As College Costs Rise, Local Students Try to Save Cash

The cost of college is rising nationwide, as MSNBC reported last week.  Local universities are no exception.

Click the video below to learn more, and hear from some students* from Elizabethtown College and Millersville University on the matter.

* (Last names not given in order to protect students’ financial privacy)

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See Elizabethtown College’s tuition information.
Visit CollegeToolkit.com’s Elizabethtown College page.

See Millersville University’s tuition informaion.
Visit CollegeToolkit.com’s Millersville University page.

Are you a college student?  What ways have you found to save money on tuition?  Leave a comment below!

 

Reported By: Sara Sandhaus, Elizabethtown College Senior

Elizabethtown Uneasy for Digital Transition

This upcoming Feb. 17, 2009, may bring some trouble for some Elizabethtown residents. After this date, it marks the moment when television stations will stop broadcasting their signal in analog, and switch to digital. This movement goes by the name Digital Television (DTV) Transition.

“A lot of people seem to be pretty upset with it,” Ray Milbee, owner of Milbee TV located on Winnemore Alley in Elizabethtown, said. “They don’t know exactly why this is occurring.”

Milbee went on to remark how this change allows emergency communication to be more effective, something that had needed to be improved as a result of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. They will be able to use the analog spectrum once televisions are working on digital signals.

After March 1, 2007, most TV’s purchased have been digital sets. The government required any sets sold after then to contain a legible warning that it will need a digital converter box by the February changeover. 

While many Elizabethtown community members are unsure about this transiton, Steven Rutter, director of Network/Electrical support for Information Technology Services (ITS) at Etown College, believes this positive change has been advertised very well – and not just on TV stations.

“If you read the newspapers, if you read magazines, you have to know it’s coming,” Rutter said. “I can’t believe someone would try to turn on the TV in February and say, ‘Oh God, it doesn’t work, what happened?’”

Regardless, this coming February should be interesting, especially for individuals like Milbee.

“A lot of people called when it was first announced,” he said. “The phones might be off the hook come Feb. 17.”

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What you need to know

Date of complete digital transition: after Feb. 17, 2009.

If your TV currently gets its signal through an antenna, you will need to do one of the three choices below, or the only thing you TV will be showing after Feb. 17, 2009, is fuzz on the TV set (known by many as “snow.”)

You have three choices:
1) Purchase a digital converter box for each analog TV (see locations below).
2) Connect analog TV to satellite or cable service (like Comcast).
3) Purchase a new digital TV.

If you decide to purchase a digital box, visit the TV Converter Box Coupon Program and click on “Apply for a Coupon” to begin. If your application is accepted, and after receiving your coupon, you will need to go out and purchase your digital converter box.

Locations in the Elizabethtown area for digital converter boxes (essentially located right next to one another): 

*Radio Shack (view Google Maps location here)
*Kmart Stores (view Google Maps location here)

Follow the simple instructions included, and you will be set for the digital transition.

Other useful resources:
FCC’s Digital TV Transition FAQ
WGAL’s Digital TV Transition Web site – contains easy-to-read articles and FAQ’s, as well as a clock ticking down the minutes until the change in February.

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Below is an interview with Steven Rutter on his view toward the digital transition. Please adjust your volume accordingly, and click below to start the audio.

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Reported by: Mike Moss

Economy Troubles Affecting E-town?

 

 

Over the past couple of months, the economy has caused the whole nation to be more frugal with their everyday spending. The economic plunge is believed to be the result of a multiple of things, according to economic experts.

Associate Professor of Economics from Elizabethtown College, Dr. Sanjay Paul believes it is because of “insufficient lending practices of financial institutions”. These institutions, such as Fannie Mae and will make money available for mortgage lending. These high-risk loans that are given out are called “sub-prime” mortgages. As a result of the borrowers, borrowing too much, they defaulted on their mortgages and could not continue making payments. This resulted in the collateral being the houses, often leading to auctioning or foreclosure. 

To cut down, many people have eliminated everyday things from their shopping lists. With the holiday season coming up, it may be even harder for people to spend money on gifts for their loved ones. Car sales are ending leases and going up because of it being harder to get exports. Even companies such as Apple have dropped production. Their product, the new and improved Iphone 3G will lessen production by about 40% in the next quarter according to analysts for Apple. Consequently, Apple’s stocks are down 40% from its level three months ago, according to an article found at MarketWatch.com.

We are also cutting down on spending on groceries, traveling, and energy. “Americans, perhaps more than other countries, have not been efficient users of energy and have been reluctant to eat more meals at home/shop at less than full service grocery stores, cut coupons,”says Assistant Professor of Economics at Elizabethtown College, Dr. Scheidling. “There is a great deal of evidence that consumers are doing these things.”

The future of the economy is yet to be determined. However, Dr. Scheidling says that economists have predicted that it will be in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2009 that the recession has ended.  “Firms are not sure when the demand will pick up, so they are cutting back on hiring people, “ said Dr. Paul. “Unless government spending picks up the slack, we are in for a long recession.”

To understand the nation’s economy and why it has ended up in such a terrible state, it is important to know about the region around you and what they might be facing. Businesses in the Elizabethtown area, such as Salon Bella, currently with a for lease sign outside its window and vacant inside are starting to feel the heat.  The Beef and Beef is another shop in town that has gone under because of economic troubles. As for the education expenses in the town of Elizabethtown,  “Spending on schools may take a hit,” said Sanjay. Colleges and schools have had less money coming in and more financial aid being given out. “As students and parents find themselves in more dire economic situations, the college is forced is forced to discount their tuition further (offer more financial aid) and/or transfer to less expensive public schools, this translates into less tuition value,” said Dr. Scheiding.

It all isn’t bad news for Elizabethtown shop owners though. Gringo’s, a new Mexican Grill on Market Street opened in the beginning of September seems to be doing fine. Memoirs, who sells gifts and flowers have moved and doubled their space. “Mars just made a huge commitment and completed a 75 million dollar expansion to downtown Elizabethtown and Masonic Village added over 120 apartments to their property recently as well,” according to Beth Wood Bergman, executive director of Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce/Main Street. “Many people that are shopping today are looking for a relationship so that I say hello to you, they are looking for that customer service,” Bergman says. “It takes a lot to have a healthy environment in the downtown, but a lot of us have our own unique character and it comes from the visuals, the relationship experiences you have with other people, and the events we have created downtown.” “We’re here and I think we have a lot of good memories that have been created in downtown.”To check your county’s economy click on the link below and follow instructions

Community Economic Toolbox

To hear quotes from Executive Director of The Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Beth Wood Bergman click on each of the links

Business Closures

Investments in E-town

The Amtrak Station

 

Reported by Heather L. Edmonds

Economy has direct effect on library usage with E-town no exception

People across the nation and even the county are turning to their local, public libraries as a means to save money. The Elizabethtown Public Library has seen an increase of 2,000 people coming through its doors, with the most popular item being movies.

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Click the links below to visit the sites of organizations mentioned:

Elizabethtown Public Library
Library System of Lancaster County

Yard Signs Down So Soon?

Election day is over. But what about those signs that we have all put in our yards to support candidates?  If your yard was sporting an Obama sign, or another sign of a winning candidate you may be tempted to leave it there to celebrate.  However, Elizabethtown Borough requires its residents to take their yard signs down five days after the election.

Roni Ryan the Assistant Borough Manager explains that Elizabethtown residents may put as many signs as they desire in their yard. Some restrictions regarding the signs are that they may not exceed six square feet wide or no more than five feet high. This regulation of the borough is part of the zoning ordinance . If any signs are left up after the five day limit the Elizabethtown Borough can ask you to take them down.

Lorinda Holmes a resident of the Elizabethtown Borough commented that ” after tomorrow it doesn’t really matter if they are up or not.” About the signs coming down soon, “I wasn’t aware that they wanted them down,” Holmes said.  She also mentioned that her McCain/Palin sign had been stolen and she had to replace it.

Another resident who wished to be kept annoymous remarked that, “I’ll keep my sign up as long as I want. It’s not like they can arrest me.” The resident said “It’s not hurting anyone if I keep it out there.”

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Reported by: Keira P. Feagley, Elizabethtown College Junior

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism