Charity begins…everywhere!

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, or other important happenings…  


There are only seven days left until Christmas.  One week.  If we had the ability to go back in time a couple of thousand years to the little town of Bethlehem, around this time of year, we’d likely see a scurry of people traveling to their hometowns to get their taxes paid in time.  But if we were there a week later, we could witness the first Christmas miracle, the birth of Jesus.

These days, people seem to be a lot more cynical than they were even fifty years ago.  When you Google “Christmas Miracles” most of the hits you get are from people sharing the Christmas miracles they experienced many years (if not decades) ago.  Googling “Christmas Stories” yields numerous results of porch pirates and neighbors arguing over holiday lawn décor.  If you Google “Secret Santa Stories,” the results border on nauseating because you will get a lot of hits with the word “horror” in them, as in Secret Santa horror stories!

So, we kept on searching.  And searching.  And we believe we finally found the best Christmas miracles, or Christmas stories, or Secret Santa stories the year has, so far, to offer.  We hope these sweet stories will inspire you to share whatever you have with someone who may be less fortunate, and most of all, to remember the true meaning of Christmas…


A western Massachusetts Walmart was blessed by an 11-year old Secret Santa.  The Santa, Brady Procon, wanted to help “a kid less fortunate” than himself have a great Christmas.

Brady selected a random layaway ticket totaling $327.27.  When he read it, he said it was meant to be, considering what was in the order:  an XBox, a Playstation, and dinosaur walkie talkies – all items meant for a kid.

Now that’s the kind of selflessness we love to read about at Christmas!  Way to go, Brady!


In St. Clair Shores, MI, a Secret Santa dropped an extremely valuable coin into a Salvation Army red kettle last Wednesday.

The Salvation Army said the coin was a 1980 South African gold Krugerrand valued at approximately $1,300.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit claims that since 2013, a Krugerrand has always been found in a red bucket, always around the same time frame, and always at the same location.  Because of this, they believe the same mysterious benefactor has been generously helping them help others for the previous five years.

The most recent coin donation brings the total count to six coins that have an estimated value of nearly $7,400!  The Salvation Army will sell the Krugerrand to a coin dealer, and the money received will be used to help many people and families, including helping children receive toys for Christmas.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s 2018 Red Kettle Campaign goal is $8.2 million this year. This coin’s value goes a long way in helping them meet that goal.

Don’t you just love this sweet tradition of anonymous generosity? 



Up in New York’s Long Island, a Secret Santa there surprised several local Walmart shoppers by paying all of the layaway items that the store had on file.

The benefactor wished to remain anonymous, and in honoring the generous person’s wishes, the store refused to publicize the total amount paid.  However, they did say in a public statement, “When customers quietly pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded how good people can be. We’re honored to be a small part of these random acts of kindness.”

Wow!  Are you feeling warm and fuzzy yet?  By this generous soul blessing such a large number of shoppers, we’re sure a ripple effect has spread out the “Pay-It-Forward” feelings, and that much of Long Island will find a reason to be thankful this year.


A Secret Santa recently delivered a gift of $10,000 to a widower raising seven children by himself. The children are aged 1 through 16.

Dakota Nelson has been working three part-time jobs to make ends meet after his 38-year old wife of 17 years died in September.  Prior to her death, she had been in a coma since July following a rapid onset illness in which her body turned septic.

The Secret Santa anonymously sent $2,000 in gift cards and an $8,000 check.

Since then, a GoFundMe account has been set up for the family and has raised more than $40,000.

Mr. Nelson wrote a thank you note to the anonymous Secret Santa which the East Idaho News published, and which, in part reads:

“It is hard to write this as I am at a total loss of words. There is no way for me to accurately convey how grateful we are for this kindness. As I was surprised with the gifts, I looked at my kids – who will remember this event forever as the best time they had in a hard time. Thank you for being an example to my family on how to look out for the needs of others. I have noticed that through this ordeal, we have been blessed to see kindness replace the pain of losing a loved one whom I had been married to for 17 years. My children have noted this and have stated that they want to do the same for others.  I know no one makes it through life without some sort of event that is strenuous to the soul but I had not realized how much one can be happy even when the light is out and it is dark. Thank you for being that light.”

