Friday, December 2, 2022

From One Caregiver To Another: No One Knows What We Do

We're family caregivers, you and I. And we're invisible.

By Connie Baher

My mom is 105, and I've cared for her for 13 years. So if you've been caring for your older parent, spouse, partner, or friend for the long haul, you know what I'm talking about.

It's a lonely job, caregiving. And no one knows what we do — day after day looking after someone, coping with daunting and sometimes incomprehensible medical issues, hoping that we're doing the right thing as we take on the vast, evolving and endless responsibilities of being someone else's caregiver.

A caregiver with her mom making dinner. Next Avenue, family caregivers, caregiving
It's a lonely job, caregiving. And no one knows what we do — day after day looking after someone, hoping that we're doing the right thing.  |  Credit: Centre for Ageing Better

So let's talk about what we do.

Remember how it started? You offer to help with the groceries and drive them to their doctor's appointments. You bring them to your house on the weekends to watch a movie together and have a nice home-cooked meal. And then the job expands.

Now you're paying the bills and ordering the meds. And at your place, the guest room they used to stay in is currently empty. They can't climb your stairs anymore. So you find help at their home, and it may be time for them to move to a facility.

You spend hours looking for a good place, getting them a medical checkup and TB test, signing endless documents, doing your best to help your person make new friends, acclimate to the loss of their home and the smells and routines and privations of this new place to live.

The Ways We Help

So, we visit and listen to the problem list. We clean under the bed, find the scattered pills, and throw them away, and we quietly put a new package of Depends in their closet.

Next, we bring their clothes home to wash. It's indelicate. We have breached the line between parent and child, between spouses, partners, and friends — one should not be handling their undergarments.

We wake in the middle of the night, wondering if they are also awake, and hoping that they're not having another one of those frustratingly enduring sleepless nights.

We visit again, and as we leave their room (wondering if this may be our last glimpse of them alive), we take a parting look at them and the room itself. What simple thing should I do before I go — is there a box of Kleenex too far away to reach, a flip-top can of soda that should be opened?

What can I do so they are not left imprisoned by their inabilities? How terrible it must be for them, we think. What must it be like to feel life ebbing away, to suffer the indignities as their once strong handwriting has dwindled to uneven scratch marks, as their hands and legs become mottled with bruises because they're taking blood thinners, and everything causes a bruise?

We can never honestly know what the world looks like through their failing eyes, the panic that grips them in the middle of the night, the bewilderment, the fear, the helplessness.

We're just the family, struggling along. We stumble, pick ourselves up, go at it again, and try to do better. It's hard — no question about it — to look beyond the daily challenges, but if we zoom out for a moment, there is something else to see.

Amy Abrams, a San Diego social worker who has counseled scores of long-haul family caregivers, speaks of caregiving as a transformative experience. "Caregivers find inner strength and competence they would never have thought they had," she says.

The Gift of Time Together

There is the son who nursed his mother for four years, sleeping on the floor beside her bed. But then, he told me, "I discovered that weak as I thought I was, I have such a gift of adaptability, endurance, tolerance, patience."

There is the daughter who moved cross country to care for her mother: "I realized how lucky I was to spend time with her. To revisit the home that I was desperate to leave in my teens. I got to appreciate her and all she had been through. It gave me a purpose. So even though it was a mixed blessing, this has been a gift."

And then there is the simple gift of slowing down and spending time together. Occasionally, I have a slow, quiet visit with my mom. The chores have been taken care of, there's enough medicine on hand, we've got the TV working again, and we talk — mostly, though, I listen.

Mom talks about her life, the school where she felt so lonely except for the art teacher who recognized her talent, how she gave up a serious pursuit of art to be a wife and mother, how she rebuilt her life after my father died, finally winning long-sought approval as an accomplished artist.

She is adding it all up and preparing to let go.

I have heard these stories before, but as I listen to Mom on this day, I also hear her determination to rise above each bodily insult; I hear the grit that keeps her going, and I am thankful for what she is teaching me. So, yes, I nod; you've led a good life. It is a gentle, sweet moment that we share.

If no one knows what we give — and give up — as caregivers, perhaps also no one knows what we get. We get the chance to live out a unique kind of love.

Therefore, at this season of giving thanks, and as the country marks National Family Caregivers Month, here is a celebration of what we do as family caregivers. With indebtedness to the famous verses from First Corinthians:

A Caregiver's Love

Love is making that first sweet offer of help.

Love is being there as things get worse.

Love is loss and sadness as he or she slips away from the person you once knew.

Love is pain as you feel your helplessness to stop their suffering.

Love is the soothing music that you put behind your words of care.

Love is brave enough to confront frailty and decline.

Love is the courage to show up daily, asking, "how are you today?"

Love is the strength to hear them out when they are depressed and life to them is dismal. When they have not slept, they have awakened in the middle of the night, fearing they are dying.

Love is the moments of joy when you encourage their memories of good times, their childhood, falling in love, and the times you listen to stories of their lives that will otherwise be lost.

Love is hanging in as they lose the ability to open a jar, walk on their own, or manipulate their hearing aids.

Love is staying engaged despite the toll.

Love is reaching out to their heart.

Love is warm and embracing.

Love is saying, I love you, even when they cannot say the same to you.

Love knows you cannot fix the illness or slow death's approach.

Love is recognizing their fears and anxieties, and the unknowing that they live with every day and night as they wait

Love is learning to live on the edge of eternity.

Love is silent tears that well up from nowhere.

Love is walking ahead, while sorrow is your shadow.

Love is holding their hand as you both tread unfamiliar territory.

And love is waiting beside them, imperfect as you are, as they take their final steps.

