Foust Law - December 2019

DECEMBER 2019 THE

COMMUNITY CONSCIENCE

RAISING KIDS IN THE AGE OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

that young lives will be stolen at a place where they should be safe is our greatest fear as parents. However, we should probably ask ourselves, “Where should this fear rank among the many things we worry about as parents?” The saying “If it bleeds, it leads” is truer today than it has ever been. We live in a world where news is brought to us instantaneously and Amber Alerts for abducted children from a state away hit our cell phones within minutes. With all of this attention on these horrifically violent incidents right in our face, we should ask ourselves, “Just how likely is my child to be the victim of a school shooting?”

Raising kids can be a challenging endeavor. When Heather and I were married in 2013, Heather agreed to take on not only a husband but also two boys: Chandler, 11, and Andrew, 12. The boys are now 18 and 19 years old and face growing up in a world very different than the one Heather and I knew as teenagers. We are far from perfect parents, but we do our best. Our newsletter chronicles some of our successes and some of our less than stellar moments. We hope you can learn from some of our failures and find some entertainment in the moments we share. The images are absolutely gut-wrenching! Merely hearing the names conjures up fear and terror: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and most recently, Saugus. The mere thought

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Post article about the rarity of school shootings, David Ropeik explains just how unlikely it is that your child will be a victim of a shooting in one of America’s public schools. In his March 8, 2018, article “School Shootings Are Extraordinarily Rare. Why Is Fear of Them Driving Policy?” Mr. Ropeik explains that despite the very unlikely prospect of your child being shot and killed at school, “We sometimes seek protection from fears in ways that put us in greater peril.” He further explains that sending our precious children off to school and giving up that control makes any risk seem more threatening and, as a result, causes us to focus on this fear in an illogical manner. Out of all of the concerns you have in raising kids, being shot and killed at school should probably rank somewhere behind being struck by lightning, run over by the drunk-driving neighbor, or being eaten by a shark. The fact is that these horrific incidents, despite their prevalence in national news, are very, very rare. In fact, that gun you bought to “protect” your family is, unfortunately, a much greater risk to your child than any crazed shooter. - Lucas Foust

The simple fact is that the chance of being shot and killed in a public school is extraordinarily low. It’s not the zero chance as it is in some countries, but it is extraordinarily low, nonetheless. In a Washington

LIGHTS OUT Florida City Battles to End ‘Extreme’ Lights Display

restrained due to the timing of the court’s decision. By 2017, “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” was in full swing again, much to their neighbors’ chagrin. Mark Hyatt rode the wave of support for his display all the way to a vacant seat on the Plantation City Council in 2016, but the highs would soon stop there. Plantation news outlets reported in 2018 that Mark Hyatt filed for divorce, effectively ending any hope of another “Hyatt Extreme Christmas.” As the snow has settled, an extravagant lights display has instead become a story of nasty court battles with a sad ending for the Hyatts and their “extreme” Christmas devotees.

But, for the Hyatt’s neighbors, extreme didn’t even begin to explain the chaos. Neighbors complained to the city about increased traffic, litter in their yards, and potential injury or death to pedestrians due to the traffic. Police officers in Plantation were dispatched to the light display multiple times each season for complaints by neighbors, accidents, and traffic control. After a two-year battle in court, a judge ruled in favor of the Hyatts, claiming the city could not prove the display was dangerous or a nuisance. The city had spent nearly half a million dollars fighting their case.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of twinkling Christmas lights. But for city officials in Plantation, Florida, Christmas lights are a stark reminder of a prolonged fight, nearly $500,000 in court fees, and continued drama. In 2014, Plantation sued residents Mark and Kathy Hyatt for their “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” lights display, claiming it was a “public nuisance.” Each year, the Hyatts decorated their yard with more than 200,000 lights, snow, a Christmas tree, a Nativity scene, a functioning Ferris wheel, and more. Their creation was featured on two nationally televised programs and attracted flocks of visitors.

For the Hyatts, Christmas 2016 was a celebration, though their display was

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The Joy of a Gingerbread House

EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THIS HOLIDAY TRADITION

BUILD YOUR OWN! While you don’t have to challenge yourself to beat the Guinness World Record, you can still have fun creating your very own gingerbread village. Starting your gingerbread house from scratch can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Give the kids a chance to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and set out plenty of candies and frostings to use, and remember to have fun! If you’re looking for unique gingerbread house ideas, take a look at 20 gingerbread house ideas at TasteofHome.com/collection/ gingerbread-houses.

Of the many seasonal traditions that sweep our nation, few are as creative, delicious, and satisfying as building your very own gingerbread house. Whether you’re looking to create a simple table decoration or bake a tasty treat to nibble on, everyone can enjoy this holiday activity! THE ORIGINS OF GINGERBREAD Ginger was first cultivated in ancient China, then traded into medieval Europe. There, Europeans incorporated it into culinary traditions and used it to bake cookies into elaborate shapes and works of art, including figures of animals and people. The gingerbread house first appeared in the early 19th century in Germany. Although historians don’t know an exact date, it’s speculated that it gained popularity around the same time that “Hansel and Gretel,” the popular fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, was published. THE LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE In 2013, the world record for the largest gingerbread house in the world was broken. The house, topping out at 21 feet and covering 2,520 square feet, was built by Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to raise money for a local Level II trauma center. To construct the house, builders created a recipe that required 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, 1,080 ounces of ground ginger, and a few additional ingredients.

Take a Break!

Inspired by The New York Times POTATO LATKES

INGREDIENTS

• • • •

2 tsp kosher salt

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed

1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters

Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying

• •

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

3. Heat a heavy-bottomed

1. Using either a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, wrap in a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper.

pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned.

4. Transfer to a paper towel- lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.

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Foust Law Office

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

www.lucasfoustlaw.com 406-587-3720 Fax: 406-879-4400

3390 South 30th Avenue Bozeman, MT 59718

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Addressing Parental Fears in the Age of School Shootings PAGE 1 Florida City Sues Family Over Extreme Christmas Display PAGE 2 Building Your Own Gingerbread House PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Potato Latkes PAGE 3 The History Behind Christmas Lights PAGE 4 The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started? The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the

SOLUTION

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Why Do We Hang Christmas Lights?

Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.”

Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the 1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December.

Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!

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