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Victims of cancer doctor could receive $4.1M in repayment

Photo of a woman in sitting with head down, in a window indicating victims of cancer fraud feeling.DETROIT (AP) — An expert is recommending approval of $4.1 million in claims, including $2 million in funeral costs, filed by victims of a Detroit-area doctor who committed fraud by putting hundreds of patients through needless cancer treatments.

Randi Roth gave an update Tuesday to a judge who is overseeing the case of Dr. Farid Fata. She said 81 percent of 741 claims are fully or partly eligible for restitution.

Fata is serving a 45-year prison sentence for fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. He admitted putting patients through grueling chemotherapy — even when they didn’t have cancer.

Fata’s victims can seek reimbursement for funeral costs, remedial health care and mental health treatment. Out-of-pocket costs paid to the doctor and his clinics are also eligible for repayment.

Pain and suffering and lost wages, however, aren’t covered.

“The suffering is staggering,” said Roth, an attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota, who specializes in deciding claims in large-scale litigation. “All of us want to help as much as possible but the law is strict.”

Final approval in the months ahead rests with U.S. District Judge Paul Borman. The restitution process includes a way for patients or their family to appeal if Roth determined a claim wasn’t eligible.

“This is a huge situation with tragic consequences. I’m going to be on top of it,” Borman said.

The judge said patients and families are first in line for restitution, followed by insurance companies and the federal government’s Medicare program.

Outside court, Teddy Howard, 57, of suburban Detroit said he’s frustrated. He said his claim has been rejected because his doctors won’t certify that some of his subsequent health care was related to the harm caused by repeated doses of chemotherapy ordered by Fata.

Howard said he had a liver transplant and has also lost eight teeth.

“I didn’t think I’d be crawling around, begging. This is crazy,” he said.


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Della Reese: Gifted Singer and Actress Dead at 86

Actress Della Reese speaks at the “Christmas Angel” discussion panel during the 2012 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Aug. 2, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

From the clubs to stages, Della Reese captured audiences with her melodic voice and ballads that crossed many genres, including jazz, blues and gospel. The songstress, who also displayed her talents as a character actress on TV and the big screen, died Sunday evening at age 86.

Born July 6, 1931, Delloreese Patricia Early grew up in Detroit with her steelworker father and her mother, a cook. Her mother had several older children, but they didn’t live with the family. Early was 6 years old when she began singing in church, and by the time she was 13, Mahalia Jackson had hired her to sing with her gospel group.

A strong student, Early graduated from high school at age 15 in 1947 and went on to study psychology at Wayne State University. She also formed her own female gospel group, the Meditation Singers, and sang occasionally with famed gospel groups like the Clara Ward Singers and the Roberta Martin Singers.

After her mother died and her father fell seriously ill, Early left Wayne State and worked to help her family financially, from doing clerical work to driving trucks and taxicabs. Early was not convinced at this point that a singing career—especially one in gospel—was viable.

It was during this time that she got a big break: performing at Detroit’s popular Flame Show Bar for eight weeks. She was exposed to jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. Delloreese Early shortened her name to “Della Reese” for the club scene.

In 1953 she moved to New York and landed a recording contract with Jubilee Records, with whom she made six albums. Among the songs she recorded with the label were “In the Still of the Night,”“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Time After Time.”That same year she joined the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. In 1957 Billboard, Cashbox and Variety magazines voted her Most Promising Singer.

Reese moved on to RCA Records in 1959 and released the single “Don’t You Know?”which was based on music from Puccini’s opera La Bohème. The song reached No. 2 on the pop charts. The following year she released the album Della, which received a Grammy nomination. She continued to record during the 1960s, including The Classic Della (1962) and Waltz With Me, Della (1963).

In 1969 Reese became the first black woman to have her own television variety show, although the series was short-lived. The following year she became the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Over the next two decades, she pursued acting and appeared in a number of TV series and movies, including Roots: The Next Generations, Chico and the Man, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son with her friend Redd Foxx and 227 with close friend Marla Gibbs. In 1989 she starred with Foxx, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy in Harlem Nights—and stole the show with a hilarious fight scene with Murphy.

Reese had a number of health challenges over the years. In 1979 she suffered a brain aneurysm from which she made a full recovery. She announced in 2002 that she had Type 2 diabetes and subsequently became a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association. Reese, who was married several times, adopted several children, including a daughter who died in 2002 from a pituitary disease.

Reese had a strong faith in God and maintained that without it, her success would not have been possible. She routinely included black spirituals in her nightclub performances. She also founded the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church in 1983 and became an ordained minister in 1987.

From 1991 to 2002, the actress starred as Tess on the inspirational television drama Touched by an Angel. As the supervisor among angels, she would send them out to help people redeem their lives and show God’s love. Reese combined the series’ uplifting message with a down-to-earth persona.

The show garnered her numerous awards, including seven NAACP Image Awards for outstanding lead actress. She was also nominated for several Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. In 1994 Reese received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was also one of 25 black female honorees at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball in 2005.

Reese published her autobiography, Angels Along the Way: My Life With Help From Above, in 1997. In it, she joyfully recalled the human angels who provided support and guidance—and miracles—in her own life.

Monée Fields-White is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.


Malcolm Young, AC/DC Guitarist and Co-Founder, Dead at 64

Malcolm Young, guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC, died Saturday at the age of 64. Young had been suffering with dementia for the past three years, an illness that forced his retirement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973.

“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” AC/DC wrote in a statement.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

Angus Young added, “As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.”

The Young brothers lost their older brother George Young, the Easybeats guitarist and AC/DC’s longtime producer, in October at the age of 70.

In an additional statement from Malcolm Young’s family, the band said that Malcolm Young died peacefully Saturday with his family by his side.

“Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many,” the statement said. “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”

As rhythm guitarist for the legendary rock band, Malcolm Young served as an indispensable foil to Angus Young’s arena-stuffing riffs. After forming AC/DC in 1973, the Young brothers would be credited as co-writers on every song the band recorded from their 1975 debut High Voltage through 2014’s Rock or Bust. That final album marked AC/DC’s first without Malcolm, who announced in September 2014 that he would permanently leave the band due to dementia.

“We miss Malcolm, obviously,” AC/DC singer Brian Johnson said in July 2014. “He’s a fighter. He’s in [the] hospital, but he’s a fighter. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll get strong again… Stevie, Malcolm’s nephew, was magnificent, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult. But I’m sure [Malcolm] was rooting for us.”

Malcolm Young last performed live with AC/DC when their tour for 2008’s Black Ice concluded in June 2010 with a concert in Bilbao, Spain.

in 2008. “It comes from working in the factories, that world. You don’t forget it.”

In 1973, Malcolm recruited Angus to form a new band, which the brothers named after the “AC/DC” electrical current marker they spotted on their sister’s sewing machine. After a few lineup changes, the Young brothers were introduced to singer Bon Scott by their brother George, who would serve as AC/DC’s producer on their early albums, including their debut High Voltage in 1975.

Throughout AC/DC’s tenure, Malcolm and Angus Young served as the band’s main creative force, crafting the unmistakable riffs that would make AC/DC globally one of the biggest bands in music. Together, the brothers would concoct the music for hits like “Back in Black,” “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” and dozens more rock staples.

However, Malcolm’s time in AC/DC was not without some strife: A heavy drinker, he briefly left AC/DC in 1988 during the Blow Up Your Video Tour – his only absence from the band up to and until his dementia diagnosis – to go to rehab to curb his drinking problem. After a few months, Malcolm returned to the band and remained sober ever since. “I was not surprised,” George Young said his younger brother’s sobriety. “When Malcolm puts his mind to something, he does it.”

In the 2008 Rolling Stone profile on AC/DC, the Young brothers were asked “Who runs AC/DC?” “We both do, because we were there from the start,” Malcolm replied.

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, who regarded Malcolm as one of rock’s greatest rhythm guitarists, tweeted Saturday following Young’s death, “I have to go…I am losing it that Malcolm is gone. I hate this…”

This story is developing.


America’s No. 1 City for Retirement Might Shock You

What to Know

  • Bankrate ranked the top 50 largest U.S. metro areas based on health care, taxes, crime, living cost, weather, public transit + other factors

  • Pittsburgh was the best city for retirement; Riverside, California, was the worst

  • New York came in 18th on the list, propelled by the amount of things to do and public transit options

When it comes to places we’d consider for retirement, most of us would consider the obvious factors: weather, taxes, health care, general crime, cost of living, etc. Of all the metro areas in all of America, many of us would look in parts of Florida, Arizona or California. But, according to a recent study by Bankrate, none of those are ranked the best, or even second best, metro areas for retirement

What’s No. 1? Pittsburgh. Not what you’d expect? Bankrate, which ranked the top 50 largest U.S. metro areas based on health care, taxes, crime, living costs, weather, public transportation, cultural amenities and other factors, says don’t be surprised. 

  • 10 Best and Worst Places to Be a Kid in America Revealed

“Places that might offer seniors the best standard of living may look a lot different from our traditional sun-and-golf idea of retirement,” the website said. 

Pittsburgh has a very low cost of living and low crime rate; the weather stinks but health care and well-being are good and it has a large senior population, Bankrate said. 

New York came in 18th on the list, propelled by the amount of things to do and public transit options. Hartford, Connecticut, was ranked 37th, and Buffalo, New York, came in 47th. Riverside, California, was last.

Here’s the full Top 10: 

1. Pittsburgh
2. Boston
3. Los Angeles
4. Denver
5. Providence, Rhode Island
6. Minneapolis
7. Tampa-St. petersburg, Florida
8. Phoenix
9. Austin, Texas
10. Dallas


Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s top-10 retirement gifts include puppies, pickles and a musket

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – As soon as Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced in April that he will retire from full-time racing at the end of the Cup Series season – the last race is Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway – it was a given that the NASCAR world was going to come up with as many ways as possible to honor him.

Tradition for the most successful or popular drivers – and Dale Jr. is king in that category – the race tracks give the driver a retirement gift, often paying tribute to his accomplishments there.

Earnhardt knew this would happen, so he made one thing clear as the gifts started to roll in with his final races at each track. He encouraged them to make charitable contributions to their communities rather than give him a traditional gift, saying:

“I’ve got a great life, I don’t need anything. But to have something that’s going to impact someone else or a group of folks long term is the best thing.”

Many of them listened and donated thousands of dollars to different causes, ranging from concussion research to food banks to children’s hospitals. Just last week, Phoenix Raceway gave $100,000 to Childhelp– a nonprofit that helps victims of child abuse.

Financial donations in Junior’s name are obviously wonderful. But the No. 88 Chevrolet driver still got a lot of fun, wacky and sentimental gifts too – some of which were still charitable. So monetary contributions aside, here are Earnhardt’s 10 best retirement gifts, ranked.

10. Daytona International Speedway: A Painting

(Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

The sport’s most famous track gave Earnhardt a painting that honors his many accomplishments there. The center car is the No. 8 Chevrolet Earnhardt drove to victory in the 2001 Pepsi 400, while depicted in the foreground is the No. 88 Chevrolet from his second 500 win in 2014. The No. 3 car in the background is from his win in the 2010 Subway Jalapeño 250 in the XFINITY Series.

9. Darlington Raceway: A Career collage

8. Kentucky Speedway: A Jukebox

The race winners at this track are also give jukeboxes.

7. Kansas Speedway: Royals’ manager Ned Yost tribute

The Kansas City manager was good friends with Dale Earnhardt Sr., and he shared some fond memories he has of the Earnhardt family. Wishing Junior the best of luck in retirement, he said:

“It’s been a wonderful experience sitting back and watching you accomplish what you’ve accomplished, but what you’ve accomplished is kind of hindsight to what you’ve become to me. You’ve become an outstanding person, you’ve become an outstanding man. It’s just been a fantastic career.”

Earnhardt also received a jersey with his name on it.

6. Michigan International Speedway: A Family photo

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

They dug up a photo of Dale Sr., Dale Jr., and older brother Kerry Earnhardt from the only race all three competed in together, the 2000 Pepsi 400, which happened to be at the track.

5. Phoenix Raceway: So many pickles

Who doesn’t love pickles, right? Turns out, Dale Jr. loves this specific brand of pickles from Phoenix, so the track gave him an entire barrel.

4. New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Revolutionary War musket

(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The track gave Earnhardt a patriots (lowercase P) hat and a Revolutionary War musket that he was so geeked about. It transformed him into Musket Dale Jr., which is an excellent Dale Jr. He said:

“I tried to tell (his wife) Amy, I said, ‘You’ve gotta see this freaking musket! I can’t wait to bring it home, and we’re gonna hang it on the wall somewhere.’ And she said no. I was like, ‘Well you gotta see it first.’ So I brought it home. She had no idea what to expect. This thing’s like 7-foot tall. So I showed it to her, and she was really impressed. But I still don’t think she wants to put it up anywhere.”

3. Texas Motor Speedway: A horse

(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Well, the Texas track didn’t give him a horse, but it donated a horse in his name to Victory Therapy Center, a therapeutic horse ranch that helps people with disabilities, veterans and first responders. It also gave him and Amy a customized stroller since the couple is expecting their first child in the spring.

(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

2. Talladega Superspeedway: His dad’s car

The Alabama track is also known as Earnhardt Country because Junior and his dad combine for 16 wins there. So it gave Dale Jr. a car– the No. 2 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Senior drove in his 1979 rookie season and in 1980 during his first Cup Series title season. It technically belongs to Motorsports Hall, which is on track property, but it’s on permanent loan to Junior.

1. Sonoma Raceway: Service puppies

Puppies obviously win. The California track donated three puppies – named Dale, Amy and Junior – to Paws As Loving Support Assistance Dogs on Junior’s behalf.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s top-10 retirement gifts include puppies, pickles and a musket