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Bettendorf Woman Sentenced to 4 Months’ Home Confinement for Extortion PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
DAVENPORT, IA – On December 6, 2012, Theresa Kay Hunt, age 49, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to time served for attempted extortion, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner also sentenced Hunt to 1 year supervised release including four months’ home confinement.

Hunt contacted the Viewer Relations Department at Discovery Communications, Inc., and threatened to release damaging photos of a cast member of the show “19 Kids and Counting” if Discovery did not pay her $10,000. Hunt emailed pictures of the cast member to an undercover FBI agent and stated that she had more pictures buried in a box at her parent’s home.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

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Error on Your Credit Report? Here’s Help PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:33

By Jason Alderman

If you've ever tried to remove inaccurate of fraudulent information from your credit report and gotten the runaround, take heart: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now on the case.

In July 2012, the watchdog agency, formed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, gained authority to supervise all of the major consumer reporting agencies.

The CFPB now advocates for consumers who have complaints regarding interactions with credit bureaus and identity theft protection services. This adds to the agency's consumer grievance oversight which already included mortgages, bank accounts, consumer loans and private student loans.

"Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in announcing his agency's new responsibility. "They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs. Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged."

You can seek assistance from the CFPB if you have issues with:

  • Incorrect information on your credit report;
  • How a consumer reporting agency is handling its investigation of your complaint;
  • The improper use of a credit report;
  • Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
  • Problems with credit monitoring or identity-protection services.

Here's how the new system works:

If you believe your credit report contains incorrect or fraudulent information, you should first file a dispute with and get a response directly from that credit reporting company before contacting the CFPB. The same goes if you have an issue with how the company is handling its investigation of your grievance – for example, if they don't respond in writing within 30 days.

If, after filing your grievance, you are dissatisfied with the resolution, you may file a complaint with the CFPB using any of the following methods:

Once your complaint has been logged, you'll be given a tracking number to check its status. Each complaint will be processed individually and sent to the credit bureau in question for response. The CFPB expects companies to respond within 15 days with information about the steps they have taken or plan to take. You'll have the option to dispute the company's response to your complaint.

Credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer credit reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. Among other things, they track the number and types of credit accounts you use, how long they've been open and whether you've paid your bills on time.

"The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing," noted the CFPB's announcement.

You can order one free credit report per year from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. (Order through www.annualcreditreport.com; otherwise you'll pay a small fee.) Proactively ordering your reports on a regular basis can help identify bad credit behavior and spot fraudulent activity or errors before they can damage your credit.

To learn more about credit reports and scores, visit the CFPB's website, www.cfpb.gov. Another good resource is What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a financial literacy program run by Visa Inc.

 
Niabi Zoo Sets Annual Attendance Record PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Marc Heinzman   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:40
Coal Valley, IL – December 5, 2012 - Niabi Zoo announced today that it has smashed its existing record for annual attendance. For the 2012 season, which began on March 5th and ended with the Zoo’s last event on December 1st, a total of 256,243 people passed through its gates. This figure represents an increase of nearly 27,000 zoo visitors from 2011, which was a record year for Niabi Zoo at the time. This is also the first time zoo attendance has officially surpassed a quarter of a million people.

Zoo Director Marc Heinzman attributes this new record to a variety of factors, including favorable weather conditions for much of the year and strong continued support from the community. “I’m amazed at how many people came out this year,” said Heinzman, “and I am very grateful to everyone for their support of Niabi Zoo during my first year as Zoo Director.” Zoo officials hope to set yet another new record during the upcoming 2013 season.

Niabi Zoo will reopen for the 2013 season on March 11th. Zoo visitors should expect a full schedule of events, programs, and activities, in addition to a variety of improvements to zoo facilities.

 
The Prepper’s Guide to Holiday Shopping PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:32
4 Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future

Corrupt bankers, a practically valueless dollar, hyper-unemployment and underemployment, home-grown terrorism, the uptick in natural disasters and the overall lack of trust in our most important institutions – these are some of the reasons all Americans should be very, very concerned, according to Peter Dash (www.peterdash.ca), a world-traveled researcher for Harvard University's Center for International Affairs.

“I predict a brutal world ahead of us,” says Dash, author of “ZUrabia,” (www.zurabia-peterdash.com), a book about rogue forces taking over the world’s most important institutions. “Unfortunately, I have been right since my research at Harvard in 1986, when I questioned the viability of government institutions to meet general needs and growing problems, both domestically and abroad.”

The pragmatic holiday shopper this year will purchase items to safeguard their families against these threats, which have been long in the making and won’t disappear quickly, he says.

“Terrorism wasn’t inaugurated with 9-11; extremism in Muslim sects has been growing for decades, and Neo-Nazi groups are starting to flourish in failing states like Greece,” he says. “The dollar has been steadily losing its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913; climate change has been on the radar for quite a while; and there have been greedy bankers since, well, banks have existed.”

“If you’re confident that everything is sure to be okay, then you’re not paying attention,” he says.

He offers a four-point survival strategy for holiday shopping:

• Gold is good: The dollar has lost 95 percent of its value in 100 years, and it will continue losing value. As the Reserve continues to flood money into the system, thereby reducing current or potential value, more inflation is inevitable, acting as yet another tax on wages. So, collect and buy any gold that you can and consider spending federal notes while they’re still worth something to businesses. Think about your jewelry, and buying more. Silver is a good option if gold is too expensive, and there are Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, that are backed by physical gold. A reputable banker or broker can help explain for those who are interested. “TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab may be good places to start getting information on gold and silver ETF trading,” according to Dash.

