Pleasant Surprise

Newspaper story 12-7-14 Culpeper Star Exponent
Newspaper story 12-7-14 Culpeper Star Exponent

Last weekend I was elected the District Governor of the Ruritan’s Rapidan District. After the installation banquet, I was given some papers by the National Director assigned to the Rapidan District. Included in the papers was a press release, with the instructions to fill in the blanks, re-type it, and send it to the local newspapers with a black and white photograph of myself.

I reworded part of the press release, to provide more information about the other people that were elected to office during the convention, (but the newspaper editor seemes to have removed that information when they edited the story) and then emailed copies of it, along with a color photograph of myself, to all of the local newspapers I could think of within the Rapidan District. (Yeah, I know, I was told to send a black and white photo, but I had a feeling that the newspaper would prefer a color photograph, so I sent that instead.)

Today a friend of mine informed me with a private message on Facebook that she saw my picture on the front page of the local section of the Culpeper Star-Exponent! I have a subscription to the Sunday paper, but I hadn’t even looked at it yet!

Surprised, I stopped what I was doing, went into the kitchen and looked for today’s paper. Someone had already removed it from the plastic wrap and put the paper on the table, with the article featuring my photograph face up, in front of the chair that I usually occupy during meals. The story and photograph took up close to most of the area referred to as “below-the-fold” on the front page of the local section! That was a very interesting feeling, to see my photograph (and the story) in the newspaper! I’m not used to that kind of feeling, a mixture of embarrassment and excitement would be the closest description I can come up with! I’m not used to this kind of attention!

The story doesn’t seem to be on their online version yet, so I used my scanner to scan the story, resize and crop it to fit the parameters of this blog. The way this blog template works, the clipping is resized automatically to a smaller size. If you click on the picture, you will be taken to another page that has a larger size of the clipping that you can read.

Scam Alert

If this had happened today, I would have thought it was from a friend, trying to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on me. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke on you, really. This is just odd timing.

Woman at computer (free clip art)
Woman at computer (free clip art)

Yesterday, I was at home, working on the computer. I had just finished all I could do on my income taxes, done a bit of blogging, and had started to work on writing a post for the Ruritan Rapidan District website that I created and maintain in my spare time.

Then the cordless cell phone beside my desk rang. The Caller ID identified the number as 215-249-6100. Not recognizing the number, and thinking it might be a “real” telephone call, I decided to answer it.

I’m not sure now if I’m glad I answered it or not. Often I let the home phone just go to voice mail to screen the calls – there are so many telemarketers “out there” that did not seem to get the message that my phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry!

Be that as it may, I answered the phone. A male with a foreign accent asked to speak to me. Well, our family has dealt with a few doctors recently with a similar foreign accent, so I still thought it might be a legitimate phone call. I replied that I was the person he was asking to speak with.

Then the adventure began. The man identified himself as a Microsoft Windows Security employee. He informed me that he was calling to tell me that his company has identified my computer as having a virus!

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)
Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

As you can imagine, my immediate reaction was to think that this phone call was an attempt by someone who has malicious intent. (And I feel very bad for the many people “out there” that are not technologically savvy enough to see right through this type of ploy, and immediately fall prey to this predatory behavior!)

So, I repeated back to this man, “you are calling me to tell me that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply was, “Yes ma’am, a very serious virus, and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.” I thought to myself “I’ll bet you are!”

My reply to him was “You can tell, from where you are, that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply again, was, “Yes ma’am. a very serious virus. and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.”

Now I’ve decided to have a bit of fun at his expense. So I asked him “Well, I’ve got eight computers here, can you tell me which ONE of those computers has a virus on it? I really need to know which ONE!”

Computer hacker (free clip art)
Computer hacker (free clip art)

Well, as you can imagine, there was a brief pause at the other end, and then the man spoke “you have eight computers there?” to which I replied “yes sir, I have eight computers here, and if one of them is infected, I really need to know which one of those eight is infected, so I can take care of it right away!”

Then the man started to stammer and sputter “ummmmm…. eight computers…. ummmmmmm…. I don’t know….. ummmm….. eight computers…….”

My tolerance for stupidity depleted, I decided to put him out of his misery. I know it’s rude to interrupt, but I interrupted him (sorry) and said “Let me make this easy for you. I don’t believe that you are a legitimate business. I think you are a spammer, scammer, hacker, identity thief that is trying to rip me off. I have all kinds of firewalls, anti-malware, anti-spamware programs on my computers,and I don’t believe that you are who you say you are. Put this phone number on your ‘Do Not Call List’ and do not ever call me again!” And then I hung up the telephone.

Then I went to Google, and typed in the phone number 215-249-6100. The search results led me to a website called callercomplaints dot com, where people can register a telephone number and complain about it. There were already several complaints logged (with details) for that phone number. I added my complaint to the list – you can read it if you want to.

Please remember – when someone calls YOU and wants information from YOU, do NOT GIVE IT OUT! It is a SCAM! Hang up the phone!

A Change of Focus

Ruritan Flag logo
Ruritan Flag logo

In August of 2012 I joined the local Ruritan Club – the Jefferson (VA) Ruritan Club. For those of you who may not have heard of the Ruritan Club, it is a large civic organization dedicated to community service. Within the organization there are several levels of hierarchy – the first level is National, the second level is District, the third level is Zone, the fourth level is the local club.

Within the District level there is a “Cabinet” that consists of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary, treasurer, growth and development chair, foundation & promotion chair, four zone governors, a fundraising chair, two past governors, and a national director. (I may have this mixed up a bit, but that seems to be what my book says….)

There are twenty-four clubs in the Rapidan District, one of them being the Jefferson VA Ruritan Club. Yesterday afternoon, at the Rapidan District convention business meeting in Charlottesville Virginia, I was elected the 2014 District Lieutenant Governor! During the installation banquet following the business meeting, I was installed by the 2004 Ruritan National President John L. Hancock, a very gracious man who took kindly to my teasing him that he was the first “Real John Hancock” I had ever met!

My term starts January 1, 2014. The term is one year. Typically the Lieutenant Governor serves for one year and then the next year becomes the Governor! I had the opportunity to meet the current Lieutenant Governor Alexander MacDonald, who was installed as the 2014 Governor during the same ceremony. Al is also a very gracious man, and I am looking forward to learning a lot from him.

I am humbled by the faith that the District has shown in me, and thrilled to be given the opportunity to visit the clubs in the District in the upcoming years. I hope to be able to assist all of the clubs in their continuing efforts to attract and maintain new members, find new ways to serve the community, and explore new possibilities in the area of fund-raising. I thank my husband Michael Urbanek for coming with me to the convention, sitting with me during the installation banquet, and for his pledge of support for my upcoming duties.

I am also very grateful for the numerous well-wishers that came forward immediately after the election, and those who came forward after the installation ceremony. Your kind words are deeply appreciated. I am looking forward to performing the duties of Lieutenant Governor to the best of my abilities. According to what I’ve read, and been told, I will be a very busy person over the next two years! Meetings, conferences, training sessions, and conventions – there is little chance I’ll be bored!

And from now on, when people call me “Linda-Lou” I won’t bother to say “that’s not my name.” At least from now until December 31, 2014, I’ll wear that name as a badge of honor! But I’ll be spelling it “Linda-Lieu” from now on!