College Financial Aid: The Future Is Now!

It’s Time to Fill Out a College Financial Aid Form for Fall 2015

The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the Fafsa, became available online on Jan. 1. This is the starting point for students and families seeking federal aid. It is used by most states and colleges as part of the student aid process. The form collects financial and personal information about students, and their parents if they are dependents, to determine eligibility for scholarships, grants, work-study awards and loans. It must be completed every school year for students seeking aid.

Ann Carrns wrote an article recently in the New York Times that offered several good pieces of advice and information.

Filing the Fafsa as soon as possible after Jan. 1 increases applicants’ chances of getting the best financial aid packages for which they are eligible. Those who file the form from January through March receive, on average, twice the amount of grant money as those who file later, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the financial aid website Edvisors.com.

Federal Student Aid

 There Is No Getting Around It – College Is Expensive!

We did a post last May that reported here, in Connecticut, yearly college costs varied from twelve thousand dollars at Charter Oak State College to over 61 thousand dollars at Yale. Very few families have the financial resources to cover those kind of expenses without help.

According to USA Today:

More college students are receiving loans, grants and other financial aid than at any time since the debut of the GI bill after World War II, new data show.

Seventy-one percent of all undergraduate students received some type of financial aid in the 2011-12 academic year… Most of the increase in student aid is coming from federal sources.

So, since most of the financial aid is coming from the U.S. Government, let’s take a quick look at Federal Student Aid:

According to the Federal Student Aid web site, Office of the U.S. Department of Education:

The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 15 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. Thousands of schools across the country participate in the federal student aid programs; ask the schools you’re interested in whether they do!

Financial aid is available from a variety of sources for college, career school, graduate school, and professional school.

Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Aid can come from

Besides financial aid, you also should think about what you can do to lower your costs when you go to college.

Here’s a short video  from Federal Student Aid Office that offers a quick overview (2:14 minutes).

The Federal Student Aid web site provides a wealth of information and advice. There are links to many other sources of useful and valuable information. Visiting this web site is a must for anyone who will be facing college bills in the next few years.

And don’t forget, the Tri-Town Teachers FCU offers scholarships to members and their families. Admittedly, this won’t cover your expenses at Yale, but hey, every little bit  helps.

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know, leave a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repaying Student Loans: Start Here

Ron Lieber opened his recent New York Times column with some strong words:

Too many people, including plenty of brand-new college graduates, fall far behind on their student loan payments for no good reason.
(
A Beginner’s Guide to Repaying Student Loans, NYT, 5/15/2014)

Ron Lieber is the “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times. In spite of what you may infer from that opening statement, Mr. Lieber’s column is really a positive set of guidelines and references to help those with school loans keep current with their loan payment responsibilities and protect their credit rating.

The Tri-Town Apple strongly encourages anyone with schools loans to repay, or the family of those with loans, to read Mr. Lieber’s article. Some excerpts from the article:

WHAT YOU OWE

…So repayment needs to begin with an accounting of every individual loan. Start with whatever is in your files. Then check to see whether you’re aware of all of your federal student loans. Borrowers can use the National Student Loan Data System website to get the details…

WHEN AND TO WHOM

…The first payments on your loans may be due at different times. Some federal loans give you a six-month grace period after you graduate while others give you nine months. With private loans, it varies.

Assume here (and really, everywhere throughout this process) that servicers will fail to find you and give you clear repayment instructions before the first payment is due. If you’ve moved or changed your email address since you took out your first loan and haven’t told the servicers about it, be especially vigilant…

TAKING LONGER

…The normal repayment period for federal student loans is 10 years. But depending on the loan and the balance, you may be able to lower your monthly payments by taking as long as 30 years to pay them off…

…The big downside to taking more than a decade to pay is that the total interest costs can be much higher. The Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project of the National Consumer Law Center has an extensive guide to loan consolidation on its website that outlines these and other trade-offs…

INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT

…For people without much income, there are several government programs that set payments on federal student loans based on how much money you make…

…The income-driven payments may cause you to spend more on interest over time than you might have otherwise…

Mr. Lieber’s article extends these points and includes many references, with links, that provide information and references to help.  The Tri-Town Apple encourages you to read Mr. Lieber’s article.

