Question: I rent an apartment. The landlord doesn’t provide rent receipts, and my checking account doesn’t provide cancelled checks. How can I get receipts for my rent without incurring the owner’s wrath?
Answer: I wish I had a good answer for you. What did your landlord say when you asked her/him for a receipt? The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board informs me that there is no such requirement, which is pretty amazing. (Of course, BRSB’s domain does not encompass rent-subsidized Section 8 project-based senior/disabled housing.) Wells Fargo provides automated information by phone as to the date on which a given numbered check (e.g., your rent) “cleared,” which at least relieves you of concern that it was not received and cashed.
I suggest you go to the public library on a Lawyer in the Library night. A brief consultation is free but you need to get there early and to sign up well in advance. Consult Mark Your Calendar at the end of this column for some of the dates and locations. The Berkeley and Oakland Public Library systems regularly offer this service at several branches.
Question: Is it possible to get a checking account without paying a monthly service fee to the bank?
Answer: In today’s world, it is important to have a checking account. Some banks do not charge a senior citizen for a non interest-bearing checking account if s/he doesn’t write zillions of checks and has authorized a regular direct deposit, which is relatively easy because many senior citizens receive Social Security or SSI, and or pension checks. These non interest-bearing accounts do not usually generate cancelled checks, although they provide monthly statements of activity and ATM access.
A Basic Checking Accountis normally for people who write few checks each month and would like an ATM or debit card. Some banks may associate fees with this type of account, e.g. a maintenance fee, which is a monthly fee, charged to your account if your balance falls below the required amount, or you may be charged a fee if you write more checks than the number allowed monthly. You may be able to avoid fees being charged to your account if you use direct deposit for your paychecks. Before opening any account, be sure to ask about any and all fees that are associated with it. Sit down and talk with a “banker.”
Many banks offer Student Checking Accounts and Senior Citizen Checking Accounts geared towards the particular needs of students and senior citizens. They are similar to Basic Checking Accounts, but may offer discounts on certain things. For instance, a Student Checking Account may offer free ATM usage or discounts to venues that appeal to students, while Senior Citizen Checking Accounts may offer discounts on prescriptions or discounted travelers checks.
An Interest-Bearing Checking Account is designed to pay you a small percentage of interest on your account regularly if you meet certain qualifications. One of the most common requirements is maintaining a certain balance. It is important to know how your bank calculates this minimum balance. Some banks require you to have the minimum balance in your account every day of the month while others require the average of your monthly balance to be higher than the minimum balance. You should know this information so that you’ll know when, where and how you would be charged a fee.
Question: There’s a bed bug rumor going round.
Answer: Is that a question? Alas, bed bugs and rumors are quite possible anywhere. If you too are a Doc Martin PBS TV fan, you may recall the episode in which the first thing he did after arriving in a Truro, England hotel room was a hands-on examination of the bedding for… I think his companion, also a physician, referred to… “little creatures.”
There are some individuals who are allergic to the bite of bed bugs and may experience anaphylaxis, which is a highly allergic reaction that can lead to anaphylactic shock, much like a bee sting might in certain individuals. Blisters and skin-rashes (skin eruption) that may itch are typical.
Bed bugs (cimicidae) are small, bloodsucking insects that have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. The term usually refers to the species that prefers to feed on human blood or, if they can’t get that, warm-blooded animals. In the developed world, bed bugs were largely eradicated in the early 1940s, but have increased since about 1995. This resurgence is attributed to greater foreign travel, more frequent exchange of second-hand furnishings, greater focus on control of other pests, and increased resistance to pesticides. Bed bugs are resistant to DDT.
The name is derived from their preferred habitat-- houses, beds, areas where people sleep, although bed bugs are not strictly nocturnal. Attracted by carbon dioxide, warmth, and certain chemicals, they are capable of feeding, unnoticed, on hosts for five+ minutes. Dwellings can become infested with bed bugs in several ways: bugs and eggs on pets, clothing and luggage; infested items such as furniture or clothing; nearby dwellings or such infested parts of buildings as duct work and false ceilings; wild animals (bats, birds); and transfer from clothing or bodies of visiting persons. Signs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and molts. Eradication requires perseverance and a combination of pesticides and mechanical approaches-- vacuuming, wrapping mattresses, heat treatment. A costly “Allergy bed bug mattress protector with micro zipper technology for secure encasement, antibacterial and hypoallergenic” is on the market.
Are bed bugs infectious? The City of Berkeley Vector Control defines: “Avector is a carrier of an infectious agent that is capable of transmitting infection from one host to another. Vectors include arthropods, such as mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, as well as vertebrates like rats, skunks, and raccoons.” The City’s Environmental Health Division informs me that “bed bug infestation is considered a vector control issue.”
MARK YOUR CALENDAR : July, August, September. Be sure to confirm.
Readers are welcome to share by email news of forthcoming events that may interest boomers and seniors. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 27 1:30 – 2:30 Alameda County Library, Albany branch, 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. (510) 526-3720 x 16.
Wednesday, July 27 1 P.M. Gray Panthers of Berkeley. Meets at North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst. (510) 548-9696.
