Nov 24 2014

Getting sick, and then sicker from the debt

And although access to health insurance can help stave off medical debt, it doesnt solve the problem. About 10 million insured Americans have medical bills they are unable to pay. The Harvard researchers found that three-quarters of the medical debtors they studied had health insurance.

Unlike a car or home purchase, sudden illness and the often exorbitant cost of treatment cant be planned for. But creditors dont treat medical debt differently from any other debt. In 2010 alone, collection agencies targeted more than 30 million Americans for unpaid medical bills, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

Thats not right. There is a real difference between credit-card debt and unexpected medical bills. More often than not, consumers who defaulted on credit cards also had other negative information weighing down their credit scores, whereas consumers with medical collections on their records often had excellent profiles before their medical crises.

Even a medical debt of as little as $100 is likely to be referred to collection, and that alone can lower a credit score by 80 or more points. The Federal Reserve estimates that about one in six credit reports in the US contain a medical-debt collection, and that nearly 17 million American adults have received a lower credit rating because of high medical bills.

Even when medical collections are paid or settled, they are not removed from your credit reports. They remain there for seven years from the date the original debt went into default. A new study released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that both paid and unpaid medical debt unfairly penalized a consumers credit rating.

The Medical Debt Responsibility Act, which was introduced in Congress last year, would help by requiring credit firms to remove settled or fully paid medical debt from credit reports within 45 days. But, although the bill has a wide range of support from groups, including the American Medical Association and Consumers Union, it is stalled in committee. Advocates continue to push for passage, but there is good reason to be pessimistic about the bills chances. Similar legislation died in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

In the absence of congressional action, consumers should take action to protect themselves. It is important to keep track of balances and communicate regularly with health providers and insurers, particularly if a payment is going to be late or if you want to try to negotiate a payment schedule.

Consumers should also always ask for an itemized bill and report any potential errors or inconsistencies promptly. They should ask about financial-assistance programs offered by the health provider and develop realistic payment plans. Whenever possible, consumers should avoid using credit cards to pay for health care, and they should be aware that many of the credit cards issued specifically for health care come with higher fees and interest. Finally, if a medical bill has been sent to collection, consumers should ask to attach a statement to their credit files explaining the debt.

A lot of attention is paid to helping people cope with the physical limitations and emotional turmoil that accompany a serious illness. But the long-term financial chaos and stress from medical troubles can be just as devastating. Congress should act on the Medical Debt Responsibility Act so that the economic toll of illness doesnt continue to plague patients long after they have recovered. And in the meantime, consumers should do everything they can to protect themselves.

Steve Trumble is president and CEO of the national financial education nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling.

Nov 24 2014

Cupich Names New Vicar General of Archdiocese of Chicago

Rev. Francis Kane, who has been serving as Vicar General of the Archdiocese, requested to return to his role as Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate II, the Archdiocese of Chicago said in a release.

Hicks has served on the faculty of St. Joseph College Seminary and currently serves as the Formation Director of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary.He speaks fluent Spanish and spent five yearsw working in El Salvador.

Nov 24 2014

CFPB Signals Renewed Crackdown on Credit Rating Data Providers

Consumer credit rating companies, and the firms that feed them with consumer data, have been put on notice by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that they must do a better job addressing complaints and inaccuracies.

In a bulletin issued on Wednesday, companies that supply information to consumer reporting companies, also known as “furnishers,” will be under added scrutiny by the CFPB when they investigate disputes forwarded by the consumer reporting companies. An upgraded, electronic database is intended to better enable then to review information provided with disputes and documents submitted by consumers.

Consumers may file a dispute with a consumer reporting company about an incorrect or challenged item on their credit report. If they do, the consumer reporting company typically inform their furnisher of that dispute and forward all relevant materials.

An electronic system, known as “e-OSCAR,” is used by the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax Information Services, TransUnion, and Experian Information Solutions – to send information relating to consumer disputes to furnishers. In a December 2012 study, the CFPB flagged the fact that this system did not provide any means for credit reporting companies to forward to furnishers any documents submitted by consumers.

Since then, the CFPB has been working to ensure that the dispute system was improved. The “e-OSCAR” system has now been upgraded so that the three companies can now send furnishers any relevant dispute documents mailed in by consumers. The CFPB is also currently working to expand the capacity of the system.

With this national database in place and operational, the CFPB issued the notice to detail its ongoing expectations of how furnishers should comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, particularly when it comes to investigations of consumer disputes.

The CFPBs expectations detailed by the CFPB include:

  • When a consumer files a dispute about a credit report item, companies need to be able to receive information about the dispute and must investigate the consumers concerns.
  • Furnishers must report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting company that sent the dispute originally.
  • Furnishers are required to report the results of the investigation to nationwide consumer reporting companies if those companies may have received inaccurate or incomplete credit information. Furnishers also have to modify, delete, or permanently block disputed information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or cannot be verified.

If the CFPB determines that a furnisher has engaged in any acts or practices that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act or other federal consumer financial laws, it will take supervisory and enforcement actions, possibly including restitution to harmed consumers.

The CFPB accepts consumer complaints about credit reporting. If a consumer is dissatisfied with the resolution of a dispute with a consumer reporting company or if the consumer reporting company does not respond, consumers can submit a complaint with the Bureau.

Nov 23 2014

Public pension funds are investing workers out of their jobs

Public pension funds should invest the retirement savings of government workers to secure their financial future, not undermine it. Yet across the country, these funds are financing companies that privatize their own workers’ jobs. And because many of these investments are funneled through private-equity companies, the problem is still largely hidden from public view.

Pension trustees who are rightly concerned about these investments too often find themselves silenced by a subtle legalistic maneuver that took place six years ago last month and that could be stopped with the help of President Barack Obama’s Labor Department.

Nov 22 2014

New on Netflix for KIDS & TEENS: November 2014

Another month has arrived, and along with it, plenty of excellent new titles on Netflix for kids and teens, including a VeggieTales reboot, a cute puppy named Bali, and a classic Disney movie starring Billy Campbell and a jetpack machine.

Let’s take a closer look at November Netflix releases for kids and teens.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 1:

Babes In Toyland (1961; G) OK FOR KIDS 4+. Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Annette Funicello, Ed Wynn and Tommy Kirk star in this classic musical that takes place on the wedding eve of Tom the Piper’s Son and Mary Quite Contrary. An evil miser, stolen sheep, and a band of gypsies all play into this film directed by Jack Donohue.

Bali: Season 1 (TV-Y) OK FOR KIDS 2+. This animated television show is based on a series of French children’s books by Magdalena and Laurent Richard. The show follows the adventures of Bali, a modern preschool puppy, his mom and dad, and Kikou, his stuffed animal. Facing the everyday incidents of childhood with curiosity and imagination, Bali enjoys life in the city with his family.

Kingpin (1996; PG-13) OK FOR KIDS 15+. Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray star in this Farrelly Brothers’ movie about a star bowler whose career was prematurely cut off and who hopes to ride a new prodigy to success and riches.

Portlandia: Season 4 (TV-14) OK FOR KIDS 14+. A parade of stars traipse through this quirky sketch-comedy show conceived and written by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. I have a friend who lives in Portland, and she says the show is a good barometer of Portland life.

The Rocketeer (1991; PG) OK FOR KIDS 10+. Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, and Timothy Dalton star in this Disney movie about a young pilot who stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.

Trading Mom (1994; PG) OK FOR KIDS 8+. Sissy Spacek plays four different characters in this unusual family comedy about three young siblings — Elizabeth, Jeremy and Harry — who magically banish their overworked single mom and try out several new models found at the Mommy Market.

