Petro Law Firm September 2018

PETRO MONTHLY

SEPTEMBER 2018

I hope you enjoyed your summer and found time to take a vacation to get away, relax, and enjoy time with your family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I am glad September is here, and I am ready for milder weather, college football, and playing golf on the weekend. It seems the older I get, the more I wish I lived in a climate that has year- round mild weather. I must be San Diego or San Francisco dreaming! I would like to take this time to again say thank you to my current and past clients, associates, friends, and family for referring folks to my law firm. Whenever I receive a referral, I am honored and humbled that someone thinks enough of me to trust sending a family member or friend to me to represent. It is one of the greatest compliments that anyone can give me, and it reminds me how blessed I am to have met and helped so many wonderful and beautiful people over the last 28 years that I have been practicing law. It has always been my personal mission to help people make great decisions about their legal situations, even if they don’t hire me or need a lawyer. Helping people is what motivates me. Also, check out our website for our latest videos, which we shot at the end of July. We would really appreciate it if you could share your comments, too! You can find the videos at www.petrolawfirm.com . FROM THE DESK OF Mark Petro

HOMEWORKHELP 5 Ways to Support Great Study Habits in Your High Schooler

From homecoming dances and Friday night football games to hours spent playing Block Dude on your TI-84 graphing calculator, high school is sure to leave you with plenty of fond memories. But no matter what kind of student you were, we’re willing to bet you aren’t too nostalgic for all the time and energy spent on nightly homework assignments. Still, if you’re the parent of a high schooler, you should consider spending a little time helping your student hit the books. This is easier said than done. When your kids are young, helping them with their education can be as simple as having them read aloud to you. But homework gets significantly more challenging in the high school years. You’d be forgiven for not being able to answer your student’s questions about calculus, mitosis, or the meaning of a Shakespearean monologue. However, there are many great direct and indirect ways you can help your high schooler study effectively. SET A SCHEDULE. First and foremost, you should help your high schooler set aside clear blocks of time for homework and studying. This will help your child establish a routine, which leaves less time for hemming and hawing before getting started. It can also prevent your student from putting off long-term assignments until the last minute, resulting in less stress and a better night’s sleep before a big test or presentation. The great thing about setting a schedule is that it is a teachable moment in itself. Consider letting your high schooler be the one to plan out the details of their schedule. Giving them this responsibility will underscore multiple organizational skills, including the importance of planning ahead and setting attainable goals. They may find that they didn’t set aside

–Mark Petro

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enough time in the beginning, or they may realize they work more efficiently at a different time of day, but these mistakes will teach them how they study best. STAY IN THE LOOP. While it can be a good idea to hand over the reins and let your high schooler decide the details of their study schedule, you should still keep yourself abreast of what projects they have going on and when they are due. As behavioral therapist and certified school psychologist Natascha Santos says, “Parents are the ultimate prompt.” This doesn’t mean that you have to track every assignment your high schooler is given, but it does require an open dialogue with them about their school work. Asking questions like “Do you have any big tests coming up?” or “When did you say that paper was due?” can be a gentle but effective reminder to your student to keep an eye on their due dates, regardless of whether they feel like going over the details of every assignment with you.

HELP THEM GET IN THE ZONE. Providing your high schooler with a quiet, distraction-free study area is one of the best indirect ways to help with homework. Maybe you set aside a time and place in the house where all members of the family observe “library rules,”minimizing all noise and outside distraction. If this isn’t possible in your home, taking your student to an actual library can be just as effective, especially during exam season. Most importantly, have a hard-and-fast rule about cellphone use. These devices can prove extremely distracting, regardless of setting. embarrassed when they struggle with an assignment. If you worry your high schooler is beating themselves up over a subject, it’s important to be understanding and let them know support is available. If you can guide them through an assignment (without doing the actual work for them), great! Otherwise, you can reach out to teachers and the administration to see if tutoring options are available. LET THEM KNOW IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. Sometimes students can feel frustrated or

BE THEIR STUDY BUDDY. When midterm papers and tests roll around, students have a lot on their plates. While you can’t take a chemistry exam for them or write their report on the Battle of Waterloo, you can play an active role in the preparation. For test prep, making flashcards and using them to quiz your student on the subject matter can be a great way for them to learn and for both of you to spend quality time together. For essays, ask your high schooler to explain their thesis to you. Act as a sounding board for their ideas and help them outline the structure of their essay before they start writing. Ultimately, these tips boil down to being supportive of your young adult. Giving them the independence to learn positive habits while holding them accountable to their studies can be a difficult balancing act. But so long as you’re able to have an open dialogue about their homework load and you make clear that you’re there to help them, you can be a great ally in your child’s education.

Easy Rider Avoid Neck Pain While Driving

Long commutes will always be a pain in the neck, but the discomfort doesn’t have to be literal. Developing stiffness or soreness in your upper back and neck is all too common in the driver’s seat. It’s annoying at the time, and repeated incidents can lead to more chronic problems down the road. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this pain from developing behind the wheel. If you frequently experience neck pain while driving, the position of your seat and mirrors may be the issue. Ideally, you want the back of your driver’s seat to be almost straight, at about a 100-degree angle to the seat. If you find yourself leaning forward to reach the steering wheel from this position, shift the whole seat forward. In older cars without built-in lower back support, it’s a good idea to slide a small MAKE ADJUSTMENTS

pillow between your back and the lower part of the seat.

