Author

Kurt Niland

5154 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.

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

St. Paul House Explosion Injures One Man, Displaces Several Others

An explosion believed to be caused by natural gas leveled a house in St. Paul, Minnesota, seriously injuring one man and leading authorities to condemn all the structures on the block. The Nov. 23 explosion remains under investigation, but officials said that the blast may have been triggered by a natural gas line. Some residents reported the smell of gas, according to ABC Eyewitness News Chicago. Responders to the scene of the explosion found 80-year-old John Lundahl among the debris. Officials told WCCO CBS 4 Minnesota that Mr. Lundahl’s feet were sticking out of the rubble and he was conscious ... Read More

$192 Million BP Oil Spill Funds Going to Alabama’s Two Coastal Counties

BP oil spill funds intended to aid in the recovery of the Gulf Coast are ready to be invested in Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey said in an announcement Monday. According to Gov. Ivey, the U.S. Treasury Department has approved Alabama’s plan to invest the funds. The $192.4 million injection of cash will be dispersed among 15 projects proposed by Alabama’s Multiyear Implementation Plan for Gulf Coast Recovery developed by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council. All of the projects proposed by the AGCR are located in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, which together form Alabama’s entire section of Gulf Coast. The ... Read More

Several Tahini Products Recalled for Salmonella Risk

If you purchased Tahini paste or similar sesame-based products recently, federal regulators want you to know that several products originating from a major Israel-based sesame producer are being recalled due to concerns that they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Archdut LTD of Ariel, Israel, is recalling tahini products sold under a multitude of brand names: Achdut, Baron’s, S&F, Pepperwood, Soom, and Achva. The tahini products were distributed internationally and sold through retail stores and by mail order. They include tahini, whole tahini, organic tahini, and seasoned tahini products sold in 15oz, 16oz, 17.6oz, 635 oz (428g, 454g, 500g, 18Kg) containers. ... Read More

Six People Rescued After Chicago Elevator Malfunction

An elevator inside one of Chicago’s tallest buildings careened down 84 stories after one of its hoist ropes broke, leaving six people rattled but uninjured. The elevator malfunction occurred Fri., Nov. 16, at the 875 Michigan Avenue building – the fourth tallest skyscraper in the city, formerly called the Hancock Center – when guests leaving the Signature Room on the 95th floor hit the button to go down to the lobby. “At the beginning I believed we were going to die,” Jaime Montemayor, who was visiting from Mexico, told CBS Chicago. “We were going down and then I felt that ... Read More

UK Man Left With Severe Burn Injuries After E-Cigarette Explosion

An unexpected e-cigarette explosion inside the pants pocket of a U.K. man left him with horrific burn injuries and agonizing pain. Darren Wilson, a gas engineer and father of three, told the Liverpool Echo that he was busy remodeling his house when the e-cigarette explosion occurred. He said he had been standing by the kitchen door when sudden loud fizzing, sparking, and smoke made him think someone had thrown a firecracker into the doorway. “I looked down and my pocket was going off like a banger; it was fizzing and sparking and all smoke was coming from it,” Mr. Wilson, ... Read More