Habitat for Humanity's Refrigerator Replacement Program!

Here's good news for residents of single family homes in Washtenaw County who may qualify for Habitat for Humanity’s Refrigerator Replacement Program. This opportunity has been extended through June 15, 2014! In partnership with DTE, through this program, qualified applicants can receive a new, EnergyStar Frigidaire refrigerator at no cost, delivered to their home. For more information about how to enroll online, look here.

To date, H4H has helped 830 individuals and families cut their utility bills with new, energy efficient refrigerators. They would love to help 800 more!

Affordable Care Act

For those looking for more information about the Affordable Care Act and associated changes, the government offers healthcare.gov as the one stop shopping point. Beginning today, October 1, people seeking healthcare can go there to explore options. While they are encouraging people to begin at the site, there is a toll free number people can use to ask questions: 1-800-318-2596.

Consumer reports has published a booklet called, "Health Reform: Seven Things You Need to Know Now." This booklet aims to help people understand the changes brought about by health care reform. This booklet is also available in Spanish as "Reforma del Sistema de Salud: 7 cosas que necesita saber ahora." The Michigan eLibrary pulled together some resources to help Michiganders understand changes in health care law. AARP has also compiled several factsheets that explain how the Affordable Care Act affects different groups of the population.

Finally, AADL is offering an event called How the Affordable Care Act Affects You on October 2, 7:00-8:30 in the Multipurpose Room at the Downtown Library. This program is intended to provide community members age 64 and under with the information and resources to correctly navigate the decisions that must be made in order to comply with new healthcare laws.

Your Guide to Buying Local This Holiday Season

Where will you shop for holiday gifts this year? It’s buy local week! In the recent years, local businesses in Michigan cities including Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have been participating in several “buy local” themed holiday sales in order to take some of the spotlight off of the big box stores. This growing trend to “buy local Michigan” is a great way to support our state’s economy. If you’re looking for gift ideas that will support southeast Michigan, or just the state in general, here are some ideas:

-Farmer’s Markets are on the rise! According to a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Michigan has been leading the country in the percentage growth of farmers markets over the last two years and also “ranks fourth among the states in the number of farmers markets.” There are several local farmer’s markets that are open year-round, such as The Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and The Detroit Eastern Market. Pick up a locally made loaf of banana bread for a stocking stuffer. Or, for the more adventurous, cook your own gifts to give from the fresh foods found at the markets. The AADL’s catalog has several local-themed cookbooks for you to draw ideas from.

-Michigan is famous for its vineyards and wineries. Take a friend or loved one who enjoys wine on a tour of Michigan wineries by following this guide. Or pick up a bottle from a local winery.

-Speaking of local drinks, Michigan is also well-known for its local breweries. Ann Arbor Brewing Company, Bell’s, and Arcadia are among some of the most popular Michigan breweries holding holiday sales this year.

-Within the last few years, there have been several “Michigan” themed retail stores popping up that stock Michigan-made products. Among these include The Michigan General Store in Ypsilanti, The Dixboro General Store, The Produce Station in Ann Arbor, and the website “The Mitten State” which sells vintage-inspired Michigan themed t-shirts and other Michigan-themed gifts. Buying gifts from Michigan retail stores is a great way to support your local and state economy.

-Over the next few weeks, Friday, December 7th, Friday December 14th, and Friday December 21st, Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor will be hosting “Festive Fridays” which include live street entertainment and extended hours for Main Street retailers! This is a great opportunity to enjoy and support your local economy.

-Connect with local crafters and support them at DIYpsi, coming up December 8th & 9th in Ypsilanti. Other local DIY craft events and holiday bazaars coming up include Tiny Expo in Ann Arbor on December 8th, the 7th Annual Holiday Baar Bazaar in Detroit on the 14th, The Detroit Mercantile Merry Market on the 15th & 16th, and The Detroit Annual Food Bazaar on December 10th.

-If you’re into crafting yourself, check out some of the craft programs coming up at the AADL to make your very own gifts to give!

-Do you have an avid reader to please this holiday season? Check out the AADL’s Friend’s of the Library Book Shop, located on the basement level of the Downtown branch. The shop’s holiday hours this season are: Saturdays, 10-4 and Sundays, 1-4 through December 16th, 2012. Then closed until January 5th and 6th, 2013. The shop includes a wide variety of gently-used books, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, and jigsaw puzzels.

Happy local holiday shopping!

Financial Awareness for Older Adults

As adults over 55 with low income and disabilities strive to stay in their homes, the threat of theft, fraud, and other forms of financial exploitation increase. To become more educated about this, they, their caregivers and service agencies who assist them, Michigan Ability Partners (MAP) is offering training to increase financial management skills. This is made possible by a grant from The Anna Botsford Bach Fund for Seniors at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. MAP will promote this service through the organizations in the Washtenaw Elder Justice Coalition. For more information call Misty Hendershot, MAP Payee Supervisor at 734-975-6880.

Bus riders! TransitTime + has added AATA's The Ride to its app

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority just announced that the award-winning app, TransitTimes + has added Ann Arbor to its list of more than 50 cities that provide details about their transportation modes to this popular app.

Now you can easily locate The Ride's bus schedules, the location of your particular bus and its arrival time, or map out and save a route to a new location.

To see how easy this app is to use, check out TransitTimes' YouTube channel here.

For more information about this app and to see the growing list of U.S. and international cities being added all the time, click here.

Bankruptcy-Not the End of the World: Thurs Feb. 23rd 6:30 pm

What do Thomas Jefferson, PT Barnum, Walt Disney and Henry Ford have in common? If you guessed bankruptcy, you are spot on.

If consumer bankruptcy is something you are considering, come to the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library this Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30pm, and get answers to your questions.

Local Attorney Greg L. Dodd will explain everything about the bankruptcy process including: how it works and how you may qualify; what debts are wiped out and which ones are not; what happens when a house is foreclosed on; what information you need to provide to start a bankruptcy case; the costs of filing bankruptcy; and how bankruptcy affects your credit.

This past January, the American Journal of Medicine released the most recent data available and found that 62% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were tied to medical expenses. This shocking data is from before the recession really began to take hold in 2008.

Even with the changes in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, bankruptcy in the U.S. is still an opportunity for a fresh start and not the end of the road. The library has many bankruptcy resources to help navigate these difficult waters.

Sharing Resources- BlindHow.com

The National Federation of the Blind of Utah is excited to announce a new website, BlindHow.com. BlindHow.com allows for community members to view and share video, audio, or written tutorials and information on myriad topics regarding blindness and visual impairment. Visit the site, sign up, test drive, make comments, rank content, and become a contributor by submitting articles, videos and audio! Submit content from the web that you have found enlightening, positive, and/or helpful. Original articles, videos, or audio tutorials are also encouraged. With your help, BlindHow.com will become the premiere, one-stop website for questions and answers related to blindness or visual impairment.

Morningstar: How Are Your Investments Performing?

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Thursday April 28, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Computer Training Center

Take some time now that tax season is out of the way to learn how to use the Morningstar investment research database. It will help you track, analyze and make intelligent decisions about your investments.

One of the most trusted names in the investment industry, Barron's and Forbes
rank Morningstar among the top investing sites.

Take advantage of this premier database that the Library offers because now, more than ever, it pays to have solid, unbiased information to make investment decisions.

Wanted by AAPD: Unwanted RXs

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On April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the City of Ann Arbor Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. This Special Collection will be held at the Ann Arbor Justice Center at 301 E. Huron St., 2nd floor. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

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