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Tax time

first_imgBy April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaApril 15, the 2009 tax deadline, is near. Remember, not all tax services are the same and that some things have changed, say financial experts with the University of Georgia. “Shopping around for a tax service makes a difference. You will save in terms of the fees you pay and the amount of taxes you end up owing or have due to you in a refund,” said Michael Rupured, consumer economics specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program certified by the Internal Revenue Service provides free preparation and, in most cases, electronically file returns. The program targets working families with incomes less than $45,000 a year. Call 1-800-829-1040 to find out more. The AARP Tax Counseling for the Elderly program often provides senior citizens free tax services. It will prepare returns for VITA-eligible filers, too.“You can use the Internet to prepare and file your return,” Rupured said. “Online options are generally very user-friendly, though often somewhat tedious and time-consuming.”Other options are professional accountants to commercial tax preparation chains, he said. But the fees charged vary depending on qualifications, complexity of the return, the number of forms required and other services provided. Some companies offer tax refunds on the spot. But, Rupured said these refund-anticipation loans are an expensive way to get refunds. With electronic filing, the IRS will deposit refunds in seven to 10 days.Itemize or not?Two-thirds of Americans choose standard deduction over itemizing deductions. But taking the time to itemize could save money, said Joan Koonce, a financial management specialist with UGA Extension.“Medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income are deductible,” she said. “You can also deduct mortgage interest paid on your first and second home. First and second mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit apply. Real estate and other property taxes are deductible expenses, too. In addition, primary mortgage insurance premiums are deductible by some homeowners who purchased their home during a certain period of time.” State and local income taxes or sales tax paid on retail purchases are also deductible. As are charitable gifts given to IRS-approved organizations. Gifts to religious, scientific or educational organizations might also be deducted.Total work expenses – such as union dues or equipment — greater than 2 percent of adjusted gross income can be deducted.“Remember that if you and your spouse are married filing separately and one of you chooses to itemize deductions, the other must do the same,” Koonce said. “Keep receipts for the items you are deducting in the event you are audited.”In addition to deductions, you may qualify for a credit. You might be eligible for the credit this year if you did not receive an economic stimulus payment, received less than the maximum economic stimulus payment, gained an additional qualifying child or could no longer be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.“Keeping up-to-date on the tax changes for this season is important to help you ease the tax burden or possibly get a refund,” Koonce said. Here are a few changes for the 2008 tax season: • You can contribute $1,000 more than last year to an Individual Retirement Account. The max contribution for those under 50 is $5,000. It’s $6,000 for those 50 and older. • Each year, the standard deduction and exemption amount adjust for inflation. The standard deduction has increased $200 to $10,900 for married couples filing jointly; $5,450 for married couples filing separately and singles; and $8,000 for household heads. Personal and dependency exemptions increased to $3,500.• Green tax credits are available up to $500 for home energy-saving improvements. You can get a credit of 30 percent, up to $2,000, for equipment that is solar or wind powered.• Children’s investment income, or kiddy tax, taxes certain amounts of investment income from investments held in a child’s name at the parents’ marginal tax rate. Now, children under 19 and full-time students up to age 24 can be taxed at their parents’ marginal tax rate on their investment income over $1,800.For more information, go to the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.last_img read more

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Propét Shoes Love Your Feet (Even When You Don’t)

first_imgOur feet withstand a hell of a lot. We may take this constant support system for granted, but these guys are troopers; from jogs, hikes, and walks around the block, to running errands, dashing to work, and playing with the family, even a normal day can wear them down. That’s where Propét Shoes come in.Propét knows that feet go unnoticed way too often for their own good, so the company has taken on a mission to give them some much deserved TLC. Developed in coordination with podiatrists, Propét’s shoes work to keep feet comfortable, cushioned, and aligned. Their claim to fame comes from a focus on restoring a natural range of motion and preventing walking quirks that add unnecessary stress.The Leila walking shoe is one of Propét’s most versatile. It manages to combine several different styles into one multifaceted design: simultaneously comfortable and supportive enough for a full day’s wear, sleek and subtle enough to match an everyday outfit, and athletic enough to take a decent beating.I even took them on a recent climbing trip and used them as approach shoes between boulders. They were perfect for my little weekend romp through the woods: lightweight, sturdy, and reliable on both dirt and sandstone. The Leila’s rubber outsoles actually made them a great alternative to traditional approach shoes in straightforward situations like this one. Sticky and stable, they held their ground without all the extras that are crucial on more aggressive trips but wholly unnecessary in the middle of a simple boulderfield. Plus, they looked good from the rock to the restaurant – major points for versatility.Propét’s forté lies in their specialized Rejuve Motion Technology. The Leila shoe, in accordance with Rejuve, pays particular attention to the heel bone of the foot. I can’t say that I’ve ever given my poor heel bone much thought before, but luckily Propét is here to reverse the damage that most of us are, apparently, guilty of.Propét shoes feature four separate layers that combine to build a sole that realigns our heel position and boosts foot support. My neglected heels finally got some love. After way too much time squeezed into tight climbing shoes (“torturously small,” as my mother would say), hiking boots, and the occasional high heel, they definitely noticed the difference. I got the feeling Propét had helped me play a trick on my own feet – they were still ready to keep on trucking at the end of that long climbing day as if I hadn’t just spent all those hours walking from rock to rock lugging a pile of gear on my back. I like a shoe that lets me feel devious.One unexpected result was that it was also much easier to keep a good posture, and that’s a big deal. Climbing is famous for slowly morphing its disciples into hunchbacks due to all those uneven shoulder muscles. I really should do more yoga, but in the meantime, the Rejuve system built into the Leila shoes does its job in reseting the heel to reduce back pain and reinforce our ideal posture.last_img read more

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Weekend Picks: Get in Gear Fest

first_imgExcited to get outside this spring, but need some extra help getting prepared? The Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina know that great gear makes for a great trip, so they’ve got everything ready for you to take the first step toward adventure success at the Get in Gear Fest in Asheville, N.C.The Get in Gear Fest, taking place this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at RiverLink Performance Plaza, will have a little something for every adrenaline junkie. Backpacks, bikes, boats, crashpads, tents: you name it, they’ll bring it. Plus, the Gear Builders suppliers will have plenty of that gear on hand for test runs. Meanwhile, your fellow athletes will show you how it’s done with demos, examples, and clinics. Even beer enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to thanks to the many local breweries that will be joining the crowd.Get in Gear FestThere will be more gear for sale than you’ll know what to do with, but you might also get the chance walk away with some of it – minus that pesky pricetag. Raffles, races, and giveaways galore will take place throughout the day, so come grab your own opportunity to win.Some of the proceeds from the beer sales during the event will benefit RiverLink, a local environmental conservation non-profit working to protect the French Broad River area. Good gear, good beer, good cause… good deal!No matter what you need to leap into spring, the Get in Gear Fest will help you get it all together. Don’t miss this one-stop shop for outdoor fun.While you’re there, say hi to our travel editor Jess Daddio who will be set up with the SylvanSport crew and her Live Outside and Play project! She’ll have copies of this month’s issue and stickers to give away.last_img read more

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3 questions with Gallagher’s Jeremy Debruin

first_imgCUInsight Publisher & CEO Lauren Culp is joined by Jeremy Debruin, Area Vice President at Gallagher, for a quick interview with just 3 questions about the COVID-19 crisis…(0:32) What is your company doing to support credit unions and their members during the COVID-19 crisis?(3:36) How do you think that COVID-19 might affect credit unions and the way that we do business in the long-term?(5:35) What tips do you have for staying sane during trying times?You can learn more about Gallagher’s response to the COVID-19 crisis here. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Lauren Culp Lauren Culp is the Publisher & CEO at CUInsight.com.She leads the growing team at CUInsight, works with organizations serving credit unions to maximize their brand and exposure, connects … Web: https://www.cuinsight.com Detailslast_img read more

