Helen Jain reports:
"A neighborhood watch is an organization led by the neighborhood to help minimize crime in the area. In the program, citizens of the neighborhood work with the police and look for suspicious behavior...When you are starting up a new program or when you have a new family in the area, writing a letter to the family inviting them to meetings is an important part of informing others and involving them in the program. Start with a sentiment such as 'Dear Neighbor.' If you want to make the letter more personal, you can also put in the names of your neighbors if you know them. Explain the neighborhood watch program...Tell why the program is important...State in the letter that it is part of your responsibility as a citizen to report crimes when you see them. Write the invitation. Tell the neighbor they are invited to the next meeting and provide the complete address and start time. Give some information about what will happen...Provide a closing statement and signature...Add a phone number for questions or RSVPs."
Filonia LeChat reports:
"Scanning files to import into a Word document is an ideal way to supplement your annual reports, stakeholder summaries or executive letters, but in most cases, scanned files are locked down. Word can’t break in to them to add text, but this doesn’t mean you’ve got to settle with how they appear on the Word page. Use Word’s text boxes to layer your documents, adding text to scanned files. Upon printing, end users will never be the wiser that you have mixed original content with previously created documents...Open the Word document containing the scanned document to add text boxes...Scroll to the section where the first text should go. If the scanned document is very intricate or the text section small, use the zoom slider on the workspace to enlarge your work area...Click the Insert tab, then click the 'Text Box' button. Choose the first option, 'Simple Text Box,' which adds Word’s default text box to the scanned document...Click inside the text box, which has placeholder text, and type the text to place on top of the scan. If your text is smaller or larger than the Word default, click a corner of the box and drag in or out to adjust...Click the border of the text box to open the orange Text Box Tools tab. This tab is only enabled when the text box itself is enabled...Click the 'Shape Fill' menu on the new tab’s ribbon and select 'No Fill.' This makes your text box transparent, rather than filled with a white background, so it will not obscure the scanned document. If you want the text box’s background to remain white and obscure what’s behind it on the scan, you can skip this step...Click the 'Shape Outline' menu on the new tab’s ribbon and select 'No Outline.' This removes the default Word black border around a text box. Now the text just appears to float on the scan, as if it was there on the original...Repeat the process to add additional text boxes throughout the scan. You can also right-click, copy and paste the text box you just created, then highlight and type over the text to change it, keeping the settings of No Fill and No Outline...Click the 'File' tab and select 'Save As.' Rename the document to preserve the original without the added text, and then click the 'Save' button...If you haven’t yet imported the scanned document into Word, you can do so by clicking the small 'Object' menu on the Insert tab. Choose 'Object' from the two drop-down options, then click the 'Create from File' tab. Browse to the scanned document and double-click it, then click the 'OK' button to insert it. Format the text in the text box the same way you would when typing text in a Word document, using the Font section of the ribbon. You can try to match the text in your text box with any text already on your scanned document."
Jill Krasny reports:
"Formally disputing an error involves writing a letter to the credit bureau reporting the inaccuracy...Errors are not created equal and, unless you’re specific and provide evidence for your claim, you risk having your dispute denied. Here’s what you should know if you’re getting ready to send a credit repair letter...An error on your credit report...can seriously damage your score, making it harder to secure an affordable line of credit...With this in mind, it’s wise to get a copy of your credit report...and go through it with a fine-toothed comb to spot any issues...As with any financial paperwork, you’ll want to make sure the basic information...is correct. (Also ensure it’s complete and up to date.) Beyond that, you’ll want to verify each creditor’s name and debt listed on the report. Spot something unfamiliar? Jot it down, and give that creditor a call to get to the bottom of it. Some lenders sell loans or transfer them to another servicer, so there’s always a chance that you either ignored the notification or never received one. Either way, you’ll want to find out. You’ll also want to look for any signs of identity theft...(If you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft, it’s a good idea to act right away. You can find a full list of steps to take if your identity has been compromised.) Mixed files — that is, when someone with the same name or a similar name applies for credit, and their file becomes mixed with yours — are another common occurrence, according [to] a 2009 report by the National Consumer Law Center...If you’ve reviewed your credit [report and spoken] with each furnisher and [you] still believe that an item on your report is inaccurate, here’s what to do, according to John Heath, a consumer attorney with Lexington Law, a Credit.com partner. Include your name, current address and a reference line, titled 'Re:' Here, you’ll list the name of the creditor and the account number on your credit report. Be sure to truncate that number to the last four or five digits for security, Heath advises...After your salutation, 'start off by letting the bureau know you are challenging [a certain] item and give the reason why...and ask them to verify that it should be on your report,' Heath says...Heath says, 'I think it’s important so that the person reading the letter understands you are aware of their obligations under the law and that you expect it to be done within [30 days].' You can leave a telephone number for them to contact you, 'but that rarely happens,' says Health. 'Usually the letter will trigger an investigation, and then the bureau will send you results.'...In terms of what not to include, Heath says vitriol or 'demanding speech that is unprofessional' is completely off-limits. 'Don’t make threats that you can’t back up,' such as a lawsuit, and aim to make it a 'polite, business-like communication.' Avoid name-calling, too. See a sample letter for reference...Whether you choose to send your dispute by mail or online, you’ll need to include copies of any supporting documentation...(If you take the digital route, you’ll receive an email notification.) From there, you’ll just have to wait — 30 days, to be exact. That’s how much time the credit agency has to get back to you with a response...(Note: Some disputes can, by law, take up to 45 days.)...If the statement is deleted, you’ll know your hard work paid off. If not, you have a couple of options. First, you can add a short written statement to your credit report, which will appear next to the item you disputed (think of this as a flag). Experian offers some standard comments addressing the most common issues. Consumers can also add multiple statements, although if they have more than 10, they’ll need to call the agency. The second option is to escalate your dispute and send a letter to the agency explaining why you feel the conclusion is wrong. (You can copy the Better Business Bureau, your state attorney general, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while you’re at it.) Be sure to keep records of your dispute, including copies of credit reports, correspondence and print-outs of emails. Keep them in a file where you can readily find it. If your attempts to remove the dispute don’t work, you can also hire a reputable credit repair company to help. A good credit repair company will never promise results and won’t take payment until they’ve rendered services on your behalf."
The Pen & The Pad team reports:
"Entertainment is a very broad term. The 'entertainment industry' usually refers to celebrities, music, movies and television. Entertainment can also mean video games, DVDs, books and other pastimes that amuse us and keep us occupied. In order to write a good entertainment article or review, research the topic fully to provide factual information about your subject...Become intimately familiar with the sources of entertainment about which you plan to write. This could include reading a book, watching a movie or playing a video game several times until you know the plot points inside out. Take notes on the item you are reviewing while you are using it, so you do not forget certain details before you write your review...Write a brief summary of the basic storyline so that readers will be intrigued with the book, game or movie and want to experience it themselves. Avoid giving away surprise endings. Tell the readers why you think certain sections of the material were good and why other areas did not work. Use language that supports your position, such as 'the actress did not bring enough emotion to the role,' rather than 'I hate this actress.' Research previous works by the same author, director or creator. Draw comparisons to the current work to give the reader a feeling for how the material you are reviewing fits into a larger scheme...Be consistent with your formatting of punctuation. Find out if the publication you write articles for prefers a particular format...Gain access to an interview with the celebrity you want to write about. Unless you are already an established entertainment writer, this is very difficult to do. Personal interviews are a key factor in securing factual information about a person in the entertainment world. Research biographical information about your entertainment personality's life. Many well-known entertainers have had their biographies published. Information obtained from authorized biographies is more likely to be accurate than that from unauthorized accounts. Watch the subject of your entertainment article on television talk shows, especially if she is promoting an upcoming movie. This is a good source for information if you cannot conduct a personal interview. Determine what angle you are going to use for your article. Like feature articles, entertainment pieces need to have a narrow focus. Write about a humanitarian issue you know the celebrity is involved in, for instance, and how he is helping the cause. Use the notes you have gathered to form an outline for your article. Outlining a large task helps make it seem smaller and easier to handle. Write out a rough draft of your article, knowing that you can edit it later. Concern yourself with getting the facts down on paper and worry about fixing typos and smoothing transitions later. Proofread, check your facts and correct any mistakes in your writing as you prepare the final draft of your entertainment article...Be very careful about making accusations or implications about a celebrity's behavior or intentions in entertainment articles. Libel, defined as the defamation of character in a printed source, is a serious offense that can lead to legal action taken against you."
Faizah Imani reports:
"When going for a job with a trucking company, having previous trucking experience increases your chances of getting hired. One way to show off your truck driving experience is to put together a professional resume. Creating this document is easy. The goal is to keep your resume specific to the job you are applying for. For trucking jobs, that means tailoring your resume so that it 'sells' your skills and abilities to potential trucking employers...Put your name and contact information at the top of the resume. Format your name so that it is the largest text on the page. If you have an e-mail address, be sure to include it in your contact information...Add an 'Objective' section that expresses your intentions to potential employers, while briefly mentioning your experience. If you are seeking another truck driver position, you might say your objective is, 'To utilize my 15 years of over-the-road driving experience with an established trucking company.'...Create a 'Skills' section to list important skills you possess that are relevant to the job. An example of good skills to list for a truck driving job include time management, logging miles, over[-]the[-]road driving, loading and unloading and managing inventory...Include a 'Professional Experience' section to include your job history. In this section, list your employment experience for the past 10 years. It is OK to list more than 10 years of experience as long as the resume does not exceed one page. In the experience section, include the employer's name, your job title and dates of employment...Add a bulleted list of accomplishments under each job listing. These accomplishment statements tell potential employers exactly what your job responsibilities were and how well you handled those responsibilities...Include an 'Education & Certifications' section to document your educational background and relevant training. Place your commercial driver's license credential here, if you are seeking a job that requires a CDL. If listing a CDL, state the name of the CDL school you attended, the year of completion and your CDL classification."
Michelle Hogan reports:
"A credit reference is often required when a person is opening a new business and wishes to start a line of credit with a company for inventory or supplies, is looking to purchase a home or wants to borrow money from an individual or investing company. Credit references are best given by companies that have worked with the asking individual for longer than a year. Any company that offers installment payments can be asked for such a letter. Begin the letter in proper business format with your letterhead or contact information at the top. Address the letter directly to the individual or company who has requested the letter from your client, not directly to your client. Include the dates of the loan, if any; late payments, if applicable within the last one or two years; the account number for the individual and the direct contact information of the person who prepared the letter. State how long you have done business with your client, what type of business you are in together and what type of payments the client makes...Put any negative information into context. Don't highlight something negative just because it occurred...Abstain from writing a credit reference if you do not believe the person to be a good credit risk or you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason giving a reference to this person."
Laurie Brenner reports:
"Most banks, creditors and online payment sites allow you to pay your bills using the e-check option. The two most important items you need to have when submitting an electronic check online are your account number and your bank's routing number...To make a payment online, fill in the fields with the specific information based on the site from which you make the payment. In the fields listed, add the creditor's name – if paying from your online bank account or a payment service site – the amount being paid, the date you would like the bill posted and the bank's routing number...Include any notes or invoice numbers in the appropriate fields. Authorize the payment – and sign the e-check – by typing your name or initials in the field provided...Online banking allows you to make bill payments from your checking account with a secure Internet connection. To write electronic checks online, bank and payment sites require you to enroll and agree to their terms of service. As long as you know the bank's routing number and your account number, writing an e-check is straightforward. Some sites even include a notes field when writing an electronic check that allows you to provide additional information...Select the option on a creditor's website to pay by an electronic check. As each creditor's site is a bit different, the fields you need to fill out will vary slightly. Have an invoice number handy for reference or type it into the appropriate field. After making an online payment, creditors provide you with a confirmation number that indicates a successful payment. Save this page to your computer or print it out for your records. If you don't know your bank's routing number, visit their site for that information or complete a search online...For security, verify that the company handles your financial transactions over an encrypted and safe website. Websites with these security features usually display a small closed-lock icon in the address bar. As long as you verify the site is secure, your personal banking information should not be at risk. Never respond to an email request for your banking information. Reputable websites do not ask for passwords or account numbers in an email. If you receive such a request, contact the site's webmaster or forward the email to the appropriate department that investigates these attempts."
