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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

SD nonprofit tries to keep poverty from stalling car engines

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Thursday, January 25, 2024   

Winter time in South Dakota can sometimes result in car engines not starting. For people with no money for repairs, there are options in some cities, including a nonprofit blending low-cost repairs with engine maintenance smarts.

In Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the SHIFT Garage accepts applications from low-income people in need of a standard repair. If they qualify, they only have to cover the cost of the parts, which are not marked up. The labor is free, provided by experienced volunteers who replace the battery or install new brakes.

Chris Erickson, who directs the Rapid City location, said they want people to avoid a vicious cycle such situations can create.

"Nowadays, to do brakes, it's like 600 bucks," Erickson pointed out. "And if you have a vehicle that is your only way of getting yourself back and forth to work and that goes out and you get this thousand-dollar repair bill for something that you can't afford, not only can you not fix your vehicle -- but now you can't get to work to make money to fix your vehicle."

He explained keeping the repair bill drastically lower could prevent someone from seeking help through a predatory lender. Similar nonprofits can be found in other states, and if you live in a community without one, church offices sometimes provide emergency funds for car repairs. Poverty-fighting organizations, such as community action agencies, might also offer guidance.

SHIFT Garage also asks clients to pay a $50 fee, but it can be waived if they take a vehicle maintenance class at the shop or a financial literacy course elsewhere in the community. Erickson emphasized sharpening your DIY skills will likely keep your engine running longer.

"We see a lot of times where a minor repair goes unresolved and becomes a major repair," Erickson added.

He stressed the courses also provide opportunities for families to pass along tips to their children, so they avoid similar hardships in the future.

SHIFT Garage mostly works on cars around 20 years old as electric vehicles remain out of reach for most low-income households. Erickson said they will try to evolve with the technology as more hybrid and used EV models make their way around the secondary market.


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