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Daily Archives: December 13, 2019
Posted: December 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Kim and staff helped with house problem
Im writing so you could let your readers know what a wonderful job Congressman Andy Kim is doing, from my firsthand experience.
My husband and I did a reverse mortgage. He passed away in January 2013. In 2018, I developed medical issues and had to go to a continuing care facility. I came here on Dec. 1, 2018. The house was emptied out and all bills were paid up to Jan. 31, 2019.
My problem was with the bank. They locked up my house on Feb. 7, 2019, which meant the house was no longer mine. Yet they expected me to continue paying taxes, insurance and water bills. I needed paperwork saying the house was no longer mine, so I could give it to Medicaid.
Well, this is where Congressman Kim and his staff stepped in and helped me. It was very difficult for me to do things on my own. Thanks to Jerome Townsend, from Kims office, I was finally able to get some closure and can rest. They were in constant contact with me and did a great job and helped me to the very end.
Hamilton (formerly of Florence)
We need more spiritual understanding
Spiritual truth is the only solution for eliminating violence and the nuclear threat within human society. Understood by Gandhi of India and Jesus of Nazareth, the idea of fighting for freedom but refusing to kill for freedom because the use of the sword means you will die by the sword comes from the following spiritual understanding:
The Golden Rule:
Treat every human being as you would want to be treated.
The Law of Love:
Because the movement of God within all of his creation pushes and pulls commands the human mind to build to love the life-giving movement the essence of life within the body and mind of every human being to the creator's required perfection.
The Law of Equal Return:
Because what good and what harm you measure to every human being will be measured back to you by the creator over and within all of your lifetimes in the human condition.
This spiritual understanding requires discussion and consensus in the public square. The urgency for doing this cannot be overestimated.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
The Dolly Parton renaissance is upon us. In the last year, the American country music icons name has gilded everything from podcasts to college courses, a revived musical to a Netflix documentary. Her resurgence can even be seen in baby names.
Jolene, the titular character of Partons 1973 chart-topping hit, has not seen this much popularity as a baby name since, well, the release of the song in the 70s.
The heartbreak anthem, sung from the perspective of Parton, literally begs Jolene: Please, dont take my man. Partons pleas aside, each chorus of the song repeats Jolenes name four times in a row, twice. Each verse ends with the name almost as a punctuation. Finally, the song leaves us with two more ethereal utterances. All told, thats 31 times the name gets a chance to worm its way inside a listeners head.
Theres no question that the history of the name Jolene is tied up inextricably with the song, says Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard. Before the hit, Wattenberg says, Jolene was just another compound mid-century name, where two names fuse to become one.
Now, though, the song itself is hard to escape, even if you dont fancy yourself a Dolly Parton fan. Its been covered well over a hundred times by artists from Miley Cyrus to Jack White of the White Stripes, according to Secondhandsongs.com.
With close to one million sales in the US, the songs popularity alone doesnt kick-off name adoption. I think it ultimately comes down to my Golden Rule of Celebrity Baby Names: Its not about the fame, its about the name, says Wattenberg. When baby names come into vogue, they require both the appeal of the name and the appeal of the sound. Jolene features two long vowel sounds, Wattenberg explains, which are highly prized in contemporary name style.
But what about Dolly? Sadly, the name has been a falling star since the start of the last century. Its not a name thats easily taken seriously, says Wattenberg. Dolly Parton has leaned into the name and made it work for her, with her larger-than-life exuberance. For now, at least, Jolene is just more captivating.
Posted: at 3:27 pm
The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce announced its Silver & Gold Award winners, Dec. 9 at the Silver & Gold Awards Holiday Brunch, held at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The chamber honored business leaders in the areas of innovation, leadership, and community involvement, as well as volunteers and supporters of the chamber.
