Quilts wanted back

Every so often, Eh? learns of a case of petty theft that doesn’t warrant the front-page coverage of major larceny, but still deeply affects members of the community.

Around mid-October, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth wanted to show off the work of its members by hanging quilts around the inside of the church on West College Street. Of the many wonderful quilts being hung, there was a pair referred to as “whimsical,” featuring animals: bunnies on one, and a moose on the other.

This quilt, made by a wife for her husband, features a moose in a mosaic of patches. (Submitted photo)

The bunny-bedecked quilt was to be a gift from a grandmother to her granddaughter. The patch mosaic of a moose was to be a gift from a wife to her husband.

What ties them together, aside from shared membership in the animal kingdom, is that they both were stolen from the church.

The theft of the quilts cannot be measured in monetary terms; the love poured into each is beyond economics of money. The time spent by a grandmother working to provide her kin with a warm, tactile reminder of her love is worth absolutely nothing to a blanket thief, and almost everything to its intended recipient. The same can be said for a wife toiling to provide a piece of functional art for her husband of 14 years.

The aggrieved want nothing but the return of the quilts to the church. The grandmother

This quilt features many little bunnies and was made by a grandmother for her granddaughter. (Submitted photo)

even offered to make a quilt for whoever returns them.

Eh? has seen wrongs righted. Most recently, a plea by the Chester Bowl community for the “no-questions-asked” return of a ski lift chair was answered. The quilters of the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Duluth are not bent on retribution, only resolution.
If you have information on the whereabouts of the quilts, please call the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth at (218) 724-0308.


Scam text

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?

Say no to Novak

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.

Smokey Bear missing

Smokey Bear warned against wildfires, but he never said anything about theft.

Wisconsin Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to find Smokey Bear — or at least a 6-foot-tall reflective aluminum sign of the iconic “Only you can prevent wildfires” bruin.

The bear-nappers stole the sign in the Town of Caledonia in Columbia County (north of Madison) during the past two to three weeks. The landowner and the local emergency fire warden are hoping to get this valuable public information sign back in service.

Anyone with information on the missing sign is asked to contact the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at (608) 742-4166, Crime Stoppers at (800) 293-8477 or their local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden. Callers are eligible for a reward for up to $1,000 for leading to the recovery of the stolen sign along with prosecution of the thief.

Phone scam resurfaces in Northland

An alert News Tribune reader contacted us Friday to let us know, so we could let you know, about yet another apparent phone scam targeting Northland residents.

Our reader said someone called and said she was going to be sent a new Medicare card. The caller asked to verify her name and address, and then started asking about her bank and financial account information.

That prompted our reader to hang up — and you should, too, if you get a similar call from someone looking for personal information. And there have been similar calls — we reported on a nearly identical apparent scam last March.

Don’t wassail and drive

If you intend to celebrate the holidays using alcohol while away from home, plan ahead for a safe and sober ride home, the Minnesota Patrol advises.

Law enforcement agencies around the state are beefing up their enforcement of drunken-driving laws in December.

The State Patrol, with the help of about 400 state police officers and deputies, will patrol the highways with the goal of keeping drunken drivers off the road.

“We all need to work together to make a strong traffic-safety culture in Minnesota,” State Patrol information officer Sgt. Curt Mowers said. “One way to do that is to make impaired driving socially unacceptable.”

Holiday parties and special local events in regions around the state will be targeted. Specific dates and times for the project will be ongoing during the month of December, Mowers said.

In 2011, Minnesota recorded 136 alcohol-related traffic deaths — accounting for 37 percent of all traffic deaths. Overall, males and young adults are overrepresented in alcohol-related crashes and account for a disproportionate share of fatalities. Along with the risk of injuries and deaths, penalties for drunken driving can include fines of hundreds or thousands of dollars and loss of driver license, license plates and even your vehicle.

Don’t let fraud embarrass you

The only thing spookier than a kid in a costume at your door is a crooked paving contractor. Don’t be embarrassed if you think you were scammed by one of these clowns — report it to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports of an unlicensed paving contractor working in the Ely and Babbitt areas who offers driveway paving and repair at low prices. The contractor performs work with substandard materials and later presents the homeowner with a bill many times the original estimate.

The contractor’s practice has been to operate by verbal agreement and to offer a receipt after payment with little detail and a false name and phone number.

In some cases, the investigation has been hampered by delayed reporting because victims are embarrassed to admit that the contractor had taken advantage of them, the Sheriff’s Office said. The contractor may be targeting elderly people.

The Sheriff’s Office reminds people to require written estimates of contractors, licensing information and references, especially of contractors they are not familiar with.

Anyone who has been victimized by such practices or knows of someone who has been involved in the fraudulent practice is asked to call 911.

Hard time to full time

Are you looking to put your criminal past behind you and seeking a job?

Community Action Duluth is hosting a free workshop regarding employment matters for people with less than perfect records from 6-8 p.m. Thursday.

The program, “Answering Tough Questions: Understanding and Knowing Your Criminal Records and Employment,” will feature guest speaker Emily Baxter of the Council on Crime and Justice.

Learn about fair-hiring practices, expungements and how to explain terms of your criminal record that employers may not understand.

Community Action Duluth is at 19 N. 21st Ave. W.

The phone-scam craze

(2004 file / News Tribune)

First Matlock. Now this.

With the recent death of “Matlock” star Andy Griffith, it already wasn’t a good week for potentially vulnerable senior citizens. Now, a concerned reader has alerted the Eh? desk about a phone scam.

The woman said a caller from the number (409) 291-5191 — listed as Tazcom Productions — claims to be part of the Social Security Administration and says he’ll send new Social Security cards.

An online search indicates the phone number is listed out of Beaumont, Texas, and has received numerous complaints pertaining to scams.

Know of a scam? Report it at mnscams.org andftc.gov/idtheft.

Crackin’ down on drunken boaters

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will crack down on intoxicated boaters this weekend.

In Minnesota, alcohol was involved in 50 percent of the 16 boating fatalities in 2011. (2007 file / News Tribune)

Conservation officers and county sheriff’s water patrol deputies will be out in force Friday through Sunday for Operation Dry Water, part of a nationwide effort to give boating under the influence enforcement high visibility before the Fourth of July holiday.

Officers will be looking for boaters who have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater.

Boating under the influence continues to be a major problem throughout the country, officials say.

“We recommend that people avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while boating,” Greg Salo, DNR central region enforcement supervisor, said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on Minnesota waters.”

Conviction for BUI goes on a person’s automobile driver’s license record.