Locating Legitimate Credit Counseling Services: What to Look for when Seeking Help to Get out of Debt

As a result of the economic conditions, many individuals and families find themselves in need of credit counseling or credit repair help. However, before soliciting the help of any credit repair company, it is wise to check and make sure the company is legitimate. Below are a few things to look for when searching for credit counseling.

Locating Legitimate Credit Counseling Services: What to Look for when Seeking Help to Get out of Debt

Review the Credit Counseling Company Fee Structure

Legitimate credit repair companies do not charge very much for their services. Many of them offer services for free while others charge a nominal monthly fee. If a credit repair company requires a hefty downpayment in order to review and repair credit, more than likely the company is not legitimate.

Detect Unfounded Credit Repair Claims

Unscrupulous credit repair companies make claims that they can completely repair credit, remove bankruptcies, increased the credit score without damage. The credit repair process naturally takes time. The better the payments over time the better the credit score. However, individuals who are desperate to repair credit sometimes allow their desperation to guide them to buy into such programs only to later regret the investment. If a company makes hard-to-believe claims, there is a good chance that the company is not a legitimate company

Contact Regulatory Agencies

There are several agencies to visit to check the legitimacy of a credit repair company. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is an accredited organization with member associates throughout the United States. NFCC members must be re-accredited every four years. In addition to credit card repair services they offer debt counseling services and more. Visit their website to locate member organizations

Check the Credit Counseling Company’s License

It’s important to confirm that the credit repair company has a valid license. To do this, visit the appropriate state’s Attorney General Office. The Office of the Attorney General keeps track of business licensing. If the licensing information is not accessible over the web, call the office; explain the situation and request additional information on local credit repair companies.

After checking the validity of the license, contact the local Better Business Bureau to see the complaint history. Having a complaint does not mean the company is not legitimate. Sometimes unfounded complaints are filed. However, do your homework to see how many complaints have been filed in the past year or so and see how they were resolved. If the credit counseling company appears to have several complaints all alleging the same thing, it’s time to look for another company.

Report Scam Credit Repair Companies

If after performing a due diligence on a credit counseling company only to find that the company is not legitimate and they are perpetrating a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a report. The FTC takes such reports seriously as they are doing all they can to crack down on unscrupulous companies that take advantage of people seeking financial help.…

Calculate Scrap Gold Price Per Pennyweight: How to Value the Dwt Price of Gold Jewelry and Dental Scrap

To find the scrap gold price per pennyweight of gold jewelry or dental gold scrap one intends to sell to a pawn shop, jeweller, or other scrap gold buyer, and to determine the value of the scrap gold based on gold’s current spot price, follow these easy steps. The calculation method described here is for one piece or lot of scrap gold of the same karat measurement. Note that the abbreviation dwt stands for pennyweight in the instructions below.

Calculate Scrap Gold Price Per Pennyweight: How to Value the Dwt Price of Gold Jewelry and Dental Scrap

Find Today’s Gold Price

Check the metal markets online or in the newspaper to find the current price of gold, which is measured in troy ounces. Depending on when you check, the gold price may be just a few hundred dollars or may be over $1,000 U.S.

Convert the Gold Price to DWT (Pennyweight) Units

A single troy ounce is equal to 20 dwt of gold. If today’s gold price is $1,000, then a pennyweight of gold equals 1/20 of $1,000, which is $50.

$50 is the scrap gold price per pennyweight – if the scrap were pure 24k gold bullion, that is. Scrap gold needs additional calculations, because it is not 100 percent pure gold, but made up of base metals, too.

Find How Much the Scrap Gold Weighs in Pennyweight

Sort the scrap gold jewelry and other gold into karat units. Pennyweight scales measure in dwt units. If a pennyweight scale is available, weigh all 10k gold together, 12k gold together, 14k gold together, and 18k gold together to find the pennyweight in dwt units. Or if there is the less common 9K gold or 22k gold scrap or other units, place those together, too. If a gram scale is all there is, weigh the scrap gold in grams and then convert grams to pennyweight – 1 gram equals .643 dwt.

As an example, say the scrap gold is 14k, and weighs exactly 1 pennyweight.

Factor in the Karat Purity to Get the Value of the Pennyweight of Gold

To get the purity of the scrap gold, divide the karat number by 24. With the example of 14k gold, divide 14 by 24 to get .583. This number is the percentage of the gold alloy that is pure gold. (As another example, if the gold were 9k, then one would calculate the gold purity as 9 divided by 24, or .375.)

Multiply the 1 pennyweight gold (14k) by .583. The answer is easy in this example – .583. The pretend sample of scrap gold is 58.3 percent pure gold.

Multiply .583 times the scrap gold price per pennyweight in the example, which is $50. The answer is $29.15.

Thus, $29.15 U.S. would be the actual scrap gold price for one pennyweight of 14k gold when the price of gold is $1,000 US per troy ounce (or $50 per pennyweight).

For people in Canada, the UK, Australia, and other countries, convert the dollars to the respective country’s currency.

Scrap Gold Price Per Pennyweight Reveals the Spot Price of Scrap Gold on the Open Market

Troy ounces, grams, and pennyweight are common measurement units for weighing gold. “Dwt price” refers to the price of gold when weighed in pennyweight units. The scrap gold price per pennyweight is based on the current price of gold, the percentage of gold in the alloy, and the weight of the gold.…

Avoiding the Freshman 15: College Freshman Fifteen Facts

As if stressing out over grades, and obsessing over that cute co-ed weren’t bad enough, many college freshman have one more thing to worry about: gaining weight. While this phenomenon is often called the “Freshman 15” (a reference to gaining 15 pounds during the first year of college), in reality, students can gain five 20, or even more pounds. But plenty of freshmen manage to maintain or even lose weight while in college. How? By understanding the diet-busting dangers and learning how to avoid them.

Avoiding the Freshman 15: College Freshman Fifteen Facts

Why does the freshman fifteen happen in the first place?

Usually because college students have a lot more opportunity to eat (and overeat!) than they are used to.

Culprit: Cafeteria. Being on a college’s cafeteria plan usually means that having one healthy salad costs the same as having two burgers, a side of fries, and a . Also, students often socialize in the cafeteria, slowly munching away the entire time they are there. In other words, it’s easy to go overboard on calories. Solution: Control portion sizes. There is no need to try a bit of everything in sight. Those food options will be there again soon enough. Choose low-calorie filling options like water, salad, and fruit as dessert.

Culprit: Late-night cramming sessions. There’s something about the stress and darkness that just begs for fattening comfort foods like pizza, chicken wings, or at least a double mocha. Solution: Students should study where they can’t eat, like the library. Don’t wait until the last minute, either… stress loves food. In other words, practicing good study habits not only translates to good grades, but helps keep off the freshman 15.

Culprit: Social events. Free food draws people, and there’s often a lot of free fatty food to be had at everything from extracurricular club meetings to parties. Solution: Eat beforehand. Starved people are much more likely to overeat. There’s no need to deprive oneself completely – staring down all that party food is stressful at best and leads to binging at worst. Instead, people should come to parties with a plan: choose one or two of your favorite treats, and then limit yourself to a certain quantity (“I will only have one slice of pizza” or “Half a cupcake and seven tortilla chips – that’s it!”) Without a plan, it is too easy to keep walking by the snack table all night long, nibbling one’s way to excess calories.

Culprit: Snacking on the run. Building snacks into the day can be a smart dieting technique, if people choose low-calorie, high-nutrient snacks. Problem is, it’s easy to do just the opposite. Solution: People who like or need to snack should carry around healthy snacking options (think nuts, yogurt, carrots or soy crisps) so they won’t be tempted by all those not-so-healthy selections like chips, snack cakes and sugary drinks.

Culprit: Drinking calories. Solution: A calorie is a precious thing to waste, but too many college students end up downing hundreds of calories in sodas, energy drinks, coffee drinks, smoothies and even juice drinks. Choose flavored water, herbal teas and skim milk instead.

Culprit: Laziness. Solution: Most college campuses offer a variety of different ways to move one’s body, from jogging trails to gyms to intramural and club sports to just walking from the dorm to class to the library. Take advantage of the opportunity to burn those calories. Students who feel too tired to exercise should examine their life and figure out what’s out of balance. Cut back on the partying, but don’t skimp on exercise!

