Consumer Reports: 90 percent increase in auto insurance for teens

Updated: 10/08/2015 3:51 PM
Created: 10/08/2015 8:00 PM

Consumer Reports found out how much it costs the average family to add a 16-year-old to their policy.

Depending on where you live and the insurance company, most families saw a 90 percent increase in insurance costs. Experts suggest shop around for auto insurance, and to also check and see if your teen qualifies for a good student discount.

College football’s Week 7 winners and losers

Quietly undefeated through the first five games of 2015, Memphis made a statement Saturday.

Quite a loud one, actually.

The No. 22 Tigers fell behind quickly 14-0 but stormed back to beat No. 12 Mississippi 37-24. The Rebels remain alive in the SEC West, but their hopes of a storybook season and a berth in the College Football Playoff — all very real after an upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 19 — are dashed.

Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, on the other hand, might have made himself some money Saturday. Lynch completed 39 of 53 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the fifth consecutive game in which the 6-7, 245-pound redshirt junior has thrown for more than 300 yards.

Got the Drive to Make Extra Money? Rent Your Car to Strangers

And cars are just a start. You could earn cash by renting out everything from your bathroom to your boat.

Waitress’s tip mints her son a career as rare coin dealer

Most children want toys or a new bike for Christmas or their birthdays, but Steven Feltner had visions of vintage coins dancing in his head. Maybe his mom and dad would get him an 1898 Morgan silver dollar or a 1914 Barber half-dollar if he was a very good boy.

Knowing this history, it comes as less of a surprise when you find the fresh-faced Steven Feltner, now 29, manning the counter at the rare coin store he opened in July with his business partner, 61-year-old Glenn Holsonbake.

Americana Rare Coin, based at 8887 Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento, deals mostly in vintage and ancient specie, but you’ll also find guidebooks and some newly minted proof sets. Feltner’s mother inspired his interest in coins, and he’s living proof that parents can have a profound impact on the careers their children choose.

“My mom was a waitress at a place called Ruby’s Inn down in Bryce Canyon National Park down in southern Utah,” said Feltner, the minority partner in Americana Rare Coin. “One day, she was at home counting her tips after a shift, and she was looking through all the change and stuff, and she saw a 1920 dime that was made in Denver.”

Minted from 1916-45, the so-called Mercury dime takes its name from the image of Lady Liberty stamped onto the coin, Feltner said. In this representation, Liberty wears a cap with a wing going across it, making her look like the Roman god Mercury.

Feltner had never seen anything like it before, he said, and he asked his mother whether he could take it to show-and-tell at his grade school in Tropic, Utah. After he presented it to the class, his teacher told him that the coin was made of real silver, Feltner said, and he was certain that his family had struck it rich.

He later learned that, at the time, the dime was probably worth 50 or 60 cents. Feltner did much of his research on his own. At age 9, he found a copy of “The Official Red Book,” considered the bible on US coins, in the bookmobile library that came through his hometown once a month. He was the first one to check it out, he said, and after his parents tucked him in, he grabbed his flashlight and the book, pulled the covers over his head, switched on the light and gorged on the history and symbolism of US coins.

“I was the very first person to check that book out,” Feltner recalled. “Nobody had ever checked it out before me. … My parents would walk in and say, ‘Steve, you need to go to bed.'”

He began to use his allowance and any money he earned from odd jobs to buy coins that fascinated him. Because the closest coin dealer was hours away, he said, he would often call shops on the telephone, explain what he wanted, tell them his budget and discuss what he could afford. He would then give the money to his father, who would write a check and mail it to the dealer. Feltner would wait excitedly for every delivery.

In high school, at age 15, he took a life-skills class, he said, and the final project required students to job-shadow someone. By then, Feltner’s family was living in Panguitch, Utah, and he had joined a coin collectors club.

Bob Campbell, the owner of All About Coins in Salt Lake City, was also a member, and Feltner hung back after the club meeting was over to ask Campbell if he could shadow him. He was thrilled, he said, when Campbell agreed. His mother drove him into Salt Lake City on a Saturday for his big day.

