17 Jan

Tropical Storms

first_imgTropical storms may cause havoc for coastal homeowners, but the rainfall they bring recharges the water balance and keeps soil moist in the summer, according to University of Georgia climatologist Pam Knox. Lack of tropical storm activity in 2014 contributed to Georgia’s prolonged drought, she said.Knox predicts a return to a more active tropical season in 2015, leading to a wetter summer, which may be highlighted by heavy rainfall. This would be a welcome sight for Georgia farmers after last year’s dry growing season.“Crops really depend on having an inch or 2 inches of rain every week. If you go through a long dry spell, then that’s a real concern,” Knox said. “During the summer, you’re running a zero or negative balance of soil moisture because it’s so hot.”When the temperature warms above a certain threshold, usually around April 1, rainfall is either used by plants or evaporates, she said. Little is stored in the soil.She also predicts a neutral weather season this year, not an El Niño — weather characterized by warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, leading to cool winter temperatures in Georgia — or La Niña — weather characterized by cold waters in the Pacific, leading to a warmer and drier winter in Georgia. According to the university’s Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring (GAEM) Network, from June 1 to Sept. 1 last year, the UGA Tifton Campus recorded just 7.38 inches of rain, below the 9.94 inches in 2013 and considerably under 26.15 inches in 2012. At the UGA Griffin Campus during the same time period, 7.54 inches were recorded in 2014, but 11.65 inches were accumulated in 2013 and 14.04 inches in 2012. “Thunderstorms are certainly an important source of moisture in the growing season,” Knox said. “But they’re not always reliable because they can be hit or miss.” A lack of summer moisture leads farmers to depend on irrigation to water their crops. “Irrigation is all about timing. If you’re in a dry spell, for whatever reason, and you can apply an inch of water, sometimes that’s enough to save the crops or get them through a critical period, like pollination in corn,” she said. “Usually at the end of the summer, if the crops are growing, they’re taking in water at a pretty good rate. You’ve got to have rain from something.”During a typical summer weather pattern, up to 30 percent of rain comes from tropical activity, Knox said.What, if any, tropical activity that occurs this summer would be a welcome sight for farmers in the Southeast.“It’s been almost 10 years since Florida’s had a major hurricane. You know it’s going to come back sooner or later with a vengeance,” Knox said. “There were those years in 2004-2005 with Ivan and Katrina and a whole bunch of other ones. Ever since then it’s been dead or very few have come across the Southeast at all.”To see weather data from UGA’s 81 weather stations across the state, go to www.georgiaweather.net, online home of the GAEM Network. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences established the GAEM Network in 1991. Each station monitors air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, soil temperature at 2-, 4- and 8-inch depths, atmospheric pressure and soil moisture every second. Data are summarized at 15-minute intervals, and at midnight a daily summary is calculated.last_img read more

13 Aug

King Tweets at critics, emails ‘No Abortion, No Exceptions’ pledge

first_imgDES MOINES — Republican Congressman Steve King has taken to Twitter to lash out at critics of his recent comments on abortion — and he’s sending fundraising email about the uproar.King backs an abortion ban that does not include exceptions for rape and incest. On Wednesday, King mused out loud at that given the pillaging of centuries past, there might not be any population of the world left if all the products of rape and incest were removed from family trees.Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann said the party platform opposes all abortion and aligns with King’s policy position, but King’s line of reasoning was offensive. “It’s the implications and how he put that,” Kaufmann said, “in terms of where our populations come from.”Four other Republicans have announced they plan to challenge King in next year’s primary. The Iowa GOP’s chairman said the party is neutral in the primary – and it’s up to voters in the fourth congressional district to decide.“It is not up to the chair of the party to determine who should or shouldn’t be in congress,” Kaufmann said. “The fourth district is going to determine what they think of the congressman and what they don’t think of the congressman.”Liz Cheney, the top-ranking woman among Republicans in the U.S. House, called on King to resign this week. King, on Twitter is demanding on apology from Cheney. King has also tweeted at several of the Democratic presidential candidates who condemned his remarks. King accused Cory Booker of supporting the “killing of little black babies” and King tweeted at Joe Biden, saying: “Don’t look now, but Elizabeth Warren just passed you up in Iowa.”An email King sent to supporters today asks them to make a “No Abortions, No Exceptions” pledge.last_img read more

