More than 200 callers — one from as far away as Louisiana — pledged their support for the people of Moore, Okla., on Tuesday during a telethon to raise money for the tornado-ravaged city.
The two-hour telethon was organized by the Red Cross and broadcast by Northland’s NewsCenter on KBJR-TV 6, KDLH-TV 3 and Range 11.
The American Red Cross has sent more than 800 volunteers to the Moore area where they are providing food, clothing, emergency shelter, and health and mental health services.
Cirrus Aircraft made a corporate contribution of $2,500 to the effort and donated a one-hour plane ride for three people for the individual who made the largest gift. The winner of that prize was Theodore Marken of Duluth.
If you didn’t catch the telethon, you still can donate by calling (800) 733-2767.
Pancake Day chairwoman Barb Tanski told us the Lions Club served about 300 more people at last week’s pancake fundraiser than last year’s, so we knew the bottom line was going to be pretty good when the cash was counted.
Well, this week fellow pancake producer Brian Thompson tells us how much better they did: They raised $83,000 for people with sight, hearing and diabetes needs. Compare that to $70,000 last year.
Thompson says thanks to all the volunteers — “as well as the entire community for coming out for pancakes!” About 9,400 customers were served.
Two state officials will be in Duluth today for a senior fraud prevention event.
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman will lead the forum from 1-2:30 p.m. in the chapel at Ecumen Lakeshore, 4002 London Road.
An alert caller wanted to give readers a heads-up about a scam that’s hitting people via text message. The warning rang a bell with the Eh? desk because we received the same message.
On Sunday night, a generic text message came in from an unfamiliar number. It said something to the effect of “problem with account” and provided a call-back number. This Eh? desker just ignored the text by deleting it. Our curious caller dialed the call-back number and got a recording, which said there was a problem with his debit card and asked for the card’s 16-digit number. Knowing it was an obvious scam, the man hung up. He later checked with his bank, which assured him that nothing was wrong with his account.
So promise Mr. Eh? you won’t fall for these hokey problem-with-account text messages and e-mails, capiche?
Need help with your tax returns?
Community Action Duluth’s free tax sites has been up and running since late January with the help of about 90 volunteers.
Already this year they’ve helped more than 600 people who have claimed $1.45 million in tax refunds, according to Community Action Duluth.
Individuals and families earning up to $49,000 per year can get federal and state returns prepared free until April 15. The locations are:
- Community Action Duluth, 19 N. 21st Ave. W. Doors open at this walk-in clinic at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 8:45 a.m. Saturdays.
- Laura MacArthur Elementary School, 720 N. Central Ave. Call (218) 726-1665 to schedule Monday and Wednesday afternoon and evening appointments. Priority is given to taxpayers with dependents, disabilities and to seniors. Child care is available.
- Ordean/United Way building, 424 W. Superior St. Call (218) 726-4796 to schedule Thursday afternoon appointments.
Taxpayers who have missed out on past refunds or filings can also get help from Community Action Duluth from April 10 through Aug. 14.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, no, you are not the rightful heir of Andrew Novak and his lost millions.
It’s a scam, and a weird one, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Apparently someone’s been sending e-mails telling people that the Commerce Department has money for them in the Unclaimed Property Program. The weird part is the e-mails aren’t even in English.
“The e-mails reported to the Commerce Department use the subject line ‘Heritage’ and are written in Slovenian,” the department said in a news release.
The e-mails urge relatives of “Andrew Novak” to claim their inheritance and, of course, to provide personal information that you’ll regret sending.
Just remember, government agencies don’t send e-mails out of the blue requesting personal info. If you get something like that, be very suspicious.
Beware of debt collectors, according to the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. While they do have the right to collect on behalf of creditors, businesses and individuals, you have rights, too.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that those contacted by debt collectors do the following:
- Know your rights. Debt collectors can’t threaten you with arrest, use abusive language or discuss accounts with unauthorized third parties.
- Verify the legitimacy of the debt. Get the name of the collection company and do some Googling. Get the name of the debt collector and make sure it’s authorized.
- Request written proof of the debt.
- Don’t ignore the collector.
- Don’t pay debt that isn’t yours just to get the collector off your back.
- Challenge errors.
- Check for identity theft.
- Report scams.
If that isn’t enough to cram into your noggin, go to bbb.org for more information.
Man, getting those federal benefits is great. Now make sure they keep on coming.
Don’t delay and risk missing the March 1 deadline to switch snail mail benefits payments to direct deposit or Direct Express debit cards.
Each month, 5 million checks are mailed to federal beneficiaries, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. And in Minnesota, nearly 51,000 Social Security and Supplemental Income checks arrive monthly.
That’s a lot of paper.
Sign up by calling (800) 333-1795, going to godirect.org or talking to a local federal paying agency office. The process is free, and they promise it’s quick and easy (and presumably painless).
Well, this is your last Eh? column for 2012, so we thought we’d better leave you with a few New Year’s resolution tips.
- Quitting smoking? Consider signing up for the free “Together We Quit” program from Quitplan. They’ll send you daily motivational text messages to get you through the rough patches. You’ll also get weekly e-mail tips during that all-important first month of quitting.
- Losing weight? Dr. James Donovan at St. Luke’s says you can lose 10 percent of your body weight in three months, but you need to avoid common errors. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat your proteins, but go ahead and back off the carbohydrates. Don’t be too gung-ho. Donovan recommends trying to lose just a pound or so a week and then exercising more as the weight comes off.
- Getting out of debt? You’re going to need to make more than the minimum payment, according to the LSS Financial Counseling. First, make sure your basics are covered: You’re paying the rent and utilities, there’s food in the fridge and a bit of cushion in your checking account. Then look for a regular expense you can cut, and apply that amount to the balance you’re trying to pay off.
The first favor is the kind that happens every day. The second one, not so common. Here’s the story:
Henry and Peggy Lueck were in town this weekend from Wisconsin visiting their daughter. They stopped for gas Sunday evening at the Holiday Station Store at Rice Lake Road and Arrowhead Road, and Henry was having a hard time with the pumps. A nice woman helped him figure out which buttons to push and levers to pull.
That’s favor No. 1. Nice but not all that newsworthy.
Then, according to Peggy, Henry finished pumping gas and went inside to pay. He stepped up to the clerk and learned about favor No. 2: The woman who helped him figure out the pump had also snuck inside and paid for his gas.
Henry and Peggy say thanks, 36 times.