Wow!  What a sad story with such an amazing and uplifting end!  God bless the person or persons who instrumented this beautiful gift to this family.


Another Walmart, this time in Derby, Vermont, saw another Secret Santa who walked into the store on November 15 and picked up almost everyone’s tab — including the charges on layaway items for customers who weren’t even there.

One shopper approached the register with a delivery box, and a man asked her if she “was putting anything on layaway.” She said yes, but that she wasn’t done with her shopping yet. The man told her he’d wait until she was done and pay for everything.  The shopper chuckled and thought the man was joking, but when she returned, the man was still there waiting for her. And when her account totaled $199, he used his card to pay.  Another couple confirmed that the Secret Santa paid their $800 tab that day!

A store employee confirmed the anonymous shopper’s generosity, although Walmart officials declined to say how many people he helped or how much he spent.

Once again, we are humbled by the generosity of this kind stranger.  Now, this is the kind of Christmas story we were searching for.


Another Secret Santa made the holiday season a little brighter for hundreds of shoppers near Philadelphia after paying off nearly $30,000 worth of layaways at the Kennett Square Walmart.

“Someone walked into the store and paid off every single item on layaway,” a Walmart spokesperson reported.  Though many would like to thank the donor, Walmart says the Secret Santa wishes to remain anonymous.

Amazing!  These incredible acts of kindness to strangers are nothing short of Christmas miracles. 


If you’ve ever been in a position of financial hardship, especially around the holidays, you probably already know the feeling of hopelessness when you have to decide between paying the rent or having a Thanksgiving feast, or between keeping the electricity turned on or giving your kids a Christmas.  Whether you’ve endured hard times or not, though, reading about these beautiful stories of kind-hearted strangers warms our hearts and shows us all the magic of the Christmas season, and hopefully, it will inspire those of us who can afford to give something to reach in our hearts and our pockets to help a stranger in need this year.  That way, we can ALL be Secret Santas!  

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Might As Well Have A Seat

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…


Matthew 28:2 “Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.”

angelI’ve always been one of the nervous ones. You know, one of the guys who can’t seem to be still and paces back and forth on the carpet. I remember at my first law office job, I had a carpet that I bought at the local furniture store. It was a nicely designed oriental rug. After less than one year, I’d paced so much across one area in front of my desk that I actually it created a track. You could see my shoe marks going back and forth. I must have walked a hundred nervous miles.

Doing great things doesn’t always mean that you don’t stop and take a break.  Here we have probably one of the mightiest angels from Heaven who came to remove the stone from the face of Jesus’ tomb.

Once done, he decided to take a seat. I wonder what he was waiting around for. You think he would do something else really great like fly around the rock some. But he after doing what no human could do , he decided to have a seat on it. I don’t know if that reflects how small a task it really was for him, or possibly he just took it all in stride.  I like to think that he was just making it look easy.

Over these holidays we’re going to have many celebrations in glad experience. But we’re also going to see those around us who suffer from stress and anxiety in the hustle and busyness of the season.  I challenge you take it in stride.  You have opportunities to move great stones.  You also, though, need to make it look easy as you show the confidence of knowing Christ.

Have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

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We’re Closing In!

Yesterday marked the beginning of the 12 Days of Christmas…  Which means you only have two more weekends before it’s here!  Have a great one, friends!

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Seasons Greetings!  It’s Throwback Thursday again, friends, and for the last couple of weeks, we’ve left the Retro Bus parked and taken a different trip down memory lane as we’ve explored different ways to recreate that Old-Fashioned Christmas Season feeling we used to love so much.

As of today, there are officially TWELVE days left until Christmas!  But, have no fear!  It’s not too late to start making your own Old-Fashioned Christmas traditions so that when your little ones have little ones of their own, they will carry on the same things you’re doing with them.

Also, as tempting as it is, we’ll resist the urge to do a Twelve Days of Christmas song theme today.

There’s still plenty of time to watch some old favorite Christmas movies each night.  Leave the cellphones off, and gather around the TV snuggled in blankets with some popcorn, and make it a family tradition.  Some examples of favorite family Christmas classics are:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • A Christmas Story
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Elf
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Santa Clause (1, 2, & 3)
  • Home Alone (1 & 2)
  • The Polar Express
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Nutcracker
  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol

Now, to make Christmas movie nights a little more festive and carve a tradition out of them, how about gift-wrapping a pair of fun or silly Christmas-themed “movie socks” (to be worn only when watching Christmas movies) for each family member to open and wear before the movie starts, and be sure to serve some hot chocolate, mulled cider, or eggnog to wash down the popcorn.  Another idea to get the family in the mood for setting aside their cellphones and watching the movie:  Give everyone a giant candy cane to enjoy while they watch.

If you have kiddos, another fun annual tradition is making a gingerbread house.  For the little ones, they will have fun sitting down with the parents and being allowed to get their fingers dirty in the gooey icing and fun candies, such as gumdrops, m&m’s, Snow Caps, jelly beans, mini-marshmallows, etc. to decorate the house.

For families with older kiddos, instead of gingerbread, give them each a sleeve of graham crackers and access to all the accoutrements, and challenge each family member (mom and dad included) to make their own small “gingerbread” (graham cracker) house.  See how creative each person can be using not only the candies and icing purchased especially for this activity, but also things you probably already have around the kitchen, such as cereal for the roof’s shingles, pretzel sticks for the fence or window trim, or inverted ice cream cones for pine trees in the yard.  Don’t forget to play Christmas carols and serve hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while you create!

If gingerbread houses are a little much for your family to tackle, try enlisting everyone’s help to decorate gingerbread men.  (And, if you can’t stand gingerbread or aren’t much of a baker, just get a tube of sugar cookie dough and a cookie cutter shaped like a gingerbread man, and decorate those instead.)

To help get the whole family in the spirit, create some Christmas-themed meals, such as snowman-shaped pancakes for breakfast, some mini-pizzas for dinner made with refrigerated pizza dough cut out with Christmas cookie cutters, or a Christmas tree shaped fruit and veggie appetizer tray before dinner.

Of course, another simple idea to help spark the old Christmas memories is by utilizing the olfactory system (the sense of smell), such as burning pine tree, gingerbread, or candy cane scented candles around the house.

Who can forget loading the whole family up in the car and playing Christmas tunes while driving around town to look at light displays?  That’s a time-honored tradition that any family can adopt.  If your town has a special night of live signing in the park or a special once-a-year light show at a church or mall, that’s always a great finale to the light-seeking drive.

And to conclude today’s post – with only one more Throwback Thursday before Christmas – another fun tradition to start that’ll get everyone in the family in the mood for Christmas is either the 1st of December, or maybe the 13th (which starts the “twelve days of Christmas), or maybe even Christmas Eve, give everybody in the family matching Christmas-themed pajamas (and don’t forget yourself!).  You can wear them together on the nights leading up to Christmas while you watch Christmas movies, or you can wear them together on Christmas Eve as you prepare for the big day.

Well, that’s all for today, folks.  We hope you’ve been enjoying (and using) some of our hints for an old-fashioned Christmas.  And we look forward to seeing you back here again next week!

Remember, you still have 12 more days!

Oh!  And also… “And a partridge in a pear tree!”  (Sorry… We couldn’t resist!)






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Changing Mid-Stream

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.


Raymond P. from Bartow asks, “Early last year, I was rear-ended at a stop sign by a Lexus that was owned by a doctor and was driven by her son.  The son was a teenage kid who was on his cellphone at the time of the accident.  My injuries required me to get surgery on my lower back, and I am still being treated for my soft tissue neck injury.   I hired an attorney the week of the accident.  At first, he seemed to really care about me and my case.  But after my surgery, things cooled down.  The paralegal he had when I started doesn’t work there anymore, and the two that have come and gone since were very rude to me.  No one there seems to be able to tell me what’s going on with my case!  I deliver soda for a living, and because of the pain in my neck and back, I’ve had to miss a lot of work because I can’t sit in the truck for long periods on certain, more painful days, or because it hurts too much to lift the cases of soda out of the truck onto the dolly.  My attorney won’t even talk to me when I call or answer my emails.  Is this normal?  Should it take this long to get things settled?  Should I fire him and hire another attorney?”

