web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 368)

Sad letter to Santa prompts postal worker to take action: ‘Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me’

Delivering Christmas miracles isn’t just for Santa Claus.

Sometimes, all it takes is a mail carrier with a heart of gold. That’s exactly what happened when a woman in Pennsylvania noticed an especially heartbreaking letter to Santa.

Westlake Legal Group Melissa-Stinsman-2 Sad letter to Santa prompts postal worker to take action: 'Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me' Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 8a271b87-6c15-5c34-beae-386ec5e8ce08 /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

“Dear Santa,” read the letter, “last year you didn’t notice me, so I hope this year you notice me and this year I will be good.” (Courtesy of Melissa Stinsman)

Melissa Stinsman, a worker for the Bloomsburg Post Office, helps answer letters written to Santa, Yahoo Lifestyle reports. During the holidays, she volunteers to spend about four hours a night ‘helping’ St. Nick answer the mountain of letters he receives during the holidays.

“I usually tell the kids to keep up their grades and to listen to their parents,” Stinsman told Yahoo Lifestyle. “One asked for a science kit so I told him that one day, he could become a scientist.“

GRANDMA OFFERED HOLIDAY SERVICES IN CRAIGSLIST CHRISTMAS POST AND THE STORY WENT VIRAL

One child’s message to Santa, however, really stood out to her. Inside the envelope, which contained three letters, she found a note that read, “Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me, so I hope this year you notice me and this year I will be good.”

Also included was a list, which included typical items like Legos and various toys, but also ended with two unusual requests: food for his family and clothing for his family. The envelope also included a list from the boy’s 5-year-old brother.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

Westlake Legal Group Melissa-Stinsman-1 Sad letter to Santa prompts postal worker to take action: 'Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me' Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 8a271b87-6c15-5c34-beae-386ec5e8ce08 /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

“I usually tell the kids to keep up their grades and to listen to their parents,” Melissa Stinsman told Yahoo Lifestyle. (DesRae Holden, courtesy of Melissa Stinsman)

While the letter didn’t have a return address, the young boy included his full name. After asking her coworkers, she found another carrier who recognized the name and they were able to locate the boy’s home.

Stinsman got in touch with the family and started a money pool at the post office. “We raised about $500,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle, “and people dropped off food at the post office.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The packages were delivered to the family’s house on Christmas Eve. Before dropping off the items, Stinsman said, “I hope the kids will be distracted when I come. I want them to believe they came from Santa.”

Westlake Legal Group Melissa-Stinsman-1 Sad letter to Santa prompts postal worker to take action: 'Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me' Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 8a271b87-6c15-5c34-beae-386ec5e8ce08 /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday   Westlake Legal Group Melissa-Stinsman-1 Sad letter to Santa prompts postal worker to take action: 'Dear Santa, last year you didn’t notice me' Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 8a271b87-6c15-5c34-beae-386ec5e8ce08 /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

TOXMAP, Federal Database Allowing Public to Track U.S. Pollution, Shut Down After 15 Years by Trump Administration

Westlake Legal Group HQJ5f35-RWSAFcNSOiSEddENdBBllMda-Pwq3sDQL7k TOXMAP, Federal Database Allowing Public to Track U.S. Pollution, Shut Down After 15 Years by Trump Administration r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.

For those who have questions regarding any media outlets being posted on this subreddit, please click here to review our details as to whitelist and outlet criteria.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Prince George and Princess Charlotte had a major royal first on Christmas Day. 

George, 6, and Charlotte, 4, made their royal Christmas walk debut, strolling from Sandringham Estate to St Mary Magdalene Church on Wednesday. 

The two walked alongside their parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and their grandfather, Prince Charles. George and Charlotte’s little brother, Prince Louis, did not make the trek to the church. As a 1-year-old, he’s still a bit young for the special occasion. 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a double-breasted grey coat with a green fascinator and matching heels for the walk. The Duke of Cambridge wore a long navy coat. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e03608e250000ae0898f1ae Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Joe Giddens – PA Images via Getty Images The Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children Prince George and Charlotte arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

All eyes, of course, were really on the youngest members of the family. George looked sweet in a navy blazer with matching pants and a sweater of the same color. 

Charlotte wore a green coat, which coordinated with her mom’s outfit, and navy tights and shoes. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e03606924000015135a4426 Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Mark Cuthbert via Getty Images Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge attend the Christmas Day Church service at Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on Dec. 25, 2019. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e0361ce240000da115a4429 Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Phil Noble / Reuters Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George leave the St Mary Magdalene’s church. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e037869250000d00798f1b9 Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Phil Noble / Reuters Charlotte gives a hug to a women in the crowd, who gifted her with a pink flamingo. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e037863250000d180d31221 Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Phil Noble / Reuters Kate, Princess Charlotte and Prince George leave the St Mary Magdalene’s.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0361b324000026135a4428 Prince George, Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Royal Christmas Walk

Phil Noble / Reuters William Kate, Charlotte and George leave St. Mary Magdalene’s church after the Royal Family’s Christmas Day service. 

