Families hope the money can help combat an epidemic some say is just getting worse, as fentanyl claims lives and targets younger generations.
Opioids rocked households and seized people of all walks of life.
Kim Humphrey, a commander with the Phoenix Police Department at the time, thought he had it all.
“A marriage, a home, a wonderful life raising two sons,” he said. “It was really good.”
But a call about his 15-year-old son ignited distress that would span nearly a decade:
“‘My daughter goes to school with your son and she’s very concerned that he’s going to overdose,'” he continued.
A drug test confirmed their fear — it came back positive for opioids. The struggle spiraled and extended its grip to their second son.
“As a parent, we’re looking at this and saying, ‘We must be the worst parents on the planet,'” Humphrey said.
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It took Humphrey and his wife years to find a nonprofit support group called Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, also known as PAL, which he now leads.
“That was the first time that we were sitting in a room full of people who understood,” Humphrey continued.
The opioid crisis contributed to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. in two decades. At the epicenter — three major pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. A yearslong multistate lawsuit led to a historic $26 billion settlement over the next 18 years.
Now, some of that money is starting to come in. This year, by the end of August, 27 of nearly 50 states that filed lawsuits had received a total of $310 million. Of that, Arizona received $16 million of their more than $540 million settlement — money Humphrey hopes will trickle down to PAL, which is in dire need of financial assistance following the pandemic.
“What we do is this peer-to-peer support that has plenty of research behind it that it works. And it did for us,” Humphrey said.
Each state and county has a say in how the money is spent. In Wisconsin, a spending dispute temporarily blocked funds from distribution.
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Sara Whaley, a research associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the school put together five planning principles to help guide states on spending.
“This is the opportunity to kind of look at what you’re doing and where you’re investing money, and if there are any gaps,” she said. “One, is to spend the money to save lives. Two, is to use evidence to guide spending. Three, invest in youth prevention. Four, focus on racial equity. And five, create a fair and transparent process.”
She adds that the settlement includes basic payout guidelines.
“They are things like broadening access to naloxone or increasing the use of medications to treat opioid use disorder, enriching prevention strategies, improving treatment in jail,” Whaley said.
It’s treatment desperately needed as fentanyl fuels deaths and overdoses, with a holistic and smart spending approach.
Humphrey hopes families can find the peace his has now reached. Both his sons are now clean.
In this segment of “Pop Quiz,” Newsy’s “In The Loop” dives into whether or not you can fall in love with a fictional character.
In 1955, a woman by the pseudonym of “Miss A” wrote in asking for advice about a crush.
The response was: “I don’t know what you learned in college, but you are flunking the course of common sense. You have fallen for a piece of celluloid as unreal as a picture on the wall.”
One year later, that advice column was published again in an academic paper that coined the phrase “parasocial relationship,” which was defined as a “seeming face-to-face relationship between spectator and performer.”
Parasocial relationships have also been characterized as one-sided and basically imaginary, but they feel real, because as an audience member or a reader, we’re spending a lot of time with them.
They have since been the focus of around 250 empirical studies over the past seven decades, and most of them analyze audience relationships with real life media figures: like TV personalities, actors, musicians, or, in more recent years, social media influencers. And some studies have looked specifically at fans of celebrities like Justin Bieber or Elvis Presley. Fun fact: there are still more than 600 active fan clubs dedicated to Elvis Presley.
On a neurological level, we do know that the human brain is pretty good at experiencing imagined stimuli as if they were real. One study found that the auditory cortex in the brain can light up both when hearing a sound and when imagining that sound.
So, it’s not a huge leap to suggest these fictional or “imagined” parasocial crushes might feel like the real thing.
Fewer studies have been conducted on parasocial relationships with fictional characters; but the ones that exist have looked at anime characters, sitcoms like “Modern Family,” readers of the “Twilight” series and, specifically, everyone who had a crush on the fictional vampire Edward Cullen.
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In a survey of around 240 women, 44% said the series had no real influence on them, and that it was all just fantasy. But 31% said the series showed them “the type of true love and strong commitment they would like to have in their own romantic relationship.”
Researchers have described parasocial relationships as identity-forming, allowing “adolescents to crystallize their beliefs, preferences and expectations.”
Many researchers do note that parasocial relationships can lead to unrealistic expectations for real-life relationships, but others also saw them as “placeholders” for actual relationships that allowed people to romantically experiment.
Another real-world example of a parasocial relationship is when a man named Akihiko Kondo held an unofficial wedding ceremony to marry the holographic pop star Hatsune Miku. The marriage is not actually legally recognized, but it’s one of many around the world.
Skeptics can look at this as an example of something keeping him from making real-life relationships. In an interview with the New York Times, Kondo says he’s aware of how strange people think his attraction is. And while he knows that Hatsune Miku isn’t real, his feelings are — and he says he was able to pull himself out of depression and find a sense of love and solace because of it.
All of that goes to show that parasocial relationships with fictional characters can, and do have real-world impacts.
Companies have long capitalized on the appeal of parasocial relationships. And video games take this one step further, especially when you look at the entire genre of dating Sims, where players can virtually date fictional characters.
Dating Sims have made an estimated $570 million across several platforms. “Stardew Valley” is one of the most popular ones, letting players date and marry from a pool of 12 fictional characters. And as of this spring, the game has sold over 20 million copies.
The fandoms surrounding these games really confirm a lot of the past studies done on parasocial relationships. Players have described them as venues for escapism that provide a sense of autonomy and emotional safety, and that is especially true for queer gamers.
One person told Huffpost: “I get to live through the experience of not being seen as weird or an outcast for being ‘different’ in my gender identity and sexuality.”
It seems that our emotional attachments to fiction and pop culture are very real and can even have a purpose from giving us ways to form our emotional identities, providing venues for emotional escapism, as well as a way to explore and feel a real sense of love.
Michelle Hammer is a New York resident with schizophrenia, a serious mental disorder. She shares her journey.
Michelle Hammer wants you to know schizophrenia. To know the illness is to know her.
“I go, ‘listen, no couches were harmed in the making of this video.’… People with schizophrenia can have a job or actually speak to people or can do things themselves,” said Hammer.
Schizophrenia is a brain disease and patients’ symptoms run a spectrum. They can include negative symptoms like social withdrawal or psychosis, when someone is detached from reality. Usually it looks like hallucinations: Seeing or hearing something that isn’t there; or delusions: Fixed false beliefs that a person can’t change.
For Michelle it began in her teens with paranoid thoughts about her mother. And again at age 18 with her college roommate.
It would be three more years before she was diagnosed as schizophrenic.
“Things were up, things were down. And I ended up in the psych ward twice my freshman year and once my sophomore year,” Hammer said.
“Schizophrenia is a very serious psychiatric illness, but we can do a lot to help these people function and have a normal life,” said Dr. René Kahn, the head of psychiatry at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York.
He says Michelle’s experience is more common for female patients.
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RENE KAHN: Women in general have a better prognosis than men.
NEWSY’S LINDSEY THEIS: Why?
KAHN: One of the reasons may be that in women, it starts about five years later than men, meaning that their brain may have developed more and they may have matured more than in men.
THEIS: What are some of the biggest questions, right now, that are still out there? What are the unknowns that you’re trying to answer, you know, in the immediate future, the next couple of years?
KAHN: The biggest question still is ‘what is the cause or what are the causes of schizophrenia?’ Because we don’t know, and we really need to find out if we really want to cure the disease or prevent the disease.
With neither a cure nor prevention, doctors say medication is key for patients. That process is complicated.
Antipsychotic drugs are available to counter psychosis. But that is only one part of the illness.
“Finding the right meds probably took me about ten years, and I’ve probably tried about 20 different medications,” said Hammer.
