Some of the younger ones couldn’t even say the word Pakistan, but that didn’t stop them from gathering up pennies in a fundraiser to help students in another country. The Rockford Rotary fall reading Festival was a kick-off for Pennies for Peace, a district-wide collection of change to help fund schools in Pakistan. Now, nearing the end of the year deadline, the kids have collected over $2,000 and hope to reach their goal of $5,000. “It isn’t the amount of money they raised that is so inspiring,” said Cindy Kitzrow, Rockford schools director of library and media services, “It’s the fact that they are so excited to help children in another country and what they are learning about these kids.” The Pennies for Peace program was founded by mountain climber Greg Mortinson who was injured in Pakistan. Members of a village found him and brought him back to health. While recuperating, he realized the village had no school. Children there learned lessons one day a week while sitting out in the dirt. Now Mortinson encourages students in the United States to collect pennies so children in Pakistan can attend school. It costs just $5,000 a year to maintain a school in Pakistan. Kitzrow has been collecting the pennies and has heard many heartwarming stories. One girl couldn’t say the word Pakistan. When her parents came to school conferences they found out what she had been trying to tell them about. A boy from Roguewood did a neighborhood can collection and turned in the money. A girl from that school had a carnival in her house to raise pennies. At Cannonsburg Elementary, the kids performed a play for their school telling the story. A Crestwood students wrote letters to all his relatives asking for donations instead of Christmas presents. Another child donated the rolled coins she was saving to purchase an electronic game. “They are thinking about the kids who don’t have a school to go to,” said Kitzrow. She added that these schools also allow girls, unlike traditional schools in Pakistan. Also on the curriculum is learning the value of a penny in that country. One penny will buy a pencil there. Fifteen pennies can purchase a notebook. A teacher’s salary is $600. “This fit […]
December Waking in the morning, I leave the warm cocoon of bed into a cold, dark house with cold coffee. I dress, heat the coffee and enjoy a warm breakfast. It’s like being born—a new day, like a new life. Best buy One day on a radio show I heard a belittling reference to “feedbag clothes.” Just hold your horses there! A century ago most people were farmers. They had a cow, pigs and poultry. Even town folks kept a few chickens. And everybody bought feed. It came in 100-pound bags of cotton, not burlap, and certainly not paper or plastic. Just about every family made clothing out of the bags after bleaching off the trademarks. These weren’t dress clothes, but they were perfectly fine for every day. Waste not, want not. Today we get clothing from all over the world and the fabric mills in America are out of business. Clothes are still cheap, but I like the idea of getting them free with chicken feed. State news This happened a few years ago, but it’s the kind of news that bears repeating: Drug-possession defendant Christopher Johns, on trial in Pontiac, said he’d been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn’t need a warrant because a “bulge” in the defendant’s jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Johns, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge pulled a packet of cocaine out of the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself. Yearly Exam This in from a friend: Went to the doctor for my yearly physical. The nurse starts with certain basics. “How much do you weigh?” she asks.a “135,” I say. The nurse puts me on the scale. It says 180. The nurse asks, “Your height?” “5 feet 9,” I say. The nurse checks and sees that I only measure 5’4”. She then takes my blood pressure and tells me it’s very high. “Of course it’s high!” I scream. “When I came in here I was tall and slender! Now I’m short and fat!” Recession depression I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail. Hot Wheels […]
5th Carole Beckman, Isabella Grace Karrip, David Mawby, Bud Oppenneer 7th Mary Babcock, Dawn Hone, Janeen Maurer, Rose Schnipke, Joslyn TenBrink 8th Tom Pugh 9th Hazel Bond, Stacey Caylen, Joan Doyle, Julia Gould, Maxine Gould, Brenda Sagraves 10th Chris Bauer, Karen Hone, Nolan Rice, Joshua Rodrigue 11th Gary Douthett, Amanda Peckover
Tips on converting IRA to Roth IRA A topic that has come up in multiple discussions the last few weeks is the Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) situation. Specifically, it seems that every financial planner and money manager is touting the conversion of traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs and, in many instances, it makes very good sense to do so. Seldom does it make sense to pay tax on income sooner than the Internal Revenue Service requires it, so there must be some very special circumstances involved. Let’s discuss those circumstances and what exactly is meant by converting an IRA to a Roth IRA. The process starts with having an IRA. This IRA might have come from making contributions to the IRA or rolling a deferred compensation plan such as a 401k from a job to an IRA. Once the money is in the IRA, the taxpayer can convert the IRA funds into a Roth IRA. The value at the time of conversion is taxable to the taxpayer. In 2009, the conversion is fully taxable as 2009 income. However, only taxpayers with income of less than $100,000, not counting the conversion amount, are eligible to make conversions. In 2010, the rules change. First, the taxpayer can elect to pay all of the tax in 2010 for a 2010 conversion, or may elect to defer paying the tax past 2010 and pay tax on 50% of the conversion in 2011 and 50% of the conversion in 2012. Second, the $100,000 income limitation is eliminated. It is estimated that between two and three trillion dollars in IRAs will be converted to Roth IRAs in the next few years. Yes, that is TWO to THREE TRILLION dollars of conversions. The federal government is going to get an instant infusion of tax revenue of gigantic proportions. Most of this two to three trillion would potentially have been taxed at much lower rates had it been left in the IRAs and withdrawn onlyawhen required. Since required distributions only start at age 70.5, those required distributions might not have started until years down the road. What would cause people to pay taxes on two to three trillion dollars of income right now? There are a couple of reasons. First, I call […]
Offer joins Rockford Rotary Tim Offer joined the Rockford Rotary Club in September. Offer is currently the branch manager for National City Bank in Rockford. He has had this position for the past four years. Prior to branch management, Offer spent time as a personal banker at various branches throughout West Michigan. He has become active in the Rockford community, and continues to devote his time to the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford East Business Association, and Rogue River BNI. Offer graduated from Michigan State University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in general management. He is currently attending Western Michigan University earning his MBA with a focus in marketing. He is married to Ann. Animal enrichments used to keep zoo animals engaged How do you get an 800-pound bear to exercise? Dab a little honey way up high on the walls of his exhibit! This is just one little trick John Ball Zookeepers use to ensure that their animals stay interested in their surroundings, alert and, in fact, busy! With a lot of thought (and a little scheming) John Ball Zookeepers, along with zookeepers around the country, devise ways to recreate the natural conditions that the animals might encounter in the wild. This is called Animal Enrichment, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., John Ball Zoo is hosting an event all about it. Each year, John Ball Zookeepers ask the community for enrichment “presents” for the animals. This year, any guest who makes a donation of one or more animal enrichment items, will get their admission to “Christmas for the Animals” absolutely free! Christmas for the Animals also offers a free visit with Santa and his reindeer, and the animals will be receiving enrichment so people can see how it works. Without a donation the event admission is still only $3.50. For the safety and health of the animals, items must be unopened and not past the expiration date. Diabetic and sugar-free items are also needed. John Ball Zoo is located at 1300 Fulton Ave., Grand Rapids. For more information and a list of Enrichment items, visit www.johnballzoosociety.org.