Full Article & Source:
From One Caregiver To Another: No One Knows What We Do

Woman Finds Biological Father in Nursing Home 56 Years After Adoption — And Now She Cares for Him

"I prepared myself to find a grave, and I now found a person, and it was just absolutely mind-blowing," Deanna Shrodes said of meeting her 92-year-old father

By Abigail Adams

A daughter's search for her biological father ended when she found him in a nursing home more than 56 years after she was adopted.

Deanna Shrodes, of Florida, met her father Gus Nicholas, 92, for the very first time back in May after she matched with him using genetic testing through 23andMe, according to CBS News.

"I prepared myself to find a grave, and I now found a person, and it was just absolutely mind-blowing," Shrodes told the outlet. "Couldn't believe that I had found a person." 

Shrodes, who is an ordained minister, was an infant when she was adopted in 1966, according to a story about her search on a church website. She had spent two months in foster care beforehand.

At age 27, Shrodes found her mother Sally King and had a relationship with her for the next 20 years, per the reports. King died just a few months after she was diagnosed with cancer. 

But King never shared the name of Shrodes' biological father with her daughter. So, Shrodes set out to find him on her own.

Using the two clues her mother gave her — that her father is Greek and from Richmond, Va. — Shrodes spent 10 years searching.

Earlier this year, her prayers were answered — literally. 

"I told my husband, I told my best friend Laura … I said, 'Listen, guys, you might think I'm crazy, but I was in prayer. God spoke this to me: 'Your father's name is Gus,' " she told CBS News.

A short time later, she matched with Nicholas on 23andMe, and connected with one of Nicholas' relatives, who said, "I think you're my Uncle Gus' daughter."

The next day, Shrodes got to call her father, who was also excited to find his daughter.

"He said, 'I woke up this morning and I was alone ... And now this afternoon, I have a daughter. I have a son-in-law. I have three grandchildren. I have great-grandchildren ... I 'm not alone in the world anymore,' " she recalled. "And I said, 'No, you're not. You're not.' " 

Nicholas, a retired ballroom dancer, had entered the nursing home after he was found lying on the floor of his home after a fall, per CBS News' report.

But just 75 days after meeting his daughter, Nicholas moved into Shrodes' home where she cares for him full-time and they are getting to know each other.

"It's the hardest thing. It's the most worthwhile thing. It's the most incredible miracle I've ever had the privilege to live out," she told CBS News. "I'm living the dream."

Full Article & Source:
Woman Finds Biological Father in Nursing Home 56 Years After Adoption — And Now She Cares for Him

Thursday, December 1, 2022

KIYC: Advocates say New Jersey needs to reform how its guardianship program functions

By: Walt Kane

More than 36,000 New Jersey residents are living under court-appointed guardianships. They are unable to make decisions or access their money. Some advocates say the system needs to be reformed to make it easier for them to have their rights restored.

Elberta Cohen, 80, has no access to her life savings. Her life is in the hands of a stranger, a guardian appointed by a judge. She says she isn’t happy about it.
“What gives them a right to do this to anybody?” Cohen asks rhetorically. “I'm not incapacitated.”
In the eyes of the law, she is. Kane In Your Corner first investigated Cohen’s case last month. A judge placed her under the care of a guardian after her youngest son argued she was no longer able to make decisions on her own. She says that she and her son aren’t even on speaking terms, and he was just trying to get her declared incapacitated to prevent her from revising her will. Eldercare attorney Lauren Marinaro is now representing Cohen in her effort to get her rights restored.
Terminating a guardianship is no easy task. New Jersey has no clear standard to determine if a person lacks capacity. Judges decide each case individually.
Cohen was initially evaluated by three doctors. One said she could make decisions for herself, but the other two disagreed. The judge went along with the majority.
But Marinaro has now gotten two more medical experts to weigh in. Both say Cohen is capable of making decisions on her own. Cohen’s personal physician also writes that Cohen’s “memory and judgment are intact.” The majority of experts are now squarely on her side.
Cohen’s motion to restore her rights is also unopposed – her son chose not to dispute it and her current guardian says he takes no position as to whether the guardianship should be continued. But ending the guardianship, or even relaxing it, is still not a sure thing. The judge has sole discretion under the law.
Marcia Southwick, executive director of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, says the system needs to be reformed to make terminating a guardianship easier.
“They should always have to prove that you're still incapacitated,” she says. “Instead, you have to go to court and you or your lawyer have to prove that you're not. And if you weren't in the first place, that just seems so unfair to me.”
Pam Teaster, director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, argues courts should always view guardianship as a last resort. “If there's anything else that could be done for that individual, other than a guardianship, that's what should be happening,” she says.
New Jersey Assembly Member Carol Murphy (D – Cinnaminson) agrees. She wrote a bill that would require courts that impose guardianships to always use the “least restrictive option.” But two years later, Murphy’s bill has still not come up for a vote.
Teaster argues that another reform could help people like Elberta Cohen. While the guardianship process is currently shrouded in confidentiality, she is calling for a public database of guardianship cases that would help evaluate how well or poorly the system is working.
Peter McAleer, spokesperson for the New Jersey courts, says the judiciary is constantly trying to improve the system, including making it easier for people to challenge their guardianships.

Full Article & Source:
KIYC: Advocates say New Jersey needs to reform how its guardianship program functions

Caretaker Arrested For Making Unauthorized Purchases

By Amy Adams

Mercedez Hastie (Vanderburgh County Jail)
A caretaker is facing charges after police say she was reported for using her client’s debit card to make unauthorized purchases.

27-year-old Mercedez Hastie was given the client’s debit card information to make grocery, food and essential purchases for them as needed.

She is now facing charges for making fraudulent purchases on the card determined to be over $7,000.

She is facing three counts of fraud, forgery, identity deception and theft.

