Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 2, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page B:2




Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 2, 2019 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown


The First Conspiracy: The Secret 
Plot to Kill George Washington by 
Brad Meltzer, Josh Mensch 

Taking place during the most critical period 
of our nation’s birth, The First Conspiracy 
tells a remarkable and previously untold 
piece of American history that not only 
reveals George Washington’s character, 
but also illuminates the origins of 
America’s counterintelligence movement 
that led to the modern day CIA. In 1776, 
an elite group of soldiers were handpicked 
to serve as George Washington’s 
bodyguards. Washington trusted them; 
relied on them. But unbeknownst to 
Washington, some of them were part of a 
treasonous plan. In the months leading up 
to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous 
soldiers, along with the Governor of New 
York, William Tryon, and Mayor David 
Mathews, launched a deadly plot against 
the most important member of the 
military: George Washington himself. 
This is the story of the secret plot and how 
it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, 
counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. 
It also shows just how hard the battle was 
for George Washington and how close 
America was to losing the Revolutionary 
War. In this historical page-turner, 
bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams 
up with American history writer and 
documentary television producer, Josh 
Mensch to unravel the shocking true 
story behind what has previously been a 
footnote in the pages of history. Drawing 
on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture 
in riveting detail how George Washington not only 
defeated the most powerful military force in the 
world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him 
in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.

The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel by Pam 

“Fraught with danger, filled with mystery, and 
meticulously researched, The Lost Girls of Paris is 
a fascinating tale of the hidden women who helped 
to win the war.” —Lisa Wingate, 1946, Manhattan. 
One morning while passing through 
Grand Central Terminal on her way to 
work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned 
suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable 
to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens 
the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen 
photographs—each of a different woman. 
In a moment of impulse, Grace takes 
the photographs and quickly leaves the 
station. Grace soon learns that the suitcase 
belonged to a woman named Eleanor 
Trigg, leader of a network of female secret 
agents who were deployed out of London 
during the war. Twelve of these women 
were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers 
and radio operators to aid the resistance, 
but they never returned home, their fates 
a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth 
behind the women in the photographs, 
Grace finds herself drawn to a young 
mother turned agent named Marie, 
whose daring mission overseas reveals a 
remarkable story of friendship, valor and 
betrayal. Vividly rendered and inspired 
by true events, bestselling author Jenoff 
shines a light on the incredible heroics of 
the brave women of the war and weaves a 
mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood 
and the great strength of women to 
survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Free Will by Sam Harris 

A belief in free will touches nearly 
everything that human beings value. 
It is difficult to think about law, 
politics, religion, public policy, intimate 
relationships, morality—as well as feelings of 
remorse or personal achievement—without first 
imagining that every person is the true source of his 
or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us 
that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, 
Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human 
mind does not undermine morality or diminish the 
importance of social and political freedom, but it can 
and should change the way we think about some of 
the most important questions in life.The 3 reviews 
are from


With the cost of a funeral averaging $7,000 and steadily 
increasing each year, every estate plan should include 
enough money to cover this final expense. Yet it isn’t 
enough to simply set aside money in your will.

 Your family won’t be able to access money left 
in a will until your estate goes through probate, 
which can last years. Since most funeral providers 
require full payment upfront, this means your 
family will likely have to cover your funeral costs 
out of pocket, unless you take proper action now. 
If you want to avoid burdening your family with this 
hefty bill, you should use planning strategies that do not 
require probate. Here are a few options:


 You can purchase a new life insurance policy or 
add extra coverage to your existing policy to cover 
funeral expenses. The policy will pay out to the 
named beneficiary as soon as your death certificate 
is available. But you’ll likely have to undergo a 
medical exam and may be disqualified or face costly 
premiums if you’re older and/or have health issues. 
There is also burial insurance specifically designed 
to cover funeral expenses. Also known “final expense,” 
“memorial,” and “preneed” insurance, such policies do 
not require a medical exam. However, you’ll often pay far 
more in premiums than what the policy actually pays out. 
Because of the sky-high premiums and the fact such 
policies are sold mostly to the poor and uneducated, 
consumer advocate groups like the Consumer Federation 
of America consider burial insurance a bad idea and even 
predatory in some cases.

Prepaid funeral plans

 Many funeral homes let you pay for your funeral 
services in advance, either in a single lump sum or 
through installments. Also known as pre-need plans, 
the funeral provider typically puts your money in a trust 
that pays out upon your death, or buys a burial insurance 
policy, with itself as the beneficiary.

 While such prepaid plans may seem like a convenient 
way to cover your funeral expenses, these plans can 
have serious drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, if 
the funeral provider buys burial insurance, you’re 
likely to see massive premiums compared to what 
the plan actually pays out. And if they use a trust, 
the plan might not cover the full cost of the funeral, 
leaving your family on the hook for the difference. 
In fact, these packages are considered so risky, 
the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA), a nonprofit 
industry watchdog group, advises against purchasing 
such plans. The only instance where prepaid plans 
are a good idea, according to the FCA, is if you are 
facing a Medicaid spend down before going into a 
nursing home. This is because prepaid funeral plans 
funded through irrevocable trusts are not considered 
a countable asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes.
Payable-on-death accounts

 Many banks offer payable-on-death (POD) accounts 
which can be used to fund your funeral expenses. The 
account’s named beneficiary can only access the money 
upon your death, but you can deposit or withdraw 
money at any time. 

 A POD does not go through probate, so the beneficiary 
can access the money once your death certificate is issued. 
POD accounts are FDIC-insured, but such accounts are 
treated as countable assets by Medicaid, and the interest 
is subject to income tax.

 Another option is to simply open a joint savings 
account with the person handling your funeral expenses 
and give them rights of survivorship. However, this gives 
the person access to your money while you’re alive too, 
and it puts the account at risk from their future creditors. 
Living trusts

 A customized living trust allows you to control the 
funds until your death and name a successor trustee, 
who is legally bound to use the trust funds to pay for your 
funeral expenses exactly as the trust terms stipulate. 

With a living trust, you can change the terms at any 
time and even dissolve the trust if you need the money 
for other purposes. Alternatively, if you need to qualify 
for Medicaid, an irrevocable trust helps ensure you stay 
compliant with all of Medicaid’s requirements.

Don’t needlessly burden your family

 To help decide which option is best suited for your 
particular situation, consult with your trusted legal 

 Dedicated to empowering your family, building your 
wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission 
to help parents protect what they love most. His office is 
located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. 
Schedule an appointment to sit down and talk about 
ensuring a legacy of love and financial security for your 
family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit www.GarlettLaw.
com for more information.

All Things By Jeff Brown


Indian officials have reported that volunteers planted a 
whopping 49.3 million tree saplings on July 11, blowing 
past the previous record for most trees planted in a 
single day. That record, a mere 847,275 trees, was set 
by Pakistan in 2013.A reported 800,000 volunteers 
from Uttar Pradesh worked for 24 hours planting 
80 different species of trees along roads, railways, 
and on public land to help the country fight climate 
change. The saplings were raised on local nurseries. 
The effort is part of the commitment India made at the 
Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. In the 
agreement, signed on Earth Day 2016, India agreed 
to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land 
(bringing total forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030, 
or about 29 percent of the country’s territory).Trees 
sequester carbon dioxide from the air, thereby reducing 
the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 
India has experienced substantial loss of its forest cover 
over the past few centuries, as people cut down trees for 
firewood, pasture, and to make room for development. 
Other countries are also replanting trees. In December, 
African nations pledged to reforest 100 million 
hectares. A wide range of stakeholders, from countries 
to companies, also signed on to the non-binding New 
York Declaration of Forests that month, with the goal 
of halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030. 
The declaration also seeks to restore at least 350 million 
hectares of degraded land with healthy forests.



Together yoga and its sister 
science Ayurveda, provide 
a well-rounded solution to 
address the effects of stress. 
It’s an interesting point of 
view that empowers each 
one of us to live the life 
we want each day. Stress 
is not always out of our 
control. Viewing through 
the lens of Ayurveda-- one of the world’s oldest 
medicinal systems--stress has a significant impact on 
our vital energy reserve (Ojas) and causes a weakened 
immune system. Stress is primarily associated with Vata 
and Pitta Doshas or Mind-Body types. Kapha Dosha, 
made up of earth and water, is literally “unmoved” by 
stress and tends not to worry, over-schedule or react 
quickly. So let’s focus on the other two. Vata-type (air 
& ether): Stress occurs through anxiety, fear, excess 
travel, loss (relationships, jobs, etc.), physical trauma, 
being worn out and energy depletion. Pitta-type (fire & 
water): Stress occurs through anger, intensity, deadlines, 
physical trauma, competition and drive, and being 
burned out.Stress is inevitable. However, by knowing 
our own tendencies, we have one of the keys to reduce 
stress. A plan for support and self-care can be planned 
in advance. If you identify with Vata-type stress, 
creating stability and regularity is most important. This 
can be done through schedules, diet and rest. When 
things are always changing or “up in the air,” it creates 
fear and uncertainty which can exacerbate stress.

 If you identify with Pitta-type stress, creating calm 
and coolness is best. The key is lessening the intensity 
of tasks and thinking. Have you ever gotten a headache 
from thinking? That means intensity needs to go 
down!! Restorative practices that facilitate the practice 
of letting go are essential. Restorative yoga, yoga nidra, 
and meditation are wonderful. 

 A regular yoga practice does wonders for stress 
reduction. The body and breath receive nourishment 
while our overall well-being also improves. Yoga gives 
us skills to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. 
There’s a seed of self-compassion and self-love planted 
each time we do yoga. It teaches us that we are human 
and striving to do our best on this journey called life. 

Ask questions and learn more about yoga, meditation 
and Ayurveda by emailing me at keely@keelytotten.


Keely Totten, Yoga Teacher, 

Mentor & Writer

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: