Extra Extra : Consumer Safety

Poorly rated nursing homes got HUD-guaranteed mortgages anyway

Hundreds of the country’s worst nursing homes have received mortgages backed by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

HUD requires nursing homes applying for construction and rehabilitation loans to provide quality reports. Still, an analysis of loan and ratings data found that the number and volume of one-star facilities receiving HUD insurance climbed every year from 2009 to 2012.

Records show troubled stockbrokers often cluster near the affluent and elderly

Stockbrokers who’ve been in trouble with regulators tend to cluster in certain places in the country where the affluent and elderly are easily accessible and where regulatory punishment is lax, a Wall Street Journal data analysis shows. The Journal found these hotspots in south Florida and Long Island, long known as havens for troubled brokers, but also in places around Detroit, Las Vegas and parts of California. The Journal’s analysis, showing a total of 16 such hotspots, came after the reporters pieced together stockbroker records from 27 states detailing the disciplinary and employment histories of about 550,000 ...

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Landslide safety all over the map in Washington

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

A joint KUOW-EarthFix investigation found that local rules vary widely around the state, leaving some communities with much smaller margins of safety than others.

Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone, a USA TODAY Network investigation finds. The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004.

A crack found in a cast-iron service main caused an apartment building explosion in Birmingham, Alabama last year. Alabama Gas Corp. built and operated that pipeline, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, one of the Gannett-affiliated publications involved in the project.

The Advertiser recently went to court over Alagasco documents it obtained ...

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Inside the JBS Butchertown hog slaughter plant

The JBS Swift pork processing plant in Louisville has struggled during the past decade with odor violations, zoning disputes and fights over truck traffic. It's also dealing with tighter rules on how hogs are humanely handled and killed.

Twice in the last nine months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has slapped JBS with "egregious violations" of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act at its Butchertown facility on Story Avenue.

Data breach mystery leads from Arizona counterterrorism site to China

Lizhong Fang, a Chinese national and computer programmer, had access to a variety of sensitive information during his short time at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center in Phoenix. His work on facial recognition software allowed him to view the Arizona driver’s license database as well as law enforcement records.

Fang disappeared in 2007, and those responsible for hiring him say the privacy of up to 5 million people has been compromised. Officials never disclosed the possible privacy breach.

Read the story by The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.

In rush to find lethal injection drug, prison officials turned to a hospital

When the Louisiana Department of Corrections didn’t have the drugs it needed to execute inmate Christopher Sepulvado this January it turned to an unusual source: a hospital.

According to The Lens, the state bought 20 vials of hydromorphone from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital a week before Sepulvado’s execution. The hospital typically uses the drug to ease the suffering of patients. The private, nonprofit hospital didn’t know the drug was going to be used for an execution.

Read the story here.

 

Want to learn more about covering execution secrecy?

Journalists from four states recently joined IRE to discuss ...

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Records explain why US Airways flight buzzed city mall

A US Airways pilot in 2012 flew a plane so low to the ground that it buzzed a mall, according to a report by The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland

Edmund C. Draper, the pilot-in-command, purposefully lowered the plane to fly about 500 feet over his home, which is located near a busy shopping mall.

The Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 revoked Draper’s airline transport pilot certificate, but the paper found that he was issued a new one in 2014. He also holds a flight instructor certificate. 

Disciplined doctors find work in the drug industry, running clinical trials

By matching U.S. Food and Drug Administration data on clinical researchers against records of state medical board disciplinary actions in the four most populous states, this report in Matter found dozens of reprimanded doctors who subsequently were hired by pharma to test experimental drugs in clinical trials. Some had made mistakes that left patients dead or maimed. Others were themselves addicted to narcotics.

Fifty-nine 911 calls this year to sex offender group homes

Police have been called to two residential facilities housing sex offenders nearly 60 times since the beginning of the year, according to a report by WIVB in Buffalo, New York. Twice police reported sex offenders missing from the homes. Neighbors and officials are concerned about the number of calls as well as the close proximity to a children’s playground.

Sex offenders were relocated to the community after a secure facility was shuttered.