Hastie was booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail, but has since been released.

Full Article & Source:
Caretaker Arrested For Making Unauthorized Purchases

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Concord Nursing Home To Pay $2.3 Million To Settle Allegations Of Grossly Substandard Care

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California 
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – Tranquility Incorporated, a corporation doing business as San Miguel Villa (San Miguel Villa) which is a 190-bed nursing home located in Concord, Calif., has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims by billing the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs for grossly substandard nursing home services it provided to its residents between 2012 and 2017, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan. 

The settlement resolves allegations that from 2012 to 2017 San Miguel Villa submitted, or caused to be submitted, claims to the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs for payment of its services that were grossly substandard and failed to meet minimum required standards of skilled nursing care in multiple ways. The United States alleges that nursing home residents at San Miguel Villa were overmedicated with psychotropic drugs, suffered excessive falls, were exposed to resident-on-resident altercations, and experienced other mental and physical harm. 

“Residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable in our community, and they rely on Medicare and Medi-Cal programs to provide the care and services they must have,” said United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “Nursing homes are entrusted to impart competent and quality care to their residents. This case demonstrates that when federal funds are provided but substandard care is delivered, this office is committed to seeking accountability.” 

“Nursing homes are intended to be places of comfort and healing, but the provision of substandard care jeopardizes the residents’ health and safety,” stated Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge with HHS-OIG. “HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners are staunchly dedicated to investigating allegations of inadequate care at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gioconda Molinari investigated the matter with the assistance of Paralegal Lillian Do and Auditor Garland He. The United States Attorney’s Office initiated the investigation with assistance from HHS-OIG as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure that nursing home residents receive the necessary skilled nursing home services that they are entitled to and require. The United States Attorney’s Office acknowledges and thanks HHS-OIG as well as the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse for their assistance in investigating this matter.

Working in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office runs an Elder Justice Task Force to identify and investigate nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care, and to support the efforts of state and local prosecutors, law enforcement, and other elder justice professionals who combat elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse at a nursing home, please contact the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Crisis line at 1-800-231-4024, or the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833–FRAUD–11 (or 833–372–8311).

Full Article & Source:
Concord Nursing Home To Pay $2.3 Million To Settle Allegations Of Grossly Substandard Care

Bedford County caregiver charged with elderly abuse, neglect

by: Lucas Wright

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Complaints against a worker at a Bedford County assisted living facility have now landed a caregiver behind bars.

Cody Prestwood, 34, of Shelbyville, was arrested on Nov. 9.

Cody Prestwood (Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

In January, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation joined Adult Protective Services and the Department of Health in investigating a complaint that residents at a Bedford County assisted living facility were being abused and/or neglected.

Over the course of the investigation, Prestwood, a licensed practical nurse at the facility, was found to be the person allegedly responsible for the abuse and neglect of patients.

According to the investigation’s findings, Prestwood failed on multiple occasions to document those incidents and failed to seek proper treatment for the individuals involved from December 2021 through August 2022. 

Prestwood was taken into custody by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. He is facing the following charges:

  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly adult (x2)
  • Neglect of an elderly adult (x2)
  • Abuse of an elderly adult

Prestwood was booked into the Bedford County Jail and is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Full Article & Source:
Bedford County caregiver charged with elderly abuse, neglect

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Butler County approves funding to address backlog of cases for in-home visit program

By Larry Seward, WCPO

HAMILTON — A watchdog frozen by court backlogs got a boost in Butler County: Commissioners signed off on $500,000 worth of American Relief Plan Act funding that will allow probate and domestic violence courts to hire staff for “essential functions.”

It is personal for Probate Court Judge John Holcomb.

“They just need a little help from the court,” Holcomb said.

His mother-in-law died fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. So, as leader of the court charged with guarding the well-being of seniors and adults unable to care for themselves, Holcomb said his team’s in-home visit program needs a quick fix.

COVID-19 pandemic protocols suspended the program for six months. That led to a two-year backlog in visits. The county had just one investigator to handle the task. In January, the court had 2,648 incoming guardianships with another 140 pending, according to state records.

While the court applied for an ARPA, Holcomb’s team hired a former intern away from a nonprofit to take on investigative duties. The two investigators are working to catch up, hold caretakers accountable and make sure the vulnerable are alive and well.

“I can tell you with adding this second investigator position we are ensuring that the needs of our senior citizens are being met,” he said.

County commissioners approved a $424,068 grant award for Butler County’s Domestic Relations Court Monday. It plans to hire a magistrate/mediator to ease the rising number of custody cases. The funding will cover the position for two years.

The $183,783 grant for probate court will pay for the second investigator and a file clerk for two years.

“That is going to take the burden off our local taxpayers of funding this,” Holcomb said.

By the time the grants expire, court administrators hope to have backlogs cleared or see a county budget big enough to keep all hands on deck.

WCPO is a content partner of the Journal-News.

Full Article & Source:
Butler County approves funding to address backlog of cases for in-home visit program

Disbarred Chesco Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Clients

(Holly Herman/Patch Staff)

by Holly Herman, Patch Staff 

WEST CHESTER — A 61-year-old disbarred attorney pleaded guilty in the Chester County Justice Center to theft of over $1 million from former law clients.

Thomas Schindler remains free on $50,000 bail to await sentencing for failing to plead guilty to theft from former clients who fired him for their divorce.

Schindler was charged with theft of nearly $1 million from former clients who hired him for a divorce case, according to prosecutors.

The charges stemmed from a 2018 financial agreement where he failed to make required transfers of proceeds from the sale of their Easttown Township home.

“Thomas Schindler misused his power and took advantage of his clients at vulnerable times in their lives,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.

“They came to him looking for guidance, and he betrayed that trust for his own selfish gain. It is especially disheartening when those who take an oath to uphold the law are the ones who violate it.”

According to prosecutors:

In November 2021, detectives received a complaint regarding retainer money given to the defendant by a client who hired him as a defense attorney.

The victim paid the defendant $95,000 in August 2019 for representation in a criminal matter.

Detectives discovered that the victim was never paid the $84,000 balance owed to him at the time of the defendant’s disbarment despite numerous attempts and requests by the victim and his new attorney.

Full Article & Source:
Disbarred Chesco Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Clients

Smethport caretaker accused of financial exploitation

COUDERSPORT — The Coudersport Borough Police Department arrested a home health nurse on a felony warrant Wednesday.

Amber Lynn Berlin, aka Amber L. Burdick, Amber L. Johnson, is alleged to have removed five jewelry rings and a black/blue jewelry bag all valued at $3,000, between January 2000 and March 2001, from the private residence of the victim, a 70-year-old male living in the Borough of Coudersport, Potter County.

Berlin is also accused of using the victim’s credit cards to make 27 unauthorized purchases and or transfers, totaling $4,037, between September 2021 and December 2021.

She was arraigned Wednesday before District Justice Kari McCleaft and remanded to the McKean County Jail on $15,000 bail on the following charges, all third-degree felonies: One count of financial exploitation of older adult, two counts of theft by deception, two counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of theft, two counts access device fraud. She is also charged with one misdemeanor access device fraud count, a third degree offense.

A preliminary hearing with Magisterial District Judge James L. Hawkins is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

Full Article & Source:
Smethport caretaker accused of financial exploitation

Monday, November 28, 2022

Texas woman scams Indiana man out of $1.2 million

Story by Matt Christy

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. - A Fort Worth, Texas, woman is accused of scamming a New Palestine man out of more than $1 million over a 16-month period in which she lied to him about medical expenses but instead used the money he sent her to gamble at Oklahoma casinos.  

Lorraine Marie Rew

According to Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, Lorraine Marie Rew, 46, was arrested in Texas on Nov. 16. She has been charged with one count of corrupt business influence, a Level 5 felony, and 10 counts of counterfeiting, all Level 6 felonies. 

Court documents reveal that Rew met and befriended the New Palestine man on a social media platform and that the two began a relationship. From October 2020 through February 2022, Rew had the man send her approximately $1.2 million.

The man reportedly gathered the funds to send to Rew by drawing from his personal IRA, a mutual fund, checking and savings accounts, along with using cash advances and personal loans.

Rew reportedly had told the man that she needed the money in order to pay for her daughter’s serious surgical procedures and expensive medications along with heart medication for herself. Rew claimed she had to pay the costs upfront but that her insurance would reimburse her later and then she could repay the man. She even made fake email accounts pretending to be her employer and promised the man that reimbursement would be forthcoming.  

A postal inspector found no record, however, of Rew using the money to pay for medical expenses and investigators learned that neither Rew nor her daughter had accounts with the hospital.

Instead, investigators discovered that Rew was using the money to finance her lifestyle, including frequenting casinos in Oklahoma. Over a two-year period, Rew visited one of the casinos 167 times and the other casino 157 times over a six-month period.

"Sadly, this is a case in which the victim's heart was in the right place and the alleged perpetrator took advantage of that," said Prosecutor Eaton.

Rew is currently in Tarrant County Jail in Texas but Eatan stated he has already filed paperwork to extradite Rew to Hancock County where she will face her charges.

Full Article & Source:
Texas woman scams Indiana man out of $1.2 million

Former caretaker from St. Marys accused of stealing client's money, identity

By Brianne Fleming

ST. MARYS — A St. Marys woman is facing charges after she allegedly used the identity of a care-dependent client to open a credit card and withdraw funds from the victim’s bank account.

Tiffany Jane Thomas, 42, is charged with accessing a device issued to another person who did not authorize its use, a first-degree misdemeanor; two counts of financial exploitation of older adult or care-dependent person; two counts of identity theft and two counts of theft by unlawful taking –moveable property, according to a criminal complaint filed at Magisterial District Judge Mark Jacob’s office Nov. 21.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, City of St. Marys Police received a call from the victim in this case on Oct. 7 concerning alleged fraud and identity theft.

Between May-October 2022, Thomas — who was employed as the caretaker of an older, care-dependent person — allegedly stole the victim’s information, including their driver’s license and social security number, using the information to open a credit card and make a cash withdraw from the victim’s bank account, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The investigation revealed that in May 2022, Thomas did allegedly open a Capital One credit card using the victim’s name, date of birth and social security number. She secured $290.26 in charges on the card, and reportedly attempted to make several credit increases using the victim’s identity information.

In October 2022, Thomas also allegedly used the victim’s driver’s license, which was stolen at an earlier date, at a drive-thru of a bank in Clearfield to make a $400 withdraw from the victim’s bank account. Thomas was later found to allegedly be in possession of the victim’s driver’s license, as well as other financial documents, valued at $30, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The total restitution requested is $720.26.

Thomas’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Jacob’s office.

Full Article & Source:
Former caretaker from St. Marys accused of stealing client's money, identity

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Love in the aisle: Arizona couple gets married at grocery store where they first met

By Lindsey Ragas

PHOENIX - People often talk of "match made in heaven," but in this particular case involving an Arizona couple, it's a match made in a grocery store.

For 78-year-old Dennis Delgado and 72-year-old Brenda Williams, their love story began at the condiment aisle at a Fry's store in Casa Grande on Aug. 3, 2021.

"I'm walking down the aisle, and someone comes up behind me, and says…" said Brenda, recounting what happened that fateful and looking to her now-husband to finish the story.