Prince Andrew, who announced last month that he was stepping back from public life amid fallout from his relationship with the late sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, appeared to attend an earlier Christmas church service while walking alongside his older brother, Charles. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were notably absent from the procession. They attended Christmas with the royal family the past two years, but a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace confirmed last month that Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie would be spending the holiday with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are on a royal sabbatical for a few weeks and spending time in Canada, nevertheless shared a heartwarming Christmas card featuring Archie prominently in the middle. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, whose Christmas card was shared last week, also released a new, black-and-white photo of their family on Christmas Day to share with all of their followers. 

“This photograph of The Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis was taken by The Duchess of Cambridge in Norfolk earlier this year,” read the caption on the picture, shared by the Kensington Palace accounts. 

“We wish all our followers a very happy and relaxing Christmas Day,” it added, alongside an emoji of a snowman. 

Subscribe to HuffPost’s Watching the Royals newsletter for all things Windsor (and beyond).

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Heirs with heartache

Water shut off without notice, a letter addressed to a deceased mother, a loan that never should have been granted. 

Even heirs who want to pay off reverse mortgages to hold onto a family home, and have the means to do so, can find themselves stymied by a seemingly endless cycle of conflicting messages that stretch out for years. 

That’s according to some of the more than 100 tips and letters received by USA TODAY after its probe into a surge in reverse mortgage foreclosures issued just after the recession.  

Reverse mortgages allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes and stay in place mortgage-free until they pass away, while giving their heirs the option of paying off the loan to keep the properties or sell them. That’s not how it worked out for the people who reached out to USA TODAY. 

Reverse mortgages leave families battling for property after death

Latoya Gatewood-Young has been trying to keep her grandparents’ estate from foreclosure after discovering that they had a reverse mortgage.

USA TODAY

The roadblocks they faced varied widely – from paperwork errors to messy titles – but all of them had one thing in common: a desire to keep the property in the family. 

“My great, great grandfather owned this property (beginning in) 1909,” said Latoya Gatewood-Young, who has battled for four years to purchase the family home in Maryland. “To think that it could go up for sale at an auction is pretty disturbing to me.”

Most issues can be traced back to faulty loan servicing with an often-revolving cast of loan companies – the administrative duties of what should be routine disbursements, interest calculations and communication with borrowers or heirs, said Sarah Bolling Mancini, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

“It’s a common problem largely because servicers don’t do a good job of providing clear information to regular people,” Bolling Mancini said. “The system is set up, and these families should have options to satisfy the loan, rather than lose the home.” 

Housing and Urban Development regulators downplayed any widespread pattern of poor servicing after borrowers die but acknowledged that individual cases can have outsized impacts on grieving families.

After a borrower dies, heirs often find themselves confused or hostile that a lender is “ripping them off,” said Mathius Marc Gertz, a broker at WestCal Mortgage Reverse, who counsels families to work out a plan while their parents are still alive.

“I advise adult children to ask their parents: ‘Do you have a reverse?’ and get involved on what your procedure will be to pay it off, either by getting a date-specific payoff amount or deciding on who will list the property to sell it,” Gertz said. “A high percentage of cases hit snags, but that’s because people are reactive and it becomes a big bugaboo.”

Reverse mortgages came with no income or credit requirements a decade ago, leading a wave of brokers to write loans to borrowers who turned to them as a financial last resort, to pay for home repairs or pay off debts.

Servicing disputes that emerge after the death of a borrower sometimes reveal that loans should not have been issued in the first place. 

USA TODAY’s analysis of reverse mortgage lending patterns and foreclosures found clusters in African American urban communities – evidence of predatory practices, according to industry watchdogs. The work was a partnership with Grand Valley State University, with support from the McGraw Center for Business Journalism. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has mandated stronger financial assessments of seniors before a loan is issued. 

Westlake Legal Group f0368ff9-04ff-4b3d-a1f5-3be612ff840a-XXX__JC25080 Heirs with heartache

Latoya Gatewood-Young was surprised to learn there were five people on the title to her grandfather’s house, which has been in her family for a century. Jasper Colt, USA TODAY

When Gatewood-Young’s grandfather died in 2016, the family was surprised to discover that his rural Maryland home on 10 acres had a reverse mortgage lien against it. He had drawn down about $150,000 with his reverse mortgage – a sum that had to be paid back for the property to be transferred to his family.

