Coastal Post Online


November, 2002

Letter To The Editor

College Takes Four Years, Loans May Last Lifetime

After graduation, a college student has many things to look forward to -- a new job, a new place to live and quite often, thousands of dollars in student loan debt. "While students are going to have to take out loans to cover college expenses, many don't realize that the amount they are borrowing might end up being a huge burden when they graduate," said Mike Kidwell, VP and co-founder of Myvesta, a financial health center. "College students often think that their first job out of school is going to give them a great paycheck that will cover all their expenses, but many are shocked to find out how far that paycheck actually goes."

As college tuitions have steadily increased over the past few years, the amount borrowed to receive a college degree has risen as well. According to the US Dept. of Education, the average amount borrowed to attend a four-year public institution was $16,100 in 2000. That number is up 35 percent from $11,950 just four years earlier. The amount borrowed to attend a private school rose 26 percent, from $14,290 in 1996 to $18,000 in 2000.

"There are many options available for people who are having a hard time making their student loan payments," Kidwell said. "The most important thing is to contact the lender as soon as possible and work out an arrangement you can afford. Most student loan holders, especially federal student loan holders, are very accommodating for special needs. Just make sure you act quickly before you default."

Calif. Infants 1 Month Old Surpass Acceptable Lifetime Cancer Risk

Well before infants in California reach their first birthday, they will exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) acceptable lifetime exposure to cancer-causing air pollutants, a new study finds. The report, "Toxic Beginnings: Cancer Risks to Children from California's Air Pollution," was released in September by the National Environmental Trust, and is based on data collected by the California Air Resources Board. At a hearing sponsored by the California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Select Committee on California Children's School Readiness and Health today, the report's findings and recommendations will be made available to law makers.

The report calculated the cancer risk posed by the levels of air pollution measured by the Air Resources Board from 1999 through 2001, focusing n California's five most-populated areas: the South Coast, the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley. A child born in each of these areas will take less than a month to accumulate the cancer risk from air pollution that the EPA says is acceptable over a lifetime.

"Parents need to be aware that their children are facing serious -- and unnecessary -- risks from air pollution," said Brent Newell, Staff Attorney with the Center n Race, Poverty and the Environment. "EPA has failed -- despite a legal mandate -- to regulate 68% of the diesel particulate problem from off-road mobile sources like farm and construction equipment. Moreover, a state law exempts stationary diesel engines used in agriculture. Our government's policy that requires children to bear the costs of this pollution must end."

Little League Sign Ups

Reminder! West Marin Little League Signs Ups for 2003 are due November 1, 2002. (Serving the communities of Fairfax, San Anselmo, San Geronimo Valley, Nicasio, Pt. Reyes, Olema, Inverness, Stinson Beach and Bolinas.) Any questions? Please visit WMLL website:

Muir Beach Quilters' Arts Fair

The Muir Beach Quilters' 30th Annual Holiday Arts Fair will take place Sat., Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Muir Beach Community Center, 19 Seascape, Muir Beach. A free shuttle service is provided from the Muir Beach parking lot. Admission is free. For more information, call Kathy Sward at 415-383-6762.

Community Thanksgiving Dinner

This year, the eighteenth Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Thursday, November 28 at The Depot on Mesa Road in Pt. Reyes Station. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 2 p.m.

The traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings is a festive and friendly occasion for friends, visiting relatives and neighbors and is served free of charge. All are welcome. Donations are accepted. "Take-out" dinners may be requested for homebound folks but it is much more fun to attend. Rides are available for those who need them.

This annual event is sponsored and supported by the West Marin community, including chefs, bakers, local businesses and organizations and, of course, hard-working volunteers. There are many volunteer opportunities available before, during and after the meal. Some of these include cooking a turkey, food preparation, turkey carvers, drivers, food servers and clean-up crew.

To make dinner reservations, sign up to volunteer, or if you wish further information, please call The Community Resource Center, 663-8361. We request that you please make dinner reservations by Monday, Nov. 24.

Affordable Medicine for Seniors

With no prescription drug benefit for US seniors in sight, millions of Americans are forced to choose between buying food or medicine. The skyrocketing costs of medications has further increased the problem and propelled the situation into a national crisis. One California based company, Medical Discounts International (MDI), offers six programs to help US seniors reduce or eliminate the costs of their prescription drugs.

For one-time fee of $5 per medication, MDI will help people get free medicine if they meet the following three criteria: (1) the applicant must have a good relationship with his/her doctor; (2) the financial qualifications for each medication is different, but in general, the applicant should make less than $1,800 per month or $2,400 per month household income; and (3) the applicant can not have any prescription drug insurance coverage.

Everyone qualifies to save up to 70 percent by enrolling in one of MDI's Canadian medication programs. For as little as $15 per year, any US resident can use MDI to purchase very low cost Canadian medications. In these programs, US prescriptions are honored; MDI offers a Money Back Guarantee; and the medications are mailed to the consumer's home.

For a nominal fee, MDI will send consumers information on State sponsored prescription drug programs. Additionally, MDI offers a free prescription drug discount card good at more than 15,000 US pharmacies, and for people who would like to order medications from overseas pharmacies, MDI offers a guide complete with a list of overseas pharmacies and contact information.

As Congress continues their endless, and thus far, ineffective debate on how to help America's seniors acquire more affordable medicine, MDI has put viable programs in place that are available today. For more information, please call 888-380-MEDS (6337) toll free or see the MDI website at:




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