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DEAR HELOISE: There is so much more that could be done to promote solar and wind energy. After an initial investment in equipment, solar energy could be virtually free. In fact, there are companies that are installing solar roof tiles. We, as the American public, need to get behind a grassroots movement to encourage our government to help fund research on the other types of energy sources available.

There is no way we can stay ahead of future energy problems unless we start now to invest in developing alternate energy sources. I'd rather see my tax dollars spent on energy resource development than on a war with another country. We owe it to our children to give them a world with cleaner air and water.

-- Sarah J., Erie, Pa.

DEAR READER: Thanks for the reminder. We, my husband and I, put up solar panels more than 30 years ago.

DEAR READERS: New uses for old metal cigarette cases:

• Store business cards

• Keep loose change

• Keep blotting papers for oily skin

• Store matches, stamps or Post-it notes

DEAR HELOISE: My mailbox is full everyday with charities soliciting donations. I'm on a fixed income and do not want or need the note cards, address labels, etc., that are sent. I've tried writing and requesting that they stop sending requests for money, but to no avail. Now they are sending me checks for $2.50. I send them back. Can you help me?

-- Mamie F., San Antonio

DEAR READER: The Better Business Bureau recommends the following: First, discard all this junk mail. Write or call the charity in question and tell them to remove your name from their mailing list.

If you get anymore appeals for funds, write "Return to Sender" on the envelope in big letters and put that in a mailbox. If you are sent a check, do not sign it. Tear them up and throw them away. Some of the persistent "charities" are scams.

DEAR HELOISE: I always had trouble remembering which cholesterol was good or bad. A nurse at the hospital told me they call them healthy (HDL) and lousy (LDL).

-- Alda S., Omaha, Neb.

DEAR READERS: Did you know that if you rent an apartment, the management team is responsible for maintaining the lawn. If you rent a house, you may have to maintain the lawn and yard. Make sure you understand what you are responsible for per your lease before you sign it.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

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