Author

Kurt Niland

4751 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Florida Girl Saved From ‘Dry Drowning’ Days After Swimming

“Dry drowning” isn’t something many parents think of whenever their child swims in a pool or plays with water, but simply knowing what it is can potentially be a life-saver. Such was the case for Lacey Grace, the mother of 4-year-old Elianna, who nearly drowned days after she went swimming in her grandparents’ pool in Sarasota, Florida. Ms. Grace posted on Facebook that Elianna was playing in the pool with a pool noodle as children do when, “By 100 percent freak accident, Elianna put her mouth to blow out at the same time someone blew in the other end, causing ... Read More

Monsanto Loses Bid to Bar California’s Glyphosate Cancer Warning

Monsanto Corp. lost its bid to strike down a California law that will require the agrochemical giant’s glyphosate herbicide to be listed as a probable carcinogen. A California Appellate Court sided with the State of California and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) April 12, preserving the glyphosate cancer warning. It’s a landmark win not just for Californians but potentially all consumers nationwide who have been kept in the dark about the herbicide’s potential health hazards. California is one of the biggest markets in the world for Monsanto’s Roundup, which is sold in more than 160 countries. California farmers use the herbicide, ... Read More

Oklahoma Ambulance Provider Settles Whistleblower Kickback Allegations

An Oklahoma ambulance service provider will pay $300,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging it violated the federal False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute by engaging in an unlawful kickback scheme with a former Texas contractor. According to Tulsa World, a whistleblower lawsuit provided the basis for allegations lodged by federal officials. The complaint alleged that Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), its former president and CEO Stephen Williamson, and contractor Paramedics Plus LLC controlled a slush fund that they used to pay out more than $20 million in kickbacks, including $50,000 or more for Mr. Williamson’s personal benefit. The State ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps Medicare Recover $9.68 Million From Oxygen Supplier

Federal officials praised a whistleblower whose False Claims Act lawsuit against a Florida-based medical equipment supplier recovered $9.68 million for Medicare. U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown of the Eastern District of Texas said its multi-million-dollar settlement agreement with Rotech Healthcare Inc., a supplier of respiratory equipment and portable oxygen, resolves allegations that Rotech knowingly billed Medicare for portable oxygen supplies it provided to Medicare beneficiaries who didn’t need or use them. Rotech also admitted that it billed Medicare for oxygen supplies regardless of whether the supplies were delivered to beneficiaries. Medicare covers rentals of portable and stationary oxygen equipment for up ... Read More

Engine Fire Forces Delta Emergency Landing in ATL

A Delta Air Lines jet bound for London made an emergency landing in Atlanta Wednesday evening with one of its engines on fire. Delta Flight 30 had departed from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for London Heathrow just minutes earlier when it was forced to turn around with heavy smoke billowing from its engine. The Delta plane had been in the air just 20 minutes when the problem occurred. The airplane, an Airbus A330, landed safely in Atlanta with no injuries. Firefighters were awaiting the returning jet and immediately doused the engine fire when it landed. “Airport response vehicles met the ... Read More

Honda, Feds Investigating Teen’s Honda Entrapment Death

Honda Motor Co. is working with federal and local authorities in probing the accidental death of a Cincinnati teen who suffocated after becoming pinned by a bench seat in his Odyssey minivan April 10. Kyle Plush, 16, was initially well enough to call 911 after he became stuck in the third-row bench seats of the 2004 Honda minivan. He warned the emergency dispatcher that he felt he would die unless someone found him soon. Kyle had kneeled on the third-row seat so he could reach into the very back of the vehicle to retrieve his tennis gear. The bench seat ... Read More

2.6M Vuse Vibe Vaping Units Recalled For Fire Risk

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company is recalling about 2.6 million of its Vuse Vibe electronic vaping units after receiving several consumer reports of overheating and fire. The company says the problem with the Vuse Vibe units stems from the batteries that charge the electronic vaping devices, a form of electronic nicotine delivery system much like an e-cigarette or vape pen. R.J. Reynolds initiated the nationwide recall after receiving 10 complaints of the devices overheating and catching fire. Although the devices pose a potential risk of burn injuries and property damage, the company says it isn’t aware of any injuries related to ... Read More

Georgia Whistleblower Exposes $3.2 Million Kickback Scheme

A whistleblower who sued a group of Atlanta-area orthopedic and anesthesia providers for their alleged participation in an illegal kickback scheme has helped the U.S. government recover $3.2 million for Medicare. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the whistleblower lawsuit led to a settlement agreement between the federal government and Georgia Bone & Joint; Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center; Southern Crescent Anesthesiology; and Sentry Anesthesia Management, as well as nurse anesthetist David LaGuardia. The whistleblower complaint, brought by Sharon Kopko, former Practice Administrator for Georgia Bone & Joint, alleged that Mr. LaGuardia, Sentry, and Southern Crescent provided a free ... Read More

Southwest Airlines Engine Has Missing Fan Blade, Investigators Say

Federal investigators said they have found evidence of a missing fan blade in the engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that made an emergency landing Tuesday, April 17 in Philadelphia. The Southwest Boeing 737-700 was flying from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas when its left engine exploded, shattering a window and fatally injuring passenger Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old mother of two and Wells Fargo executive from Albuquerque. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt said that someone found a Southwest Airlines engine cowling, the outer covering of the engine, on the ground ... Read More

NTSB Boots Tesla From Model X Crash Investigation

Federal investigators have taken the rare action of removing Tesla as a party to an ongoing investigation of the fatal March 23 crash of a Tesla Model X in Mountain View, California. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that Tesla Inc. violated investigative protocol by releasing information pertaining to the crash probe before it was vetted and approved by the NTSB officials. “Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public,” the NTSB said in a statement. ... Read More