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Fund a health savings account. You also can lower your tax bill by making a 2015 contribution to a health savings account by the tax deadline. This account is paired with a high-deductible health plan and allows you to invest money before taxes are taken out. The money can later be withdrawn tax-free to pay qualified medical expenses. For 2015, you can invest up to $3,350 in a health savings account, plus an extra $1,000 if age 55 or older.
For instance, if you rented out a room or house for more than 14 days during last year, you must follow the tax rules for rental property owners, says Hamp;R Block. The good news: A portion of your mortgage interest, real estate taxes and expenses maintaining the rental property may be deductible depending on how many days you stayed there.
Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft drivers are usually considered self-employed and subject to 15.3 percent self-employment tax to cover Social Security and Medicare taxes, Hamp;R Block says. The drivers, though, can deduct expenses such as gas, repairs and vehicle licenses.
Need Help Filing Your Taxes? AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Can Help
Choose the sales or state income tax deduction. A federal tax break involving state sales taxes had expired but was recently revived and made permanent by Congress. It allows taxpayers to deduct the state and local sales taxes they paid during the year on their federal returns instead of the amount they paid in state and local income taxes. Being able to deduct sales tax benefits residents in states without an income tax to deduct --Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
But even if you don't live in one of those states, deducting sales tax may make sense if you made a big purchase last year and paid more in state sales tax than in income tax.
Please see item 7 on the individual taxpayer info on this release.
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Before the government hands over another $675 million to the CBC, is it too much to ask if thats the best way to promote Canadian culture?
Although they are talking of establishing a five-year accountability plan for the CBC, the Liberals seem to think the logic of giving the broadcaster more money is self-evident. Because its the CBC, you can imagine them saying.
But given the revolutionary changes to the media landscape, wouldnt this be a good time to revisit what we want from public broadcasting, and how best to achieve it, before simply writing a giant cheque?
The CBC is making all the right noises about investing much of the new cash in a digital strategy of some kind. That sounds necessarily futuristic and sensitive to the disruptive nature of todays communications technology.
Because its 2016.
But as someone who works in privately owned media, as a writer, broadcaster and business owner, I find it hard to understand why the CBC uses taxpayers money to operate websites that compete directly with every newspaper, magazine and broadcaster in the country. Is the Internet so short on sources of information that we need another one, subsidized by the government?
Ultimately, why do we still need publicly funded radio, television and digital platforms rather than simply an investment in Canadian content? Do we really need a separate, government-sponsored radio network, television network and collection of websites, or can taxpayers support Canadian programming that can be distributed digitally or through existing traditional media?
There are some who might oppose any increase in funding for culture, but even those who believe in supporting the arts must hope to see the money invested as wisely as possible. So its interesting that the Liberals chose to largely fulfil their promise regarding the CBC but shortchanged, at least when compared with their campaign commitments, other cultural institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts. The council will get a boost in funding, but not as much as the Liberals pledged in the fall.
It can be argued that the Canada Councils model is far more efficient than the CBCs, in that it primarily grants money to visual artists, poets, writers and performers to support their work. If it took the same approach as the public broadcaster, it would operate its own music label, publishing house and national chain of art galleries, all of which would compete with the private sector.
If the goal is to make great Canadian programming available to Canadians, then take all of the money that is invested in operating stations and networks and fund the production of that programming. Rather than air it on a proprietary network that carries overhead and must draw viewers and sell advertising, put it on YouTube. Or give it or sell it to private broadcasters, who will air it to meet Canadian content requirements.
If another goal is to ensure Canadian voices and perspectives on news events, then support the private news organizations that are struggling to stay viable. Help them fund international bureaus, for example. Instead, the government is putting its money into a public network that competes with and could hasten the demise of private players.
This isnt an argument to cut spending on arts and culture, but to put more of the money toward content rather than overhead. Why should the public fund a separate network when there are now so many ways to make programming available to Canadians? If the issue is Internet access, then invest money in taking broadband to remote communities.
Rather than modernize the CBC, the government should be updating the way it invests in quality Canadian programming. Without the costs of a broadcast network and various channels and websites, there would be more money to create content and more viewers, readers and revenues for private media companies with which the CBC currently competes.
Mark Sutcliffe is an Ottawa journalist and hosts Ottawa Today on 1310 Newstwitter.com/_MarkSutcliffe
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This special REACH Your Wellness Potential activity takes place at the library before the library opens. Exercise in the morning is a great way to start your day. Kick off your morning by attending Move It Monday each week during April and get a taste of the amazing fitness opportunities in our community.
There are many different forms of exercise. What works for you might not work for your neighbor, and vice versa. While all movement is good, every individual needs to experiment to discover what works best for them. Move It Monday is your chance to come to the library, be playful with different types of fitness classes and determine if any are a match for you!
The next two Move It Mondays will feature the following:
bull; April 18 - Crossfit with CrossFit Estes Park
bull; April 25 - Zumba with Chazz Glaze
Communicate to Connect at library
Communication impacts our well-being. Successfully navigating the art of communication is something that takes self-awareness and some effort even in the best scenarios. Join Margaret Repath of RePath Coaching on Wednesday, April 20 from noon to 1 pm at the Estes Valley Library for Communicate to Connect.
Whether consciously or not, we give meaning to everything that we experience and these interpretations influence how we react. Our reactions to people and situations are often impulsive, and we have all reacted in ways that we regret. This workshop introduces The Interpretive Factor. This tool will help you recognize how you interpret situations so that you can train yourself to better control how you respond.
This special program is a part of the librarys centennial series for April - REACH Your Wellness Potential. Space is limited and registration is requested for Communicate to Connect.
The Magic of Disappearing Veggies with Chazz Glaze
Do you have a picky spouse or kids who refuse to eat their vegetables? Or maybe you yourself just cant seem to eat as many vegetables as you know you should throughout the day. On Wednesday, April 27 from noon to 1 pm, join presenter Chazz Glaze, Salud Foundation community health education liaison, for the Magic of Disappearing Veggies at the Estes Valley Library.
Whatever the case may be, theres a solution, and it involves a dash of disguise, a pinch of imagination, and a couple of good recipes. Come learn how to eat your veggies and enjoy it when you do!
This special program is a part of the librarys centennial series for April - REACH Your Wellness Potential and is sponsored by Salud Family Health Centers in collaboration with the Estes Valley Library. Space is limited for The Magic of Disappearing Veggies and registration is requested.
Digital Marketing Best Practices and Analytics free workshop
It has been said, If youre not measuring, youre not marketing. How do you know whats working and whats not? Join speaker Tyler Brooks from Larimer Small Business Development Center at the Estes Valley Library on Monday, April 25 from 5 to 7 pm for Digital Marketing Best Practices and Analytics.
At this workshop, you will learn how the key to success in digital marketing is measurement! Before you invest money in paid digital advertising, join us for this inter-active session to learn best practices on figuring out where your customers are online, how to engage your them in conversations, and translate that into measurable success for your business.
This workshop is presented through a partnership between Larimer Small Business Development Center and the Estes Valley Library. Registration is required for Digital Marketing Best Practices and Analytics. To register for this workshop, visit larimersbdc.org.
Discuss book, watch movie - The Big Short
Why has the Financial Book Club selected this book? After all, the financial crisis of 2007-8 seems a distant history. Job growth has been positive every year since 2009. Unemployment is down from 10 percent (2008) to a more acceptable level of 5 percent. The stock markets Dow Jones Industrial Average has well surpassed its pre-recession high of 14,164, closing on May 5, 2015 at 18,351.
Most people want to believe the problems that caused the mortgage loan meltdown on Wall Street have all been clearly exposed, understood, punished, legislated and eliminated. Are they wrong? Thats what The Big Short is about - understanding the problem and deciding if it still exists.
