- Used car boom -- A story in the Wall Street Journal last week talked of how the widening gap between the cost of new cars and recent, low mileage used models is fueling a boom in used car sales. This does not surprise me one bit. The last time I bought a new car was a decade ago, a used car shortly after. As automakers continue to increase the size, bells and whistles, and new technologies to cars (or outright replacing them with SUVs), the prices have increase dramatically, well out of reach of someone who is just getting by paycheck to paycheck. Finding a new car under $20,000 these days is nearly impossible. But cars seem to keep their value about as well as ever, so finding affordable used models is not only more attractive, it’s fast becoming the only option. Perhaps necessity being the mother of invention, automakers will figure out a way of reigning it in. And not by offering more risky credit schemes
- Loan forgiveness -- Speaking of which, the Education Department has released figures on the number of people who have received debt relief from the public service loan forgiveness program. This is the first year people in certain non-profit and government jobs who have made 10 years of on-time payment can apply to have their student loans canceled. It isn’t pretty: Just 96 of 30,000 people who applied were approved. I’ll save you the math. Less than 1 percent. Keeping in mind the price of college, and the lack of anything solid out the other side of it, a fluctuating economy and stagnant wages, student loans seem to be pretty big risks. Really feels like promises weren’t kept, and quite a few people have had the rugs cut out from under them.
- The ‘Why?’ Department -- It’s official, Dunkin’ Donuts is dropping part of it’s name. From January on, donut call ‘em Dunkin’ Donuts, just Dunkin’ (yes, I went there). But they are still selling donuts. Apparently, they want everyone to know they make stuff other than donuts. Except that little donut guy we remember from when we were kid, pretty sure he just makes the donuts. Sigh… IHOb, anyone?
- News of the weird -- Six Flags St. Louis has an offer for those who aren’t too claustrophobic — prizes to those able to stay in a coffin for 30 (almost) straight hours. It isn’t as bad as it sounds. You get bathroom breaks, which for an old guy like me means every hour or so, plus , you can bring pillows and blankets and your cell phone. They’ll even have a charging station. I’m not into tight spaces, but if I have enough room to see my phone, I can binge watch something on Netflix and sleep through the rest. I’m going on a limb to say I could do it, but I want cash on the barrel. Tickets aren’t enough, because I bet they’d still get me for food and incidentals.
- Recommended reading -- I had the honor of working with Dianna Cahn at Stars and Stripes. I highly recommend this story, part of ongoing coverage under the banner Holding on to Hope. A military family, divided: After deportation, a Marine veteran’s wife searches for a future Wherever you may fall on this issue, it is good to be aware of all the consequences, intended or unintended.
- In my backyard -- An amazing story that happened in our area, and a testament to the kind of people who live there. We caught wind of it when it went viral on social media. It’s the story of a N.C. Storm refugee (a formal local resident) and her farm animals who were staying in a Home Depot parking lot. Obviously forced to leave in a hurry and unplanned, she did not have a negative Coggins Test for her 12-year-old horse, a requirement for boarding. Enter a local farmer who stepped up and gave them a proper place to stay. Read about it here.
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