Thursday, July 28 6-7:50 PM. Berkeley Public Library, West branch. 1125 University Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Sign-ups start at 5 pm, in person only. Names put in random order at 6 P.M. (510) 981-6270.
Saturday, July 30 10 A.M. – 4 P.M. Outdoor Only 50 Cent Sale. Friends of the Albany Library. email@example.com or (510) 526-3720 x 26.
Wednesdays, beginning in August, 10:30-12 Noon. Parkinson’s Yoga & The Art of Moving. Jewish Community Center East Bay – Oakland Branch, 5811 Racine St. (58th & ATelegraph). $120./month. (925) 566-4181.
Monday, August 1 7 P.M. “Castoffs” Knitting Group. Kensington Library. 61 Arlington Ave. An evening of knitting, show and tell and yarn exchange. All levels are welcome; some help will be provided. Free (51)524-3043.
Monday, August 1 2 P.M. “Magic From Around the World With Magician Phil Ackerly”. Central Berkeley Public Library, Kittredge @ Shattuck.
Wednesday, August 3 6-8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Wednesday, August 3 10 A.M. – Noon North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council meeting. Public invited. Call to confirm (510) 981-5190. (Note: City Council July 19, 2011 Consent Calendar agenda item #10 re Berkeley senior centers’ advisory councils.)
Thursday, August 4 1:30 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. Emergency Preparedness. Albany branch of Alameda County Library. Speaker Colleen Campbell, Senior Injury Prevention Coordinator. Free program for older adults, caregivers and service providers. No reservations required. (510) 526-3720 x 7.
Saturday, August 6 11 A.M. – Noon End of Life Planning Workshop. Berkeley Public Library, West branch, 1125 University Av. Learn basics of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advanced healthcare directives. (510) 9891-6270.
Wednesday, August 7 6-8 P.M. Lawyer in the Library. Albany branch of the Alameda County Library. Advance registration required.Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 x 5. Free.
Monday, August 8 7 P.M. Musical performance by The Hot Fritatas. Kensington Library. Event sponsored by the Contra Costa County Library Summer Reading Festival. Free. (510) 524-3043.
Wednesday, August 10 10 A.M.-2 P.M. 10th Annual Healthy Aging Fair Festival. Chabot College, 255555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward. Free lunch. Raffle prizes. Entertainment. Free shuttlefrom South Hayward BART. (510) 577-3532, 3540. Sign up at your senior center for free bus service. In Berkeley, contact Deborah Jordan (510) 981-5170 for information.
Thursday, August 11 6-7:45 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, South branch. 1901 Russell St. Lawyer in the Library. Free legal advice and help with questions.
In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6 P.M.
Saturdays, August 13 & 14 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Live Oak Park Live Oak Community Center in Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA. ASL interpreter on site on August 14. Outdoors. Free. (510) 227-7110. AC bus #18 stops nearby.
Wednesday, August 17 1:30 P.M. BerkeleyCommission on Aging. South Berkeley Senior Center. Call to confirm (510) 981-5178.
Saturday, August 20 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. Also Sept. 17.
Tuesday, August 23 3-4 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, Central. Tea and Cookies. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. (510)981-6100.
Tuesday, August 23 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group meets the 4th Tuesday of each month: “The Glass Room.” Feel free to come to one or all discussions. (510) 526-7512.
Wednesday, August 24 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. Great Books Discussion Group. Eliot's The Hollow Men and The Waste Land. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 526-3720 x 16.
Monday, August 29 7 P.M. Book Club:Dubliners by James Joyce. Kensington Lirary, 61 Arlington Ave., Kensington, CA. Joyce declared Dubliners to be a chapter in the moral history of Ireland. This is a collection of 15 tales that offers vivid, tightly focused observations of the lives of Dublin's poorer classes. Free. (510) 524-3043.
Wednesday, Sept. 7. 6-8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call (510) 526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 Noon. UC,B Music Dept. Hertz Hall. Noon Concert Series
will resume with Joe Neeman, violin and Miles Graber, piano, performing works by Bartok and Sarasate.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 10 A.M.-Noon North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council meeting. Public invited. (510) 981-5190. (Note: City Council July 19, 2011 agenda item #10 on Consent Calendar re Berkeley senior centers’ advisory councils.)
Thursday, Sept. 8 6-7:45 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, South branch. 1901 Russell St. Lawyer in the Library. Free legal advice and help with questions. In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6 P.M.
Saturday, Sept. 13 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. 34th Annual Health Fair. Allen Temple Baptist Church, 8501 International Blvd., Oakland. Free health screenings. (510)544-8910.
Friday, Sept. 16 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. 14th Annual Senior Resource Fair. Presented by San Leandro Senior Services. San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14 St. (510) 577-3462.
Saturday, Sept. 17 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Saturdays, Sept. 17 & 18 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Willard Park, Berkeley, CA. Outdoors. Free.
Wednesday, Sept. 21 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging meets in a senior center, probably North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, cor MLK. #25 AC bus stops at the NBSC. Phone to confirm location (510) 981-5190.
Tuesday, Sept 27 3 P.M. Tea & Cookies Book Club. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group. Feel free to come to one or all discussions. Let the Great World Spin. (510) 526-7512.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. Great Books Discussion Group. Morrison's Song of Solomon. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! (510) 526-3720 x 16.