ORNGE: Star’s ORNGE Investigations Nominated for Michener Award

Update: see previous posts – April 20, 2012 ORNGE: Warrant To Be Generated To Compel Dr. Chris Mazza to Appear Before Queen’s Park Committee, March 31, 2012 ORNGE: Health Minister Considered Turning Funding Tap Off to ORNGE, March 27, 2012 ORNGE – Should Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews Accept Responsibility For the ORNGE Scandal?, March 23, 2012 ORNGE – Liberals Refuse To Release Salaries of ORNGE Executives on Sunshine List, March 22, 2012 ORNGE: Ontario’s Auditor General Uncovers More Questionable Deals at ORNGE Air Ambulance Service, March 21, 2012 ORNGE: Former Ontario Liberal Health Minister Blames Ministry Officials and Board for Scandal at ORNGE, March 17, 2012 ORNGE: Auditor General Jim McCarter to Release Probe Wednesday, March 12, 2012 ORNGE: Ontarians Expected to Pay An Annual Tab of $22 Million (in addition to $150 Million) for ORNGE, March 9, 2012 ORNGE: Too Many Needless Government Agencies in Ontario, March 8, 2012 ORNGE: Demotes Top Executive Who Lied About Possessing Master of Business Administration Degree, March 7, 2012 ORNGE – Current Health Minister (Deb Matthews) Blames Former Health Minister (George Smitherman), March 6, 2012 ORNGE – Helicopters’ Tail Rotors Could Fall Off, says Frank Klees, March 5, 2012 ORNGE – How Much Did Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews Really Know?, March 2, 2012 ORNGE – Sells Gift (Chopper) from AugustaWestland Valued at $50K for $30,001.01, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Opposition Parties Call On McGuinty to Have All-Party Probe of ORNGE, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Some ORNGE Helicopters Unable to Enter U.S.A. Airspace, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Official Says He Lied About His MBA, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Fiasco could Hurt Ontario’s Ability to Cut Deficit: Former Deputy Health Minister, February 24, 2012 ORNGE – Where’s the $25 Million Dollars?, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Mistakes Disrupt Patient Care/Safety, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – Cohn: ORNGE leaves a black mark on Deb Matthews’ ambitious health reforms February 21, 2012 ORNGE – Minister of Health Refuses to Resign Over the ORNGE Scandal February 21, 2012, ORNGE – ORNGE Executives Let Taxpayers Down: Dalton McGuinty, February 19, 2012 ORNGE – Message to 400 ORNGE Employees “Shut Up or Face Criminal Charges & Jail Time”, February 16, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Provincial Police Set to Investigate ORNGE, February 13, 2012 ORNGE Founder Chris Mazza Used Air Ambulance Expertise for His Own Business Interests, February 12, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Gave $1.2 million in Loans (One for a House), Plus a Huge Cash Advance, to Founder Dr. Chris Mazza Over the Past 18 Months, February 10, 2012 ORNGE – Did Alf Apps Quit Fasken Martineau or Did Fasken Martineau Quit Alf Apps?, February 8, 2012 ORNGE Scandal Teaches Belated Lessons, February 7. 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza, February 4, 2012 ORNGE – Paid Fasken Martineau Lawyer’s $9 Million Dollars Between 2006-2012, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Auditor Warned Province Four Years Ago that ORNGE was “Handing Out Money Like Water”, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza/Maria Renzella Terminated Without Severance, January 30, 2012 ORNGE’s Travel Medical Plan Targeted Those With $20 Million in Net Worth, January 28, 2012 Doctor Chris Mazza on Extended Indefinite Medical Leave – Needs to Answer Million$ of Questions, January 28, 2012 ORNGE Transports Patients In Dangerously Designed ORNGE Helicopters, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Foundation Charity Shut-Down and Closed, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – Has Appointed a New Board of Directors, January 24, 2012 ORNGE – 18 Middle-Management & Charity Program Cut, January 22, 2012 ORNGE architect George Smitherman brokered meeting between Korean officials and ORNGE, January 16, 2012 ORNGE – “The Jig is Up”, December 29, 2011 There Are Some Red Faces at ORNGE, December 27, 2011 ORNGE Hires New Spin Doctor, December 26, 2011 Doctor’s Salary Quadruples In Four (4) Years to $1.4 Million, December 20, 2011 Wanted: Paramedics for Emergency Flights on ORNGE’s Air Ambulance Helicopters, December 6, 2011 Orangeh Gonna Tell The Taxpayers How Much of Their Money You’ve Spent on Yourself ?

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The Toronto Star has been nominated for a 2011 Michener Award for its coverage of Ontario’s air ambulance service, known as ORNGE.

The stories, written and reported by Kevin Donovan, “took readers into the heart of an unaccountable and arrogant non-profit agency,” according to the Michener Awards Foundation.

Read more:The Star’s investigation of ORNGE and the fallout

They “revealed a stunning lack of government oversight at a critical public service where managers benefitted over those people the air ambulance was supposed to help.”

Described as “tenacious reporting,” the series of stories led to the removal of ORNGE’s management and board. The provincial auditor general also expanded its probe into activities at ORNGE and a criminal investigation is underway.

The Michener Awards, founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then Governor General, award excellence in public service journalism.

The other nominees include:

•  CBC Vancouver, for its work on systemic sexual harassment within the RCMP;

• The Globe and Mail, for an investigation into Ontario government policies for funding cancer drugs for patients;

• La Presse, for revealing the findings of two secret engineering reports that the Champlain Bridge in Montreal — the most heavily travelled span in Canada — was falling apart;

• The Times Colonist, for stories on a provincial government policy that forced people with developmental disabilities to move from group homes to cheaper accommodations;

• The Windsor Star, for exposing the beating of a local doctor by a Windsor detective, and the web of brutality, deceit and cover-ups within the Windsor Police Service.

Here are some stories from The Star’s ORNGE investigation that stood out:

January, 2012: “Marketing services” an ORNGE for-profit company did for an Italian firm is not worth the $6.7 million the ORNGE firm was paid. Click here to read ‘ORNGE’s mysterious $6.7 million payment’.

December, 2011: Health Minister Deb Matthews asked Ontario’s auditor general to step in after The Star discovered Matthews had been unsuccessful in solving the mystery of ORNGE executive salaries. Click here to read ‘Ontario auditor to dig deeper into air ambulance executive salaries’.

December, 2011: The Star discovered a series of mistakes that led to a 44-minute delay in dispatching an air ambulance helicopter from Toronto in a bid to save a 21-year-old cyclist, hit by a truck in Uxbridge. Click here to read ‘Why was ORNGE chopper delayed 44 minutes as cyclist lay dying in rural hospital?’

December, 2011: After two weeks of stonewalling by the air ambulance service, The Star revealed ORNGE boss Dr. Chris Mazza was paid $1.4 million, making him the highest publicly paid official in Ontario. Click here to read ‘ORNGE president was paid $1.4 million per year’

December, 2011: The air ambulance helicopter at ORNGE’s Thunder Bay base was grounded hundreds of times because no paramedics were available for emergency flights. Click here to read ‘Shortage of paramedics leaves ORNGE helicopter idle’


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