Author

Kurt Niland

5242 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.

Fruit Recalled in Several States Over Listeria Concerns

Concerns of potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination in fresh produce have prompted ALDI, Costco, Walmart, and other retailers to recall bags of peaches, nectarines, and plums from stores in several states. Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness and death. The recalled produce was distributed by fruit distributor Jac Vandenberg Inc. of Yonkers, New York. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recall affects 1,727 cartons of fresh peaches, 1,207 cartons of fresh nectarines, and 365 cartons of fresh plums. ALDI said in a recall announcement that it has removed recalled peaches, nectarines, and plums ... Read More

E-Cigarette Batteries Blamed for Two Canadian Airplane Incidents

E-cigarette batteries were the cause of two recent fires involving Canadian airliners, including one in-flight fire in the cargo hold of a passenger jet. Canadian authorities said the latest fire occurred in Cancun, Mexico, on Jan. 12 as baggage was being loaded onto Air Transat flight 443. According to FlightGobal, a preliminary aviation incident report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said that “brown smoke could be seen coming” from one piece of luggage being loaded onto the Vancouver-bound Airbus A321. The report stated that the smoking suitcase was removed from the gate area and doused with a ... Read More

NTSB Investigations Frozen During Government Shutdown

Dozens of major transportation accidents are going uninvestigated and others are being skipped entirely as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) remains almost completely furloughed during the government shutdown. Approximately 93 percent of the NTSB’s 397 employees are furloughed during the government shutdown, leaving just five investigators and a few support staff to keep key investigations afloat. Government documents obtained by CBS News show how the shutdown has prevented the NTSB from launching 74 accident investigations, including probes of 20 accidents resulting in 34 deaths and 18 injuries. Twelve of the transportation accidents going uninvestigated involve airplane crashes that resulted in ... Read More

Fatal Commercial Vehicle Crashes Continue to Rise

Fatal crashes involving large commercial vehicles are on the rise in the U.S., with work-zone accidents and crashes resulting in vehicle occupant deaths showing an alarming upward trend, according to safety data reported by federal regulators. Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported the grim numbers at a Jan. 15 session of the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. According to Transportation Topics, Mr. Van Steenburg said the number of people killed in fatal crashes involving large commercial vehicles was up to 5,005 in 2017, the latest year for which figures are ... Read More

Atmos Energy Seeks Rate Hike in Wake of Deadly Gas Explosion

A year after a gas explosion destroyed a Dallas, Texas home, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring four others, utility owner Atmos Energy is seeking a rate hike that would allow it to pull in an additional $10.1 million. The proposed rate hike, filed Jan. 15 in Dallas City Hall, comes as Atmos Energy continues to replace pipes in the northwest Dallas neighborhood where three gas explosions erupted on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 of last year. Investigators say the explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers on Feb. 23 could be linked to faulty compression couplings that can separate when ... Read More

United Airlines Flight Stranded in Canada with Broken Door

A medical emergency forced a United Airlines flight to land in remote Newfoundland, Canada, Saturday, but it was a broken door that left the passengers and crew stranded in frigid temperatures for more than 15 hours. United Airlines Flight 179 departed from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport Saturday afternoon bound for Hong Kong but was diverted to a Canadian military base in Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, so a passenger aboard the aircraft could receive medical treatment. According to CNN, the plane landed in Goose Bay at 9:31 p.m. Medical personnel met the aircraft and transported a passenger to ... Read More

Benzene Exposure Lawsuit Filed By Industrial Mechanic

A West Virginia man allegedly suffering from years of benzene exposure has filed a negligence lawsuit against multiple companies, claiming they exposed him to benzene on the job but never warned him about its toxicity. David Hyre, an industrial mechanic, filed the complaint in Kanawha (West Virginia) Circuit court, the West Virginia Record reports. He names as defendants CRC Industries, Safety-Kleen Systems, Radiator Specialty Company, United States Steel Corporation, and E. L. du Pont de Nemours & Co. Mr. Hyre’s lawsuit alleges that the defendant companies manufactured, marketed, supplied, sold, and distributed products containing benzene, a chemical that can trigger ... Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Revive Trinity Industries Guardrail Case

Trinity Industries will no longer have to fend off a $663.4 million judgment against it after the nation’s top court rejected a whistleblower’s bid to revive a 2014 jury verdict accusing the guardrail manufacturer of defrauding the government. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices declined to hear whistleblower Joshua Harman’s final appeal to leave the dangerous-guardrail judgment intact after it had been tossed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in 2017, according to Reuters. Mr. Harman sued Trinity Industries in 2012 under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, alleging that the Texas-based manufacturer defrauded the ... Read More

Fiat Chrysler Adds 1.6 Million Vehicles to Takata Airbag Recall

Fiat Chrysler has added another 1.6 million vehicles worldwide to its Takata airbag recall list, becoming the third major automaker to expand its recall of airbag inflators that can trigger deadly explosions. Most of the vehicles included in this latest recall – 1.4 million – are in the U.S., the automaker said.  They cover the front passenger-side airbags in the following models: 2010-2016 Jeep Wrangler SUV 2010 Ram 3500 pickup and 4500/5500 Chassis Cab trucks 2010 and 2011 Dodge Dakota pickup 2010-2014 Dodge Challenger muscle car 2011-2015 Dodge Charger sedan 2010-2015 Chrysler 300 sedan According to the Associated Press, U.S. ... Read More

Deadly Wrong-Way Tractor-Trailer Crash Prompts Lawsuit

The widow of an Illinois man who was killed Dec. 5 when a tractor-trailer collided head-on with the school bus he was riding in has filed a wrongful death complaint against the trucking company and its owner. Kathleen Crabtree filed the lawsuit in McLean (Illinois) County Circuit Court, alleging the tractor-trailer driver Ryan Hute was driving his truck negligently and recklessly the wrong way on I-74 near Bloomington, Indiana, Dec. 5 when he collided head-on with a school bus carrying the Normal West High school girls’ junior varsity basketball team. The crash killed Ms. Crabtree’s husband, Charles Crabtree, 72, who ... Read More