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Rebecca Woolington - Investigative Editor

Investigative Editor

I’m the investigative editor at the Tampa Bay Times, writing and editing stories that bring wrongdoing to light and hold the powerful accountable. I first joined the investigative team at the Times in 2018 to cover environmental issues. My work here has chronicled the rise and fall of a troubled small-town mayor, discrepancies in the state’s counting of coronavirus deaths and dangerous working conditions inside a Tampa lead factory. I’m a native Oregonian, who spent eight years working at my hometown paper in Portland before coming to Florida. I attended Portland Community College before graduating from the University of Oregon. I live in St. Petersburg with my two cats, Caroline and Claudette.

  1. Looking east at the Gopher Resource lead smelter, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021 in Tampa.
  2. Estos tres cachorros estaban entre unos 30 perros incautados de una propiedad en 12843 119th Street North en Largo no incorporado el sábado 14 de mayo de 2022. Terrell Coley, 38m fue arrestado por múltiples cargos de crueldad animal y dos cargos de negligencia infantil, según el Oficina del Alguacil del Condado de Pinellas.
  3. These three pit bull terrier puppies were among more than 30 dogs seized from a property off 119th Street North in unincorporated Largo on Saturday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Terrell Coley, 38, was arrested on multiple counts of animal cruelty and two counts of child neglect.
  4. Anil Eglais, who was a veteran worker at the Tampa lead factory, had lab tests that indicated signs of possible kidney damage for two years straight. Federal rules required that he receive additional medical care. But Dr. Bruce Bohnker, the medical director at COMBI, did not provide the follow up. After leaving Gopher, Eglais worried about his declining health. He died in an automobile crash in July 2021.
  5. Smoke from the Gopher Resource factory can been seen from the playground at Kenly Elementary School in Tampa.
  6. The Gopher Resource lead smelter is pictured at the end of the street where a single house sits, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021 in Tampa.
  7. The County Environmental Protection Commission began its probe of Gopher Resource after a Tampa Bay Times investigation. The commission is proposing a $518,000 fine, after confirming many of the Times' findings.
  8. Experts say regulators could take steps to protect workers from the kinds of issues they faced at Gopher Resource.
  9. The county announced this week that it would run the air-quality monitors around Gopher Resource's Tampa plant on a randomized schedule.
  10. A Josefina Zepeda y su hijo Gustavo Araujo, quienes viven cerca de la planta de plomo de Gopher Resource, les preocupa que la contaminación haya afectado negativamente su salud. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]
  11. Poisoned, Part 3: The Fallout
  12. Sep. 30, 2021• Investigations
    Federal regulators on Thursday gave Gopher Resource a "willful violation" for exposing workers to inhalation hazards.
  13. Sep. 29, 2021• Investigations
    A Tampa Bay Times investigation found that workers at Gopher Resource in Tampa were exposed to extreme amounts of lead.
  14. Anil Eglais, 62, watched his health decline after working more than 25 years at Gopher's Tampa lead factory, where he was exposed to poisonous metals including cadmium.
  15. Federal lawmakers say Gopher Resource should face penalties in the wake of a report that found toxic gasses reached life-threatening levels and contaminated dust covered the plant’s floor.
  16. County regulators identified a host of problems at Gopher Resource in Tampa, including hazardous-liquid leaks and life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.
  17. Jun. 29, 2021• Investigations
    Lead dust fills a section of Gopher Resource's Tampa plant. Late this month, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the company's credit rating.
  18. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump (center) and co-counselors announce the filing of a lawsuit against Gopher Resource on behalf of Colin Brown (in headphones). Colin's parents Ko Brown (third from right) and Tomika Brown (second from right) are suing the lead factory, alleging that dust from the plant poisoned their son. Colin's blood-lead levels only subsided after his father, a former factory worker, left the plant. The Wednesday press conference in Tampa was held outside of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse.
  19. Consultants and workers have documented problems with fumes spilling out from the furnace into the workspace at Gopher Resource for years.
  20. Neighbors who live near Gopher Resource, Florida's only lead smelter, showed up for a community meeting at Kenly Park on Wednesday to hear from local leaders. Health officials say they will offer lead testing for local residents. Wednesday, April 21, 2021 in Tampa.
  21. An aerial view of the Gopher Resource on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in Tampa.
  22. Apr. 12, 2021• Investigations
    A collage of videos and images from inside Gopher Resource.
  23. Photos taken by workers at Gopher Resource in Tampa show a factory plagued with problems.
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