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Regional

Consumer Protection Dept. Offers Firewood Buying Advice

HARTFORD - Here are a few tips for making sure you get a fair load of quality firewood without getting burned. First, you need to know the length of wood that you need. The standard length for firewood is 16 inches, but some larger wood-burning stoves can take wood as large as 20 inches or more. Make sure you specify the length when ordering. You need seasoned firewood, which has been stacked and dried for at least six months or more. By law, wood should be sold only by the cord or halfcord, not by the truckload. This protects you from getting shorted. A cord is a stack of wood that measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and totals 128 cubic feet in all. A standard half cord measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 4 feet long and is 64 cubic feet.

Cord = 128 cubic feet Half Cord = 64 Cubic Ft. Whether you order your wood chopped into lengths to fit your stove or fireplace, once it’s delivered and stacked, it still must measure a total of 128 cubic feet in order to be a full cord. Before you buy, check prices with multiple wood dealers in your area. Seasoned firewood in Connecticut is selling between $220 to $300 a cord, depending on the type of wood and area of the state. If you have access to a truck, go down to the wood lot, check out the wood, and take it home yourself. Make sure you stack your firewood on pallets to keep it off the ground. You won't get a true measurement unless it’s stacked.

If you’re going to have firewood delivered, be home when it arrives, pay a little extra to have it stacked upon delivery, and then measure it. If you ordered a full cord and it isn't 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long or a total of 128 cubic inches, don't pay for it until the full cord is provided. Finally, be sure to obtain a signed receipt for your firewood, which includes the name, address and phone number of the business, the name of the business owner, the amount of wood delivered and the amount you paid. It never hurts to cover every angle when making a purchase of this type. If you have any problems or concerns, please give the Department of Consumer Protection a call at 1-800-8422649.

State Cautions Residents on Charitable Giving: Beware of Potential Scams

HARTFORD - Connecticut Department Consumer Protection (DCP) of Commissioner William M. Rubenstein and Attorney General George Jepsen are cautioning residents that scammers may already be seeking to exploit the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy for their own purposes. “This is a time of mourning for the people of Newtown and for our entire state,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Unfortunately, it’s also a time when bad actors may seek to exploit those coping with this tragedy. We are very thankful for all of the offers to help and urge those looking for ways to help to take some simple precautions to ensure that their donations will find their way to those in need.” “In the wake of the shocking and horrific shooting in Newtown, tremendously compassionate individuals and groups from across the nation have stepped up to assist,” said Commissioner Rubenstein. “Donors should apply a critical eye and take precautions before providing any money in response to emails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings or telephone calls in the name of helping those devastated by the tragic Newtown shootings. We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown to the people of Connecticut, and especially the Newtown

community. We want donors to be certain their support is going to the appropriate place.” The State offers the following suggestions for donating on behalf of victims: Donate to well-known, established charities; it is the best way to ensure that your donation is used appropriately. Find a charity with a proven track record that is making help available to the families and community of Newtown. When giving to any organization, specify the purpose of your donation (e.g “for the victims of the Newtown shooting”), and do so in writing whenever possible. Be extra cautious when responding to email and telephone solicitations on behalf of supposed victims. These methods of solicitation are more likely to be part of a scam. Delete unsolicited e-mails and don’t open attachments, even if they claim to contain video or photographs. The attachments may be viruses designed to steal personal financial information from your computer. Watch carefully for copycat organizations. Criminals are likely to set up bogus sites to steal the identities and donations of generous, unsuspecting individuals. When giving online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate website. You can access accu-

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26 North Central News January 2013

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rate links to the sites of each bona fide at Charity Navigator charity (www.charitynavigator.org). Social media sites can also perpetuate scams. Do not blindly give via these vehicles. As with any charity, investigate the groups behind such pleas to ensure that they come from a legitimate organization. Both the need for donations and the opportunity for giving will be present for some time. Therefore, do not feel pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics. If you feel pressured at all, you are most likely being scammed. Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals. The Department of Consumer

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Protection maintains information on charities that are registered with the state and the minimum percentage guaranteed to go to that charity. The Department’s website, https://www.elicense.ct.gov, provides charity registration information and displays any active solicitation campaign notices for a registered charity or their paid solicitor. Additional information is also available at Charity Navigator, http://www.charitynavigator.org; the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/cha rityfraud; and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity. While the outpouring of grief, concern and support for the families affected by this tragedy will be enormous, so will be the potential for fraud. Please report suspicious solicitations to your local police and to the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.

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January 2013 North Central  
January 2013 North Central  

Community news for the towns of East Windsor, Ellingon, Enfield, Somers, Stafford and Vernon.

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