web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 37)

Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids

A public relations employee for the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators he supplied oxycodone to late pitcher Tyler Skaggs and abused the drug with him for years, according to a report published Saturday by ESPN.

The outlet reported that 45-year-old Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications since 1998, told DEA agents that he supplied Skaggs with three pills in the days before his death on July 1 in a Southlake, Texas hotel room. The report added that Kay told investigators he likely did not supply the drugs Skaggs took just before his death because the pitcher typically took the drugs as soon as he got them from Kay.

Westlake Legal Group AP19194204048971 Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 354a9bca-07b6-54f5-bb8b-077cfef9efd8

Members of the Los Angeles Angels place their jerseys with No. 45 in honor of pitcher Tyler Skaggs on the mound after a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners in the first game after Skagg’s death. ((AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez))

The report also said that Kay gave DEA agents the names of five other players who he believed used opiates while they were with the team.

“We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement. “The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff. Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB Joint Drug Agreement. We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler and fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue their investigation.”

JOE MADDON TO INTERVIEW FOR ANGELS’ MANAGER JOB

An autopsy report found that Skaggs, 27, died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body.

Kay told investigators that Skaggs texted him to visit his hotel room just hours before the pitcher’s death. According to the report, Kay said that Skaggs snorted three lines of crushed opioids in front of him, with Kay recognizing two of the lines as oxycodone.

Kay has been on administrative leave from the Angels since July, and ESPN reported he is undergoing outpatient drug treatment. The outlet says Venmo receipts reportedly showed payments between Skaggs and Kay for amounts ranging from $150 to $600 over two years.

Westlake Legal Group TylerSkaggs720 Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 354a9bca-07b6-54f5-bb8b-077cfef9efd8

Tyler Skaggs started his final game two days before his death. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES ANGELS FIRE MANAGER BRAD AUSMUS AFTER ONE SEASON; JOE MADDON REUNION RUMORS SWIRL

Kay also claimed two Angels officials were aware of Skaggs’ drug use, including Kay’s longtime boss, Tim Mead, a 40-year Angels employee. Mead left the team in June to become president of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kay’s mother, Sandy, told ESPN she saw texts Skaggs had sent Kay looking for drugs and reportedly told Mead the team needed to get Skaggs “off his back” because Kay was in the hospital recovering from an overdose at the time.

Mead denied those allegations.

“I have had a lot of conversations with Eric Kay about a lot of things, but opioids and Tyler Skaggs were not one of them,” Mead told ESPN.

Westlake Legal Group AP19194122080856 Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 354a9bca-07b6-54f5-bb8b-077cfef9efd8

Debbie Hetman, center left, mother of the late pitcher Tyler Skaggs, hugs Angels outfielder Andrew Heaney before the first home game after Skagg’s death. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Asked if he was ever aware that Skaggs used opioids before his death, Mead said, “No.”

Team spokeswoman Marie Garvey says the second unnamed official also denied knowing about Skaggs’ drug use.

“We are shocked to hear these reports…We had no prior knowledge of Tyler or any other member of the Angels organization having abused opioids or any narcotic and continue to work with law enforcement to get answers,” Garvey told ESPN.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The attorney for Kay, Michael Molfetta confirmed the details of Kay’s statements with DEA agents in Dallas and Los Angeles in late September, sources told the outlet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group TylerSkaggs720 Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 354a9bca-07b6-54f5-bb8b-077cfef9efd8   Westlake Legal Group TylerSkaggs720 Los Angeles Angels deny ESPN report team employee gave late pitcher Tyler Skaggs opioids fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 354a9bca-07b6-54f5-bb8b-077cfef9efd8

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman

The California Democratic Party has spent more than $800,000 in legal costs associated with lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual misconduct by former party chairman Eric Bauman.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that sum includes $430,000 in legal fees, including payments to law firms representing Bauman, and $378,348 in legal settlements for three cases.

Alton Wang, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and Kate Earley jointly filed a lawsuit in January that alleged Bauman fostered a culture of harassment and sexual misconduct which was “well-known and apparently tolerated” by top party officials.

CALIFORNIA ADOPTS NATION’S BROADEST GUN SEIZURE LAWS

Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0

Eric Bauman addresses the California Democratic Party’s annual convention in May 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Rodriguez-Kennedy, the chairman of the San Diego Democratic Party, alleged that Bauman speculated about Rodriguez-Kennedy’s sex life during discussions about a job opening within the party, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He and Wang also alleged unwanted touching by Bauman, including instances when Bauman massaged Rodriguez- Kennedy’s back and neck in front of others and placed his arm around Wang’s waste.

OXYGEN-DEPENDENT CALIFORNIA MAN DIES 12 MINUTES AFTER PG&E CUTS POWER TO HIS HOME

The Times, citing campaign finance reports, reported that Rodriguez-Kennedy and Wang each received a “legal settlement” of $150,000. Earley, who serves as the Digital Director for California Democrats, later dropped her claims and alleged in a Medium post she was being intimidated by a top party official, She received a settlement of $78,348, while her attorney, Gloria Allred received an additional $60,000. In the post, Earley called out Vice Chair Daraka Larimore-Hall as the senior witness accused in the suit of having engaged in retaliation and witness tampering.

Bauman resigned last November amid claims of misconduct and said at the time that he planned to seek treatment for alcohol use. Two other cases against Bauman remain active. In one of those cases, Bauman’s former assistant alleged that Bauman repeatedly groped and sexually assaulted him. In the other, two former employees and a party activist alleged that they endured sexual assault, harassment and racial discrimination by Bauman. Bauman’s attorneys denied all claims and said their client “looks forward to complete vindication once the facts come out.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0   Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In a High-Tech State, Blackouts Are a Low-Tech Way to Prevent Fires

Westlake Legal Group 12grid-1-facebookJumbo In a High-Tech State, Blackouts Are a Low-Tech Way to Prevent Fires Wildfires Solar Energy Schneider Electric SA San Diego Gas&Electric Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Power Failures and Blackouts Lovins, Amory B California Public Utilities Commission California Bloom Energy

California has a reputation as a haven for technological innovation. But the state’s largest power utility is using the lowest of low-tech solutions — rolling blackouts — to protect dry landscapes from live power lines that could spark or overheat and set wildfires.

The utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, turned off power to broad areas, including urban and suburban developments far from the risk of fire, this past week. And the utility had to send some crews into the field to start the blackouts and then restore power — an antiquated method, energy experts said — rather than relying on a more centrally controlled operation.

But there are several rapidly developing types of technology that can reduce the need for some of the most dangerous lines and limit the extent of territory left in the dark.

“It’s an incredible travesty, this sort of really crude and unsophisticated approach for dealing with what is a very serious issue,” said Jack Brouwer, an engineering professor and director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.

“We have technological solutions for this that exist,” Mr. Brouwer said. Unfortunately, he said, California regulations and planning have been “insufficient for that technology to be used instead of just turning the power off.”

One of the approaches, called microgrids, involves using power sources like solar panels and diesel engines to provide electricity for a community, a cluster of buildings or even a manufacturing site. Because that electricity circulates only locally, a microgrid can eliminate the need to transmit power over long distances.

Depending on how the microgrid is designed, some or all of the lights can stay on, whether or not the main grid is energized.

Amory Lovins, a co-founder and former chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on energy, said that the vast majority of power outages begin with failures of the grid — the transmission and distribution lines and the equipment surrounding them — rather than with power plants. In places like California, those failed power lines can generate fires.

“That’s part of the logic of microgrids,” Mr. Lovins said. “It’s not big enough to need long-distance transmission, which is where a lot of the fire issues are arising.”

“It could be part of the solution in California,” Mr. Lovins added.

Some industry experts defended PG&E’s use of the blackouts.

“It’s one of the tools in the toolbox, and given that safety is paramount, they are erring on the side of caution,” said Scott Aaronson, vice president for security and preparedness at the Edison Electric Institute, an industry group. “It’s not exactly an elegant solution, but it does save lives and property.”

He added, “They’re doing what they can given the topography that they serve and where the threats of ignition are.”

A town that uses microgrids can disconnect from the main grid either temporarily or permanently, depending on how the microgrid is designed. Some communities that have experienced frequent blackouts are taking a closer look at using microgrids to unplug themselves from the broader power system during emergencies. That way, they can use a variety of local power sources, like diesel generators, solar panels, gas turbines or fuel cells.

Fuel cells are a particularly efficient power generator. Both fuel cells and gas turbines usually rely on another grid — the highly reliable network of natural gas pipelines beneath the ground.

The town of Borrego Springs, which is 86 miles northeast of San Diego and is served by a single long-distance transmission line, uses a microgrid. After a wildfire took down that line in 2007, leaving the town’s 3,500 residents stranded without power for two days, the local utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, built a microgrid demonstration project for the town.

Today, if the transmission line feeding power to Borrego Springs goes down, the town can detach itself from the grid and draw power from an array of diesel generators, solar farms, rooftop solar panels and batteries. The system faced an early test in 2013, when severe storms knocked out the power lines and the microgrid fed power to more than 1,000 customers and critical facilities — such as gas stations, stores and a cooling center at the library — for more than 20 hours while the line was being repaired.

The drawback of microgrids is that they can take years to build and they tend to be more expensive than the traditional grid. San Diego Gas & Electric relied on $13 million in state and federal grants to set up the Borrego Springs project and is still working to refine the system. But the costs of blackouts can also be high: Borrego Springs has a large elderly population and can experience 100-degree heat in the summer.

Interest in microgrids is rapidly growing around the United States. Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, Alcatraz Island and an affordable housing complex in Brooklyn all have versions of microgrids that can operate autonomously when the larger power grid goes down. And while many of these microgrids rely on diesel or gas power to provide electricity around the clock, some are incorporating cleaner energies like solar power and batteries as the prices of those technologies drop.