Special recognition awards were awarded to the following:
Ambassador of the Year: Brittney Rimmer, Reliance One
Board Member of the Year: Thomas A. Tanghe, City of Auburn Hills
Outgoing Committee Chair: Margie Lavelanet, Costco Wholesale
Outstanding Committee: Mens Health & Fitness Committee
Best Taste Vendor: Family Table Caf and Nothing Bundt Cakes
Mayors Award: Continental Corporation
A total of 16 named awards were announced, recognizing individuals and companies that represent excellence and leadership.The following is a list of the awards and recipients:
Andrews Hooper Pavlik PLC Womans Leadership Award: Jenny Brown, Dutton Farm
Atlas Copco Excellence Award: Genisys Credit Union
Auxiom Golden SMB Award, (recognizes a small or medium size business that exemplifies The Golden Rule): Crossroads Care Center
Baker College of Auburn Hills Education Advocate Award: Oakland University Credit Union
Beaumont Health Excellence in Healthcare Award: Christopher Dolecki D.C., Dolecki Chiropractic
City of Auburn Hills Business Success Story Award: K. Carroll Accessories
Consumers Energy Cares Award, (recognizes commitment to helping others): Bonner Upshaw III, Trion Solutions
dbusiness Magazine Emerging Leader Award: Etrit Demaj, KODE LABS
Detroit Pistons Game Changer Award: Jennifer Bleau, Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union
Faurecia North America Diversity & Inclusion Pacesetter Award: Culture Links, LLC
Gardner-White Michigan Economy and Community Contributions Award: Ursula Scroggs, CPA, DKSS CPAs + Advisors
Mahindra Automotive North America RISE Award (for commitment to beautifying the local community): Dr. Fay Hansen, Oakland University
Oakland University Innovator of the Year Award: Elite Detection K9
Pomeroy Living Outstanding Community Wellness Award: Plante Moran
Stella Wealth Management of Raymond James Higher Standard Award: Davin Salvagno, PurposePoint
Trion Solutions, Inc. Vision Made Clear Award, (awarded to a small to mid-size emerging company on a fast track to success): Auxiom
For more information about the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, visit http://www.auburnhillschamber.com or call 248-853-7862.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
Clockwise from top: Phone case ($36), by Moglea, from Anthropologie, multiple metro locations, anthropologie.com; recycled bag ($112), by People for Urban Progress, from Show & Tell, 5257 Chicago Ave., Mpls.; Ruby Minnescato wine ($19) from Carlos Creek Winery, Alexandria, 320-846-5443; vase ($88), by Cym Warkov Ceramics, from Combine, 1609 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-353-5163; taper candle ($10, set of two), by The Floral Society, and candleholder and snuffer ($54), by Studio Macura, both from Russell+Hazel, 219 N. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-353-4149; French soap ($13 each), by Le Baigneur, from Flotsam+Fork, 3730 Chicago Ave., Mpls., 612-823-5799; First Avenue book ($35), from Patina, multiple metro locations, patinastores.com; Lagom book ($30), also from Show & Tell; wood bear ($18), by Plan Toys, from Kinoko Kids, 3803 Grand Ave. S., Mpls., 612-545-5741; earrings ($78), by There There Collective, from Golden Rule, 350 Water St., Excelsior, 612-598-2098; dog collar ($32), by Son of a Sailor, also from Show & Tell; olive oil ($37), by Brightland, also from Golden Rule; diffuser ($40), by Idlewilde, also from Russell+Hazel.
Chocolate ($12), by Mayana,from Golden Rule
Minnesota pencils ($7),from Patina
Frenchie canned cocktail ($15$18 for four cans), by Vikre Distillery, vikredistillery.com
Metal straw ($3), by Steel Straw, also from Golden Rule
Canned cocktails ($5$6), by Dashfire, dashfirebitters.com
Tea towels ($30), by The Rise and Fall, also from Show & Tell
Jewelry dish ($28), by Nightshift Ceramics, also from Golden Rule
MN mittens ($26), also from Patina
Arch stacker ($28), by Raduga Grz, also from Kinoko Kids
Mini kitchen utensils ($9), by Redecker, also from Flotsam+Fork
Leather wallet ($68), by Sandqvist, also from Russell+Hazel
Reusable bags ($36, set of three), by BAGGU, also from Flotsam+Fork
Knives ($62), by Laguiole, also from Flotsam+Fork
Paul Bunyan cards ($7), also from Patina
Socks ($12), by Le Bon Shoppe, also from Golden Rule
Radiant facial oil($49), by Aveda, aveda.com
Liquid color balm ($29), also by Aveda
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
For almost two decades, investors have rewarded cloud providers for growth, creating many businesses with strong defensive barriers. The poster children for this strategy include Amazon and Salesforce, each of which has redirected potential profits to define a new business sector that it has come to dominate. Unlike other sectors, profit was secondary to growth, as in first things first and second things never.
