Reminder: Treats 4 Our Troops!

By Andrew E.

UW-Whitewater is joining up with the non-profit “Treats 4 Our Troops” to send needed items to American soldiers overseas. From now until March 17th, you can donate to “Treats 4 Our Troops” by bringing your items in to the Andersen Library Circulation Desk. The main donations being accepted are foot powder, hand/body lotion, and fruit/nut bars. Along with this, razors, toothpaste, and writing utensils are also being accepted. Get those donations in before March 17th to show your appreciation for the American soldiers!

Over conversation through a few emails, I was lucky enough to ask the “Treats 4 Our Troops” founder, Yael Roggen, a few specific questions about the organization and its progress through 2014. “This year close to 10,000 pounds of treats, magazines and toiletries were distributed to the troops, including wounded warriors at Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir.” What is even better about this massive number is the amount of soldiers Israel says the organization has reached over the years – “Close to 1,000 by now … sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Africa, and many US Naval Ships.” It is incredible to see how the charitable ideas that some have can span out and become bigger, reaching more people with their support every turn of the year.

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What do you think is the most rewarding thing about Treats 4 Our Troops?

“Personally to pay it forward and serve those that serve. It’s such a small gesture, but so appreciated. I feel it’s the least we can do to thank them for our freedom.”

What is the biggest difficulty to overcome?

“Money! If I had the funds to mail all the treats at once it would be much more efficient, however since I updated guidelines in 2012, we are reaching more troops faster.”

Heading a successful national non-profit has its obstacles, but is largely rewarding. Often the victories overcome through difficulty are the most rewarding. I can only imagine the immense satisfaction that Yael receives after sending off all the donations to the troops – Especially after those troops return the favor by sending a picture or testimonial of them enjoying what she sent them.

Please get any donations you wish to contribute to Treats 4 Our Troops to the library circulation desk by Monday, March 17.

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T3: Doing More with Excel

excelKnowing how to efficiently use Microsoft Excel is a skill that will benefit you throughout your life. Need to do a statistics project for a class? Track your personal or campus group spending? Track your writing, fitness, or other life goals? Excel is a great tool for all of these situations.

Using keyboard shortcuts (on the Mac or the PC) will help you become faster and better in Excel even if you already are familiar with the program. Exceljet, an online Excel training website, compiled a list of over 200 keyboard shortcuts (with both the Mac and PC keyboard commands displayed). Memorize just a few of these shortcuts for the commands you use the most and you’ll manipulate your spreadsheets with ease.

In addition, make sure to check out the guide to using Excel that Amanda Howell, our Business Librarian, put together. This guide gives you a refresher on the basics and demonstrates how to work with formulas and create charts and graphs.

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Global Cafe 3/12

Ever wanted to travel around the world but don’t have enough money to do it? Now is your chance! Global Café makes its return to the Andersen Library just in time to showcase Germany, Australia, and Indonesia.global

Come learn about the widely diverse world we live in as culture experts share knowledge about their respective country. Presentations will be held on Wednesday, March 12  from 5:30-6:30PM by the big screen TV on the main floor of the Andersen Library.

Love learning about culture through music?  We have some great CDs such as:

  • Indonesia (WOR Ind)
  • Australia songs of the aborigines and traditional music of Papua, New Guinea (WOR Aus)
  • Oktoberfest in Germany (WOR Okt)
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New Stuff Tuesday – March 11, 2014

Dear Life

Dear Life:
Stories
by Alice Munro
PR9199.3.M8 A6 2013
New Arrivals Island, 2nd floor

PR9199.3.M8 D43 2012
Browsing Books, 2nd floor

Canadian Alice Munro has done it again! Dear Life, her thirteenth book of short stories, is world class literature. Not only that, it contributed to her winning the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy boldly declared her “master of the contemporary short story.” High praise indeed. Ms. Munro had previously won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize (2009), the National Book Circle Critics Award (1998), and many more accolades celebrating her skilled writing, most particularly regarding the short story.

As is common with Munro’s short fiction, these stories focus on rural and small town life and all that that entails, from minutiae to grand schemes. To round out the collection, are four strongly autobiographical “stories.” In the first section of the book is “Dolly,” which details the end of life musings of a woman well past her prime. Having first skipped the intro, I read several pages and then went back. What was revealed the first few pages of the story completely changed my opinion of, quite frankly, everything I’d already read. I don’t recommend doing that. Munro’s well thought out story lines definitely contribute to her mastery of the genre.

I hope you enjoy this great read!