“A lot of interest in minigrids in the United States has been in response to disasters,” said Paulina Jaramillo, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. “Large centralized grids usually have a cost advantage because of economies of scale, but if there are reliability risks, it makes sense for communities to take into account the cost of those outages.”

In the earliest years of electrical service in cities, all the networks were so small that they were, effectively, microgrids, said Harold L. Platt, author of “The Electric City” and professor of history emeritus at Loyola University Chicago.

“From the 1900s into the nuclear era, you could keep building them bigger and bigger,” Mr. Platt said. “You achieve efficiencies by having high-voltage transmission lines, so you could connect all these local grids and power them from these giant generator stations.”

The expansion meant efficiency, but also the potential for much larger outages — as in 2003, when power lines in Ohio sagged into trees and became inoperable, setting off a blackout that swept north as far as Canada and then down the East Coast of the United States. The cost of a line sparking or shorting out in dry zones like the California hills can be far greater — leading to not just a blackout but also a fire.

Mark Feasel, vice president of Smart Grid at Schneider Electric, said that the argument that utilities or private organizations lack the expertise to set up microgrids no longer holds. Schneider, for example, offers a service that designs the system, connects the various sources of power and provides the technology to operate it.

That service provides a “bespoke utility” for customers, Mr. Feasel said. He said there is “nothing standing in the way” of using those microgrids in California, except that regulated utilities like PG&E rely on the public utility commission to allow spending on such projects and create regulations to make the approach viable. The state commissions are often reluctant to make those outlays, Mr. Feasel said.

“Which is why the real innovation is happening outside the utility structure,” Mr. Feasel said.

The California Public Utilities Commission did not respond to a request for comment.

K.R. Sridhar, the chief executive of Bloom Energy, a company based in Silicon Valley that makes fuel cell-based microgrids, called them a “homegrown technology” in California.

“This is a technology that has to be adopted in California to save property and the lives of people,” Mr. Sridhar said.

“In spite of that, political leadership and the regulatory framework is not enabling this,” Mr. Sridhar said. “The people of California have a right to be upset at its leadership and demand better solutions, because they exist.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Dog missing for 12 years reunited with owner after being found 1,130 miles away

If dogs could talk, Dutchess would have quite the story to tell.

The 14-year-old toy fox terrier was reunited with her Florida-based owner on Friday after disappearing 12 years ago. The pup was found more than 1,000 miles away from home in Pittsburgh.

Westlake Legal Group Dutchess Dog missing for 12 years reunited with owner after being found 1,130 miles away Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/good-news fox-news/entertainment/genres/pets fox news fnc/us fnc ed4afbf9-7dcb-5c6b-ab9a-146130252c51 article

“Dutchess,” a toy fox terrier who had been missing since 2007, was reuinted with its owner on Friday. (Humane Animal Rescue via AP)

Humane Animal Rescue says it found Dutchess under a shed on Monday. She was hungry, shivering and needed a nail trim.

The rescue center used Dutchess’ microchip to locate her owner, Katheryn Strang, who drove roughly 1,130 miles from Boca Raton to Pittsburgh to reunite with her long-lost pet.

The Humane Animal Rescue posted a video of their reunion.

Strang was in disbelief when she heard the news that Dutchess had been found, she said.

DOG WOKE VETERAN OWNER DURING HOUSE FIRE, SAVING HIS LIFE

Dutchess escaped one day in 2007 when Strang’s son opened the door to leave for school. At the time, Strang and her family lived in Orlando on a busy street; she assumed Dutchess was either hit by a car or picked up by someone.

Strang said she checked local animal shelters every day after her beloved dog went missing. She also continued to pay the annual microchip fee and update her contact information any time the family moved.

“They are like your babies. You don’t give up hope,” Strang said at a press conference after reuniting with Dutchess, murmuring to her dog: “Where have you been?”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Dutchess Dog missing for 12 years reunited with owner after being found 1,130 miles away Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/good-news fox-news/entertainment/genres/pets fox news fnc/us fnc ed4afbf9-7dcb-5c6b-ab9a-146130252c51 article   Westlake Legal Group Dutchess Dog missing for 12 years reunited with owner after being found 1,130 miles away Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/good-news fox-news/entertainment/genres/pets fox news fnc/us fnc ed4afbf9-7dcb-5c6b-ab9a-146130252c51 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. – As Jeff and Abbey Rodamaker began tearing out trees in their newly purchased land near Gulf Breeze to make way for their future dream home, the couple heard an unexpected clinking sound as each tree fell.

The roots had pulled up numerous glass bottles and other trash, such as plastic containers, a propane tank and tires that had been buried a few feet underground. The seemingly endless garbage was hidden by dirt, brush and trees.

As the Rodamakers began digging more around the property, they realized it had once been used as a landfill, with an unknown amount of trash buried across its 6.43 acres. 

“I was never able to really establish a bottom,” Jeff Rodamaker said, even finding a clear glass bottle with the words “dispose properly” scrawled across it. “Basically seeing it as deep as it was, I gave up because it’s past trying to clean up.”

‘This has got to be wrong’: Disabled veteran’s home sold at auction over $236 tax bill

The couple said they purchased the land in February for $70,000 with a $323,000 mortgage to construct their dream home on a lot next door to close family friends. For a while, they believed they might be able salvage the property, but health concerns and the cost of mitigation proved too much. Their dream had turned into a nightmare.

“(Someone) could give me 6 acres down the street and that wouldn’t matter because we wanted to live next to them,” Jeff Rodamaker said. “Those were our best friends so there is no fixing it.”

The property on Ocean Breeze Lane has been subdivided and exchanged ownership multiple times since the 1970s, when the trash was thought to be placed there. But Abbey Rodamaker said she believed Santa Rosa County had used her property as a landfill while it was still held privately.

Alta Skinner, owner of 13.02 acres in Santa Rosa County until 1978, is linked to the land through a chain of deeds to the Rodamakers. Their parcel appears to have been subdivided into a 6.51-acre parcel in 1978 by Walter and Marie Harris, who purchased Skinner’s property that year.

Skinner appeared in minutes from a May 11, 1971, meeting of Santa Rosa’s Board of County Commissioners in which she requested the board build a road to her property. In exchange, she agreed to donate the right of way for the road and permit the county to use property owned by her as a “sanitary landfill” at no cost to the county.

“The board assured Mrs. Skinner they would start work on the road within the next few weeks,” according to the minutes.

Recycling: 5 recycling myths debunked

Landfills: Here’s how to keep your razors from contributing to landfill waste

County staff said records in their Geographic Information System as well as the Planning and Zoning Department don’t indicate the property was once used as a landfill. Ron Hixson, the county’s environmental manager, said that at that time, there were many small landfills around.

“It specifically was a county (landfill)?” he pondered. “It could have been. It could’ve also been a privately owned landfill. I have records on county landfills, but if they were a privately owned landfill, probably not.”

The Rodamakers said they were not informed of the landfill by either the previous owner or the county.

Jack Lynch, president of the Pensacola Association of Realtors, said that when it comes to purchasing a vacant lot or a home, there are disclosure forms the seller must fill out. But if the seller isn’t aware of a previous use such as a landfill, there’s nothing for them to disclose.

“The thing that you have to remember is that you can only disclose what you know,” Lynch said. “If the person that sold them the property didn’t know that it was a landfill, there would be no way to disclose that information.”

Previous owner Andrew McCreary didn’t respond to a call from the News Journal for comment.

What are the environmental impacts?

When the Rodamakers discovered the landfill, they informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and had four ground wells installed for water monitoring.

“I have a child. What happens if she goes out and plays in the dirt?” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I feel like we would always be worried. If we get sick five or 10 years from now, I’d be worried that it was because of this.”

Brandy Smith, external affairs manager with the Northwest District of the DEP, said representatives visited the site and said it didn’t look to be a community landfill but rather a “promiscuous dump.” Those are defined as an “unauthorized site where indiscriminate deposits of solid waste are made,” according to department documents.

“We come across this from time to time,” Smith said. “People, they have the right to dispose of waste on their own private property if they have certain setback requirements met. I think we provided them some general guidance at the time.”

Abbey Rodamaker disputes the classification of a promiscuous dump. 

“This was not a promiscuous dump,” Rodamaker said. “This was not a neighborhood dump. This was a county dump. It’s definitely more trash than dirt.”

Smith said leaving the trash in place or excavating it are both possible options for the land. She said it was unclear whether how the waste got there was illegal, but overall the inspectors didn’t believe there was a “huge volume of waste.”

“There’s not necessarily a lot of environmental concerns,” Smith said, adding that her department suggested the owners talk with a structural engineer if they planned to build.

“In a larger waste situation, we would be concerned with groundwater because as waste breaks down and deteriorates, it can generate chemicals or toxins or something that might be of concern,” Smith said. “In this case, we didn’t see that volume of waste that’s an immediate concern.”

What’s next for the property?

The Rodamakers said they are unsure of what happens next to the property.

While the family could technically still build on the land, the price of making a house structurally sound and putting it on pilings to handle any shifting trash underneath would require them to restructure their loan.

The couple said they’ve spent all of their savings to get to this point, including purchasing the property and hiring services. They’ve hired professionals to perform tests to see whether the age of the trees match up with the time Skinner’s landfill might have been covered over.

Environment: Plastic trash discovered in ‘pristine’ Arctic snow

Recycling: Your fear of recycling is common, according to psychology

Abbey Rodamaker said her family feels like nobody is willing to help them, whether it be attorneys who don’t want to take the case or who are too expensive, or failings of the government or others who could have informed them about the landfill. 

“The people that I thought were supposed to protect us, definitely are not protecting us,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I guess the case could be made that (the DEP) were trying to help us because they don’t want to do a site investigation. But that leaves us with contaminated land.”

The couple said it has also been suggested that they could walk away from the property, taking measures like declaring bankruptcy to get out of the situation. 

“For me, there’s still the moral question,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “How do you just walk away?”

Follow Madison Arnold on Twitter: @maddymarnold

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/12/couple-learns-their-santa-rosa-county-florida-land-old-landfill/3961265002/

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

Westlake Legal Group d4c4b78a-f2a3-4809-b747-75db681151ad-Gulf_Breeze_Lost_Landfill_13 Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. – As Jeff and Abbey Rodamaker began tearing out trees in their newly purchased land near Gulf Breeze to make way for their future dream home, the couple heard an unexpected clinking sound as each tree fell.

The roots had pulled up numerous glass bottles and other trash, such as plastic containers, a propane tank and tires that had been buried a few feet underground. The seemingly endless garbage was hidden by dirt, brush and trees.

As the Rodamakers began digging more around the property, they realized it had once been used as a landfill, with an unknown amount of trash buried across its 6.43 acres. 

“I was never able to really establish a bottom,” Jeff Rodamaker said, even finding a clear glass bottle with the words “dispose properly” scrawled across it. “Basically seeing it as deep as it was, I gave up because it’s past trying to clean up.”

‘This has got to be wrong’:Disabled veteran’s home sold at auction over $236 tax bill

The couple said they purchased the land in February for $70,000 with a $323,000 mortgage to construct their dream home on a lot next door to close family friends. For a while, they believed they might be able salvage the property, but health concerns and the cost of mitigation proved too much. Their dream had turned into a nightmare.

“(Someone) could give me 6 acres down the street and that wouldn’t matter because we wanted to live next to them,” Jeff Rodamaker said. “Those were our best friends so there is no fixing it.”

Westlake Legal Group  Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

The property on Ocean Breeze Lane has been subdivided and exchanged ownership multiple times since the 1970s, when the trash was thought to be placed there. But Abbey Rodamaker said she believed Santa Rosa County had used her property as a landfill while it was still held privately.

Alta Skinner, owner of 13.02 acres in Santa Rosa County until 1978, is linked to the land through a chain of deeds to the Rodamakers. Their parcel appears to have been subdivided into a 6.51-acre parcel in 1978 by Walter and Marie Harris, who purchased Skinner’s property that year.

Skinner appeared in minutes from a May 11, 1971, meeting of Santa Rosa’s Board of County Commissioners in which she requested the board build a road to her property. In exchange, she agreed to donate the right of way for the road and permit the county to use property owned by her as a “sanitary landfill” at no cost to the county.

“The board assured Mrs. Skinner they would start work on the road within the next few weeks,” according to the minutes.

Recycling:5 recycling myths debunked

Landfills:Here’s how to keep your razors from contributing to landfill waste

County staff said records in their Geographic Information System as well as the Planning and Zoning Department don’t indicate the property was once used as a landfill. Ron Hixson, the county’s environmental manager, said that at that time, there were many small landfills around.

“It specifically was a county (landfill)?” he pondered. “It could have been. It could’ve also been a privately owned landfill. I have records on county landfills, but if they were a privately owned landfill, probably not.”

The Rodamakers said they were not informed of the landfill by either the previous owner or the county.

Jack Lynch, president of the Pensacola Association of Realtors, said that when it comes to purchasing a vacant lot or a home, there are disclosure forms the seller must fill out. But if the seller isn’t aware of a previous use such as a landfill, there’s nothing for them to disclose.

“The thing that you have to remember is that you can only disclose what you know,” Lynch said. “If the person that sold them the property didn’t know that it was a landfill, there would be no way to disclose that information.”

Previous owner Andrew McCreary didn’t respond to a call from the News Journal for comment.

What are the environmental impacts?

When the Rodamakers discovered the landfill, they informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and had four ground wells installed for water monitoring.

“I have a child. What happens if she goes out and plays in the dirt?” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I feel like we would always be worried. If we get sick five or 10 years from now, I’d be worried that it was because of this.”

Brandy Smith, external affairs manager with the Northwest District of the DEP, said representatives visited the site and said it didn’t look to be a community landfill but rather a “promiscuous dump.” Those are defined as an “unauthorized site where indiscriminate deposits of solid waste are made,” according to department documents.

“We come across this from time to time,” Smith said. “People, they have the right to dispose of waste on their own private property if they have certain setback requirements met. I think we provided them some general guidance at the time.”

Abbey Rodamaker disputes the classification of a promiscuous dump. 

“This was not a promiscuous dump,” Rodamaker said. “This was not a neighborhood dump. This was a county dump. It’s definitely more trash than dirt.”

Smith said leaving the trash in place or excavating it are both possible options for the land. She said it was unclear whether how the waste got there was illegal, but overall the inspectors didn’t believe there was a “huge volume of waste.”

“There’s not necessarily a lot of environmental concerns,” Smith said, adding that her department suggested the owners talk with a structural engineer if they planned to build.

