Category: Government (Page 1 of 2)

Checking the Air Quality Index

checking the air quality index

Our government has created a great resource for checking the Air Quality Index. AirNow was created by the EPA, NOAA, CDC and other government agencies, and is a simple information tool, without advertisements. Visit at any time for local AQI info. And feel free to scroll down for more info on forest fires, AQI webcams and more.

But even better, we now have an AirNow app. This, too, is free and shows no ads! So for the ultimate in convenience, throw this app on your Android or Apple smartphone, so you can check the AQI on the fly.

Unclaimed Money

There may be some money out there with your name on it. All you have to do is claim it. This is not a scam. Unclaimed money, aka unclaimed property or abandoned property, is regulated and managed by consumer protection laws throughout the USA.

Unclaimed money can be from a forgotten bank account, or a refund that couldn’t be mailed to you. Whatever the scenario, that money is typically sent to a state-run office for unclaimed funds, and it is held and logged in a database. If you find it and can prove who you are, they give you your money!

Official Unclaimed Money Websites

Check out the first bulleted link above. This site is run by our federal government, and they explain about how unclaimed property is managed in the USA. And then they provide links to the other bulleted websites above.

Each state has its own unclaimed-funds website, and will help you find the right office for your state. At, you can click your state on a map and the next site will help you begin your search.

But what if you’ve moved around a lot in your lifetime? You could have missing money all over the country… And has you covered, because that site will let you search the entire USA. The search results can be a bit messy, and you may have a lot more to comb through, but it’s worth it if you find some big $$$!

Not A Scam

I want to repeat that this opportunity is legitimate. I know that I often blog about scams, and I encourage all of my readers to mistrust a lot of what they encounter on the internet. But this time, I have something positive and trustworthy to share with you!

Still, be safe out there. Start with the sites I’ve linked to above. Read up on what those sites describe until you are comfortable with this topic. Don’t use Google to look for unclaimed money, because you will encounter suspicious look-alikes and impostors.

Know that if you do pursue unclaimed funds through these offices, you will have to provide significant personal info and documentation, to prove who you are. As long as you start with the links on this page, you will be dealing with real government agencies and trustworthy programs. And best of all, the process is cost-free. You won’t be asked for any fees for your searches and claims.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 988

Starting July 16, 2022, there is a new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988. This number will work across the entire USA.

If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about someone, or just need emotional support:

The old number, 1-800-273-8255, will also still connect to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Please read more about how the Lifeline can provide free and confidential support, and check out their FAQ, as well.

The Russia-Ukraine War: Avoiding Scams and How to Help

Many scammers are capitalizing on the emotions revolving around the conflict in Ukraine. Please be on the lookout for scams related to the war in Ukraine, especially fundraising scams.

If you do want to help, you have options and tools to make sure you do it safely, using legitimate organizations. Check out these articles for solid ideas and appropriate companies to work with.

For any other charities you might consider, know that you can check their reputations, using watchdog websites like:

Charity Navigator


Charity Watch

USPS Operation Santa

The USPS needs your help! Their Operation Santa program has gone national this year, and they need generous people to help them answer letters sent to Santa.

This USPS program collects and posts Santa-letters from kiddos all over the USA. When you participate in the program, you can “adopt” a letter, respond to it appropriately and send a gift (as Santa) through regular USPS mail.

If you’re interested in fulfilling a child’s holiday wish, you should check out how it all works, as well as the FAQ, for this program. They’ve got all kinds of instructions and print-outs that make this easy to do.

Text to 911

In case of an emergency, many parts of the USA support Text to 911. This technology allows you to contact 911 for help via text message (SMS).

The FCC reminds everyone that you should place a voice call to 911 whenever possible.

Much of the Shenandoah Valley((Warren County, VA has assured me they support this tech, even though they are not on the FCC list)) is covered, as shown on the FCC’s Public Safety list. Please feel free to verify other American cities and counties using that list. Or, reach out to your local police department or county offices to ask.

For more details, read up at the main FCC page for this technology.

Recycling Computers and Other Tech

Recycle your computers and other tech, please!

It’s best to recycle your computers and other technology items, when you don’t need them any more. Here are some tools and places to know about for e-recycling:

Mail-In Services

Best Buy recently launched a recycling service, where you can mail your unwanted tech to them for recycling. Unfortunately, it comes with some significant pricetags. I’m all about free, so here are some other mail-in recycling services that won’t cost you:

Amazon will recycle small items, and they will give you a free shipping label to send them in to them.

Apple will also recycle many items through the mail, also supplying you with a free shipping label.

Beyond Surplus offers free mail-in recycling, provided you have at least 2 laptops to put in the mailer-box.

Recycling Search Websites

Earth911 offers a nationwide search tool to give you ideas of who recycles technology items near you.

The Consumer Technology Association also offers a decent search tool.

Call2Recycle will help you find local places to recycle your batteries and cellphones.

Recycling Offered by Computer Manufacturers

Most computer manufacturers offer free & easy recycling options. It’s required by state and federal law. You can usually locate information about those by Googling for the manufacturer name + “recycling”. But maybe these links will save you some searching:

Other Local Options

Many national stores offer trade-in programs, where you get some amount of store credit or other value for select, working tech items. Check out:

You can also usually take unwanted tech to your local landfill, but you’ll want to be aware of any fees they might charge before you drive there. You can usually expect the highest fees for CRT monitors, since our country has a bit of a problem handling those.

One final suggestion: in my region, the non-profit organization Blue Ridge Hospice accepts most electronics at their thrift store locations. Whether your electronics are working or nonfunctional, you can donate them to BRH and they will take care of them appropriately. They even offer to destroy hard drives, to ensure your data is not used elsewhere. Check out their website or their Facebook Page for more details and reach out to them if you have questions.

If you’re in a different part of the USA, you might call your local thrift stores and other non-profits to ask if any of them offer e-recycling like Blue Ridge Hospice!



If you encounter child pornography on a computer or on the internet, please report it to the CyberTipline immediately.

Do not attempt to copy, download or email any offensive content. That can get you in trouble and could contribute to the spread of the illegal material. The best website for reporting CSAM is the CyberTipline at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

CyberTipline’s report form allows you to paste in URLs to potentially illegal websites, without incriminating yourself. You can also call 1-800-THE-LOST, if you need to speak with someone as you submit your report.

In addition: Contact your local or state police. They are a great resource and can guide you in taking the next appropriate steps.

If you are outside the USA, then there may be a different way of reporting child sexual abuse material (CSAM). You can use INHOPE to find the best agency to contact, when you are abroad.

Please, if you see something that might be child pornography, please speak up and report it. Don’t let doubt hold you back. Trust that the agency handling your report will investigate and respond appropriately. I thank you.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit

Our government is about to launch “The Emergency Broadband Benefit” to help struggling families afford internet access. On May 12, 2021, people who qualify for this program can apply to receive up to $50/mo off of their internet expenses. And eligible households may also get a $100 discount towards the purchase of a new computer!

There’s a lot to learn to this program, more than I can go over here. But here are a few links and extra details:

The basic program announcement and info is shown on this FCC website. Further info, such as who qualifies for this program, is better detailed on this page and on this FAQ.

A list of participating ISPs is now available at this site. Regardless of whether you can get an ISP benefit, the $100 device benefit is available to all eligible households.

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