September 30 2010

Words on Weather & Climate by Craig James, September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Long Island Express  by CRAIG JAMES  In last week’s article I wrote about the extreme weather that occurred in 1888, 1896 and 1899. This week I want to take a look at the incredible hurricane that devastated New England on September 21, 1938. This is another amazing weather event most people have never heard about. Back in 1938, there was no weather radar, no satellites and no ocean buoys. Ocean weather observations came from ship reports and occasionally an aircraft. The U.S. Weather Bureau, now called the National Weather Service, knew that a storm had formed in early September just off the African coast. The storm had probably reached category five status as it passed north of the Bahamas on the 19th. Charlie Pierce, a young research forecaster for the Weather Bureau, concluded that the storm would not curve out to sea and miss the United States, as most storms in this area do, but would instead track due north. But as so often happens in many organizations, he was overruled by more senior meteorologists and the official forecast called for nothing more than cloudy skies and gusty conditions in New England. Because the official forecast contained no cause for alarm, even as the winds picked up speed and the waves rolled in, nobody realized that a catastrophe was only a few hours away. Instead of re-curving out to sea, the storm moved due north from off the coast of Virginia and accelerated in forward speed to 70 mph. In the history of hurricanes, this is the fastest known forward speed recorded. Because of its speed of movement, the storm became known as the “Long Island Express.” As residents of Long Island and southern New England looked off to the south, what they thought was a bank of fog moving north actually turned out to be the storm surge, or wall of water, over 15 feet high with waves of over 30 feet on top of the surge. Millions of tons of sea water swept entire homes and families into the sea. The impact of the storm surge was so powerful that it was actually recorded on the earthquake seismograph at Fordham University in New York City. The storm created a new inlet separating […]

Kent Theatre to present ‘Bull in a China Shop’

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Cedar Springs Community Players will be presenting the comedy/mystery “Bull in a China Shop” by C.B. Gilford on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-16. Performances will be at the Kent Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m. The action starts when a houseful of sweet little old ladies discover that a handsome bachelor lives across the street. Needless to say, they are delighted. When they learn that he is none other than Detective Dennis O’Finn of homicide, they are faced with the problem of how to attract his attention. The answer is simplicity itself: a nice, genteel homicide with a cup of tea as the murder weapon. When a brash young woman reporter begins to suspect the truth, she becomes the next target. O’Finn is terribly embarrassed when at last he discovers that he himself is the motive for these madcap goings-on and, in desperation, manages to solve the case. But the dear old ladies are too fond of him and in the end they turn the tables on him! First a short story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, later a success on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and now a stage veteran of hundreds of performances around the country, “Bull in a China Shop” continues to enchant audiences everywhere. Tickets are available at the Cedar Springs Library and Chase Bank, downtown Cedar Springs branch only. Tickets are $10 presale and $12 at the door.

Birthdays — October 2–8

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

2nd Iona Klinger, Carole Lenon, Arthur Ross, Marcia Shanken, Nancy Winks 3rd Kimberly Smith 4th Suzanne Grover, Matthew Mawby, Nicole Renee Poddig, Linda TenBrink  5th Ellie Landheer, Marion Miller  6th Rebecca Bartlett, Shirley Gilman, Michael Kunkel Jr., Donna Mitchell  7th Judy Raible  8th Sandra Doyle

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

Are my seams straight?   Getting old has a bad rap. Baldness, bad health, indigestion, and achy joints: that’s the picture. I’m experienced in the old-age department and I know those things are part of it. But another bummer is under-appreciated: the older you get, the harder it is to find people who catch on to what you’re talking about. FDR is one of my heroes, but I’m no admirer of LBJ. For younger folks: some U.S. presidents, but not all, have been tagged with their initials. Two from decades ago are Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. (How do you feel about JFK? Will we ever refer routinely to BHO?) The storage space in my office is like Fibber McGee’s closet. For younger folks: “Fibber McGee and Molly” was a popular weekly radio program in the 1930s and ‘40s. During every episode, Fibber would say he needed something out of the closet. Molly would yell, “Don’t!” just as Fibber swung open the door. For the next 30 seconds we’d hear the crashing sounds of Fibber’s junk falling out onto the floor. (Hilarious.) I see a run starting so I’d better cut my toenails. For younger folks: socks and stockings used to be part of the everyday uniform of every man and woman. It was a constant concern for women to keep their stockings un-snagged. A snag resulted in a vertical unraveling, called a “run,” regarded as unsightly. Knit fabrics (such as men’s socks) can still “run,” but nowadays we usually call any such damage a hole. (Those stockings women wore had seams up the back, another constant concern. They tended to slip off to the right or left, prompting the previous old question.  Back to the Future I watched the 1985 movie again and it illustrates how common knowledge changes constantly. (See above.) But I mention the movie mainly because it’s still really fun, 25 years later. (Recommended by me, 4 thumbs up.) That DeLorean car was the perfect vehicle to make Michael J. Fox’s name a household word and him a star. Help line Support: “Just call us back if there’s a problem. We’re open 24 hours.” Customer: “Is that Eastern time?” This could be true A woman who was removed from […]

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon, September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

Prisoners claim fraudulent tax credit  Principal Residence Exemption explained    When you go to tax seminars, you find out all kinds of information about our tax system. For example, last Friday at a seminar in Lansing, I learned some more facts about people claiming the First Time Homebuyer Credit who were not supposed to be claiming the credit. It has been a fiasco. For example, so far the Internal Revenue Service has found that 1,295 prisoners have claimed the credit. These prisoners are the ultimate first-time homebuyers, especially if they were in prison for more than the last three years. However, one of the stipulations of getting the credit is that you have to own and occupy the residence. It’s tough to occupy a residence when you are sitting in an eight-by-eight prison cell. Incredibly enough, 241 of those prisoners are in prison for the long term because they have lifetime sentences. Total fraudulent claim dollars paid out to these 1,295 prisoners was $9,100,000. A total of 10,282 claims were made on homes that were also claimed on another credit. In fact, in the worse case, there were 67 claims made on one home. Let’s do the math on that one: 10,282 times $8,000 equals $82,256,000. Total fraudulent claim dollars paid out in these 10,282 cases was $82,256,000. Finally, the IRS found that 2,555 claims were made on houses that were purchased before April 9, 2008. Only houses purchased on or after that date qualify. The total fraudulent claims made equal $17,600,000. As of now, total fraudulent claims made and paid out equal approximately $108,956,000. That’s a shocking figure. I am just stunned that these amounts were given out without better due diligence being done before the checks were issued. On a different topic, we also had a discussion of the Principal Residence Exemption (PRE). This term came into being when we passed Proposal A way back in 1994. This allows taxpayers who own and occupy their residence to be exempt from 18 mills of the local school-operating property taxes. Taxpayers file a PRE affidavit with their township or city by May 1 of the year of the claim. The local assessor then makes the adjustment on the next property tax bill sent to the […]

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