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November 6, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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November 6, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VIEWPOINT Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Page 4 America&apos;s largest provider of veterans housing offers tips Volunteer tips to Help the Nation's Veterans Recently, Volunteers of America convened a panel discussion at the National Press Club to discuss many of the issues facing America's vet- erans, particularly traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The panel consisted of former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar; Senior Advisor for the Corporation for National and Community Service, Koby Langley; Jonathan Sherin, M.D., PhD, executive vice president of veterans affairs for Volunteers of America; and Kelly Caffarelli, the president of The Home Depot Foundation, which has committed more than $80 million to help returning veterans. Also in the discussion was the hopelessness that so many vets face. Demonstrated by the grow- ing suicide rates for veterans (22 per day, on average), veterans are feeling increasingly isolated and abandoned. Throughout the discussion, the panelists continued to refer to the fact that so many veterans feel for- saken by the U.S. and that, while applauding those who are returning from war is a significant gesture, it does little to help them with the many day-to-day challenges they face. Here are some suggested ways to help: *Identify veterans in your com- munity and make sure that they're included in community events. Don't be afraid to knock on their door and introduce yourself. Let them know that you're available if they, or their families, need help. Just knowing that someone cares and is there in a time of need goes a long way. *Write a letter of gratitude to a veteran; it's a simple act but let- ting them know that their service is appreciated is always a good way to show your support. *Volunteer at a veteran's hospi- tal or with a local veteran's orga- nization. Volunteers of America has affiliates across the country and many of them provide hous- ing and services for veterans. You can find affiliates in your area at <http://www.Volunteerso fAmerica. org>. Volunteers of America also helps homeless veterans. More than 60,000 veterans around the nation are struggling with homelessness and the numbers are expected to escalate in the coming years. *Help out veteran families in your community by offering to assist with lawn care and garden- ing/weeding/mulching, etc. When a spouse is deployed, families at home are often stretched and lawn care is often difficult to keep up. *Offer to provide transportation for local veterans to work or to receive medical care. *Donate small things like maga- zines, DVDs, books and clothing to local veteran organizations. While money donations are always good, many vets also cannot afford to buy small things like magazines due to limited income and high medical bills. *Donate gift cards for grocery stores and restaurants or help to prepare meals for veteran families either by adopting those families in your community or through veteran organizations such as Volunteers of America. *Provide foster care for a pet while a deployed soldier or wound- ed veteran is receiving medical care away from home. *Start a veteran support opera- tion in your community by hosting an event (bake sale, 5K walk or run, etc.) to raise funds in support of vet- erans. You can ask your homeown- ers association, church, synagogue, school, etc. to help in organizing donations. *Offer your services as a baby- sitter or tutor to a family with a deployed or wounded service mem- ber. *Don't be afraid to ask veter- ans and their families directly how you can help and what they might need. Then rally your commu- nity together to help support them. Most veterans are reticent to ask for help so you might need to contact family members to best determine what they might need. Check with national charitable organizations too to see if they can assist in pro- viding whatever support is needed, Build a neighborhood support group to assist veterans and families. *Ask your employer if your com- pany has a veterans hiring program. If not, see if they'd be willing to set one up and then assist in work- ing with local job programs to help in finding veterans and providing employment. For more ways to volun- teer and help, visit www. LETTER TO EDITOR Thank you to the armed forces The members of American Legion Auxiliary Dovray Unit 632 would like to express our sin- cere appreciation for the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. Thank you for serving this great country. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for the security we have and feel here at home. We know you sacrificed much for your country and all of us. Though you may no longer wear the uni- form, we know you're always on call to serve and protect the free- dom and security of the United States of America. The American Legion Auxiliary supports and honors the sacrifice of those who served by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military and their families, both at home and abroad. We invite everyone AI Batt... "Stories from the Batt Cave" We need cellphone booths There used to be a time when we didn't know things. We'd have friendly arguments over the things we didn't know. It made for spirited discussions that involved memory and knowl- edge. These friendly arguments have developed a stutter. Whenever there is a question, where we are not sure of some- thing, someone looks up the answer on his smartphone. He Googles it. There was a time when people didn't spend all of their free time looking for Apple juice to charge up their iPhones. A time when we used flare guns for emergencies instead of cell- phones. My grandparents' lives were changed greatly by the introduction of electricity to homes and farms. My life has been altered dramati- cally by cellphones. I am not against cellphones. I own one and I use it regularly. It is great for the directionally chal- lenged. My mother thought that every direction was north and I am her son. I can get lost driving to a corn maze. Maps can be mislead- g. A.suey found that 74 percm ! of cellphone owners use naviga- tional maps on the cellphone. I enjoy asking my cell phone, "Are we there yet?" I could watch a football game on my smartphone, but I'm not sure why. Pew Research found that as of May 2013, 91 percent of American adults have a cell phone and 56 percent have a smartphone. Do women find men without smartphones to be better listeners? Cellphones allow everyone to think out loud. Anyone who has ever been in a public place has listened to one side of a cellphone user's conversation. Few say any- thing that makes me hope that they'd keep talking. Remember telephone booths? Each phone booth contained a pay telephone. At least that's what they were called. We know that every phone is a payphone. Each cellphone should come with its own phone booth. I'm just glad that the average cellphone user doesn't spit as much as a baseball player. I shudder to think about that. My neighbor Crandall stopped at a rest area, an oasis for the traveler of the interstate highways. He told me