To the point week of 10-9-08

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AS OUR COUNTRY CONTINUES to reel from the effects of the financial crisis that is impacting each and everyone of us; “experts” in the financial community continue to analyze the fallout from the governmental bailout and what it all means in the future.

The problem is, as these “experts” talk about our government buying short term paper and propping up financial institutions, most of us are looking on from the sidelines and wondering one central question:

How does all of this affect me?

The answer to that question may very well be – severely.

Reports say that trillions of dollars have been lost from retirement accounts in recent months. Some college students who are going to school with the aid of federal student loans are at risk of being thrown out of college because those loan payments haven’t reached the colleges yet.

Mortgages are collapsing. In some cases businesses may not be able to make payroll.

The resulting economic crisis could mean that many more people will lose their jobs in the coming weeks and months.

Each and everyone of us needs to realize that the aftershocks of this financial crisis will be felt on the streets and roads of Switzerland County. Because we are a rural community doesn’t mean that this will pass us by, and for some, the consequences could be severe.

The good part of this? It’s that the people of Switzerland County have always been ones who have stepped up and helped their family members and neighbors and friends when things got difficult. People pitch in and do what they can to help those in less fortunate circumstances, and this financial situation may well lead to the people of this county stepping up again.

Vevay Newspapers, Inc., prides itself on being the voice of this community. We strive to bring information together with the people who need it, and as the leadership of this newspaper discussed things like a possible recession and other economic realities, a common voice came through.

It’s time to make sure that people get the help that they need.

So, with that, Vevay Newspapers is creating a new section of this newspaper. It will appear each week, and we hope that it helps people who are looking for alternative ways to keep going during these times.

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors” will be an area of the newspaper where you -members of the Switzerland County community – can offer goods and services in exchange for other goods and services that you may need.

For example: Someone looking for firewood to heat their home this winter may be willing to paint someone’s barn in exchange for the wood. Maybe someone needs to find an old car to get back and forth to work, and would be willing to trade some landscaping work for the vehicle.

We don’t know what you may have to offer or what you’re looking for, but from canned foods to home baked pies to babysitting, this new feature is designed to put someone with a skill and a need with someone else who needs that skill and has something to give in return.

Bartering has long been a useful tool of society, so why not put it to use here in Switzerland County?

Now here’s the deal: It’s free.

Yep.

You read that correctly – space in “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is free. Vevay Newspapers will not charge you to offer your services in this section.

There are few rules. You cannot offer something for sale for cash, only services exchanged. This is for individuals in the county only, businesses are not eligible, unless they are offering items in exchange for other items or services. Those offering services must include their name in the offer, and a phone number, if they have one.

Those who want to provide a listing for this section must write it down and bring it into the Vevay Newspapers office. Offers cannot be taken over the phone. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and is at 111 West Market Street, across from the back of the library. If you need more information, you can call us at 427-2311.

So why are we giving this away?

It’s simple, really. Vevay Newspapers is a part of this community, just like each of you. We live here and we shop here and we’re a part of what goes on in Switzerland County. In essence, we’re your neighbor, and if we’re going to promote that neighbors should help neighbors in difficult times, then we need to put our pages where our mouth is.

The goal here is not to make money, it’s to help people.