“The executor of his estate was my aunt, and (she) explained that Wells Fargo had already communicated that if we did nothing, it would go into foreclosure,” Gatewood-Young said. “I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ ”

Gatewood-Young, the only heir interested in the property, got herself qualified for a traditional home loan and started the purchase process.

That’s when 200 pages of title history arrived showing that her grandfather held only a one-fifth ownership stake in the property. It was unclear who owned the rest. 

Ever since, the lender has been referencing an impending foreclosure, due to the death and non-repayment of the reverse mortgage. 

Westlake Legal Group b420db83-32b3-4f9e-af25-db09607154ca-XXX__JC24953 Heirs with heartache

The estate of Robert Young sits unoccupied while his granddaughter, Latoya Gatewood-Young, tries to keep it from foreclosure. Jasper Colt, USA TODAY

Even after a court fight to resolve the title dispute, several expired appraisals, costly upkeep of the property and complaints to a string of lenders, servicers, regulators and even her congressman, Gatewood-Young has not been able to buy the family home. The latest dispute with Champion Mortgage: a final purchase price that has jumped more than 30%.

“This property means the world to me, and you can see in the documents there is no way my grandparents should have qualified for a reverse mortgage,” Gatewood-Young said. “I call it predatory lending.” 

Tweet

Share

Latoya Gatewood-Young

This property means the world to me and you can see in the documents there is no way my grandparents should have qualified for a reverse mortgage. I call it predatory lending.

Gatewood-Young took her case to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as her congressman, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., who set off a congressional inquiry at HUD, alleging shoddy loan origination and servicing.

In a January 2017 response to her complaint, Wells Fargo and the new servicer, Champion Mortgage, denied any wrongdoing and said a foreclosure had been paused while the title issues were sorted out by their attorneys. Gatewood-Young continued fighting in court, finally clearing the title this fall. All that remained was the purchase price dispute.

After USA TODAY contacted Wells Fargo about Gatewood-Young’s case in December, the bank changed course, saying it will write off more than $30,000 in costs, allowing her to pay off the loan at its 2016 balance.

“She’s been working diligently all along, and it was a complicated issue,” bank spokesman Tom Goyda said. “Once we were made aware of the specifics, we were able to get it resolved.”

When Grace Bonnicelli thinks of reverse mortgages, she remembers a particularly troubling knock on her mother’s door in 2018. A man asked her sister, “Is this house for sale?” 

She quickly told him no, and he apologized but mentioned that he had seen the posting in the newspaper, Bonnicelli recalled.  

The reality was even worse: Not only was the home listed for sale, it had been sold back to the bank at a sheriff’s sale the previous day.

Help us report this story

We want to hear about your experience with reverse mortgages, especially ones that ended in foreclosure or eviction.

Tell your story

Bonnicelli of New Jersey said her mother had a series of mini-strokes, which impaired her memory. She missed tax and insurance payments on the family home, on which she had taken out a reverse mortgage in 2009.

Those missed payments pushed the loan into default and led the servicer to demand the full $200,000 owed. 

The knock at the door was the first Bonnicelli knew of the problem and she, along with her family, sought to fix it. Then came the eviction notice.

Tweet

Share

Grace Bonnicelli

There was no negotiation; they were soulless, heartless.

“There was no negotiation; they were soulless, heartless,” Bonnicelli said of the loan’s servicer, which was Champion Mortgage. 

Champion did not respond to requests for comment from USA TODAY. 

The family hired an auctioneer to sell the family’s belongings to help pay for her then-86-year-old mother’s long-term care facility. They fought for a two-month delay to allow time for the sale and move. 

A Champion attorney argued against the delay, saying taxes were late dating back to 2012, which could have triggered a foreclosure years earlier. 

“We object to any delay in the removal of the Defendant, the former owner of the property,” the attorney wrote. “She should have been aware that her time in the property was coming to an end as early as December 2012, yet did not take steps to locate a new place to live until August 2018, after the property was already sold at sheriff’s sale.” 

A judge disagreed and granted more time for the move, through last January.

In April, the family spotted the home on a “real estate-owned” auction site and was able to buy it back, renovate it, then sell it again over the summer.  

“We did it partially to spite them,” Bonnicelli said. 

As an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Alysson Snow has handled a lot of complex property disputes. But she has only one word to describe a case she’s currently handling: Crazy. 

Starting in 1996, her client, Joanne Diener, lived with her father in his Oceanside home. He passed away six months ago. Within 24 hours, the lender called Diener about the reverse mortgage and the potential for it to go into default.  

She sent in a form indicating she wanted to purchase the property and got approved for traditional financing, only to receive a notice of default anyway. That was just the beginning. 

The loan servicer assumed the home was empty, posting a neon green sticker that read, “This property was found VACANT” on her door, triggering a chain of events usually taken to secure abandoned properties. 

