Back in the Saddle again

I am one of the unlucky individuals that fell victim to the flu. I spent all of last week in a huddled mass in bed, consecutively freezing and boiling. The worst seems to finally be over, but I am still totally exhausted. I did get the flu shot last year, but as was mentioned in an article in the paper last month, this season’s flu shot seems to have hit wide of the mark. I’ll just keep on plodding though work and life and just hope that my wife and daughter don’t pick up the nastiness.

I just read about a great little program that the city of St. Charles has developed to help out low to middle income home owners in the city. The city’s Community Development Department is offering low and no interest loans to families that qualify through its Home Improvement Loan Program.

The program is a way for families to be able to take care of their homes without breaking already tight budgets. To qualify, the family must own and live in their own home and fall within certain income guidelines, which are determined by the number of people in the home and the household’s gross income.

Interest rates vary from 3 percent for a 10 year loan to a no-interest loan with payments deferred until the home is sold. The homeowner must live in the home in order for the payments to be deferred.

Qualified repairs include general maintenance, roof repairs and replacements, upgrades or renovations to the home’s electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems or water heaters, window replacement, new siding, insulation and weatherization, foundation repair and waterproofing.

I, for one, am impressed by the effort. Only time will tell how well it works. Personally, this could be a wonderful resource for the home owners that are just barely making it. It has long been the American dream to own a home. And it will definitely become more difficult in the near future, especially with the credit crisis only now starting to really come to a boil. The number of foreclosures is skyrocketing to levels not seen in a very long time. Helping people stay in the city of St. Charles, rather than moving onto a subdivision someplace else in the county should certainly be a goal for our city administrators.

I would like to see our dream in the city of St. Charles be that of a community helping its own. When a storm comes in and leaves my neighbor with a hole, I’d provide them someplace to camp out until they could move back home. If everybody resolved to help at least one neighbor, we really would be the envy of the surrounding cities.

If you need information or want to apply for the loan, call the Department of Community Development at 636.949.3222. For assistance with the application call Anita Telkamp at 636.949.3224.

By the way, on Sunday, the Department of Agriculture announced a recall of 143 million pounds of beef, after health code violations were found at a slaughterhouse in California. The USDA believes that most of the beef has already been consumed, but do not know of any cases of illnesses they think might have resulted from eating the beef. A video was recently released showing the slaughter of "downed" cattle. Downed cattle are those that have become too weak to stand or walk, possibly because of illness or disease. Federal regulations require that downed animals be re-checked for disease by an inspector. And the really burning gall is that the majority of this meat was for the school lunch programs across the country.

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