A message from Preston:
I have always enjoyed the old adage that heating with wood warms you twice. The other day I found myself kneeling before a rick of wood and realized that wood can warm you in yet another way…
Two winters ago I had a bounty of firewood, thanks to a generous neighbor who had logged a portion of his land. He gave me free access to a large quantity of mixed hardwoods. I harvested enough firewood to last my wife and myself for 3 years. I carefully cut, stacked and stored the wood in every spot big enough to hold it. Running out of space, I carefully created a rick in the woods with runners to keep the bottom layer off the ground allowing for generous airflow; the top covered with a heavy duty tarp. As I began removing wood this fall, I realized that my protective measures had met with mixed results. The firewood closest to the tarp had fared poorly, the victim of condensation dripping back onto the wood and causing decay. Wood that had been stacked too closely together had also decayed because of poor airflow. Some wood, regardless of species remained in pristine condition. The best firewood requires the proper environment in which to mature… children do as well.
As a professional educator I have taught the gamut of students…ones that are full of potential and others that need more nurturing to reach their portent. I have seen children who are so closely protected or those that are who are so tightly surrounded by others that they never have a chance to develop their individualistic talents. I find that the best environment for our youth is one in which they are allowed to breathe, pursue their own interests and mature under a relaxed hand, with the watchful protection and supervision of knowledgeable, understanding, caring adults.
It is our desire, at Turtle Island Preserve, to develop and foster growth in the youth who partake in our well established traditions and teachings…to stretch their vision of their life and the world they participate in. This vision is at the core of our teachings and breathes life into the magical experience that pervades our camp. Seeing this growth as a person warms me more than any fire. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and I hope to share a fire with you soon!
To view Preston’s own website click here
In the world of consumer finance, they are chameleons: payday lenders that alter their practices and shift their products ever so slightly to work around state laws aimed at stamping out short-term loans that can come with interest rates exceeding 300 percent.
Such maneuvers by the roughly $46 billion payday loan industry, state regulators say, have frustrated their efforts to protect consumers.
Now, for the first time, a federal regulator is entering the fray, drafting regulations that could sharply reduce the number of unaffordable loans that lenders can make.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created after the 2008 financial crisis, will soon release the first draft of federal regulations to govern a wide range of short-term loans.
The rules are expected to address expensive credit backed by car titles and some installment loans that stretch longer than the traditional two-week payday loan, according to industry lawyers, consumer groups and government authorities briefed on the discussions who all spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are private. Certain installment loans, for example, with interest rates that exceed 36 percent, the people said, will most likely be covered by the rules.
Behind that decision, the people said, is a stark acknowledgment of just how successfully lenders have adapted to keep offering high-cost products despite state laws meant to rein in the loans.
The federal regulations taking shape will most likely set off a new round of lobbying from payday lenders.
For now, with the prospect of federal rules on the horizon, some payday lenders have begun aggressively lobbying a number of states, including, Kentucky, Washington and New Mexico, tapping a former governor as a lobbyist in one battle, to weaken state laws restricting expensive loans or to quash new caps before they gain ground.
The lenders contend that if the federal rules are too burdensome, extending loans would become simply too expensive, choking off a form of credit that, while costly, is the only option for millions of Americans.
“What payday lending reflects is the fact that the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck,” said Donald C. Lampe, a partner at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, who advises payday lenders. “Just punishing payday lenders is not going to prevent Americans from needing short-term products.”
It is not only the industry that has much at stake. The rules, a major initiative for the consumer bureau, will test the mettle of an agency that faces an increasingly skeptical Republican Congress, including some officials who have called for it to be dismantled.
An account of how the rules are coalescing, pieced together through interviews with the people briefed on the matter, helps to illustrate the high-wire act facing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led by Richard Cordray, as it works to keep to its original mandate to shield consumers from lending abuses.
With its promise of fast cash to anyone regardless of credit history, the payday lending industry, perhaps more than any other, speaks to a growing desperation among the working poor who have virtually no savings and who cannot get bank loans.
The median income of payday loan borrowers was just over $22,400 a year, according to an analysis of roughly 15 million payday loans by the consumer bureau, leaving many struggling. Nearly 70 percent of borrowers use the loans to cover basic expenses, with only 16 percent tapping the loans for emergencies, the Pew Charitable Trust found.
That precarious financial footing helps explain how a single loan — say, $350 — can spiral, with a snarl of fees that exceed the amount first borrowed.
At the center of the regulations being considered, the people familiar with the matter said, is a requirement that lenders assess whether borrowers can repay loans — interest and principal — at the end of a two-week period by examining their income, other debts and their payment history.
