Alexandria Echo Press
With the soaring popularity of social media, nothing much is private anymore — what you're doing for fun, what you're eating, where you're going, who you're dating, what you're buying, the list goes on. But some information should remain private — especially if involves your financial information. Last week, as part of Data Privacy Day, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota sent out information and tips about online security that could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Here's a quick quiz: You're driving your car, the roads are slippery because of blowing snow and ice, and you end up going into the ditch. Can you get a ticket for that? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. As State Trooper Jesse Grabow recently explained in his column, you could be issued a citation for failure to drive with due care.
Getting a driver's license is a major milestone for teens. But it's also one that can lead to tragedy. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,082 teen drivers were involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2016. Roughly 10 percent of those drivers were distracted at the time of the crash — oftentimes by the teens who are riding with them.
A new tool should help people in the battle against identity thieves. As of September 21, consumers can take advantage of a new federal law that allows them to protect their personal financial information at the three major credit agencies by ordering a "credit freeze" — at no cost.
Here's a heads-up for young people who are starting another school year: Do some homework on cigarettes, certain e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine. If you decide to light up or vape, you're putting your future health at risk. We're not just blowing smoke. The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health advisory last week regarding the latest studies, which show early nicotine use increases the risks of addiction for youth now and later in life.
We have been closely following the U.S. Department of Commerce's actions last January to impose a tax, or tariff, of more than 30 percent on Canada's uncoated groundwood paper — paper that newspapers use for newsprint. Anyone who enjoys reading newspapers that they can hold in their hands and keep should be keenly interested in the issue as well.
Kicking someone when they're down is always a low blow. Here's something just as bad: Scamming someone struggling debt who is trying to get their finances back on track. Unfortunately, it's a common practice. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Commerce Department emailed warnings about debt settlement scammers who will take your money but never deliver on their promises of quick debt relief.
When talking about a particular topic, it's helpful to know the lingo. If you're a baseball fan, for instance, it's useful to know what an ERA is (earned run average for pitchers; the lower number, the better) or what OPS means (on-base plus slugging percentage for batting; the higher number, the better). If you get everything all balled up, it can cause confusion. Similarly, it helps to know the correct terms for the different kinds of items a person reads in the newspaper.
If you're an employee with job openings — and there are a lot of them in our area — consider hiring a veteran. They make excellent workers, so much so that Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the month of July as "Hire a Veteran Month" in Minnesota. His proclamation encourages all Minnesota employers to help connect military service members with employment opportunities during the month of July, and to continue hiring veterans throughout the year.
Instead of complaining about "fake news" and hurling insults about how unfair and biased the media are, readers should be paying more attention to where they are getting their news and what they are actually reading. Granted, with so many purported news outlets out there, this is a more difficult task than it once was. These days, with so much information that's just a Google click away, it's tempting to believe whatever search result fits in with whatever you were hoping to find.