Madison County Memorial Hospital has cancelled the Pig in the Park Bar-B-Que contest scheduled for Friday, April 20, during Down Home Days. The contest was sponsored by the hospital.
Archive for April 2012
By Mark Buescher, C.P.A.
Tax filing season is finally over and our office lights on Range Avenue here in Madison are no longer shining until late at night. But as the dust settles, a concern among taxpayers seems to be growing more and more each year. That concern is identity theft.
Consumers should protect themselves against online identity theft and other scams that increase during—and after—the filing season. Such scams may appropriate the name, logo, or other appurtenances of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead taxpayers into believing the communication is legitimate. In fact, right here in Madison County, I know through various sources of at least eight taxpayers this year who have had fraudulent tax returns filed on their behalf.
The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication appear more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams is to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your information – like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers – to commit identity theft or steal your money.
Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. Further, the IRS does not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via e-mail or use e-mail to solicit sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers. The IRS does not request financial account security information, such as passwords and PIN numbers, from taxpayers.
Most scams impersonating the IRS are identity theft schemes. In this type of scam, the scammer poses as a legitimate institution to trick consumers into revealing personal and financial information – such as passwords and Social Security, PIN, bank account and credit card numbers – that can be used to gain access to their bank, credit card, or other financial accounts.
Attempted identity theft scams that take place via e-mail are known as phishing. Other scams may try to persuade a victim to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a larger gain. These are known as advance fee scams.
Here is how an identity theft scam works. Typically, a consumer will receive an e-mail that claims to come from the IRS or Treasury Department. The message will contain an enticing or intimidating subject line, such as “Tax Refund,” “Inherited Funds,” or “IRS Notice.” Usually, the message will state that the recipient needs to provide the IRS with information to obtain the refund or avoid some penalty.
The message will instruct the consumer to open an attachment or click on a link in the e-mail. This may lead to an official-looking IRS Web site. The look-alike site will then contain a phony but genuine-looking online form or interactive application that requires personal and financial information, which the scammer then uses to commit identity theft.
Alternatively, the clicked link may secretly download malware to the consumer’s computer. Malware is malicious code that can take over the computer’s hard drive, giving the scammer remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scammer.
In reality, taxpayers do not need to complete a special form to obtain their federal tax refund. Refunds are triggered by the tax return they submitted to the IRS.
The contents of other IRS-impersonation scams vary but may claim that the recipient will be paid for participating in an online survey or is under investigation or audit. Some scam e-mails have referenced Recovery-related tax provisions, such as Making Work Pay, or solicited for charitable donations to victims of natural disasters. Taxpayers should beware of an e-mail scam that references underreported income and the recipient’s “tax statement,” since clicking on a link or opening an attachment is known to download malware onto the recipient’s computer.
Nevertheless, scams involving the IRS are on the rise and literally involve tens of thousands of taxpayers. Consumers who believe they are or may be victims of identity theft or other scams may visit the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website for guidance on what to do. The IRS is one of the sponsors of this site.
Mark Buescher, CPA is owner and principal of Buescher and Ruff, LLC, a local full service accounting firm in Madison, specializing in tax preparation and planning, business consulting and assurance services. Tax laws contain varying effective dates and numerous limitations and exemptions that cannot be summarized easily. For details and guidance for your specific situation, contact your tax advisor.
By Diann Douglas
When it comes to money, you are in the driver’s seat and it is up to you to manage all of your resources. Where does your money go? Do you let it slip out of your hands or do you control it? During Financial Literacy Month, make an effort to take charge of your money and other resources to achieve your goals and get from where you are to where you want to be.
If you want to control your money, first distinguish between “needs and wants,” consider your values, goals and all of your resources. It is ok to have a list of “wants”, we usually don’t have enough money to pay the bills and purchase all of the things we want. It becomes necessary to cover basic needs, then prioritize those “wants” and make a plan to acquire things one at a time.
You can save up to 15 % of your take home pay by making and following a spending plan that covers your fixed expenses, flexible expenses, and funds for emergencies and future goals. Another 25 to 30 % can be cut by shopping with a list, and doing comparative shopping before you make a purchase. Look at flexible spending categories and find ways to cut back, then direct the difference toward savings or paying off debts.
In these economic times, the price of gas and transportation takes a big chunk out of our budgets. Stretch your transportation dollars by keeping your automobile in good shape. Get regular maintenance and service checkups and use your care owner’s manual to plan maintenance. Make your car last longer by taking care of it and you will delay the need for purchasing a newer vehicle.