Spike (2008; G) OK FOR KIDS 4+. An elf loses the letters to Santa Claus sent by children all around the world and must attempt to retrieve them from a bank vault guarded by penguins in this cute animated tale.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 3:

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004; G) OK FOR KIDS 6+. As the newly crowned princess of the tiny European country of Genovia, teen Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) learns an arranged marriage may be in store for her. Garry Marshall directs this Disney sequel that’s just as good as the first movie.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 4:

Altman (2014; TV-PG) OK FOR KIDS 14+. Ron Mann directs a well-crafted tribute to maverick auteur Robert Altman, whose fertile career encompasses huge hits, big misses and lots of controversy.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 7:

Virunga (2014; Not Rated) – Netflix Original OK FOR KIDS 14+. Determined to protect the last population of Africa’s mountain gorillas, Congolese wildlife officials must contend not only with outlaw poachers, but the effects of fierce combat between government forces and die-hard insurgent groups in this important documentary directed by Orlando von Einsiedel.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 8:

Louder Than Words (2014; PG-13) OK FOR KIDS 13+. After the unexpected death of their daughter, a couple, Stephanie and John Fareri (Hope Davis, David Duchovny), work to build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital where families are welcomed into the healing process.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 10:

Helix: Season 1 (2014; Not Rated) OK FOR KIDS 15+. Summoned to an Arctic research facility to investigate a possible outbreak, a team from the Centers for Disease Control makes a shocking discovery: The outpost is host to a previously unknown virus that could wipe out every human on the planet. Billy Campbell and Jeri Ryan star.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 11:

Nov 22 2014

Batman’s Adam West Visits Home & Family

To celebrate the release of the original Batman TV series on Blu-Ray, Adam West paid a visit to the Home Family show on Wednesday. During his visit, West recounted the story of the creation of the Batusi dance.

West said that when Jill St. John appeared on the show that they went to a discotheque together, and she slipped him a funny king of orange juice. West said he lost all abandon after the drink and invented the Batusi dance with her. After the show, West went out to dinner with Jill, thinking she might go dancing with him, but Jill told West that she had enough of his Batusi.

West also relayed that he got to take Natalie Wood to dinner, but she wound up talking about Raymond Burr all night. Home Family host Cristina Ferrare revealed some footage of her very own appearance on the Batman TV series, which can be seen in the clip below.

Tune-in for Home Family on weekdays at 10 AM on the Hallmark Channel. Fans of Adam West should also check out upcoming Wizard World events for opportunities to meet the actor.

Nov 22 2014

VSP: Arrest made in home improvement fraud investigation

News Release Vermont State Police
Oct. 28, 2014

Contact:
Trooper: Det. Sgt. Tara Thomas
Station: Middlesex
Contact: 802-229-9191

Case: 14A303594
Date: VSPs assistance requested in August 2014
Location: Brook Street, Websterville
Violation: Home Improvement Fraud

Victim: Christopher Frey, age 36
Websterville, VT

ACCUSED: Arick Miller, age 27
Barre Town, VT

Summary of the Incident:

On 8/14/14 the Barre Town Police Department requested the assistance of the Vermont State Police to investigate an allegation of Home Improvement Fraud that occurred in the Town of Websterville. Barre Town Police Department advised the victim was a relative of one of their officers therefore they did not feel it was appropriate to investigate the allegation.

The victim, Christopher Frey of Websterville, had entered into an agreement with Arick Miller, age 27 of Barre Town, in March of this year to renovate his home that he had recently purchased. Frey was out of the country at the time the home improvement renovations were supposed to have occurred, however Miller failed to comply with the agreement and stopped construction on the project in May. Although Miller stopped working on the house, he continued to charge Frey for labor not worked, purchased unauthorized items on Millers credit card through Home Depot and failed to provide an agreed upon work product in exchange for a $7,000 utility trailer that Frey had purchased for Miller.

Frey advised in all, he spent over $21,000 in labor and materials. Freys home was left in an unlivable state due largely in part caused by the demolition work performed by Miller. It is uncertain at this time, what it will cost Frey to fix the damage done to the home.

