University of Illinois Extension will celebrate Extension Week April 15-21, 2007, to recognize the service U of I Extension provides local Illinois communities and celebrates ongoing education.
The nationwide network of Extension programs began in 1914 as a means of presenting land-grant university research in understandable and useful ways to farmers and rural families.
Today, Extension serves both urban and rural areas by offering programs in a variety of areas including 4-H youth development; agriculture; natural resources; home gardening; horticulture; community and economic development; nutrition and wellness; family life and consumer education.
During Extension Week, the Christian County Unit will host a "Business After Hours" from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at the Extension office.
The public is invited to join us for refreshments, door prizes, fellowship and recognition of our dedicated volunteers.
Aquatic Weed Identification and Management
April 18, 2007
Speaker: Dr. George Czapar
Although numerous plant species grow in ponds and are important components of the aquatic environment, excess weed growth can have a detrimental effect. This presentation will focus on the identification and management of aquatic weeds.
The Natural Resources program will be held at the U of I Extension Christian County office at 1120 N. Webster St., Taylorville, IL. The public is invited to attend and there is no charge. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 287-7246.
Spring is here and it is time for University of Illinois Extension spring gardening programs. Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials, Culinary Herbs in the Landscape, and Using Tropical Plants to add WOW to your Garden will each be offered twice for your convenience.
Are your posies past saving? Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials will help you identify the problem. If you feel that disease is the only thing growing in your back yard then this program is for you. Join Monica David, Illinois Master Gardener State Coordinator, for a guided tour of diseases encountered in your garden perennials. Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials will be offered on Tuesday April 17 at 1:00 p.m. and again on Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Using Culinary Herbs in the Landscape is the second program offered this spring. Culinary herb plants add scent to the garden as well as flavor to your favorite recipe. Many offer ornamental foliage and flowers and work well with other garden plants. Tips for growing herbs and placement in the landscape will be covered in "Using Culinary Herbs in the Landscape" telenet. Jennifer Fishburn, Horticulture Educator, will also provide information on herb plant combinations that work well in the garden and in container plantings. Join Jennifer on Tuesday, May 1, at 1:00 p.m. or on Thursday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. for Using Culinary Herbs in the Landscape.
Using Tropical Plants to add WOW! to Your Garden is no longer reserved for those living in the Deep South. The palette of tropical plants that can be used include things we often think of as houseplants, to the more traditional palms, bananas and elephant ears. They are showing up not only in the home landscape as part of the annual or perennial border and containers, but also in the commercial landscape. The color, texture and form of these plants soon become focal points in the garden and the talk of the town. Plan on attending Using Tropical Plants to add WOW to Your Garden on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. and also on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Escape with Greg Stack, Horticulture Educator, as he leads you into the leafy world of tropical plants. Find out what is available, how to use them and even how to over winter these tropical beauties and bring them back to the garden the following season.
All programs offered in this Spring Series will be held at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County, 1120 N. Webster St., Taylorville, IL. The series will be shared via the University of Illinois telenet system and local computer PowerPoint presentations, allowing live discussion between the instructor and gardeners throughout Illinois. You will have the chance to ask questions at the end of the program.
The cost for each session is $1 and advance registration is required by the Friday before each session.
Phone the U of I Extension Christian County office at 287-7246 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to reserve a seat and packet of information.
Individuals representing agencies serving Christian County will be able to share upcoming programs, discuss issues critical to their needs and network with other agency representatives on Wednesday, April 4 at 11:45 a.m. at the U of I Extension office at 1120 N. Webster St., Taylorville.
This meeting is open to the public, and agency representatives should bring their lunch and 25 copies of any handouts they would like to share and we'll work through the noon hour.
A recent housing survey conducted by AARP revealed that 83% of our country's older Americans want to stay in their present homes for the remainder of their lives. So how can you help yourself or your older relatives' age safely in place? University of Illinois Extension will host the lesson Safely Aging in Place on Thursday, April 19, 2007, at 9:30 a.m. at Christian County Extension office, 1120 N. Webster Street, Taylorville, IL to help answer this question.
Jennifer Hunt, Extension Consumer and Family Economics Educator from the East Peoria Center, will present information on how you can maintain independence in your home or "safely age in place."
Jennifer will present information on how sensory and physical changes that occur as one ages, might affect your daily routine. Other topics to be presented include how to make some simple, low cost, or more expensive home modifications so you can safely adapt to theses various physical and sensory aging changes. An information handout and list of resources for accessible products, devices, and tools will be provided.
Interested individuals are invited to attend. Please call the Christian County Extension office at (217) 287-7246 by April 18, 2007, to pre-register for the program. It will last about 1 1/2 hours and is provided at no cost to the participants.
Don't forget to monitor your credit report by requesting your free annual credit report. There are hundreds of "imposter" free credit report sites that offer services for a fee. Phone the office at 287-7246 to obtain your annual credit report request form or go to the following official web site or toll free number: www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228.