13 Aug

Werder Bremen braced for ‘relegation final’ in Mainz

first_imgBremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein says they must treat their last two league games as ‘finals’ as they fight relegationBerlin, Germany | AFP |  Struggling Bundesliga giants Werder Bremen have just two matches to avoid relegation, but can take a significant step towards survival at Mainz on Saturday.Bayern Munich were confirmed Bundesliga champions for the eighth straight season in midweek, but the fight to stay up is still raging.Bremen are second-bottom and in danger of losing their status as the club with the most years spent in Germany’s top flight.They sit one point behind Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, but six behind 15th-placed Mainz after their surprise win at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.Four-time champions Bremen have been in the Bundesliga every season bar one since its introduction in 1963. They were relegated in 1980, but came straight back up.Bremen visit Mainz in one of nine games at 1330 GMT on Saturday and host Cologne on the final day of the season on June 27.“We have two ‘finals’, which we must win to stay up,” said midfielder Maximilian Eggestein.Werder’s American midfielder Josh Sargent said: “No one wants to let the team or the city down.”Bottom side Paderborn have already been relegated.Duesseldorf host Augsburg on Saturday and visit Union Berlin on the final day, while Mainz can secure safety by beating Bremen before their last match at Champions League-chasing Bayer Leverkusen.Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer has billed the game as a “relegation final”.– Leipzig closing on Champions League spot –Meanwhile, second-placed Borussia Dortmund are looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s shock defeat by Mainz at RB Leipzig, who are third but yet to secure a Champions League spot.Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who has scored 32 goals in all competitions this season, has confirmed he is moving to Chelsea from July 1, but can play in Leipzig’s last two Bundesliga games of the campaign.Werner scored in Leipzig’s 2-2 draw with Duesseldorf on Wednesday, but they threw away a two-goal lead and still need another win to secure Champions League qualification.“Now we have to deliver on Saturday,” said coach Julian Nagelsmann, whose side would also leapfrog Dortmund into second with victory.“Coming second in the league doesn’t mean anything. It’s about getting into the Champions League and we’ve got enough to do there.” There will be no coronation for Bayern after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Freiburg.The league said they must wait to receive the Bundesliga trophy until after their final match, next weekend at Wolfsburg, due to coronavirus restrictions.Bayern are without the suspended Alphonso Davies, who was sent off in midweek, and Lucas Hernandez is expected to take over at left-back as the Bavarians chase a 15th straight win all competitions.One to watch: Claudio PizarroThe Bremen striker is 42 in October, four years younger than coach Florian Kohfeldt, but has shaken off a thigh injury and could play a role at Mainz.As he did in Tuesday’s 1-0 home loss to Bayern, Pizarro could come off the bench and add to his 488 Bundesliga appearances, with 197 goals.“I am proud that they call me a legend,” said Pizarro, who won the Bundesliga six times with former club Bayern and the German Cup on six occasions, five with Bayern and once, in 2008/09, with Bremen.Pizarro also has the distinction of scoring in 21 consecutive calendar years during spells in Europe with Bremen, Chelsea, Bayern and Cologne, but is yet to find the net in 2020.Key stats14: Matches without a Bundesliga win for Schalke. David Wagner’s side host Wolfsburg looking for a first league victory since January.31: League goals Robert Lewandowski has scored for Bayern Munich this term — his best-ever season. He is set to be crowned the league’s top-scorer for the fifth time.93: Goals scored by Timo Werner in 157 games for RB Leipzig over the last four years.Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT)Bayern Munich v Freiburg, RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund, Hoffenheim v Union Berlin, Fortuna Dusseldorf v Augsburg, Hertha Berlin v Bayer Leverkusen, Mainz v Werder Bremen, Schalke v Wolfsburg, Cologne v Eintracht Frankfurt, Paderborn v Borussia Moenchengladbach Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

12 Aug

FBI: Local Doctor Involved in $681M Substance Abuse Treatment Fraud

first_imgHowever, Ligotti allegedly did not review the results of the tests he ordered, or use the results to treat these patients, the complaint states. Some of the patients allegedly were billed between $10,000 and $20,000 by Ligotti and Whole Health for one visit.Over the nine-year period, Ligotti allegedly served as “Medical Director” for more than 50 addiction treatment facilities. He also signed over 136 standing orders authorizing these fake tests, according to the complaint.He is also accused of using several nurse practitioners/medical extenders under his practice to fraudulently bill patients’ private insurance.Ligotti also improperly prescribed controlled substances, and gave the drugs to patients who did not need them.“The treatment of addiction helps restore an individual’s independence from drugs and good health, so they can go back to their families and be productive members in our society.” said Special Agent in Charge Kevin W. Carter of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Miami Field Division.Carter adds, “Physicians and other medical professionals who hold positions of trust within our communities, will absolutely be held accountable for violations of that trust. The DEA Miami Field Division remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to safeguard our local communities against those who engage in fraudulent practices that endanger both the health and lives of Floridians.”Potential victims and those with information related to Ligotti or Whole Health are asked to e-mail [email protected] and use the title “Ligotti Whole Health” in the title of the email when submitting complaints and/or other information regarding this case. A 46-year-old Palm Beach County doctor has been arrested and charged with conspiring to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced late last week.Dr. Michael J. Ligotti, of Delray Beach, is accused of billing insurance companies and Medicare for fake tests and treatments for patients seeking treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction.From May 2011 through March of this year, his office fraudulently billed about $681 million for laboratory testing claims, and was paid nearly $121 million, according to the criminal complaint.“The substance abuse treatment fraud allegedly perpetrated by the defendant sacrificed the genuine care of vulnerable patients at a time when they urgently needed a trusted health care provider,” said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.She went on to say, “Health care providers who allow greed to take precedence over their Hippocratic Oath and participate in these schemes are criminals and will be held accountable for their unscrupulous conduct.”Dr. Ligotti owned and operated Whole Health in Delray Beach. It was a private clinic that offered addiction treatment, family care and urgent care.He agreed to serve as “Medical Director” for an addiction facility for a small fee, and then authorized “standing orders” for hundreds of millions of dollars in medically unnecessary urinalysis tests (UAs). Testing labs subsequently billed those procedures and paid kickbacks to the sober homes or addiction treatment facilities.In exchange for signing those orders, Ligotti required the facilities to have their patients treated by Whole Health and his staff. That policy allowed him to bill for additional fake and unnecessary treatments and services.last_img read more