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COVID-19 Update: Forgotten Harvest and Detroit Athletic Club Provide Thanksgiving Support, National Flavors Adds Organic Certified Chocolate and Other Flavors, and More



graph of daily Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Forgotten Harvest and DAC Join Forces for Thanksgiving Assistance
Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park and the Detroit Athletic Club are collaborating to ensure that 3,500 food-insecure families in metro Detroit have a turkey to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Member donations to the DAC Cares Fund – a program of the DAC Foundation – are paying for the turkeys, and DAC members and staff are volunteering their time to pack each bird in a bag and assist in delivery.

“The donations from DAC members will help Forgotten Harvest provide a turkey for almost everyone at our distribution sites just in time for Thanksgiving,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest and a DAC member. “We hope the holidays are a time that brings families together and Forgotten Harvest and our partners like the Detroit Athletic Club membership want to help make that possible for as many metro Detroiters as we can.”

Last spring, the DAC Cares Fund assisted Forgotten Harvest with community food support at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

National Flavors Adds Organic Certified Chocolate and Other Flavors
National Flavors, the Kalamazoo-based producer of flavors and extracts, has expanded its assortment of certified organic flavors. The launch is in response to the recent National Organic Program ruling requiring manufacturers of organic foods and beverages to incorporate “organic certified” flavors whenever available.

National Flavors’ organic certified flavor assortment targets the sweet snacks and baked goods categories, which led the organic launch activity in 2020. The initial 14-SKU lineup includes the top 5 flavors from 2020 launches: chocolate, coconut, vanilla, banana, and cinnamon.

The NOP’s ruling will broaden organic flavor use and address consumer expectations about organic products. Organics are becoming mainstream, with 80 percent of consumers buying from the sector, according to a 2020 survey from The Hartmann Group. Consumer interest spurred North American product launches, which increased 13 percent in 2019 as reported by Mintel and drove sales up 4.6 percent to $50 billion.

“Our teams recognized a need in the market and developed solutions,” says Brian Briggs, CEO of National Flavors. “By providing more organic certified flavors, we’re ensuring our customers’ success with flavors that align with regulatory requirements and help them achieve their growth goals by serving up delicious tastes to consumers.”

Each of National Flavors’ organic certified flavors complies with USDA regulations, meeting the requirements for organic composition (95/5), organic processing, and organic labeling.

Manufacturers can receive samples of certified organic flavors with a free Flavorush account, a feature of National Flavors’ online customer portal. Samples ship in 24 hours and tech docs are available on demand. The company also provides tested usage rates as a starting point for product developers.

Detroit Tree Lighting to be Broadcast Only Event Nov. 20
The 17th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting is being reimagined as a broadcast-only experience by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, WXYZ-TV7, and the DTE Foundation at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

The event, which will switch on 19,000 lights on the Michigan-grown tree in Campus Martius Park, will be pre-recorded. The “Light Up the Season” tree lighting special will be televised on WXYZ-TV7.

The broadcast will include performances by Motown great Smokey Robinson, U.S. figure skating champion and Olympian Karen Chen, actor and comedian Tim Allen, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, ice dancing duo Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, and The Salvation Army.

“Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting is Detroit’s most cherished tradition for families across the state of Michigan, and officially kicks off the start of the 2020 holiday season in downtown Detroit,” says Robert Gregory, chief planning and public spaces officer at the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Now more than ever before, we need joy, comfort, and hope this holiday season and this year will be the best show yet. While Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting will be virtual, we encourage families and friends to join us downtown throughout the season to ice skate, shop, dine and support the downtown community.”

Even though the public won’t be able to gather together for tree lighting, holiday celebrations continue from November through March with an emphasis on visitor safety. DDP says it is preparing to deliver a re-envisioned lineup of holiday and winter events and activations – all outdoors – with the whole family in mind. They include:

  • Holiday shopping. All of downtown’s small businesses and restaurants offer in the safest possible patronage with physical-distancing guidelines, mask requirements, and other preventative COVID-19 safety measures in place.
  • The Rink at Campus Martius Park. The ice rink in the heart of downtown Detroit will open to the public Friday, Nov. 13. It will be open seven days a week, including holidays, through March 7, 2021. Tickets can be purchased here. Parking can be reserved in advance here.
  • Light Up Beacon Park and Detroit’s Children’s Tree. A full list of activities is available here.

A full season of winter events in Beacon Park, Cadillac Square, Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park, and Grand Circus Park will be announced soon.