"You know the best thing about wearing a mask?" Dennis said, finishing the story of their first encounter.

"We stood there, and we found out we had kind of had a similar situation," said Brenda.

Dennis, as it turns out, was getting olive oil mayonnaise, and Brenda was grabbing Miracle Whip from the shelf, and that was the start of a miraculous love story.

"We visited, exchanged phone numbers, and then about a week and a half later, we started," said Dennis. "I said, ‘what are you doing this Sunday?’"

Then, something big happened for the couple in April 2022.

"He came to my house, and he said I'm going to go get you an engagement ring,' and I said ‘yes, sure,'" Brenda recounted. "So he left, and a couple hours later, I called him and asked ‘have you been drinking?’"

At Brenda's request, Dennis proposed in that same aisle where they met.

"I said we met there. He wants to propose to me, and I want him to do it in the condiment aisle where we met," said Brenda.

At this point, Fry's was on board, and said they can get married there as well. On November 19th, Brenda walked down that same aisle, and this time, she and Dennis got married.

For both Brenda and Dennis, it's a unique love story that's given them each purpose, after both experienced loss.

"I’m old, he’s old," said Brenda. "There’s not that many more years left for either of us. That’s genetically true, and I said, 'well, we don’t have that many more years. Let’s just do something dumb and stupid. Go out with a bang."

For two people who started out looking for condiments and nothing else at a grocery store aisle, they found love instead.

"I wanted people to see that there is hope. Especially us older folks, especially in the condiment aisle for us," said Brenda.

Full Article & Source:
Love in the aisle: Arizona couple gets married at grocery store where they first met

Anne Heche’s Son Homer, 20, Reveals His Mom Left Behind ‘Modest Bank Accounts' And No Real Property As Fight With Late Actress’ Ex James Tupper Heats Up

By:Ryan Naumann

Late actress Anne Heche’s son Homer has gone back to court to fight his mom’s ex James Tupper as they fight over both control and how much the estate is worth, has learned.

According to court documents obtained by, Homer has objected to James’ claim Anne left behind millions. 

Homer said his mother had a few “modest bank accounts,” royalty payments and other income, a corporation in her name that was used to collect money from acting jobs, membership in her podcast, personal property of “modest value,” and the interest in the future projects from her forthcoming memoir.

Further, Homer revealed that Anne had claims for damages against James stemming from James’ alleged breach of contractual obligations related to their co-owned real properties that have since been sold. 

Homer said his initial estimate that his mom’s estate was worth around $400k is accurate.

As previously reported, after Anne’s death in September, Homer went to court asking to be named the administrator of her estate.

He said that there were only 2 beneficiaries to the estate. The two were listed as Homer and his younger brother Atlas, who Anne had with James.

James objected to Homer being named the administrator claiming Anne had emailed him a copy of her will during their relationship. He said she named him as the person to control the estate. Homer scoffed at the suggestion and pointed out the will was not signed by his mom — which is required legally. 

James has since claimed Anne’s estate is worth at least $2 million and not $400k as Homer said.

Homer said the $400k estimate is based on, “a review of [Anne’s] most recent tax returns (rounded up to the nearest hundred thousand dollar).” He revealed that Anne did not have any interests in real property at the time of her death.

The two are set to face off in court to battle it out over the estate.

As previously reported, Anne’s estate has been hit with several creditors’ claims including one by her ex-boyfriend Thomas Jane who said he’s owed $150k.

Full Article & Source:
Anne Heche’s Son Homer, 20, Reveals His Mom Left Behind ‘Modest Bank Accounts' And No Real Property As Fight With Late Actress’ Ex James Tupper Heats Up

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Wendy Williams makes 1st appearance since wellness center stay: exclusive photos

by Suzy Byrn

Wendy Williams is doin' OK these days. After a recent reboot at a wellness center, she made her first public appearance. (Photo: Wendy Williams/Calvin G Productions)

Wendy Williams
sparkled in her first public appearance since her wellness center stay.

Yahoo Entertainment has exclusive photos of the former Wendy Williams Show host, 58, at her one-time radio station's annual WBLS Circle of Sisters event in New York City on Monday.

"Contrary to what the blogs and tabloids want people to believe, Wendy is recovering amazingly well [and] looks fabulous," says her publicist, Shawn Zanotti. "Being in the public eye is truly what Wendy loves."

Williams looked ready to dazzle the crowd in a shimmering low-cut jumpsuit with black furry boots. She had the full glam going as far as makeup and straight blond locks parted down the center.

The TV and radio personality clearly seemed happy to be back commanding attention at the center of the room — the first time in quite a while that she has graced the stage.

Williams, who stepped down from her talk show in 2021 amid health issues which then morphed into a battle over her finances, gabbed with the audience about personal and professional endeavors.

Williams said at the event she has lymphedema, or tissue swelling, specifically in her feet. "I refuse to get in a wheelchair though," she told the audience. (Photo: Wendy Williams/Calvin G Productions)

At the start, she talked about having lymphedema, which is tissue swelling, specifically in her feet. "I refuse to get in a wheelchair, though," Williams told the crowd. (She's been photographed by paparazzi using one on different occasions.) She also deals with Graves disease, an autoimmune disease, that causes overstimulation of the thyroid, which can lead to puffy eyes, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and elevated blood pressure.

Williams also spoke about her messy exit from her talk show, saying that as much as she loved being in her purple chair, she was "ready to do something new with my life. It was really becoming a burden after 14 years..." as the job was so much more than just getting glam to talk to about celebrities. She said helming the show bearing her name took a lot of work. Now, she can do anything she wants, or nothing at all. In the short term, her focus is podcasting — and she said it will finally drop in a few weeks.

While she hosts a podcast, she plans to travel. "I'm going to take a year of my life to fly and do and see things I've never done before ... while I'm young enough," she said.

She went on to share her hope that she'll fall in love again, after her bitter split from Kevin Hunter in 2019, but doesn't ever want to marry again.

"I can't wait to fall in love," Williams said. "I love men... But … I don’t want to get married. I want him to have already had kids. I want him to be someplace around my age — [between] 10 years younger than me and maybe 15 years older than me… And then we’ll be able to do things together, like if we want to all of a sudden want to fly from New York City… to France … for two days to have food or whatever, I want to be able. A man that [said], 'Come on, baby. Let’s do it. Do we fly private or do we fly public?'"

Williams became visibly emotional during the Q&A at the end when someone praised her for being a trailblazer, especially for Black women, and pressing on amid the turmoil and negativity put on her. "There are millions of us behind you holding you up," the person told Williams. "You keep going, Wendy, you don't give up." It took Williams a moment to find the right words, wiping away her tears with a tissue, and she thanked them for their support: "I appreciate you."

She also said it won't be her last sit-down like that one, promising, "I will definitely be back."

Full Article & Source:
Wendy Williams makes 1st appearance since wellness center stay: exclusive photos

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JQC Files Formal Charges Against Superior Court Judge Robert Reeves

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) filed formal charges against Middle Judicial Circuit Supreme Court Judge Robert Reeves on November 16, listing 58 counts of alleged misconduct based on complaints by attorneys and others that the Judge made derogatory remarks in the courtroom, engaged in sexual harassment, and made inappropriate use of his title.

The JQC’s Investigative Panel concluded that “Formal Charges should be filed for the purpose of determining whether Judge Reeves has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, and if so, whether he has committed willful misconduct in office, exhibited habitual intemperance, and whether his conduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice such that it brings the judicial office into disrepute.”

Charles Boring, Director of the JQC, who filed the notice of formal charges, requested that proceedings be instituted for the purpose of determining whether Judge Reeve’s conduct constitutes violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and if so, the appropriate discipline.

Judge Reeves was formally notified of the alleged misconduct and required to file a verified answer to these charges with the Clerk of the Georgia Supreme Court and to serve a copy to Director Boring within 30 days of notification of the charges. “Failure to answer the formal continued from page

charges shall constitute an admission of the factual allegations pursuant to JQC Rule 21 (A), according to the JQC document regarding the inquiry.

Reeves, who has been on the bench since 2007, serves as the Chief Judge in the Middle Judicial Circuit Supreme Court, which covers Toombs, Candler, Emanuel, Washington, and Jefferson Counties.

In the 60-page JQC document, several narratives of Reeves’ alleged misuse of authority are reported in a variety of situations, each divided by the nature of the offense. Improper and Intemperate Comments The JQC presented Reeves with 17 formal charges related to improper and intemperate comments that the Judge is accused of making while on the bench. In its charges, the Commission argues that Reeves “failed to act in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary,” but that the Judge “failed to establish, maintain, and enforce high standards of conduct, and to personally observe such standards of conduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

One instance which the JQC listed as evidence of these charges occurred when Reeves reportedly made an inappropriate remark to a Toombs County court attendee while giving instructions to the court attendees prior to excusing them for lunch. According to the JQC, Reeves had told the court attendees to remain seated while he finished his instructions. When an African-American male rose and began to leave the courtroom, Reeves is reported as saying, “Sir, you’re walking and I’m telling you to be still. Are you really that retarded?”

The JQC also lists an instance from March 18, 2022, as evidence for the charges, saying that Reeves made another inappropriate comment while presiding over a criminal calendar in Toombs County. During this instance, it is reported that a jailer asked the Judge when the court would be breaking for lunch, to which Reeves replied : “get the people (inmates) fed? You mean we have to feed these people (inmates)?” The report states that several supporters of the inmates were in the courtroom during this instance, and several became visibly upset after the comment.

In June of this year, Reeves allegedly publicly chastised a female attorney for the Middle Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office so intensely that she left the courtroom in tears. At the time of the event, it is reported that the attorney’s office was experiencing extreme staffing shortages, which was causing the attorney to have difficulty with the amount of paperwork required in preparation for the case. After the attorney left, Reeves is reported to have made a comment along the lines of “if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” Gender-Based Improper Comments According to the JQC, from at least 2016 through 2022, Judge Reeves allegedly engaged in a pattern of improper behavior that, at a minimum, gave the appearance of constituting sexual harassment and/or bias based upon the gender of various females involved in the Middle Judicial Circuit court system. Several instances of this improper behavior were also cited as evidence for the 20 formal charges regarding these comments.

In one instance, a female employee of the Middle Judicial Circuit’s Public Defender’s Office was walking down a one-way street near the office when Reeves reportedly whistled at her and drove his car the wrong way on the road to approach her. The JQC document stated that once reaching the woman, Reeves made a statement to the effect of, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing walking alone?” The employee, who is reported to be nicknamed “Miss America” by the Judge, warned Reeves that police often ticketed motorists for driving in the wrong direction on that one-way street.

Several instances of misconduct between Reeves and the female employee were listed in the indictment, including reported touching of shoulders, rubbing of the back, and attempted hugging that the female employee stated made her uncomfortable. According to the charges, it is suspected that these instances occurred so often that the employee no longer approaches Reeves alone, and has a coworker join her when conducting business.

Reeves was also reported to have told another female attorney that she needed to choose between being a full-time mother and a full-time attorney because she was unable to accomplish both tasks, as well as making comments about her husband’s back injury he received while on vacation, saying “if you didn’t do the stuff you see on TV…you know one foot on the nightstand and one foot way over here, he wouldn’t hurt his back.”