LET OFF THE GAS

Normally, good sitting posture entails having both feet firmly planted on the floor. Drivers don’t normally have that option unless they literally put the pedal to the metal. During long drives on the highway, cruise control is a great option to give your feet a welcome rest. Otherwise, pull over to take a break and stretch your legs if you feel your neck beginning to tense up. There are also preventative measures you can take to avoid pain and discomfort before your next road trip or traffic jam. If you find yourself haunted by chronic neck, back, or shoulder pain no matter how long you drive, it may be time to contact a trusted physical therapist. These may be signs of more serious issues, but physical therapy can help you live and drive pain-free again.

After you have your sitting position figured out, make the necessary adjustments to your mirrors. You should be able to glance at each with minimal head movement. Constantly bobbing or craning your neck to see what’s behind you is a surefire way to develop neck and shoulder pain. A dirty windshield can be just as bad as poorly adjusted mirrors. Having to lean forward to see when sun and dust cut your visibility causes stress as your neck muscles accommodate. In general, poor vision is a consistent source of these sorts of aches and pains, so it’s a good idea to ensure you have the right pair of glasses (including shades) every time you drive. STAY IN THE CLEAR

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JURY DUTY MYTHS Summoned to Court

There are so many rumors about jury duty that it can be difficult to know which ones are true. Here are three of the most popular speculations, debunked.

ADMITTING BIAS WILL ENSURE YOUR DISMISSAL

buying a home, paying taxes, and getting a driver’s license. Even if you aren’t registered to vote, you’re still liable to be summoned.

If you admit that you are biased when you serve jury duty, it does not guarantee your dismissal. In fact, a judge cannot dismiss you for being biased — but an attorney can. In addition, attempting to portray yourself as a biased person can put you in a troubling situation. Attorneys and judges have been selecting jurors for a long time and know when someone is lying to them. Your best bet will be to give honest answers to the questions they ask.

SERVING JURY DUTY WILL GET YOU FIRED

If you’re worried about getting fired by serving jury duty, you can take a breather. Your employer cannot fire you once you’ve been selected for jury service. In fact, if your boss threatens to fire you for it, they will face the penalties, which include fines and even jail time. Many employers know and understand this, but if yours doesn’t, you can submit a file of complaint to the trial court administrator, and they will take care of the rest for you. The system to select jurors has been around for a while, and those involved know what they’re doing. It’s best to go in with an open mind and be completely honest. After all, it is your civic duty to do so.

NO VOTING, NO JURY DUTY

According to another circulating myth, if you aren’t registered to vote, you don’t have to serve jury duty. Many people believe this myth because voting enters you into the jury duty pool, but there are other means by which citizens are chosen. Other ways you’re entered into the pool include

Take a Break

INSIDE-OUT

Grilled Ham and Cheese

Ingredients

8 slices of bread (Pullman works best) 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)

8 ounces ham, thinly sliced

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup apricot preserves

Directions

1. Butter each slice of bread on the outsides and sprinkle with Parmesan.

2. Layer ham and cheese evenly on top of 4 slices of bread.

3. Spread apricot preserves and mustard across the other 4 slices. Press sandwiches together. 4. In a cast-iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium heat, grill sandwiches until golden, about 3 minutes per side.

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Equinox LaborDay Barbecue September

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5. Cut in half and serve.

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine

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Petro Law Firm 2323 2nd Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203

Today, Labor Day mostly means a day off and the closure of public pools. But when it was first created, it was a president’s desperate attempt to curb the tension after one of the most violent strike breakups in American history. In the late 19th century, the workers of the Pullman Company, which manufactured luxury train cars, all lived in a company-owned town. George Pullman, the owner, lived in a mansion overlooking houses, apartments, and crammed-together barracks, all of which were rented by the thousands of workers needed for the operation. For some time, the town operated without a hitch, providing decent wages for the workers while netting the higher-ups millions of dollars. But after the economic depression of the 1890s brought the country to its knees, everything changed. George Pullman slashed his workers’ wages by nearly 30 percent, INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Mark PAGE 1 5 Ways to Support Great Study Habits in Your High Schooler PAGE 1 3 Steps to Staying Pain-Free in the Car PAGE 2 Falsities You’ve Been Told About Jury Duty PAGE 3 Take a Break! PAGE 3 Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese PAGE 3 Why Labor Day Is Indebted to the Pullman Strike PAGE 4

The Pullman Strike and the Origin of Labor Day How a Railroad Protest Laid the Foundation for a National Holiday

but he neglected to adjust the rent on the company-owned buildings in turn. As a result, life became untenable in the town, with workers struggling to maintain the barest standards of living for themselves and their families. In response, the workers began a strike on May 11, 1894. As the event ramped up, it gained the support of the powerful American Railway Union (ARU). But Pullman, stubborn as he was, barely acknowledged the strike was happening, and he refused to meet with the organizers. The tension increased when Eugene Debs, the president of the American Railway Union, organized a boycott of all trains that included Pullman cars. The strike continued to escalate until workers and Pullman community members managed to stop the trains from running.

Eventually, President Grover Cleveland sent in soldiers to break up the strike. Violence ensued, with soldiers making a great effort to quell the strike at its core. By the time the violence ended, 30 people had lost their lives and an estimated $80 million in damages had been caused throughout the town. A fewmonths later, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday. Many experts believe that this act was an effort to build rapport among his pro-labor constituents after handling the incident so poorly. This month, as you fire up the barbecue and enjoy your day off, take a moment to remember the workers who fought for labor rights in our country.

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