Spend less by taking care of what you already have, whether it’s clothing, appliances or your home; regular maintenance keeps you from making big repairs that cost big money. Use care – recycle, remodel and recreate. Use your skills to repair or trade off with someone who has the skills you don’t. For example, a friend or relative might be able to do a roof repair for you if you do the painting job at their house.
Food is another spending category that can be controlled if you plan in advance. Buy only what you will use within a week and eliminate food waste. . The average family wastes about 20 % of their food through improper storage; buying too much and then eat out all week or not using leftovers. Just think about all of those science projects in the back of the refrigerator you have to throw out. Next time you clean out the refrigerator, add up the cost you are putting into the garbage can. Plan meals and snacks around weekly sales, start preparing more food at home and you will spend less on food.
Manage credit wisely. If you use credit, try to buy at the start of the billing cycle so you won’t be billed for 25 days and charge only what you can pay off. Pay the bill in full to save the interest fees. Try operating on a cash only basis for a couple of months while you work on paying down those credit card debts.
Check your spending habits. Do you waste money? We often spend more than we think and money slips our wallets without much thought. Try this exercise – for one week, whenever you take your wallet out, write down how much you spend. You may be shocked at the amount of money that leaves your pocket each week. We call these small amounts spending leaks, and they can add up to large amounts over time. Remember, a dollar a day saved is $365.00 a year.
Money control is in your hands. It’s up to you to manage your resources and direct money where you want it to go. For more information on how you can cut costs and take charge of your money, contact the Madison County Extension Service.
The IFAS/University of Florida Extension – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.
I had been having trouble sleeping since I got out of the hospital in December.
At first, I blamed it on the hospital, since they send nurses in during the night and poke you. Some even would wake me in the middle of the night and give me a chocolate milkshake named Glucerna, because my sugar had dropped way too low. Nurses. Nurses. Nurses. Can’t a man have any peace?
After I got over blaming it on the nurses, I blamed it on a friend who would text me all through the night. I couldn’t really blame it on her, though, could I? My cell phone does have an off button, doesn’t it? The fact is, I was texting her back also.
After the texting between me and my friend came to a halt, I had no one to blame it on. I still could not sleep.
I tried reading. I tried counting sheep. I even tried counting my many blessings but nothing would help me sleep.
I tried melatonin, which had always helped in the past. It did not work. I went to the doctor and she prescribed trazadone. Still, it did not work.
One night, I was playing with my iPod Touch, looking at different apps, when I discovered an app called Bible.is. I downloaded the app, excited that I had something to read the Bible to me during the day.
When I went to bed, I thought, “I’m going to try something.” I put my ear buds in and began listening to the Bible. I left them in all through the night and slept like a baby. The next night, I did the same.
I thank God that I was able to discover this app and there is nothing better than going to sleep hearing the words of God in your ear and then waking up to them each morning.
By Nell Dobbs
How blessed we are for Preacher Law, his message, his sayings and the experiences of his life. He spoke of “saints and ain’ts” He gives us things to think about. His message was “Saved and Sure – Safe and Secure” from Romans 10:9-10. We can be sure we are saved and saved forevermore. He was the youngest of eight – five girls and three boys – and when one of them would chase him for his nickel, he’d run to his dad who would ask him where it was. “In my hand.” “Put your hand in mine,” his father said, and he knew it was secure. We likewise know we are secure in the Father’s Hand.
How good to see a full choir. Their special was from the cantata, “Behold He Comes.”
Bless Jim as he’s to have had knee surgery Thursday and bless all the many other ill ones, including Peggy Drummond.
Marjell’s mother always worried about him being on the sea – in the Navy on LST 1027, during World War II and then 25 years sailing on the Sun Oil tanker around the world. She would also tell him when she needed him he couldn’t be there – but we were – only because his 15-year-old nephew was accidentally killed in Starke March 31. We came home from Pennsylvania and were still here when she had a massive heart attack on April 18 and died at 62. That night, he wrote this poem:
Soft rain in our life has now fallen and left our home so lonely and drear,
A gentle voice in Heaven was calling, “Welcome Home,”
Sad was your leaving, Mama.
A link in the family chain is now broken,
We’ll think of soft words and sweet phrases left forever unspoken.
Please, burn a beacon or light a candle for me
In a window of your cabin built
By the Carpenter from Galilee.
Not till a few days ago did it come to me to wish we had used the words when he died Aug. 12, 2008, for his “mother to burn a candle for him in a window of her cabin built by the Carpenter from Galilee.”
Perhaps getting older, perhaps so many deaths have caused me to think of dying plus the certainty of death because it is appointed unto a man once to die.
There are many opportunities to obey God:
to feed the poor
to tell the Good News
to be good soldiers
to visit those in prison though there are stipulations
to meet all the needs we can
to visit the widows and the orphans (a special thanks to Archie and Patsy Davis as they gave me a ride to church Sunday)
to pray for doctors and nurses in all medical fields
to help all school children and all involved in educating them.
to give to the Lottie Moon Easter offering to reach our goal of $2,800
to pray for and support a special fundraiser breakfast for Kristen Parks this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. for her mission trip to Haiti
to pray for sad ones for any reason, for all reasons.
Think about Jesus feeding 5,000 men plus women and children because one little boy shared his lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish with 12 baskets left over. Truly a miracle.
Lord, help us do what we can, please. Amen!
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Jimmy Lyons spent a large portion of his life in the Madison area before moving to Lake City. He was born in 1951 in the Madison Hospital. Lyons lived in the same house for the entirety of his life in Lee. The house was located across from the Lee City Hall. That is where he called home until 1978 when he moved to Lake City. Growing up Lyon’s attended Lee Junior High School. He then went to Madison High School.
He remembers a time back in 1958 when an old bearded man came through Lee. Lyons was only seven years old at the time. Everyone in town called the bearded man “the goat man.” That name came from the fact that he had about a dozen goats with him while he was traveling. Lyons remembers that where the lee mini market is there used to be a billboard and the Goat Man stopped there and tied his goats up to that billboard. The Goat Man spent the weekend there in Lee a Friday through a Monday. The Goat Man told everyone in Lee that he was going to run for president in 1960 and that he had a lawyer working to get him on the ballot. He also said he was a preacher as well and would read scriptures during the day. Lyon’s said, “It was very exciting that a man was there with a heard of goats that was saying he was running for president.” He also recalled that the man had a covered wagon.
Lyons also remembers that around 1964, behind Cherry’s Feed Store, there was an old voting house. That was where the town council met. Also, there was an old two-room brick jail beside the voting house. Lyons recalled that Lee used to have a town “Night Watchman” named Arthur Williams. Williams was just like a police officer but he was very incognito. If anyone had to be locked up he was the one to take them in. The people would be locked up in the two-room city jail until they could get them to Madison. “I would play there a lot when I was little and I have been in there many times and remember seeing holes in the walls from the prisoners trying to escape,” shared Lyons.
Another memory occurred in the early 1960s where Archie’s restaurant sits today. Back then Roy Smith opened what most people believe to be was Lee’s first hamburger place. It was called Roy’s Snack Bar.
“Traffic was so heavy in Lee at Hwy 90 that I remember times when I thought I would never be able to cross the road. Also, there was an S curve in Lee. That curve was called second worst curve in the State of Florida for accidents. When it would rain, my brother and I would ride out there and watch for wrecks and there would almost always be one,” remembered Lyons.
In 1964, Tommy and Mary Ellen Greene opened the Carrier in downtown Madison. In 1968, Lyons started writing the Lee news for the Madison County Carrier. He would take a lot of pictures of wrecks and write up stories about what was happening in Lee. That was from 1969 until 1970. His column was called the Lee News.
In 1972, Lyons was the Lee fire chief. “We had no members back then though. We had a fire truck with a half tank on it. Money was so tight that when I would get called for a fire I would have to pull my truck up and jump the fire truck off. I know it is hard to imagine. But that is how it was. I am so proud of where the Lee Fire Department is now.”
Some other memories that Lyons has include, “There was an old cotton gin back beside Cherry’s Feed Store. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember it being there. Also, In 1973, there was a large flood that flooded the river. Water was all over Lee. Behind Lee School looked like an ocean. It was very scary.“
Lyons married his wife, Sharon, in 1986 and they currently have a farm in Lake City. Lyons retired from law enforcement in 2006 from the Columbia County Sheriffs Office. “But I still own the house I grew up in in Lee. To this day I go over there and sit on the porch and reminisce.“
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Becky’s Dance Steps Studios will present its dancers giving a preview of their upcoming recital during Down Home Days on Friday, April 20.
The dance begins at 6 p.m.
This year’s recital will be called “Showtime in the South.” Dancers from each age group will perform at least one of their dances from the recital on Friday evening.
“Come early and bring your lawn chair,” urged Becky Robinson, owner of Becky’s Dance Steps. “There will be no where to sit.”
Join the dancers for a memorable performance this Friday, April 20, at 6 p.m. on Pinckney Street, right in front of the Courthouse Annex.