“In a larger waste situation, we would be concerned with groundwater because as waste breaks down and deteriorates, it can generate chemicals or toxins or something that might be of concern,” Smith said. “In this case, we didn’t see that volume of waste that’s an immediate concern.”

What’s next for the property?

The Rodamakers said they are unsure of what happens next to the property.

While the family could technically still build on the land, the price of making a house structurally sound and putting it on pilings to handle any shifting trash underneath would require them to restructure their loan.

The couple said they’ve spent all of their savings to get to this point, including purchasing the property and hiring services. They’ve hired professionals to perform tests to see whether the age of the trees match up with the time Skinner’s landfill might have been covered over.

Environment:Plastic trash discovered in ‘pristine’ Arctic snow

Recycling:Your fear of recycling is common, according to psychology

Abbey Rodamaker said her family feels like nobody is willing to help them, whether it be attorneys who don’t want to take the case or who are too expensive, or failings of the government or others who could have informed them about the landfill. 

“The people that I thought were supposed to protect us, definitely are not protecting us,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I guess the case could be made that (the DEP) were trying to help us because they don’t want to do a site investigation. But that leaves us with contaminated land.”

The couple said it has also been suggested that they could walk away from the property, taking measures like declaring bankruptcy to get out of the situation. 

“For me, there’s still the moral question,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “How do you just walk away?”

Follow Madison Arnold on Twitter: @maddymarnold

Westlake Legal Group  Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria

Westlake Legal Group ZjihvL6W0vTH-cH6YgUch3AZlF_eyDAqUp66vUNfVhI U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Southern California Wildfires Linked To 3 Deaths, Officials Say

 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three people have died at the scene of Southern California wildfires this week, authorities said Saturday, as firefighters aided by diminishing winds beat back a blaze on the edge of Los Angeles that damaged or destroyed more than 30 structures and sent a blanket of smoke across a swath of neighborhoods.

Los Angeles officials said the fire in the city’s San Fernando Valley area hadn’t grown significantly since Friday, and ground crews were tamping down lingering hotspots. Thousands of people remained under evacuation orders, though many were allowed to return home Saturday.

One man who tried to fight the blaze died of a heart attack, and one firefighter reported a minor eye injury.

The fire’s cause is under investigation, and authorities warned that the threat of flare-ups remained.

Westlake Legal Group 5da253df2100005009acd656 Southern California Wildfires Linked To 3 Deaths, Officials Say

ASSOCIATED PRESS A firefighter sprays water in front of an advancing wildfire Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Porter Ranch, Calif. 

At the site of another blaze east of Los Angeles, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said a second body was found at a mobile home park where 74 structures were destroyed Thursday in Calimesa. Officials previously reported one death at the community east of Los Angeles.

The department said one of the Calimesa victims has been identified as 89-year-old Lois Arvikson. Her son Don Turner said she had called him to say she was evacuating, but he never heard from her again. Authorities are working to identify the other victim.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said the bulk of the fire at the city’s edge had moved away from homes and into rugged hillsides and canyons where firefighters were making steady progress slowing its advance. Television footage showed plumes of smoke rising from the area but no walls of towering flame, as a water-dropping helicopter moved in to dump another cascade on the blaze.

“The bulk of the fire has moved toward wildland,” Humphrey said.

Westlake Legal Group 5da255752100003d07acd658 Southern California Wildfires Linked To 3 Deaths, Officials Say

ASSOCIATED PRESS Brett Palmer, left, Anthony Ayala with the South Placer Fire Dept. hose down hot spot from a wildfire Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Porter Ranch, Calif. 

Firefighters worked under sunny skies, but air quality was poor as smoke dispersed over much of greater Los Angeles. Air quality officials urged people to limit outdoor activities.

The forecast called for low humidity — in the 10% range — with light wind and an occasional gust up to 15 mph (24 kph).

East of Los Angeles, firefighters were also gaining ground on a blaze that ripped through a Riverside County mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences. In Northern California, the lights are back on for 98% of customers who lost power when Pacific Gas & Electric switched it off in an effort to prevent wildfires.

Some 100,000 residents were ordered out of their homes because of the wind-driven wildfire that broke out Thursday evening in the San Fernando Valley, though authorities began lifting evacuation orders in many areas Saturday. It spread westward through tinder-dry brush in hilly subdivisions on the outskirts of the nation’s second-largest city.

Interstate 5, the main north-to-south corridor in the state, was shut down for much of the day Friday, choking traffic until finally reopening.

The smoky scent spreading through much of Los Angeles was a reminder of the threat of a fire season just beginning.

The region has been on high alert as notoriously powerful Santa Ana winds brought dry desert air to a desiccated landscape that only needed a spark to erupt. Fire officials have warned that they expect more intense and devastating California wildfires due, in part, to climate change.

Fire danger remained high for much of Southern California, with warnings in place for large swaths of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties west of Los Angeles.

Westlake Legal Group 5da25602210000c3073449cc Southern California Wildfires Linked To 3 Deaths, Officials Say

ASSOCIATED PRESS Santa Ana wind driven flames destroyed this home on Beaufait Ave. in Porter Ranch, Calif,. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. 

The cause of the Los Angeles blaze wasn’t immediately known, though arson investigators said a witness reported seeing sparks or flames coming from a power line near where the fire is believed to have started, said Peter Sanders, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Jonathan Stahl was driving home to Valencia when he saw the smoke and immediately diverted to a mobile home park in Sylmar where his grandmother and aunt live together.

The park had been nearly wiped out in 2008 when one of the city’s most destructive fires leveled 500 homes.

Stahl helped his grandmother, Beverly Stahl, 91, who was in her pajamas, and his aunt to pack clothing, medication and take their two dogs. They saw flames in the distance as they drove away.

“We just packed up what we could as fast as we could,” Stahl said at an evacuation center at the Sylmar Recreation Center, massaging his grandmother’s shoulders as she sat in a wheelchair with a Red Cross blanket on her lap. “If we’d stuck around, we would have been in trouble. Real big trouble.”

Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio and Brian Melley contributed to this report.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Serial Stowaway’ arrested after attempting to bypass TSA at O’Hare Airport

The woman dubbed the “Serial Stowaway” for her history of sneaking onto flights without having tickets struck again Friday and was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Marilyn Hartman, 67, was charged with one felony count of criminal trespass to a registered area at an airport after police say she attempted to bypass a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lane divider and pass through airport security at O’Hare’s Terminal 1 without a boarding pass or identification.

WOMAN WHO BOARDED DELTA FLIGHT WITHOUT ID, BOARDING PASS WON’T BE CHARGED ‘AT THIS TIME,’ FBI SAYS

Westlake Legal Group AP19285696002960 'Serial Stowaway' arrested after attempting to bypass TSA at O'Hare Airport Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel fox news fnc/us fnc article 376ca295-42a2-5d5b-b93f-6b3aa2587183

This January 2018, file photo provided by the Chicago Police Department shows Marilyn Hartman. (Chicago Police Department via AP, File)

This isn’t the first flight that Hartman has attempted to board in this manner. This past March, she was given 18 months probation after pleading guilty to sneaking on to a flight from O’Hare to London without a ticket. She was apprehended in London, but just two days after her arrest, she was seen again at O’Hare and was taken into custody when she refused to leave the airport. After that incident, she was banned from entering Chicago’s O’Hare or Midway airports without a boarding pass.

In 2014, Hartman ducked TSA in an attempt to board various flights without a ticket at least eight times.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

She was also arrested two times in 2015 within two months at O’Hare and Midway Airport.

Hartman is scheduled to appear in bond court on Sunday at 9 a.m.

Westlake Legal Group AP19285696002960 'Serial Stowaway' arrested after attempting to bypass TSA at O'Hare Airport Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel fox news fnc/us fnc article 376ca295-42a2-5d5b-b93f-6b3aa2587183   Westlake Legal Group AP19285696002960 'Serial Stowaway' arrested after attempting to bypass TSA at O'Hare Airport Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel fox news fnc/us fnc article 376ca295-42a2-5d5b-b93f-6b3aa2587183

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Azad Murad is the kind of person who will pay the price for President Donald Trump’s decision to endorse a Turkish offensive against Kurds in Syria.

He is a 40-year-old civilian who lives with his three young daughters, his wife and his parents, 75 and 65, in the city of Qamishli, right on the border with Turkey. Murad has already talked to his family about whether to join the thousands of their neighbors who are fleeing as Turkey continues to bomb their hometown.

“We decided to stay here,” Murad told HuffPost. “We will face our destiny.”

Murad’s daughters ― ages 13, 10 and 7 ― are among the more than 2 million residents of Kurdish-held Syria who are now at the mercy of the mission that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls “Operation Peace Spring.”

For many of them, including Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmens and the region’s other minorities, this moment may shape the rest of their lives.

The brutal assault by the second-largest army in NATO and allied militias, and world leaders’ failure to stop Erdogan, is an especially potent lesson for the Kurds in taking little for granted ― and realizing your life can be radically changed by massive forces you neither control nor fully trust.

“These areas were the safest areas for a long period of time,” Murad said.

To the younger generation of Kurds, a worldwide community that numbers more than 30 million, this is a defining period in history.

“It feels like it’s determining our future, about belonging and where we come from and our ability to go and experience our homelands, especially as people who live as part of a diaspora,” said Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurd active in the international Kurdish women’s movement. “We genuinely see this as a turning point of literally either existence or extermination.”

Young Kurds in Syria and in neighboring Iraq have spent more than five years fighting alongside the U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State, seeing peers’ lives cut short and their futures denied. Young Kurds around the world, in Turkey, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, have led loud, powerful international movements for solidarity in a way that’s unprecedented, given how borders have separated the stateless Kurds for generations.

The Syrian Kurdish community, known as Rojava, offered to many Kurds an example of a confident, empowering and radically different future. Now it could be crushed over Turkey’s insistence that it is a threat because of its links to a militant group called the PKK.