“Four days later, she came home to a notice of abandonment – in the same home she was living in and receiving letters from the lender,” Snow said. “The next day, a notice of trustee sale was posted for the home, and her water was turned off for purported weatherization. It was 90 degrees.”

Snow is filing legal documents with San Diego County court officials trying to slow down a foreclosure, which can happen quickly under California law. The four-bedroom house is scheduled to be sold at auction at the end of this month. Anyone can view it on sites such as Zillow, where it is listed as a “pre-foreclosure.” 

Snow said the lender pushed the home toward foreclosure before Diener had a chance to indicate her wishes and prove she had the financing. 

“It’s crazy what they’re trying to do to get her out of the house,” Snow said.

A representative for the lender, Reverse Mortgage Funding, said she could not comment on the case, citing privacy concerns. 

Diener said she felt like the lender tried to steal the home she lived in for 23 years. 

“I felt robbed,” she said. “I would describe it as a horror show that would not end.” 

Darrell Emile moved in to care for his ailing mother, Alice, in 2005. Twice they met with a HUD counselor while contemplating a reverse mortgage on the Freeport, New York, home.

Emile said they were assured that after his mother died, he would have at least six months to select a payoff option and remain in the home, plus two three-month extensions if needed. 

That assurance follows a “6/3/3” guideline from HUD, which expects loan servicers to inform survivors and heirs of their options and clear the loan within six months of a death. That guideline does not bar a foreclosure during that time. 

Westlake Legal Group ff974882-9799-4870-812e-d3a09e00ac57-Emile_Family Heirs with heartache

When Darrell Emile’s mother, Alice, died in 2009, he knew he wanted to stay in the family home. Courtesy of Darrell Emile

When Alice died in 2009, Emile knew he wanted to keep living in the bi-level ranch home his family had owned since 1965. Property values had plummeted in the wake of the recession, making an immediate sale unappealing.  

He planned to pay the mortgage’s balance back with cash. In 2009, that balance was roughly $144,000, and the home was worth about $325,000.  

Emile was meticulous: He notified Bank of America on the first business day after his mother’s death and asked about his options. Letters quickly started arriving addressed to “the estate” of his mother, according to copies provided to USA TODAY. 

10 questions to ask about reverse mortgages

Experts suggest seniors and their family members have an open discussion about these topics before they apply for a reverse mortgage. Here is a downloadable guide to help start those conversations.

Get the guide

Statements showing a growing loan balance kept arriving, too, along with a request to verify that his deceased mother still lived in the home. Interest accrues on reverse mortgages until the day they are paid.

Emile called, emailed, sent letters and visited his Bank of America branch. Finally, a full year after his mother’s death, he received a notice of his options for resolving the loan.

He promptly requested a payoff quote – what he would need to come up with to stay put. It didn’t show up for five years, long after a foreclosure notice had landed.

“I remember thinking this must be a mistake, someone just not understanding something, and we’ll get it sorted out,” Emile said. “It was just insane.” 

Tweet

Share

Darrell Emile

I remember thinking this must be a mistake, someone just not understanding something, and we’ll get it sorted out. It was just insane.

That kicked off a legal tussle that cost Emile attorney fees and five more years – all while his mother’s reverse mortgage continued to accrue fees and twice switched loan servicers when banks sold the loan.

Emile filed complaints with New York banking regulators and the CFPB in 2013. They mandated that the bank provide a written response but didn’t resolve Emile’s issues.  

In documents Emile provided to USA TODAY, Bank of America acknowledged receiving Emile’s letters asking to pay off the loan but faulted him for a clerical error in his request. Plus, the bank argued, the loan had been sold off from the bank’s portfolio years ago, as part of its exit from the reverse mortgage business in 2012. 

Representatives from Bank of America did not answer questions about Emile’s case.

With funds from Alice Emile’s estate dwindling, Emile and his family decided to shift plans and sell the home. That plan failed, too, when the home didn’t immediately sell.

By 2015, the loan balance had ballooned to $161,000. That was the year an attorney hired by the new servicer, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, followed through on the foreclosure filing, and a judge granted a seizure and short sale, for $250,000.

Today, the home’s market value is more than $400,000.

The outcome left the family with nothing. Emile now rents in Philadelphia. He feels cheated by the long process.

“The beginning of all this with the loan worked OK; we remodeled the home, made it safe for my mom,” Emile said. “But after she passed, they were supposed to allow us to maintain some financial stability, and that all totally went away.” 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Queen Elizabeth II, close family celebrate Christmas

Queen Elizabeth II and her close family celebrated Christmas with a morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church near her rural retreat at Sandringham in eastern England.

It was a festive event Wednesday as the queen was joined for the first time by Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4, the two eldest children of Prince William and his wife, Kate. They left 1-year-old Prince Louis at home.

George and Charlotte walked to church hand in hand with their parents. Prince Charles, their grandfather, walked next to them.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY’S PHOTO MISSING FROM QUEEN’S OFFICE DURING CHRISTMAS ADDRESS

Westlake Legal Group AP19359403018176 Queen Elizabeth II, close family celebrate Christmas fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/kate fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article abe4bc7e-7004-5e3a-8435-ca090508576f

Britain’s Prince Charles, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their children Prince George, right, and Princess Charlotte arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, England, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)

The queen arrived in a Bentley with Charles’ wife, Camilla. Her elderly husband, Prince Philip, stayed at home. He was discharged from a hospital Tuesday after treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Philip, 98, has retired from public duties.

Prince Andrew, who has stepped down from royal duties because of his association with a convicted sex offender, attended an earlier church service with his brother Charles at his side.

Prince Harry, his wife, Meghan, and their 7-month-old son, Archie, did not attend. They are spending the holiday in Canada with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

PRINCE ANDREW’S BREAK FROM ROYAL DUTIES TAKES ‘PRESSURE’ OFF PRINCE HARRY, MEGHAN MARKLE: BIOGRAPHER

The royals were greeted by several hundred well-wishers who had gathered outside the church grounds.

The queen’s traditional pre-recorded Christmas message will be broadcast throughout Britain and the Commonwealth nations Wednesday afternoon. Excerpts released ahead of time reveal that the queen plans to acknowledge it has been a challenging year.

Westlake Legal Group AP19359440364059 Queen Elizabeth II, close family celebrate Christmas fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/kate fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article abe4bc7e-7004-5e3a-8435-ca090508576f

Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, center left, speaks with her daughter Princess Charlotte as she holds a pink flamingo while greeting the public outside the St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

She is thought to be referring both to Britain’s laborious exit from the European Union, which is now almost certainly going to happen on Jan. 31 after voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the royal family’s difficulties.

MEGHAN MARKLE AND PRINCE HARRY’S CHARITY REVEAL ROYAL COUPLE’S FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD WITH ARCHIE

The problems this year included Andrew’s retreat from public duties following a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and failed to show empathy for Epstein’s young female victims.

The family has also endured what many close observers think is a rift between William and Harry. Both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with Archie.

Westlake Legal Group queen-pic Queen Elizabeth II, close family celebrate Christmas fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/kate fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article abe4bc7e-7004-5e3a-8435-ca090508576f   Westlake Legal Group queen-pic Queen Elizabeth II, close family celebrate Christmas fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/kate fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article abe4bc7e-7004-5e3a-8435-ca090508576f

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Newlyweds Hilary Duff, Matthew Koma share family holiday photo

Westlake Legal Group hilary-duff-getty Newlyweds Hilary Duff, Matthew Koma share family holiday photo Nate Day fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/person/hilary-duff fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7509d2c4-ad1e-567a-bc72-1c48cb2e2212

Now that Hilary Duff and Matthew Koma are married, it’s time to move on to another celebration.

Duff, 32, shared a photo on Instagram of herself with her family, including Koma, 32, son Luca, 7, and daughter Banks, 1.

In the photo, Duff and Koma each wear a Santa hat and hold a child in their lap, but it appears that the kids weren’t exactly excited about taking the photo.

CARA DELEVINGNE SURPRISES ASHLEY BENSON WITH MOROCCO TRIP FOR BIRTHDAY

In the photo, Luca can be seen stretched out across his mother’s lap while Banks seems to be on the verge of tears.

“This was the best we got,” Duff playfully said in the caption. “Merry Christmas Eve!”

MILEY CYRUS RELEASES HOLIDAY SONG ABOUT BEING ‘SAD, LONELY’ AS CODY SIMPSON SPOTTED WITH PLAYBOY MODEL

The couple married on Saturday after several years of dating. They welcomed daughter Banks last year, while Duff shares Luca with ex-husband Mike Comrie.

On Monday, Duff and Koma both shared a photo to Instagram from their wedding day. The photo pictured the two of them in wedding garb, standing in front of a car, reading “just married” on the back window.

Cans were also tied to the bumper of the car.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Duff simply captioned the photo by saying, “This.” Koma wrote, “For the rest of forever… 12.21.19.”

Westlake Legal Group hilary-duff-getty Newlyweds Hilary Duff, Matthew Koma share family holiday photo Nate Day fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/person/hilary-duff fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7509d2c4-ad1e-567a-bc72-1c48cb2e2212   Westlake Legal Group hilary-duff-getty Newlyweds Hilary Duff, Matthew Koma share family holiday photo Nate Day fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/person/hilary-duff fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7509d2c4-ad1e-567a-bc72-1c48cb2e2212

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

Of all the rinse-and-repeat stories of palace intrigue to come out of the Donald Trump administration, none is more stalwart than the president raging in an empty White House as he drives away all his former friends.