The charges also listed instances of reported comments made by Reeves about a female Assistant District Attorney’s weight and appearance. After learning of the woman’s participation in a local race, Reeves reportedly said to her: “I knew you would have to be doing something to keep in shape, or you would have started gaining weight.”

The JQC document stated that during these instances, Judge Reeves did, in the performance of his judicial duties, by words and conduct manifest bias and prejudice and engage in harassment, based upon gender. The JQC document also charged that he failed to be dignified and courteous toward a person continued from page

with whom he deals in his official capacity and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary. Other Alleged Improper Contact with Court Personnel The JQC presented 10 formal charges against Reeves for other instances of alleged improper contact with court personnel, which stemmed from incidents in which Reeves reportedly asked other court officials to alter their decisions for the benefit of Reeves’s acquaintances.

A few instances discussed reports of Reeves asking judges and solicitors to avoid taking action against defendants for the benefit of these defendants, with whom Reeves was acquainted.

In one alleged incident, Reeves reportedly told an Assistant District Attorney that she should press charges against a law enforcement official for his actions regarding a serious motor vehicle accident. The incident involved a defendant in Emanuel County who left the scene of an accident and later contacted a law enforcement officer with whom he was acquainted to assist as he turned himself into authorities. Reeves allegedly told the Assistant District Attorney that the officer waited too long to relay that information and that she should also charge the law enforcement officer with a crime.

Fundraising and Promotion of Advocacy Center A total of 11 formal charges were brought against Reeves for his participation in a 2015 promotional video for an area non-profit organization, an advocacy facility serving communities in the Middle Judicial Circuit. The employees of the organization regularly testify in the Superior Court of the Middle Judicial Circuit in cases involving child victims, including but not limited to, child sexual and physical abuse cases.

In the video, which the JQC reported was still available for viewing on the Center’s website in June 2022, Reeves appears onscreen with a banner that states, “Judge Bobby Reeves, Superior Court Judge,” as he discusses the benefits of the organizatoion’s work in judicial cases.

It is also reported that Reeves hosted a two-hour fundraiser for the area non-profit organization in December 2020, footage of which was still available online in June 2022. During this fundraiser, Reeves is said to have encouraged viewers to donate to the cause, and even called out lawyers, teachers, and other members of the community to donate. He reportedly challenged lawyers and attorneys to match every $500 donated by the public, and thoroughly discussed the role of the organization in his court.

By participating in these actions, the JQC alleges that Reeves “failed to establish, maintain, and enforce high standards of conduct, and to personally observe such standards of conduct so that the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary is maintained.” Also, the JQC alleges that Reeves lent the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others and conveyed and enabled others to advance the impression that an organization was in a position to influence him.

The JQC alleges that Reeves engaged in extrajudicial activities that cast doubt on his capacity to impartially decide issues and engaged in activities promoting an organization concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice for which he personally solicited funds during public fundraising activities.

What’s Next

Reeves will continue to serve on the bench unless disciplinary action is taken by the JQC or the Supreme Court. Once the Commission receives his response to the formal charges, a hearing will be held to determine whether the case will go to trial or be dropped. If the case goes to trial, any decision may be appealed in lower courts until it is overseen by the state Supreme Court, who will make the final decision. Because of this, the case may take up to two years to be concluded. Possible outcomes if the Judge is found guilty of these claims are retirement, censure, and suspension or removal from office.

Full Article & Source:
JQC Files Formal Charges Against Superior Court Judge Robert Reeves

Friday, November 25, 2022

Crane Operator Shares Heartwarming Story About Elderly Man Who Shows Up at Work Site Every Day

A crane operator gained something unexpected from working on a work site – a new friend.

It all began when Shawn Beveridge, a crane operator, kept noticing a man on a wheelchair sitting outside a  nursing home across the construction site where he was working.

The man seemed captivated by what he was seeing and consistently showed up every day at the same spot, just watching them build all day long.

“Since day 1 when I arrived on this job site I’ve noticed him sitting there every morning from 7am he takes lunch when we do and doesn’t leave until I shut the crane down and head out,” Shawn wrote in a now viral Facebook post about the man.

Shawn thought to himself, “he’s just a curious old man and wanting to enjoy his days outside vs being cooped up in his room.” But as he would later learn, there was more to this man’s story than meets the eye.

After a couple of days, curiosity got the better of the crane operator, and he decided to approach the man who was as usual across the work site and introduce himself.

Shawn learned that the man’s name was Harold and that he had been staying in the nursing home for seven years. Their first conversation lasted for two and a half hours and in that time, Shawn learned that Harold was nearing the end of his life.

“His heart valves are clogged and some disease has been eating at him for years,” he wrote.

Before his health failed, Harold worked as a crane operator for over fifty years, which explains why he liked to stay outside and watch them work.

“He said he enjoys seeing what he use to love to do for a living and never thought he’d ever be able to see or be around a crane again and let alone be so close to see one in action,” Shawn wrote.

Harold had two daughters and a son but unfortunately, none of them have paid him a visit ever since he came to live in the nursing home seven years ago. That’s when Shawn thought of making a deal with the man.

He told him that he would come and chat with him every day at the work site after his shift so Harold could critique his work. In exchange for his advice, Shawn would bring him a black coffee every morning and buy him lunch twice a week from wherever he wishes.

“He didn’t skip a beat before ABSOLUTELY! came out of his mouth. I guess I’m writing this post because if I would have never walked over to him I would have never gotten to know him. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to make this man’s last days enjoyable. Filled with purpose and to be able to help him smile again,” Shawn wrote.