When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
Here is a listing of Energy Efficiency Resources for your use:
¨Air Conditioner Contractors of America (www.acca.org) Air conditioner comparisons with contractor locator
¨Efficient Windows Collaborative (www.efficientwindows.org) Window and door comparison tool and locator
¨ENERGY STAR (www.energystar.gov) Appliances, lights, new home construction systems and materials
¨Dept. of Energy-Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (www.eere.energy.gov/consumer) General info and resources
¨Home Energy Saver (hes.lbl.gov) Energy use calculator
¨Keep Warm Illinois (www.keepwarm.illinois.gov) Fact sheets and resources
¨Residential Energy Services Network (www.natresnet.org/) New home and energy efficiency mortgage information
Any consumer In Illinois can place a security freeze on his or her credit report by requesting one in writing by certified mail to the credit reporting agencies. The main three credit reporting agencies are: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
Seniors and Identity Theft Victims - The credit reporting agency is not allowed to charge a fee to senior citizens 65 years of age and older and identity theft victims for placing, removing for a specific time period or specific party, or removing a security freeze on a credit report. To prove you are a victim, you must send a valid copy of a police report, investigative report, or a complaint to a law enforcement agency about unlawful use of your personal information by another person.
Non-Victims and Non-Seniors -There is a charge of $10 per credit reporting agency for each placing, removing or temporary lifting of a security freeze.
A security freeze shall prohibit, with certain specific exceptions, the credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer's credit report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer.
How to Freeze Your Credit Files - When there is a security freeze, your file cannot be shared with potential creditors. A security freeze can help prevent identity theft. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumer's credit history. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who had your name and Social Security number probably would not be able to obtain credit in your name.
How To Place a Security Freeze - First you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. There is a charge of $10 fee to place or remove a security freeze. If you provide proof that you are a victim of identity theft or are at least 65 years old, in which case there is no fee.
A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft.
Equifax Security Freeze -P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze -P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Security Freeze -P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
For each, you must:
Send a letter by certified mail. If you are a victim of identity theft, you must include a copy of the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft. Provide your full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the past 5 years, supply the addresses where you have lived over the prior 5 years. Provide proof of current address such as a current utility or phone bill. Send a photocopy of a government issued identification card. If applicable, include payment by check, money order or credit card(Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Card only).
How Long Does It Take For A Security Freeze to Be In Effect? After five business days from receiving your letter, the credit reporting agencies listed above will place a freeze providing credit reports to potential creditors.
You are to receive within 10 business days from receiving your letter to place a freeze on your account, the credit reporting agencies will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep this PIN or password in a safe place.
Can I open new credit accounts if my files are frozen? Yes. You can have a security freeze lifted for a temporary period of time. This is done at no charge for victims and seniors who are at least 65 years old. For non-victims, however, there is a $10 charge for either temporarily lifting the security freeze or allowing a specific creditor to access your credit report.
The steps to do so are as follows:
Contact the credit reporting agencies above. The manner by which you contact them is determined by them, but it may be by way of phone, fax or over the Internet or by mail.
You must provide proper identification. You must provide your unique PIN or password.
You must include during what time period your credit report will be accessible (for example August 1-5) or include which party you want the security freeze lifted (for e'xample: Sears).
How long does it take for a security freeze to be lifted?Credit bureaus must lift a freeze no later than three business days from receiving your request.
What will a creditor who requests my file see if it is frozen? A credit will see a message or a code indicating the file is frozen.
Can a creditor get my credit score if my file is frozen? No. A creditor who requests your file from one of the three credit bureaus will only get a message or a code indicating that the file is frozen.
Can I order my own credit report if my file is frozen? Yes.
Can anyone see my credit file if it is frozen? When you have a security freeze on your credit file, certain entities still have access to it. Your report can still be released to your existing creditors or to collection agencies acting on their own behalf. The can use it to review or collect on your account. Other creditors may also use your information to make offers of credit. Government agencies may also have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
Do I have to freeze my file with all three credit bureaus? Yes. Different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus. If you want to stop your credit file from being viewed, you must freeze it with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Will a freeze lower my credit score? No.
Can an employer do a background check on my credit file? No. You would have to lift the freeze to allow a background check which includes a credit check just as you would to apply for credit. The process for lifting the freeze is described above.
Does freezing my file mean that I won't receive pre-approved credit offers? No. You can stop the pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-567-8688. Or you can do this online at www.optoutprescreen.com This will stop most of the offers, the ones that go through the credit bureaus. It's good for five years or you can make it permanent.
To see copies of the sample letters to the three credit agencies -see:
Source: Consumers Union.org ,
Local Source: Susan Taylor. 708.720.7520
Also, "Illinois Small Farms" is a website that provides a centralized location for information about upcoming events, resources, sustainable ag tours, and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Please visit the site at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/smallfarm/.
The University of Illinois Extension office has a public use computer site. It is available during regular working hours–between 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. This site is connected to a high-speed internet line, so anytime you'd like to come use it, feel free to come on in and search the World Wide Web. The U of I Extension office is located at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville.