Region briefs

July 1, 2014 

Firefighters will bake cookies in hot car

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Firefighters here said the department will bake cookies in a parked car to demonstrate how hot it can get inside an unattended vehicle.

Fire Chief Alan Martin tells the demonstration Wednesday afternoon is meant to remind parents of the extreme risk of leaving children and pets in hot cars.

Martin says said child dies of a heat stroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle. Fire officials say a child's body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult's.

The demonstration is being held at Shops of Lake Tuscaloosa.

-- Associated Press

VA whistleblowers allege retaliation in 4 GA cases

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Federal authorities say they are looking into four retaliation cases in Georgia, in which whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs say they've been punished for reporting concerns in VA facilities.

The four Georgia cases being handled by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel come after workers said authorities retaliated after they reported concerns about scheduling, understaffing and other patient care issues.

Nationwide, investigators said last month they were examining allegations supervisors in the veterans' health system retaliated against 37 employees who complained about practices such as falsified records used to cover up months-long delays in scheduling appointments.

-- Augusta Chronicle

200 utility payments accidently shredded

MONROE, La. -- Officials said a city worker accidentally shredded more than 200 water-bill payments from Monroe customers.

Director of Tax and Revenue Timothy Lewis said the city has identified 181 of the 209 affected customers by using the envelopes the checks came in. He said the city will send them letters notifying them of Friday's mishap and request new checks.

The city is also suspending shutting off water for a few weeks so no one will be further inconvenienced.

-- News-Star

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