“We opened up the shop,” Feltner recalled, “and the very first thing he has me do – no lie – is clean the bathroom. … I think he was seeing what type of person I was, if I was a complainer or whatnot.”

He also had Feltner clear the bookshelves, make a bank run to deposit $10,000-$15,000 and then serve some customers. Feltner ended up selling a number of coins, he said, and at the end of the day, Campbell called him into his office and said, “Steve, I’ve never hired anyone under 21, but do you want a job?”

Feltner’s response: “Well, yeah, but I’ll have to ask my mom.”

His parents, Tim and Kris Feltner, heartily approved the idea. There was a time, Feltner said, when he was in middle school and buying coins for $50 or so when he felt his mother had grave misgivings about his hobby, but after she saw that her son knew how to turn a profit on the purchases he made, she worried less. Around the time he got the job in Campbell’s store, his father pulled him aside and told him that since he loved coins so much, he should just immerse himself in numismatics.

By the time Feltner was 18, coin dealers felt comfortable sending him to shows to buy for them, giving him thousands of dollars in cash and blank checks. He went to college but eventually left without a degree, taking a position instead at the venerable Professional Coin Grading Service in Irvine.

Feltner, who moved to Sacramento for the chance to open his own coin shop, worked at PCGS for three years before going out on his own. Collectors would give him their prized sets and tell him how much they wanted for them. If he sold the coins for more than their asking price, he kept the difference as his commission. Feltner also was buying and selling coins on his own, sometimes earning a profit by buying an undervalued coin from one dealer at a show and selling it to another one who better understood its worth.

Holsonbake, who worked as a banker in Sacramento for much of his life, has sold coins on eBay and via various websites as a sideline. Even now, Feltner said, as much as 75 percent of Americana’s sales are made online. The business already has a positive cash flow, he added, but the two partners are plowing much of the profit back into inventory.

The two men also share their love of coins with young people, teaching annually at the summer seminar run by the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs, Colo.

XU renames college to reflect times

Xavier University trustees have approved a new name for the College of Social Sciences, Health and Education.

The college – which includes undergraduate and graduate programs in fields that include education, nursing, psychology, human resource development, criminal justice, social work and sports administration – is now called the College of Professional Sciences.

The name change is reflective of the changing face of work in todays economy. The College of Professional Sciences prepares students for careers in service professions, with a key focus on population health.

By focusing on the health of an entire population, proponents of population health embrace a holistic perspective of the people who make up society, consistent with the Jesuit value of care for the person, Paul Gore, the schools dean, said in a news release. There are opportunities to promote population health in education, law enforcement and corrections, social services, mental and physical health and this is the focus of the quality education we provide.

A recent example is the master of science degree in health economics and clinical outcomes research that began this fall. This 40-credit-hour program is designed to train analysts to conduct clinical and economic evaluations that support improved health decisions. It was created in partnership with Blue Ash-based Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, a multinational, clinical research firm.

All of us in the college are placing an even higher emphasis on community engagement as a way to enhance student job placement locally and also to respond directly to the needs of the community, as exemplified by the new masters program, said Gore.

Gore is in his first semester as dean.

Prior to joining Xavier in July, he was a professor of educational psychology and director of institutional analysis at the University of Utah.

Two of his degrees are from Jesuit universities: a PhD from Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor of science from St. Louis University.

The background, experience and passion for Jesuit education that Paul brings make him a strong fit for Xavier, Scott Chadwick, Xaviers provost and chief academic officer, said in the release. Through his leadership I am confident that our faculty will partner with corporations and non-profit organizations to create exceptional academic programs, providing our students the best in Jesuit education and a competitive advantage in the job market.

Rural schools get linked up for college courses

Its nice, according to Fourth District US Rep. Tom Cole, to know that for once the federal government has spent nearly a half a million dollars on something worthwhile.