“At a White House in crisis, Trump looks increasingly isolated”: so said Reuters in May 2017. August 2017 brought news that “President Trump Is More Isolated Than Ever.” A month after that, Trump was “The Loneliest President.” January 2018 came and a “Raging, isolated Trump retreats deeper into his bubble.” The cycle continues right up to present, as Democratic hopeful Joe Biden runs an ad saying the nation’s allies are “deeply worried” about Trump: “They say he’s becoming increasingly isolated.”

A successful portrait of the president’s increasing isolation typically includes an overfondness for the word “increasingly”; a vague but grave warning that Trump — always erratic, to be sure! — is getting “worse”; and a mind-bending reliance on sources “close to Trump” to describe how he has no one close to him. 

A standout “Isolated Trump” story gets philosophical. It exudes an unshakable respect for the office of the president, and to the extent that this is hard to square with Trump’s white nationalism, autocratic tendencies, and his administration’s unparalleled cruelty, the author blames a lack of “adults in the room.” Normalcy lies just ahead, where Republicans (“privately worried”) contemplate potentially abandoning Trump, maybe!

Below is a brief history of White House chroniclers averring to the president’s isolation, increasingly. 

Westlake Legal Group 5df3f0e3250000460298e18d Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images Trump, isolated.

Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles (New York Times, Feb. 5, 2017)

The story: Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush brought Isolated Trump into the mainstream when they reported him skulking around the West Wing in a bathrobe, “almost always by himself.” Characterized as a “cloistered,” “increasingly pinched” president who watched cable news “for a sense of what is happening outside,” he and his tiny band of advisers could barely find the light switches to write Trump’s masterwork of cruelty, the Muslim ban. The “bungled rollout” of the ban was one of the administration’s many early “miscues and embarrassments” stemming from his inability to make friends.

The sources: Government officials, congressional aides, “observers of the new administration,” and then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The highlight: A guest appearance by President George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who knows a thing or two about bungled rollouts.

Westlake Legal Group 5df3ee51240000f10c5a342a Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images Trump, increasingly isolated.

The story: This piece broke ground by increasingly isolating Trump in its headline and contriving tension between the president and representatives of the broader Republican Party, who were slow to defend the president on television and “showing signs of going their own way.”

“Trump and his beleaguered staff” feel “abandoned by fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill, as the furor over the firing of FBI Director James Comey and allegations that Trump tried to influence the probe into Russian meddling in last year’s election show little sign of abating.” Spoiler: they abate!

The sources: “Some White House aides,” several officials.

The highlight: “Everyone is just tired,” said one White House aide.

Westlake Legal Group 5df3f1d1250000396ad30226 Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images Trump, more isolated than at any point since taking office.

The story: “Trump has become increasingly isolated.” A series of high-profile betrayals — Michael Cohen flipped! David Pecker flipped! — have all but assured his political demise, and Trump has responded by being late to the Oval Office three days in a row. 

Republicans are poised to abandon him. “They’re still not saying it publicly,” said a longtime GOP operative, but they know “it’s not going to end well.” In the bowels of the solitudinal White House residence, Trump “worries about losing support from powerful financial donors and Republican lawmakers.”

The sources: A former Trump Organization employee, his “The Art of the Deal” ghostwriter, “several others close to the president,” and “a longtime Republican operative close to party leadership.” Also Newt Gingrich.

The highlight: One year later, Trump has smashed all previous presidential fundraising records and enjoys lockstep Republican support against impeachment.

Westlake Legal Group 5df3ecef250000516ad3021c Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

Jorge Silva / Reuters Trump and a longtime associate.

The story: A classic of the genre. Trump, in this rendering, not only “increasingly stands alone”: He is more alone, and more committed to staying alone than he has been “at any point since taking office” — according to people close to him. “He spends ever more time in front of a television.” “He sheds advisers at a head-spinning rate.” “He rails against enemies, who often were once friends.”

The sources: “About 30” current and former administration officials, personal friends, political allies, “longtime associates” and, naturally, “people close to him.”

The highlight: In addition to causing a nationwide shortage of superlatives, this entry perfects the vague-yet-profound warning that Trump’s isolation will end in an as-yet unimaginable catastrophe: “The days are filled with conflict, much of it of his own making,” the authors intone. “The divisions are widening, not closing. If it is a ‘war every day,’ there are no signs of peace.”

Westlake Legal Group 5df3ec142500003e0298e186 Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

Drew Angerer via Getty Images Trump under a cloud of Yuletide gloom.

