Daniel Stark Law Blog

December Charity of the Month – Voices for Children of Brazos Valley

by Jennifer Mathis | December 1st, 2016
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Tradition of Giving

There was once a very poor man with three daughters.   Because he could not afford a dowry, his daughters could not marry.  Their father could not support them and began considering selling them into servitude.  But, a bishop learned of the girls’ circumstance.  One night, the bishop secretly dropped a bag of gold down their chimney.  The bag of gold fell into the eldest daughter’s stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry.  The next night, another bag of gold fell down the chimney.  And again on the third night.  The family received one bag of gold for each daughter so that she could have a dowry.  And that is how the legend of Saint Nicholas began, a kind bishop known for helping the poor and giving secret gifts.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and many traditions.  But, perhaps the oldest and most important tradition that we can observe this year is the tradition that started with Saint Nicholas in 4th century Turkey: the tradition of giving.  This holiday, let’s come together to support our community’s most vulnerable children.

Daniel Stark is proud to announce that its December charity of the month is CASA of Brazos Valley.

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CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.  The organization advocates for children who have been abused or neglected and removed from their homes.  These children are typically placed in foster care or with relatives.  This is a traumatic time for most children, so CASA helps navigate each child through the foster care system and into a safe, permanent, and nurturing home as quickly as possible.  Each volunteer is assigned to one child or sibling group at a time.  That volunteer follows the children throughout the duration of the case and reports any concerns to the court. Because of this individualized approach, CASA is poised to detect and solve problems early, avoiding placement changes, court delays, and additional court hearings. Having a CASA on average shortens a child’s time in the foster care system by seven months.  Because each CASA is an unpaid, highly trained volunteer, you can be sure that every dollar donated will be put to use towards the benefit of the children.  More than 85% of funding goes directly to the youth through special initiatives or by recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers.

Each year, CASA provides more than 7,500 hours of one-on-one advocacy to abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and placed into foster care.  More than 750 children have been provided a CASA since they began serving the community in 2001.  CASA of Brazos Valley serves Brazos, Burleson, and Grimes counties.

If you would like to help CASA serve the children of our community, you can find out more information about CASA at http://voicesforchildreninc.org/.  For those of you who would like to help but do not have the time to volunteer or the money to donate, Daniel Stark is making it easy for you to contribute to CASA this year.  All you have to do is like our Facebook page during the month of December, and Daniel Stark will donate to CASA on your behalf.  For every new like it receives on its Facebook page, Daniel Stark will donate $1 to CASA of Brazos Valley.

 

I am proud to be a CASA volunteer, and I hope you will join us in supporting this wonderful organization!

 

Social Security Disability: Don’t Wait Until Your Denied

by Cary Graham | November 29th, 2016
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If you’re one of the millions out there just trying to make ends meet every month, you know that a workplace injury can quickly put you in a tough spot. If you can’t work, you don’t get paid, making it difficult for you and your family to get by.

When that injury turns into a permanent disability, the panic really sets in. Sure there are government safeguards in place to protect disabled Americans unable to work, such as Social Security Disability, but statistics tell us that two-thirds of initial applicants get denied those benefits. So where do you turn when it seems like every door is shutting in your face?

At Daniel Stark, we’ve been helping disabled Texans unable to work get the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve for years. Most often, they turn to us for help when their initial application has been denied. We’re always glad to offer that assistance, but you don’t have to wait to call us until you’ve been denied. You can call us to help with your initial application as well. After all, your goal is to secure benefits as quickly as possible. Why wait until you receive a denial notice to get the help you need?

If you have questions about your Social Security Disability application, we’d love to answer your questions free of charge. Just give our Social Security Disability attorneys a call today for a free consultation. You deserve benefits. Take the first step to securing them by calling Daniel Stark today.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

by Bryce Smith | November 22nd, 2016
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At Daniel Stark, the holiday season is our favorite time of year.  We love our clients and want to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday.  We all know are minds tend to wander as things get crazy around the holidays.  We believe it’s important to take a moment, breathe, and focus on Thanksgiving safety.  While we want everyone to have fun, we also want everyone to be safe.

Below we have listed some Thanksgiving Safety Reminders.  We ask that everyone take a second read over them as you prepare to welcome your family and friends.

  • Always pay close attention when children are in or near the kitchen. If a child wants to help with the cooking, let them stir or help with preparation (setting the table is a great way they can help and feel included). Children should never be allowed to use a sharp knife or left alone with access to the oven or stove.
  • Be extra careful when boiling water or frying food. Hot water and oil can cause severe burns and life altering injuries.  Hot oil is also a significant fire hazard.
  • Cook all meat to the proper temperature. Make sure that you always have an accurate meat thermometer on hand.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. Foods left out longer than 2 hours become breeding grounds for bacteria and can cause illness.
  • Wash your hands often, especially if handling raw meat.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms are functioning properly and at least one smoke alarm is near the kitchen.
  • Do not cross contaminate while cooking. Do not prepare raw meat on the same surface you are using to cut vegetables. Food borne illnesses are dangerous and can ruin everyone’s holiday weekend.
  • Set a reminder to make sure you never leave the oven on when you are done cooking.