Auto Analysts to Host Mobility Innovations Summit Nov. 18
The Birmingham-based Society of Automotive Analysts is hosting its fifth annual Mobility Innovations Summit virtually from 10-11:30 a.m. on Nov. 18.

The summit will feature Matt Tsien, chief technology officer at General Motors Co., and president of GM Ventures; and Abey Abraham of DuckerFrontier. Gary Vasilash, editor-in-chief of the AutoBeat Group, will serve as moderator.

The vent also will include presentations by the four finalists and announcement of the winners of the SAA’s Mobility Innovation Awards.

To register, visit here.

Townsend Hotel’s Rigby Grille Introduces New Cocktails To-go
Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel’s Rugby Grille Restaurant is introducing three new bottled cocktails to-go.

The series includes The Rugby Old Fashioned, the hotel restaurant’s best seller. This bottle contains three old fashioneds, made from a split spirit of both rye, and a locally distilled bourbon, Butcher’s Cut from Detroit City Distillery. It also contains unrefined sugar, and a blend of bitters to compliment the complex flavors of the bourbon and rye blend.

There is also the Morning Meadow, a Collins made from calendula flower infused vodka, chamomile honey, the aperitif Suze, fresh lemon, and a spritz of orange flower water.

The third cocktail to-go is A Lavender Derby, a play on the traditional Brown Derby cocktail, that blends lavender honey, bourbon, grapefruit cinnamon cordial, fresh lemon and grapefruit juices, and a dash of Tiki bitters to layer the baking spice notes.

“It was very exciting to see our Rugby Grille team utilizing local brands like Detroit City Distillery, to create modern riffs on true classic cocktails,” says Mallery Heise, beverage manager at the Townsend. “Our staff took the initiative, recognizing the demand for an at-home, craft cocktail experience. They then got to work, selecting the very best ingredients, many locally sourced, for making high-quality bottled cocktails. This line of cocktails to-go is a true testament to our staff and their drive to create something special for our visiting guest experience.”

Officials say the Rugby Grille will be further expanding its to-go offerings in the near future to include: holiday cocktails, a series of Manhattans, and larger-format punches, for entertaining at home. In addition, any of its current menu drinks can be bottled to-go. All Rugby Grille cocktails to go can be purchased within the Rugby Grille, during normal restaurant hours.

They also can be ordered online, here and via phone at 248=642-5999.

JVS Human Services, TCF Bank Offer Assistance to Low-income Homeowners
JVS Human Services, a Southfield-based nonprofit, has launched a new financial initiative to help low- to moderate-income families in Oakland County called the HarMoney Program.

Through the program, made possible by a $50,000 grant from TCF Bank’s Community Impact Fund, qualified families can receive up to $1000 down payment assistance on a home or for repairing their financial credit to help them qualify for home ownership, after successful completion of a 12-week financial education course. Up to 40 qualified families will benefit from the initiative which will launch Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. via Facebook Live.

“Around 75 percent of the calls we receive into our financial coaching department is about home ownership, with one of the largest barriers being the inability to fund a down payment,” says Laltsha Cunningham, financial capability supervisor at JVS Human Services. “Through HarMoney we now we can provide a little extra help, to push struggling families over the finishing line.

“We decided to call the program HarMoney, because so many in the population are not in harmony with their finances, which is incredibly stressful, particularly now during this unprecedented time.”

The aim of the HarMoney Program is help families gain the knowledge to manage their money more effectively, learn skills such as budgeting and credit repair, and understand the path to home ownership. The HarMoney Program components include:

  • 12 weeks of interactive financial education workshops (1-2 hours per week).
  • Eight individual financial coaching sessions.
  • Referrals to organizations that focus on income support and career development.
  • Development of a credit repair strategy.
  • Credit report pulls at the start, midway and conclusion of the program.
  • Down payment assistance of up to $1000 per family after successful program completion.

“TCF is a purpose-driven company, passionate about building stronger individuals, businesses, and communities,” says Laura Castone, market manager of community development at TCF Bank. “TCF’s Community Impact Fund supports local organizations because we know that together, we can do even more good in the communities where we live and serve.”

Potential applicants to the HarMoney Program must be low- to moderate-income based on HUD income limits and have a current credit score at or below 620. For more information applicants can email [email protected], call 248.233.4299, or visit here.

In Related News: JVS Human Services has launched a free, four-week program on Zoom called the “Work from Home Success Group” and has made it available to all Michiganders.

In the group, human resource and career experts at JVS Human Services offer tips, suggestions, and new perspectives for Michiganders now working from home and trying to find a good balance in this new normal. Discussion topics will include 10-minute chair yoga, stress management, and the use of software to increase productivity. The four-week session will take place Nov. 11-18, Dec. 2-9, and will meet from 11 a.m. to noon via Zoom. To register for the new program click here.

“Whether balancing work expectations with school demands, dealing with stress and isolation or even coping with the physical discomfort of being stuck at a desk all day, we are here to help,” says Jason Charnas, director of business and career development at JVS Human Services. “The new normal doesn’t feel that normal and we could all do with some extra support.”

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Must-Read Personal Finance Books From The Berlin-Peck Memorial Library



Based on her successful blog of the same name, the author, a 26-year-old personal-finance expert, helps readers go from in debt and overwhelmed to informed and financially empowered by using humor and real-life examples to demystify the world of money for Millennials.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan
Discover the Joy of Spending Less, Sharing More, and Living Generously

Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller

A powerful, environmentally-conscious guide to decluttering, saving money and growing a community inspired by the ancient practice of gift economies where neighbors pooled resources includes seven steps to learning how to buy less and give more.

Library Catalog

Credit Repair

Amy Loftsgordon and Cara O’Neill

Incorporating extensive new coverage of student loan forgiveness and changes to federal laws, a latest edition outlines comprehensive steps for taking control of personal finances, cleaning up a credit report and rebuilding credit.

Library Catalog

Die With Zero
Getting All You Can From Your Money and Your Life

Bill Perkins

A startling new philosophy and practical guide to getting the most out of your money-and out of life-for those who value memorable experiences as much as their earnings.

Library Catalog

Dollars and Sense
How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter

Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler

Shares anecdotal insight into the illogical influences behind poor financial decisions and how to outmaneuver them, covering topics ranging from credit-card debt and household budgeting to holiday spending and real estate sales.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money
Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs

Jill Schlesinger

The CBS News business analyst explores the common mistakes that intelligent people make with money, drawing on heartfelt stories to identify psychological blind spots that contribute to personal finance difficulties.

Library Catalog

Everyday Millionaires
How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth—and How You Can Too

Chris Hogan

Draws on a survey of ten thousand U.S. millionaires to refute myths about wealth that prevent ordinary people from achieving financial independence, and discusses the readily available tools to help in reaching millionaire status.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

The Financial Diet
A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money

Chelsea Fagan

Offers guidance on personal finance for readers who might be reluctant to bother with the subject, with easy-to-follow advice for budgeting, investing, handling credit, and living a satisfying lifestyle that is still budget conscious.

Library Catalog

Financial Freedom
A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need

Grant Sabatier

The CNBC-declared “Millennial Millionaire” describes how he transitioned from being broke to wealthy in less than five years, revealing how today’s financial rules are obsolete while outlining counterintuitive, step-by-step tips for making real-world fast money.

Library Catalog

Get Money
Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Afford

Kristin Wong

Offers a step-by-step guide to personal finance, encouraging readers to treat it as a challenge-driven game in order to turn what might otherwise be a tedious chore into a fun process.

Library Catalog

Know Yourself, Know Your Money
Discover Why You Handle Money the Way You Do, and What to Do About It!

Rachel Cruze

Counsels readers on how to understand one’s individual strengths and vulnerabilities to establish a healthy relationship with money and set more productive financial goals.

Library Catalog

Mindful Money
Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend

Jonathan K. DeYoe

Offers instructions on creating a financial plan that is guided by belief, and shows readers how to save, invest, pay off debt, and fund retirement.

eBook on Hoopla Library Catalog

Napkin Finance
Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less

Tina Hay

Fun and accessible, a handy crash course in personal finance, written by the founder of Napkin Finance, provides a visual learning strategy to help readers master even the most complex financial topics.

eBook on Hoopla Library Catalog

The Next Millionaire Next Door
Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth

Thomas J. Stanley

Twenty years after Thomas J. Stanley’s groundbreaking work on self-made affluence, he and his daughter examine the changes in specific decisions, behaviors and characteristics, along with consumption, budgeting, careers and investing that have changed wealth-building in more recent years.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

Personal Finance for Dummies

Eric Tyson

From budgeting, saving, and reducing debt, to making timely investment choices and planning for the future, Personal Finance For Dummies provides fiscally conscious readers with the tools they need to take charge of their financial life.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

Retire Securely
Insights on Money Management from an Award-Winning Financial Columnist

Julie Jason

A curated collection of the best retirement advice from financial advisor Julie Jason’s acclaimed nationally syndicated column. Organized in 10 sections, each following a theme, Retire Securely provides essential, accessible, and easy-to-understand information about a process that concerns everyone.

