Commissioners Select Ritter as
Mayor, Keechl as Vice Mayor
At their annual reorganization meeting November 18, Broward County Commissioners unanimously selected Vice Mayor Stacy Ritter as Mayor and Commissioner Ken Keechl as Vice Mayor. They will serve a one-year term. Mayor Ritter succeeds Commissioner Lois Wexler, who served as mayor for the past year.
Mayor Ritter served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before her election to the County Commission in 2006. In 2001, she was elected chair of the Broward County Legislative Delegation. In addition, she chaired the Broward County Management and Efficiency Study Committee from 2004 through 2006. As a commissioner, Mayor Ritter represents District 3, which includes portions of Coral Springs, Tamarac, Sunrise and Parkland.
Vice Mayor Keechl, elected to the County Commission in 2006, serves District 4. A native of Florida, he earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Florida State University and then went on to earn his law degree, with honors, from FSU. As an attorney, Keechl focused on commercial litigation and land use litigation practices, and he has focused on civil rights issues, including those facing minorities, the elderly and the disabled.
In her State of the County address, outgoing Mayor Wexler outlined many accomplishments of the County during the past year. “The State of the County remains strong,” Wexler said. “The challenges we have faced this past year do not overshadow or outnumber our achievements…better processes and procedures are in place to assist us in the future. The State of the County address is posted in its entirety on www.broward.org under Hot Picks; it can also be viewed on Video Central.
Commissioners Ilene Lieberman, Stacy Ritter, Lois Wexler, John Rodstrom and Josephus Eggelletion, Jr., were also officially sworn-in to office after being re-elected in November.
Broward County Records Office Closed on December 11
The Broward County Records Division, located in the Broward County Governmental Center at 115 S. Andrews Ave., will be closed from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 11. The office will resume normal business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Friday, December 12.
This closing will include the following sections within the Division and affect customers of these offices: Room 114 - The Recording Section; Room 119 - The Public Search Section; Room 120 - The Value Adjustment Board Section; Room 336U - The Document Control & Minutes Section.
More information about the services provided by the County Records Division is available at www.broward.org/records.
Consumer Protection Advises Caution When
Making Charitable Contributions
Thinking about donating to a charity during this Holiday Season or anytime during the year? Consumers are urged to be cautious when giving to charitable organizations during the holiday season. Florida law requires charitable organizations, professional solicitors, and fund-raising consultants to register annually with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and provide documentation about their finances before soliciting contributions in the state.
To assist you in making an informed decision, FDACS has created the “Gift Givers’ Guide.” The Guide tells you how each charity spends its money. It can be viewed on the Division of Consumer Services’ Web site: www.800helpfla.com or call within Florida 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
The following precautions will ensure that your donation dollars benefit the people and organizations you want to help.
• Be wary of groups or individuals who solicit by telephone, mail and door-to-door. Other groups to be wary of are ones who solicit on street corners. While they ask for charitable contributions, little is known about their charity or charitable purpose.
• Be cautious of charities with similar sounding names. Some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
• Often times the elderly are taken advantage of because of their vulnerability. Elderly consumers are encouraged to discuss charitable giving with a trusted family member or friend.
• Do not give out personal information, such as your Social Security Number or credit card and bank account numbers.
• Do not give cash. For security and tax record purposes, it is best to pay by check.
• Research a charitable organization before making a contribution. Researching the organization will help to reassure you that your money is going to a worthwhile cause.
• For additional information, visit Broward County Consumer Protection Section’s Web site at www.broward.org/consumer or call 954-765-4400.
Be a “Smart Shopper”
During the Holidays
The holidays are fast approaching, bringing the busiest shopping season of the year. To ensure that your holiday shopping is hassle free, the Broward County Consumer Protection Section reminds consumers they must be smart shoppers. The following are some helpful tips to prevent shopping problems:
• Always compare prices and shop around. Remember the “sale price” may not be the “best” price. Use the Internet and local newspaper advertisement to price compare specific merchandise.
• Always read the sale advertisements carefully; since there may be conditions such as “quantities limited,” “not available at all stores,” or “no rain checks.”
• Always ask if the merchant has a price-matching and sale adjustment policy; if they do, get a copy, read it and keep it.
• Always ask about the merchant’s refund and return polices for regular and sale items. When possible, get a written copy of the merchant’s refund/return policy. Remember you may have certain legal rights under state law.
• Always know your rights. Merchants, including catalog and Internet sellers, are required to ship an order within the time stated in the advertisements, Web sites, or catalogs. When there is no specific shipping date, the law requires that the merchant ship the order within 30 days after receiving the order. If the merchant cannot ship within the 30 days, the merchant must allow the consumer to agree to the delay or cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.
• Always keep all purchase records, including sales receipts, warranties, advertisements, rebate information, and invoices. If you use the Internet, print down and keep all information regarding your order, including the webpage, policies, and the information on the merchandise ordered. For catalog sales, keep the catalog, especially the merchandise information and the company policies.
• Always contact the merchant if you have a problem. If you are having difficulty in resolving a problem or complaint, contact your local or state consumer protection agency.
If you have a consumer problem or require additional information, please contact Broward County Consumer Protection at www.broward.org/consumer or call 954-765-4400.
Be Ready for Digital-only
Television Broadcast – Do It Now
Television will soon undergo the biggest change since the introduction of color in the 1950s when stations begin digital-only broadcasting on February 17, 2009.
To assist residents in preparing for the digital transition, Broward County’s Video Central now offers Web viewers a selection of short videos on how to get ready. The videos are offered on demand, under the Community tab. Visit www.broward.org/video.
If residents currently receive free over-the-air television by using a roof or “rabbit ears” antenna, a digital converter will be needed to view digital television programming. Residents that subscribe to paid providers from cable or satellite companies are not affected.
To help defray the cost of the digital converter, each U.S. household can request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of eligible converter boxes. For more information on the coupon program, visit www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009. Converter boxes are now available in local electronic stores.
Don’t be left in the dark, get ready now for the DTV transition:
• Buy your converter box as soon as possible, and make sure it works by following the installation instructions enclosed with the converter.
• Check to ensure your television antenna can receive a signal from your local stations. Some antennas may need to be adjusted or may not be able to receive a digital signal.
• On February 18, 2009, local television stations will be changing channels and on that date you must “re-scan” your converter box in order to find the new channels.
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