May 27 2010

Birthdays — May 29–June 4, 2010

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

29th Connie Butler 30th Jill Corstange, Cass Rodriguez 31st Lee Greenland, Nicholas Hunt, Libby Rice JUNE 1st Helen Riemersma 2nd Jason Corstange, Michael Douglas, Lynsey Maharry, Sherry Palmer, Renae Venman 3rd Esther Carpenter, Barb Smith, Robert Tryon 4th Allie Hickox, Rosemary Jeruzal, Susan Laage, Irene Ryba, Anna Truman

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon — May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Can Social Security be Fixed? Last Thursday and Friday, I attended a tax conference in Traverse City. This spring conference is always held in a great location and is well attended. It’s always good to see fellow tax professionals after a long tax season and interesting to see how they fared through another arduous tax season. Our federal Congress and Michigan legislature, in their infinite wisdom, ensure that there is always a never-ending supply of subjects to be covered. Of course, some years they pass more laws than others, and this year they seem to be off to a particularly good start, especially the federal Congress. I think they want all of us tax professionals to stay in business forever.  At these conferences, since it is two days long, we are afforded the luxury of covering a few new subjects and also a myriad of “old” subjects. The more proficient we can be in these old subjects, the better level of service we can give to our clients. One of the old subjects we covered was the topic of Social Security.  Tax professionals like me answer questions all year long on various aspects of Social Security. As we ourselves are getting older, our clientele is also getting older. According to the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), the average tax professional in the United States is 56 years old.  In Michigan, the 800+ NATP members average 57 years old. What this means is we tax professionals have just as much of a vested interest in the Social Security system as our clients do. We are all in the same boat.  If the Social Security system goes belly-up, that’s a problem of epic proportions. Since a significant portion of many taxpayers’ retirement income will come from Social Security, it’s in our national best interest to keep the system solvent and afloat. There are a number of reasons the system is going bankrupt. There are a number of fixes that the government can make that will prolong the time at which Social Security might go bankrupt.  Over the next few weeks, I will look at these reasons and these fixes. At the same time, in order to help our clients, we have to be able to answer […]

RHS student receives scholarship to visit China

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford High School (RHS) junior Colin McWatters has been awarded a 2010-11 National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) scholarship to study Chinese in Shanghai this summer through the U.S. Department of State (NSLI for Youth). McWatters has been studying Mandarin Chinese for three years at RHS. The NSLI-Y Summer Institute of Chinese Language and Culture aims to provide an immersion learning environment in which students will significantly improve language proficiency and enhance cross-cultural competence and communicative skills. Specifically, the summer institute will employ a carefully designed mix of learning activities including in-class intensive Mandarin Chinese instruction at all levels, lectures on Chinese history and culture focusing on the modern and contemporary periods, home stays with Chinese families, interaction with Chinese student “buddies” from local colleges and high schools, volunteer activities centered on environmental awareness and Sichuan Earthquake relief, a study trip to Beijing to reinforce classroom instruction, cultural excursions in and around Shanghai, and a visit to the Shanghai 2010 World Expo. The theme of the proposed Summer Institute is “Understanding Modern China—Tradition and Transformation” with special emphasis on China’s emerging popular culture, with guest lectures from well-known directors, film stars, musicians and cultural figures. Participants will gain insight into important social forces in contemporary China to help them build bridges between their own interests in American popular culture and the popular cultural interests of typical high school students in China. RHS Chinese teacher Jeff Hayes stated, “According to the U.S. State Department, Mandarin Chinese is the most difficult language for English speakers to master. The fact that Colin has continued to study the language throughout his high school experience and has been awarded a national scholarship to study abroad in China for a summer attests to his skill and dedication. Needless to say, Colin is both bright and hard-working, and I am extremely proud of his accomplishments so far.” Hayes has been to China several times over the past 11 years. “Going to China is always an eye-opening experience,” said Hayes, “because the country is changing so quickly. Colin is going to Shanghai, which is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in China. It’s like New York City only much larger.” Rockford’s Chinese program was the first public school Chinese program in West Michigan. RHS […]

Letters to the Editor

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

Friends of the White Pine Trail thanks Squire Dear Editor (Beth), Thanks so much for all your coverage of the Friends of the White Pine Trail organization’s activities. Your mentions of our New Years Resolution Walks always bring out large crowds. When you provide coverage at our dedication events and philanthropic check donation ceremonies, as well as the recent Comcast Cares Day, it gives our group unbelievable credibility and makes working with our legislators a lot easier. The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail benefits so many people and the communities they live in. Thank you for recognizing that and for helping to promote the Trail and our efforts! Dave Heyboer Chairman of the Friends of the White Pine Trail

Words on Weather & Climate — May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Great Global Warming Blunder Every time I go into a bookstore or library, I can’t get past the first display without noticing all the new books about the so-called catastrophe of global warming. Is there anything available that supports what I consider to be the more correct point of view? Yes, there are quite a few, you just have to look a little harder to find them. A new book, called The Great Global Warming Blunder, has just been released by Dr. Roy Spencer. Dr. Spencer co-developed the original satellite method for precise monitoring of global temperatures from Earth-orbiting satellites and publishes one of only two global satellite temperature records at his web site: He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming. His latest book is a non-technical description of new peer reviewed and soon-to-be-published research which supports the opinion that a majority of Americans already hold: that warming in recent decades is mostly due to a natural cycle in the climate system — not to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning. Here is how he describes it: “Believe it or not, this potential natural explanation for recent warming has never been seriously researched by climate scientists. The main reason they have ignored this possibility is that they cannot think of what might have caused it. You see, climate researchers are rather myopic. They think that the only way for global-average temperatures to change is for the climate system to be forced ‘externally’…by a change in the output of the sun, or by a large volcanic eruption. These are events which occur external to the normal, internal operation of the climate system. But what they have ignored is the potential for the climate system to cause its own climate change. Climate change is simply what the system does, owing to its complex, dynamic, chaotic internal behavior. As I travel around the country, I find that the public instinctively understands the possibility that there are natural climate cycles. Unfortunately, it is the climate “experts” who have difficulty grasping the concept. This is why I am taking my case to the public in this book. The climate research community long ago took the wrong fork in […]

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