Today Michelle’s life includes daily meds and frequent psychiatrist televisits to make sure they work and she’s still taking them. It also includes her partner, Carolyn. They married last year. And most recently, a new puppy.
“People kind of like treat people with schizophrenia — they’re always wondering, ‘who’s your support team?'” said Hammer. “They don’t think you’re independent at all.”
THEIS: So no caregiver?
THEIS: Just you.
HAMMER: I can take care of myself. I can do that. I’m a big girl, you know? I’m a big girl. I can do things, you know. I can do things.
THEIS: Does the schizophrenia diagnosis impact how you guys are as a couple in marriage?
CAROLYN HAMMER: If we’re talking and then like I say something and then I’m like waiting for her to respond, but she’s talking to like somebody else instead, it’s like, not bad it’s just like annoying. And I’m like, okay, I guess I’m going to say what I have to say again.
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Schizophrenia is rare. About 1% of U.S. adults have the mental illness. Compare that to one in five people who have an anxiety disorder.
But it reportedly shows up more often in the media. It;’s portrayed negatively and falsely, according to research.
THEIS: Was that ‘Violence and a dangerous person’ — is that common or is that more of the exception?
KAHN: It’s absolutely the exception.
Since 2019 Michelle’s recorded and shared video of her schizophrenic episodes. She wants to debunk the stigma that people with her illness are violent.
In them, she appears to speak to someone off camera — except no one is there. She describes this as being in another world.
“I am currently under seven medications and I’m still doing that. So if I wasn’t on any medication, I’d be doing that constantly, all the time,” she says.
She’s also started a business called Schizophrenic NYC. She sells original activist-minded clothing and art. They include colorful rorschach prints and t-shirts with hopeful slogans.
“I saw a guy on the F train and he was talking to himself in the same mannerisms in which I talked to myself and I was like, you know, what’s the difference between me and him? And the difference is that I have my support team of a family, friends and doctor, and if I didn’t have that, I would totally be in his position,” said Hammer.
Michelle says it’s a way to give a voice to her community, especially those who otherwise could not.
Newsy’s mental health initiative “America’s Breakdown: Confronting Our Mental Health Crisis” brings you deeply personal and thoughtfully told stories on the state of mental health care in the U.S. Click here to learn more.
Earlier this summer, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 267 to 157.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to urge passage of a marriage equality bill, saying “I truly hope, for the sake of tens of millions of Americans, that there will be at least ten Republicans who will vote with us to pass this very important bill.”
Work continues on the legislation behind the scenes, and Schumer praised two Democrats, Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, along with one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins for their work in putting together the legislation.
“I encourage my colleagues to continue these conversations,” Schumer said. “The American people support protecting marriage rights of same sex marriages by a large margin. So let’s get it done.”
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Earlier this summer, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 267 to 157. Forty-seven Republicans joined Democrats to support the bill.
County Public Administrator Robert Telles has been ordered to remain jailed without bail pending arraignment on a murder charge.
The DNA of a jailed elected official who was angered by past and upcoming newspaper stories was found on the hands of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who fought for his life while being stabbed to death outside his home, authorities said Thursday.
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County Public Administrator Robert Telles stood handcuffed in court with bandages on his wrists and police officers at his elbows while a prosecutor told a judge that Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German’s death was a planned attack by an assailant who left his own cellphone at home and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home.
“The published articles regarding a public figure, the public administrator’s office, ruined his political career, likely his marriage, and this was him lashing out at the cause,” Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Richard Scow said of Telles.
Scow said German was stabbed seven times. His body was found Saturday.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham called a police report detailing the attack “chilling,” including the discovery of wounds on German’s arms and DNA believed to be from Telles in German’s fingernails.
“He was fighting for his life,” the judge said of the 69-year-old longtime journalist. “It appears from this report that Mr. Telles was waiting … and called (German) over to the side of his own home.”
