I am now a full-fledged, bona fide empty nester. But, in truth, there has been a lot of coming and going in my "nest" through the years. My daughter, Jayme, was the first to leave, heading off to WVU in 2004. She hated how big and impersonal WVU was and ended up returning to Wheeling six months later. For the next three and a half years, she lived with us again and commuted to West Liberty University, where she completed a nursing degree. Then she got married and became the first one to fully and finally leave the nest. Meanwhile my other daughter, Stacey, left for college. Unlike Jayme, Stacey found WVU to be a good fit. Stacey came home often on weekends and during the summer so it didn't seem like she had quite parted ways with the nest. Then she graduated and began working fulltime in Morgantown.
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Our freedoms aren't free. The men and women of our armed forces who defend us make many sacrifices so you and I can go on about our daily lives without a second thought. Our military members are apart from family for great lengths of time. They miss births, deaths and milestones in the lives of those they love. They work in extreme conditions and, sometimes, must see, do and endure things that you and I could never fathom. There are times they face disease, debilitating injuries and mental anguish because they protected us. Yet, we've found out in recent weeks that those who have given of themselves for our freedoms, once they return home, are not always being taken care of as they should.
Debt collection practices continue to come to our attention. Many of our clients have experienced harassing phone calls, demands for payments not truly owed, illegal threats of bogus consequences for failing to pay, up to and including imprisonment, or lawsuits to collect stale debts that are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. These abuses are disturbingly common - in fact, a great many debt collectors built their business on these practices. Abusive debt collection practices can take a terrible toll, emotionally and practically. Beyond the fear, stress and embarrassment, families can have their bank accounts frozen, making it impossible to pay for their most basic needs. Debt collectors frequently place incorrect information on people's credit reports, impairing their ability to secure credit, housing and even employment on some occasions.
Last month, a truck carrying a large load crashed into the I-70 overpass bending one of the major support beams at the Dallas Pike exit. The same day a runaway dump truck crashed into a garage after destroying several residential fences in Moundsville. Last Saturday, one of Moundsville City Councilmen, Phil Remke, had to use his car to physically obstruct a truck from taking an unauthorized route through Moundsville. Damage to property, danger to people, and wear and tear on our roadways are all becoming increasingly frequent problems throughout the Ohio Valley. Whether it's through handling large construction equipment, as was the case in Dallas Pike and in Moundsville, or all of the associated "ordinary" truck traffic related to oil and gas drilling, the infrastructure in this area is taking a beating. The number, weight and trip frequency for trucks in the area is way up, and in some cases it's beyond what the roads can take. That can be good news for business and a good sign for the economy, but it can also mean serious problems if trucking outfits are not running right and taking the appropriate time and the appropriate rest to maintain a margin of safety for the people who live here. Many people are already being hurt when their lanes become impassable, riven with potholes and broken shoulders or choked with traffic they aren't designed for.
During the summer of 1941 the attack on Pearl Harbor was still several months away. While Americans from all over the Country threw themselves into the war effort after December 7, 1941, many American men had already joined the military before that attack. My grandfather, Marvin "Jack" McGraw enlisted in the U.S. Army July 12, 1941. Jack had always been the adventurous, if not ornery, type. As a young child he, on more than one occasion, would jump trains and actually once made his way from West Virginia to the Pacific North West where he visited family. When he enlisted in the Army he was initially assigned to the Quartermaster Corps and after basic training was sent to Milwaukee, WI for training to be a vehicle mechanic. The training he received was actually through a program run by Harley Davidson. While in Milwaukee he had the good fortune of meeting a young woman named Lois Witteman. Lois and Jack began a relationship and would later be married, but not before Jack was deployed overseas and volunteered for service that would take him on thirty missions in the air over the Europe. The U.S. Army Air Corp, the predeceasor to the U.S. Air Force, reformed and expanded dramatically during World War II. The army asked its ranks for volunteers for this service. In June of 1942 Jack volunteered for that service. He was discharged from the Army and subsequently re-enlisted into the Air Corps. Within only a few weeks of joining the Air Corp., he was in the air.
Despite the comprehensive laws and regulations that are supposed to protect residents of our nursing homes, too many times things go wrong. There is a financial incentive for nursing homes and the companies that run them to cut corners by hiring too few staff members and underpaying that staff members who do work there. For these and other reasons, the quality of care received by residents of nursing homes falls short of the standard. Although the injuries suffered by the victims of such abuses can take many forms, dehydration, pressure sores, infections, choking, elopement, and falls are some of the more preventable and serious injuries that we see. In particularly tragic cases, nursing home residents may not survive their injuries. To be clear, each and every nursing home has an obligation to provide quality care to every resident in the facility. It is not the fault of the resident or the resident's family when the nursing home falls short of these standards. However, there are some things that we can do to help make sure that nursing homes live up to their obligations. The federal government has published some useful information that may assist you in selecting or evaluating a nursing home. Those resources can be found here: http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/overview.asp . The most important part may be to trust your instincts and ask questions. I realize that depending on each individual circumstance, frequently visiting your relative in the nursing home may be difficult. However, the personal involvement of the family at the home can be very important.
Although the first day of spring was months ago, the Ohio Valley is just starting to enter the rainy season that traditionally marks the transition out of winter. Did you have property damaged in this week's hail and rain? Read on to see how attorney Michelle Marinacci has previously suggested you handle such a situation. As spring time approaches the Ohio Valley, so does the risk of severe storms damaging our homes and businesses. Being prepared in the event you sustain storm damage will make the claim process easier and, in the event your insurer does not handle your claim fairly and in compliance with its policy obligations, you will be prepared to take the appropriate legal action. Below are some helpful hints to assist you in dealing with the results of a damaging spring or summer storm:
It's graduation and road repair season! What does one have to do with the other? Career choices. We all expect high school graduates to attend college and become doctors, lawyers, software engineers and a lot of other high paying and high profile careers. But as I drive down the interstate to my not so high profile career, I see all of these men dressed in reflective clothing and know that it takes us all! Maybe the road workers, the trash collectors, the cashiers, the typists, etc. don't have high profile careers but where would this world be without them? We set out our trash can and know that what is inside it will disappear. We go to the store and because there is a cashier there, we can purchase food. We take for granted that the "insignificant" people are so necessary in our lives and in the lives of the entire world.
Everyone has seen a television show or movie where an incident happens, a lawsuit is filed, the claim goes to trial and the entire process is concluded within an hour or two. Unfortunately, these fictional depictions lead to the misperception that once a lawsuit is filed, a claim will be resolved almost instantaneously. In real life, the process is not that quick. There are actually multiple phases of the litigation process which must be completed before a claim is brought to trial. Understanding the process is necessary to avoid frustration caused by the length of time it sometimes takes claims to resolve.
At times this winter, the heat and warmth of the sun seemed a distant memory. But here we are again, enjoying a most-welcome spring with summer just around the corner. And while I imagine many of us will be looking to take full advantage of the sun's rays in a few short weeks, especially after being cooped up all winter, enjoying time outdoors is not without its challenges. Spending time in the sun requires a careful balancing act. After all, absorption of the sun's rays improves mood and triggers the production of Vitamin D, which is essential for a number of the body's internal processes and critical to our very survival. However, the UV light of the sun's rays also causes skin cancer and prematurely ages the skin. Compounding the issue is a growing body of research that strongly suggests that the conventional "protection" of sunscreen may be as, if not more, harmful than the sun itself.