An extensive investigation was conducted by Detectives with the Vermont State Police and on the afternoon of 10/27/14, the Vermont State Police cited Miller to appear in Washington County Superior Court, Criminal Division for December 11th, 2014 to answer to the charge of Home Improvement Fraud, a violation of Title 13 VSA. section 2029.

This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.

Court Action: Yes
Court Date: December 11th, 2014 @ 1230 hours
Court: Washington County Superior Court, Criminal Division
Lodged: No
Mug Shot Available: Yes through the Public Information Officer

Nov 21 2014

Just When You Thought You Were Out, They Pull You Back In

It is a rare occasion for a secured lender to foreclose on collateral with a value in excess of the entire debt owed, particularly following a bankruptcy filing by the borrower, but on that rare occasion the lender should heed the cautionary tale set forth in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. 804 Congress, LLC. 1.

In the bankruptcy case of 804 Congress, LLC, Wells Fargo obtained relief from the automatic stay to conduct a foreclosure sale on the debtor’s primary asset, an office building in Austin, Texas. The bankruptcy court’s order authorized Wells Fargo to conduct the sale pursuant to Texas law. The trustee under the deed of trust completed a non-judicial foreclosure sale of the property, which yielded proceeds in excess of the combined debt of both Wells Fargo and the junior lienholder. The trustee attempted to apply the sale proceeds first to the trustee’s 5% commission provided for under the terms of deed of trust, second to the senior debt owed to Wells Fargo (including pre and post-bankruptcy attorney’s fees), and third to the debt owed to the junior lienholder, with the remaining balance to the debtor. The debtor objected to the proposed distribution and the bankruptcy court entered an order directing the foreclosure trustee to pay (i) $7,500 to the trustee rather than the contractual 5% commission of $217,750, (ii) Wells Fargo in full except for its $87,000 in attorney’s fees and (iii) the junior lienholder in full.

The bankruptcy court ruled that Wells Fargo failed to follow the proper procedure for obtaining court approval of the attorney’s fees and did not present evidence that the fees were reasonable. Similarly, the court held that the trustee’s 5% commission was unreasonable and reduced the amount. The bankruptcy court relied on its authority under section 506(b) of the Bankruptcy Code to determine the reasonableness of fees, costs and charges sought by oversecured creditors. Section 506(b) entitles a creditor whose claim is secured by collateral worth more than the amount of its debt to include as part of its secured claim against the collateral, post-petition interest and its “reasonable” fees, costs and charges provided for under the loan documents or state law.

On appeal by Wells Fargo, the district court reversed, finding that once the bankruptcy stay was lifted and the foreclosure sale completed, the bankruptcy court no longer had jurisdiction over the foreclosure sale proceeds, which should be distributed in accordance with state law and the loan documents. On further appeal by the debtor, the 5th Circuit reversed the district court, holding (i) Bankruptcy Code section 506(b), not state law, governs the amount to be distributed to a secured creditor that is oversecured, (ii) the lifting of the automatic stay to allow Wells Fargo to foreclose was not tantamount to an abandonment of the bankruptcy estate’s interest in the property, (iii) section 506(b) applies to both pre and post-bankruptcy fees, costs and charges and (iv) as a result the bankruptcy court retained the authority under section 506(b) to determine the reasonableness and allowed amount of the trustee’s commission and Wells Fargo’s attorney’s fees.

The 5th Circuit’s opinion focuses primarily on its determination that a bankruptcy judge retains the authority to control the distribution of foreclosure sale proceeds to an oversecured creditor after evaluating the reasonableness of any fees and costs pursuant to Bankruptcy Code section 506(b). However, there are two novel aspects of the decision that may have ramifications for secured lenders. The first is a reminder that in some Circuits a bankruptcy judge has the authority to use section 506(b) to reach beyond amounts incurred during the bankruptcy case and disallow pre-bankruptcy fees, costs and charges even if those amounts are permissible under applicable state law and were incurred long before the bankruptcy case was filed.

In 804 Congress, LLC, the bankruptcy court disallowed all of Wells Fargo’s pre and post-bankruptcy attorney’s fees. Citing both 5th and 11th Circuit precedent, the Court concluded that section 506(b) does not draw a distinction between fees incurred before a bankruptcy filing and fees incurred after. Although Bankruptcy Code section 506(b) is more commonly viewed as applying only to the determination of whether a secured creditor is entitled to recover post-bankruptcy interest, fees costs and charges, in those jurisdictions that have extended section 506(b)’s reach, bankruptcy court approval may be required before applying foreclosure sale proceeds to standard pre-bankruptcy fees, costs and charges, such as unused line fees, collateral monitoring fees, late charges, valuation costs, and force-placed insurance.

The second interesting implication is the possibility that an order granting relief from the automatic stay, at least in the 5th Circuit, may no longer provide the exit from bankruptcy court most secured creditors have relied on in the past. One of the unanswered questions from the 5th Circuit’s decision is whether a secured lender will now need to return to the bankruptcy court for a separate order authorizing the distribution of foreclosure sale proceeds. The relief from stay order issued by the bankruptcy court in the case of 804 Congress, LLC explicitly authorized Wells Fargo to conduct a foreclosure sale “in accordance with applicable state law.” Similar language is standard in many bankruptcy district form orders across the country and most bankruptcy practitioners interpret such orders as granting a secured creditor the authority to both conduct a foreclosure sale and apply the foreclosure sale proceeds to the debt. That interpretation is called into question following the 804 Congress, LLC decision.

In reversing the district court’s ruling that upon relief from the automatic stay, the sale proceeds should be distributed in accordance with applicable state law, the 5th Circuit held that the bankruptcy court’s order lifting the stay simply allowed Wells Fargo to foreclose on the property in accordance with state law foreclosure procedures, but did not grant the trustee the authority to determine how the sale proceeds should be distributed. Moreover, while the 804 Congress, LLC decision focused on the application of the proceeds to the fees and costs of an oversecured creditor pursuant to section 506(b), the 5th Circuit’s reasoning in reversing the district court equally applies to the application of foreclosure sale proceeds to any portion of a secured creditor’s claim regardless of whether the creditor is over or under-secured. As a result, those parties relying on an order granting relief from the automatic stay to carry out certain actions, such as lenders, trustees, auctioneers and title insurers, should more closely consider the limits of such orders. One solution may be to request language in the relief from stay order authorizing the secured creditor to not only conduct the sale but also apply the sale proceeds in accordance with applicable state law and the loan documents. But some bankruptcy judges may be reluctant to give up their oversight authority before the amount of the sale proceeds is known.

It will be interesting to see how the bankruptcy courts apply the 5th Circuit’s decision in the near future. For now, secured lenders should be prepared to document and defend the reasonableness of all fees, costs and charges included in a secured claim, even those incurred well before the bankruptcy case was commenced, and also consider requesting authority to apply sale proceeds when obtaining relief from the automatic stay.

Endnote:
 1.  756 F.3d 368 (5th Cir. Tex. 2014).

Nov 21 2014

5 tips for college students interested in investing

Most college students are concerned about studying for exams, finding a flexible part-time job and lining up some fun extracurricular activities. But theres always a few students stuck off in a corner of the library, trying to pick the next great stock.

If you happen to be one of those students interested in learning more about investing, these five tips are for you.

1. Read as much as you can

Reading good investing books and online articles will help you gain the knowledge and expertise youll need to become a savvy and successful investor.

Try to focus on books that will give you tips on how to better analyze stocks, bonds and mutual funds and teach you how to develop a winning investment strategy. You can then put the tips youve learned to practice in real life.

Books are inexpensive – if not free from the local library – and can provide information that is priceless. Online sites such as Yahoo Finance also are a great resource, where you can learn how to research top-rated stocks, understand their performance over time, and study charts.