• Inflation: Spend your money now or smartly invest it before you lose it. Remember, banks often give clients less than one percent on many accounts, but inflation on food and real items we use, like gasoline, are going up by much more. In essence, your banker is stealing your money through the assistance of the Fed, which is killing your savings rate by cheapening money. As if to pour salt on this wound, the bank, in many cases, lends money at four percent or higher. Rerouting some bank savings/wages by investing in canned food, for example, may protect you against the scourge of food inflation, as well as other disasters.

• Worthy purchases: With food and water, a failed society puts a premium on additional goods. They include home insulation, gardening tools and materials, computer programs and language learning kits – perhaps Spanish or Chinese – because of the increasing prominence of other cultures. Guns, security systems and other measures to protect one’s home will likely prove extremely valuable should law enforcement be spread too thin, or fail as an institution.

• Buy in bulk: Places like Wal-Mart or Costco will help you get the most value with large purchases of food. It’s important to be well-stocked if something happens that results in the emptying of grocery markets, but remember to have adequate space in your house, apartment or cabin for a “safe” room, which is part of a sound strategy for protecting you and your family.

About Peter Dash

Peter Dash has been a teacher, professor and corporate trainer for the last 17 years, working in Saudi Arabia, the former Soviet Union and China. He has an applied science degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in applied teaching from Southern Queensland in Australia. He was a researcher in world (dis) order and youth groups at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs, started by Henry Kissinger. He follows the investment field intensely, focusing on commodity funds and trends. Fifteen percent of his book’s royalties will go to needy students consistent to the many years Dash has worked in assisting voluntary youth organizations. He lives on a small tropical island that is stocked with the finest well water, fish and food. Dash invests in Gold ETFs and commodity trading companies.

 
Can Americans Really Afford 4 More Years of Entitlements? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 03 December 2012 15:41
Former Liberal Says Loyalties of the Poor are Misguided
By: Virgil Brannon

With young mothers being showered with expensive poverty and bouquets of dependency; when too many males are making more babies and not raising them; when a large percentage of our youth are graduating from high school not prepared for college, and when the doors of the unemployment office are open, but no one is willing to hire, how can we afford four more years of entitlements?   

How can this government raise taxes on the rich -- the ones who create jobs? This will stop businesses from growing and expanding. If you raise their taxes, the community programs they support – the Little League teams and the civic projects -- will suffer. Students who have put in hard work to get to college, who rely on business-funded college scholarships, may not be able to go. If these businesses fail to produce jobs, more people will fall into poverty and the need for entitlements will prevail.

When you raise taxes on businesses and the rich, you prevent companies from hiring new faces, and force them to turn away the old ones. With no jobs and no recognizable alternative presented by this administration, how can Americans become self-sufficient? As long as the Democratic Party is buying the votes of the economically poor households with free money, poverty will become the new norm because the party is using entitlements to sway votes.

How can America survive if she refuses to stand with her founders on what has always made her great? America is the super power of the world, but now it has been downgraded by entitlements to maintain a status quo? There are Americans struggling to make ends meet; they are struggling to put food on the table. With no focus on any solutions, how can there be any progress? The quick way out of poverty is a job and education. A job gets you out of poverty, and education elevates you to the next level. But how can people remove themselves from poverty when the Democratic Party’s system has been a failure from the start? What is so hard about showing those who think they cannot make it without entitlements that they can? What is so hard about showing them the long-term effects and consequences that Food Stamps and Welfare have on a them, and what is so hard about showing those who do not need entitlements the right way to stand on their own, without taking from others who are really in need? I know that most Americans would rather have a hand up than a hand-out.

When you make people believe they cannot achieve anything; make their goals become impossible to reach; and train them to believe that nothing is possible for them, failure thrives.  This leadership would rather we have less, settles for less, and be satisfied with receiving less. Struggling families and single parents who have just a little are not thinking that entitlements will kill their dreams, progress and growth while creating laziness. A young male without money or knowledge turns to crime and tries to take all that he lacks.

We have to show those who do not believe that they have a purpose; that there is something special about each of us in America and that there are plenty of opportunities for them to succeed. They need to know that America is the greatest country in the world, built on the belief that man can do anything and be anything, as long as he is willing to acquire the knowledge to put ideas into action. There is nothing that we cannot do when our minds are focused. We are all human beings, born for greatness, created by the greatest Scientist and Creator of the universe to be the most important species on this planet. We are the only species that has so many unique capabilities and talents. We have the ability to change things to make them better, and we can accomplish anything  because there  is  really  nothing  holding  us back.

But with 46 million people and rising still on food stamps and without hope and 60 million American votes without knowledge, when will the rest of us receive any Change? Either way, America cannot afford four new years of Entitlement while our neighbors suffer from choice in the Democratic Coma.

About Virgil Brannon

Virgil Brannon is the author of “Democratic Coma,” www.democraticcoma.com. He is also a private investigator and the founder of I Am Vision Inc., a non-profit program that embraces and empowers youth with academic and leadership challenges. His goal is to promote the personal growth of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and their families by encouraging their dreams and providing members with a roadmap for success. Brannon attended Shepherd’s Care Bible College and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in ministry religious counseling.

 
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