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Denver parking revenue, tickets on the rise, analysis finds

Denver is raking in significantly more money from parking tickets than it did just five years ago — largely because of added meters, overnight downtown parking hours, technology that speeds up ticketing and hiked street-sweeping fines.

A Denver Post analysis of parking-citation data found that collections from tickets and penalties reached $30.5 million last year.

Read the full story from The Denver Post here.

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the Daily Journal.

Rust-colored water and frequent boil notices have been part of North Lee’s water quality problems for years. In October 2011, all board members resigned amid allegations of misconduct and falsifying water reports. Former North Lee manager Dan Durham pleaded guilty in federal court in 2012 to falsifying the water reports and received probation.

Read the story here.

The death of 16-year-old Amber Marie, who died when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashed the air bag failed to deploy, was an early warning in what would become a decade-long failure by G.M. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a problem that engineers and regulators had been alerted to years ago.

For a resurgent General Motors, which has twice apologized, the recall is a major embarrassment as it tries to escape the shadow of its bankruptcy and government takeover. It has been sued, and now faces an investigation by the safety agency and the possibility of a criminal investigation, similar to the criminal inquiry Toyota is facing after recalls over the unintended acceleration of its vehicles.

Mizzou did not pursue alleged assault | ESPN
The University of Missouri did not investigate or tell law enforcement officials about an alleged rape, possibly by one or more members of its football team, despite administrators finding out about the alleged 2010 incident more than a year ago, an "Outside the Lines" investigation has found. The alleged victim, a member of the swim team, committed suicide in 2011.

Mass. spent millions on secret settlements | The Boston Globe
For years, the state has used confidential settlement and severance deals to make embarrassing problems go away, often requiring workers to promise to keep the payments secret and avoid saying anything critical about the agencies. When the Globe first asked for copies of all the pacts worth at least $10,000 statewide, it took a four-year legal fight to obtain the names of workers who received the money.

Free game tickets, hot concert seats: The politics of higher education in Missouri | The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri’s public universities have spent almost a million dollars since 2011 on contracts with professional lobbyists to represent their interests in Jefferson City — while plying state legislators with tens of thousands of dollars more in free meals, sports outings, concert tickets and other perks.

Consumers With Canceled Insurance Plans Shifted to New Ones Without Their Permission | ProPublica
The California Department of Insurance said it is exploring whether any laws were broken when insurance companies withdrew money from consumers’ accounts for plans they didn’t select.

Data breach likely will happen to you | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Most people and companies use anti-virus software, but it only guards against threats it recognizes, and the bad guys are constantly tweaking their weapons to circumvent such protections. Adding as little as a few lines of code will evade most anti-virus programs.

Patients' deadly surgery wait as toll soars | The Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia
More than 840 people - 16 a week - died waiting for surgery in Victoria in the past year. The revelation comes as the length of time patients spend on elective surgery waiting lists continues to grow

Charity Checker | The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting
The Tampa Bay Times, in partnership with The Center for Investigative Reporting, has built an online tool to make charity research a little easier. Our “Charity Checker” website, for the first time, aggregates the ratings and reviews already offered by several of the nation’s most prominent watchdog organizations. With a simple search, you can see their results, all in one place, then click through to dig deeper into a charity through GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits and the Better Business Bureau. The idea for Charity Checker grew out of our reporting on America’s Worst Charities, a yearlong investigation into charities that have chronically steered most of their donations to for-profit telemarketers. The full series can be found here: www.cironline.org/americasworstcharities or tampabay.com/charity.

Most people and companies use anti-virus software, but it only guards against threats it recognizes, and the bad guys are constantly tweaking their weapons to circumvent such protections. Adding as little as a few lines of code will evade most anti-virus programs.

Medicare’s massive drug program has a process so convoluted and poorly managed that fraud flourishes, giving rise to elaborate schemes that quickly siphon away millions of dollars. Among the findings of an ongoing investigation by ProPublica and NPR: 

 

A USA Today investigation found that consumers who buy Reumofan, a Mexican dietary supplement considered a "100% natural" treatment for arthritis and joint pain, "are risking dangerous side effects and trusting their lives to a company that uses fake addresses, lies about the ingredients in its products and may not even exist."

USA Today set out to find the company behind Reumofan products, Riger Natural, and the people responsible through searching corporation records and visiting addresses listed for it in Mexico. The addresses were fake, and no evidence exists the companies ever had facilities in the locations, USA Today reports: "Even Mexican health authorities have been unable to track down the company."

Ryan Gabrielson of The Center for Investigative Reporting reports that "California regulators routinely have conducted cursory and indifferent investigations into suspected violence and misconduct committed by hundreds of nursing assistants and in-home health aides – putting the elderly, sick and disabled at risk over the past decade."

In two stories published yesterday, Gabrielson's examines how and why these cases are dismissed and details the case of an edlerly woman whose suspicious death was largely ignored by state regulators.

Dr. Christopher Duntsch began his medical practice in 2010, The Texas Observer reports, and by the time the state revoked his license in 2013, a series of botched surgeries had left two of his patients dead and four paralyzed. The real tragedy of the story, according to the Texas Observer, is how preventable it was: "Over the course of 2012 and 2013, even as the Texas Medical Board and the hospitals he worked with received repeated complaints from a half-dozen doctors and lawyers begging them to take action, Duntsch continued to practice medicine. Doctors brought in to clean up his surgeries decried his “surgical misadventures,” according to hospital records. His mistakes were obvious and well-documented. And still it took the Texas Medical Board more than a year to stop Duntsch—a year in which he kept bringing into the operating room patients who ended up seriously injured or dead."

"Aiming to save neighborhoods from blight and to ease burdens on the police, municipalities have adopted ordinances requiring landlords to weed out disruptive tenants," The New York Times reports.

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