Audiobook on Hoopla Library Catalog

Smart Couples Finish Rich
9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner

David Bach

Offers a nine-step program to help couples build and maintain their financial wealth through proven strategies for organization, communication, and smarter spending in the current economy.

Library Catalog

This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order

John Schwartz

A correspondent for the “New York Times” offers this part-memoir and part-research-based guide to describe his personal journey from near financial ruin to full financial literacy, including non-preachy advice on investments, retirement, insurance and wills.

Library Catalog

The Total Money Makeover
A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave Ramsey

A strategy for changing attitudes about personal finances covers such topics as getting out of debt, the dangers of cash advances, and keeping spending within income limits.

Audiobook on Hoopla eBook on OverDrive Library Catalog

The Truth About Your Future
The Money Guide You Need Now, Later, and Much Later

Ric Edelman

Outlines forward-thinking recommendations on how to tap rapidly evolving technological and scientific innovations to make powerful new choices about saving, investing, and planning for the future.

Library Catalog

The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+
Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime

Suze Orman

Gives you the no-nonsense advice and practical tools you need to plan wisely for your retirement in today’s ever-changing landscape. You’ll find new rules for downsizing, spending wisely, delaying Social Security benefits, and more-starting where you are right now.

Library Catalog

Wealth Can’t Wait
Avoid the 7 Wealth Traps, Implement the 7 Business Pillars, and Complete a Life Audit Today!

David Osborn and Paul Morris

Presents a guide to creating horizontal income streams to enjoy more financial freedom, providing a five-point strategy to building wealth that details how to cultivate the mindset, habits, and momentum to secure the greatest results.

Library Catalog

Women with Money
The Judgement-Free Guide to Creating the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful (and, Yes, Rich) Life You Deserve

Jean Chatzky

Draws on the insights of leading economists, financial planners, and other experts to outline recommendations to help women understand themselves in relation to money, get paid what they deserve, and invest for the future.

Library Catalog

Your Money Or Your Life
9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Vicki Robin

Offers a nine-step program for living a more meaningful life by taking control of one’s finances, showing readers how to get out of debt, save money, reorder priorities, live well for less, and convert problems into opportunities.

Audiobook on OverDrive Library Catalog

This press release was produced by the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

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Different types of credit cards explained – and how to know which is best for you



If used efficiently, credit cards can be a good addition when managing your finances (Photo: Shutterstock)
If used efficiently, credit cards can be a good addition when managing your finances (Photo: Shutterstock)

Credit cards are one of the most popular ways to borrow money and can be a convenient card to have in your wallet during financially difficult times. Although it is normally recommended that credit cards be used cautiously as it can often be easy to fall into credit card debt that takes years to clear, if used efficiently they can be a good addition when managing your finances.

When looking for a credit card, you will see that there are many different types of products on offer, with each type of card suited to different needs. Below we’ve outlined some of the most popular reasons for taking out a credit card and the best type of cards for each option.

The best credit card if you want to clear debts

If you already have credit card debt that you are aiming to clear, a 0% balance transfer credit card could be a good option. A 0% balance transfer credit card offers an interest-free period that can last for over two years on some cards, which often makes it easier and cheaper to repay the credit card debt.

Although these cards can be a good way of clearing debt, if you are considering this option, it is important to be aware that some cards charge a balance transfer fee to transfer debts to the 0% balance transfer card. As well as this, keep in mind that interest is added once the interest-free period has ended, so it is usually a good idea to repay as much of the debt as possible before interest is added.

The best credit card if you want to make an expensive purchase

Borrowers with little or no existing credit card debt and who are looking to make an expensive purchase, for example booking a holiday, may want to consider a 0% purchase credit card. These credit cards will not charge interest on purchases made within a pre-agreed period, which can last for up to 20 months.

If you are considering a 0% purchase card, it is important to remember that interest is added once the interest-free period ends, so having a repayment plan in mind when spending on the card will help to clear the debt before the interest-free period has ended.

The best credit card for regular use

If you use your credit cards regularly and are able to repay the full balance each month, you may want to consider a rewards credit card. These cards will allow you to earn rewards or cashback when you spend on the card. Many popular high street supermarkets and stores, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, offer reward credit cards that allow you to earn extra points when you shop within their stores.

The best credit card for building credit scores

Having a poor credit score could make it harder to get accepted for a credit card as you will be considered a riskier borrower than someone with a higher score, but there are options available. Credit repair cards are often a popular choice for those with poor credit scores as these cards are specifically designed to help borrowers improve their credit score.

You should be careful using these cards, however, as they often charge a significantly higher rate than other types of credit cards and to avoid getting into unmanageable debt borrowers should try and repay the full balance each month.

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New Trade Association Aims To Improve Consumer Credit Experience



The American Association of Consumer Credit Professionals (AACCP) recently held a press briefing to announce its new formation as a trade association dedicated to advocating for “holistic consumer credit repair.”  Despite the word “repair” missing from the trade group’s name, the association is comprised of credit repair industry experts and advocates for the credit repair industry. 

Responding to a perceived gap between the significant credit problems facing consumers and limited efforts by regulators and lawmakers to help consumers overcome those problems, the AACCP aims to educate consumers about the responsible use of credit and their legal rights and responsibilities about how furnishers and consumer reporting agencies publish information about their creditworthiness.  The group prides itself on being the only consumer advocate in the credit reporting system.  The aim is to “support consumer access to credit through accurate, fair, and substantiated credit reports.”  A short video on the group’s website also promises to protect consumers against bullying by “shadowy debt collectors.” 

The AACCP wants stakeholders in the credit ecosystem to know that they do more than just fix tradelines on consumer reports.  The group’s inaugural announcement and website explain how modern credit repair organizations offer consumers more because they:

  •  Know the industry and the laws designed to protect consumers;
  •  Understand the circumstances of individual consumers to help them raise relevant questions with creditors and other furnishers of credit report information;
  •  Operate with integrity and maintain a strong focus on compliance with applicable statutes;
  •  Help consumers review, analyze and understand their credit reports in order to identify items that may need to be challenged and, if possible, changed;
  •  Advocate on behalf of consumers to resolve potential issues on their credit report with creditors/furnishers and the Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs a/k/a credit bureaus); and
  •  Educate consumers on their credit reports, how to build positive credit, and encourage them to use credit responsibly.


The group describes these services as a “holistic approach to credit repair advocacy.”  A stated focus of this advocacy is to bring racial equity and fairness to the credit system.  The group’s founders are familiar players in the credit repair space, Progrexion and Lexington Law.

The credit repair industry is regulated by state and federal law.  The Credit Repair Organizations Act (15 U.S.C.S. § 1679 et seq.) is the federal law governing all credit repair services.  Like many other consumer protection laws, the CROA prohibits false and misleading behavior, requires certain consumer disclosures, empowers consumers with certain legal rights, and establishes a private right of action for consumers against credit repair organizations that do not follow the law.  Many states have implemented similar laws proscribing certain harmful behavior and mandating consumer-friendly behavior.  Despite a 5-year statute of limitations on violations of the CROA, a quick search revealed only a small number of reported cases involving this statute.  The law has been on the books since September 1996.

The collection industry and the credit repair industry share many similarities.  They are both highly regulated by state and federal laws throughout the country.  Their reputations are shaped most often, not by the law-abiding actors who bring assistance and value to consumers, but instead by the few who disregard the rules and bring harm to consumers.  They each sit on the front lines of consumer interaction, listening to stories of hardship and helping consumers triumph over their credit challenges.  Both industries have also had their share of government and civil scrutiny, with the government going after the biggest players in the marketplace:

…and courts narrowing the application of the Fair Credit Report Act to disputes received “directly” from a consumer:

But the relationship between the credit repair industry and the collection industry has not always been simpatico.  Debt collectors are the recipients of tens of millions of dispute letters from credit repair organizations annually; often perceived as frivolous and unsubstantiated.  Collectors themselves have taken action against credit repair organizations to stop this untoward behavior:

Yet, in the end, both industries pursue their stated purposes of helping consumers overcome financial challenges.  Will this new trade association change public perception?  Will lawmakers be persuaded to pass laws favorable to the credit repair industry?  Will regulators take a kinder, more gentle approach to regulating the credit repair industry?  The impact of this new association on the public, consumers, lawmakers and regulators remains to be seen.  There may be more in common between the collection industry and the credit repair industry than either is willing to admit. 

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