Delaying profits is hardly a new idea, but the concept was exaggerated with cloud-delivered services. Cloud dynamics accelerate valuations. However, over the past few weeks, weve seen that growth isnt enough anymore.
Profits Become a Priority
In the broader market, weve seen several high-profile startups, such as Peloton, Uber, and Lyft, struggle after their initial public offerings. WeWorks attempt to go public completely failed. It seemed that the growth-only mantra is also no longer a surefire way to build a new cloud-related business. The new rule is the old rule: profitability matters.
Its not just a change in priority; its an acknowledgment that growth rates are slowing. This shouldnt be too big of a shock. Cloud-delivered services are still strategic and viable, but the sector is maturing with larger providers and increased competition. Today, cloud communications is a redundant term; just about every vendor is also a cloud provider, and the competitive landscape includes the largest companies in technology like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. So, of course, growth rates are slowing.
Theres also increased concern over economic uncertainty. For the first time in U.S. history, a decade will pass without the country falling into recession. How much longer the good times willlast is the proverbial $64 million question. Theres a nagging sense of an imminent correction that could be triggered by any or multiple events such as Brexit, impeachment, trade wars, terror, U.S. debt, and more. The benefits of cloud-delivered services remain attractive or even more attractive in recessionary times, but they arent immune to recessions causing wallets to lock tight.
The Cloud Market Responds
We can also see the shift at Ooma Networks. The company reported its first-ever quarterly profit (Q3 2020). The company beat expectations on profitability and growth, and share prices increased 24% the following day. Oomas business products division increased revenue by 67% through growing both subscribers and average revenue per user.
CEO Eric Stang communicated that Ooma will remain profitable, and Ooma also raised its full-year revenue guidance. Stang expects Ooma to continue growing because of recent foundational changes such as its recently refined core product/service offering, integrated acquisitions of Voxter and Broadsmart, and newly launched Ooma Office Pro for small businesses.
That detailed explanation regarding growth is also a new development. Growth now needs to be explained with more than "more salespeople." For example, Zoom reported both profits and growth higher than expectations but saw a decline in its share price because it also reported a decelerating growth rate. CEO Eric Yuan explained that new products (Zoom Phone) and new markets will continue to fuel Zooms growth. He said Zoom already supports Chinese local numbers and expects sales will expand across Europe and APAC markets.
There are no golden rules, and valuation and stock price changes thrive on exceptions. Consider Slack: It remains unprofitable, yet saw its stock increase after its recent Q3 2020 results. Slack increased revenue 60% to $168.7 million and ended its Q3 with 821 customers that were contributing more than $100,000 in recurring revenue, up 67% from the previous year. Investors seem to agree that Slack needs to continue to focus on growth. Also, its stock boost was still recovering from a disastrous Q2.
As far as technical solutions go, nothing has really changed. The market will continue to migrate from premises-based to cloud-delivered solutions. What did change was the game plan that most providers will be following. They are now expected to behave better and balance the business goals of growth and profits.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
Audrey Hepburn was a true icon whose fame isnt just restricted to her onscreen work. Not only was she a great Hollywood actress, who was the first one to win Golden Globe, an Academy Award and a BAFTA for a single performance. She was a great philanthropist as well. From the 1980s until her death in 1993, Hepburn served as an active ambassador for UNICEF, visiting children all around the world and campaigning on their behalf. But that wasn't all. She was also notoriously famous for her slim figure and was often accused of eating disorders but that wasnt the case.
The son of Audrey Hepburn, the Breakfast At Tiffany's star, Luca Dotti, revealed his mother's beauty and slimming secrets in a new book Audrey At Home, Memories Of My Mothers Kitchen. Dotti's book details her life and includes recipes for her favourite foods. 'People think because she was skinny that she had an eating disorder, but it's not true. She loved Italian food and pasta. She ate a lot of grains, not a lot of meat, and a little bit of everything,' Dotti said.
Luca Dotti explained that Hepburn's golden rule was, 'detox once a month and never skip breakfast' and that his mother would have what one might call a detox day about once a month. She usually scheduled these days after long plane journeys. On the detoxing occasions, Hepburn switched out her usual toast and jam breakfast for plain yogurt and grated apple, followed with lots of fruit and vegetables and plenty of water.
Forget the 5:2 diet, Hepburn was clearly ahead of her times by religiously following the 30:1 approach. Let us get to know the benefits of detox once a month that Audrey was accustomed to.
Detoxing ones body is fast becoming a new trend in the world of fitness. Although the word is shrouded with a lot of confusion, you cannot ignore the health benefits detoxification has. So what exactly is Detox and why it is so important? Detoxing aims to help the body rid itself of toxins. The kind of lifestyle we lead today with high levels of pollution, our body seems to be getting more susceptible to all sorts of toxins. The human body has many natural pathways to allow detoxification through the liver, sweat, and through the excretory system.
These toxins can lead to harmful metabolical, reproductive and mental health effects. In serious cases, these toxins can also lead to cancerous consequences.
The reason why Detox has become quite the buzzword these days. The benefits are immense and you will be convinced to detox by knowing its multiple benefits.
Helps in losing weight naturally
Improves digestion and clean gut
Improves liver function
Keeps you energetic
Better heart functioning
Benefits Of Adding Apples And Yogurt During Detox Day:
Apart from being rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals, apples are also rich in phytochemicals and pectin, which all help in detox. Pectin flushes out food additives and metals in our body. The acids in apple (malic and tartaric) helps in the digestion process. Apples are best eaten raw and if consumed with the skin are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Organic apples have higher antioxidants than those apples that are conventional.
Yogurt is the superfood that's not only good for your stomach but it is also an excellent detox food that helps the liver to rid the body of toxins. Include yogurt in your daily diet and you'll be able to see the difference in your health. And to keep your healthy bacteria fed and happy, include plenty of prebiotic-rich eats in your diet, such as bananas and berries which, conveniently, pair well with plain yogurt!
By detoxing your body you help the vital organs cleanse themselves of the toxins, and enable the liver to function appropriately in excreting them. See while the buzzword Detox is getting quite the reputation, but science has not yet proven that any special diet or using products(laxatives or diuretics)can aid in the detoxifying body.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
LL Cool J says Andy Ruiz broke the golden rule when it comes to STAYING successful -- he got comfortable.
If you know LL, you know he's a HUGE boxing fan (see: "Mama Said Knock You Out") ... and it's obvious he was disappointed to see Ruiz blow his run as heavyweight champ.
Ruiz told TMZ Sports he didn't take training camp seriously and "ate everything" -- which is why he showed up to the Anthony Joshua rematch 15 pounds heavier than their first fight.
"At the end of the day when you step in the ring you gotta be ready. And, if youre not ready for whatever reason it doesnt matter, you win or you lose," LL said ... "And he wasnt ready."
"I got respect for [Ruiz]," the rap legend explained -- but he noted, "You cant come into the ring 16 pounds heavier!"
LL knows a little something about sustained greatness -- he's been famous for almost 4 decades -- and he had a little advice for Ruiz moving forward.
"Its the things you do in the valley that gets you to the peaks. And, its the things you do at the peaks that extend the peaks. Part of being great at anything is having the discipline to stay focused when youre successful."
Listen to LL. He knows.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool Published 7:00 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019 | Updated 9:43 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019
USA TODAY personal finance reporter, Jessica Menton, delivers some tips for avoiding debt in order to deliver an enjoyable holiday gifting experience. USA TODAY
Having good credit doesn't just give you bragging rights; it actually makes life easier to navigate. When your credit is solid, you typically have an easier time getting approved to borrow money, whether its in the form of a mortgage, a personal loan, or a credit card. And in some cases, you actually need good credit in order to land a job.
That's why it pays to help your child build credit especially if he or she is a recent college grad without much of a credit history. Here are a few easy ways to go about it.
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One of the best ways to build credit is to establish a solid payment history, and that means paying bills consistently on time. But if your child has never really had bills in his or her name, he/she wont have a payment history. And without one, qualifying for a regular credit card can be difficult.
Of course, that leads to a classic Catch-22 situation: Your child needs a credit card to establish a payment history to build his or her score, but he/she cant qualify for a regular credit because of a lack of payment history. Talk about frustrating. The solution, therefore, could boil down to your child getting a secured credit card.