Jennifer Kimrey reports:
"When applying for a job as a basketball coach, write your resume so it reflects your advanced knowledge of and passion for the sport, as well as your unique and consistent ability to help players develop and improve their game...Create a resume heading. Using word processing software, write a heading that includes your name, mailing address, one phone number and one email address. Your name should typically be bolder or bigger than the accompanying contact information...Create a 'summary of qualifications' section below your heading. This section should summarize the skills and experience you have as a basketball coach that are applicable to the job to which you're applying. Highlight your strengths in coaching, such as working with children or coaching college-age athletes...Create a 'work experience' section. Write down everything about past work experience that pertains to coaching basketball. In chronological order, note the names of your employers, dates you worked, job titles and your job responsibilities...Create a 'notable achievements' section. Mention any contributions you made or achievements you earned while coaching basketball, including any team records, winning seasons or coaching recognitions. Noting your achievements as a coach will demonstrate your ability to successfully lead a team...Create an 'education' section. Write down the names of schools or colleges from which you graduated, when you graduated and any diplomas or degrees you earned. If you played basketball in school, this can be mentioned in the 'education' section or the 'summary of qualifications' section...Print your resume on paper specifically made for resumes for a professional appearance...Be honest when writing your resume; never say...anything that cannot be substantiated later."
Vera Leigh reports:
"You do not have to be a natural or even a great writer to produce an entertaining, informational newsletter. Rely on the voices and abilities of your neighbors. That is exactly what professional newspapers and magazines do. And follow a few simple steps to take the hassle out of writing the newsletter every month...Remember your audience. Newsletters often get a barrage of new items, memos, announcements and advertisements. But not all of that information applies to the residents of your community, and it may not be cost-effective to produce a 12-page newsletter. New Brunswick Climate Change offers these questions to help you discern what stays and what goes: 'What do you enjoy reading? Why? Readers want to learn something new that is important and relevant to them. Does the article offer anything new for readers such as information, tips, advice, resources or benefits? Give readers reasons to read and they will.'...Ask for help...Ask other community members--especially those [who] you know are excellent writers--to write sections of the newsletter for you. For example, you may ask one or two community members to write a monthly column on gardening or crime. The latter works especially well if you have a condo board member who is acting as a safety liaison with the police department...Write one main article per issue and fill the rest of the space with freelance columns, community announcements and photos. A main feature article will grab the attention of condo members and will help them engage in the community, especially if the main feature is about a community member. You will create a sense of unity and hopefully get people to read the newsletter...Use statistics and facts in boxes. If you are trying to fill white space, consider making a list of interesting statistics about the community. Crime stats work well in this space, and you can get them from your local police precinct. Statistics about the community work well here, too. For example, the number of dogs, cats or children in the community. Or, you can insert a poll to get more interaction with community members. Ask a question of the month such as: 'What is one improvement you would like to see in the community?' Offer multiple[-]choice answers plus a fill-in space for an additional idea."
The Pen & The Pad reports:
"There are many different ways to create a superhero story, but there are several key elements that are necessary to make it real and popular. Learn how to make the perfect character and how to make the story [believable]...If you have read many comic books...you know that the majority of superheroes gain their powers in a way that also defines the power itself...Make sure you don't forget to give them weaknesses as well as powers - give your villain a chance to win...Heroes and villains are similar in every way except one: the initial choice of what they do with their power. A superhero usually has something tragic happen in his life to make him want to fight crime or help the innocent, or even simply declare war on a villain. Make sure your hero has some motivation to do whatever he is doing...If your hero has a dual identity, make sure that he has all the difficulties of normal day-to-day life...Make their job a difficulty too - turn the hero into a real person that people can relate to. Give him some character flaws - make him really impatient or some other little quirk to make him more interesting...The [v]illain in the story is just as important as the hero, and should have all the same characteristics: a cause for his power (if he has one), the motivation to do whatever he is doing...The difference is that a villain does not always necessitate a dual identity or second life - he can simply plot and scheme in his lair, or he can simply be hard to find. Give him the same amount of detail as you give your hero, because everyone loves a good villain. Also, if you decide to make this villain your hero's [archnemesis], make him have powers that somehow cancel out that of the hero. This not only makes it easy to have multiple engagements with the same villain and hero, but [also] allows you to think of new ways for your hero to use his powers, using different manipulations of power to try to overcome his enemy...As your hero continues through the story, make sure you keep his character consistent - especially when it comes to his morals and motivation. If he ever has a change of heart, or makes a serious life decision, be sure to build up to that point very carefully. [M]ake him slowly come to realize that he needs to change, or that he's not doing what he wants. Make his decisions the way a person makes decisions - remember you want it to be as real as possible...Don't be afraid to stray from this outline - be creative and make it original...If you make a team, create the individuals first and then define their relationships. Just because they're a team doesn't mean they're friends - they don't even have to like each other very much."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.