that he'd barely sat down in a restroom when he heard a voice from the neighboring stall saying, "Hi, how are you?" Crandall has never been considered shut-mouthed and he's friendly enough, but he's not the type to start a conversation in the bath- room. However, he's more than happy to pile on a conversation once it's started. "Everything is nearly copacetic," he replied. The other guy said, "what are you up to?" Crandall thought that considering tte circumstances, ;t'was an odd" : 'question, but replied; "Oh I'm on my way to Cabela's to look at alluring lures." The other fellow asked, "Can I come over?" Crandall was trying to get out of there as fast as possible, yet still be polite in ending the conversation, "No, I'm a little busy right now." Then the guy said, "Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the next stall who keeps talking to me." Leaving the house without your to pause today to remember those who have fought for our free- doms. Thank you to all who have so bravely protected us. Learn more about the American Legion auxiliary at www. Carol Hovde Dovray Unit 632 cellphone, which you didn't even have the first how many years of your life, is now cause for panic. I was doing a video recently. It was a grueling 1 minute, 20 seconds long. I've done TV stuff for years and not long ago, did a 12-hour filming. I figured that 1 minute and 20 seconds would be a piece of proverbial cake. And it almost was. I was babbling away in front of the camera and it was per- feet. Nothing even close to a tub , in my words. Then I heard a rooster crowing. We were indoors. There shouldn't have been a rooster crow- ing indoors. The filming came to an abrupt stop. The perfection would never be seen. All because of my ringing cellphone. That's right, I'd forgotten to turn my ceUphone off, my cellphone with a crowing rooster ringtone. The affluent folks who live in my ZIP Code play a game. They put all their cellphones in the mid- dle of the table at the caf6 while they eat. Whoever checks his or her phone first, picks up the check for everyone at the table. It would be easier to check the eellphones at the door. I admit that carrying a cellphone is much handier than walldng around With a typewriter. " " ...... I don't Facebook, Twit/er, .... Tumblr, or Instagram. How about texting? Nothing but a dead battery can stop some people from texting. I do text, but I do it on a phone with a rotary dial. A1 Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 BBB takes the mystery out of Mystery Shopping Scnemes Mystery shopping schemes con- tinue to plague the marketplace, and new twists on this old seam now victimize both consumers and legitimate businesses. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and Noah Dakota (BBB) advises the public on what they need to watch out for to steer clear of trouble- some mystery shopping offers that may look like lifelines, but leave unsuspecting people on the hook. Potential victims are usually introduced to mystery shopping schemes by official-looking mail- ings - sometimes sent via UPS or Federal Express - accompanied by real-looking checks. These checks often appear to be drawn on actual banks and issued by legitimate businesses. However, the checks are bogus and these businesses have no association with these schemes; they're referenced sim- ply to convince victims the offers - and the checks - are the real deal. Consumers should be aware that this is not how mystery shopping companies operate, and businesses need to be on the lookout for schemes of this nature appropriat- ing their good names. "Anytime a person receives a check with instructions to cash the check, spend money at different locations as part of their assign- ment, then wire back a portion or the bulk of the funds to the com- pany making the so-called offer, it's a seam," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. "What happens in every case is that you're using your own money to buy goods you likely don't need and wiring good money away to bad people." Though there are firms that contract with people to perform secret shopping services, they do not send out random checks to potential contractors and ask them to cash them before performing an assignment. Nor do they ever ask individuals to wire money back to them, pay money upfront or promise to make anyone rich. At best, being a secret shopper offers supplemental income. Consumers interested in mystery shopping job opportunities should keep the fol- lowing in mind: *Be suspicious of any checks you receive or offers that involve wiring money back to the com- pany supposedly making this offer. Never wire money to someone you don't know. *Don't believe anyone who says you can get rich by being a secret shopper. *Always research companies at before accepting any posi- tion. Also, contact the company directly. Many mystery shopping offers now impersonate legitimate businesses. Make sure you're not being taken for a ride. *Don't be fooled if you receive the mystery shopping offer via an established courier such as Fed Ex or UPS. Scammers use stolen credit cards to pay for the shipping. *Visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website at for a list of reputable mystery shopping com- panies. *If a check seems questionable, request a bank employee evaluate the check before depositing it in an account. What usually happens in cases where fraud is involved is that the check seems to clear and consumers wire money to the scammers, as they are instructed to do. Within a matter of days, the check bounces and victims are out any money they wired away. Businesses can also fall prey to mystery shopping schemes. Scammers use and leverage the company's identity and good reputation to create a trustworthy facade behind which they oper- ate. Business owners are usually alerted to this problem by angry consumers who were ripped off by scammers or by a series of unusual calls from consumers inquiring about the validity of checks the company supposedly issued. Here are steps the BBB recommends small business owners take if they discover their business identity has been stolen or hijacked: Ask callers or victims to pro- vide as much information as possible. If cheeks supposedly issued by your company are ref- erenced, ask for a copy and any accompanying paperwork. This will help you assess what you're up against. Report it to the Authorities *Business owners need to immediately contact their local police department if they believe the company's identity has been compromised. If scammers are using the company's name on bogus checks or as part of an email seam, business owners can also contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at Let the Public Know *If the company's identity has been stolen and is being used to defraud customers, warning the public is a top priority to prevent additional people from becom- ing victims. An easy first step is to prominently post a warning on the company's website briefly explaining the threat. Depending on the scope of the seam, business owners might also want to con- sider alerting local media. For additional small business advice on preventing ID theft, visit spotting-identity-theft/overview/. :.__.222-7- :: 2 Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. 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