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Articles Posted in Marion County

In 2017, 12 residents at a nursing home in Broward County died in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

In March 2018, then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring all nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have alternative sources of power in the event of a natural disaster. The original deadline for compliance was Jan. 1, but some facilities are still requesting extra time. June 1 was the official start of hurricane season and the new deadline for facilities to implement their plans.

Most counties in north central Florida are compliant, including Levy, Gilchrist, Columbia, Union, Bradford and Putnam. 

According to the state Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA), Alachua and Marion counties are both in 100 percent compliance.

According to the ACHA, a facility is compliant if its plan is fully implemented, or it has requested or been granted a deadline extension based on valid delays. All such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Availability of proper equipment, installation scheduling and mechanical engineering plans reviews and approvals are some key reasons why facilities may require an extension. 

According to ACHA’s website, nursing homes and assisted living facilities may qualify for supply costs reimbursement and funding assistance through Medicare and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The new environmental control rule mandates that the plan a facility sends to a local emergency management department should include a timeline by which it would be fully implemented.

The new state law sets no limits regarding extension requests or their duration.

While Alachua and Marion counties are all in compliance. Other counties, however, have more work to do in order to become compliant.

Clay County is at 96 percent, but there is no timeline for reaching 100 percent. On April 10, according to state records, Governors Creek Health and Rehabilitation in Clay County filed a petition requesting more time beyond June 1. Heartland Healthcare Center – Orange Park is also seeking the same extension.

Duval County is also at 96 percent. Seven centers had petitioned for more time, including Heartland Health Care Center of South Jacksonville, San Jose Health and Rehabilitation Center, First Coast Health and Rehabilitation Center, ISLF Deerwood Place, Fouraker Hills Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Terrace of Jacksonville and Riverwood Center.

Facilities granted extensions must send monthly and quarterly progress reports to ACHA.

The facilities with approved extensions are still required to have an adequate plan to protect patients during a power outage. This includes a temporary generator on-site, a plan to obtain a generator within 24 hours of a power outage or a full evacuation plan.

In Levy County, some facilities have taken a different approach. Instead of purchasing generators, they borrow them.  

The Electrical Generating Systems Association and Disaster Contractors Network offer website directories that allow facilities to search for local contractors providing resources and assistance.

Other regions, including Bradford and Union counties, have fewer nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but more group homes, which follow different regulations.

Group homes must adhere to the guidelines of both ACHA and the Agencies for Persons with Disabilities (APD).

North Central Florida is one of only two regions in the state to achieve full compliance. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in the panhandle are also at 100 percent.

Counties with the lowest percentages are Bay and Highlands. They are both at 92 percent.

The overall compliance rate statewide is 98 percent. Out of 3,753 licensed facilities in Florida, 2,621 have fully implemented their emergency power plans and 1,070 have extensions.

Here is a full list of all nursing homes in Alachua County: 

  • North Florida Rehabilitation and Specialty Care
  • Oak Hammock at the University of Florida Inc
  • Palm Garden of Gainesville
  • Park Meadows Health and Rehabilitation Center
  • Parklands Care Center
  • Plaza Health and Rehab 
  • Signature HealthCare of Gainesville 
  • Terrace Health & Rehabilitation Center 

Below is a list of all assisted living facilities in Alachua County: 

  • Annie’s House
  • Brookdale Gainesville Southwest 
  • Harborchase of Gainesville
  • Hunter’s Crossing Place – Assisted Living  
  • Hunter’s Crossing Place – Memory Care
  • The Mayflower Assisted Living 
  • Misty Meadows
  • North Florida Retirement Village
  • Oak Hammock at the University of Florida
  • Plantation Oaks Senior Living Residence
  • Southwest Retirement Home
  • The Windsor of Gainesville Assisted Living & Memory Care

Marion County nursing homes: 

  • Avante at Ocala, Inc
  • Bridgewater Park Health & Rehabilitation Center
  • Hawthorne Health & Rehab of Ocala 
  • Life Care Center of Ocala
  • Oakhurst Center
  • Ocala Health & Rehabilitation Center
  • Ocala Oaks Rehabilitation Center
  • Palm Garden of Ocala
  • The Lodge Health and Rehabilitation Center
  • Timberridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Marion County assisted living facilities: 

  • A Cottage Called Home LLC
  • Brentwood at Fore Ranch 
  • Bridge at Life Care Center of Ocala
  • Bridgewater Park Assisted Living 
  • Brookdale Canopy Oaks 
  • Brookdale Chambrel Pinecastle 
  • Brookdale Paddock Hills
  • Camelot Château
  • Canterfield of Ocala LLC
  • Change of Pace Ret Center
  • God Answers Prayers – Emmanuel, Inc
  • Hampton ALF at 24th Road LLC
  • Hampton ALF at Belleview LLC
  • Hampton ALF at Deerwood LLC
  • Haven House of Ocala
  • Hawthorne Inn of Ocala 
  • Hidden Pines ALF
  • Higher Ground Assisted Living Facility 
  • Marion Oaks Assisted Living 
  • Mcintosh Assisted Living Inc
  • Pacifica Senior Living Ocala 
  • Paddock Ridge 
  • Prestige Manor
  • Prestige Manor III
  • Solita’s Comfort 
  • Specialty Care Services Inc
  • Summerfield Suites
  • Superior Residences at Cala Hills
  • Syerra’s Angels 
  • The Harbor House of Ocala 
  • The Harmony House of Ocala
  • Windsor at Ocala
  • Wings of Love Assisted Living Facility LLC

While Alachua and Marion Counties are in the clear with the generator requirements, other Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities are coming up short. If a Florida nursing home fails to comply with the generator laws, their actions could be deemed as negligence. This means that their actions, or lack thereof, may automatically open them up to legal liability if a resident becomes a victim. 

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The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division, recently found that the city of Ocala and Police Chief Kenneth Gregory Graham violated the First Amendment by sponsoring or endorsing a prayer vigil.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan wrote the May 24 order granting summary judgment to a group of atheists who claimed Graham and the city of Ocala violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

The plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that a prayer vigil in 2014 held in the wake of a crime spree that left several children injured violated the Establishment Clause that prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.

The plaintiffs claimed they wanted to be a part of the community effort to help stop crime but felt unwelcome or uncomfortable because of the religious nature of the event they likened to a “Christian tent revival.” The plaintiffs claim that during the vigil, several people led prayers or sang, but no one mentioned any efforts to stop the crime spree.

The order granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in their claims against Chief Graham and the city and granted summary judgment to Mayor Guinn. The plaintiffs were denied punitive damages and awarded nominal damages from the chief and the city, as well as attorney’s fees and costs to be heard by a magistrate judge.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Const. amend. I.

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A man was killed earlier this month after he lost control of his motorcycle and tumbled more than 100 feet in Marion County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

At around 10:10 p.m., the Umatilla man was driving his 2016 Kawasaki Ninja on the southbound lane of County Road 25 at a “high rate of speed” as he approached a right hand curve, FHP stated in a report.

The 25-year-old driver failed to handle the curve and drove across the centerline and into the northbound lane and onto the east grass shoulder, the FHP stated.

The man lost control of his motorcycle and fell off of it as it began to overturn. Both he and the motorcycle “tumbled over 100 feet before coming to rest on the shoulder” of the road, the FHP reported.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The FHP has not yet determined if alcohol was a factor in the accident.

The investigation is ongoing.

Riding a motorcycle can be liberating. And while the freedom of the open road is nice, riding a motorcycle can also be dangerous as a result of reckless motorists, minimal protection, hazardous conditions and many other factors.

A motorcycle accident can occur as a result of a rider’s negligence, but a motorcycle accident is not always the fault of the operator. In many cases, these types of accident are caused by:

  • DUI
  • Inattention of other drivers
  • Speeding
  • Failing to obey traffic signals
  • Texting and driving
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Fatigued driving
  • Bad roads
  • Failure to yield

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The state of Florida leads the nation in the number of motorcycle fatalities, according to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Florida had 467 riders killed in 2013, the most recent year for such statistics. That’s 10 more than Texas, the state with the second highest number.

A Look At The Numbers

  • There were 8.4 million motorcycles on U.S. roads in 2013, an increase from 8 million in 2009.
  • 56 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles was involved in a fatal crash in 2013, compared to 9 out of every 100,000 passenger cars.
  • From 2004 to 2013, fatalities among the 40-and-older age group increased 39 percent, compared to 16 percent for all ages.

Two weekend crashes adds to these numbers.

A 56-year-old woman from Tampa died Friday afternoon after the motorcycle she was a passenger on collided with a car on State Road 20 near Hawthorne. The man driving the motorcycle was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in critical condition. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, neither person on the motorcycle was wearing a helmet.

On Sunday, a 44-year-old man from Loxahatchee died in Marion County when his 2006 Harley Davidson hit a dip in Southeast 182nd Avenue and overturned. The man, who was not wearing a helmet, was airlifted to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Nearly 50 percent of the bikers who died in an accident in 2013 were not  wearing helmets, according to the NHTSA report. Helmets are not required by law in Florida.

Motorcycle accidents can happen so quickly. In a matter of seconds you can go from enjoying your regular motorcycle ride to lying on the road or in a hospital bed. Now you are facing physical pain and disability, significant medical bills, lost wages, and other life-impacting damages.

Like most motorcycle accident victims, you will have lots of questions that you need answered, like how to pursue financial compensation for damages, how to hold responsible parties liable, and how much will legal help cost you.

At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers are effective negotiators and aggressive trial lawyers who refuse to settle for anything less than what you deserve. We will explore every possible option in order to obtain the best outcome for you. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us unless or until we recover money on your behalf.

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An Ocala teenager was killed in a crash on Interstate 75 recently in Hernando County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the 16-year-old was killed in the two-vehicle crash when he was ejected from his 1998 Ford Explorer.

Troopers believe the teen was driving north at 11:08 p.m. when he drove past a 2007 Hyundai Sonata and tried to move into the Sonata’s lane.

The Sonata’s driver, a 22-year-old of Tallahassee, swerved to avoid a crash and lost control of his vehicle.

The Hyundai collided with a guardrail. The 22-year-old suffered minor injuries.

The teen’s Explorer went into the center median and overturned. He was ejected and died at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation.

Car accidents are still the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, and teens are more likely than adults to get into motor vehicle collisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of teens die in car accidents every year, and nearly 300,000 nationwide are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to car accidents. Teenagers and young adults account for roughly 14 percent of the national population, but make up 28 to 30 percent of the costs of car crash injuries.

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last week about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Tween Seat Belt Safety Advertising campaign. The campaign urges parents to “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up.”

The NHTSA is utilizing this campaign to show the importance of targeting this age group and their parents about seat belt safety. It is absolutely vital for tweens to use their seatbelts any time they are riding in cars because these are formative years that immediately precede driving privileges for teenagers.

Unrestrained Tween Facts: Did You Know?

  • Within the past five years, 1,552 children between the ages of 8 and 14 died in car, SUV or Van collisions.
  • Around half of those children killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
  • The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unbelted tends to increase with age. This more pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds, regardless of seating position.

2732924156_617c53d3df_zThe campaign targets the parents of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Why? This is a very important time to instill the habit in children of always buckling up, for every trip. Tweens are just a few short years away from being in the driver’s seat, which makes this campaign all the more important.

Parents are encouraged to lead by example. No matter how short the trip, any time you get behind the wheel you should fasten your seatbelt before heading anywhere.

Tweens are constantly learning how to be responsible and make good decisions. It is up to the adult or adults in the car to make sure they are always buckled up. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 2 miles or 2,000, tweens, children and adults need to be buckled up for every ride.

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A motorcyclist who collided with an SUV on U.S. 441 and was ejected into a ditch by the impact of the crash passed away at a local hospital Wednesday.

The 65-year-old Ocala biker was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center by ambulance following the crash. He was riding a 2011 Harley Davidson and was wearing a helmet, according to Ocala police.

The afternoon crash blocked traffic heading northbound on the busy thoroughfare at Northwest 20th Street for a little more than an hour as traffic homicide investigators from the Ocala Police Department conducted their investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared this week, October 19-25, as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Due to the sad reality that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens ages 14 to 18, the NHTSA has made this issue a top priority. The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules are designed to raise awareness about the five biggest issues teen drivers face today.

Safety Issues Facing Teen Drivers

The NHTSA has listed out the top five safety concerns for teen drivers by analyzing data and statistics from auto accidents involving teen drivers across the United States. From driving impaired to having too many passengers in the car, there are numerous issues that can greatly increase a teen driver’s risk for being involved in an accident that could result in serious injuries or death.

Top Five Safety Concerns for Teens

  1. Alcohol
  2. Seat belts
  3. Texting
  4. Speeding
  5. Passengers

7838235550_2205537def_zFive to Drive

By addressing these safety concerns with teen drivers, parents can make a huge impact on the safety of their teen when behind the wheel. Even though teens are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, they are at a greater risk than drivers in any other age group of being involved in an alcohol-related crash. It should also be noted that extra passengers can increase a teen drivers risk of being involved in a collision, so it is best to limited teens to no more than one passenger in their car at any time.

Even what can seem like minor details can have a great impact on inexperienced drivers. As a parent, it is smart to have regular conversations with your teen driver about these five key issues and lead by example. When you are driving, make sure to follow all safety rules, including wearing your seatbelt, and limit the distractions around you. Teens are quite perceptive, and if you are a safe driver, then the odds are your teen will pick up on your safe practices and put them into action when they are behind the wheel.

What to do After a Crash

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