A quick review of 2016 news articles pointing out the possibility of new mortgage loan origination issues is not reassuring. Fannie Mae plans another mortgage loan reboot program called Home Path Ready Buyer Program. Illinois, as an example state, has six programs to help homebuyers with catchy names such as Welcome Home Illinois and Illinois Building Blocks.
Other economic and political issues that contributed to the 2008 mortgage meltdown are still unresolved. Interest rates remain low. Banks are even bigger and continue trading derivatives that are difficult to price or regulate. Financial institutions still do not give meaningful information about the risk of underlying assets, proprietary trading, and economic hedging. Financial experts point to the recent $6 billion trading loss at JP Morgan in 2012 whenever they discuss the lack of transparency in financial markets.
On Monday, April 25, the Book Club will host a no-cost screening of the books award-winning, full-length film in the Hondius Room beginning at 6:30 pm The public is invited to view the film (which is two hours and ten minutes in length) with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The film is humorous, educational, and has excellent reviews; however, be advised that it is R-rated due to language and nudity.
April is financial literacy month in the US This book club selection will surely start meaningful financial discussion in our community. Read the book, come for discussion, and enjoy the film.
Cultural Arts Council launches satellite gallery at library
The Estes Valley Library is pleased to participate in the launch of community satellite galleries for the Cultural Arts Council of Estes Park. Join us at the library for the Art Upstairs exhibit of A Collection of Oil and Watercolor Paintings by featured artists James Biggers and Cathy Goodale. The paintings featured during the month of April at the library depict both local and nonnative landscapes, people, wildlife, architecture, and still lifes.
James Biggers is never satisfied painting the same subject in the same way. He has forced himself to learn and see more while constantly searching for inspiration and techniques to give his paintings essence. I was a kid who stayed in at recess to work on my drawings.
James graduated with a bachelor of fine art degree before moving to Colorado, where he now resides and pursues his passion for painting. A strong sense of design, evident in his paintings, was developed during his work as a commercial artist.
Cathy Goodale is a dedicated, persistent, and educated oil and watercolor artist whose style reflects her individuality. If you pay attention, art transcends all parts of life and makes the ordinary things in life a painting. Her personal demand for excellence continues to drive all of her endeavors while her imagination pushes her to paint past her artistic safe places.
Growing up in Denver, Cathy had an early introduction to art classics with her grandmother. This was instrumental in leading her to Stephens College in Missouri and to a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Northern Colorado. She continued her art training at Denver University, studying commercial art under William Sanderson.
James Biggers and Cathy Goodales artwork will be exhibited through the month of April on the second floor of the library.
Donate used books to the Library Friends Foundation
If youre clearing off your book cases, please consider donating your used books, DVDs and music CDs to the Estes Valley Library Friends Foundation for their Annual Used Book Sale slated for Aug. 12-14 at the Rocky Mountain Park Inns Conference Center.
Those interested in donating their used books to the library may bring them in during open library hours. Library staff will provide you with a receipt for tax purposes when requested. The Friends Foundation cannot accept encyclopedias, yearbooks, textbooks, videotapes, records, magazines, maps, Readers Digest condensed books, or music cassettes.
For more information about donating materials to the Estes Valley Library Friends Foundation, please visit estesvalleylibrary.org or call to speak with a librarian at 970-586-8116.
Estes Valley Library Friends Foundation annual summer book sale
The Estes Valley Library Friends Foundation Annual Summer Used Book Sale will be on Aug. 12, 13, and 14 at the Rocky Mountain Park Inn Conference Center. Save the date and join us for an amazing book sale where we will offer over 35,000 used books, CDs and DVDs. On Friday and Saturday, a separate area will offer noteworthy books that are individually priced for sale. Noteworthy may include first editions, signed copies and other similar limited items.
