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.

Romaine Growers To Implement New Labeling in Wake of Outbreak

The latest multistate outbreak of E. coli illnesses linked to romaine lettuce has prompted U.S. officials to announce new measures growers have agreed to take that will make future recalls more targeted and efficient. Two days before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised the public to avoid the consumption of all romaine lettuce and other products containing romaine lettuce, despite the source. The sweeping recall was necessary, health officials said, because at the time they lacked the information to accurately trace infections back to a specific source. Since the CDC’s original announcement, the outbreak has ... Read More

Oil Dispersants Used In Deepwater Horizon Spill Likely Did More Harm Than Good

The chemical oil dispersants BP used in its response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill did little to mitigate the massive spill and likely did more harm than good, researchers from the University of Miami found. A study led by a research team from the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science analyzed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the most toxic components of petroleum, from samples taken within a six-mile radius of the Deepwater Horizon blowout site. Despite 3,000 tons (about 770,000 gallons) of Corexit oil dispersants injected near the well head, substantial amounts of oil continued to surface ... Read More

Bodies Recovered From Helicopter Crash in Alabama Lake

The pilot of a Columbus, Georgia law enforcement helicopter that crashed into an Alabama lake Friday, Nov. 16 was identified as David Hall, a recently retired Columbus Police Department officer and part-time reserve pilot. Mr. Hall, 53, and an unidentified passenger, were killed when the Columbus Metro Narcotics Task Force helicopter they were flying in crashed in Lake Mitchell, a section of the Coosa River in Chilton County, Alabama. Authorities said Mr. Hall and the passenger were on their way to Clanton, Alabama, from Columbus, to swap the Bell OH-58 helicopter for another helicopter that had already undergone routine maintenance ... Read More

FDA’s Proposed E-Cigarette Restrictions Met With GOP Backlash

Sweeping e-cigarette restrictions proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers, who say the agency’s efforts to prevent children and teens from vaping are “un-Republican” and “troubling.” Clamping down on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other tobacco products has become a major focus for FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who proposed plans to limit the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to in-person retail locations where proof of age would be required to buy. Under Dr. Gottlieb’s direction, the FDA also seeks to ban menthol-flavored conventional cigarettes and flavored cigars. The proposals come ... Read More

Avoid All Romaine Lettuce, CDC Says As E. Coli Outbreak Widens

U.S. health officials are warning people to steer clear of romaine lettuce, which they say has caused an ongoing outbreak of E. coli responsible for 32 confirmed illnesses across the country, including 13 hospitalizations, and an additional 18 people in Canada. Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials have traced the illnesses to romaine lettuce, they have not yet identified the exact source of the E. coli contamination. “It’s still early in this investigation and work remains to pinpoint the source of contamination that contributed to this outbreak,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... Read More

Jennie-O Recalls Raw Turkey Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

U.S. health officials have announced a recall of raw turkey products they say is linked to an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, including one death. On Nov. 15, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, of Barron, Wisconsin, announced it is recalling more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. The recall was triggered when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found a sample of Jennie-O raw turkey tested positive for Salmonella Reading – the same Salmonella strain linked to an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella infections that has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states, including one death in California. The ... Read More

Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal Recalled for Salmonella Risk

Eating Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch cereal could make you sick due to the potential presence of Salmonella bacteria, U.S. officials warn. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch cereal after a routine sampling by the manufacturer, the Quaker Oats Company, detected the presence of Salmonella in some of the finished products. The good news is that the potential Salmonella contamination appears to be limited to a small batch of Cap’n Crunch cereal distributed to five Target stores in the Midwest. According to the FDA, the recall covers 21 outstanding boxes ... Read More

Whistleblower Helps Recover $5.1 Million In Medicaid Funds From Indiana Dental Chain

A whistleblower who sued an Indiana-based dental chain and its Kansas-based management company has helped the U.S. and Indiana recover $5.1 million in Medicaid funds. The whistleblower lawsuit named ImmediaDent of Indianapolis and Samson Dental Partners, LLC, which provided administrative services to the dental chain, as defendants. The complaint alleged that the companies submitted false claims to Medicaid by improperly billing tooth extractions as more costly surgical extractions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky said in an announcement of the settlement. The whistleblower’s complaint also accused ImmediaDent and Samson of billing Medicaid for “deep cleanings” that ... Read More

Tractor-Trailer Crash Kills Auburn Superfan and Granddaughter

A horrific tractor-trailer crash on U.S. 280 in central Alabama killed Auburn football superfan Tammy Renae Bullard and her 2-year-old granddaughter Friday, Nov. 16. Ms. Bullard, a fervent Auburn fan and regular caller to the Paul Finebaum show on ESPN Radio, is known to many listeners as Tammy from Clanton. According to AL.com, Ms. Bullard was traveling westbound on U.S. 280 between Sylacauga and Childersburg when a tractor-trailer traveling in the eastbound lanes veered into oncoming traffic. Alabama State Trooper Cpl. Jimmy Harrell told AL.com that the tractor-trailer was hauling some kind of explosive material, prompting authorities to evacuate all ... Read More

Window Blinds Injure Two Children Every Day in the U.S.

Window blinds injure two children every day and kill one child each month on average in the U.S., according to an epidemiologic study published in the journal Pediatrics. From 1990 to 2015, nearly 17,000 children younger than 6 years old were treated in U.S emergency rooms for window blind-related injuries. A little less than half the injuries involved being struck by a window blind, such as being hit by a falling blind. Just 12 percent of the injuries involved entanglements, mostly with the cords on the blinds, but these injuries accounted for most of the hospitalizations and deaths, researchers found. Data ... Read More