Hi, Raymond.  I’m sorry about your injuries and about how you feel your case is progressing.  As a member of the Florida Bar, I cannot advise you to fire your attorney or say anything that could influence you to fire your current attorney.  Let me ask, when you call his office, do you ask to speak to him right then, or do you ask to make an appointment?  If you do not ask to make an appointment, do you leave a message and ask that he return your call?  It might be that your case is moving along on schedule, but you simply aren’t aware of what’s happening behind the scenes.  I encourage you to make an appointment and speak with your attorney to ask the status of your case.  If, after that, you are still unhappy, while again, I cannot advise you, I can just tell you that it is not impossible to discharge your attorney and hire another.  If this is the route you choose to take, your new attorney would not start to work on your case until your old attorney has been notified in writing that you are terminating his services.  Plus, depending on what your contract states, it’s likely that your old attorney will either need to be reimbursed for costs he incurred so far in your case, or he may even place a lien against a portion of your proceeds.  As for your question as to the length of time it takes to settle an auto accident case, it is not uncommon for things to settle quickly, nor is it uncommon for similar cases to drag on for years.  There is no set limit on how long it takes to reach a settlement.  The only limit on auto accident cases is the 4-year statute of limitations that requires that if the case will be litigated, the complaint must be filed with the court before the 4 years have passed.  In order to answer about a case similar to yours and how long things are taking, one would have to know the specifics such as if there is insurance coverage, if the insurance company is still in business, if you have finished treating and been released by your doctor, if a demand package has been sent to the insurance company, if it has been filed in court, etc.  The only person that can fully answer this question is your attorney.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)


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Oops! They did it again…

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, or other important happenings…  


Oops!  They did it again… The proverbial “they” in today’s title has nothing to do with Britney Spears, and though it does actually involve another famous singer/actor/business person, the collective “they” is specifically referring to food manufacturers.  The “other” famous singer/actor/business person/food manufacturer we’re referring to is none other than the sausage magnate himself, Mr. Jimmy Dean.  And the “did it again” refers to yet another food recall. 

 This time, 29,028 pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage products have been recalled due to them possibly containing “small, string-like fragments of metal.”  Specifically, the brand’s frozen, ready-to-eat pork and poultry sausage links products were or may have been affected.


Five recent complaints were made to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which spurred the recall.  The USDA specified the recalled product as being 23.4-ounce pouches of “Jimmy Dean HEAT ’n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey.”

 An approximate 2,845 cases of the tainted sausage links were manufactured on Saturday, August 4, 2018 one of Jimmy Dean’s facilities with an undisclosed location.

 Affected packages bear the establishment codes M19085 or P19085, have a “use by” date of January 31, 2019, and have a UPC number of 0-77900-36519-5.  Cases containing the product are marked with lot numbers A638216800 or A638216801 with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49.  Furthermore, the products subject to recall bear an establishment number on “EST. 19085” on the back of the product packaging.

 Anyone who bought the particular brand should cut the UPC and date code from the package, throw the sausages away, and call the Jimmy Dean customer service line at 1-855-382-3101 for further instruction.


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  As of today, December 11, 2018, there are only 14 days left until Christmas.

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What God Wants for Me

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…


Mark 1:40-42 – A man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to Jesus, knelt down, and begged him for help. “If you want to,” he said, “you can make me clean.”  Jesus was filled with pity, and reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” He answered. “Be clean!” At once the disease left the man, and he was clean.

I find that every time I read this particular scripture passage, no matter which version of the Bible I read, I am emotionally moved. It’s no different than any other story of Jesus being confronted by somebody who was suffering from a disease or illness. The facts are the same.

A person approaches Jesus. Jesus touches them, and they are healed. So I ask, what about this story do I find so moving?

As I ponder, I realize that I  feel the despair in the sick man’s expression and words. I believe that’s why the scripture says that Jesus was moved with pity. He was moved emotionally about the utter despair this man found himself in.

I’m also moved by the message my heart receives from this scripture about what God really wants for me. I believe that God wants good things for us. Not to destroy but to heal. Not to beat us into submission. But to lead us to a transition of becoming just like Christ.

dogsToday, as you approach the end of this year, reflect on all the wonderful things God has done for you. Lift your spirits and rejoice for each one of those blessings. They are things that didn’t just happen by chance.

They occurred because Christ wanted them to happen for your benefit. He chose your blessings just for you.

Have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

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