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An Intramural Republican Fight Breaks Out Over the C.I.A. Director’s Fate

first_imgWASHINGTON — Internal Republican divisions over the fate of Gina Haspel’s tenure as C.I.A. director have come tumbling into view as some Senate leaders showed support while President Trump’s allies pushed for her ouster, in part over the agency’s role in disseminating the whistle-blower complaint that prompted impeachment, according to current and former administration officials.For weeks, Mr. Trump has been mulling whether to fire Ms. Haspel, the agency’s first female director. Despite Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss, people close to him understand that his time in office is limited and the window to remove her is dwindling.- Advertisement – Some officials and presidential allies believe that Ms. Haspel failed to do enough to stop the whistle-blower’s complaints about Mr. Trump’s July 2019 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which prompted impeachment, from moving forward. Others have also grown frustrated with her opposition to declassifying documents related to Russia’s 2016 election interference.White House aides are divided over Ms. Haspel’s removal. Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, opposes it, though other officials are pushing for her dismissal, the officials said. Allies of the president have had “a real issue of trust” with Ms. Haspel for more than a year, a senior administration official said. Ms. Haspel’s congressional allies noted that she is a cabinet official and has a responsibility to answer questions from lawmakers conducting oversight of the intelligence agencies.Tensions over Ms. Haspel’s fate intensified this week after Mr. Trump ordered a string of firings at the Pentagon that began with the ouster of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on Monday and continued on Tuesday with the removal of other key Pentagon officials, including the head of intelligence and the leader of the influential policy apparatus. The White House then installed loyalists in top defense posts. Top Republicans came subtly to Ms. Haspel’s defense on Tuesday. Senator Mitch McConnell invited her for a conspicuous meeting in his office.That prompted Arthur Schwartz, an informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr., to accuse top Republicans of trying to manipulate Mr. Trump into keeping Ms. Haspel, who Mr. Schwartz said “undermines Trump and subverts his agenda at every turn.” Making reference to Ms. Haspel’s previous clandestine work overseas managing C.I.A. informants, Mr. Schwartz said Republicans “are getting played by a master case officer.”Senator John Cornyn of Texas responded on Twitter, saying intelligence should not be partisan and is “about preserving impartial, nonpartisan information necessary to inform policy makers.”That invited a response from Donald Trump Jr., who asked whether the senators had discussed Ms. Haspel with members of the administration. “Or,” he concluded in an apparent swipe at Ms. Haspel, “are you just taking a trained liar’s word for it on everything?”Some of Mr. Trump’s allies believe the Russia documents they wanted declassified include information that will undermine established facts about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. But others are skeptical the documents will change the understanding of what happened in 2016. Outside investigators who reviewed intelligence gathered at the time for a bipartisan Senate report released this year backed the conclusion that Russia favored Mr. Trump in that election.No decision on whether to declassify the documents has been made. But the ultimate authority to declassify them does not rest with Ms. Haspel. Mr. Ratcliffe or Mr. Trump could ultimately decide to release them, with or without Ms. Haspel’s blessing. The C.I.A. declined to comment.- Advertisement – Though Ms. Haspel had no direct role in the impeachment inquiry, it was prompted by a C.I.A. officer who made an anonymous and indirect complaint to the agency’s general counsel, then filed a whistle-blower complaint to the inspector general of the intelligence community.Mr. Trump has acted against people he has perceived as aiding the impeachment inquiry. After the Senate acquitted the president this year, he fired Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union who testified in the inquiry, and Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general who investigated the whistle-blower complaint. The White House also effectively blocked the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the National Security Council aide who was the primary witness in the impeachment hearing, leading to his retirement.White House officials who favor Ms. Haspel’s ouster believe she has been insubordinate to John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, and boxed in the White House on the debate over whether to declassify Russia documents by sharing her concerns with Congress, the senior official said.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia report first H5N1 outbreaks

