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Most local, state, and federal offices will be closed on Monday, September 3, in celebration of Labor Day.   Also, on September 11, please pause to reflect on why we recognize Patriot Day, an occasion that reminds us that freedom is precious, but not free. Let us never forget!

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Reflections of Harvey : How the worst of nature brought out the best in mankind. (Reprise from October 2017.)
In this month's VantagePoints, we present some helpful information for companies facing the prospect of terminating a disloyal employee. When it comes to eliminating traitorous personnel, there are important considerations to minimize the potential for the firing process to further damage the business or undermine its legal position.
Also provided is a Mexican recipe that has been providing cool, refreshing summertime relief for generations - agua de sandía, or watermelon water.
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Cutting Loose: Some precautions to take when terminating disloyal personnel
There are times when most businesses face the prospect of terminating a disloyal employee. The reasons can run the gamut, but when the moment for dismissal comes, it is essential to be deliberate and prepared. Here are some steps you can take to help the process go more smoothly.
First, handle the wayward employee in a way that does not alert him or her that you are aware of the loyalty issue. Fundamental to this is limiting discussions within the company to a strict "need to know" basis. Word of a pending firing can spread like the plague, and foreknowledge might enable the employee to take steps to mitigate the company's position.
Second, do not terminate someone over the phone unless there is no other alternative. Doing so can give the former employee opportunities to continue an illicit scheme, undermine the firing process, or derail your efforts to seek legal recovery for damages. These might include duplicating proprietary information, copying keys, and deleting objectionable content from phones and laptops. In one case worked by ResultQuest, an employee fired over the phone even kept a company vehicle for several weeks while valuable resources were expended to locate and recover it.
Third, maintain dual control (two or more company representatives) at all times during the termination process. Provide an escort - including a... Read More

Agua Fresca de Sandia: Recipe for classic Mexican relief from summer - watermelon water
As the summer lingers on, I often seek relief in the form of a cool refreshment I discovered in Mexico decades ago in the form of Agua Fresca de Sandía or watermelon water. Over the years I have tweaked a recipe received from an amiga who frequently prepared this simple and delightful concoction that helps to beat the heat, even if only for a moment.
  • One small (around 6 cups), well-chilled seedless watermelon
  • One medium cucumber, peeled
  • Juice of one regular-sized lime
  • 1 cup very cold purified water
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed ice (from purified water)
  • Turbinado sugar as needed (optional)
  • 1 or 2 diced jalapeño peppers (optional)
Cut watermelon meat into cubes and place in blender with water and lime juice. Blend until liquefied, then add cucumber (and diced jalapeño if desired, for an extra "zip"). Blend again to a liquid consistency. (If you do not favor pulp, strain mixture at this point.) Blend mixture together with ice to a liquid consistency. If your watermelon is sufficiently sweet at this point, you may want to skip the sugar. Otherwise, add sugar as needed and blend again very briefly.
Serve in a tall glass (chilled and rimmed with red sugar for a great presentation). Garnish with a stick of jicama and a sprig of mint (or whatever you like). Enjoy!