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Trump EPA pick proposes new uses for cancer-causing asbestos

Former coal-industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fielded questions from senators at his confirmation hearing this week about his position on key actions he’s taken in the past six months as acting EPA chief, actions that forward Trump’s agenda of deregulating industries that harm the environment. Wheeler became acting director of the EPA in July when Scott Pruitt resigned, but was formally nominated to the position last week. With Republicans holding a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate, it is expected he will be confirmed. “There is no more important ... Read More

Times chronicles opioid addicts’ journey to recovery

Addiction was once something that happened to other people. But opioids have changed that. Drugs once prescribed to treat pain have turned patients into addicts, forcing them to the extremes to feed their habit. Hundreds of thousands of people from all demographics have become caught up in the grip of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Last year, more than 49,000 people died from opioid overdose. Last month, The New York Times published a moving overview of the opioid crisis called “A Visual Journey Through Addiction,” that chronicles how these drugs can “hijack the brain” and make the average person an addict. ... Read More

Barclays Bank Fined $15 Million for CEO’s Anti-Whistleblower Actions

New York regulators fined Barclays Bank $15 million after investigations on both sides of the Atlantic determined that CEO Jes Staley broke the law by attempting to learn the identity of a bank whistleblower. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the fine Dec. 18, saying it was tied to Mr. Staley’s attempts to unmask the author of two whistleblower letters criticizing the CEO’s hiring of a longtime associate for the job of head of Barclay’s financial institutions group. According to Bloomberg, Barclays’ whistleblower scandal started in June 2016, when the bank’s board received an anonymous letter from ... Read More

Neglected nursing home resident awarded $1.2 million

A Niagara County, New York jury ordered a Newfane, New York, nursing home to pay a former resident $1.2 million for neglect, alleging the long-term care facility allowed her “superficial” bedsores to worsen to the point that they became infected and exposed bone, The Buffalo News reported. Shirley Burrows, 72, was discharged from Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport on March 3, 2015, and admitted to Newfane Rehab & Health Care Center for follow-up treatment of her bedsores, pressure sores caused by the body pressing against the surface of the skin too long. Bedsores are prevented by repositioning the body every ... Read More

Accomplished pilot, CEO killed in single-engine plane crash

Wei Chen was an accomplished pilot who in 2011 had flown around the world in a single-engine plane, later writing a book about his experience, “Around The World in 69 Days: What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?” But on Dec. 21, the founder and CEO of Sunshine Enterprise Inc., took off in a Cessna 560 from Fulton County Airport-Brown Field in Atlanta, bound for Memphis, Tennessee, along with three other people including top-level executives from his company and Wei Chen’s brother and best friend John Chen, when about a mile into the flight ... Read More

NJ hospital deemed unsanitary, urges patients to be tested

A New Jersey outpatient surgery center issued letters to thousands of patients urging them to undergo blood tests for serious infections like hepatitis and HIV after state health inspectors found unsanitary conditions at the facility. A total of 3,778 people who underwent procedures at the hospital between January and Sept. 7, 2018, received letters from HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook informing them that “during this time period, lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to blood borne pathogens.” The facility was shuttered from Sept. 7 through Sept. 28 to improve ... Read More

Miami Construction Worker Impaled In Job Site Fall

A construction worker died after falling about 12 feet and suffering impalement injuries at a downtown Miami Beach construction site Dec. 17. Authorities did not identify the 35-year-old construction worker but said he was a mason employed by the New Jersey-based Rinaldi Group, a general contractor with operations in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Arizona. Miami Beach Fire Rescue reported that the accident occurred about 9 a.m. when the construction worker fell backward from the third-story level where he was working to the second story and became impaled on two pieces of reinforcing bar. Miami Beach Fire Department Division ... Read More

Helicopter company to pay widow $6 million in wrongful death case

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania-based Haverfield Aviation Inc., will pay a New York woman $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 2012 helicopter crash that killed her husband. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford granted the motion to approved the settlement between the aerial power line inspection company and Brenda Crout, whose husband, Dale, 41, died while inspecting power lines in Corning, New York, for New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG). The crash also took the life of pilot Mackenzie Bleth, 24, of Grand Ronde, Oregon. Though young, Bleth was an experienced pilot, having worked previously for Coastal Helicopters ... Read More

California Romaine Grower Linked to E.Coli Outbreak Recalls Other Produce  

A California farm linked to the E. coli-contaminated romaine lettuce that triggered a massive nationwide recall is now recalling other types of produce as a precaution. Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. of Santa Maria, California, said the new recalls include red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and cauliflower harvested on Nov. 27 through Nov. 30, 2018. Although none of the produce has tested positive for the E. coli strain associated with the outbreak (E. coli O157:H7) and no illnesses have been reported, the company says it’s voluntarily recalling the extra produce out of an abundance of caution. The recalled cauliflower was ... Read More

Investigation reveals another sexual harassment settlement at CBS

A deeper look into CBS Corporation by attorneys hired by the Board of Directors in the wake of CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves’ departure amid sexual harassment allegations has revealed another cover up. In March 2017, actress Eliza Dushku, who was in line to be a major cast member in the CBS prime-time drama “Bull,” accused the show’s star Michael Weatherly of retaliation after she confronted him about his lewd behavior on the set. After mediation with the company, CBS agreed to a confidential settlement that would pay Dushku $9.5 million – about as much as she would have made ... Read More