The important thing for beginning investors to remember is that none of usare born experts, says Elle Kaplan, chief executive of LexION Capital Management in New York It may be like learning a foreign language at first, but the basics are not complicated. Its simply not something we are usually taught in school.

2. Pay off high-interest debts first

If youre determined to begin investing, but still have several outstanding loans and credit cards with high interest rates, youll need to decide if you should be risking your money in the market. Its probably more prudent to pay off your debt first.

Keep in mind that paying off your debt in full provides a guaranteed return on your money, which isnt the case for any investment.

For example, paying off a $1,000 credit card balance with a 15% interest rate is equivalent to netting 15% returns – or $150 – since you would avoid paying future interest on that card. In this case, its probably worth it to pay off the credit card in full, because getting a guaranteed return of 15% is a pretty good deal.

However, if you have debt at super-low interest rates – say 1% to 3% – you might want to consider investing instead of retiring the debt, says Dr. Yuval Bar-Or, who teaches investments at the Johns Hopkins Universitys Carey Business School.

A high-interest rate private loan is one thing. But a subsidized government loan, with a low interest rate, is a different story, he says. If you throw every spare dollar at that debt, then you miss out on prime years when your money could be earning more by investing in the financial markets.

3. Choose a brokerage and buy your first investments

If youve decided that youre ready to move forward, youll probably want to open a brokerage account. Youll have two main options – online discount brokers, where you can execute online trades automatically through a computerized trading system, or traditional brokerages, which offer one-on-one advice and services.

Most new investors will likely choose discount brokerages. Traditional brokerages tend to require large amounts of money up front and charge higher fees, while discount brokerages require smaller initial deposits to get started, only charging you on each buy and sell order you make.

Also consider if the brokerage offers free educational tools and research reports, which can help you learn how to invest better; the quality of each investment platform and its ease of use; and if the brokerage offers a mobile app, which allows you to place trades from your smartphone.

Keep in mind that you can also buy stock directly from a company – this is known as a direct stock purchase plan. The advantage is some companies wont charge you a commission and may only require a small initial investment to get started.

Finally, you should not borrow money to invest – buying stocks on margin means you take out a loan directly from a brokerage to purchase stocks, with the purpose of buying more stock for less money down. Borrowing on margin increases your level of market risk, which can lead to substantial losses on market downturns. So new investors should avoid it.

4. Diversify your investments

Putting your life savings into a few stocks all at once is a recipe for disaster – just look at the financial crisis of 2008, when the Dow Jones industrial average lost 54% of its value in just 17 months.

Instead, new investors can focus on making smaller, fixed investments on a regular basis, such as every month or quarter. With this strategy you can get started with a small amount of money, keep extra funds in your bank account for emergencies, and reduce your overall risk by spreading out your purchases instead of trying to time the market.

Youll also want to make sure your portfolio is diversified. This means you should spread out your investment choices, instead of going all-in on one or two positions. Diversifying can expose you to a broad range of assets and market sectors, which can reduce risk and potentially boost portfolio returns.

Concentrating your investments in a few stocks, trying to find the winner – thats not strategic investing. Thats gambling, Kaplan says.

5. Start as soon as you can

Younger investors have a tremendous advantage working in their favor – time. Just investing a modest amount of money today can lead to big returns down the road, says Howard Dvorkin, a certified public account and founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services.

Compound interest means the interest you earn each year on your investments is added to your principal – so the balance grows at an increasing rate.

With the powers of compound interest, time really is money, Dvorkin says. Most young adults dont realize how much more money they will end up with if they start investing now.

For example, lets say you start with $1,000 to invest, add $100 per month to your investments for 40 years, and earn 8% interest on average annually. In 40 years, youll have more than $332,000 saved. However, invest for 30 years instead, and youll have nearly half that amount – $146,000. Check out the numbers for yourself by using a compound interest calculator.

By spending some time in your college library learning how to invest instead of searching for the next frat party, chances are youll be in much better shape financially than your classmates down the road.