And whatever Rojava’s fate, America is deeply implicated. That means the consequences of Trump’s action won’t be measured just in the fighting and likely human rights abuses of the days and weeks ahead. Its real resonance will only become clear years from now, in ways that are crucial to the Kurds and quite possibly worrying for the United States.

A community that has experienced crisis after crisis over the past century, Kurds have come to deeply value their collective memory. They honor it not just with commemoration but with respect: Like other groups that have repeatedly faced persecution from larger enemies, they’re especially committed to looking to their past to decide what’s next. Whatever the history books make of Trump and Erdogan, Kurds will remember the bloodshed, fear and desperate strategizing they are now causing.

These people aren’t naive people. … We also know how to make tactical alliances. Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurdish activist

Stress over the situation with Turkey has left Yerevan Saeed, an associate fellow with the Middle East Research Institute in the Kurdish region of Iraq, sleep-deprived and “feeling down” for days. Saeed was a refugee three times before the age of 11 due to fighting in his country, where dictator Saddam Hussein brutally suppressed Iraq’s Kurdish population while being armed by the U.S., and where Kurdish warlords then fought each other for years. That’s why he can empathize deeply with the Kurds in Syria right now, he said.

The trauma crosses generational lines. When Saeed talks about the situation with his father, “he says it’s just the same thing that’s happening in a different version in a different time of history,” he told HuffPost. ”The Kurds are left on their own.”

Where his frame of reference is the 1980s and 1990s, his father’s is the 1970s, when the U.S. and Iran supported the Kurds against Hussein and then abandoned them when the Iranians and Iraqis made a deal. “Fuck the Kurds if they can’t take a joke,” then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apocryphally said of their concerns ― which were realized ― that they would be brutally suppressed.

Kurds worldwide have responded to letdowns and ongoing vulnerability by ensuring that, at the very least, they can’t be ignored.

“My sisters were born into the movement,” said Zeynep Kurban, a young British-Kurdish activist, explaining that her family has been demonstrating since moving to the United Kingdom from Turkey back in the 1990s.

“I’m a scientist, but whatever profession we have chosen, on the sidelines we have had to do activism … not being a free youth taking it easy,” she said.

For Kurban and other young Kurds, the Syrian Kurdish enclave is particularly important because the political administration there prioritizes gender equality, direct democracy and the environment. It offers an alternative to the idea that the Kurds’ best bet is to build a nation-state in the image of those that have caused many of the community’s problems.

“This attack is not just a physical attack, but is also an attack on the values of women, the values that women are trying to create not just in Rojava, but in the rest of the world by overcoming the patriarchal mindset,” Kurban said.

Westlake Legal Group 5da24d24210000e7063449ca Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Christian Mang / Reuters Kurdish protesters in Berlin, Germany, carry a banner during a demonstration on Oct. 12 against Turkey’s military action in northeastern Syria.

The past few years have been filled with important, often worrying episodes for Kurds, said Sarican, the Kurdish women’s movement activist. There was the ISIS onslaught against the associated community of Yazidis and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014, the stand the Syrian Kurdish town Kobani took against the terror group, and the sweeping crackdown Turkey launched on its own Kurdish citizens in 2015.

Throughout, the Kurds have gotten mixed signals from the U.S. and other world powers. While the Americans and company were happy to work with Kurdish fighters against ISIS, they did little about Turkey’s destruction of Kurdish towns and bloody incursion into the Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin, or about Iraqi Kurds taking the dramatic step of voting for independence in 2017, a move that prompted violent pushback from Iran and Iraq.

“There was never any illusion or delusion for us that the U.S. was strategically and politically on our side,” Sarican said. “These people aren’t naive people.”

While much Western discussion of the Kurds treats them as a helpless people waiting for the U.S., Turkey and others to make their next moves, Kurdish leaders and their allies know they have to craft their own plans ― and they’ve known that long before Trump entered the Oval Office.

“We also know how to make tactical alliances because we know our main aim is to defend our people,” Sarican said. The Kurds have, for example, maintained dialogue with Russia, Iran, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and other players Washington largely refuses to engage with.

Younger Kurds realizing the importance of their own agency are also interested in thinking across nationalities and differences in philosophy (between, say, leftist Syrian Kurds and more conservative peers in Iraq) as they envision their future.

“The developments in the past few years are really radicalizing the younger generation,” said Giran Ozcan, a British-born Kurd who is the Washington representative for a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey called the HDP. “They really do see it as a national issue now of targeting Kurds because they are Kurds.”

“This builds a kind of national consciousness that maybe wasn’t there before, so thanks to the hostile states of the region, the Kurds are really unifying in a way they weren’t before,” Ozcan added.

The U.S. could help in their next chapter. American support for a renewed peace process between Turkey and its own Kurdish community could produce a win for all sides, including Kurds in Syria, Ozcan said.

But Kurds are certain they need to be the architects of their own fate, one quite different from the status quo.

“What’s happening today is not in the interests of anybody,” Kurban said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com