first_imgMar 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have confirmed outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in birds, a first for each country.The outbreak in Bangladesh struck chickens at a state-run poultry farm in Savar, near the capital, Dhaka, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Government sources said farm workers had recently culled all 30,000 chickens at the farm after many of them died mysteriously, the AP said.Preliminary tests at local laboratories suggested in February that the chickens died of exotic Newcastle disease, a respiratory virus that is fatal to birds, but the government later sent samples to a lab in Thailand for more tests, the AP reported.Bangladeshi Health Minister S. M. Matium Rahman told the AP that no human cases have been reported, but citizens have been put on alert. As a precaution, officials culled about 8,000 chickens today on five private farms near Dhaka.The World Health Organization (WHO) said it would work closely with Bangladesh to curb the spread of the disease, and WHO representative Duangvadee Sungkhobol told reporters today there is no need to panic, because the outbreak has been handled very carefully, the AP story said.The report said an H5N1 outbreak could devastate Bangladesh’s poultry industry, which includes about 150,000 farms and does $750 million of business annually.Saudi officials cite single outbreakMeanwhile, the agriculture ministry in Saudi Arabia said yesterday that the H5N1 virus had been confirmed in samples obtained by a citizen in the eastern part of the country who reported several bird deaths at home earlier this month.The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the outbreak involved turkeys, parrots, peacocks, and ostriches on private land, according to an AP story published today. An SPA statement said the birds were destroyed and the site was sterilized.H5N1 avian flu has been reported in several countries near Saudi Arabia, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Sudan. Egypt has had 26 confirmed human cases since February 2006, half of them fatal.Online records of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) show that H5N1 has been found in birds in about 60 countries, not counting Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.In other news this week, H5N1 has been found in crows in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, according to a Reuters report yesterday. Up to 70 dead crows were found in and around the city recently, and 2 of 8 birds tested were found infected, the story said.The virus first turned up in Pakistan in February 2006, prompting the culling of 40,000 birds in North West Frontier Province. The Islamabad zoo was temporarily closed last month after four peacocks and a goose died of the infection, according to the story.In Myanmar, about 38,000 birds have been destroyed as a result of five outbreaks in Yangon, the capital, over the past 3 weeks, says a Mar 21 Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.Three countries listed as weak linksAlso this week, international officials at a meeting in Verona, Italy, listed Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria as the three countries least able to deal with H5N1 outbreaks in birds, according to a Mar 22 AFP report.Bernard Vallat, head of the OIE, told AFP, “There are still three countries that are not capable of managing the situation: Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria, which harbour reservoirs of the virus that can take off elsewhere.”Joseph Domenech, chief veterinarian for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told AFP, “The lack of a national strategy, the lack of political involvement and the disorganization of these countries mean that lots of outbreaks, as well as human cases of the disease, arise.” He said he was most concerned about Indonesia.However, the two officials said they don’t expect to see as many bird outbreaks of H5N1 this year as occurred last year.Vallat told AFP, “On the medical level you see a reduction in terms of viral quantity. The presence of the disease in the population of wild birds is lower than last year when there was a surge in the virus.”Wild birds may be growing more resistant to the virus, or the strain may be declining, Vallat said.Domenech commented that most countries have gotten faster at detecting and responding to the virus, according to AFP. But he said it would be unrealistic to think that the virus can be eradicated soon, as it “continues to circulate and can reappear at any time.”See also:Saudi Press Agency news releasehttp://www.spa.gov.sa/English/details.php?id=434749OIE chart of countries with H5N1 outbreaks in birdshttp://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A_AI-Asia.htmlast_img read more

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Arsenal legend Robert Pires praises ‘warrior’ Matteo Guendouzi after display against Tottenham

first_imgArsenal legend Robert Pires praises ‘warrior’ Matteo Guendouzi after display against Tottenham Comment Guendouzi was called up to the France squad this week (Picture: Getty)Robert Pires hailed Matteo Guendouzi as a warrior for his performance against Tottenham in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with their bitter rivals.Arsenal launched a comeback from two goals down in the north London derby, with Guendouzi leading the fightback and setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their equaliser.The 20-year-old’s form this season earned him his first call-up for France this week and Pires heaped praise on the young midfielder.‘Matteo is a warrior,’ Pires told The Athletic . ‘He had a fantastic match.ADVERTISEMENT Pires hailed Guendouzi as a warrior (Picture: Getty)‘He’s a combative player and what I like about him is that he is consistent with that.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘He does his job, patrolling defensive midfield, winning the ball, tackling well, and then playing the ball quickly and simply.‘That’s why he is an important player for Unai and for Arsenal. I liked the reaction of the team to going 2-0 down, the manner of the response.’‘Ten minutes before I was asleep. I thought I was still in a dream.’Matteo Guendouzi on the moment he received his first ever France call-up 🇫🇷😁 pic.twitter.com/unGl7betdC— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) September 2, 2019 Guendouzi impressed against Tottenham (Picture: Getty)‘And I said, “What do you mean I have to leave? What do you mean?” He said, “Actually, you’re going with the senior France national team.”‘In my mind I was like, at first I couldn’t believe it. Ten minutes before I was asleep – I thought it was still a dream!’MORE: Matteo Guendouzi reveals France Under-21 coach played trick on him over senior call-upMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Coral BarryTuesday 3 Sep 2019 9:03 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link2kShares Guendouzi has now linked up with the France squad and asked about the call up, he revealed: ‘Actually, I was taking a nap and someone knocked on my door. I didn’t answer because I was sleeping I swear.‘Then my phone rang and it was the coach on the phone. He said, “It’s me, I knocked” and so on.‘Obviously I went and opened the door straight away. And then he said, “Matteo, come here, we need to talk.” He said, “I like you very much but you have to leave.” Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

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Vendor makes $1.14 million in seven years

first_imgThe owner of 20-24 Oatland Esplanade, Runaway Bay made $1.13 million in seven years.HOLDING a vacant block of land has paid off for the vendor of this Runaway Bay block who made $1.13 million in seven years.The triple waterfront block has, which sold earlier this year, settled for $5.88 million to a Chinese developer.In 2010 the same block sold for $4.75 million.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North4 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day ago20-24 Oatland Esplanade, Runaway Bay.Ray White Sovereign Island agent Alex Phillis handled the sale and said 20-24 Oatland Esplanade was a prized location.“You have views across the Broadwater that extend to Wavebreak Island and over to South Stradbroke Island and of course it’s in a quiet cul-de-sac street,” Mr Phillis said.“Having the canal behind it makes it the ultimate block on the Gold Coast.“You could build three mansions there or an exclusive four-level apartment building.”The land was on the market for $6.9 million.last_img read more

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Coastal home ’built by Mick Fanning’ hits the market

first_imgHardwood timber floors feature throughout.The property features a backlit marble kitchen, media lounge, wine cellar, heated spa, high ceilings, hardwood timber floors and the master bedroom suite at the highest point of the house. It is set to go to auction on February 28. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa19 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe entrance to the bespoke home. Over the years, Mr Fanning has set up a huge property portfolio, including owning four properties in Coolangatta and building a mansion in Bilinga at one point.The bespoke five-bedroom, multi-level house showcases spectacular views of the Tweed Coast, and has recently been renovated, including a redesign to incorporate smart technology. The kitchen has a feature island bench.center_img 2 Murraba Crescent, Tweed Heads is on the market. It used to be owned by surfer Mick Fanning.SURFING legend Mick Fanning’s former Tweed Heads home has hit the market. CoreLogic property records show Mr Fanning sold the property to its current vendor in 2013.It’s understood the world champion built the original residence — the current listing said the house was ‘constructed in 2004 by a renowned local icon’.last_img read more

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Auckland councillors may restore ratepayer funding for Santa Parade

first_imgNZ Herald 20 February 2019The Auckland Council may reinstate ratepayer funding tomorrow for the annual Farmers Santa Parade along Queen St.Last November, the council body Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) withdrew funding for the parade from this year.At the time an Ateed spokesman said the parade no longer fitted a new 2018-2025 major events strategy – designed to grow tourism and the local economy in a sustainable way.“This is based on the fact that [the parade] is not a big driver of domestic tourism into Auckland,” the spokesman said.He said the parade was unlike other events – such as the Diwali and Chinese Lantern Festivals – which have activities that run over a week.After Ateed pulled funding, Gull New Zealand and retail giant The Warehouse confirmed they will be pitching in to keep the Farmers Santa Parade around.In light of Ateed’s decision, the council’s community development and safety committee will tomorrow receive a verbal update from officers on options for financially supporting the much loved event, which attracts thousands of families each year.Family First NZ called Ateed’s decision scroogey and a politically correct hijack of one of the city’s most iconic annual events.“Despite being a major event which has attracted hundreds of thousands of children for years, and which should automatically qualify it for funding consideration, the agency is thumbing their nose at this family event in favour of other cultural-based events such as the Chinese Lantern Festival, Diwali and the Pride Parade,” said national director Bob McCoskrie.READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12205624last_img read more

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