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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.

Blowin' in the Wind: Clean Energy, Made in Michigan

The wind turbine pictured here is one of 32 harnessing clean electricity on Harvest Wind Farm in Elkton, MI. (I took this photo during a summer trip to the Thumb Area.) Michigan Wind 1, with 46 turbines, is another wind farm located just north of Elkton in Ubly, MI. Major energy companies like DTE and Consumers Energy are tapping into these and other wind farms in Michigan to supply electric power to their customers. Combined, both wind farms generate about 122 megawatts of electricity — enough to power roughly 35,000 homes.

Wind, solar and geothermal are among the most promising methods to generate clean, renewable energy. You can learn more about a clean energy future by reading Hot, Flat and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, best-selling author and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist from The New York Times.

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.

More Online Resources for Michigan Seniors

The Michigan Attorney General's office has established an online resource center for Michigan's seniors at Senior Brigade. This website is a clearinghouse for helpful information on consumer protection, financial matters, health care issues and veterans' services. It provides links to a wide variety of state and federal programs to help make informed decisions that can benefit you and your family. A calendar of senior events around the state is also available. The website is maintained by Attorney General Mike Cox's office.

Special Board Meeting to Study 2010 Budget

A special meeting of the Canton Public Library Board of Trustees has been scheduled for Thursday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m., at which time the board will study the proposed 2010 budget. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Retire Online

The Social Security office recently launched a national campaign "Retire Online. It's So Easy!" This campaign features a new online retirement application that can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. The application is available online and can easily be completed at any of our library computers.

Rally for Michigan Libraries

Rally at the Capitol 9/10/09On September 10, library supporters will rally at the State Capitol in Lansing to encourage legislators to save the Library of Michigan and the important shared statewide resources, such as MeL databases and MeLCat interlibrary loan, that Canton Public Library users value. The rally will start at 9:30AM and supporters are asked to wear red shirts to show their support for statewide joint services.

The Governor's Executive Order dismantles the Department of History, Arts & Libraries and places the services of the Library of Michigan — both physical and online collections — in jeopardy. State funding and federal matching funds for MeLCat interlibrary loan and 25 MeL databases are at stake; due to the local economy and cuts to local funding associated with the recession, the Canton Public Library does not have the funds to pay for interlibrary loan or online genealogical, historical, or reference products if the state legislature does not act to maintain statewide library services — Canton residents would lose access to these resources.

Vice President Biden Coming to Detroit

Vice President Joe Biden, along with Governor Granholm and other local officials, will be in Detroit on Wednesday to make remarks on the economy. Some public tickets to this event will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, on request Tuesday at the event venue, the NextEnergy building.
For more information about the event, see the White House Press Release.

Cashless: The New Economic Program?

Cashless cover pictureIs it possible to imagine a world where cash is no longer accepted and Smart Cards and credit cards are used for everything, including vending machines? Where direct deposit is not only requested but mandated? Why is this scenario not only likely, but less expensive for the government, and actually lucrative in the long run?

Cash For Clunkers Program Officially Begins

The CAR Allowance Rebate System (CARS), commonly referred to as Cash for Clunkers officially began on July 24th. Under this $1 billion government program consumers qualify for a cash credit towards the purchase of a more environmentally-friendly vehicle from a participating dealer when they trade in a less fuel-efficient car or truck. This program is also designed to help energize the economy; boost auto sales and put safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the nation's roadways. Eligibility requirements and other details can be found at the official website for the program, CARS.gov.

Older Adults: Help With Medicare Part B Available

If you, or someone you know, are having difficulty paying for prescriptions or Medicare Part B, trained MMAP Counselors are available to walk you through the application process step by step. By calling 1-800-803-7174, individuals will be routed to their local MMAP office. An additional service MMAP Counselors can offer is to explain the available Medicare Part D Prescription plans so that the consumer can make an educated decision on which plan will work best for them.

Free Weekends in Your National Parks

The U.S. National Park Service will waive entrance fees at more than 100 national parks during three special weekends this summer. Designed to promote tourism and help budget strapped families at the same time, these weekends are scheduled for June 20 & 21, July 18 & 19 and August 15 & 16. If you are thinking of packing up the car and heading out, be sure to stop by the library and& check out one of our many National Park Guidebooks.

CIA World Fact Book

CIA World Fact BookFor an overview of a specific country, try the CIA World Fact Book.  It will give you a brief history of the selected country, its main geographic features, types of natural hazards or disasters, political parties or factions, and domestic and international conflicts that are currently brewing.

GovCentral.com

ScholarshipsIf you are considering or looking for a federal government job, check out GovCentral.com.  Discover how to get a government job th

Economic Recovery Payments to Social Security Recipients

On May 7, 2009, the federal government issued the first economic recovery payments to people receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The payments are being issued on a staggered basis throughout the month of May.  If you have not received your payment by June 4, 2009, contact the Social Security offices at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security office (34010 Plymouth Road, Livonia, MI 48150) to report your payment has not arrived.

Lest We Forget Movies for Memorial Day

Memorial Day was established in 1868 following the end of the American Civil War as General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters:

II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

Over the past two centuries, wars continue to be fought, and Hollywood has immortalized them on film:

Presidential Social Networking

Social networking is all the rage and President Obama is among those getting in on the act.  In addition to the Briefing Room Blog you can follow all the happenings at The White House on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook as well as several other sites.  It all adds up to a fun way to feel connected while keeping up on current events!

An Economical Alternative to Faxing

At $1.50 for the first page and $1 per additional page for outgoing domestic faxes (international faxes are $4.95 for the first page and $3.45 per page thereafter), Canton Public Library offers self-serve faxing at reasonable rates. But did you know that in many cases, you can scan and email your document(s) for free — avoiding fax charges altogether? Canton Public Library has flatbed (letter-size) scanners you can use at no cost. Once you have your scanned documents, simply send them to the recipient from your web-based email account from the same computer you used for scanning.

Cash for Clunkers Bill

President Obama and members of the United States House of Representatives have reached an agreement on a bill that could offer as many as one million vehicle buyers a voucher for up to $4,500. Designed to help the struggling automotive industry, these vouchers could be applied to passengers cars, trucks and work vehicles. Under this plan, old passenger cars and trucks being traded in would have to get less than 18 m.p.g. Stay tuned as details are hammered out. In the meantime stop by the library to look at the Car & Driver 2009 Buyers Guide take a peek at all of the new and exciting vehicles available.