That something worthwhile is right here in Southwest Oklahoma thanks to a partnership among Great Plains Technology Center, Cameron University and Western Oklahoma State College, and over a dozen rural schools.

During a trip to Lawton last week, Cole visited Great Plains to experience a demonstration of the newly installed GPNet distance learning system. Kevin Chambers, the tech centers director of information technology, initiated a conference call using a touchscreen panel on the wall, and within minutes the auditorium of the Worley Seminar Cetner was transformed into a digital classroom.

Distance learning professionals at Cameron, teachers at Elgin High School and a Great Plains Technology instructor at the Frederick campus were all broadcast on a large screen behind the podium, showing each participant the happenings at the other locations. Everyone could see and hear each another with exceptional clarity, asking questions and discussing the potential for the system that has the potential to impact the lives of over 20,000 students, teachers and residents in the area.

Great Plains was awarded nearly a half a million dollars this year in federal funds as part of a US Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Services Grant, which provides telemedicine equipment to rural schools and organizations. With those funds, Chambers and multimedia specialist Jeff Bridges implemented the live curriculum-sharing network and distributed screens and camera equipment to Southwest Oklahoma schools, including tech center campuses in Lawton and Frederick, and public schools in Big Pasture, Cache, Chattanooga, Davidson, Elgin, Fletcher, Frederick, Geronimo, Grandfield, Indiahoma, Snyder, Sterling and Tipton.

Within the past few weeks, all the technology has been distributed and the systems are coming online.

So how does it work?

Any school on the network, like Cameron University, Great Plains, or Western Oklahoma State College, can host a class at its respective campus. Students at the high schools can watch the classroom and hear the teachers live lecture, while the instructor can see and hear the remote students live as well.

The video conferencing equipment at most of the sites is attached to mobile carts, allowing students at the schools to phone in to the class from libraries, gymnasiums or empty classrooms.

Chambers said the tech center will help maintain and facilitate the network, but each site is virtually free to use it as it pleases.

According to Cameron and Great Plains Superintendent Tom Thomas, the colleges and tech center are first offering general education classes that require few pre-requisites for network enrollment. As they learn more about scheduling and student needs, additional courses will be offered.

Previously, concurrent enrollment was an option for students at rural schools, but students were limited to taking online-only courses. Now Cameron can transform more classes into televised courses, expanding students options.

Thomas said Great Plains will offer curriculum for students preparing to enter the health and engineering fields in addition to offering distance training for EMTs, volunteer firefighters and community residents during emergencies.

Certainly, whats good for our partner schools is good for us, Thomas said. The more we can do to ensure our students are college and career ready, the better off we are.

The partners are looking at schedules in order to determine the ideal times to offer courses, but some are already seeing the benefits of the system. Three students at Snyder High School, which received its equipment in August, are already attending classes at Western Oklahoma State College through the distance learning program, Chambers said, meaning students are obtaining college credits, saving thousands in college tuition without having to commute to Altus or Lawton each day.

The primary benefit is that students living too far from the college and career tech campuses can still participate in concurrent enrollment, earning credits prior to graduation, but there are several other applications for GPNet. Lessons can be archived and stored for viewing later; teachers can use the technology for professional development, sharing lesson plans and developing integrated units; and the system can eventually be accessed by mobile users and instructors to facilitate parent-teacher conferences or other meetings.

Checking In with CampusWise

Jason Kazi
Advertising Manager

CampusWise has become a one-stop for ODU students looking to rent or sell their textbooks. Just over a year ago, juniors Max Hall and Austin Jones took over the concept from original $15,000 Hatch entrepreneurial grant winners and creators Franck Tchouambou, Daniel Calabro and John Polizo. We chatted with Max Hall to learn how much they have grown in the past year and what’s on the horizon for the small student-run company.

JK: What’s new with CampusWise? Where have you expanded? Where are you planning to expand?

MH: A lot has changed since our last time being interviewed by the Mace amp; Crown. We have successfully, at ODU, helped students save over $3,400 in our first semester last spring. Thanks to the incredible feedback from students, and the community, we decided to bring CampusWise to more students by launching at over 15 schools including James Madison University, George Mason University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Christopher Newport University, Virginia Commonwealth University, West Virginia University and many other campuses.

This semester, we reached over 1,000 students who signed up for CampusWise and were able to help more students save money on their books at ODU. Students at all of the participating schools were really excited to learn that there was a new option for buying and selling books at their school. We definitely will continue to expand the site to more schools for the spring 2016 semester, and we are also focusing on growing the site’s number of users at the schools where we already have a presence.

JK: How satisfied have you been with the level of support from the university and campus area businesses?

MH: Weve been really appreciative for the amazing support from the community. Many of the local businesses, such as Borjo Coffehouse, The Dirty Buffalo and Doumars have taken part in our CampusCoupon program, which allows them to offer coupons to students buying and selling books on CampusWise. Weve also had amazing support from the Strome Entrepreneurial Center at ODU and many other departments.

JK: As you expand to other schools, have you found some markets that have competing businesses?

MH: There are always competing businesses, like campus bookstores and online websites, but so far we havent yet come across another company that is able to offer the same ability for students to buy and sell with each other. So far, that has been one of the biggest aspects students love about the site and we feel it continues to keep us competitive. No middle man shipping. Just better prices for all students.

JK: What’s your favorite part of being involved? Has the team grown? How big is the team currently?

MH: It’s been such an amazing experience and we’ve learned so much. Austin and I are still the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer respectively, but we’ve brought on ‘CampusReps’ at a number of universities both in Virginia and along the East Coast. Here at ODU, we have a great new CampusRep, Austin Rankin, who is a freshman this semester and has already helped us continue to grow this semester. We’re really glad to have him on the team.

JK: there a CW mobile app? Do you see the need / will there ever be one?

MH: Were really excited about the future CW mobile app, which is currently still in development, but it will have many features and aspects that will increase the usability of CampusWise for students. It really will make the whole experience faster, more automated and will add to the many reasons why students should use CampusWise.

JK: What are some of the biggest issues youve come up with so far?

MH: Some of the biggest limitations weve faced are things like the lack of access to email lists and huge marketing budgets to help get the word out. Its also still just Austin doing all of the information technology and development side and myself doing the business and growth side, Still being students, it can be really hard to balance it all and achieve as much progress as we would like.

JK: How many CW employees are there now?

MH: At this point we have over 16 reps at the various campuses where weve launched. Austin and I are still the only “employees” working on the development of the website and the growth of the company, along with everyday business operations.

JK: Any chances to take the company to other parts of the country / overseas?

MH: Our goal is to have CampusWise at schools in every state over the next few years. We havent thought too much about overseas yet because it really is a different market. Once weve spread all over the country, overseas may be an option.

JK: Do people try to talk to you, just because they know you through CampusWise? By that, I mean are you a campus celebrity?

MH: It’s great because unlike this time last year, people actually know who we are and what CampusWise is. Thanks to all of the news and media coverage, as well as our efforts on social media, many people know who we are and will stop and talk to us, or reach out to us through the website. We love hearing from students about how much they saved and also we’ve been extremely pleased with the number of people who have reached out looking to learn more about the company.

JK: How do you plan on keeping CampusWise going once you graduate? When do you graduate?

MH: One of the things that we definitely considered when we reviewed applicants for the CampusRep position at other campuses was graduation year. Being juniors, we realize that we have a limited time left in college and want to make sure that we have reps at all of the schools who are younger than us and will have a year or two to continue to grow the website at their school, even after we are no longer in college. Well also be looking to them to help us find other reps to take over once they graduate as well.

JK: Where do you see CW in the next year? Five years? Ten years?

MH: Over the next year, we are really focusing on continuing to expand CampusWise at our current schools as well as expanding to more and more campuses. Within five years, we see CampusWise as being the number one way students buy and sell their used books, right alongside Chegg and Amazon. Over the coming years, we aim to use our established infrastructure to improve other aspects of college life and find other ways to save students money.

