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Q. What bands will be playing at the Irish Fest this year?

A. Here's the lineup, according to the festival website: Gaelic Storm, the Elders, the High Kings, the Screaming Orphans, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones, the Dublin City Ramblers, Socks in the Frying Pan, JigJam, the Gothard Sisters, Seo Linn, the Fitzgeralds, Seven Nations, Tallymoore, the Lads of Dubuque, Wylde Nept, Cedar Glen Pipes and Drums, Stu Ryan O'Brien's Pub Band and Blame Not the Bard.

Q. What is the address to write Ellen DeGeneres?

A. Write to DeGeneres in care of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," P.O. Box 7788, Burbank, CA 91522.

Q. When the president goes on a long trip, how do the people traveling with him get their laundry done?

A. We think they usually stay at hotels that offer either a laundry service or have machines available to use.

Q. Is there a regulation on how windy it can be when a farmer applies anhydrous ammonia?

A. No, there's not, according to both Black Hawk County Extension and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Q. Can a creditor take your pension payments? I see they can't take Social Security.

A. Most of the time, no -- pension income is off limits. But if you owe money to the IRS, a federal student loan program or for back child support, pension payments might be taken.

Q. How can I get the voice recognition feature removed from my banking account?

A. You should talk to your bank to find out how to do that.

Q. What percent of countries in Africa are democracies?

A. According to a 2015 United Nations report, Mauritius was the only African country with full democracy. Countries listed as hybrid democracies included Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The majority of African countries were categorized as authoritarian.

Q. Is it better for your credit score if you consolidate all your credit cards into one?

A. Not usually, according to FICO: "We never recommend closing old or unused credit cards because this rarely helps your FICO score. ... Don't close the old cards that you're not planning to use any longer. I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but there's a fairly simple explanation. One of the most important factors in your FICO score is your balance to available credit ratio. Using all or most of your available credit can be a sign of looming financial stress. How does this ratio work? Let's say you have $5,000 in available credit and are using $1,000, this is better than if you had $1,000 in available credit and are using $500. The ratio in the first case is only 20 percent, but the ratio in the second is 50 percent. Closing an unused credit card wipes away some of your available credit and causes this ratio to increase."

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.


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