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fawcettl's Blog

Beat the Winter Blues With a Beach Read

Tired of all the snow, ice and grey weather? Wish you could escape to a tropical destination but don't have the budget? Well how about escaping with a great beach read? Try one of these titles for a break from the bitter cold:

It happened in South Beach by Jennie Klassel

Beachcomber by Karen Robards

Tropical getaway by Roxanne St. Claire

Late Changes in Tax Law Delay Tax Season for Some

The start of the 2011 filing season will begin in January for the majority of taxpayers. However, last minute changes in the law mean that the IRS will need to reprogram its processing systems for three provisions that were extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that became law on Dec. 17. Only three specific categories of taxpayers are affected by this:
  • Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A
  • Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction
The IRS will announce a specific date in the near future when it can start processing tax returns impacted by the late tax law changes.

Election 2010

November 2, 2010 is election day, and Michigan residents face many decisions this year — including selecting a new Governor. Get prepared for Tuesday by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center. This site contains all your necessary information including polling locations and more. Don't forget to check out the League of Women Voters Guide which can be helpful in sorting through all the candidates and issues.

Free Reverse Mortgage Seminar

If you are a homeowner, age 62 years or older, and own your home outright or could pay off the remaining balance with reverse mortgage proceeds, don't miss this opportunity to meet with certified reverse mortgage consultant Stephen Bartus. Mr. Bartus from Wells Fargo will explain how you can convert the equity in your home into tax-free proceeds, proceeds that can be used to meet expenses, cover healthcare costs or remodel your home. Join us Tuesday September 14th at 2:00PM in the Library Community Room to explore your options. No registration required.

Absentee Voters Can Track Ballots Online

Voters casting absentee ballots can track their ballots online. Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced Monday that absentee voters who enter personal identification information at the Michigan Voter Information Center website will be able to track their ballot. The absentee ballot tracking feature notes when an application for an absentee ballot has been received by the local clerk's office, when the ballot was sent, and when the clerk received the returned ballot

The Michigan Voter Information Center also allows voters to check whether they are registered to vote, print a sample ballot, find their polling place and locate their local clerk.

Set Sail with Michigan Notable Books

Looking for some suggestions to help you complete Stage II (Michigan Author or Setting) of our Adult Summer Reading Program? Well, look no further than the Michigan Notable Books website. Each year this program selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The website lists this year's winners along with winners from past years, and offers a variety of titles to help you sail towards that summer reading finish line.

I-275 Bike Path Open House

On Tuesday April 20, 2010, MDOT will host an open house featuring the upcoming construction for the I-275 Metro Trail in Wayne County. This project, which is scheduled to start this spring, will reconstruct 7 miles of the bike path between Michigan Avenue and Edward Hines Drive. Attendees will be given the opportunity to review final designs changes before construction. For more information, including meeting time and location visit the MDOT website.

Michigan Appliance Rebate Program

Have one of those old olive green refrigerators? Thinking of replacing your washing machine for a shiny new model? Well, you may be in luck! The State of Michigan recently began a mail-in rebate program to help residents replace older, inefficient appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified and ultra-efficient appliances. This program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, offers rebates on refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters & furnaces. For eligibility guidelines, covered products and rebate amounts visit the U.S Departments of Energy's rebate website.

Education Tax Credits

As the April 15th Tax Deadline fast approaches don’t forget about the American Opportunity Credit. This credit which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act modifies existing education credits and makes them available to a broader range of taxpayers. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. For more information visit IRS.gov.

Deduct Donations to Haiti on Your 2009 Tax Return

The United States Congress has approved a bill that will allow taxpayers to deduct recent contributions to the Haiti relief effort on their 2009 tax returns. To qualify the donation must be monetary and be made to a qualifying charity assisting in Haiti. For more details on how you can help visit the USAID website.

CommerceConnect Office Now Open in Plymouth

The U.S. Department of Commerce has opened the very first CommerceConnect office in Plymouth, Michigan. This new service center, located in the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center on Haylard (near M-14 and Beck Road), is designed to connect business people with resources offered by the federal government - including research, analysis, market advice & financing options.

Avoid An Unpleasant Surprise in January

Millions of taxpayers started taking home more money in their paychecks this past April thanks to the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. However, changes to the IRS withholding tables cannot take into account single workers with multiple jobs or dual-income married couples for example. All these changes could mean a smaller refund or larger balance due next year. Now is the time to review and adjust your W-4 and ensure that you are withholding the correct amount. This IRS Withholding Calculator can help you avoid an unpleasant surprise come tax time.

Job Seekers Learn to Research Companies Online

One of the most important parts of any successful job search is thoroughly researching potential employers. Such a task can be daunting, especially if you are unfamilar with the resources available. Researching Companies Online is an excellent business research tutorial that will help even the most inexperienced user find free company and industry information on the World Wide Web.

True Crime

Looking for a good thriller with an added dose of reality? Daring to take a peek into the mind of a psychopathic killer? Well then true crime is just the genre for you! Here is a list of suggested titles:

SEMCOG Releases Long-Range Transportation Plan

SemcogSEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, has completed a draft of Direction2035, the region’s next long-range transportation plan, and is asking the public to review the plan and submit comments. Interested parties can read Direction2035 online or call 313-324-3362 for a printed copy. Details on how to submit your comments, including a schedule of public meetings, can be found on the SEMCOG website.