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Money Mondays: Mortgages

The past few weeks we have focused on loans that you will likely have to think about in the very near future. Perhaps a little farther off is another loan: a mortgage. At some point in your life, you’ll probably want to buy a house. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average cost of a new home (including land) in December 2013 was $311,400 and the median cost was $270,200. Not many people have that much money on hand, which makes mortgages incredibly useful.

Cottage, by photosbyflick (flickr)

The most common type of mortgage is a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. This means that a homebuyer makes monthly payments to the bank for 30 years before they actually own the home. “Fixed rate” means that the interest rate will never change during the 30 year period. Because the homebuyer does not own the house, should he or she fail to make payments the bank can reclaim the property and sell it in an effort to make back the money it loaned the homebuyer. This is known as foreclosure.

In order to avoid foreclosure, you must first ask yourself what you can afford. How does a mortgage fit into your budget? One tool that lenders use to determine how much individuals can afford is called the debt-to-income ratio. Lenders will look at both your front-end ratio and the back-end ratio. The front-end ratio tells them what percentage of your income will go toward mortgage payments each year; this includes the principal, interest, insurance and taxes. A good rule of thumb is that the front-end ratio should not exceed 28%. For example, if you make $40,000 a year, your monthly mortgage payments should not exceed $933.

(40,000 * 0.28) / 12 months = $933.33

The back-end ratio tells investors how much of your total income is needed to fulfill all of your debt obligations. This includes your mortgage, car loans, student loans, credit card bills, etc. This ratio should not exceed 36%. Using the example from above, your total debt payments should not exceed $1,200.

(40,000 * 0.36) / 12 months = $1,200

A lender will also look at a potential buyer’s credit score, which we will discuss in depth next week. The higher the score, the easier it is to get a mortgage.

There are a few more things to keep in mind when buying a home. First, the traditional down payment required is 20%. You would need more than $54,000 to put a 20% down payment on a $270,900 home. According to Freddie Mac, the average interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is 4.53%. If you put down the 20%, you’ll be looking at payments of over $1,000* after real estate tax and homeowners insurance are accounted for. Notice that this amount exceeds the $933 limit set by our front-end ratio. Make sure you have realistic expectations and limit yourself to homes that fall within your budget, not homes that compare with the national average. Also, check sources like American FactFinder, which includes the American Housing Survey, to determine average housing costs for the city in which you’ll be living.

If you’re looking for more information, check out the two Spending on Housing chapters in Who’s Buying by Age, available online through Andersen Library.

*If you’re wondering how I got the monthly payment amount of over $1,000, try a few of the mortgage calculators listed below. I used $696 for my average annual homeowners insurance amount and $1,812 for my average annual real estate tax amount (numbers based on median amounts payed by Americans in 2011):

Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only. No content should be construed as financial advice.

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T3: Wireless Printing

Want to print from your laptop to Library printers? You will need to download and install a program on your laptop that allows your computer to connect to the printers in any General Access Lab on campus.

Windows Instructions

Mac Instructions

Stop by the Reference Desk if you have questions or need further help.

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Treats 4 Our Troops

-By Andrew E.

UW-Whitewater is joining up with the non-profit “Treats 4 Our Troops.” This organization’s main goal is to send needed items to American soldiers serving overseas.  From now until March 17th, you can donate to “Treats 4 Our Troops” by bringing your items in to the Andersen Library Circulation Desk. The main donations being accepted are foot powder, hand/body lotion, and fruit/nut bars. Along with this, razors, toothpaste, and writing utensils are also being accepted. Get those donations in before March 17th so show your appreciation for the American soldiers!

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“Treats 4 Our Troops” is a national non-profit organization started by Yael Roggen in 2007. Each year, Yael sends at least 3000 pounds of candy to American troops serving overseas. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, this organization is showing appreciation for all the sacrifices made by the American troops. On the website, Roggen lists several quotes from actual soldiers who have received her candy. One states, “Opening a box full of Halloween candy put a smile on our faces all the way in Afghanistan.” Another positive testimony comes from a Lance Corporal in Camp LeJeune, N.C.: “Working such long hours with such hard working Marines, it was nice to feel appreciated and get the treats from the local community. I know it’s just candy to most of us, but such a small gesture goes a long way, especially for people who are so far from home.”

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Race Unplugged

Ruha Benjamin, professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Boston University and author of People’s science: Bodies and rights on the stem cell frontier, will talk about “Race Unplugged: Beyond racial sound bites of pundits, politicians, and pop culture” at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 10, in the Irvin L. Young Auditorium. It’s the next Spring 2014 Contemporary Issues Lecture.

Strange Neighbors coverAndersen Library has related materials. Search HALCat for books such as Media & minorities: The politics of race in news and entertainment (3rd-floor Main Collection, PN1995.9.M56 L37 2006), “Can we all get along?”: Racial and ethnic minorities in American politics (3rd-floor Main Collection, E184.A1 M347 2010), and Strangers and neighbors: Multiculturalism, conflict, and community in America (3rd-floor Main Collection, F30.S67 V69 2013). Search article databases for additional resources, such as “Race talk: The psychology of racial dialogues” (American Psychologist, 2013, vol.68:no.8, p.663) and “What is racism? Racial discourse and racial politics” (Critical Sociology, 2006, vol.32:no.2-3,pp.255-274).)

If you’d like assistance with finding additional materials, please ask a librarian.

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Wall Street Journal, Where Are You??

image of newspapersLooking for the Wall Street Journal? Go to the Journal Holdings List (linked from the Library’s home page) and search for it…you probably want the Eastern Edition.

Click ABI/Inform and either search within this newspaper, or browse issues by date.

Do you need articles in a particular section of the paper? Alas, not searchable in the database! However, if you scroll down through the list of articles in a selected issue of the paper, when you get to the section C page numbers, e.g., C1, you’ve found the Money & Investing section, which some students have been requesting recently.

Or, go to the Wall Street Journal‘s web site. Click “Today’s Paper” and then click “Money & Investing.” You can copy the URL from this button and change the date portion if you want, e.g., use the url http://online.wsj.com/itp/20140226/us/moneyandinvesting for that section of the paper for February 26, 2014.

Here is a video showing how to find the WSJ. YouTube Preview Image

If you have additional questions, please ask a librarian.

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Body Adornment Exhibit

The Whitewater Arts Alliance is hosting an exhibit on body adornment from Mar. 8-Apr. 27, open Fridays through Sundays from noon-5pm at the Cultural Arts Center (402 W. Main St., Whitewater). The opening reception will be on Sun., Mar. 9, from 2-4pm, and local tattoo artists, local jewelry designers and a henna artist will be there!

The exhibit will include “jewelry by local artists and UW-W students, tattoo designs by local artists and examples of tattooing equipment.” A video of body adornment in cultures around the world will air continuously during the show.

You can participate! Submit a photo of an heirloom piece of body adornment, such as jewelry and clothing, along with a written description or story that explains its significance. A binder of these submissions will be available during the exhibit.

Presentations scheduled during the exhibition’s run, all at 7pm, are:

  • Mar. 13: History of Tattoos by Skye and Chuck Schaffer of Chuck’s Body Art
  • Mar. 20: History, Art and Ceremony of Body Adornment by Kelly Novak of Indiana University Art Department
  • Apr. 3: Tattooing: Decisions and Designs by local tattoo artist Bear of Voodoo Daddys’ Tattoos
  • Apr. 15: Ceremonial Jewelry of the Victorian Age and Beyond by Teresa Faris of UW-Whitewater Art Department. Those attending are encouraged to wear ceremonial dress and/or jewelry to the presentation.
  • Apr. 24: The Brooches of Madeleine Albright by Marion Burrows

Workshops on precious metal clay, enameling with traditional Americana designs, and polymer clay and heirloom pieces are scheduled as well. Please visit the exhibition web site for descriptions, dates, locations, costs, and registration forms.

cover of Body Piercing bookAndersen Library has resources for learning more! Titles found searching HALCat include a 2013 UW-Whitewater master’s thesis Inked and in public: Tattoos and disclosure (online), and books including Natural fashion: Tribal decoration from Africa (3rd-floor Main OVERSIZE Collection, GN650.5.E8 S5213 2009), Body piercing and tattoos (3rd-floor Main Collection, GT2345 .B63 2003), Tattooed: The sociogenesis of a body art (3rd-floor Main Collection, GN419.3 .A75 2003), Adorn: New jewellery (3rd-floor Main Collection, NK7310.5 .M36 2008), and Metalsmithing for jewelry makers: Traditional and contemporary techniques for inspirational results (2nd-floor New Arrivals Island, TT212 .M3955 2014). Search article databases for resources such as “Visual optics: Interpreting body art, three ways” (Visual Communication, 2013, vol.12:no.1, pp.97-122), “The Ancient Practice of Tattooing” (Ancient Egypt Magazine, 2012, vol.13:no.3, pp.38-42), and “Secret Ink: Tattoo’s Place in Contemporary American Culture” (Journal of American Culture, 2012, vol.35:no.2, pp.153-165, doi:10.1111/j.1542-734X.2012.00804.x).

Please ask a librarian for assistance with using the catalog.

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