The story: Trump single-handedly caused a partial government shutdown and tweeted about it quite a bit, including that he was “all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal.” That it was Christmas Eve made the facts irresistibly symbolic and led The Washington Post to craft this absolute poem of a lede: “The Christmas Eve grievances billowing from the White House on Monday formed a heavy cloud of Yuletide gloom.” 

The Christmas Eve grievances

billowing 

from the White House on Monday 

formed a heavy cloud 

of Yuletide gloom.

All this took place against a backdrop, if you can believe it, of Trump “increasingly standing alone.” Republicans taking in the chaos “expressed dismay.” This was problematic because without allies, Trump “faces the lack of a graceful exit path” from a shutdown he caused intentionally and unnecessarily. The holidays can be tough!

The sources: Trump’s tweets, a presidential historian, and Peter Wehner, an adviser to three prior Republican administration.

The highlight: Peter Wehner said this: “This is a picture of a lost and damaged soul. There’s something sad and poignant about a president isolated and alone. He’s like King Lear, raging against the winds.”

Westlake Legal Group 5df3f00c240000d80c5a342d Donald Trump Is The Loneliest Man In America

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images Trump, raging against the winds.

The Unraveling of Donald Trump (The Atlantic, Oct. 18, 2019)

Donald Trump Is All Alone In The White House (The Atlantic, Nov. 7, 2019)

The story: Isolated Trump is poised to enjoy an impeachment-era renaissance, and no outlet is working harder to revivify him than The Atlantic. In a pair of articles properly regarded as a single masterpiece, “several associates” and former aides worry that Trump’s “behavior is likely to get worse” as he grows more “apt to lash out,” and “more and more isolated in the West Wing.”

Trump refuses to attend meetings or go out for Chinese food. He engaged in the “unseemly” act (an associate’s word) of tweeting something cruel about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, proof that he is “devolving unmistakably into a different sort of man.”

The sources: Horribly, every source in these stories is trapped between realms, perfectly situated to observe the president’s isolation but powerless to relieve it with the gift of their wise counsel. “A person close to Trump told me that the president feels isolated and has complained that he has no one in whom he can confide. ‘These heavy issues are weighing on him. He has nobody around him. There’s nobody,’ this person said.”

“‘He just has no life,’ the person close to Trump recently told me.”

The highlight: Both stories forcefully propose more golf as a solution to Trump’s behavior. “In Trump’s world, these sorts of leavening influences don’t seem to exist.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral

The Christmas and holiday season is synonymous with giving, sharing and helping out those in need. But for many across America, whether they be teachers, mailmen – or even Uber drivers – the desire to do good in their communities doesn’t fade away at the end of the calendar year. Here are seven acts of kindness that went viral throughout 2019.

Westlake Legal Group Guyger-trial-hug Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral Greg Norman fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc daa3857f-5b0a-5e0c-9f04-e23edccc7308 article

Botham Jean’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt, hugging Amber Guyger in court after saying he forgives her for killing his brother in an emotional victim impact statement. (Fox 4)

In what was one of the most emotional photographs of the year, Brandt Jean was depicted hugging Amber Guyger inside of a Texas courtroom during her sentencing hearing for shooting and killing his brother Botham in 2018.

Brandt, in his impact statement, said he forgave the former Dallas police officer and hoped that she would devote her life to Christ.

“I forgive you. And I know, if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” he said before proceeding to hug her in the middle of the courtroom.

Guyger then was sentenced to 10 years for fatally shooting Botham Jean. Brandt, in early December, received an award for ethical courage from the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration for showing compassion toward the cop during her murder trial.

A FedEx delivery man who flipped a set of stars and stripes pillows on an Ohio front porch has been hailed as a patriot after footage of the kind act went viral.

The unidentified deliverer swapped the pillows in October when he noticed they were out of order — the stripes pillow was to the left of the stars when it should have been reversed.

The gesture was “sweet” and “extra special” to her, Jackie Szabo, the homeowner, told Fox 35, as her son is “an Airborne Soldier and a veteran in U.S. Army.”

Kenlee Bellew-Shaw was having a tough day at school, her mother says, until the “Angel on campus” showed up.

A school custodian at Melba Passmore Elementary School, outside of Houston, received praise in September after a photo of her laying on the floor to comfort the fourth-grader with autism was posted to Facebook.

“[Kenlee] wanted no part of being in the cafeteria this morning with all the noise so she laid down w/her blanket on the stage,” wrote Kenlee’s mother, Hollie. “When Ms. Esther saw her she came and laid next to her and patted her back.”

“All schools should be so lucky to have their own Angel on campus,” she added. The school district that employs the custodian said the scene “goes to show you that a kind word, a hug, and a little compassion are all it takes to make a huge difference in a child’s life.”