More: Know What You Owe: Student Loans and Interest Rates

More: How to Pay Off Student Loan Debt On Time

More: 9 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break Right Now

NerdWalletis a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Nov 20 2014

Spin arts & entertainment calendar

Special Events

Vegas Nite Club Night 7 pm Nov. 22. Capac Senior Center, 111 S. Main St., Capac. Featuring Vegas-style entertainment with Elvis, mocktails and appetizers. Raffle for trip to Las Vegas. (810) 395-7889. $10.

2014 Fall Fest 4-8 pm Nov. 14. St. Johns UCC, 710 Pine St., Port Huron. German sauerkraut dinner 4-7 pm, quilt show, cookie walk, baked goods, raffle. (810) 984-5031. $10 for dinner.

2nd Annual Blue Water Business Expo 10am-6 pm Nov. 13. DoubleTree by Hilton, 500 Thomas Edison Parkway, Port Huron. Access to more than 90 local businesses, samples, promotional items, gift ideas, drawings. Sponsors: Times Herald Media and Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce. Open to the public. (810) 985-7101. Free.

9th Annual Authorama 10am-3 pm Nov. 22. Great Lakes Maritime Center, 51 Water St., Port Huron. Expected to attend are Dennis Hale, author of Sole Survivor and Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor. Also, Harbor Beach resident Skip Kadar and Roger LeLievre, author of Know Your Ships. Model boat display by Great Lakes Nautical Society. (810) 985-4817.

Blue Water YMCA 125th Anniversary Celebration: Night of Champions 6 pm Nov. 20. McMorran Arena, 701 McMorran Blvd., Port Huron. Hockeytown-themed event featuring pregame festivities, fun hockey activities, silent and live auctions, food from local establishments. Special guests will be former Red Wing players Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur. Reservations requested. (810) 987-6400, Ext. 279, bluewaterymca.com. $100 per person, $1,000 for a table.

Fall Luncheon and Style Show noon Nov. 15. Port Huron Golf Club, 4101 Fairway Drive, Fort Gratiot. Hosted by Port Huron Branch of the American Association of University Women. Proceeds support the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. (810) 385-5122. $30.

Global Awareness Day: Holocaust, Persecution and Refugees 10am-8:30 pm Nov. 19. St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Theatre, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. Featuring a series of speakers. Meet and greet with SC4s international students and foreign exchange students in local high schools, 6-7 pm Complete list of speakers: www.sc4.edu/global. (810) 989-5695, www.sc4.edu/global.. Free.

Our Lady on the River Parish Feather Bingo Party 1:10 pm Nov. 16. St. Catherine Activity Center, 1103 Washington St., Algonac. Doors open at noon. Benefits St. Vincent De Paul.

Public Program: The Crash of 29 1 pm Nov. 15. Port Huron Museum , 1115 Sixth St., Port Huron. Discussing the economic climate leading up to the stock market crash of 1929, with Mark L. Trueman. Registration requested. (810) 982-0891, www.phmuseum.org. $3, free for museum members.

Sock Hop 50s/60s Dance 8 pm Nov. 22. The Leaning Tree Golf, 7860 Smiths Creek Road, Wales. Featuring music by The Dynasty. Contests and prizes, Elvis sing-along. Socks, hats, scarves and blankets will be collected for those in need. 810-367-3528.

Art Openings

Opening Reception: Michigan Watercolor Society Show 6-8 pm Nov. 14. Studio 1219, 1219 Military St., Port Huron. (810) 984-2787, www.studio1219.com. Free.

Opening Reception: Smalls on the Walls 6-8 pm Nov. 14. Studio 1219, 1219 Military St., Port Huron. Featuring works 12×12 or smaller. (810) 984-2787, www.studio1219.com. Free.

Concerts

Bluewater Big Band Bash 2 pm Nov. 29. Imperial Oil Centre for the Performing Arts, 168 N. Christina Ave., Sarnia. Featuring the Bluewater Big Band and jazz stylist Sonja Gustafson. Presented by and benefiting the International Symphony Orchestra. (519) 332-6591, www.theiso.org.

