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Horoscope • 12-05-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 15:44

 

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Adopt-A-Pet • 11-28-12 | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:48

 

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The Forum Crossword • 11-28-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:43

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Adopt-A-Pet • 11-21-12 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:57

 

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The Forum Crossword • 11-21-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:39

 

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Horoscope • 11-21-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:37

 

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Adopt-A-Pet • 11-14-12 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 15:33

 

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The Forum Crossword • 11-14-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 15:18

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The Forum Crossword • 11-07-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 16:50

 

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Adopt-A-Pet • 11-07-12 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:28

 

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Tax Breaks, Benefits for Military Families | Print |  E-mail
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Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:24


By Jason Alderman
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM




As we honor our armed forces this Veterans Day, let’s also acknowledge the financial challenges they and their families often face, both while in service and after discharge.

 

Fortunately, service members needn’t go it alone: Many tax benefits, social services and financial assistance programs are available to help.

 

 

Special tax benefits for active duty personnel include:

 

•If you move because of a permanent change of station, you may be able to deduct unreimbursed moving expenses.

 

•If you serve in a combat zone for any part of a month, any military pay you received during that month is not considered taxable income.

 

•You can also include nontaxable combat pay as “earned income” when claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit for low- to moderate-income earners.

 

•Deadlines for filing tax returns, paying taxes, filing refund claims and taking other actions with the IRS are automatically extended for qualifying military members.

 

•Joint tax returns generally must be signed by both spouses. But, when one spouse is unavailable due to military duty, you may use a power of attorney to file a joint return.

 

•If you’re an armed forces reserves member, you can deduct unreimbursed travel expenses for travel more than 100 miles from home to perform reserve duties.

 

•As you transition to civilian life, you may be able to deduct certain job-hunting costs.

 

•Most military installations offer free tax-filing and preparation assistance during and/or after tax filing season.

 

•The IRS’s Armed Forces’ Tax Guide provides an excellent summary of many important military-related tax topics (www.irs.gov).

 

A few suggestions and precautions for military families facing financial challenges:

 

•Each base command offers free financial specialists to discuss personal finances and help with budgeting; many banks and credit unions also offer these services.

 

•Each military branch has a relief society and many grant emergency loans. Turn to them first before taking out a payday loan.

 

•Check-cashing outlets, pawn shops and other lenders are prohibited from charging more than 36 percent interest to military families for payday loans.

 

•If you do go off-base for financial assistance, you’re responsible for disclosing your military status in order to receive military rates.

 

•Before signing loan documents, make sure you fully understand all conditions (annual percentage rate, monthly payment amount, fees, penalties, etc.) Don’t hesitate to take the paperwork home to think it over or consult with a financial advisor.

 

•Avoid pawn shop loans that use your car’s title as collateral. Besides paying a very high rate, missing a payment could cost you ownership of your car.

 

Many governmental and private organizations provide financial information aimed at the special needs of the military, including:

 

•The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs (www.consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers) features a variety of financial planning tools.

 

•Military OneSource (www.militaryonesource.mil) helps service members and families juggle such concerns as money management, spouse employment, education, parenting, childcare, relocation and deployment.

 

•SaveAndInvest.org, a financial education program created by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to improve military members’ saving and investing knowledge (www.saveandinvest.org/MilitaryCenter).

 

•The GI Bill provides a broad range of education benefits for veterans (www.gibill.va.gov).

 

•The government provides an intensive, three-day Transition Assistance Program for separating or retiring service members and spouses to ease reentry into the civilian workplace (www.taonline.com/TAPOffice).

 

It’s vital that our military understand the benefits available to them â“ as well as the financial pitfalls to which they may be vulnerable.

 

 

Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs.

 


 
Art Around Town: Gladding Gallery | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:19

 

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“Sentinel Tree” by Castro Valley artist Bev Lindsay, part of the exhibit “Brushstrokes” at the Gladding Gallery at the Adobe Art Center until the end of December. The Gladding Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday - Saturday.

 

 

 


By Winda Shimizu
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM


 

There is a lot of conversation about buying local produce, knowing where our food comes from and how it is produced.

 

But how about buying and promoting local art, getting to know local artists and how these masterpieces come to be.

 

A.R.T., Inc.’s mission is to promote local and creative artists that produce outstanding works that are displayed throughout Castro Valley and adjacent communities.

 

The recently remodeled Gladding Gallery at the Adobe Art Center displays “Brushstrokes,” 11 amazing oil and acrylic paintings by Castro Valley resident Bev Lindsay.

 

You can also view more of Lindsay’s watercolors at Bank of the West in Castro Village until the end of December. Both shows will delight your senses.

 

Next door to the Gladding Gallery, the Adobe Art Gallery is presenting the 35th Annual Area Artists’ Juried Exhibit, showcasing pieces from 75 local artists through Dec. 1

 

“I was struck immediately by the great variety and high energy of the works in general, and I have to confess that I would have liked to take a few home with me,” said Janet Jones, juror of the exhibit at the Adobe Art Gallery. “I would have had to give a dozen more honorable mentions in order to do justice to all the work that really spoke to me.”

 

The Mona Froyland award was presented to Patricia Devitt’s oil, “New Growth.” Merit awards went to Judy Calder, Robert Chavez, Phil Denst, Takako Hickey, C. Lee, Edward Ortman and Elizabeth Zunio.

 

Honorable mentions went to Myriam Espinosa Aguirre, Robert Chavez, Patricia Devitt, Takako Hickey, Kate Jordahl, Collen McCrystle, Maude Pervere and Victoria Sheridian.

 

And there are more exhibits to enjoy: Attila Czigleni at the Castro Valley Library until Jan. 3; Pat Devitt at Dino’s Restaurant until Dec. 3; Ellen Bailey and Barbara Berner at the Kenneth Aitken Community Center until Feb. 12, with an artists’ talk at 11 a.m. this Tuesday, Nov. 13; and Stanley Stadelman and Michael Belew at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center until Nov. 17.

 

What a blessing it is to be surrounded by a quality group of artists.  Local art, local venues, and local art enthusiasts that are eager to experience the creativity that is produced right in our town.

 

 

Winda Shimizu is publicist for AR.T., Inc. For more art activities and information visit www.artinc.org.



 
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