Friends Foundation members will get first opportunity to purchase items at the Preview Night from 4 to 8 pm on Friday, Aug. 12. If you are not already a Friends Foundation member, stop by the Estes Valley Library and purchase a membership for only $10 for an individual or $20 for a family. Friends Foundation volunteers will also sell memberships at the door on preview night.
New to the 2016 book sale, book prices will include the Colorado State sales tax. What does this mean to our customers? Items that were previously $2 and under will be increased by 25 cents and items that are priced at $3 and above will increase by 50 cents. Childrens books and music CDs will see no increase in their prices. The Sunday bag sale will now be $7 for each plastic Safeway shopping bag.
Listen to Music for Free
Many people find listening to music can be a bonus when it comes to working out. It adds a level of enjoyment and is a tool for getting centered and focused. REACH your wellness potential and join Tech Guide Diana Laughlin at the Estes Valley Library for Listen to Music for Free on Wednesday, April 20 from 2 to 3:30 pm.
During this class, you will learn how you can listen to music for free on your iPad, iPhone, Android phone or tablet. Bring your own device. Well go over how to stream music online and create free radio stations personalized to you using Pandora and Spotify.
This class is an intermediate class for people who know how to install apps on their device. Space is limited for Listen to Music for Free and registration is required.
Protecting Your Privacy Online class
Dig into the details of Internet safety and security at the free tech workshop Protecting Your Privacy Online at the Estes Valley Library on Monday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7 pm
Protect your identity and provide less information about yourself to advertisers while learning about the importance of cookies and how to delete them from your Internet browser.
This class will also explore how to adjust privacy settings on your social media accounts, like Facebook and Pinterest.
Protecting Your Privacy Online will be taught on Mac computers in the librarys computer lab. This is a basic class for people how are learning how to use the Internet and social media. Registration is required.
Teen Earth Day DIY Challenge: Transforming T-Shirts at the Estes Valley Library
Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders celebrate poetry at Poetry CafÃ
The spotlight is on and the microphone ready for the 12th annual Poetry CafÃ sponsored by the Estes Valley Library and Estes Park Elementary School. Students in third through fifth grades and family members are invited to hear live poetry readings from 5:30 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, April 21, in the Estes Park Elementary School cafeteria. The main doors will be closed so attendees should use the cafeteria entrance. Pizza will be served and each family member can receive one free slice of pizza by bringing back the coupon that was included in the Friday folders. Return the coupon to Mrs. Wahler by April 20. Additional slices of pizza may be purchased for one dollar.
Heres what students need to do to take part:
bull; First find a book of poetry. It could be a book by a single poet like Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky or students may read an anthology of poems by many different poets. Find lots of poetry books at the library in the non-fiction 811 section. Ask a librarian if you need help locating them.
bull; Spend some time reading and enjoying the poems. Read through your chosen poems several times to become familiar with the poems ideas and images. The more you understand the poem, the more your audience will understand it. Allow yourself to see the images created by the words in your imagination.
bull; Look up any unfamiliar words in the dictionary for their meaning and pronunciation.
bull; Read the poem quietly aloud to yourself and be aware of punctuation. Listen for the poems beat. Practice adding pauses and emphasis in different spots to find the most accurate voice for the poem.
bull; Read slowly. Allow each word its space. The temptation is to rush. Resist it.
bull; Practice introducing your poem by announcing the title and the poets name. Rehearse the poem by reading it aloud for your parents or friends. Be prepared to share two poems during our Poetry CafÃ.
This year students are encouraged to share an original poem or one that they have memorized. Start with a poem you like, recite it to yourself over and over, and you will get to know the poem. One of the best things about learning a poem by heart is that you get to take a poem inside of yourself. When you memorize a poem it is no longer just a poem, but your poem.
Students may want to dress like a beatnik for the occasion. Black clothes and fancy shades with a beret would make you fit right in. The kids at Estes Park Elementary are too cool to clap when one of their classmates finishes reading a poem. When youre as cool as they are, you dont clap. You snap!