One empathetic college professor in Georgia has been praised as a “saint” after lending a helping hand to one of her students who unexpectedly couldn’t find a sitter for her young son during an 8 a.m. biology class.

Dr. Ramata Sissoko Cissé, an assistant professor at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, told Yahoo Lifestyle that the student asked her the night before “if she could bring the baby with her to class because she had missed a class already and did not want to be behind.”

Westlake Legal Group baby-prof-1-Anna-Cisse-Twitter Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral Greg Norman fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc daa3857f-5b0a-5e0c-9f04-e23edccc7308 article

Dr. Ramata Sissoko Cissé knew just what to say when a student contacted her anxious that she couldn’t find a sitter for their morning class the next day. (Courtesy of Anna Cisse)

Without skipping a beat, the following morning the professor offered to hold the young woman’s son when she saw her struggling to take notes during the three-hour lecture with her baby on her lap.

According to Cissé, it was simply her “mother’s instincts” that kicked in. The baby was safely strapped to the teacher’s back, where he peacefully slept for nearly the whole class.

A journalist who joined longtime U.S. Postal Service employee Floyd Martin on his final route in May captured how much he meant to the residents of Marietta, Ga.

In a viral thread on Twitter, the reporter documented how several people on his route spoke of Martin’s kindness, saying he would often go above and beyond what was asked of him. He would feed the pets along the route, bring newspapers to doorsteps, and offer lollipops to the children. One girl even dressed up as Martin on her school career day.

On his last day, people on Martin’s route decorated their mailboxes with ribbons, balloons and congratulatory signs wishing him the best and writing, “We love you.” Then at the end of the shift, more than 300 people gathered in the neighborhood for a surprise block party in his honor.

Parent Kevin Armentrout says an experience his daughter had at an airport in February shows “what kindness and compassion looks like.”

In a Facebook post that was liked nearly 300,000 times, Armentrout wrote that while waiting to board a flight, his daughter “was being her usual inquisitive self, wanting to meet and say ‘hi’ to everyone she could, until she walked up to this man.

Westlake Legal Group Kevin-Armentrout Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral Greg Norman fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc daa3857f-5b0a-5e0c-9f04-e23edccc7308 article

Kevin Armentrout wrote about his daughter’s experience on Facebook. (Kevin Armentrout)

“He reached out and asked if she wanted to sit with him,” Armentrout continued. “He pulled out his tablet and showed her how to draw with it, they watched cartoons together, and she offered him snacks. This wasn’t a short little exchange, this was 45 minutes.”

The father posted a picture of his daughter and the man, named Joseph, bonding, and said “watching them in that moment, I couldn’t help but think, different genders, different races, different generations, and the best of friends.”

A generous Uber driver in New York helped a fast-food employee who had been a passenger in her car after learning she was waiting until Christmas to buy new clothes.

“During the whole ride, she was talking about how she takes care of her grandkids and how she hasn’t had money to buy herself anything in so long and she was actually going to wait until Christmas,” Lamiyah Jabbar said in a video posted to Instagram in August.

Jabbar dropped the woman, Diane, off at a Tim Hortons in Buffalo and says she then went to Old Navy to buy her a dress and also picked up a $50 Visa gift card.

Jabbar later returned to the restaurant and gave the gifts to Diane, who appeared stunned by the random act of kindness. On camera, Diane could be heard saying “Thank you so much. This has been such a horrible day and you just made it so much better.”

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran, Bradford Betz, Melissa Leon, Alexandria Hein, Talia Kaplan and Janine Puhak contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073077719001_6073075861001-vs Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral Greg Norman fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc daa3857f-5b0a-5e0c-9f04-e23edccc7308 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073077719001_6073075861001-vs Best of 2019: Seven acts of kindness that went viral Greg Norman fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc daa3857f-5b0a-5e0c-9f04-e23edccc7308 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bill Barr could be a bigger threat to America than the man who appointed him

Westlake Legal Group ZIk0Iobh2_d5ECIfGYjcnckeKk9xP_QljeushJRGeH4 Bill Barr could be a bigger threat to America than the man who appointed him r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.

For those who have questions regarding any media outlets being posted on this subreddit, please click here to review our details as to whitelist and outlet criteria.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Murkowski ‘Disturbed’ by McConnell’s vow for “Total Coordination” with White House for Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 19YipLxWobAW8lPcY0l550BFxr0q7eoQ6viAGf0tk54 Murkowski 'Disturbed’ by McConnell’s vow for "Total Coordination" with White House for Impeachment Trial r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.

For those who have questions regarding any media outlets being posted on this subreddit, please click here to review our details as to whitelist and outlet criteria.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com