FORECLOSURE ANSWERS IN PERSON OR ONLINE: Learning how to avoid foreclosure can be as close as a workshop in Stockton, or through the Internet. ByDesign Financial Solutions will have a series of workshops and Webinars in the next three months on avoiding foreclosure. The class covers selling, refinancing, avoiding predatory lenders and how to approach a lender about a loan in trouble. The workshops, which are free, are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday as well as May 22 and June 17. All three workshops are at the West Oaks Lane Resource Center, 7908 N. West Lane, Suite 201, Stockton. Free webinars, which are held over the Internet and the phone simultaneously, will cover the same topic from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on April 21 and 30; May 13, 22 and 29; and June 3, 10 and 25. ByDesign will have two Get Checking classes, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 19 and May 10, that can help people overcome the restrictions on getting a checking account. Each class is $60 and is held at the West Oaks Lane Resource Center. To register for the classes or webinars, go to www.bydesignsolutions.org and check under "Personal Finance Education" or call 800-750-2227.
STATE FINDS PESTICIDE, ILLNESSES UNRELATED: California environmental health experts say hundreds of illnesses reported by central coast residents can't be linked to the aerial pesticide sprays that were used in the fall to fight an invasive moth. State and federal officials sprayed residential areas in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties to combat the light brown apple moth, which has infested nine counties from Marin to Monterey. Hundreds of people complained of feeling short of breath, experiencing sharp stomach pains and other symptoms after the first application of spray. Officials said most of the illness reports didn't contain enough data to determine what caused the symptoms, but also said scientists could not rule out a possible connection, either.
HAWAIIAN HORROR -- GAS HITS $4.55: The average price of regular gasoline on Maui island has reached a record $4 a gallon. Wailuku is the first area in the nation tracked by AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report to hit the $4 mark. In the remote coastal town of Hana, the price is about $4.55 a gallon. Maui's average is up about half a cent from Wednesday, 5.7 cents from a month ago and about 74 cents from a year ago. The state's average stands at $3.67, about a penny shy of the record high set in September 2005. California leads the nation with an average of $3.75 per gallon as prices soar ahead of the summer driving season.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE GETS $67 MILLION RECALL BILL: The federal government said Thursday it has billed a California slaughterhouse more than $67 million for expenses associated with the largest beef recall in U.S. history. The Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef in February after the Humane Society of the United States released undercover video showing plant employees abusing sick or weakened cows at the Chino-based Westland-Hallmark Co. An agency review found that some of the "downer" cows were slaughtered in violation of USDA policy, which prompted the recall. The USDA billed the plant $67.2 million April 4 for more than 50 million pounds of beef the government purchased for the National School Lunch Program,. Further bills for the cost of destroying the beef and resupplying affected schools could cost up to $50 million more, Morris said. If the plant can't pay, which is likely, taxpayers will pick up the bill, officials said.
MORE CONVENTIONS, ROOMS FOR SIN CITY: The corporate owner of the Venetian and Palazzo resorts is planning a convention center that could open by 2010, cost about $680 million, and make room for as many as 7,000 hotel rooms. A Las Vegas Sands Corp. spokesman confirmed Thursday that the company filed plans several months ago with Clark County to build a 1.2 million-square-foot facility across Koval Lane from the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
BEE NEWS SERVICES
67: Percentage of homeowners who take on do-it-yourself projects, according to a national survey by Floor and Decor
70: Percentage of respondents who ranked painting walls as the most common remodeling project completed in the past five years
1, 2: Ranks of installing plumbing fixtures (25 percent) and installing cabinets (24 percent) for project difficulty, as perceived by homeowners
UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE