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As gas and food prices continue to rise, residents of Oldham County are finding their own ways to save money – whether it is selling items to pawn shops or online or finding a cheaper ride to work.Ron Gardner owns A-1 Jewelry & Pawn Shop in La Grange. He said people are trying to bring everything they can in, but the shop can’t take it all. He saw an increase in customers as fuel prices reached more than $3 a gallon.The shop accepts several different types of items, but Gardner said if he has too many of one item, he won’t take anymore. Currently, he has stopped taking guitars, unless they are from customers that have bought or sold in the store before.He said several customers who came to pawn items said, “I just need some gas money.” And he’s seen a decrease in customers visiting to purchase items.“People are in worse financial need,” Gardner said. “It’s definitely impacting the economy.”SaleWithUs is a local business that sells items on eBay. There are two locations in Oldham County. Bridgett Strickler owns the Prospect location.She receives more calls as gas prices increase, with people asking what they can sell and how much money items might bring.In general, she said those who sell their items on eBay with the store’s help sell items that are shippable. This includes items such as collectibles, housewares and inherited items like china or silver.“I’m expecting to see a wave of stuff in the next few weeks,” Strickler said, citing the need of many for extra cash flow during the summer months.She said she predicts people will begin to go through boxes in their homes soon and find items that can be sold, whether it is to “take a trip, fill the gas tank or maintain their lifestyle.”Kim Nuss, owner of the La Grange location, said some customers are selling items with the return earmarked for gas money, but overall she hasn’t seen a change.Even high school students are feeling the crunch. Elaine Alvey, a junior at Oldham County High School, says her parents pay for most of her gas. If she wants to go somewhere besides school or work, she has to foot the bill.Alvey, who hasn’t been driving very long, said since gas prices started to rise, if friends ride with her she asks them to help pay for fuel.“I don’t make a lot (at work),” she said, “and I feel like I’m doing a favor for (my friends).”She said she keeps a change bucket in her car for her friends to contribute to, though she said there’s not a set amount they have to give.“I don’t make people feel bad about it,” she said.Another way some in the area are dealing with the increasing cost of gasoline is by taking the bus to work in downtown Louisville.Oldham County began an agreement with the Transit Authority of River City two years ago to provide service for county residents into downtown Louisville.The project is funded by a federal grant for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, of which 80 percent is paid federally and 20 percent is paid locally.Emily Liu, assistant director of planning and zoning, said the project began as a demonstration project but may now become more permanent. Liu said TARC is looking at other ways to keep the program going in Oldham County, with such a large number of people in the area working in Jefferson County.Louise Allen, director of planning and zoning, said the county just signed a contract with the state to receive the grant for a third year and will sign a contract with TARC for the third year, where TARC will pay the 20 percent of the cost previously paid by the county.“Our understanding is TARC will continue the project (after this year),” she said.According to a project description and budget summary released at the May 20 fiscal court meeting, the Oldham I-71 Express route, “continues to be outstanding with over 52,000 annual boardings.” The report goes on to say that the average number of daily boardings averages around 205.On Friday, there were about 50 cars at the Crestwood Park and TARC location on Ky. 329, and numbers at the Buckner and La Grange locations averaged 40 cars each on Monday.Riders at the Crestwood location offer different reasons for riding the bus. One rider said he takes the bus because it is free for him to ride thanks to Humana, where he works. Another said she has a teenage daughter who wants to use the car.John Sachs, who works at E-ON, has been riding the TARC from Oldham County for about two years. He said he decided to do it because of gas prices.Pam Gill rides the TARC bus to Humana – where she is employed – from the Crestwood lot. She said she tries to take the bus at least three times a week, and she’s done so for about four months.What motivated her, she said, is when gas was consistently above $3 a gallon. She said several of her co-workers from Oldham County ride the TARC as well, and she said she enjoys it because it’s less stressful than having to drive downtown herself.“I can take a book and read,” she said. “And I don’t have to worry about traffic.”Joni Heilgendorf of La Grange doesn’t take the TARC, but meets a group of co-workers to ride together to work.She said she works near the Louisville International Airport and for the past year a group of three of her co-workers has been riding together. She said two more have joined more recently, when the price of gas began to rise.Heilgendorf said it is 38 miles each way to work from her home in La Grange, and the rest of her co-workers live in various parts of the county. She said she’s glad to do the carpool, because in addition to spending less money on fuel, she finds she puts less wear and tear on her vehicle.Jenny Sims works at the Louisville Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Zorn Avenue and carpools with a co-worker every day. She said the increasing price of fuel encourages the pair to carpool, plus they live close to each other, and they work the same hours.Sims said riding to work together has been helpful, though she said some people think it’s inconvenient. She said she thinks some people don’t like not having the freedom to perhaps make a stop on their way home from work, since someone else is driving.She said the women switch driving responsibilities each week, and they’re looking for others to join their carpool.“I’m paying half of what I normally pay for gas,” she said.
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