Thursday, August 22, 2019

Florida creates more special pod for military veterans

Florida jail opens section just for military veterans


ORLANDO SENTINEL
Tiffini Theisen
AUG 21, 2019
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., has championed the Tampa unit. "I'm very excited to see the commitment from all stakeholders as we work to improve how we identify and treat Veterans who are in need mental health services," he posted on his Facebook page in late July.
A jail in Florida this week became the latest to offer a special pod for military veterans.

"Veteran pods" are becoming an increasingly common part of jails nationwide as the criminal justice system focuses more on helping troubled former service members, who are more likely to have reported mental health issues, particularly PTSD. (Wikimedia Commons) A new housing unit is opening at the Falkenburg Road Jail near Tampa, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced Tuesday

"They'll get treatment for mental health issues and drug addictions, lessons on how to gain employment and group sessions with fellow #vets who can relate to their concerns," the sheriff's office posted on its Facebook page. "The goal is to restore their pride and give them the tools to NOT end up back in jail."

Statewide, the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) allows veterans and their loved ones to talk confidentially with someone trained to provide emotional support and connections to community resources.

In Orlando, the Orange County Corrections Department Armed Forces Dormitory opened in 2012. Its dorm employs guards who are also veterans or reservists. The program provides counseling, treatment and re-entry support for veterans. Those with violent or serious charges are not eligible.
read it here

Veterans Getting Random Acts of Flowers

Petal Power: Recycled flowers bring smiles to veterans' faces in Florida


Connecting Vets
JULIA LEDOUX
AUGUST 21, 2019
Random Acts of Flowers began because of a near-fatal accident suffered by its founder, Larsen Jay, who fell off a ladder two stories tall and broke every bone in his body in 2007. “He got overwhelming support,” said Donoghue. “His whole hospital room was full of flowers.”
We’ve all heard of recycling plastic, glass and paper.

But what about recycling flowers for veterans?

That’s exactly what Random Acts of Flowers does.

The non-profit recycles and repurposes day-old flowers and delivers them to patients at the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital and other hospitals, hospices and nursing facilities throughout the greater Tampa Bay, Fla. area.

The volunteers who deliver the flowers to the VA medical center are all veterans themselves, said Janette Donoghue, executive director of Random Acts of Flowers Tampa Bay.

“It’s near and dear to their hearts,” she said. “That’s something they want to do, it’s a veteran giving to a veteran.”
read it here

Search for missing firefighters continues by sea and air

Search for missing firefighters will continue Thursday: 'Time has become our enemy'


Missing boater grew up in Cocoa; mom remains optimistic as search continues


Florida Today
Tyler Vazquez
Aug. 20, 2019

Carla McCluney knows what her son has been through and just how capable he is.

Although Brian McCluney has not been seen since Friday, his mother and the rest of his family are as optimistic as ever.

There's no reason yet to give up on the lifetime fisherman and Navy veteran who was born in Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital and grew up in Cocoa, Carla said.

Since the extensive manhunt was undertaken to find Brian, 38, a firefighter in Jacksonville, and his friend Justin Walker over the weekend, tens of thousands of square miles of Atlantic Ocean have been covered by the U.S. Coast Guard and civilian volunteers.
read it here

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

St. Petersburg firefighter fighting for benefits after cancer hit

Firefighter suing city of St. Petersburg after being denied benefits for cancer diagnosis


Aug 16, 2019

Lt. Francis applied to the city for the benefits on July 1. The lawsuit says that despite the fact that Lt. Francis met all the prerequisites for obtaining the benefits, his application was rejected because he was diagnosed before July 1 when the law went into effect.

A local firefighter is suing the city of St. Petersburg after he says he was denied benefits he should have received after his cancer diagnosis.

Back in May, Governor DeSantis signed a bill granting firefighters certain benefits upon receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Lt. Jason Francis has been employed by the city of St. Petersburg's Fire Department for more than 16 years.

"I've always wanted to do it," Francis said.

He said he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January of 2019. He had to undergo surgery to have his thyroid and dozens of lymphnodes removed.
read it here

Ex- Pathologist charge in deaths of three veterans

Former VA Pathologist Charged in Deaths of 3 Patients


The Associated Press 
By Andrew DeMillo 
21 Aug 2019
VA officials said in January that outside pathologists reviewed nearly 34,000 cases handled by Levy and found more than 3,000 errors or missed diagnoses dating back to 2005.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A pathologist fired from an Arkansas veterans hospital after officials said he had been impaired while on duty was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three patients who authorities say he misdiagnosed and whose records he later altered to conceal his mistakes.

A grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday charged Dr. Robert Morris Levy in the patients' deaths and on multiple charges of fraud and making false statements for his alleged attempts to conceal his substance abuse and incorrect diagnoses.
In the deaths, Levy is accused of falsifying entries in his patients' records after making incorrect and misleading diagnoses. In one case, a patient died of prostate cancer after Levy determined that his biopsy showed he didn't have cancer, prosecutors allege.

Prosecutors say a second patient died of squamous cell carcinoma after Levy misdiagnosed the patient with another form of carcinoma. In a third case, the indictment says, a patient with small cell carcinoma was treated for a type of cancer he didn't have following an incorrect diagnosis by Levy, and died.
read it here

Body of missing veteran found in ditch

Body of missing Marine veteran found in ditch in New Mexico, suspect in custody


By: The Associated Press
August 20,2019

Authorities say a body found south of Belen, New Mexico, has been identified as a Marine veteran missing since July and a suspect in his murder case is in custody.

Valencia County, New Mexico, Sheriff’s officials says detectives located a body in a ditch Friday night.

On Saturday, the Office of the Medical Investigator positively identified the body as that of 32-year-old Matthew Gurule, who was last seen on July 27 at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sheriff's officials won't say what led them to the body or how Gurule died.

Belen police say 37-year-old Francisco Gomez of Los Lunas, New Mexico, was arrested Aug. 10 for allegedly using Gurule’s credit card.
read it here