Full Article and Source:
Crane Operator Shares Heartwarming Story About Elderly Man Who Shows Up at Work Site Every Day

This Bride's Four Grandmas Were Flower Girls in her Wedding

When wedding arrangements are made, the flower girl role is typically assigned to little children. While that is the norm, a couple who recently got married chose to take a different route – by asking their four grandmothers to walk as flower girls at their wedding! Thus, they have the cutest wedding photo book ever!

The post went viral, and the photographer had nothing but praises for the four women. She told Today Style: “I was not expecting the level of sass that these girls brought. Their energy all day was that of a little girl who was in the same position. It truly just goes to show that age is just a number.” Lyndsey told the HuffPost that the grandmas were all “ecstatic” when she asked them to be her flower girls. They gave an even bigger reaction than the other people who were included in the wedding.


This bride's 4 grandmas were the flower girls at her wedding, the photos are beautiful

Thursday, November 24, 2022


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Elderly Man Pushes His Disabled Dog on a Cart Every Day so He Can Still Go for a Walk

For an animal lover, there is no such thing as a ‘pet’ because for them, their domesticated animal is a friend, a loved one, a family. In fact, countless stories showing how much a pet means to its owner always appear from time to time. Yet, reading such stories has never failed to make someone smile.

In Vibo Valentina, Italy, you will see Tonino Vitale and his 13-year-old dog. Seeing them walking and exploring the city together will surely tug the strings of your heart.

Recently, while spending time in the city, Sabrina La Grotteria saw a remarkable sight! Apparently, Tonino is walking with Dylan, but not in the way an owner normally walks his dog. The kind and loving old man was pushing his loyal dog in a cart.

According to Tonino, Dylan is fond of taking afternoon walks. Unfortunately, due to arthritis (yes, even dogs can develop arthritis), Dylan had lost the mobility of his rear legs.
Because Tonino knew just how much Dylan loves walking around the city, the old man had decided to push him around in a cart. Although pushing a cart with an adult dog riding it seems to be a herculean task for an old man like Tonino, still Tonino does not complain. For him and his family, all that matters is that Dylan is alive and happy.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Man Pushes His Disabled Dog on a Cart Every Day so He can Still Go for a Walk

92-Year-Old Grandma and Grandson are on an Epic Road Trip

Since 2015, Brad Ryan has taken 92-year-old grandmother Joy to 62 of the country’s 63 national parks after she said she had never seen a mountain in person.

The conclusion to this amazing adventure is set for this year with a visit to the last national park on their list – the National Park of American Samoa.

The challenge to visit all US national parks began when Brad, a veterinarian student at the time, told his grandmother of his trip to the Appalachian Trail.

He was shocked when Joy, from Duncan Falls, Ohio, said that she had never once seen a mountain range, or had even gone camping!

She wished that she had the chance to go on a trip like her grandson, and Brad responded in the best way ever – he took his grandmother on the journey of a lifetime!

Brad said, “I felt bad that she was always living vicariously through my stories. And so just knowing that she had never seen deserts and mountains and the ocean and these incredible wild places on Earth, it just felt like a responsibility that I had to her to make sure that she had some memories to take away in her life story as well.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NM lawmakers prepare bills targeting financial exploitation

By Dan McKay

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, and Ellen Leitzer, co-founder of the Senior Citizens Law Office, participate in a discussion Tuesday about their bill to make it a criminal offense to exploit vulnerable people. The bill wasn’t endorsed in the committee hearing, but Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, offered a series of suggestions he said would improve the measure. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — With a 60-day session on the horizon, New Mexico legislators spent much of Tuesday exploring ways to recruit more police officers, combat organized retail crime and stop financial exploitation.

In a hearing at the Capitol, lawmakers presented a host of ideas to the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee for feedback as they prepare to file bills ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

Two proposals centered on the financial exploitation of elders or others vulnerable to abuse — one establishing a new criminal offense, the other providing for civil remedies.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, presented legislation that would create the crimes of financial exploitation of an adult who is older, vulnerable or disabled and unlawful use of power of attorney.

Stealing, of course, is already a crime, supporters said, but it can be difficult to prosecute cases in which a person has signed a legal document granting someone else authority over financial decisions.

“The consequences of financial exploitation can be devastating,” Padilla said. “New Mexico’s elders and vulnerable adults deserve protection from financial abuse.”

Feliz Rael and Ellen Leitzer of the Senior Citizens Law Office in Albuquerque said serial offenders prey on older people. Leitzer spoke about a client who depleted his $60,000 in savings after a younger woman picked him up at a senior center and promised a relationship.

“It’s really awful,” Rael said. Repeat offenders “are still out there preying on people.”

Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, presented legislation that would create a new cause of action allowing the filing of civil lawsuits under a Financial Exploitation Act. It would include incentives, she said, designed to encourage a potential defendant to repay the money quickly to avoid punitive damages.

Without the bill, Duhigg said, the state doesn’t have any “great legal tools” to address when a person who takes advantage of an older adult or person with a cognitive impairment.

The committee didn’t offer a unanimous endorsement of either bill. But members offered suggestions and potential technical changes that could be incorporated into the legislation before the start of the Jan. 17 session.

Also Tuesday, the committee heard proposals to:

Combat organized retail crime with a new law designed to target thieves who hit one store after another while limiting how much they take from each location to avoid more severe criminal penalties.

The legislation would establish penalties based on the total value of merchandise stolen, even if it was taken on more than one occasion.

Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said retail thieves are growing sophisticated enough to warrant the new law.

■ Revising rules in the state pension system to allow people to retire at their full salary if they serve long enough.

Rep. Eliseo Alcon, D-Milan, said it would help the state keep veteran police officers and encourage longer service without damaging the financial health of the Public Employees Retirement Association.

Full Article & Source:
NM lawmakers prepare bills targeting financial exploitation