POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif.
Staring out at the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, we scanned for whales on a clear February day while a commercial fishing boat was being tossed like a toy on the swells 300 feet below. • Nothing, then suddenly a series of blows on the surface, low and puffy. For a split second, we could see could see the whale's grayish-blue back, then its flukes. Then another whale briefly breached the surface. A third slapped its flukes on the water. We were witnessing California gray whales on their epic migration from Alaska to Mexico from an ideal vantage point, the Lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore....
Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston runs one of America's most distinguished trauma centers, taking on thousands of severely injured patients every year....
One April evening two years ago, 9-year-old Justin Davis dashed into a busy Jacksonville street, headed to a convenience store for snacks.
When paramedics arrived minutes later, they found the boy lying on the road, unconscious. The impact of a car had fractured his skull and his brain was swelling and bleeding.
Paramedics knew they had to act fast.
Instead of taking Justin to the pediatric trauma center 13 miles away — the only place in Jacksonville equipped to handle his injuries — they drove him in the opposite direction, to a new adult trauma center a few miles closer....
HCA, the biggest for-profit hospital chain in Florida, has been sued by two South Florida women for "unreasonable, unconscionable and unlawful pricing and billing practices" in a class-action lawsuit filed this week in Hillsborough County.
The women were injured in unrelated car accidents in spring 2013 and treated at HCA's JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, south of West Palm Beach. The chain has a dozen hospitals in the Tampa Bay area....
Over the objections of long-established Florida hospitals, a judge has upheld a state proposal that paves the way for a costly expansion of the trauma care system.
The order by Judge R. Bruce McKibben is the latest chapter in a contentious battle for seriously injured patients who can generate high payouts from health and auto insurers.
A group of longstanding trauma centers, including Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Tampa General and St. Joseph's hospitals in Tampa, had challenged the state's trauma center expansion plans, saying regulators overstepped their authority and the rule is "arbitrary and capricious."...
A bookkeeper for a Connecticut veterans group, which last year was named one of America's worst charities, has been accused of embezzling more than $830,000 from the organization over the past five years.
Cynthia Tanner, 52, of Darien, Conn., was arraigned Monday, charged with writing unauthorized checks from the account of her employer, National Veterans Services Fund Inc. Police said that in 2013 alone, she wrote 135 checks for more than $185,000 to herself and family members and used the charity's credit cards for personal expenses such as airfare, vacations and Internet purchases....
Telemarketers with criminal backgrounds will no longer be able to call Floridians for charitable donations.
Nonprofits and professional solicitors banned in one state will be banned in Florida as well.
And consumers will be able to go online for more details about how a charity uses its donations under a bill Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law.
Lawmakers proposed the sweeping changes following a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting that ranked the worst charities in America based on which groups spent the most on professional solicitation companies. Of the 50 charities with the worst records, 11 were based in Florida, more than any other state....
New York regulators fined a telemarketing consultant for some of America's worst charities $50,000 on Wednesday after officials determined he had violated a lifetime ban on raising money there.
New York's attorney general began investigating Mark Gelvan of Montville, N.J., after the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed in June that Gelvan remained active in the fundraising industry despite his ban....
Three doctors with Florida Cancer Specialists in Spring Hill rank as the Tampa Bay area's most highly reimbursed providers by Medicare in 2012.
Drs. Vikas Malhotra, Mary Li and Thomas Huayang Tang received a total of more than $20 million from the federal health program for seniors and the disabled, according to data released Wednesday.
All are oncologists, a medical specialty that dominates the list of the most highly reimbursed Medicare providers, in large part because of the expensive drugs they use....
One of the nation's largest charity telemarketing firms filed for bankruptcy Thursday.
But the Chapter 11 filing by Michigan-based Associated Community Services is unlikely to end the phone calls from its employees, who solicit in Florida and 40 other states for some of America's poorest performing charities.
In a court filing, company president Richard Cole asked for approval to continue paying Associated Community Services' nearly 900 employees in order to remain in business. ...
Who deserves to be compensated for the catastrophic BP oil spill of 2010?
A water scooter rental on John's Pass in Madeira Beach?
A restaurant on Gulfport's waterfront?
How about a septic tank cleaning service in Pasco County, a blueberry farm in Hernando or a funeral home in Plant City?
The answers may surprise you.
Under the terms of a class-action settlement signed two years ago, BP doesn't owe anything to the water scooter business or the waterfront restaurant....
GUATEMALA CITY — In 2010, one of Central America's poorest countries received huge shipments of humanitarian aid from an unlikely source.
That year Guatemala, where 20 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day, got $40 million worth of free medicine and medical supplies.
It didn't come from the Red Cross or UNICEF or any other major international relief agency....
Karmika V. Rubin, former executive assistant and special counsel to Bobby Thompson and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, has been suspended from practicing law in Florida.
But the suspension is unrelated to her work with the fraudulent veterans charity and its founder, who was convicted on racketeering, money laundering and identity theft charges late last year.
Rubin, 40, was suspended by Florida's Supreme Court in December for failing to respond to an inquiry by the state bar association. The group was investigating a complaint that Rubin had misappropriated $6,600 in a client's account. According to the petition to the court, Rubin repeatedly refused to comply with a subpoena for financial records. "The non-compliance was willful," the petition said....
Ohio's case against Bobby Thompson came to a close Monday with a judge in Cleveland handing a 28-year sentence to the man convicted of running a nationwide charity scam from an Ybor City duplex.
As a special punishment, the judge ordered that the mastermind behind the fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association spend each Veterans Day in solitary confinement for the duration of his prison term....
No one disputes that Police Protective Fund hired felons at its five Florida call centers to solicit donations from the public.
State regulators raided the charity's phone rooms in September after the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting named Police Protective Fund one of the nation's worst charities based on how much it spent over a decade on telemarketing.
They found convicted felons among those working the phones and arrested four of the charity's managers on charges they made the hires....