Few people can, the data suggest, leaving borrowers to either roll over their loans, heaping on more fees, or take out new ones altogether. The bureau found that during a 12-month period, borrowers took out a median of 10 loans. Borrowers paid median fees of $458. The median amount borrowed was $350. And more than 80 percent of loans were rolled over or renewed within two weeks.
That churn is central to many lenders’ business, according to data from the bureau. Borrowers who take out 11 or more loans each year account for roughly 75 percent of the fees generated.
“Much of the business model is based on repeat borrowers,” said Michael D. Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.
In hashing out the rules, the people said, the bureau has been wrestling with how to guard against that cycle while preserving some form of credit.
The expected underwriting requirements, the people briefed on the discussions said, would become increasingly stringent when borrowers apply for a second loan within a certain time period — most likely more than a month — before repaying their first.
An alternative underwriting requirement under consideration, the people said, would require that lenders provide additional protections, that could include limiting the size and duration of the loan, to ensure that borrowers can repay them without plunging further into debt. The rules being considered, those briefed on the discussions said, would limit the number of times a lender could roll over a borrower’s loan during a 12-month period.
Lenders may also be required to provide a so-called off-ramp, of repaying the debt. Also expected under the rules are limits on the number of times that lenders can gain access to a borrower’s checking account.
Among the most hotly debated parts of the rules, the people briefed on the discussions said, are just what kinds of loans fall under the guidelines. Some lenders, they said, have pushed to keep the definition narrow, arguing that car title loans and installment loans should escape the crackdown.
The decision to include those forms of credit, the people said, could represent a significant defeat for the payday industry, especially because some lenders, responding to shifts in the regulatory landscape, have shifted to offer those loans. Shortly after Arizona effectively banned payday loans, for example, ACE Cash Express began registering its storefronts as car-title lenders.
Still, the fight is hardly over. Payday lenders have renewed their efforts to win exemptions from laws restricting the loans, according to state records. In Washington State, which prevents borrowers from taking out more than eight loans in a 12-month period, lawmakers backed by payday lenders have introduced two bills. One, for example, would double the number of loans allowed in a year.
The push has incited new concerns among consumer advocates and state regulators that payday lenders will seize on the federal rules to undermine tougher state restrictions like those in New York, which caps rates at 16 percent.
Still, for the millions of people in the 35 states that have no such limits, new federal rules may provide some protections.
They are people like Eboni Maze, 32, who works for a cruise line in Wichita, Kan., and says that a single loan — money borrowed against her car, a 2012 Kia, so she could pay her rent — still haunts her more than three years later. Her car was repossessed after she could not keep up with the payments on the loan, which had an interest rate of more than 150 percent. To afford the down payment on another car, she took out a payday loan. When she could not pay that one off, she took out another.
“Honestly, I call it a black hole,” she said.
ELDER FRAUD SEMINAR
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Dear W&L Law School Alumni:
We are following up on our message from last week about the passing of former dean Roy Steinheimer at age 98. Many of you have asked about memorial services and other arrangements. We have learned from the family that it was Dean Steinheimer’s wish that there be no funeral or memorial service.
However, we are planning a tribute during our upcoming Alumni Weekend, April 17-19, in Lexington. More details will follow as they become available.
In the meantime, you can read more about his remarkable life and legacy in the press release on the University website. We have also posted some photos of the dean from our archives on our Facebook page. Feel free to share your memories of Dean Steinheimer there in the comments area.
Roy L. Steinheimer Jr., Former W&L Law School Dean, Dies at 98
Posted on January 9, 2015 by Julie Campbell
Roy Lee Steinheimer Jr., the dean of the Washington and Lee University School of Law from 1968 to 1983, and the Robert E.R. Huntley Professor of Law Emeritus at W&L, died on Thursday, Jan. 8, in Lexington. He was 98.
“Roy Steinheimer’s deanship was a pivotal one for Washington and Lee’s Law School,” said W&L President Ken Ruscio. “He left a genuine legacy, and more than any other individual shaped the Law School that exists today. His contributions were profound, and we shall be forever grateful for his service and dedication to the University.”
During Steinheimer’s landmark tenure as dean, the Law School moved into its current headquarters, Lewis Hall, welcomed its first women students, further diversified its student body, and strengthened its national profile.
“Dean Steinheimer made the Law School a truly national institution and provided it with a vision for teaching, scholarship and professional service,” said Nora V. Demleitner, the dean of the W&L Law School and the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law. “Personally, I consider it the greatest honor and a powerful responsibility to be the Steinheimer Professor. It is not only his vision as a dean but also his impact as a teacher that lives on through our graduates.”
Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. was born on Dec. 2, 1916, in Dodge City, Kansas, to Roy L. Steinheimer Sr. and Nettie E. Steinheimer. He grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas. He received his A.B. in economics in 1937 from the University of Kansas and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1940. He practiced law with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City for 10 years before returning to the University of Michigan, where he taught from 1950 to 1968.