Gospel Concert: The Chapelaires 6 pm Nov. 16. Lexington United Methodist Church, 5597 Main St., Lexington. Sponsor: Lexington Southern Gospel Concert Committee. (810) 359-8215, www.lexingtonsouthern- gospel.com.

SC4 Noon and Night Concert Series noon and 7 pm Nov. 13. St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Theatre, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. Featuring Anastasia Rizikov, classical pianist. www.sc4.edu/arts.

Music

Poltroons 11-2 am Nov. 15. Celtic Ray, 7318 Huron Ave., Lexington. (810) 696-2025.

Variety

Bandtastic Concert 7:30 pm Nov. 17. Port Huron High Performing Arts Center, 2215 Court St., Port Huron. Preceded by spaghetti dinner fundraiser in high school cafeteria 5-7 pm With silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Sponsor: Port Huron High School Band Boosters. (810) 984-6576.

Dean Barnett 7-10 pm Nov. 21. Lexington Brewing Company and Wine House, 5475 Main St., Lexington. (810) 359-5012, www.lexingtonbrewery.com.

John Persico 8 pm Nov. 14. VFW Post 796, 1711 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron. With Queen of Hearts.

The Harper 11 am Nov. 28. Celtic Ray, 7318 Huron Ave., Lexington. (810) 696-2025.

Rock

Middle Age Crazy 10 pm Nov. 15. Steis Village Inn, 5523 Main St., Lexington.

Roadside Rick amp; The Breakdowns 9 pm Nov. 22. Lynchs Irish Tavern, 210 Huron Ave., Port Huron. (810) 824-4021.

The Voo-Doo Doctors 6-10 pm Nov. 15. Rixs on the Rocks, 3136 Military St., Port Huron. (810) 990-8291.

Acoustic

Still Running 7-10 pm Nov. 14. Lexington Brewing Company and Wine House, 5475 Main St., Lexington. (810) 359-5012, www.lexingtonbrewery.com.

Bluegrass

Whistle Stop Revue 8-11 pm Nov. 15. Lexington Brewing Company and Wine House, 5475 Main St., Lexington. (810) 359-5012, lexingtonbrewery.com.

Shows and Sales

SC4 Potters Market Nov. 13-16. M-TEC Building, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. Featuring hand and pottery wheels pieces created by students, faculty and guest potters. (810) 989-5709, www.sc4.edu/arts. Free.

Treasure Sale 9 am-3 pm Nov. 20 and 21. Washington Life Center, 403 N. Mary St., Marine City. (810) 765-3523.

Vendor Splendor 9am-6 pm Nov. 18. Marlette Regional Hospital, 2770 Main St., Marlette. Featuring a variety of vendors and products. Sponsor: Marlette Hospital Auxiliary to benefit the long-term care unit.

Sports and Recreation

Turkey Trot 5K and One-mile Fun Run 8 am Nov. 22. Elite Feet, 908 Military St., Port Huron. One-mile fun run starts at 8:45 am 5K starts at 9 am Warm chili served after race. Benefits All American Flames Gymnastix Travel Team. Registration: https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/PortHuron/FLAMESTURKEYTROT (810) 824-3272, . Before Nov. 8: $25 5K, $10 fun run. After Nov. 8: $30 5K, $15 run run. Additional cost for optional shirt.

Theater

The Curious Savage 7 pm Nov. 13, 14 and 15; 2 pm Nov. 16. Port Huron Northern Performing Arts Center, 1799 Krafft Road, Port Huron. A comedy in three acts presented by the PHN Drama Club. (810) 531-7373. $6, $4 for senior citizens and students.

Men of the Strip 6 and 9 pm Nov. 15. Lexington Village Theatre, 7318 Huron Ave., Lexington. (810) 359-5108, www.lexingtonvillagetheatre.com. $35 – $75.