Graham ordered Telles, 45, jailed without bail pending arraignment next Tuesday on a murder charge.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson called German’s death “brutal and meaningless” and the case against Telles important for the community. Wolfson said a decision about whether to seek the death penalty will be made in coming months.
Earlier Thursday, police officials described Telles’ arrest late Wednesday after a brief police standoff at his home.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Telles was hospitalized for what the sheriff called “self-inflicted” wounds, hours after investigators served a search warrant and confiscated vehicles in the criminal probe of German’s killing.
Telles had been a focus of German’s reporting about turmoil, including complaints of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer in the county office that handles property of people who die without a will or family contacts. Telles, a Democrat, went on to lose his bid for reelection in the June primary.
Telles was identified early in the investigation as a person “upset about articles that were being written by German, as an investigative journalist, that exposed potential wrongdoing,” Las Vegas Police Capt. Dori Koren said.
In addition to Telles’ suspected DNA at the crime scene, Koren said investigators serving a search warrant at Telles’ home found shoes and a distinctive wide straw hat.
Koren said the items matched those worn by a person captured on security camera video wearing a blaze orange shirt and walking toward German’s home. He showed photos of the shoes and the hat and said they had been been cut up.
A murder weapon has not been found, but Lombardo said police have “distorted” video that shows the attack. He said investigators were attempting to enhance it.
Investigators said a distinctive maroon GMC Yukon Denali SUV was seen driving around German’s neighborhood Sept. 2, the morning of the killing, stopping several times. That vehicle, registered to Telles’ wife, departed Telles’ home around 9 a.m. and returned around noon, Koren said.
Police believe German was attacked about 11:15 a.m., and his garage door was open.
Telles was questioned by police Wednesday and then returned home, where he ignored reporters’ questions as he entered and did not respond to officers at his door until SWAT units and an ambulance arrived in the evening.
German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter who covered courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
Telles, a lawyer who practiced probate and estate law, won his elected position in 2018, replacing a three-term public administrator. He lost his June party primary to Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, who faces a Republican challenger in November. Telles’ term expires Dec. 31.
Clark County officials said Thursday that Telles was suspended and banned from county offices or property pending a review of his position as an elected official.
Charles has been preparing to take the throne for decades. At 73, he will be the oldest monarch to ascend the throne.
King Charles III has spent a lifetime in the public eye.
He became heir apparent when he was just 3 years old, when his grandfather King George VI died and his mother became queen in 1952.
After attending several boarding schools, he studied archeology, anthropology and history at Trinity College. He was the first heir apparent to earn a degree.
Charles spent five years in military service that included aviation training in the Royal Air Force. As he ended his service, he created the Prince’s Trust, a charitable organization.
He was an early environmentalist. In 1970, he delivered a warning about what he called “the horrific effects of pollution in all its cancerous forms.”
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Charles has advocated sustainability across the board in urban design, corporate production, organic farming and energy generation. And he’s keenly aware of the effects of climate change.
“As I’ve tried to indicate for quite some time, the climate crisis really is a genuine emergency and tackling it is utterly essential for Cornwall, the country and the rest of the world,” he said.
King Charles III has also been an outspoken critic of modern architecture.
The funding of his many charities came under scrutiny in July with reports one organization accepted a donation from Osama bin Laden’s family, and another received $3 million from a Qatari billionaire.
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His 1981 marriage to Diana Spencer was a global media event with hundreds of millions of people watching the ceremony on television. Their two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were born soon after. But the marriage didn’t survive amid intense media coverage and rumors of infidelities. The couple eventually divorced in 1996.
A year later, Princess Diana died in a car crash. Charles traveled to France with Diana’s sisters to bring her body back to England. He walked with his sons in her funeral procession.
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Several years later, he married Camilla Parker Bowles.
In February, the Queen announced Camilla would become queen consort when Charles became king.
Prenups can be a touchy subject, but the stigma is fading, with some experts saying it could be a smart move for anyone getting married.
Prenups, or pre-nuptial agreements, don’t always have the most positive connotation.
While they are legal agreements entered into by couples before marriage — often to keep finances separate despite being otherwise legally joined — they can be a touchy subject for couples starting to build a life together.
But that stigma seems to be fading away. A new report from The Harris Poll said that this year, 15% of U.S. adults surveyed signed a prenup, which is up from just 3% in 2010. It also found that 35% of unmarried people say they’re likely to sign a prenup in the future.
In the Americas, prenups go back to 17th century Canada, when French colonist men married women who came to the country with financial assistance from King Louis XIV. These women were so highly sought after that they were able to convince their husbands to sign prenups. This came at a time when men outnumbered women, so women had a leg up. Eventually that gender ratio evened out, and prenups went away.
They got popular again in the U.S. much later. A 1970 Florida case Posner v Posner ruled that prenups should be a standard practice.
One big possible factor in their usage today is the fact that millennials now have more debt than previous generations. One survey found that nearly three quarters of millennials have over $100,000 in debt on average, not including mortgages.
The most common debt is credit card debt followed by student loans. There’s also medical debt and personal loans.
Prenups can protect your partner from taking on your debt in the case of death of divorce. In some states, your spouse can be held accountable for all of your debt acquired during the marriage.
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Kelly Chang Rickert is a family law attorney in California who specializes in prenups, and she sees debt come up in divorce cases all the time.
“It’s not unusual for me to have a divorce where one side has a Neiman Marcus card and charged up $70,000, and the other side… they are responsible for half the debt because it was acquired during the marriage,” Chang Rickert said.
But the breakdown of who’s responsible for what differs from state to state. For instance, some states are community property states, meaning unless you sign a prenup, everything acquired during the marriage must be split 50/50. That’s how things work in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
In other states, laws differ. There can be different rules around what makes prenups enforceable. For example, in Connecticut there’s a specific window of time between when the prenup is presented and when the marriage happens for it to hold up. So, it’s important to see what a state requires beforehand.
Another reason more people could be getting prenups is because they’re getting married later in life and have more assets to protect coming into the marriage. According to Pew, in 2019 the average age a man first got married was 30, and for women it was 28. That’s three years later for both men and women compared to 2003 and four years later than 1987.
“These days, a lot of people work for themselves,” Chang Rickert said. “If you’re a social media influencer or you’re an artist or you’re a writer, a lot of people make money off their creative efforts. So if they have a business coming into the marriage, a lot of them don’t want to share that in case it doesn’t work out.”
This leads to the question of how finances are split. This determines what a prenup could look like. In the 70s and 80s, it was common practice to put all your money into shared accounts with your spouse. But over the past several years, the number of married couples who keep some of their finances separate has risen.
Experts say if couples have a joint account for things they share, they can opt to keep everything else separate, and in the case of divorce, they’ll only have to worry about dividing the joint account. But it’s important to note that separate accounts won’t stay separate unless a prenup is signed stating that.
“Even if you don’t have a prenup, you kind of do: It’s called the law,” Chang Rickert said. “So if you don’t have a prenup, you’re just going by what your state law says. California says community property, so your debt is my debt. That’s what the state law says. So if you don’t like that, then you should craft your own.”
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Rickert Chang recommends getting a prenup ideally a year before your wedding. She also points out a few pros of prenups. For one, the stereotypical scenario we see in movies where a rich guy asks his fiancé to sign a prenup — it could actually be a good thing.
“If you were smart about it, and the guy’s like, ‘I want you to sign a prenup saying I don’t want community,’ then what you could do is you can negotiate it,” Chang Rickert said. “You could be like, ‘Fine, I won’t touch your stuff, but in lieu of that, I would like 50,000 a year or 1,000, 100,000 a year,’ and that way you can negotiate, and you can actually get money by agreeing to sign a prenup.”