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know, leave a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.

Reverse Mortgages: Part II, What to Be Careful About

If you’re 62 or older – and looking for money to finance a home improvement, pay off your current mortgage, supplement your retirement income, or pay for healthcare expenses – you may be considering a reverse mortgage. It’s a product that allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home or pay additional monthly bills.

Reverse mortgages can be a benefit to older people, at or near retirement. But, like many things in life, they have aspects that can create unexpected hardships, not only for the retirees, but for their heirs.

This is the second part of a two part series on Reverse Mortgages. Reverse Mortgages Part I: The Good, the Bad was a comprehensive description of reverse mortgages, reprinted from the FTC Consumer Information website. Anyone considering a reverse mortgage, or having a family member (e.g. your parents) contemplating such a loan should definitely visit the FTC web site. In Part II, we’ll look at several aspects of reverse mortgages to be careful about.

Reverse Mortgages: Part II, What to Be Careful About

Costs:

All mortgages have costs, but reverse mortgage fees, which can include the interest rate, loan origination fee, mortgage insurance fee, appraisal fee, title insurance fees, and various other closing costs, are extremly high when compared with a traditional mortgage. Costs vary but can be as high as $30,000 or $40,000. This cost is not paid out of pocket, but rolled into the loan.  www.dummies.com

Leaving the Home Pay Back:

Another potential issue to be aware of is the requirement to pay back the loan if you should permanently move out of the home. This may not sound like a problem now, but if you ever need to enter a full-time care facility, the loan would become due if you left your home for a year or more. www.dummies.com

Having to deal with the sale of a long time family home from a bed in a nursing home isn’t a pleasant picture, for you or your family.

Keeping the Family Home:

When the parents pass away, it’s not uncommon for surviving family members to have a desire to keep the family home. The law governing reverse mortgages provides a path for them to achieve this goal but many heirs are not aware, and not informed by the lending institution. The New York Times ran an article about this on March 26, 2014.

Under federal rules, survivors are supposed to be offered the option to settle the loan for a percentage of the full amount. Instead, reverse mortgage companies are increasingly threatening to foreclose unless heirs pay the mortgages in full, according to interviews with more than four dozen housing counselors, state regulators and 25 families whose elderly parents took out reverse mortgages.

Some lenders are moving to foreclose just weeks after the borrower dies, many families say. The complaints are echoed by borrowers across the country, according to a review of federal and state court lawsuits against reverse mortgage lenders.

Others say that they don’t get that far. Soon after their parents die, the heirs say they are plunged into a bureaucratic maze as they try to get lenders to provide them with details about how to keep their family homes.

Lenders must offer heirs up to 30 days from when the loan becomes due to determine what they want to do with the property, and up to six months to arrange financing. Most important, housing counselors say, is a rule that allows heirs to pay 95 percent of the current fair market value of the property — a price that is determined by an appraiser hired by the lenders. Mr. Bell of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association said that lenders are strictly abiding by the 95 percent rule.

The difference offered by the 95 percent rule can be critical. After the financial crisis, when housing prices tumbled, the disparity between the current value of the home and the total balance on the mortgage often means the difference between keeping a home and losing it to foreclosure. New York Times, March 26, 2014

If children have any intention of retaining the family home, it’s imperative that they become knowledgeable of the regulations concerning the settlement of the reverse mortgage after the deaths of their parents. A family attorney might be a good place to begin.

Estate Reduction:

The final downside to the reverse mortgage affects your estate. The reverse mortgage will almost always decrease the equity in your home, which will leave less money to your heirs. www.dummies.com

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know, leave a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.

Reverse Mortgages: Part I, The Good, the Bad

If you’re 62 or older – and looking for money to finance a home improvement, pay off your current mortgage, supplement your retirement income, or pay for healthcare expenses – you may be considering a reverse mortgage. It’s a product that allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home or pay additional monthly bills.

Reverse mortgages can be a benefit to older people, at or near retirement. But, like many things in life, they have aspects that can create unexpected hardships, not only for the retirees, but for their heirs.

This is the first of two posts on the subject of reverse mortgages. In Part I we’ll reprint an informative article from the FTC Consumer Information web site (click here to visit) and in Part II, we’ll expand on the concerns to be careful about.

(for Part II, click here)

Reverse Mortgages Part I:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to understand how reverse mortgages work, the types of reverse mortgages available, and how to get the best deal.

In a “regular” mortgage, you make monthly payments to the lender. In a “reverse” mortgage, you receive money from the lender, and generally don’t have to pay it back for as long as you live in your home. The loan is repaid when you die, sell your home, or when your home is no longer your primary residence. The proceeds of a reverse mortgage generally are tax-free, and many reverse mortgages have no income restrictions.

Types of Reverse Mortgages

There are three types of reverse mortgages:

  • single-purpose reverse mortgages, offered by some state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations
  • federally-insured reverse mortgages, known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) and backed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • proprietary reverse mortgages, private loans that are backed by the companies that develop them

Single-purpose reverse mortgages are the least expensive option. They are not available everywhere and can be used for only one purpose, which is specified by the government or nonprofit lender. For example, the lender might say the loan may be used only to pay for home repairs, improvements, or property taxes. Most homeowners with low or moderate income can qualify for these loans.

HECMs and proprietary reverse mortgages may be more expensive than traditional home loans, and the upfront costs can be high. That’s important to consider, especially if you plan to stay in your home for just a short time or borrow a small amount. HECM loans are widely available, have no income or medical requirements, and can be used for any purpose.

Before applying for a HECM, you must meet with a counselor from an independent government-approved housing counseling agency. Some lenders offering proprietary reverse mortgages also require counseling. The counselor is required to explain the loan’s costs and financial implications, and possible alternatives to a HECM, like government and nonprofit programs or a single-purpose or proprietary reverse mortgage. The counselor also should be able to help you compare the costs of different types of reverse mortgages and tell you how different payment options, fees, and other costs affect the total cost of the loan over time. You can visit HUD for a list of counselors or call the agency at 1-800-569-4287. Most counseling agencies charge around $125 for their services. The fee can be paid from the loan proceeds, but you cannot be turned away if you can’t afford the fee.

How much you can borrow with a HECM or proprietary reverse mortgage depends on several factors, including your age, the type of reverse mortgage you select, the appraised value of your home, and current interest rates. In general, the older you are, the more equity you have in your home, and the less you owe on it, the more money you can get.

The HECM lets you choose among several payment options. You can select:

  • a “term” option – fixed monthly cash advances for a specific time.
  • a “tenure” option – fixed monthly cash advances for as long as you live in your home.
  • a line of credit that lets you draw down the loan proceeds at any time in amounts you choose until you have used up the line of credit.
  • a combination of monthly payments and a line of credit.

You can change your payment option any time for about $20.

HECMs generally provide bigger loan advances at a lower total cost compared with proprietary loans. But if you own a higher-valued home, you may get a bigger loan advance from a proprietary reverse mortgage. So if your home has a higher appraised value and you have a small mortgage, you may qualify for more funds.

Loan Features

Reverse mortgage loan advances are not taxable, and generally don’t affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits. You retain the title to your home, and you don’t have to make monthly repayments. The loan must be repaid when the last surviving borrower dies, sells the home, or no longer lives in the home as a principal residence.

In the HECM program, a borrower can live in a nursing home or other medical facility for up to 12 consecutive months before the loan must be repaid.

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, be aware that:

  • Lenders generally charge an origination fee, a mortgage insurance premium (for federally-insured HECMs), and other closing costs for a reverse mortgage. Lenders also may charge servicing fees during the term of the mortgage. The lender sometimes sets these fees and costs, although origination fees for HECM reverse mortgages currently are dictated by law. Your upfront costs can be lowered if you borrow a smaller amount through a reverse mortgage product called a “HECM Saver.”
  • The amount you owe on a reverse mortgage grows over time. Interest is charged on the outstanding balance and added to the amount you owe each month. That means your total debt increases as the loan funds are advanced to you and interest on the loan accrues.
  • Although some reverse mortgages have fixed rates, most have variable rates that are tied to a financial index: they are likely to change with market conditions.
  • Reverse mortgages can use up all or some of the equity in your home, and leave fewer assets for you and your heirs. Most reverse mortgages have a “nonrecourse” clause, which prevents you or your estate from owing more than the value of your home when the loan becomes due and the home is sold. However, if you or your heirs want to retain ownership of the home, you usually must repay the loan in full – even if the loan balance is greater than the value of the home.
  • Because you retain title to your home, you are responsible for property taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel, maintenance, and other expenses. If you don’t pay property taxes, carry homeowner’s insurance, or maintain the condition of your home, your loan may become due and payable.
  • Interest on reverse mortgages is not deductible on income tax returns until the loan is paid off in part or whole.

Getting a Good Deal

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, shop around. Compare your options and the terms various lenders offer. Learn as much as you can about reverse mortgages before you talk to a counselor or lender. That can help inform the questions you ask that could lead to a better deal.

  • If you want to make a home repair or improvement – or you need help paying your property taxes – find out if you qualify for any low-cost single-purpose loans in your area. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) generally know about these programs. To find the nearest agency, visit www.eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116. Ask about “loan or grant programs for home repairs or improvements,” or “property tax deferral” or “property tax postponement” programs, and how to apply.
  • All HECM lenders must follow HUD rules. And while the mortgage insurance premium is the same from lender to lender, most loan costs, including the origination fee, interest rate, closing costs, and servicing fees vary among lenders.
  • If you live in a higher-valued home, you may be able to borrow more with a proprietary reverse mortgage, but the more you borrow, the higher your costs. The best way to see key differences between a HECM and a proprietary loan is to do a side-by-side comparison of costs and benefits. Many HECM counselors and lenders can give you this important information.
  • No matter what type of reverse mortgage you’re considering, understand all the conditions that could make the loan due and payable. Ask a counselor or lender to explain the Total Annual Loan Cost (TALC) rates: they show the projected annual average cost of a reverse mortgage, including all the itemized costs.

Be Wary of Sales Pitches

Some sellers may offer you goods or services, like home improvement services, and then suggest that a reverse mortgage would be an easy way to pay for them. If you decide you need what’s being offered, shop around before deciding on any particular seller. Keep in mind that the total cost of the product or service is the price the seller quotes plus the costs – and fees – tied to getting the reverse mortgage.

Some who offer reverse mortgages may pressure you to buy other financial products, like an annuity or long term care insurance. Resist that pressure. You don’t have to buy any products or services to get a reverse mortgage (except to maintain the adequate homeowners or hazard insurance that HUD and other lenders require). In fact, in some situations, it’s illegal to require you to buy other products to get a reverse mortgage.

The bottom line: If you don’t understand the cost or features of a reverse mortgage or any other product offered to you – or if there is pressure or urgency to complete the deal – walk away and take your business elsewhere. Consider seeking the advice of a family member, friend, or someone else you trust.

Your Right to Cancel

With most reverse mortgages, you have at least three business days after closing to cancel the deal for any reason, without penalty. To cancel, you must notify the lender in writing. Send your letter by certified mail, and ask for a return receipt. That will allow you to document what the lender received and when. Keep copies of your correspondence and any enclosures. After you cancel, the lender has 20 days to return any money you’ve paid up to then for the financing.

Reporting Possible Fraud

If you suspect that someone involved in the transaction may be violating the law, let the counselor, lender, or loan servicer know. Then, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, your state Attorney General’s office, or your state banking regulatory agency.

Whether a reverse mortgage is right for you is a big question. Consider all your options. You may qualify for less costly alternatives. The following organizations have more information:

Reverse Mortgage Education Project
AARP Foundation
601 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20049
1-800-209-8085

U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
451 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410
1-800-CALL-FHA (1-800-225-5342)

For an additional resource that provides a comprehensive look a Reverse Mortgages, including lender reviews, visit this web site.

Reverse Mortgage Alert
Information for seniors and their loved ones
http://reversemortgagealert.org/

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know, leave a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.

 

Harmful Home Equity Practices

This is the last of four planned posts on the subject of home equity loans.

We’re using a four part article published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their Consumer Information website. You can and should visit this site, not only to view this article but to see the other topics of information that pertain to many of us. Click here to visit.

Four part Series:

Home Equity Loans and Credit Lines – Introduction

If you’re thinking about making some home improvements or looking at ways to pay for your child’s college education, you may be thinking about tapping into your home’s equity — the difference between what your home could sell for and what you owe on the mortgage — as a way to cover the costs.

Loan or Line of Credit

Home equity financing can be set up as a loan or a line of credit. With a home equity loan, the lender advances you the total loan amount upfront, while a home equity credit line provides a source of funds that you can draw on as needed.

Shop and Compare

When considering a home equity loan or credit line, shop around and compare loan plans offered by banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Shopping can help you get a better deal.

Stay Within Your Budget

Remember that your home secures the amount that you borrow through a home equity loan or line of credit. If you don’t pay your debt, the lender may be able to force you to sell your home to satisfy the debt.

Harmful Home Equity Practices

You could lose your home and your money if you borrow from unscrupulous lenders who offer you a high-cost loan based on the equity you have in your home. Certain lenders target homeowners who are older or who have low incomes or credit problems — and then try to take advantage of them by using deceptive, unfair, or other unlawful practices. Be on the lookout for:

  • Loan Flipping: The lender encourages you to repeatedly refinance the loan and often, to borrow more money. Each time you refinance, you pay additional fees and interest points. That increases your debt.
  • Insurance Packing: The lender adds credit insurance, or other insurance products that you may not need to your loan.
  • Bait and Switch: The lender offers one set of loan terms when you apply, then pressures you to accept higher charges when you sign to complete the transaction.
  • Equity Stripping: The lender gives you a loan based on the equity in your home, not on your ability to repay. If you can’t make the payments, you could end up losing your home.
  • Non-traditional Products: The lender may offer non-traditional products when you are shopping for a home equity loan:
    • For example, lenders may offer loans in which the minimum payment doesn’t cover the principal and interest due. This causes your loan balance, and eventually your monthly payments, to increase. Many of these loans have variable interest rates, which can raise your monthly payment more if the interest rate rises.
    • Loans also may feature low monthly payments, but have a large lump-sum balloon payment at the the end of the loan term. If you can’t make the balloon payment or refinance, you face foreclosure and the loss of your home.
  • Mortgage Servicing Abuses: The lender charges you improper fees, like late fees not allowed under the mortgage contract or the law, or fees for lender-placed insurance, even though you maintained insurance on your property. The lender doesn’t provide you with accurate or complete account statements and payoff figures, which makes it almost impossible for you to determine how much you have paid or how much you owe. You may pay more than you owe.
  • The “Home Improvement” Loan: A contractor calls or knocks on your door and offers to install a new roof or remodel your kitchen at a price that sounds reasonable. You tell him you’re interested, but can’t afford it. He tells you it’s no problem — he can arrange financing through a lender he knows. You agree to the project, and the contractor begins work. At some point after the contractor begins, you are asked to sign a lot of papers. The papers may be blank or the lender may rush you to sign before you have time to read what you’ve been given. The contractor threatens to leave the work on your house unfinished if you don’t sign. You sign the papers. Only later, you realize that the papers you signed are a home equity loan. The interest rate, points and fees seem very high. To make matters worse, the work on your home isn’t done right or hasn’t been completed, and the contractor, who may have been paid by the lender, has little interest in completing the work to your satisfaction.

Some of these practices violate federal credit laws dealing with disclosures about loan terms; discrimination based on age, gender, marital status, race, or national origin; and debt collection. You also may have additional rights under state law that would allow you to bring a lawsuit.

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know, leave a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.

The Three-Day Cancellation Rule (Home Equity Loans)

This is the third of four planned posts on the subject of home equity loans.

We’re using a four part article published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their Consumer Information website. You can and should visit this site, not only to view this article but to see the other topics of information that pertain to many of us. Click here to visit.

Four part Series:

Home Equity Loans and Credit Lines – Introduction

If you’re thinking about making some home improvements or looking at ways to pay for your child’s college education, you may be thinking about tapping into your home’s equity — the difference between what your home could sell for and what you owe on the mortgage — as a way to cover the costs.

Loan or Line of Credit

Home equity financing can be set up as a loan or a line of credit. With a home equity loan, the lender advances you the total loan amount upfront, while a home equity credit line provides a source of funds that you can draw on as needed.

Shop and Compare

When considering a home equity loan or credit line, shop around and compare loan plans offered by banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Shopping can help you get a better deal.

Stay Within Your Budget

Remember that your home secures the amount that you borrow through a home equity loan or line of credit. If you don’t pay your debt, the lender may be able to force you to sell your home to satisfy the debt.

The Three-Day Cancellation Rule

Federal law gives you three days to reconsider a signed credit agreement and cancel the deal without penalty. You can cancel for any reason but only if you are using your principal residence — whether it’s a house, condominium, mobile home, or house boat — as collateral, not a vacation or second home.

Under the right to cancel, you have until midnight of the third business day to cancel the credit transaction. Day one begins after:

  • you sign the credit contract;
  • you get a Truth in Lending disclosure form containing key information about the credit contract, including the APR, finance charge, amount financed, and payment schedule; and
  • you get two copies of a Truth in Lending notice explaining your right to cancel.

For cancellation purposes, business days include Saturdays, but not Sundays or legal public holidays. For example, if the events listed above take place on a Friday, you have until midnight on the next Tuesday to cancel.

During this waiting period, activity related to the contract cannot take place. The lender may not deliver the money for the loan. If you’re dealing with a home improvement loan, the contractor may not deliver any materials or start work.

If You Decide to Cancel

If you decide to cancel, you must tell the lender in writing. You may not cancel by phone or in a face-to-face conversation with the lender. Your written notice must be mailed, filed electronically, or delivered, before midnight of the third business day.

If you cancel the contract, the security interest in your home also is cancelled, and you are not liable for any amount, including the finance charge. The lender has 20 days to return all money or property you paid as part of the transaction and to release any security interest in your home. If you received money or property from the creditor, you may keep it until the lender shows that your home is no longer being used as collateral and returns any money you have paid. Then, you must offer to return the lender’s money or property. If the lender does not claim the money or property within 20 days, you may keep it.

If you have a bona fide personal financial emergency — like damage to your home from a storm or other natural disaster — you can waive your right to cancel and eliminate the three-day period. To waive your right, you must give the lender a written statement describing the emergency and stating that you are waiving your right to cancel. The statement must be dated and signed by you and anyone else who shares ownership of the home.

The federal three day cancellation rule doesn’t apply in all situations when you are using your home for collateral. Exceptions include when:

  • you apply for a loan to buy or build your principal residence
  • you refinance your loan with the same lender who holds your loan and you don’t borrow additional funds
  • a state agency is the lender for a loan.

In these situations, you may have other cancellation rights under state or local law.

Was This Helpful?

We hope this post helpful. Let us know by leaving a comment. Tell us what topics would most help you. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading the Tri-Town Apple.