tampa Road in Palm Harbor, bursting into flames.
  15. Victim recalls horrific crash that killed three in stolen car

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Ricky Melendez pulled himself out of bed when his alarm went off at 4 a.m. It was time to start a day that would nearly end his life.

    He let his 4-month-old Lab puppy, Mila, out of her crate as he brushed his teeth and got dressed for work. The 29-year-old was a bit tired, having spent the previous day at a water park in Orlando with his cousin and his brother. But he was excited to get to his new job at Sprouts Farmers Market in Palm Harbor, where he was the dairy manager. He was trying to get the nickname "The Milkman" to catch on....

    Clearwater resident Ricky Melendez recalls the accident early Sunday where four teens driving a stolen SUV slammed into his car. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times