With a regular credit card, you're given a specific spending limit based on your creditworthiness. With a secured credit card, you put down a deposit that acts as your credit limit, and then, as you charge expenses and pay them off in a timely fashion, that good behavior is reported to the credit bureaus that determine your credit score.
If your child doesn't have the funds to open a secured credit card, putting up that money as a loan could really help him or her establish a credit history. And you don't have to lay out a ton of cash even a few hundred dollars will help.
Maybe your child doesn't have enough of a credit history to get his or her own credit card, but you trust him or her to spend responsibly. If that's the case, you can add your child as a user to your own card. Once you do, your child will get a card in his or her name that's associated with your account. If you both do a good job of paying your charges on time, it'll help boost your child's credit. That said, you should know that ultimately, you're the one responsible for paying that card, so make sure that your child is financially mature enough to not run up a huge bill.
Another thing: Length of credit history is another key factor in boosting a credit score. Even if your child qualifies for a credit card on his or her own, getting added to yours could still make sense if you've held that account for a decade or longer. Of course, it still makes sense for your child to get his or her own card but the length of credit history attached to yours could prove instrumental on the credit-building front.
Chances are that your child has some bills in his or her name maybe some student loan payments, a subscription service, or a cell phone. Being timely with bills is the single most important factor in boosting a credit score. If you allow your child to move back home after college without paying rent for a period of time, he or she will not only have an easier time keeping up with bills, but also get a chance to build savings thatll come in handy for paying future bills on time.
If your child does not have student loans, in which case he or she will establish a payment history in due time, there is another way you can help. If youre going to let your child move back home, encourage him or her to take on a couple of bills to establish a payment history perhaps the family cable bill or cell phone plan.
Helping your child build credit will set him or her up for success as an adult. In addition to the above steps, be sure to explain to your child how to maintain a solid credit score. Typically, that means paying bills on time, not using too much available credit at once, keeping accounts in good standing open for as long as possible, not applying for too many new accounts at once, and having a healthy mix of credit accounts (such as a mortgage, student loans, and credit cards).
The more you educate your child on building and boosting credit, the more likely he or she is to retain that information for the long haul.
The Motley Fool owns and recommends MasterCard and Visa, and recommends American Express. Were firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
As if we lawyers needed one more word to be spoken or written about civility among us, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers-Los Angeles devoted its entire summer 2019 issue to, what else, civility or the lack thereof. The very fact that ABTL-LA decided that it needed to take on the issue and devote an entire issue means that civility is still a long way away, at least in ABTL-LAs perception, and that is a perception shared by many.
It seems that the problem is not so much in court, where lawyers, fearing judicial wrath, can and do stifle themselves to be civil, its the out-of-court shenanigans that create the most problems. No one likes to tattle on others. Well, maybe some do, but the vast majority of lawyers prefer to solve problems without resorting to nasty, intemperate tactics. Raise your hand if youre like me and weary of what seems to be constant yammering about the lack of civility. Didnt anyone learn the Golden Rule all the years ago? I guess not, or if so, its been lost in the fog of war, so to speak.
Exhibit A for an example of the most reprehensible incivility comes, I am embarrassed to say, from California, in fact, from SoCal, in fact from the Westside. If I hadnt read the post and then the court filings, I wouldnt have believed it, but there it all is in black and white.
Read Staci Zaretskys post and tell me at what point plaintiffs counsel may have crossed the line, which he admitted in his response to defense counsels ex parte application. Crossed the line? Please. The attorney also says that the remarks were in the context of confidential settlement negotiations. He also claims that he may have used some inappropriate language out of frustration and anger. I dont think that there is anything confidential in such language, nor should there be, and I cant imagine what situation would ever justify some inappropriate language as that set forth in the defendants ex parte application.
So, although plaintiffs counsel has apologized, I wonder whether the apology was really that, or rather an apology because he was caught using such language. Remember the admonition that every smart lawyer takes to heart: write every email as if it could wind up on the front page of a newspaper, a website, whatever. This series of emails did wind up in the courts record. The Twitterverse has also weighed in.
Does anyone think that a mandatory ethics course on civility would be the way to go? Maybe, but again, You can lead a horse to water .
And that leads me back to the ABTL-LA summer issue on civility. Most of the articles are preaching to the choir, that its not this membership that needs a refresher course in civility. However, one article gave me pause as I had not thought about gender equality as part of the civility issue. Silly me.
Two female judges, Justice Lee Edmon, Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 3 and Judge Samantha Jessner, Supervising Judge of the Civil Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court, posit that, in the context of civility, gender discrimination is not its own separate animal. The authors see it as a subsection of the broader civility issue. Im not sure I agree.
In dinosaur days, I dont recall that incivility was as rampant as it is today. Yes, you had the big-mouth jerks and those know-it-alls, who really didnt know it all, but I thought there was at least a veneer of politeness and respect. It may have been a particularly thin veneer, but at least there was a veneer between civilization and primal darkness. (Anyone who has read Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness will understand the reference.) It may have been my obliviousness as a young lawyer practicing in a small lawyer community where everybody knew everyones name. However, sex discrimination existed.
It wasnt until 2014 that the State Bar of California found it necessary to add language about civility to the attorneys oath. If the State Bar had thought that was an issue years ago, I think that the civility language in the oath would have been added years ago.
The legal community was much smaller years ago, and so word got around about lawyer jerks. We didnt need social media to learn about reputations, and that was true for lawyers and judges. The authors conclude that sexism is alive and well in our profession (no argument there) and that sexism finds its expression in incivility.
How do we promote civility in a culture these days that seems to worship at the altar of incivility? What examples can we use to lead by example, rather than by excrement? We can talk up civility all we want, but until there are some consequences to incivility, I dont think anything will change. Its all well and good to talk about the need and desire for civility, but, right now, there arent a lot of role models to point to.
I think the heavy hammer of sanctions is one tool to start impressing upon errant lawyers that there are monetary consequences, and not just financial wrist-slaps, for being a jerk (or whatever other noun you choose). But judges have to be willing to do that. Are they?
Plaintiffs counsel, Christopher Hook, was admitted to the California Bar in 2008. With more than a decade of practice, he should have known better. Practicing law is definitely not a bowl of cherries, but it certainly isnt simply a bowl of dicks.
Jill Switzer has been an active member of the State Bar of California for over 40 years. She remembers practicing law in a kinder, gentler time. Shes had a diverse legal career, including stints as a deputy district attorney, a solo practice, and several senior in-house gigs. She now mediates full-time, which gives her the opportunity to see dinosaurs, millennials, and those in-between interact its not always civil. You can reach her by email at email@example.com.
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Posted: at 3:27 pm
Our resolve not to mention our acting ability will be tested once again this holiday season, when we receive a gift at a family gathering or office Secret Santa exchange.
We'll have a grin and a gush ready as we tear off the wrapping, open the box and look inside even if it's a home taxidermy kit or a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Beyonce's dentist.
Many charities face the same dilemma during the giving season. They get a lot of stuff including a lot that can't be used. But many charities may be reluctant to speak up, lest they appear ungrateful.
"We don't want our donors to think we're complaining," said Amy Sutton, associate director of Hastings Family Service. "We need people to keep bringing their things."
Most nonprofits have websites that list what they can and cannot use. But too often, people don't check. That means charities have to spend extra time and money disposing of them.
Goodwill probably is too nice to tell you that it doesn't want refrigerators, microwaves or dehumidifiers. So it has a website that tells you.
"Nonprofits like us incur disposal costs for these items that ultimately take funds away from our job training and placement programs," said Melissa Becker, marketing and communication director for Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota. "We help connect four people to jobs every day with proceeds from our 51 retail locations."
This holiday season, here are some things charities wish you would stop doing.
Looking to get rid of that old couch, baby crib or mattress? Don't bring them to Stone Soup Thrift Store in St. Paul Park.
Or worse, dump them on their loading dock after dark.
Stone Soup and its nonprofit parent, Basic Needs Inc., have served thousands of struggling families and budget-conscious shoppers over the years. They've given away tons of gently-used furniture, clothing and bedding to the less fortunate. But it can't resell child car seats. And nobody wants a moldy old chair.
Board President Vickie Snyder said that it costs them at least $400 a month to have such trash picked up and hauled away. That's money that could be going to help the poor or homeless.
"They give us electronics that are broken, clothes that are filthy dirty," she said. "Don't give us your broken stuff. We don't have the resources to fix them. Vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances, we have to recycle them through the Environmental Center and that costs us money."
