Gillette Law - August 2017

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Many of you were here when Hurricane Isabel raged across the East Coast in 2003. The category-1 storm killed 36 people across the state and was the costliest disaster in the history of Virginia, causing almost $2 billion in damages. Thousands of trees were downed, and over 1 million people were left without power. We’ve seen our fair share of tropical storms in this part of the country. My wife and I lived through Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Dennis. Both of those experiences were stark reminders of how important it is to be prepared for storms. (See article on page 2.)

Over the course of a few days, it ravaged up the coast, destroying important colonial strongholds and disrupting military operations on both sides of the war. Over 4,000 Americans died — almost 2 percent of the total population. (That would be like losing 5 million Americans today.) It was a tragedy of the highest order, but as you’ll read in my friend’s book, destiny definitely took a hand. There were stories of heroism, endurance, and old-school American courage that accompanied the storm. After all, in those days, hurricanes were seen as omens from God. The fact that it came in the midst of our fight for independence had a profound effect on people and yielded unexpected results. By the end, we lost many lives, but it may have helped turn the tide in our fight for independence. It’s a fascinating read that encompasses more than the storm itself, but the entire essence of the revolution, including the perspective of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. I don’t want you to simply take my word for it. This month, I’m happy to give away a free copy of “Hurricane of Independence: The Untold Story” to four lucky winners ! I know we have some history buffs out there that will see this as a real page-turner just like I did. You can enter to win it at Good luck!

Me with author Tony Williams

These storms are not new; hurricanes have played a remarkable role in American history. I’m not just talking about Hurricane Katrina or the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed 8,000 people. Did you know that a hurricane actually helped the Continental Army during a pivotal time in the Revolutionary War? This fact came to my attention when my friend, Tony Williams, wrote a book about it. “Hurricane of Independence: The Untold Story” tells the story of September 2, 1775, when the eighth- deadliest hurricane in history struck the East Coast.

N e x t D o o Bu

Have a good month and remember to be prepared!

– Brian Gillette

Call Now! (208) 888-8888 • 1 757-220-4529 | CoreyMiller Photography

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As hurricane season hits its peak, remember that the most vulnerable among us are usually the most unprepared. The elderly and disabled usually aren’t ready for the storm to hit. How do you know if they’ll be taken care of? The first thing to do is observe their adaptability. Would your loved one be able to take care of themselves at home without electricity for a few days? Do they require oxygen or nebulizer treatments? If so, they should be registered with the power company, who can prioritize who gets power first. (But remember: This is no guarantee of power.) Would they be comfortable sleeping in a cot, surrounded by a number of strangers? Even if they are, storm shelters aren’t ideal for the elderly and disabled and should be considered a last resort. Shelters usually have a very limited capacity anyway. If your loved one is in a care center, there should be an evacuation or emergency plan in place. Do you know the details? Asking those questions will help you rest assured that your loved one’s unique needs are met even in emergency circumstances. Many of the elderly and disabled have pets, service or otherwise. If you think human shelters are fully booked in extreme storms, pet shelters are even worse. Do you have a care plan for the pets? Consider stocking up supplies for them, or making arrangements for their care with a trusted friend who has the resources to keep them protected. August is back-to-school season, and that means you’ll find plenty of items on sale — everything students and families need to start the new school year right. Retailers, both online and off, are vying for your dollar this month, and they know just how much families love to save. Here’s a sample of the items you’ll find on sale in August. Finding the perfect laptop for yourself or your kids might take a little research, but it’s research that will pay off in the form of big savings. You’ll find discounts at most retailers that offer laptops, including the manufacturers themselves. Apple, HP, Dell, and others typically offer incentives on top of discounts (such as gift cards), so it’s in your best interest to look around to find the deal that works for you. With millions of college students getting ready to head off to school, many retailers are taking advantage of the fact that these kids need a place to store all of their stuff. You, too, can take advantage of these sales to stock up on storage bins and boxes for just about any purpose, from food to clothing storage. In addition LAPTOPS STORAGE CONTAINERS

to storage containers, you’ll find many home organization products on sale.


According to USAA, August is a great time to start shopping for a new vehicle. New-year model cars and trucks are trickling onto lots around the country, and dealerships are slightly more motivated to get rid of last year’s stock. Use this time to do research and browse dealer selection. For even more potential savings, USAA suggests visiting the dealership on a Monday or Tuesday and later in the day.


It goes without saying, but August is the best time to stock up on all kinds of school supplies, from pens to notebooks. But as notes, it’s not just school supplies that are on sale. It’s also a great time to stock up on general office and stationery supplies for work or the home. And as CBS MoneyWatch reports, you’ll save big on dorm and office furniture.


There are probably more questions for you to ask, since every patient has unique needs. But this should get you thinking about your loved one’s vulnerability, which is crucial. Just remember this: Schools and businesses may close, but our loved ones’ medical needs don’t break for the storm.

For more information about emergency preparedness visit: http://www.

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The Social Security Administration found a way to save $11 million every year. (Not bad, right?) The solution was simple: mail fewer Social Security statements. Everything is going electronic, and it made financial sense for the SSA to follow suit. The SSA will still mail paper statements, but only to people 60 or older who haven’t created an account online and aren’t yet receiving benefits. If that doesn’t apply to you, you’ll need to create a my Social Security account at When the SSA made this decision, they understood there would be some resistance from people who are averse to technology. The good news is, not only is the process quite easy, but it’ll actually offer you additional helpful features. You can only create a my Social Security account using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You cannot create or use an account on behalf of another person, even if you have that person’s written permission.

• Get a benefit verification letter.

• Change your address and phone number.

• Set up direct deposit of your benefit payment.

To create your account, you’ll need a one-time access code that can be sent to your email or cellphone. It’ll also ask you for other personal information such as your address, date of birth, and, of course, Social Security number. As with any online service, there are risks. Phishing emails encouraging you to create a my Social Security account are circulating on the internet. Phishing is the practice of using email to trick you into revealing personal information, clicking on a malicious link, or opening a malicious attachment. If you are not certain that an email you received came from Social Security, DO NOT respond to the email or click on any links contained in the email message. Instead, navigate directly to the Social Security website, www.socialsecurity. gov/, and click on the my Social Security icon. If someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file tax returns, or make purchases, give us a call. We can help you report and recover from identity theft. For more consumer information regarding identity theft visit WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA AND MINT

Once the account is set up, you’ll find it can be very useful to you. Among the new features are the ability to:

• Access, save, and print your Social Security statement any time.

• See estimates of the retirement benefits you may get.


• • • • •

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• ½ pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups) • 1¼ cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional) • 1 small sweet onion, cut into ½-inch dice • 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tabasco

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1 (8-pound) seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled


Charlie joined Lauren’s family as a rescue when the previous owner deployed to Afghanistan. He is a good mix of his breeds — as strong as a pit bull, as energetic as a Lab, and as smart as a border collie!

1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco, and pepper.

2. Add the watermelon, feta, olives, and onion. Toss gently. Garnish with mint and serve.

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Look inside!

INSIDE this issue

For a chance to win an autographed copy of Hurricane of Independence: The Untold Story of the Deadly Storm at the Deciding Moment of the American Revolution!

Where’s My Social Security Statement? page 3 Watermelon Salad With Feta and Mint page 3 Ignorance Is Bliss … Is It Healthy? page 4

Riding Out the Storm page 1 How to Save Money in August page 2 Is Your Loved One Storm-Ready? page 2

THE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE NEWS They Say Ignorance Is Bliss … But Is It Healthy?

It’s nearly impossible to log on to social media or turn on the TV without seeing something distressing. Instead of dwelling on what’s troubling, let’s focus on how to protect our mental health.


A study by Psychology Today found that people who watch negative news feel worse about pre-existing worries than people who watch happy or neutral events. That means people watching the news don’t just feel anxious about the world — they feel more anxious about their own lives. British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in the effects of media violence, says negative news can affect how you interact with the world around you. As you consume threatening news, you’re more likely to spot threats in your day-to-day activities that aren’t there, which leads to anxiety. As news media revenue goes down and people become desensitized, news organizations feel the pressure to show emotionally relevant material such as crime and accidents. At a basic level, for something to be “newsworthy” — negative or not — it needs to be the exception to the rule, not the norm. That means WHY IS THE NEWS SO NEGATIVE?

watching the news might give you an inaccurate view of what daily life is like in the world.


It’s important to understand important issues of the day. But when the news becomes too much, psychologists encourage you to take a break with some good news — or no news at all. Advances in medicine and technology happen all the time! Seek out those stories, or take a break from news altogether. That’s when no news can become good news. We regularly post “good news” stories on our Facebook page. Like us at: if you haven’t already done so.

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