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Local News

  • Q of L: Debt stress makes it worse

    + Being in debt makes me feel like I’m treading water. Then out of nowhere a rip current comes and pulls me under. I’m never sure if I’m going to sink or swim. This is how I feel living week to week. I’m doing my best to make payments on financial mistakes of my past. When an unexpected expense comes along, I have to scramble to handle it. I keep telling myself that this is only temporary, but it seems to be never-ending. — S.H.

  • Q of L: Credit reports — important to know your numbers

    Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    Not names of race horses, but names you should know.

    These are the names of the nationwide consumer reporting companies, the companies that take your information, such as where you live, how you pay your bills, whether you’ve been sued, arrested or have filed for bankruptcy, and sell it to your creditors, insurers, employers or any business or entity that attempts to evaluate you as a credit risk.

  • Q of L: Money mentors available online

    Need a financial tune-up? Not sure where your money goes? Does it run out before the month does? Want to know how to save money?

    Earlier this year, the University of Florida launched a Master Money Mentors program, offering free one-on-one coaching on personal financial and budget matters, whether you’re in a crisis situation or just needing a little guidance.

    “Ideally, we want to reach people before they’re in crisis,” said Monica Payne, Family and Consumer Sciences agent for the Citrus County Extension office.

  • Q of L: Debt freedom within reach

    LECANTO — Seventeen years ago, Steve and Debbie Ward were living the typical American lifestyle — living beyond their means and deep in debt.

    “I couldn’t sleep at night,” Debbie Ward said. “My stomach was all in knots, one month away from our house being foreclosed and the constant phone calls from creditors — I didn’t want to live that way any more.”

    They lived in Ohio at the time where Steve Ward, 49, worked in construction and Mrs. Ward, 48, had a clerical job, taught dance and raised their three kids.

  • All-or-nothing primary

    CRYSTAL RIVER — The August primary will be history-making for Citrus County voters.

    For the first time since 1998, all three county commission races will be decided in the primary because all the candidates are Republicans.

    That means all voters, regardless of political affiliation, vote for county commission in the Aug. 14 primary. The same holds true for public defender and the non-partisan school board.

    And because there are no candidates of other parties in those races, the August winners are elected to office.

  • Q of L: College students finally benefit from credit cards

    By Buster Thompson
    Chronicle Intern
    For college students, a credit card is a savior for paying off every last expense that comes their way. With tuition fees and room and board increasing each year, students find it difficult to pay off everything.

    Even after students receive grant aid and tax deductions, the average cost of college enrollment has increased throughout the years.

  • Quality of Life: Drowning in debt?

    Editor’s note: The Chronicle offers a monthly series on quality-of-life issues in Citrus County by focusing on debt today.

    Debt has no common denominator.

    It happens to the young and old, male, female, married, unmarried.

    A person in debt can live in a one-bedroom rented apartment or a six-bedroom home in a gated community.

    It happens to the reckless and foolish and those who fall on hard times through no fault of their own.

  • Q of L: How do I know if I’m in financial trouble?

    If you’re wondering about whether or not you’re in financial trouble, chances are that you are.

    The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) offers this checklist. If you answer Yes to more than three statements, consider seeking help from a debt management agency. To contact NFCC, go online at www.nfcc.org or call 800-388-2227.

    + I normally pay only the minimum amount due on my credit card bills.

    + My credit card balances increase each month.

  • Q of L: ‘At the present time I feel hopeless’

    INVERNESS — In a freshly ironed shirt, speaking in a genteel Virginia accent, a man of Christian faith, Stephen Jarrell doesn’t look like someone who is drowning in debt.

    But he is.

    Six months ago, three days before Christmas, his wife kicked him out of their home in the Roanoke, Va., area and Jarrell lived in his car for the next two weeks.

    It’s cold in Virginia in the wintertime, and Jarrell remembered the warmth of Florida when he worked for a while in Tampa when he was a young man.

  • Week in review

    Editor’s note: Life, death, drugs and food — all were among the topics Chronicle readers found of great interest over the past week or so, based on hits to Chronicleonline.com.

    To the rescue

    Citrus Memorial nurse Kristy Belcher recalled a recent incident she hopes inspires many people to learn CPR.

    She was enjoying her day, poolside at a Kissimmee resort last month, when shouts for help rang out.