“Early on, I was interested in what lawyers did,” he told W&L Law magazine in 2002. “When I was in high school, I would slip into the courtroom in town and sit in on trials.”
Steinheimer came to W&L in 1968 as dean, and after his 1983 retirement from that post continued to teach at W&L. In 1984, he spent a semester at the University of Alabama as the first occupant of the John Sparkman Distinguished Professorship. In 1985, he was named the Robert E.R. Huntley Professor of Law at W&L and taught commercial transactions and consumer protection. He retired from W&L in 1987. From 1989 to 1999, however, he served as an adjunct professor of law.
When he took the dean’s post, Steinheimer told Robert E.R. Huntley, then president of W&L (and his predecessor as dean of the Law School), that the school needed to admit women. Four years later, seven women began their legal education at W&L. “I think it is fair to say that the whole climate in our law school and the spirit in our law school and the educational process in our law school has benefited substantially from the presence of women in our little law school community,” he told the W&L alumni magazine in 1985. He made the active recruitment of minority students another one of his main goals.
Steinheimer also nurtured the personal atmosphere of the Law School. “I thought we could turn out finer professional people if we got to know them and were in constant contact with them,” he told W&L Law in 2010, “so that the professionalism that we as professors had could rub off on them.”
Huntley, who served as law dean from 1967 to 1968 before becoming president of W&L, in 1983 lauded Steinheimer’s deanship. “Our faculty, our curriculum, and our student body have been strengthened in every dimension,” he wrote in the W&L Law Review. Huntley also called him “one of the finest teachers” and “one of those rare persons who is able to combine toughness of mind with compassion of spirit.”
Another signal accomplishment of Steinheimer’s tenure as dean was the construction of Lewis Hall, the spacious, up-to-date headquarters for the Law School that opened in 1977.
Steinheimer’s primary field was commercial law. He served on the Uniform Commercial Code committees of the American and Michigan state bar associations and lectured widely on the code. He belonged to the American Bar Association, American Arbitration Association and American Law Institute.
In 1970, he headed a White House task force that investigated ways to explain the American legal system to children.
He also belonged to the honorary societies of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of the Coif.
Steinheimer wrote many articles and books, including the two-volume “Uniform Commercial Code Forms with Practice Comments” (1969) and the two-volume “Desk Reference to the Uniform Commercial Code” (1964).
In addition to his professional accomplishments, he had a reputation for fair and caring leadership at W&L. “When he was playing pool with you, or golf, he could be perfectly one of the fellows,” said Sam Calhoun, W&L professor of law and associate dean, in 2002. “But as dean there was some distance there. I think that’s the style of some gifted leaders.”
“He had the instincts of a builder,” said Lewis “Lash” LaRue, the W&L Class of 1958 Alumni Professor of Law Emeritus, in 2002. “He came to the Law School with a vision, and he won support very quickly. The faculty trusted him to do what needed to be done. He was persuasive and impressive.”
As a tribute upon his retirement from the deanship, the law faculty established the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Commercial Law Award, which W&L gives each year to the graduating law student who has compiled the most outstanding record in commercial law. In 1984, alumni and friends created the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professorship in Law.
Sally Wiant, professor of law at W&L and one of the first women to enroll at W&L’s Law School, called him in 2002 “a man bigger than life, a man with unquestioned integrity, a man willing to take risks for the good of the school, a man of strong convictions, and a man of such warmth.”
He received yet another honor when he stepped down from the dean’s post: Law students commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of Steinheimer, which now hangs in Lewis Hall.
“He has led by his unerring commitment to integrity,” Andrew W. McThenia Jr., the James P. Morefield Professor of Law Emeritus at W&L, wrote in the W&L Law Review in 1983. “Credibility, coherence and certainty are words he uses often. The base element of each of those and the glue that holds them together is his integrity. His tenure has been in the best sense of the word, that of a gentleman.”
In addition to his teaching and administrative reputations, Steinheimer was as well known for his colorful sportcoats as he was for his oft-repeated answer to faculty requests, “My hands are tied,” and for the well-known slogan that an unknown law professor coined after hearing that answer: “I’ve been Royed.”
Known as “The Sky Dean,” he piloted a Beech Bonanza airplane until he was 76 years old over the skies of the East Coast on recruitment trips. He also flew in Alaska, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. And he raised sheep both in Michigan and Virginia.
Steinheimer married Jane Powell Patchett in 1949; she died in 1982. He married Frances Pugh in 1988; she died in 2008. He is survived by Frances Pugh Steinheimer’s daughters, Sarah Pugh Dicks ’86L and Susan Pugh Morten.
Per Steinheimer’s wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service.
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