Rewards effort was worthwhile

We didn?t know what to expect when we created our Holiday Local Rewards Pro?gram for this Christmas shopping season. The program ran from early Nov?ember through Dec. 16. Now that it?s complete and the winners have been announced, we think it was a huge success. Actually, we are still waiting for one of the winners to come forward.

Who would have thought the receipts collected by our Marion and Hillsboro Chambers of Commerce would total more than $200,000? This represents more than 2,000 tickets, each worth $100, handed out to area shoppers.

We know for a fact that this contest made some folks think twice about going out of town, and even changed some Christ?mas season shopping habits.

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While most of us enjoy our weekends and holiday breaks?and actually have off on the holidays themselves?I believe we should thank the people who do work all those days. I would mention them here, but for fear of leaving some out, I won?t.

One example would be the folks working at the grocery stores and the hospitals. When you think about it, there are many, many more who fit this category.

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Giving taxpayers the option of using credit cards to pay county property taxes, and have the fees added on top of the actual amount owed, somehow seems wrong to me. Government is the only entity allowed to add the credit-card fees to the transaction amount.

If we sell something at our business to someone using a credit card, the fees?by law?have to come off our side of the deal. Cash or credit has to be the same amount.

What I really don?t like is that the fee is about 2.5 percent of the amount owed. This amounts to 30 percent interest if annualized. If you owe $2,000, the additional fee would be $50. It doesn?t matter if it?s a credit or debit card.

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I learned that Adobe Acrobat Pro can read a pdf file out loud. That?s right?you can rest your eyes and have an entire book read to you. I made a demo of the program reading a recent Partly Nonsense column. It does a pretty good job, but it doesn?t do well with numerals and dates. But, if you spell everything out, it will work really pretty well.

In ?preferences,? you can select the voice you want to hear. I chose Agnes, but other options include Hysterical, Alex, Vickie, Deranged and many more.

Then, all you need is a program that will record what the computer is saying. I found a free one called Audacity. There are a few tricks to it. And I received some help from Kevin Hower, but after a few minutes we had it finished.

The linked column takes a little more than 3 minutes to hear*. If you don?t want to try it, I won?t be offended. Sometimes my amusement takes precedent over all else. And as long as it makes me happy, that?s enough.

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I read recently that the U.S. Congress is going to look into the baggage fees airlines are charging. Don?t they know that companies need to make a profit?

With high fuel prices and fewer travelers, the airlines should be free to determine what they need to charge to stay in business.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@hillsborofreepress.com.


*If, for some reason, your browser has not already been set up to play audio files audio in the browser you can always just right click (ctrl-click on a Mac) and select “Save Link As?” from the menu. Doing so will let you save the file to your hard drive and play it in your regular audio player.

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