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Summer reads

Green leaders

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Guest Opinion: In hard times, beware of scams


Summer reads
A couple of fun and handy books to have this summer would include The Complete Guide to Kentucky State Parks and True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics.

The parks guide describes the state’s 51 state parks and historical sites, illustrated with more than 160 photographs. Written by Susan Reigler with photography by Pam Spaulding, the book is published by The University Press of Kentucky and sells for $24.95.

Kentucky Politics includes the story of the only state governor to be assassinated while in office, and the congressman who won re-election from a jail cell. The book was written by Berry Craig, professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, is published by The History Press, and sells for $19.99.

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Green leaders
Green Summer Forever at the Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown on July 31 will feature displays of student summer projects on energy efficiency, environmental improvement, and wildlife preservation. The day of displays, judging, and awards presentations is part of the Green Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, a regional summer youth initiative administered by the Hardin County Public Schools. More than 150 young people from eight counties around Elizabethtown are expected to participate in the institute. The summer program includes sessions on entrepreneurship and activities to develop efficiency and environmental projects. More information is available by phoning Lisa Williams, director of the Lincoln Trail Innovation Center, at (270) 307-4214.

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Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month
Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40° F for the main refrigerator compart­­ment and 5° F for the freezer. If you have a stand-alone freezer, it should be kept at 0° F. Appliance settings may vary, so an easy way to check the temperature is to use a meat thermometer.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Guest Opinion: In hard times, beware of scams
by Jack Conway

The recent rash of automated vehicle warranty calls that has plagued Kentucky consumers is another reminder that scam artists are constantly looking for new ways to victimize consumers. They use the latest technology and go to great lengths to perpetrate their crimes.

Despite being on the federal “Do Not Call” list, I too have received these annoying “robo calls” alerting me that my vehicle warranty is about to run out.

These calls have not only been a nuisance, they are misleading, deceptive, and a violation of the telemarketing “No Call” law and the Consumer Protection Act. Their real purpose is to deceive consumers into providing important financial information.

Over the past couple of months, my Office of Consumer Protection has received more than 400 complaints from consumers who have received these calls on both cell phones and land lines. With the information provided to us by consumers, we were able to subpoena telephone records to identify the alleged perpetrators of at least some of the phony warranty calls.

On May 14, I filed suit against SVM Inc., Fortress Secured Inc. and their principal owner, Bruce Moneymaker, to stop these calls. The following day, Fayette Circuit Judge Kim Bunnell granted our request for a restraining order. The Federal Trade Commission has also taken action against several of these telemarketing companies.

If you have not yet registered your home or cell phone on the “No Call” list, visit www.nocall.ky.gov or call (888) 382-1222. If you are already on the “No Call” list and receive any telemarketing call you believe is in violation of the law, file a complaint with my office at the above Web address or call (866) 877-7867 to request a complaint form.

One of the most frequent questions I get when I travel the state is “what can I do about rising gas prices?” We are constantly monitoring the price of gasoline in the Commonwealth.

My office currently has multiple gas price investigations. We have asked the Federal Trade Commission to review data my office gathered regarding the merger of Ashland and Marathon back in the 1990s. I have requested a meeting with the FTC chairman, to discuss what we believe is a potentially illegal monopoly in Kentucky’s petroleum market that has affected the price of gasoline.

We are also seeking more than $90 million in penalties from Marathon for alleged price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In January, we issued fines against retail stations in seven different Kentucky communities over price-gouging at the pump in the wake of Hurricane Ike and the subsequent wind storm.

Jack Conway is the Kentucky Attorney General.

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