Lee Law News
Being Good Stewards of All We’ve Been Given
Recently, Norma and I had the opportunity to go to Jamaica and volunteer at two schools there. We spent two days teaching STEM lessons to groups of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders, and it was an amazing and eye-opening experience. Every student in the classroom was so eager to learn, so ready to be taught something new. It was our first time participating in this trip, and we came away feeling even more inspired to do more of what we do here at home. Spending time with people who have so little makes you realize how blessed you are. What we take for granted — access to dental care, shoes to protect our feet, enough food to eat — some people don’t have at all. It makes you grateful for everything you’re fortunate enough to have, and it makes you want to protect it. April is Financial Literacy Month, and coming off of this trip, it feels like a timely reminder to be good stewards of all we’ve been given. You can do this by being aware of where you stand financially and by creating a plan for yourself and your loved ones that protects your legacy. The best way to be a good steward is to ensure you’re preserving your wealth and making sure you’re building something that can survive for your lifetime — something that can be passed down to your loved ones after you’re gone. By building a legacy and setting the structures in place to pass your legacy down to your children, you are putting financial literacy into practice. Some of our clients are dealing with personal finances for the first time in their lives. When the spouse who managed the finances in a household passes away, the surviving spouse has to pick up the pieces and learn everything, including where the accounts stand, how the mortgage got paid, etc.
People who lose a child are also faced with how to settle accounts and put everything to rest. For those coming into an inheritance, there are taxes to pay, and parents sending their kids to college have a lot to think about as well. Long-term health care also affects many of our clients. If you’re looking at retirement in the near future, it’s time to consider if you have been investing enough to ensure you’re taken care of. There is so much to know, and the good news is that you don’t have to know it all. That’s why we’re here. We host monthly workshops on topics in estate planning, including long-term health care and nursing home asset protection. See all of our upcoming workshops and register for them at mleelaw.com/seminars. Education is one of the most important parts of financial literacy. You shouldn’t have to have a law degree to feel confident about navigating your future. This is the reason we host workshops every month: We want to help people feel confident and in control of their financial future. You can’t plan for everything, but you can put the mechanisms in place to secure a comfortable future for you and your loved ones.
“This is the reason we host workshops every month: to help people feel confident and in control of their financial future.”
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SOMETHING IN THE WATER WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT
Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.
property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.
The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.
in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found.
But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.
The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s
He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. DOYOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL And Maintain Green Living Spaces for Everyone
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work
to better the place you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month.
jogging and picking up litter, which takes care of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk.
VOLUNTEER FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP.
IMPROVE RECYCLING THROUGH EDUCATION.
This event is one of America’s largest community improvement programs, with hundreds of thousands of people
participating each year. In 2019, over 550,000 volunteers participated in the GAC to bring natural beauty back into their communities. 2020 marks this event’s 22nd year, and you can be a part of it this month! Volunteer your time with a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or another community improvement program close to home. Do your part to clean up your parks and spread awareness today.
An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you can make a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines
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TAKE A BREAK
Few things change faster than the internet, and how we connect with the internet is constantly evolving. When it comes to wireless capabilities, fourth-generation (4G) networks have been the norm for 10 years. But 4G couldn’t meet demands forever, and there’s already talk of a fifth-generation (5G) network taking center stage. So, what makes 5G different from 4G, and how will it affect consumers and their internet-enabled devices? Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology that enables mobile devices like cellphones and stationary devices like desktop computers to send and receive data without being physically connected to a network via cables. As technology improves and more connection points are established around the globe, new network generations are “released” to represent significant advancements in speed and reach. Consumers will notice the rise of 5G mostly with their smartphones. Apps and services that function using the internet will have fewer delays, faster loading times, more reliable internet access in remote locations, and more stable downloading and uploading capabilities. Experts predict that 5G will provide download speeds of up to 10,000 megabits per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G. While it can take a 4G network upward of 15 seconds to download a simple 5-megabyte music file, a 5G network will be able to download an entire movie in less than two seconds. These network updates are all about speed, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to switch your cellphone over to 5G. Many providers are still testing the service with select markets, and a full rollout of 5G isn’t expected until later this year. Check with your network provider about the options they currently offer and get ready to connect with the world like never before. SO, WHAT IS 5G? A New Horizon in Wireless Technology WHAT ARE THE BASICS? HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE? WHAT’S NEXT?
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp milk
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Giving Back and Planning for the Future
The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company Keep America Beautiful
Easy Deviled Eggs 5G Made Simple
The History of Libraries in America
THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A STORY OF MANY FIRSTS
A FEW MORE FIRSTS
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons. Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological. COLLEGES AND THE CLERGY
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New
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