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We hope you have reviewed these safety reminders.  Your Daniel Stark Family wishes you a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday.

The Questions All Accident Victims Have

by Cary Graham | November 22nd, 2016
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How much is your case worth? When will I get a settlement check from the insurance company? Will it cover my current and future medical bills? What about pain and suffering? If I sign with the insurance company, can I seek further compensation at a later date?

Simple, yet important questions like these are the reason accident victims give us a call after a serious accident. Could they find some of those answers online? Yes and no. Yes, there are answers to these questions online, but not for their specific situation. And the types of general answers you find online can often do more harm than good. The worst thing you can do is go into your injury claim with bad or incomplete information.

For years, we’ve offered all Texas car accident victims a free consultation with an attorney. That’s a chance for them to ask as many questions they might have and get the answers to those questions at no cost or obligation. It’s the least we can do for the communities that have given us so much over the years.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we’re happy to answer your questions for free so you can take the right next steps.

Mari’s Pecan Tarts

by Mari Williams | November 21st, 2016
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The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year.  In my family, food is at the center of every celebration, especially around this time of year.  I am the designated baker in my family, and every year, I am in charge of the pies, cookies, and sweet treats.

Although I have always enjoyed baking, it has definitely taken on a new meaning throughout the years.  The best part about the holidays, by far, is having the family come together.  I have three nieces – ages 16, 12, and 5 – who always help me bake, and I do what I can to get them involved in the process.  This includes simplifying some of my recipes.

My pecan tarts have quickly become a family favorite, and they are really easy to make.  I would call that a win, win!

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What You’ll Need:

6 ounces cream cheese

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¾ cups chopped pecans

What You Need To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease 30 tart tins or muffin cups and set aside.
  3. To Make Crust: In a medium mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Blend in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, forming a smooth dough. Roll into 30 equal balls and press one into each greased tin so it lines the bottom and sides, like a pie crust.
  4. To Make Filling: In a medium mixing bowl cream together 1/4 cup butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Stir in pecans. Fill each lined tin half full. Mixture will rise as it bakes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool in tins, then use the end of a table knife to flip each tart out of its tin.
  6. ENJOY!

Brittany’s Poppy Seed Loaf Delight

by Brittany Johnson | November 17th, 2016
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One of my favorite holiday traditions is helping my grandma in the kitchen. My passion for baking and cooking runs deep, and I attribute that love to my grandma. For many years, I have had the pleasure to stand alongside my grandma and watch her prepare wonderful meals for family and friends. My grandma actually co-authored the cookbook, Just What the Doctor Ordered, has been on a number of local cooking shows, and has taught crowds of people how to cook. She is known for many great recipes, but one of my favorites is her bread. At the holidays every year, I look forward to tremendous amounts of her baked goods, but my all-time favorite is her poppy seed bread. This poppy seed bread recipe is straight out of her cookbook, and it never disappoints. As stated at the top of the recipe, this is our family’s favorite holiday bread, and it truly is great for gifts! Watching my grandma share her love for food has showed me that the best part is really about sharing and bringing everyone together. I am thrilled to be able to share this recipe with you, and I hope your friends and family enjoy this recipe as much as ours!

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Poppy Seed Loaf Delight

This is our favorite Christmas bread. Great for gifts!

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Bread:

3 cups flour

2 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ cups milk

1 1/8 cups vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1 ½ teaspoons almond extract

1 ½ teaspoons butter flavoring

 

Glaze:

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon butter flavoring

 

Combine all of the ingredients for the bread and mix 1 to 2 minutes with electric mixer. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9×5-inch loaf pans. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes, then glaze. Mix all glaze ingredients well and pour over warm bread while still in pans.

 

Michelle’s Sweet Potato Casserole

by Michelle Cable | November 15th, 2016
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It’s that time of year, folks. Time to whip out your holiday décor, to start planning your formal seating chart and to consider which casserole to bring to the table, literally. We can all attest to how easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season. But that is why I like Thanksgiving.  It sets aside time to pause amidst the craziness of life and to be thankful for all that I have been graciously given. Quite honestly, this should be more of a daily habit rather than a once a year kind of practice, but regardless I appreciate a full day focused on giving thanks among dear family and friends.

There is nothing that tugs on my heart strings more than a holiday tradition that is meaningful to a family. My favorite holiday tradition was making the bread rolls on Thanksgiving morning with my cousins. My sweet aunt had done this with her family, and she incorporated it faithfully every year the cousins gathered for Thanksgiving. There was no age limit for this procedure- if you could successfully roll the prepared dough with flour into 3 little balls to be placed in each muffin tin slot, you were hired included. It was something my cousins, who spanned a wide range of ages, looked forward to regardless of those angsty teenage years.

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Even though one family’s holiday tradition might not make sense to the family next door, the rich value of traditions runs deeper than the actual tradition itself. Traditions tie in family heritage, create lasting memories, strengthen the family bond and foster a sense of unity during the holiday season. Just like this roll making tradition was passed down to my generation, I plan to carry on this tradition with my children and their cousins because of the meaning behind it.

 

You might be asking yourself, “But I don’t have any holiday traditions?” Do not fret. You can incorporate and create your own traditions that are unique to your family.  My husband and I did just that by finding a purposeful and personal tradition that was special to us. When we thought of Thanksgiving, two words came to our minds- gather and thanks. We wanted to combine these words in a tangible way by reaching out to international students, who are thousands of miles away from their home and family. By gathering around the table and dining with international students, we saw we had created a meaningful tradition that we want to continue to practice.

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I heart Thanksgiving food, and would happily eat it all year round if possible. Making food a part of a tradition is always a plus, because a key to someone’s heart is through their stomach. This recipe is just that. It is one of those recipes that can be prepared in any season, with a touch of Thanksgiving vibes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups chopped pecans

1 tablespoon kosher salt to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan, and cover with water; salt generously. Bring to boil; reduce to simmer, and cook until easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15-20 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Heat over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and thin film covers bottom of pan, about 2 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat; add heavy cream, butter, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mash until smooth; season with salt. Transfer sweet potato mixture to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  3. Top casserole with pecans, then marshmallows. Bake 15-20 minutes, until marshmallows are lightly browned.

Serves 12

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Most Physicians Have Medical Malpractice Insurance

by Cary Graham | November 15th, 2016
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You would be hard-pressed to name a more anxiety rich environment than a surgery waiting room. With all that can go wrong with even a simple procedure, families can’t help but worry as they wait to hear how their loved one fared on the operating table. That worry is amplified when the doctor finally comes in to give the word. Unfortunately for many Texas families, that word isn’t always good.

Medical malpractice is more than a negligent act that causes injury; it’s a devastating blow to the victims, their families, and the communities they belong to. Over the years, we’ve spoken with victims who were hesitant to bring a medical malpractice suit against their medical providers for fear of ruining someone’s career. That fear, although admirable, is misplaced. Most physicians and hospitals carry medical malpractice insurance because they know that at some point, they may need to compensate a patient for an injury. No one is perfect, even in the medical profession. Medical malpractice insurance exists to protect the doctors and the patients, and the benefits of that insurance is what we seek in a medical malpractice case.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, we suggest you consult an experienced Texas medical malpractice attorney immediately. You deserve to be compensated, and an experienced attorney will work to make sure you are.

Trucking Accidents Can Scar Communities

by Cary Graham | November 8th, 2016
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There have been a number of accidents involving tractor-trailers in the news lately. Most involve injuries. Some are even fatal. The trauma a truck accident causes reaches far beyond the injuries sustained in the crash. A serious truck accident can impact an entire community, as well as change a family forever.

You would think that responsible trucking companies and their insurance providers would recognize that impact and do the right thing when it comes to compensating the victim, but that’s not always the case. The reality is trucking companies and their insurance companies are far too aware of what they may be liable for in a serious truck accident, and they and their legal teams will do everything within their power to minimize that injury claim.

If that were the end of the story, Texas truck accident victims would be in dire straits when it comes to their injury claim. Thankfully, they have a legal advocate they can turn to for help in Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers. Over the years, we’ve helped truck accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their injuries by standing up to the big insurance companies, and we’ll continue to do that for every person who comes through our doors.

If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, we’re happy to speak with you about your options free of charge with no obligation attached. You have options. You have rights. And we’re here to help you protect them.

November Charity of the Month – Well Aware

by Rebecca Malcik | November 1st, 2016
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We are very pleased to announce that our November Charity of the Month is Well Aware!

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Well Aware is an Austin based organization that works to bring clean water to communities in Africa that do not have access to clean water. Almost 1 billion people do not have access to clean water. Well Aware implements life-saving water systems to drive economic development and build self-sufficient communities. They use realistic and responsible planning and collaboration to help overcome the more than 60 percent of existing water wells that do not currently work.

Interesting Facts:

  • Children lose more than 400 million school days each year due to water-related illness, but when water becomes available at school, attendance dramatically improves.
  • Women spend an estimated 200 million hours collecting water every day. Providing clean water instantly enables women to spend time on income-generating jobs, caring for family, and going to school
  • Lack of clean water precludes any community development, but for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of $4 is returned in increased productivity.
  • Diarrhea from unsafe water is the second most common cause of infant death worldwide – a child dies every 20 seconds. Clean water with sanitation and hygiene reduces deaths caused by diarrheal diseases by an average of 65 percent.

Well Aware has a short documentary that has been selected in the Lone Star Film Festival on November 10th in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Please feel free to join them at the Lone Star Film Festival to view Well Aware’s mini-documentary by Brad Feeser, an Austin filmmaker with Hearty Films. It will be screened on November 10th at 3:30pm with a Q&A to follow. Tickets are $10 at the door.

This is a great opportunity to truly see the work Well Aware has done! View the movie trailer here:
https://vimeo.com/176936846

Daniel Stark will donate $1 to Well Aware for every new Like we receive on our Facebook Page during the month of November. As mentioned above, $1 creates an average of a $4 return in increased productivity. Every $10 donated brings 1 person clean water for 20 years! Help us bring clean water to the people who need it by liking our Facebook Page here. You can also learn more about Well Aware on their website, or on their Facebook Page.