Students who follow these tips won’t have to worry about how …

How to Grow a Pico de Gallo Garden: Gardeners Enjoy a Taste of Summer All Summer With This Salsa Garden

Pico de gallo, literally “rooster’s beak” in Spanish, is a popular Mexican dish that can be as hot as the summer sun or as cool as a glass of iced lemonade. Gardeners can settle on the recipe and plant their rows accordingly.

How to Grow a Pico de Gallo Garden: Gardeners Enjoy a Taste of Summer All Summer With This Salsa Garden

Why Grow a Pico de Gallo Garden?

Gardening with a theme is a fun way to anticipate the taste of the harvest. With a delicious recipe in mind, gardeners are also sure to put every last bit of their produce to good use.

Most gardeners have a mile-long list of herbs and vegetables they’d love to plant. Unfortunately, limited space is usually at odds with these goals. Instead of throwing together a haphazard mishmash of produce, some gardeners utilize all their space for one purpose. Salsa gardens, and pico de gallo gardens in particular, are good examples of this.

What to Plant in the Pico de Gallo Garden

The most abundant ingredient in pico de gallo is the sun-ripened tomato. True salsa connoisseurs claim pico de gallo is only at its best when made with garden-fresh tomatoes.

Next, gardeners will need to plant some white onions. If gardeners want to taste their pico de gallo throughout the summer, they’ll need to either start their onion seeds in the previous fall or plant seedlings.

The characteristic spiciness of pico de gallo usually comes from the fiery jalapeno pepper. Gardeners who prefer their salsa mild may decide to leave these peppers out of the patch altogether, but the gardeners who like a kick to their salsa may want an extra row.

Last but certainly not least comes the savory herb cilantro. This herb’s recognizable taste and aroma feature in many popular Latin dishes. Because cilantro goes to seed nearly every three weeks, gardeners will need to keep up with harvesting and planting to ensure a steady supply throughout the summer.

Pico de Gallo Recipe

Once the garden is producing, whipping up a cool dish of pico de gallo is only a few minutes of dicing away. Gardeners can harvest what they need and head to the kitchen to start the preparation.

Here is a ratio of garden ingredients that will combine to make a scrumptious bowl of salsa for the whole family.

  • 4 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (more or less to taste)
  • ½ cup diced cilantro (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper

If gardeners have a cucumber or radish on hand from another garden patch, these are sure to add extra flare to the recipe.

Once the ingredients are combined in a bowl, gardeners can toss them together and chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes. The fruits of their labor are excellent served with tortilla chips or over a bed of brown rice.…

Kitchener at Omdurman and the Superiority of European Warfare

Omdurman was a transitional event, linking 19th Century tactics with modern technology to overcome an enemy armed chiefly with spears and swords.

In early September 1898, General H.H. Kitchener, commanding at Omdurman in the African Sudan, informed his government that, “The remnant of the Khalifa’s forces has surrendered, and I have now a very large number of prisoners on my hands.” Omdurman was located up the Nile River, across from Khartoum where Major-General Charles Gordon had been killed by the Mahdist forces fourteen years earlier. Kitchener, at that time, was part of the relief operation led by Viscount Garnett Wolsey. The expedition arrived too late; Omdurman was to be the long awaited act of revenge. Yet Omdurman was also a transitional object lesson perpetuating the belief of European superiority.

Kitchener at Omdurman and the Superiority of European Warfare

Avenging Governor-General Charles Gordon of Khartoum

General Gordon had returned to the Sudan to confront the Mahdi, whose personal ambitions rested on Islamic mysticism and posed a serious threat to Egyptian hegemony over the vast expanse of desert. It would not be until Kitchener’s victory at Omdurman in 1898, however, that, as the London Times postulated, the territory would be re-opened, “to the benefits of peace, civilization, and good government.”

Following the death of Gordon and the destruction of Khartoum, the Mahdi himself died, succeeded by the Khalifa Abdullahi, who turned the fort at Omdurman into a citadel housing his palace and the tomb of the Mahdi. According to writer Philip Ziegler, Omdurman was “Africa’s largest slum.” Kitchener’s army, composed of a well-trained Egyptian contingent as well as the British Brigade, began the long and arduous march up the Nile to Omdurman, vastly outnumbered by the dervishes. But, as Ziegler writes, “…arithmetic counted for nothing in the fierce joy of battle.”

Omdurman Victory Attributed to Several Factors

As a transitional event, Omdurman would witness a heroic cavalry charge by the 21st Lancers, as well as the use of heavily armed gunboats and a significant advantage in artillery. The London Times correspondent pointed out that the siege of Khartoum several years earlier lasted 317 days; the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean conflict took slightly over 300 days. Omdurman fell after five hours. This can be attributed to Kitchener’s planning as well as modern weaponry.

Kitchener’s success was due to excellent planning as well as moments of good luck. The Khalifa, for example, was frequently guided by dreams. These dreams caused him to withdraw his troops from points along the Nile such as Berber, concentrating his men at Omdurman. Further, the battle would be fought on the Kerreri plain rather than a house-to-house battle within the city.

A notable exception was Atbara. 20,000 dervishes took part in the battle of Atbara under Emir Mahmoud. It was a foolish move. Sandhurst military historian Philip Warner argues that had those 20,000 men been available at Omdurman, “the outcome of that critical battle might well have been different.”

Role of the Forces under Kitchener’s Command

Both Egyptian and British forces were eager to fight. According to the London Times, the lesson of Omdurman showed that British soldiers “will go anywhere and do anything.” Lt. General Francis Grenfell, commander of the British contingent, wrote that, “…never, in the course of my service, have I seen a finer body of troops than the British contingent…as regards physique, smartness, and soldier like bearing.” (The London Gazette, September 30, 1898) To this must be added the contributions of loyalist Sudanese units.

Detractors like the young Lt. Winston Churchill, involved in his first conflict, showed their arrogance with criticism of Kitchener and fellow officers. Churchill became a …

Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, NYC: The History of a Renowned New York City Neighbourhood

West of Times Square is a neighbourhood once renowned for sex, violence and extortion. While gentrification has filed off its jagged edges, Hell’s Kitchen feels grittier and closer to real life than elsewhere in Manhattan.

Between 8th Avenue and the Hudson River, from 34th Street in the south to 59th Street in the north, the city’s signature towers of glass and steel are only beginning to creep into the skyline, and shuffling queues of shutter-happy tourists and mile-wide billboards rarely choke the thoroughfares.

A Bloody Birth

The first to settle this stretch of Manhattan’s shoreline were Irish and German immigrants in the 19th century, working on the Hudson River docks, in local slaughterhouses and factories. These streets were the brawn of Manhattan; gangs swaggered through the slums and brawling was commonplace. The origins of the name “Hell’s Kitchen” are lost to time; some point to a violent hostel in the area, long since gone.

When alcohol was barred by Prohibition in the 1920s, the street gangs evolved into organised crime rackets with interests in everything from gambling and extortion to prostitution. An influx of Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s brought about the return of the gang violence as romanticised in West Side Story.

There’s little left to hint at this neighbourhood’s tawdry and violent past. The eastern boundary of Hell’s Kitchen at 8th Avenue remains a seedy and intimidating stretch, littered with sex shops and strip bars – once a halfway house between the working class and poor to the west and the porn-peddling theatres of Times Square to the east.

Here and Now

Hell’s Kitchen of the 21st Century is a vibrant, up and coming district of the city. The leisurely menu of restaurants and bars on 9th Avenue give the locale a similar vibe to the East Village and the Upper West Side, artistic and creative, more subdued, less rush. The residential streets connecting 9th and 10th Avenues are still spacious and airy; several blocks were protected by preservation orders in the 1970s that limited building height, although the relaxation of regulations in recent years has seen modern condominiums encroach on the low-rise skyline.

More recently, development of derelict sites in the neighbourhood has accelerated at a frightening pace. On 10th and 11th Avenue the streets are awash with cranes and concrete and hods of fluorescent labourers drinking Schnapple on the sidewalks. While some residents lament the further loss of New York’s heritage, others are relieved that after years of neglect the area is finally receiving attention from business and developers.

There are still signposts to the past visible across the west side of Manhattan. The Landmark Tavern on the corner of 46th Street and 11th Avenue stood on the shores of the Hudson River during the 19th Century, serving gangs of burly Irish dockworkers. Although the bar is now several hundred yards from the river (landfill from construction has been used to extend the island’s coastline over the decades) it’s appearance has changed little, save for the occasional plasma screen.

Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, NYC: The History of a Renowned New York City Neighbourhood

While every New Yorker knows where Hell’s Kitchen is, don’t expect to find its location in print. The yellow-bordered map in the back of cabs refers to the area as Clinton while the MTA Subway map refuses to name it. Developers and City Hall have pushed for a more sellable designation since the 1950s, and although it’ll always be known to those in the neighbourhood as the devilish Hell’s Kitchen.…

NYC Neighborhoods: Hell’s Kitchen: Now Called Cllinton, Restaurants and Specialized Schools Abound

In Hell’s Kitchen, rents are lower than in the rest of midtown. Hell’s Kitchen is the area between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, and between 30th Street and 59th Street. The vast area is home to DeWitt Clinton Park, from which the replacement name was taken. It can be argued, though, that the park was the setting for the “rumbles” in the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. The plot of that show revolves around fighting between Anglo and Puerto Rican gangs, resulting in death and ironic sorrow some believe the equal of that in Romeo and Juliet.

NYC Neighborhoods: Hell's Kitchen: Now Called Cllinton, Restaurants and Specialized Schools Abound

From Farmland to Urban Melting Pot

Hell’s Kitchen was once farmland and woodland, like most of New York City beyond the original Dutch settlement at the lower tip of the island. During the first part of the nineteenth century, the farms were divided into lots. Before long, factories and slaughterhouses filled the space not taken by cheap housing for immigrants, first Irish, then German and Italian. Later, blacks and Puerto Ricans migrated to the neighborhood.

Slums Cleared for World-Class Performing Arts Complex

In the 1960s, much of the housing at just north of the neighborhood was razed to make room for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, today a premier world cultural destination, although it is located in the area known as the Upper West Side. Some buildings in north Hell’s Kitchen were razed, as well, for appearances.

Later, mainly in the 1970s, mid-rise apartment buildings (which in New York means up to 20 floors) appeared; in the 1980s, true skyscraper apartment buildings, of 30 floors and more and often topped with swimming pools and health clubs, appeared. Today, the area is a mix of super-tall, super-expensive apartment housing, mid-rise units, and much older brownstone and tenement buildings, mainly below 55th Street.

Only Local Shopping, but Department Stores Nearby

No one goes to or lives in Hell’s Kitchen for the shopping. There are supermarkets, copy shops, and the odd gas station beyond Ninth Avenue and close to the old West Side Highway. In short, it offers what the very mixed economic population needs, and not much more. Fifth Avenue, with its good midtown shopping, is only a seven-minute walk from Eight Avenue, however.

Good, Inexpensive Restaurants Abound

On the other hand, there are many inexpensive restaurants. Joe Allen on 46th Street near Eighth Avenue is a well-known Broadway hangout, and a little pricier than the ethnic restaurants nearby. While you may not see superstars there, the ambience is showbiz, and producer’s assistants and such fill the place with theater talk and attitude. The hamburgers are pretty good, too.

Ralph’s, on Ninth Avenue at 56th Street, is one of the last of a dying breed, an old-style Southern Italian restaurant. Get ready for lotsa pasta.

Try middle-eastern food at Ariana Afghan Kebab at Ninth Avenue and 52nd Street, or Latino cuisine at Old San Juan, Ninth Avenue at 51st Street. Hell’s Kitchen remains home to many Latinos, Puerto Rican and otherwise.

Restaurant Row and the Hudson River

Chief among these is Theatre Row, 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, followed by Restaurant Row, 46th Street between Eight and Ninth. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum occupies a disused pier at the end of 45h Street across 12th Avenue. If you have the time and inclination, Hudson River Park offers green space right on the Hudson River; one can view the remains of the cruise ship piers of romantic memory, when people went to Europe by boat, or arrived as immigrants the same way.…