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Thursday, January 25, 2001

Youth group plans first meeting

The first meeting of the Community Youth Connection, an all denomination sponsored youth social, will be held from 7-9 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 27.

This time the social will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 3rd and Elm Streets and all youth are invited to attend.

Live music will be provided by "Manifold" and free pizza will be served.

Aguilar ends basic training

Marine Corps Pvt. Eric A. Aguilar, son of Emma L. and Richard L. Aguilar, of Pecos, recently completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.

Aguilar successfully completed 12 weeks of training designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.

Aguilar and fellow recruits began their training at 5 a.m., by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Aguilar spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit using field training.

Aguilar and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values _ honor, courage and commitment, and what the words mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.

Aguilar and fellow recruits ended the training phase with The Crucible, a 54-hour team effort, problem solving evolution which culminated with an emotional ceremony in which the recruits were presented the Marine Corps Emblem, and were addressed as "Marines" for the first time since boot camp began.

Aguilar is a 1998 graduate of Pecos High School of Pecos.

Repairing credit can be achieved

Building a good credit history is important because many decisions about you are made on your ability to maintain a good track record with your creditors. That initial step is sometimes difficult for young people who are trying to get their first jobs and for older adults who have never used credit.

The same can be said for people who want to restore their credit rating. With a little work, you too can gradually erase the past and rebuild your credit worthiness, according to Marie Cardenas, family and consumer science agent with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in Reeves-Loving Counties.

"First of all, avoid the credit repair clinics. Most of them charge for their services and make a lot of promises that they may or may not be able to keep. They offer to help you by using "loopholes" in the law that only they know about. For example, they may promise to remove negative information from your credit report or promise you a major credit card _ all for one small fee. And, those are not factors in their control," she noted.

In fact, these companies may encourage you to take illegal actions that can get you into even more trouble.

"So, don't let anyone persuade you to distort the information in your credit file or help you initiate a new file with a new address and social security number. These are not the steps to take to improve your net worth or restore your credit history."

You can take the necessary steps to rebuild your credit without paying someone else's expensive fees. It will take time and effort on your part, but it is not an impossible task.

The following are some tips to help:

1. Do a reality check. Add together everything that you owe and compare it with your current level of income. It may be painful to realize that your debt is much more than your income, but that's the first step to determine where you stand.

2. Stop using your credit cards. Remember, your goal is to get out of debt _ not to accumulate more. While you may not want to close your accounts immediately, you can lock away your credit cards to keep them safely out of sight.

3. Send for a copy of your credit report and carefully review it for any errors. You can take the necessary steps to correct the errors or send a letter to the credit bureau explaning the reason for the credit problems.

4. Pay your bills on time. Even if you only make minimum payments, you need to pay them by the due date. The amount you pay isn't as important as being on time. Making regular, timely payments is the most important sign that you are serious about repairing your credit history.

5. Devise a plan of action to get help if you cannot make all of your monthly payments on time. This may include getting a second job for additional income or seeking assistance from a credit counseling agency. You may also be able to negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates, minimum payments or other options if you are having problems repaying your debt. Once you devise a plan, it is important to stay with it and not create more credit problems.

6. Cut your expenses. Examine your monthly spending habits and find ways to trim expenses, such as buying less expensive brands of food or driving a less expensive vehicle. Any reductions in your expenses will add to the money available to reduce your debt.

While none of these solutions are pleasant, it is to your benefit to take every step possible to repair your credit history rather than simply filing bankruptcy. Having a good credit report is an important step in building financial stability for you and your family.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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