Public Eye Blog

The Public Eye Blog keeps readers abreast of developments in topic areas the center is investigating.

Recent Posts

Lab directors say tests do not need FDA oversight

By: Jess Aloe
Lab directors of major medical centers across the nation have written a letter against proposed federal regulation of so-called LDTs – the custom made laboratory developed tests frequently used by doctors to help diagnose everything from cancer to birth defects to Lyme disease.  Twenty-three laboratory directors, from institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the Mayo Clinic, signed a letter July 16 urging Obama administration officials not to release Food and Drug Administration draft recommendations that would spell out how diagnostic tests for medical conditions might be regulated in the future. While many diagnostic tests on the market undergo U.S. Food and Drug Administration review, thousands of others do not because they take advantage of an exemption in FDA regulations that frees them from having to prove that their tests correctly diagnose the disease.  In 2010, the FDA announced its intention to regulate at least some of the tests, but has been met with opposition by many clinical labs. “FDA regulation of LDTs would be contrary to the public health,” states the letter addressed to Brian Deese, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. Continue Reading →

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Appeal filed for federal government to release addresses of vulnerable coastal homes

Saco, Maine, April 20, 2007 -- A home that succumbed to storm surge following the Patriots' Day Nor'easter. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde- Wikimedia Commons

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year spent two months piecing together the story of a Scituate, Mass. house that collected taxpayer-financed flood claims at least nine times in the past 35 years. Its owner was in the process of applying for her second taxpayer-funded grant in a decade to elevate the $1.2 million home. But we don’t know if she got it. Continue Reading →

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Planner’s job eliminated for often flooded Conn. city

Despite having some of the largest number of properties in New England repeatedly damaged by the sea, officials in Milford, Connecticut voted earlier this week to eliminate the position that helps oversee the community’s vulnerable flood zone. The Board of Aldermen made a final decision to cut the assistant city planner's job that watches over development and helps guide residents through the confusing world of flood insurance and disaster relief. Pleas from residents and other town officials to keep the position failed. There are 4,000 structures in the community's flood plain – 900 of them were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. I recently wrote a story about how Milford has one of the largest number of homes in New England that get flooded repeatedly by coastal storms, and the community's initial decision to eliminate the position. Continue Reading →

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Conn. city may eliminate job that helped with post-Sandy damage, sea level rise

By: Beth Daley
New England Center for Investigative Reporting

The numbers speak volumes about Milford, Connecticut’s vulnerability to sea level rise: 4,000 structures in a flood plain – a whopping 900 of them damaged by Hurricane Sandy. I recently wrote a story about how Milford has one of the largest number of homes in New England that get flooded repeatedly and severely by coastal storms.

So it seems like a bit of madness to some that the Milford Board of Finance recently voted to eliminate the position that oversees the flood zone, development reviews and helps guide residents through the often confusing world of flood insurance and disaster relief. While eliminating the $77,000 a year job, the board added a $54,000 building inspector, according to the Milford Mirror. It’s a decision that runs counter to what some other communities in New England are doing: redoubling manpower and dollars to protect areas most likely to be hit again and again by storms. New England seas are rising three to four times the global average and a spate of recent storms have made all too clear the enormous economic vulnerability along the thin ribbon of coast that separates the sea from billions of dollars worth of property. No one from the mayor’s office or the finance committee has yet called me back. Continue Reading →

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