JK: Tell us more about other companies that you have collaborated with such as Dorm Room Decor and GradWYSE.

MH: Dorm Room Decor is a company founded by an ODU student, which makes hand-crafted dorm decorations. We were really impressed with the marketing she was putting out and the quality of her products, so we were thrilled when she reached out and wanted to become a CampusBiz and sell her items on the site.

GradWYSE is an exciting company founded by an ODU student, which allows students to rent and buy their caps and gowns for graduation for much less than anywhere else. We met them through the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, where they were also going to get mentorship, and it just seems liked the perfect idea, and really went along well with our mission at CampusWise. We are thrilled to help them grow their company at ODU and bring forth another way for students to save money.

Keep up with all things CampusWise on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat @CampusWise!

Tax break for builders of cheap homes

Oil Patch Investors Bracing For ‘Fairly Awful’ Q3 Earnings

Martin Pelletier, portfolio manager at TriVest Wealth Counsel, agrees its going to be ugly — but no one should be surprised by the results.

I wouldnt use the word disappointing because a lot of analysts are already expecting the worst, he said.

Oilsands giant Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) posts its earnings Wednesday night and its reluctant takeover target, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) reports on Thursday, along with crude producer Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE). Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) and Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) release their third-quarter results on Friday.

Oil and gas heavyweight Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ), along with pipeline builders TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) and Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) are slated for the following week.

The focus for investors will be less on the results themselves than on how the companies plan to cope.

Pelletier said hell be watching out for announcements that firms are looking at strategic alternatives — another way to say theyre waving the white flag.

In a strategic alternatives process, companies hire outside advisers to help them weigh their options. That could include divesting assets as a means to pay down debt or putting a for sale sign on the whole company, among other things.

Suncors hostile $4.3-billion bid for Canadian Oil Sands, launched earlier this month, is likely an anomaly, said Aston Hills Kim. Deals in the tight-knit oilpatch tend to be friendly.

When executives discuss their strategy on quarterly conference calls in the coming weeks, Kim said hes expecting talk to centre on buying and selling individual properties rather than outright takeovers.

You have to have a really, really good balance sheet for you to want to buy another company, he said. You have to have a view that oil prices are higher six to 12 months down the road at least.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has estimated 36,000 jobs have been lost in Canadas oil and gas industry this year, mostly in Alberta.

When they announce their earnings, firms may also hint at what their spending plans may look like in 2016.

Samir Kayande, head of energy research at ITG Investment Research, said hes expecting spending to be bare bones next year, much like 2015.

Any deferrals of new projects resulting from the crude downturn likely would have taken place by now.

The question is how much deeper firms can cut costs at the operations they have up and running.

Companies are like people, said Kayande. You dont really find out what theyre capable of until you put them under tremendous pressure.

Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter.

Comic Book Men Season 5 Episodes 3 & 4

Comic Book Men made its Season 5 debut last Sunday with back-to-back episodes and that trend will continue tonight when AMC airs 2 more back-to-back episodes.

Episode 3, Captain and the Clerk, kicks off the evening with Kevin Smith interviewing William Shatner about comics and other interests he has outside of acting. Episode 4, Bryan Gets Bit, has the guys helping Bryan take a dip into the icy waters of collecting by visiting a Jaws museum and a roll of super-powered toilet paper comes through.

Check out a clip from Shatners appearance in the video below.

Comic Book Men dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Smiths New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bobs Secret Stash. Leading the crew behind the Secret Stash counter are Walt, Mike, Brian and Ming, who geek out over mind-blowing pop culture artifacts and the legends behind them. Whether its about buying and selling memorabilia or embarking on wild adventures away from the store, the men of The Stash share all the juicy details with Kevin through their hilarious podcast, which is woven throughout the series.

Two new episodes of Comic Book Men will air back-to-back tonight, starting at midnight/11c on AMC. Available next day on VOD, and the AMC app on iOS, Android and Windows.