There’s also certain professions where it’s strongly encouraged to protect the other person.
“Definitely lawyers or doctors, I think you should always get prenup,” Chang Rickert said. “Not just only because it’s my business — I don’t want you taking half of it, but also it’s a business that I can get sued on. So, I would like to protect you from any lawsuits that I might get.”
As prenups have become more common, more people have dug into this topic on social media platforms like TikTok. Chang Rickert has an account of her own where she educates people on prenups to help break down myths and stigmas, including that they aren’t just for rich people and not just in case of divorce.
Now, there aren’t necessarily more divorces now. CDC data shows that divorces declined between 2000 and 2020.
However in the case of a divorce, not signing a prenup could really pile on to the cost of divorce, which can already be pretty high, costing between $15,000 to $20,000 on average.
As a lifelong resident of Lafourche Parish in southern Louisiana, Jeanne Gouaux knew the storms that cut through the region demanded preparation. She had wind and hail insurance, a solid savings account. But it wasn’t until Hurricane Ida’s 150-mile-per-hour winds peeled back part of her roof last August that she experienced the fury — and its aftermath — up close.
“In a matter of one day, one storm came through and knocked out everything I worked so hard for all these years,” said Ms. Gouaux, a single mother of four and director of pharmacy for a surgery center near her home in Lockport, La.
With the cost and frequency of weather-driven disasters on the rise, girding your financial house for such a catastrophe — to the extent that you’re able — is increasingly crucial in parts of the country.
damage to residences, businesses and municipalities, according to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
too weak (or simply unenforced) to withstand damage.
But climate shifts are “supercharging the increasing frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather that lead to billion-dollar disasters,” said Adam Smith, the climate scientist who led the NOAA analysis, “most notably the vulnerability to drought, lengthening wildfire seasons in the Western states and the potential for extremely heavy rainfall becoming more common in the Eastern states.”
“It hints that the extremely high activity of recent years is becoming the new normal,” he added.
Ms. Gouaux, 45, had a bad feeling about Ida. In a prescient move, she packed up her family and, for the first time, left her home before the storm hit.
state program — while the home was gutted and repaired. Only in June, after 10 months, was the family able to partly move back in. With the house incomplete, meals are still cooked in the camper.
went bankrupt, causing the state guarantor to take over claims, gumming up an already slow process. It took nine months to collect her first insurance check.
Not all households have the wherewithal to prepare themselves for the worst. But there is some safeguarding that everyone can attempt. Here’s where to start:
tools can provide a starting point for assessing your home’s risk to earthly hazards.
Risk Factor has created a user-friendly tool that outlines flood, fire and extreme-heat risks (and soon other perils, including wind) for most homes across the country. Plug in an address, and it drills down to the property level, illustrating potential hazards. For example, it can show the probability that a property might flood, where the water is likely to pool, the damage it might cause and how much repairs might cost.
hazard maps for earthquakes, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Flood Insurance Program maintain flood maps (which also determine whether a home with a federally backed mortgage is required to have flood insurance). The flood program has recently overhauled its rating methodology, called Risk Rating 2.0, but you’ll have to contact a flood insurance agent who can share more about your property’s unique risk, said Jeremy Edwards, a FEMA spokesman.
You may be able to find more local hazard information, too. Californians, for example, can enter their address into the MyHazards website. And if you’re new to a community, talk to neighbors.
you can do to minimize damage if a flood or fire strike. The costs of mitigation will vary, but it may reduce your insurance premiums. Some insurers, for example, provide meaningful discounts in hurricane-prone regions after homeowners install roof braces or straps, said Alyssa Bourgeois, an insurance producer with MarshMcLennan in Metairie, La.
The Risk Factor website provides suggestions for hazards facing specific properties, and many regions have programs offering residents financial help to harden their homes against specific hazards, though funding is often limited.
Evaluate insurance needs. The insurance market varies greatly by locality and the hazards inherent to the area. Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not cover all hazards. Floods and earthquakes always require separate coverage. Wind and hail (hurricane) coverage may carry its own deductible as part of your homeowners’ insurance, or it may be a separate policy, at least in certain areas. Wildfires, meanwhile, are often incorporated into many policies, experts said.
Flood insurance (see Ann Carrns’s guide here) is generally available through the National Flood Insurance Program, which FEMA manages. Most Californians buy earthquake coverage through the California Earthquake Authority, a nonprofit entity created through state law to provide policies through its member insurers.
enough coverage to replace your property — that is, to rebuild it, not what you’d pay to buy it again, said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group.
But many households in the highest-risk areas, including hurricane-prone states like Louisiana and Florida, are having trouble finding affordable coverage as insurers exit the market in droves.
Jude Boudreaux, a financial planner in New Orleans, said he receives calls weekly from clients questioning whether they should continue living there given the increased insurance costs. “A lot of carriers are leaving Louisiana, so people with policies are getting nonrenewal notices, and there are fewer choices out there,” he said.
Until rates stabilize, many people are resorting to the usual strategies to keep costs manageable, like increasing deductibles and reducing some coverage, including on “other structures” such as garages and personal property.
cars and other vehicles. Comprehensive auto coverage, required by auto lenders, generally provides protection against natural disasters. But older, low-value cars may not have comprehensive (and it may not be worth the cost anyway). “In those cases, we’d recommend setting aside the amount of the premium you’d pay each year into a savings account instead of giving it to the insurer,” Mr. Heller said.
home inventory spreadsheet, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a related app, and there are other inventory apps as well.
The least time-consuming method might be to walk through each room of your home with your mobile phone’s video camera, narrating the contents along the way. Don’t forget to open up closets, cabinets and drawers, as well as storage spaces and the garage. Then email the file to yourself, or store it securely online (and perhaps on an external hard drive).
There’s real money at stake: Ms. Gouaux was able to recover only roughly $14,000 of the $53,000 in contents coverage on her wind and hail policy.
“The night we left, someone posted: Make sure you take photos of all the rooms,” she said. “We didn’t do a good job. By the time we got back, everything was all over the place, and it was very hot.”
fireproof and waterproof box. Consider storing electronic copies on an external hard drive (using password protection) or in the cloud.
FEMA’s financial emergency kit has an exhaustive check list of what to gather and protect, along with a 41-page emergency financial first-aid kit that can be filled out online and stored in a secure place. The American Red Cross has a version of its own.
If you have to leave your home, experts suggest taking key documents with you in case you need to file a claim with your insurer or apply for FEMA assistance.
Keep emergency funds. Having access to money for any basic needs is also something to consider. If there’s no electricity and A.T.M.s aren’t working, you’ll probably need cash. Stash some in a safe place.
And if you receive any federal benefits through paper checks, now is the time to switch to automatic electronic deposits. Ditto for any other payments you may receive by mail.
take. Mr. Boudreaux, who has lived with the threat of hurricanes for most of his life, said to walk through your home and think about what’s irreplaceable — it probably fits into a plastic box.
“Define what those things are, or create a list so if someone knocked on your door and said, ‘The fire is coming in 30 minutes’ — what would you take?” he said. “It’s also good life perspective exercise.”
The celebrity couple were officially married last month in Las Vegas, which Lopez shared with fans in her “On the J Lo” newsletter.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck said “I do” again this weekend.
But instead of in a late night Las Vegas drive-through chapel, this time it was in front of friends and family in Georgia, a person close to the couple who was not authorized to speak publicly said Sunday.
According to People Magazine, the wedding was held at Affleck’s home outside of Savannah, Georgia, with all of their kids present for the proceedings on Saturday.
The celebrity couple were officially married last month in Las Vegas, which Lopez shared with fans in her “On the J Lo” newsletter.
“Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient,” Lopez wrote last month, signing off as Jennifer Lynn Affleck.
Lopez, 53, and Affleck, 50, famously dated in the early 2000s. They starred together in 2003’s “Gigli” and 2004’s “Jersey Girl” and became engaged, but didn’t wed at the time.
Paparazzi has feverishly trailed the couple since they rekindled their romance last year, from the earliest stages of the courtship, to their red carpet debut at last year’s Venice International Film Festival and their recent honeymoon in Paris.
Representatives for the couple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.
A jury found the Senate Majority PAC made false, defamatory statements against Moore in an ad highlighting sexual misconduct accusations against him.
A federal jury awarded Republican Roy Moore $8.2 million in damages Friday after finding a Democratic-aligned super PAC defamed him in a TV ad recounting sexual misconduct accusations during his failed 2017 U.S. Senate bid in Alabama.
Jurors found the Senate Majority PAC made false and defamatory statements against Moore in one ad that attempted to highlight the accusations against Moore. The verdict, returned by a jury after a brief trial in Anniston, Alabama, was a victory for Moore, who has lost other defamation lawsuits, including one against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
“We’re very thankful to God for an opportunity to help restore my reputation which was severely damaged by the 2017 election,” Moore said in a telephone interview.
Ben Stafford, an attorney representing Senate Majority PAC, said in an emailed statement that they believe the ruling would be overturned on appeal.
Moore, a former Republican judge known for his hardline stances opposing same-sex marriage and supporting the public display of Ten Commandments, lost the 2017 Senate race after his campaign was rocked by misconduct allegations against him. Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post and said Moore sexually touched her in 1979 when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Moore denied the accusation. Other women said Moore dated them, or asked them out on dates, when they were older teens.
The accusations against Moore contributed to his loss to Democrat Doug Jones, the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in a quarter-century. The seat returned to Republican control with the 2020 election of Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach.
Senate Majority PAC funded a group called Highway 31 that ran a $4 million advertising blitz against Moore.
The lawsuit centered on one TV commercial that recounted accusations against Moore. Moore’s attorneys argued the ad, through the juxtaposition of statements, falsely claimed he solicited sex from young girls at a shopping mall, including another 14-year-old who was working as a Santa’s helper, and that resulted in him being banned from the mall.
The advertisement began with: “What do people who know Roy Moore say?” It followed with the statements “Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden mall … for soliciting sex from young girls” and “One he approached was 14 and working as Santa’s helper.”
Wendy Miller has previously testified that she met Moore when she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the local mall. She testified Moore told her she was pretty, asked her where she went to high school and offered to buy her a soda. He asked her asked her out two years later, but her mother told her she could not go.
Moore’s attorneys argued the juxtaposition of statements in the ad painted Moore in a false light and falsely made it look like he was soliciting sex from girls at the mall.
“In their ad they strung quotes together to make a single statement. That’s what the jury found offensive. They got up and lied and said they didn’t intend that,” Jeffrey Scott Wittenbrink, an attorney for Moore, said.
The Senate Majority PAC had argued the ad was substantially true and that there were widespread reports about Moore’s inappropriate behavior at the mall. An attorney said they planned to appeal.
According to a Thursday court filing from Senate Majority, a Gadsden police officer who worked as security at the Gadsden Mall in the late 1970s — J.D. Thomas — testified that he told Moore not to return to the mall after receiving complaints from store managers that Moore was asking out teen employees or making them uncomfortable. Moore maintained he was never banned from the mall.
“No amount of deflection or distraction from Roy Moore will change the fact that multiple individuals testified under oath to corroborate credible accusations against him. Many others have come forward to make their allegations public, at serious personal cost. We do not think this verdict is the right decision, but we believe the facts are clear and this ruling will be overturned on appeal,” Stafford, an attorney representing Senate Majority PAC, said in an emailed statement.