Monday, April 16, 2018

Music Man

     Music is a universal language that we all connect with. It doesn’t matter where we live, work or play.  Music evokes all kinds of emotions including happy or sad, excited or disappointed, connected or removed, carefree or burdened, relaxed or stressed, all depending on what we hear and when we hear it.  Music has been a journey of a lifetime, presenting a wide variety of opportunities to share it with others.
     Singing and playing a trombone in high school was the beginning of the journey, being in band, chorus, and small groups at contest.  High school musicals including The Fantastics were fun to participate in as an actor and singer.  With encouragement from my parents, I continued with music classes and lessons along with being in the Hawkeye Marching Band while majoring in business at Iowa.
     After entering the working world, expectations were the music was going to end.  Somehow, those expectations were wrong.  Over the past forty plus years, I became involved in madrigal productions performed in Washington and Keota, Christmas and Easter Cantatas in Keota, a community production of Mame in Keota, and several musical productions in the Washington Community Theater.  Conducting the Holy Trinity Parish choir for thirteen years and joining the Washington Choral Society for the past ten years have made additional challenges and fun at the same time.
     The most rewarding and challenging fun has been time spent playing and singing with musical groups Keota Brass Band and Sheets with Music.  The Keota Brass Band includes Roger Richardson on trumpet, Gary McCurdy on Tuba (aka the Tubador), Stan Knipfer on guitar and I play trombone.  For the past thirteen years the group has performed music in Dixieland style, songs written in the early to mid-1900’s.  The audiences are mostly at care centers, assisted living and independent living facilities within a 60-mile radius of Keota.  For the past three years I’ve partnered with Dianna Sheets on piano while playing trombone. Our duo called Sheets with Music performs at care centers and retirement facilities while entertaining with a slightly different musical style.  The two groups have entertained at a variety of other functions, including performances for Libertyville Savings Bank, Keota Fun Days, Keota Community Schools, Sigourney Chamber of Commerce, Washington Chamber of Commerce, What Cheer Opry House, Panorama Days in Panora, and the VFW Post in Oskaloosa, Iowa. 
     Both groups have been a lot of fun, receiving warm responses from the audiences.  You know you are having a great day when the listeners get up and dance, sing along or both.

By: Tom Hahn

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Clues from Cash - Are Free Trial Offers Really Free?

When signing up for a “free trial” please keep in mind that if they request your credit or debit card information it is likely you will be charged automatically after the free trial is over. If you have any questions feel free to contact us! See the following article from February 18, 2016 by the Better Business Bureau for more information.

For centuries, consumers have believed when they were told something was 'Free' that it really was. Not always true in today's world. Free trial offers are used by many companies to sell everything from books to CDs, from magazines to Internet access. Free trial offers can be a great way to try out new products or services without making a long-term commitment. You should be aware, however, that by accepting a free trial offer, you might be agreeing to buy additional products and services, if you do not cancel within a specified period of time.
It’s called Negative Option Marketing and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Negative Option Marketing is a term used to “broadly refer to a category of commercial transactions in which the seller interprets a customer’s failure to take an affirmative action, either to reject an offer or cancel an agreement, as assent to be charged for goods or services.”
Before you accept a free trial offer, be sure you know what your obligations will be. For example, you may have to contact the company to cancel during the trial period to avoid receiving goods or services or to avoid paying for what you have already received. By not canceling, you may be agreeing to let the company enroll you in a membership, subscription or service contract, and to charge the fees to your credit card.
Pay close attention to the “material” terms advertisers use. According to the law, companies must clearly and prominently disclose the material terms of their trial offers before you give your consent.  Material terms may include:
  • how much time you have to cancel before you incur charges;
  • the fact that by accepting the trial offer, you are actually agreeing to be enrolled in a membership, subscription or service contract or agreeing to pay for additional products and services if you do not cancel within the trial period;
  • the cost or range of costs of goods or services you will receive if you do not cancel during the trial period;
  • how to cancel during the trial period;
  • whether you will be charged a non-refundable membership fee if you do not cancel within the trial period; and,
  • whether fees will be charged automatically to the credit card you used to buy other goods or services.
Free trial offers are promoted through all types of media: newspaper and magazine ads, TV and radio commercials, direct mail, the phone and online. In print ad offers, the material terms may appear in fine print as a footnote at the bottom of a page, or on the back of the offer. To protect yourself, read the entire offer carefully before you decide whether it is a good deal for you. When offers are made orally – whether by radio, TV or on the phone – listen carefully to the message. If you do not understand the details, ask the caller to repeat the terms and conditions as many times as it takes until you understand. Or, ask them to send you the terms and conditions in writing. Never give into pressure to agree to a deal.
When ordering online, don't click too fast. Review the order form. Look for pre-checked boxes. You may be giving permission to send you more products that you'll have to pay for if you don't cancel, or you may be agreeing to a strict cancellation policy and not know it.
The BBB suggests you ask the following questions:
  • Is the free trial offer related to a membership, subscription or extended service contract?
  • Do I have to contact the company to avoid receiving more merchandise or services?
  • Who do I contact to cancel?
  • Will I receive other products with the free item? If so, will I have to pay for them or send them back if I do not want them? How long do I have to decide before incurring a charge?
  • Is there a membership fee? If so, is it refundable?
  • Will you automatically bill my credit card for anything?
  • Who is offering the trial – you or another company? What is the name and address of the company?
Be sure to research any company with the BBB prior to placing an order but if you do experience a problem with a free trial offer, try to resolve it with the seller first. If you are dissatisfied with the response, contact the Better Business Bureau ( or the Federal Trade Commission (
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. serving 41 counties in Central Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: or E-mail: or

Monday, March 26, 2018

Coming Full Circle

Blake, my 3rd grader, participated in the Fairfield Trojan basketball camp.  Third grade is the first year kids have the option to play in the Fairfield Youth Basketball League, which entails traveling on Saturdays in January & February to play area teams. In addition, they were looking for a couple parents to help coach the team, and I volunteered to assist.

This is the first time I’ve coached any of my kids or anyone else’s kids in any sporting endeavor.  Back in ancient times, I played the old 6 on 6 style basketball and I figured this was the only sport that I could contribute some knowledge.

This is what I learned about my debut coaching experience:
  • The energy and enthusiasm of 8 and 9 year old boys is contagious and at times challenging to reign in.
  • Over dribbling is a difficult habit to break. That was never an issue with 6 on 6, so I had to attempt to discover how to slow that down.
  • I am not as young as my mind thinks!  I am still healing from a floor burn on my knee received while playing with them during practice.
  • It is heartwarming to watch them in a game accomplish the skills and plays we worked on in practice.

Future Fairfield Trojans!
By: Jill Burnett