Unacceptable items are listed on their website. But even if the items are on the acceptable list, such as clothing or quilts, they're often too old or soiled to be passed on. And then the staff at Stone Soup has to politely refuse them.
"I can't tell you how many people we offend," Snyder said. "People will say 'gently used' and it has a grease spot and the arms are filthy."
You aren't doing your local food shelf any favors if you give them that can of kidney beans that has been in the back of your pantry since the Clinton administration.
"It's important that (it) hasn't expired," said Michelle Rageth, director of Friends in Need Food Shelf, in St. Paul Park. "We've actually gotten canned armadillo."
New personal care items such as soap, shampoo or toothpaste are always welcome, she said.
"My first suggestion is to contact the charity and find out what they really need," she said. "Because things change. Sometimes things you think the charities think they need are not the things they actually do need."
Something else folks might not know: most food shelves, Friends in Need included, get most of its food for the hungry by buying it in bulk. They can stretch that $10 much further than the average consumer. Thus, cash is the preferred gift.
"If you gave us that same $10, we can stretch that to a hundred dollars worth of a food," Rageth said.
Sutton said Hastings Family Service can always use food, clothing or household items. But don't put it all in one big, herniating box. If you have trouble lifting it, volunteers will too.
"They think they're doing a good thing by getting these great big yard bags." Sutton said. "If the bags and boxes are too heavy, it's difficult for our volunteers, and most of our volunteers are elderly."
Also, don't leave food donations at their door overnight. They'll go straight into the dumpster.
"We can't risk having critters," Sutton said.
"If a charity is unable to take your things, there is a good reason," she added. "There are some times we have to say no. That might be because we know we can't resell it or we already have 15 of those in the back."
Sometimes it seems that tots get all the toys. Teens may no longer believe in Santa Claus, but that doesn't mean they don't want presents under the tree.
"Santa Tina" Altman is president of A Place of Hope Minnesota, which runs Toys for Tots and Teens. Based out of Hope Church in Oakdale, they help families in need living in Washington, Ramsey, Chisago and Dakota counties.
Unlike most Toys for Tots distributors, they also provide gifts for teens aged 15-18. Beginning in November, they take toy orders from nearly 800 registered local families. About 60% of those toys are provided by the Marines. They handed out the gifts Dec. 14 and 15.
However, the Marines only provide toys for teens up to age 14, Altman said, so they often struggle to find gifts for their older brothers or sisters.
Boys and girls 15-18 could use a hoodie, athletic apparel, a handheld electronic game, skateboard or sled.
Ashley Post is communications director at non-profit watchdog Charity Navigator. When giving, people should observe the golden rule, she said.
If you aren't going to wear or eat something, why would you expect someone else to?
"We want people to kind of embrace that spirit of goodwill and generosity but consider that on the other side of your donation is a person just like you," Post said. "Just because someone is a little less fortunate doesn't mean they don't want to eat nutritious food."
Woodbury mom Cheryl Jogger helped to create the anti-hunger group SoWashCoCARES. They work with members of the District 833 Community Education Department to deliver clothing and food packs to students who may suffer food insecurity during spring and winter breaks from school.
"(W)hen we ask for 'gently used' items, sometimes the items we get are 'heavily used,'" she said. "This doesn't happen very often but before donating a used item, we ask people to consider whether they would give that item to their own children, before donating it to those in need."
Brian Molohon is executive director of development at the Salvation Army Northern Division, which encompasses Minnesota and North Dakota. Donations are always welcome, he said, but helping people on a more personal level can be inspirational.
"If it's a cause that means something to you, get involved," he said. "Come take a tour. Come get proximate to the people that the organization is servicing. You will know intimately what the real needs are. It's always more than just, 'Hey can I get rid of this and give it to somebody?' It can start there. But come and get to know the people you are trying to help."
Many charities who have to turn away volunteers during the holiday season struggle to find them the rest of the year.
"Thanksgiving Day is a really big day people want to come and serve meals," Molohon said. "I love that, but there are 364 other days that the need still exists."
Jogger said hunger doesn't take a holiday.
"We are so grateful for all the generous support we receive for our students, especially at this time of year," she said. "But year-round donations are so helpful, as our needs are spread out throughout the school year and even in the summer."