Recent Area News
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Burnsville, MN – February 18, 2016 – According to the Wall Street Journal, the class of 2015, on average, graduated from college owing slightly more than $35,000 in student loans. But they’re not alone. Student loan debt is weighing many people down and scammers are promising quick and easy
relief. Unfortunately, these promises are hollow, and too many hopeful borrowers don’t discover that until after they’ve paid still more money out of pocket. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) reminds people it’s easy to make grand claims – but tough to deliver.
“Scammers often prey on those that are desperate, and they know there are many people out there who are dealing with a lot of student loan debt,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Unfortunately, these so-called offers of assistance leave people in even worse shape financially.”
BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota has received two reports recently through BBB Scam Tracker wherein Minnesota residents with student loan debt signed up with a California firm that promised to help them qualify for a student loan forgiveness program. Both individuals paid the company nearly $600 upfront for the service and then the company failed to deliver.
BBB advises people to watch out for scams and suspect offers that entice student loan holders by promising to wipe out their debt.
How These ‘Offers’ Work:
You get a phone call, email or spot a post on social media that claims a company can erase your student loan debt. Many claim that their service is made possible by a new government program or policy. The company then asks for an upfront fee to supposedly negotiate with your lender or student loan servicing company on your behalf. They will claim they’ve helped numerous other clients, but don’t believe them! Student loans can only be forgiven under specific circumstances, which are not fast or easy. Once the money has been paid, the scammers take your fee and disappear. In another version of the student loan scam, con artists claim that they can save you money by consolidating your loans. Some charge a fee for using a free government service. Others may actually move your loans to a private lender with a higher interest rate.
Another tactic such dubious entities employ is to offer to see if people qualify for a deferment or forbearance, which allows you to temporarily postpone making your federal student loan payments or reduce the amount that you pay. However, no one needs the help of a company to do this. Anyone can seek such temporary relief on their own.
How to spot a suspect student loan relief offer:
If it seems too good to be true…it probably is. Any company that claims it can erase your student loan debt in minutes is lying. Don’t bother responding to the advertisement or email.
Requests for upfront fees. Never pay money upfront. Remember, anyone can make big promises. That doesn’t mean they can deliver.
Being asked to sign a legal document. Never sign over power of attorney to a 3rd party unless you fully understand what you’re getting into. Giving a company the power to negotiate on your behalf or
assign your loans to other lenders could open the door to even more financial hardship.
The best way to avoid student loan relief scams? Be on guard, know your options and stay in contact with your lender or loan servicing company.
Contact BBB or your school’s financial aid office if you receive questionable offers. You can also research loan forgiveness programs offered by the federal government by visiting https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.
Media Contact: Dan Hendrickson, Communications Coordinator
651-695-2463 / [email protected]
The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.
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Northfield resident will challenge Bly
A Northfield resident has entered the race for House District 20b representative. Aramis Wells is a machinist at Bilken Industrial. He’s been a firefighter with NAFRS and is now the Captain of the Rescue Squad. When asked why now he said it’s been something that he and his wife have been talking about for quite a few years and this happens to be the right time. He added that it’s a good time to have someone, “that brings a little more fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and such. He said, “I think people know best how to run their lives and I don’t think St. Paul needs to be telling them how to do it”. Of those themes fiscal responsibility is his main focus, “I think everyone in our district sits around the kitchen table every week and tries to figure out how to best spend their money and make it last till the end of the month”. I asked him what he would do with the budget surplus, “I don’t think it’s their money to spend. That was last year’s budget and if they didn’t spend it, it should either go back to the people who gave it to them or it should be used to pay off some of the State’s debt”. His wife, Tiana is his campaign manager. She was also the campaign manager for Brian Wermerskirchen who lost to democrat David Bly who was reelected for a 2nd term in 2014. Wells said his family has been very active in the Republican Party since 2007.
Scammers get nasty
Online and on the phone, scams abound. Of late, it’s the IRS supposedly calling to tell you you owe them money. Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson says, no matter the type of scam, when it comes in via phone, “we tell people that if it doesn’t sound right, if the hair on the back of your neck goes up, trust your instincts”. Some have found that even if they hang up, the scammer will call back and even after telling them they’re calling the police, “we’ve literally had people receive the call while they were reporting it to our officer and they handed the phone to our officer and the person almost always starts making these crazy threats that they’re from some branch of the FBI that you’ve never heard of”. Nelson says there’s your clue. If they start asking for any kind of bank information it can be even worse than a credit card because they can start buying things right away out of your bank account. Don’t confirm any numbers. Nelson said call his office, if nothing else they can document it. He added there are IRS scams where people will file your taxes before you do and essentially take your tax return and then “messes up” your ability to file taxes that year. There are resources to report to the Federal Trade Commission and the BCA as well. I have a link on our website to an article with reporting information and links. Click below:
Hwy 3 and 3rd street project on Council agenda
The Northfield Council meets for a work session tonight. There are a number of items on their consent agenda including formal approval of the contract with new City Administrator, Ben Martig. His starting salary is $126,623 with a start date of May 2nd. The only item on the Regular agenda is the Hwy 3 and 3rd street project. The meetings are streamed live on the City’s website. Mayor Graham will be in studio tomorrow morning at 7:20 with a recap.
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Re-elected farmers come from Northfield, Eden Valley, Goodhue and Renville
SHAKOPEE, Minn. (Feb. 15, 2016) – Delegates to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) recent annual meeting at MN Ag EXPO 2016 in Mankato re-elected four family farmers to its board of directors.
Bruce Peterson, Northfield, was re-elected to represent District 3. Tom Haag, Eden Valley; Ryan Buck, Goodhue, and Gerald Mulder, Renville, were elected to fill at-large positions. Peterson, Haag and Buck have previously served as MCGA president.
“Minnesota’s corn farmers are fortunate to have these four strong and experienced voices for agriculture back on the MCGA board,” said Noah Hultgren, a family farmer in Raymond and current MCGA president. “Whether it’s standing up for corn farmers in St. Paul and Washington, working to grow the use of homegrown ethanol fuel or supporting farmer-funded research, MCGA remains in a strong position to amplify the voices of Minnesota corn farmers.”
MCGA has over 7,000 members, making it one of the largest grassroots agriculture organizations in the United States. Working in close partnership with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, MCGA strives to create new opportunities for corn farmers and improve quality of life.
To learn more about MCGA, go to www.mncorn.org or follow @mncorn on Twitter.
Nisbit attorney asks for Change of Venue
The Faribault man indicted for 1st degree murder is scheduled for an Omnibus Hearing this Thursday. 39 year old Jason Nisbit is accused of murdering 26 year old Chelsea Martinez of Ohio and leaving her body in Shager Park. Rice County Attorney John Fossum says the omnibus hearing is an opportunity to resolve issues including the defense attorney has made a motion for a Change of Venue arguing that “people have thought too much about this case”. Fossum would not go into further details saying he has an obligation to make sure people get a fair trial.
The roofless eyesore is being taken down
The white roofless eyesore on the Q-Block is getting removed today. The Save the Depot group asked the Railroad to take the building down but were told they didn’t have the funds at the time. Depot organizer Alice Thomas said there were people in their earlier removing asbestos and then heard that Gleason got the contract to bring it down. The old freight house has been there for decades and in 2008, when the American Bloom group was having a contest, someone from that organization called the railroad and asked if they would remove the building calling it an eyesore and explaining how the police were having trouble with it due to transients and teenagers using it. That’s when they removed the roof due to liability. The movers for Save the Depot were scheduled to put the Depot on it’s foundation this week. If the weather’s decent, they’ll do some work on the exterior as well as they can during the winter. Thomas says there are 9 very thick brackets that hold the sloping roof that were removed when the addition was added in 1944. They’ll getting them from a mill in Wisconsin. Heating and electrical will be done when funds become available. You can donate at northfielddepot.org. Check out our website for pictures. The freight house sits on railroad land and is entirely their responsibility. Pictures of the Brackets
Weitz Center hosting Plight of the Pollinator tonight
As part of Carleton College’s Climate Action Week, they present “The Plight of the Pollinator” on Monday evening at 7 o’clock. Representative Rick Hansen will discuss what efforts he and other legislators have made to protect both honey bees and native bees, as well as butterflies in Minnesota. He’ll discuss the problems currently facing these pollinators, such as the impact of pesticides/neonicotinoids, and what individuals can do to ensure their health. Representative David Bly as well as Councilor Erica Zweifel will also be speaking. There will be time for Q&A with the speakers and local bee keepers. The event is being held in the Larson Room at the Weitz Center.
Nfld Beyond the Yellow Ribbon holding Omelet breakfast Sunday
The Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network is serving up an Omelet Breakfast Sunday morning at the Northfield Eagles Club from 8:30-12:30. (omelets, sausage, bacon, pancakes and all the fixings, plus juice, milk and hot coffee). All for only $10 for adults and $5 for children. Half the proceeds will benefit the network. You can also learn more about ways to help our veterans and their families.
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