Parents, family, teachers, and interested community members are welcome to attend and recite a favorite poem as well. Students may prepare more than one poem, but this year we want all interested students to have the opportunity to read one poem before we start a second round of readings. Dont be square. Be there!
Library promotes early reading through One Book 4 Colorado
Estes Valley Library is promoting early reading by providing a free new book to every four-year-old in Estes Park as part of the statewide One Book 4 Colorado. One Book 4 Colorado is a statewide initiative aiming to support family reading at home and instill a love of learning in Colorado children.
The book chosen for the 2016 give-away is Giraffes Cant Dance by Giles Andreae. It will be available (in English or Spanish), while supplies last, at Estes Valley Librarys service desk until April 30.
One Book 4 Colorado puts books in the hands of children and a joy of reading in their hearts, said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. Teaching children to read is a family, school and community responsibility. We are grateful to the many organizations coming together in communities across the state to help Colorados children succeed.
One Book 4 Colorado is the result of collaboration between Reach Out and Read Colorado, Colorado State Library, public libraries, the private sector, and the foundation community. It is modeled after the successful Preschool One Book One Denver program originated by the Denver Preschool Program.
Something as simple as putting a book in the hand of a young child can inspire a love of reading and help that child develop into a life-long learner, says Melanie Kozlowski, youth services supervisor. We hope many Estes Valley four-year-olds will be brought into the library to receive their new book!
Try-It Tuesday! El Dia Celebration Bowls
Childrens day is a celebration of children books and culture. Try-It Tuesday in April will feature El Dia Celebration Bowls on Tuesday, April 26 from 4 to 5 pm at the Estes Valley Library.
This year, we are making bowls for the celebration. Bowls are made and used in many civilizations, past and present, as decorative and useful objects. Using decoupage, students will be able to choose between African, Latin American, Asia and European bowls to make and take home.
Try-It Tuesday is for kids ages 5 to 11 years old. Registration is required.
Students invited to take part in library Centennial project for May
The Estes Valley Library invites students in grade four though high school to design an advertisement encouraging our community to support local businesses by shopping right here in Estes Park. In collaboration with the Estes Park School District art teachers Ilah Reynar, Nicole Rische and Val Bowles, students are invited to use sample slogans and the hashtag #DowntownEstes for inspiration. Homeschoolers may participate by picking up the information for participation at the library service desk.
The deadline for submission of the advertisements for the library-sponsored contest is Friday, April 22. All ads will be taken to the library and judged by local business owners. The winning advertisements will be published in the Estes park News and Estes Park Trail Gazette during the month of May. All other selected advertisements will be on display at the library during the month of May, as the library celebrates our downtown neighbors.
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A Columbia resident who was found guilty of defrauding investors and using money for personal use, including for a pool and surgical procedures, was sentenced in federal court Thursday.
US District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Robert Stuart Leben, 53, to 40 months of incarceration and $1.8 million in restitution to his victims for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an investor fraud scheme, according to a news release from US Attorney Bill Nettles' office.
Officials said between 2008 and 2015, Leben controlled the Structure Finance Group, which was supposed to invest money from his clients into US Treasury fixed-income securities called "T-STRIPS."
Nettles' office stated Leben planned to purchase discounted T-STRIPS and pocket the difference between the discounted price and the face value by trading in commodities. Leben reportedly used two third-party intermediaries to handle the investments, and records obtained by the FBI showed Leben lied to investors about the balances in their accounts.
Rather than buying T-STRIPS, Leben reportedly diverted most of the money from his investors for his own use. Eleven investors lost about $2.3 million, some of which was recouped.
The investigation showed he used the money from his clients to purchase a $500,000 home, a backyard pool, $180,000 worth of landscaping, vacations, surgical procedures and financial gifts to family members.