Author

Kurt Niland

5139 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.

Smoldering E-Cigarette Triggers Boston Logan Airport Evacuation

A lithium-ion battery for an e-cigarette overheated inside a checked bag at Boston Logan International Airport, prompting an evacuation of a section of the busy airport and reminders from federal security agents that the batteries are prohibited in checked luggage. The smoldering e-cigarette battery was discovered on a busy Saturday morning after Thanksgiving when smoke began pouring from a suitcase inside the baggage screening room. According to NBC 10 Boston, the smoldering bag was discovered moments before it was loaded onto an airplane. Transportation Security Agents evacuated the baggage screening area and called in Massport Fire & Rescue and a ... Read More

Workers Suffer Amputation, Burn Injuries at Alabama Food Plant

Burn injuries and amputations are a couple occupational hazards that no workers should face in the workplace, yet two employees of a Pike County, Alabama food producer were hospitalized within a week of each other after being injured in separate accidents. In a Nov. 23 announcement, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said the workplace accidents occurred in the facilities of Southern Classic Food Group LLC. The Brundidge-based manufacturer produces a line of dressings, sauces, confections, beverages, and other products, including Dreamland “Bar-B-Que” sauce and Dale’s marinade. According to OSHA, on Thurs., Aug. 2, one employee suffered burn ... Read More

Amazon Warehouse Workers Injured In Bear Repellent Accident

Two dozen Amazon workers were taken to the hospital with respiratory injuries after a warehouse machine punctured a can of bear repellant, sending noxious fumes into a section of its Robbinsville, New Jersey facility. At least one of the injured Amazon workers in the 1.3-million-square-foot fulfillment center at the time of the incident was in critical condition. Most of those injured reported they had difficulty breathing, and burning in their eyes, throat, and chest. Someone from the New Jersey Amazon facility placed a 911 call on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 5, reporting the incident. Emergency responders arriving at the ... Read More

Whistleblower Sues Oregon DMV, Alleging Retaliation Over Sexual Harassment Complaints

A Salem, Oregon woman has filed a whistleblower complaint against the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, accusing the agency of retaliating against her for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. The whistleblower complaint was filed in Marion County Circuit Court Nov. 8 by a woman who worked for the Oregon DMV as a document specialist. The plaintiff’s position was a temporary one, but she was interviewing last year for a permanent position as office specialist within the DMV. It was on Dec. 8, after her second interview, that she says her troubles at the DMV began. According to the Salem ... Read More

E-Cigarette Blast Severely Burns California Toddler and Mom

California mom Paige Kadella heard a strange crackling sound coming from her purse as she was traveling in the backseat of her father-in-law’s car with her 18-month-old daughter Ashlynn. When she bent over to investigate, her purse was engulfed in flames. Her e-cigarette had exploded for unknown reasons and she seriously burned her hands as she frantically tried to put out the fire, screaming for her father-in-law to pull the car over. But Ashlynn, who was strapped into a car seat, suffered the worst injuries. The fire had spread from Ms. Kadella’s purse to her daughter’s car seat, leaving the ... Read More

Jury Awards LAFD Whistleblower $2.75 Million in Retaliation Case

A Los Angeles Fire Department whistleblower who allegedly faced severe backlash after speaking out against waste and fraud within his station has been awarded $2.75 million by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury. Stephen Meiche, who joined the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1980, said his LAFD colleagues ostracized him and subjected him to differential treatment that diminished not just his peace of mind but threatened his safety, NBC News Los Angeles reported. Mr. Meiche, a certified diver and diver instructor for the LAFD said his troubles started in March 2014 after he complained that members of the dive team ... Read More

Possession of Cotton Candy Got Georgia Woman Three Months in Jail. Now She’s Suing.

A Georgia woman who spent nearly three agonizing months in jail for having a bag of cotton candy that Monroe County sheriff’s deputies mistook for crystal meth is suing the county and a drug kit manufacturer in federal court. On New Year’s Eve in 2016, Monroe County sheriff’s deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson stopped Macon resident Dasha Fincher for having car windows that were darkly tinted. The deputies later admitted the windows were legal, according to Macon’s WMAZ Channel 13. But at some point during the traffic stop the deputies noticed a large open plastic bag in Ms. Fincher’s ... Read More

Automation Glitches, Pilot Error Contributed to Lion Air Crash

If preliminary findings of the Lion Air plane crash investigation bear out, the same automated technology that has made flying safer in recent years may be responsible for a growing share of plane crashes that do occur. Investigators involved in the probe of Lion Air flight 610, which crashed in the Java Sea off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia Oct. 29, found that the pilots faced a confusing “cacophony of warnings that started seconds after takeoff and continued for the remaining 11 minutes before the crash,” according to Bloomberg. When Boeing was designing its latest version of the 737 – ... Read More

Duke University Close To Settling Whistleblower Case

Duke University is nearing a settlement with the U.S. government that would resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging the Durham, North Carolina university received nearly $200 million in federal grants with applications and reports that included fake data. The settlement, which is expected to be disclosed in December, would bring to an end a lawsuit filed in 2015 by whistleblower Joseph Thomas, a former Duke biologist. Mr. Thomas sued Duke on behalf of the U.S. government, alleging that Duke biologist Erin Potts-Kant faked lab data that found its way into multiple other studies and papers, which provided the basis ... Read More

Negligent Security At Chicago Gym Led to Sexual Assault, Lawsuit Claims

Claims of negligent security form the basis of a premises liability lawsuit filed by an Illinois man who alleges he was sexually assaulted while showering at a Chicago gym. The plaintiff, identified in the complaint as ‘Victim A,” filed the complaint Nov. 2 in Cook County Circuit Court against Capital Fitness Inc. and affiliated entities, claiming the defendants were negligent in their handling of security on the premises of the XSport Fitness gym where he worked out. According to the Cook County Record, the plaintiff claims that, as a member, he was lawfully on the premises of the Capital Fitness ... Read More