What's Up?


Q: I wanted to report a telephone scam, but when I finally contacted the FBI office in Phoenix that handles telephone fraud, I was told I had to submit my suspicions in writing. I think that's ridiculous. Telephone rip-off artists will be long gone by the time someone writes a letter and mails it to the FBI. This discourages people from even reporting possible fraud. Isn't there some faster, easier way to alert the authorities about telephone scam artists?

A: We contacted FBI Special Agent Susan Herskovits with the Arizona Telemarketing Fraud Task Force. She was aware of the policy that all complaints were supposed to be put in writing, but agreed that the process was not user friendly.

"We used to have a 24-hour hotline but we no longer have the manpower for that," Herskovits said. "However, callers should be able to press zero and ask for the complaint officer on duty if they believe the situation is urgent or needs immediate attention."

The recording on the task force toll-free number now reflects this change.

If you suspect active telemarketing fraud, call 1-800-279-8300. You can still mail less urgent concerns to the task force office at: Arizona Telemarketing Fraud Task Force, 201 E. Indianola Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012.

Q: Why are all the sixth grade classrooms at Rim Country Middle School "cooled" with old, dilapidated coolers that don't work? All the other grades and rooms have air conditioning. The students in these rooms learn in a comfortable atmosphere, while more than 200 sixth-grade girls and boys and their teachers suffer in unbearable heat and humidity. As a parent, I find this untenable. What is the reason for this discrimination?

A: It's not true that the sixth-grade classrooms are the only ones without air conditioning, says Joe Martin, director of support operations for the Payson Unified School District.

"The eighth-grade building is the only one on campus with air conditioning," he said. "That's because it's a newer building."

Your question is one that always comes up in the latter part of the summer, particularly August and September, and as usual money is the issue.

"Because of air quality and mechanical issues, the state funded air conditioning revisions at Julia Randall, Frontier and Payson elementary schools," Martin said. "Those issues weren't identified at RCMS."

There are no plans at this point to install any more air conditioning at RCMS, or at swamp-cooled Payson High School for that matter.

It's also not true that the swampers at RCMS are dilapidated and don't work.

"They are probably 20-25 years old, and we constantly have to service them, but they do work," Martin said.

RCMS Principal Frank Larby said his maintenance people recently discovered two units with slipping belts, and that may have been the reason for the complaint. Both units have been repaired.

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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