ABC Newspapers http://abcnewspapers.com Local News from The Anoka County Union, Blaine Spring Lake Park Life and The Coon Rapids Herald Thu, 28 May 2015 15:32:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 County Board approves arbitration award for dispatcher unit http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/county-board-approves-arbitration-award-for-dispatcher-unit/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/county-board-approves-arbitration-award-for-dispatcher-unit/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 15:32:39 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159844 An arbitration award on six unresolved issues in negotiations between Anoka County and Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc., representing the dispatcher unit, was approved by the Anoka County Board April 14.

This is the first contract between the county and its 35 dispatchers, who unionized in November 2013. It covers 2014 and 2015.

According to Scott Lepak of the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd., the county’s chief labor negotiator, the parties reached agreement on all but six issues: pay plan, wages, merit pay, shift leader pay, shift bidding and paid meal breaks.

Those were submitted for arbitration to the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services. Arbitrator James Laumeyer wrote in his ruling that the dispatchers are classified as essential employees and are not able to strike, but they have the right to request interest arbitration.

On the pay plan issue, Laumeyer sided with the county that the dispatchers should be compensated on the county’s general pay plan, not on a step and performance-based system similar to that in place for some sheriff’s office employee groups as requested by the union.

The county’s position of no general wage adjustment for 2014 and 2015 was awarded by the arbitrator because no general increase had been provided to 95 percent of county employees in those two years. The union proposed a 4 percent hike each year.

But on merit pay, Laumeyer sided with the union, which proposed a 3 percent merit increase each year, while the county’s position was up to 2 percent each year, based on internal and external considerations, according to Lepak.

On shift leader pay, the arbitrator took the county’s side in that shift leader pay should not apply until the employee has worked for at least 3 1/2 hours – the union wanted no hour qualifier – but awarded the union’s 5 percent pay differential over the county’s 3 percent proposal.

The arbitrator agreed with the county that the contract should include no language requiring seniority in shift bidding or paid meal breaks as sought by the dispatchers, who proposed that shifts be bid based on seniority and they should receive a 30-minute paid lunch break, Lepak told the County Board in his report.

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46 graduate from PACT Charter School http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/46-graduate-from-pact-charter-school/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/46-graduate-from-pact-charter-school/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:00:58 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159833 The PACT Charter School graduation ceremony May 22 was a celebration of all the class of 2015 has accomplished.

Forty-six earned diplomas from the Ramsey school this year. In addition to a high school diploma, 12 also acquired an associate degree through Postsecondary Enrollment Options.

Kevin Breimhurst was valedictorian of the class, and Jenna Bush was salutatorian.

Breimhurst, captain of the baseball and soccer teams, spoke about lessons learned on the field and in the classroom.

He ended with advice to classmates from famous baseball player Babe Ruth: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

In her speech, Bush urged her fellow graduates to remember that as they make decisions, God is watching over them.

“God’s ultimate plan for you never changes,” Bush said.

Social studies teacher Rob Ledo was this year’s faculty speaker.

He told students they were ready to take their next steps, especially if they remain honest, make careful choices and, as poet Walt Whitman suggests, contribute a verse to the play of life.

Students honored their parents by presenting them with a red rose during the ceremony. As they got up out of their chairs to find their parents, a recording of the class singing “You Are My Sunshine” and “What a Wonderful World” at a Valentine’s tea in third grade played.

“The involvement of parents in our school is crucial to the success of our students,” Nyquist said. “I know that there are many parents wondering where did the time go.”

After students collected their diplomas, the class of 2015 was formally presented as black, red and white balloons fell from the ceiling.

Students processed out of the gymnasium, high-fiving teachers as they went.

From left, 2015 PACT Charter School graduates Monica Graffunder, Bethany Olson, Kaiah Callaghan, Louisa Goncharenko, Gabrielle Gutzkow and Jordyn Gustafson pose for a photo. Photos by Olivia Alveshere Salutatorian Jenna Bush processes in to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Samantha Gustafson sings “You Raise Me Up” during the graduation ceremony May 22. Valedictorian Kevin Breimhurst gives his address at graduation. The class of 2015 laughs at childhood photos included in a graduation slide show. Secondary Director Josh Nyquist presents Derek Stone with his diploma. Balloons fall from the ceiling as the graduates are presented. Brianna Atchison high-fives teachers after the graduation ceremony. Naomi Miller hugs friends and family after the ceremony.

olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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Excuses for Slow GDP Growth http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/excuses-for-slow-gdp-growth/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/excuses-for-slow-gdp-growth/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:30:03 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=e038f9a88b094a065272babd6903fcf5 The weather has done it again. For the second year in a row, officialdom blames bad winter weather for blah first-quarter economic growth. But this excuse doesn’t wash. Stimulus hasn’t worked.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in late April reported annualized growth of a piddling 0.2% for the first quarter of 2015. The culprit, of course, is not bad policy, but bad weather, if you believe the Federal Reserve Board.

Last year, the economy would have boomed during the first quarter, no doubt, if not for the “polar vortex.” But instead it shrunk by more than 2% (experts use the oxymoron “negative growth”). The same people who believe that will likely believe that the U.S. economy would have boomed during the first-quarter of 2015 if not for the dreadful winter.

The April reading was the BLS’s first take. Its next estimate for the first quarter GDP is due out tomorrow.

At least no one’s using the term “polar vortex” to describe the non-stop snowfall that hit much of America this past winter. And this year’s first-quarter growth is multiples better than last year’s first quarter mini-recession.

Winter may be over, but the economy remains cooled. The Fed is likely hoping for monsoons, tidal waves and earthquakes over the next few quarters to rationalize yet more non-growth in an economy that falls short of Fed projections. 

Per the chart below, the Fed has been overly optimistic about economic growth for each of the past four years – and that streak is likely to continue this year, given first-quarter performance.

Fed predictions for the future continue to be rose-colored, but not as rosy as they were previously, based on the Fed policy statement issued recently.

“Federal Reserve policy makers said some of the headwinds holding back the U.S. will probably fade and give way to ‘moderate’ growth,” Bloomberg reported. Maybe the Fed considers 0.3% annualized growth to be “moderate,” since it would be a 50% improvement over the first quarter.

Other factors cited as affecting economic growth include:

  • The strengthening dollar, which the end of quantitative easing (central bank bond buying) boosted here and the beginning of QE in other countries.
  • Lower oil prices, resulting in a slowdown in the energy sector – the one sector of the economy that has been thriving in recent years.
  • Dock worker strikes on the West Coast, which disrupted exports. Maybe the economy slowed down to demonstrate solidarity with the dock workers.

In its policy statement, the Fed said the slowdown was due, “in part” to “transitory factors.” So the economy has stumbled along, not even hitting 3% growth for nine years and we’re supposed to attribute the current economic state to transitory factors. When something is transitory, you expect it to change after a brief period. Our economic doldrums have been anything but transitory.

As The Wall Street Journal put it, “Transitory or not, growth sure was lousy.”

The Fed may have been referring to oil prices, which dropped to the point where the booming oil shale industry stopped booming. But even if oil prices return to higher levels (they edged up lately), the industry can’t just flip a switch and resume drilling.

And ironically, falling oil prices were the one bright spot for American consumers, giving them more disposable income and causing consumer spending to increase – although apparently not enough to boost economic growth.

It should be clear to anyone who is not a member of the Federal Open Market Committee that Fed policy is not working. The Fed’s twin mandate has been to maximize employment and stabilize prices, which for some reason it interprets as boosting the rate of inflation to 2%.

After trillions in bond buying and years of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), it has accomplished neither. Inflation in the U.S. has been minimal and is likely to stay that way, given that the dollar has strengthened considerably, making imports cheaper. Maybe the Fed should declare victory and move on, since cheaper prices, combined with increasing income (however tepid) finally should boost consumer spending.

And while the unemployment rate has dropped considerably, the drop is largely due to millions of Americans having given up looking for work.

“One reason the jobless rate has fallen to 5.5% is because so many people have left the workforce,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The labor participation rate has plunged to 1978 levels during this supposedly splendid expansion. Most economists acknowledge that if the participation rate had stayed constant, the jobless rate would still be close to 8%.”

When headwinds prevail, those who are steering the boat have two choices. They can continue to move full force into the headwinds and get nowhere – or they can change direction. Changing direction would be the wiser choice today.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The weather has done it again. For the second year in a row, officialdom blames bad winter weather for blah first-quarter economic growth. But this excuse doesn’t wash. Stimulus hasn’t worked.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in late April reported annualized growth of a piddling 0.2% for the first quarter of 2015. The culprit, of course, is not bad policy, but bad weather, if you believe the Federal Reserve Board.

Last year, the economy would have boomed during the first quarter, no doubt, if not for the “polar vortex.” But instead it shrunk by more than 2% (experts use the oxymoron “negative growth”). The same people who believe that will likely believe that the U.S. economy would have boomed during the first-quarter of 2015 if not for the dreadful winter.

The April reading was the BLS’s first take. Its next estimate for the first quarter GDP is due out tomorrow.

At least no one’s using the term “polar vortex” to describe the non-stop snowfall that hit much of America this past winter. And this year’s first-quarter growth is multiples better than last year’s first quarter mini-recession.

Winter may be over, but the economy remains cooled. The Fed is likely hoping for monsoons, tidal waves and earthquakes over the next few quarters to rationalize yet more non-growth in an economy that falls short of Fed projections. 

Per the chart below, the Fed has been overly optimistic about economic growth for each of the past four years – and that streak is likely to continue this year, given first-quarter performance.

Fed predictions for the future continue to be rose-colored, but not as rosy as they were previously, based on the Fed policy statement issued recently.

“Federal Reserve policy makers said some of the headwinds holding back the U.S. will probably fade and give way to ‘moderate’ growth,” Bloomberg reported. Maybe the Fed considers 0.3% annualized growth to be “moderate,” since it would be a 50% improvement over the first quarter.

Other factors cited as affecting economic growth include:

  • The strengthening dollar, which the end of quantitative easing (central bank bond buying) boosted here and the beginning of QE in other countries.
  • Lower oil prices, resulting in a slowdown in the energy sector – the one sector of the economy that has been thriving in recent years.
  • Dock worker strikes on the West Coast, which disrupted exports. Maybe the economy slowed down to demonstrate solidarity with the dock workers.

In its policy statement, the Fed said the slowdown was due, “in part” to “transitory factors.” So the economy has stumbled along, not even hitting 3% growth for nine years and we’re supposed to attribute the current economic state to transitory factors. When something is transitory, you expect it to change after a brief period. Our economic doldrums have been anything but transitory.

As The Wall Street Journal put it, “Transitory or not, growth sure was lousy.”

The Fed may have been referring to oil prices, which dropped to the point where the booming oil shale industry stopped booming. But even if oil prices return to higher levels (they edged up lately), the industry can’t just flip a switch and resume drilling.

And ironically, falling oil prices were the one bright spot for American consumers, giving them more disposable income and causing consumer spending to increase – although apparently not enough to boost economic growth.

It should be clear to anyone who is not a member of the Federal Open Market Committee that Fed policy is not working. The Fed’s twin mandate has been to maximize employment and stabilize prices, which for some reason it interprets as boosting the rate of inflation to 2%.

After trillions in bond buying and years of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), it has accomplished neither. Inflation in the U.S. has been minimal and is likely to stay that way, given that the dollar has strengthened considerably, making imports cheaper. Maybe the Fed should declare victory and move on, since cheaper prices, combined with increasing income (however tepid) finally should boost consumer spending.

And while the unemployment rate has dropped considerably, the drop is largely due to millions of Americans having given up looking for work.

“One reason the jobless rate has fallen to 5.5% is because so many people have left the workforce,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The labor participation rate has plunged to 1978 levels during this supposedly splendid expansion. Most economists acknowledge that if the participation rate had stayed constant, the jobless rate would still be close to 8%.”

When headwinds prevail, those who are steering the boat have two choices. They can continue to move full force into the headwinds and get nowhere – or they can change direction. Changing direction would be the wiser choice today.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Willy McCoys replacing Tanners Station in Andover http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/willy-mccoys-replacing-tanners-station-in-andover/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/willy-mccoys-replacing-tanners-station-in-andover/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 12:30:30 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159830 Willy McCoys should be open by mid-July in the old Tanners Station location in Andover next to Andover Cinema and Andover Lanes, according to Willy McCoys’ owner Tom DeQuattro.

The inside of the old Tanners Station in Andover is being remodeled for a new Willy McCoys restaurant. It will be the fourth location for this franchise, owned by Andover resident Tom DeQuattro, and is slated to open in July. Photo by Eric Hagen

The inside of the old Tanners Station in Andover is being remodeled for a new Willy McCoys restaurant. It will be the fourth location for this franchise, owned by Andover resident Tom DeQuattro, and is slated to open in July. Photo by Eric Hagen

Tanners Station closed April 26 after 15 years in business. Those who frequented Tanners Station will notice a drastic difference.

Following his purchase of the property DeQuattro and his construction crew gutted the interior of the restaurant. Old chandeliers which are already sold but are still hanging from the ceiling are one of the last remnants of this former Andover business. A glass mirror displaying the Tanners Station name and one old tube television perched in the far corner of the old dining room area has yet to be removed.

The old flooring is completely gone and all one level now. The new bar area will be in the old dining area that was sunken down in a recessed level. Where Tanners Station had its bar will be the new dining room area for Willy McCoys, DeQuattro said.

“One of the biggest complaints I had with the old Tanners was the bar area was so small,” said DeQuattro, who lives about one mile from the restaurant.

Similar to Willy McCoys’ first location in Ramsey, there will be a large center island bar for people to gather around to talk and watch any number of sporting events on flat-screen televisions.

Next to the dining area will be a banquet room for 60 people and a smaller room with a couple of long tables that could each seat 12 to 15 parents and kids. Tom and his wife Tracy DeQuattro have a 6-year-old son named Thomas, Jr. and a 4-year-old son named Wyatt who play tee ball and hockey, so he knows that teams are frequently looking to go out to eat together after a game. He did similar concepts at his Champlin location, which along with Andover will be the two largest of Willy McCoys’ four locations. The Andover restaurant is 12,000 square feet. Willy McCoys’ other locations include Albertville and Ramsey.

DeQuattro describes Willy McCoys as a Prohibition-era bar with craft beer and restored wood throughout the dining area.The bar is long enough to have taps for 32 different beers, the most of any of Willy McCoys four locations.

DeQuattro loves the size of the kitchen Tanners Station had.

“It’s our best kitchen we’ve had to work with,” he said.

The walls, booths and tables in the dining room of the new Andover restaurant will be made out of barn wood from a Big Lake farm. The farm owner bought the property in 1978 and use it as a potato farm. The barn was used for storage but became dilapidated and needed to be torn down. DeQuattro heard about it through a contact and will soon be tearing down the old barn and refurbishing the wood for Willy McCoys.

DeQuattro read a comment on Facebook from a former Tanners Station customer who said Tanners Station was a much needed family bar and restaurant and that Andover does not need another Pov’s.

While all Willy McCoys establishments offer 2-for-1 specials on many of its alcoholic drinks all day, with $1 off during Happy Hour, DeQuattro said Willy McCoys would be nothing like the former Povlitzki’s Sports Bar that closed at the end of 2011 after 17 years in business. That establishment closed after the owner sold the land to Wal-Mart.

DeQuattro said the big difference is Willy McCoys will not have any DJs or live bands. He got his start in the nightclub and bar business about 20 years ago and owned establishments in the Miami area as well as Michigan. When he moved to Minnesota in 2002, DeQuattro opened The Lodge Bar in downtown Minneapolis which did have live bands. DeQuattro said the live music mixed with people drinking seemed to lead to more fights and a lot of people were just following the bands. If the band was good, his business was steady. If he had a bad or little-known band, people were not coming.

“I grew up. I grew tired of the scene,” he said.

DeQuattro opened the first Willy McCoys in Ramsey along Highway 10 about two-and-a-half years ago.

When he heard a couple of months ago that Tanners Station was being sold, he knew it would be a good opportunity. With his family living so close and his wife being an Andover native, he knows the community and they became frustrated with having to drive out of town to find more than a couple of sit-down restaurant options.

“Now that we have Pizza Ranch and with Acapulco coming and (Willy McCoys), people from Andover won’t have to go all the way to Coon Rapids and will have a couple of concepts to choose from. I’m excited about it,” he said.

DeQuattro has heard that slower day-time traffic has made it difficult for the city of Andover to recruit more restaurants. During the interview, two ladies walked in the front door and walked out when they saw the interior was under construction. DeQuattro said with many retired people in the area and others who do work in Andover, he thinks the lunch crowd will be big enough and the dinner and evening crowd is where he will get the most business.

“There’s enough traffic around here. I’m not concerned at all,” he said.

eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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Chickens coming home to roost in East Bethel http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/chickens-coming-home-to-roost-in-east-bethel/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/28/chickens-coming-home-to-roost-in-east-bethel/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159828 The East Bethel City Council passed an amendment to its city ordinance allowing up to six chickens to be kept on lots less than 3 acres but no less than .5 acres at its May 20 meeting. Roosters are not allowed on any lot size smaller than 3 acres.

“What’s the magic number with .5 acres on whether they have a chicken or not?,” asked Mayor Steven Voss during the ordinance’s discussion.

“There is no magic number to that,” said City Administrator Jack Davis. “That is one that’s totally subjective. I think that staff’s feeling was that the smaller lot you get by permitting chickens there’s more potential for complaints from neighbors.”

The new ordinance states that chickens shall not be kept in a manner that is deemed a public nuisance under the city code.

According to the new ordinance, chickens must be kept in a chicken coop and attached exercise pens or in fully-fenced in back yards if under supervision of single-family structures.

The city also retains permission to enter and inspect the coop and back yard at any reasonable time to investigate actual or suspected violations and compliance or noncompliance with the ordinance.

Chickens are not allowed in the principal structure or on vacant properties or those with duplexes, townhomes and apartments.

During the discussion, Voss asked about vacant properties and a possible situation with a farmstead and another parcel next to it. He suggested the terms contiguous with the primary home. Davis confirmed the wording contiguous and under the same ownership. “I don’t know if that will ever come up but most people can’t tell what’s a parcel and what’s not anyway,” Voss said.

The new ordinance states that those wanting chickens on less than .5 acres must file an Interim Use Permit unless otherwise stated in the code. It limits the type of chickens to the subspecies Gallus gallus domesticus. Chickens can’t be slaughtered on-site except in an area of the property not visible to the public or an adjoining properties.

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Lorna M Krogen http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/lorna-m-krogen/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/lorna-m-krogen/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 22:14:48 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159925 Lorna M.Krogen, age 80 of Coon Rapids, passed away May 26, 2015.
Survived by husband of 56 years, Richard Krogen; children, Sue Olson, Joel (Veronica) Krogen and Sharyn (Rob) Ham; grandchildren, Gunner (Lindsey), Kara, Krista, Tim, Matt, Laura, Madison and Jaelen; great-grandson, Logan; siblings, Violet, Wilbur and Harold; nieces and nephews and other loving relatives and friends.
Memorial service 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 2nd at Messiah Lutheran Church, 2848 County Road H2, Mounds View. Visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 1st at the CHURCH, as well as one hour prior to the service on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Messiah Lutheran Church.
Miller Funeral Home 763-571-1300
millerfuneralfridley.com

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Three juveniles arrested for robbery http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/three-juveniles-arrested-for-robbery/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/three-juveniles-arrested-for-robbery/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 21:12:47 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159826 Three juveniles were arrested May 20 for their alleged roles in three separate incidents in Coon Rapids involving a 12-year-old boy and his cellphone.

One of the boys, 13, was charged in Anoka County Juvenile Court with attempted first-degree aggravated robbery and simple robbery, a 12-year-old boy was charged with two counts of simple robbery, and a 17-year-old boy was charged with one count of simple robbery.

Following their arrests, the three boys were taken to the Anoka County Juvenile Center in Lino Lakes.

According to the Coon Rapids Police reports, all three incidents involved the suspects attempting to take the 12-year-old victim’s cellphone.

The first time, the 12- and 17-year-old boys stopped the victim and wanted him to give them his cellphone, but he was able to get away, the police reports state.

On the second occasion May 18, all three suspects were allegedly involved as the victim was put in a headlock and they took his cellphone.

The boy went home and told his father, who located the suspects, confronted them and the 13-year-old allegedly tossed the cellphone into an open car window, from where it was retrieved.

The evening of May 19 in Moor Park, the 13- and 12-year-old suspects allegedly put the victim in arm holds demanding his cellphone, and when he tried to get away, they pursued him on their bikes and caught up with him.

Then the 13-year-old allegedly held the victim and put a kitchen knife to his neck before the victim was able to escape with his cellphone.

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Downton Abbey, Women and $ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/downton-abbey-women-and/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/downton-abbey-women-and/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 20:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=59b7a77a0b7295aecc17e330f41041a2 Women’s financial independence has come very far since the old days. Yet when it comes to managing money, women still lag far behind men. The silver lining is they know what they don’t know and when to seek help.

In the latest season of TV’s Downton Abbey, the women characters face financial issues with confusion. The cook gets an inheritance and doesn’t know what to do. She turns to the butler for advice, despite his inexperience. The wealthy women of the estate have difficulties in making financial decisions, too. One of them inherits a business but may be neglecting it because she is focused on motherhood.

While much has changed since the early 20th century when the show is set, women today still have a long way to go to in achieving financial literacy on par with men.

In “Lessons from Downton Abbey about women and money,” the PBS.org website outlines how women continue to fall behind men in money management confidence and in financial literacy, even though women of today are more likely to be college-educated.

The article cites studies that show women are less capable of answering basic financial questions. The 2009 National Financial Capability Study surveyed 1,500 Americans and asked them three questions about investing. Only 22% women get all of them right, compared with 38% of men. The gap exists in other industrialized counties.

Women are less confident in themselves, too. In the study, they were more likely to choose “I don’t know” as an answer. When researchers gave the same questions to Dutch respondents with the “I don’t know” choice removed, the women got more questions right. (But they still underperformed men.)

After controlling for factors such as age and education, the results persist. For example, young women with college degrees were still 13 percentage points less likely to answer those financial literacy questions correctly than were young college-educated men.

The article mentions what experts see as a glimmer of hope, which is women’s honesty about their lack of financial knowledge. They know what they do not know.

Just as the cook seeks the butler’s help, and the housekeeper suggests that she should ask a more experienced man outside of the insular world of the estate, the ability to recognize that they need more knowledge and perhaps some professional guidance is important.

An advisor can help women – and men, too, of course – make financial decisions, take a comprehensive look at their situation and get their financial house in order. No one wants to make the wrong decisions and end up with little at retirement. And yet, if women let confusion or fear keep them from planning, their finances will not be in good shape.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Claire Emory, CFP, CFA, RIA, owns and operates Clarity Financial Planning LLC in Arlington, Va.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Women’s financial independence has come very far since the old days. Yet when it comes to managing money, women still lag far behind men. The silver lining is they know what they don’t know and when to seek help.

In the latest season of TV’s Downton Abbey, the women characters face financial issues with confusion. The cook gets an inheritance and doesn’t know what to do. She turns to the butler for advice, despite his inexperience. The wealthy women of the estate have difficulties in making financial decisions, too. One of them inherits a business but may be neglecting it because she is focused on motherhood.

While much has changed since the early 20th century when the show is set, women today still have a long way to go to in achieving financial literacy on par with men.

In “Lessons from Downton Abbey about women and money,” the PBS.org website outlines how women continue to fall behind men in money management confidence and in financial literacy, even though women of today are more likely to be college-educated.

The article cites studies that show women are less capable of answering basic financial questions. The 2009 National Financial Capability Study surveyed 1,500 Americans and asked them three questions about investing. Only 22% women get all of them right, compared with 38% of men. The gap exists in other industrialized counties.

Women are less confident in themselves, too. In the study, they were more likely to choose “I don’t know” as an answer. When researchers gave the same questions to Dutch respondents with the “I don’t know” choice removed, the women got more questions right. (But they still underperformed men.)

After controlling for factors such as age and education, the results persist. For example, young women with college degrees were still 13 percentage points less likely to answer those financial literacy questions correctly than were young college-educated men.

The article mentions what experts see as a glimmer of hope, which is women’s honesty about their lack of financial knowledge. They know what they do not know.

Just as the cook seeks the butler’s help, and the housekeeper suggests that she should ask a more experienced man outside of the insular world of the estate, the ability to recognize that they need more knowledge and perhaps some professional guidance is important.

An advisor can help women – and men, too, of course – make financial decisions, take a comprehensive look at their situation and get their financial house in order. No one wants to make the wrong decisions and end up with little at retirement. And yet, if women let confusion or fear keep them from planning, their finances will not be in good shape.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Claire Emory, CFP, CFA, RIA, owns and operates Clarity Financial Planning LLC in Arlington, Va.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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CRHS on its way to becoming first public heart safe campus http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/crhs-on-its-way-to-becoming-first-public-heart-safe-campus/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/crhs-on-its-way-to-becoming-first-public-heart-safe-campus/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 19:12:27 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159823 Coon Rapids High School is working to become the first public school recognized as a heart safe campus.

Coon Rapids Police Officer Briana Johnson instructs sophomore Marcus Rask how to use an AED. Photo by Olivia Alveshere

Coon Rapids Police Officer Briana Johnson instructs sophomore Marcus Rask how to use an AED. Photo by Olivia Alveshere

To earn the designation from the Minnesota Department of Health and American Heart Association, all of the high school’s 2,450 students must be trained in hands-only CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators so that they are ready to act if someone should go into sudden cardiac arrest.

The likelihood of surviving sudden cardiac arrest quadruples when bystanders are present to administer CPR, according to American Heart Association statistics.

The city of Coon Rapids has aimed to equip the public with the know-how and resources to act immediately should someone go into cardiac arrest. The city became a heart safe community in 2013 after training residents and business leaders to administer CPR and use AEDs (automated external defibrillators).

To date, half of CRHS students have been trained. Freshmen and sophomores were trained this year, and incoming freshmen and seniors will go through training early next school year.

Ninth- and 10th-graders went through academic sessions on cardiac arrest earlier this spring, and May 20 it was time to put academics to action.

Fifty first responders were on hand to assist with hands-on training, the majority from Coon Rapids fire and police departments.

Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz, who spearheaded the effort to make Coon Rapids a heart safe community, was among them.

“I’ve been trying to get into schools for three years,” he said, pointing to the tremendous ripple effect that will result from 1,200 students gaining newfound confidence to act in emergency situations. “The city’s a lot safer today.”

Platz worked with Biomedical Sciences Program Coordinator Leah Sams to make his idea reality.

“We always aim to get the industry professionals involved, community members involved with our students and give our students training so that they have something that they can contribute to our society, even while they’re still in high school,” Sams said.

As a bonus, the training fulfilled a new state law that went into effect this school year requiring that all students participate in a one-time CPR and AED training between 7th and 12th grades.

There are six AEDs located in Coon Rapids High School because sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time anywhere.

Survivors with the Minnesota Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Network shared their stories with groups of students before practicing CPR and AED use.

“We’ve been on the business end of this,” survivor Bruce Wizik said. “As bystanders, if you see somebody that collapses, they need help right away.”

If someone is not there to perform chest compressions and run for an AED, it is often too late by the time paramedics arrive, first responders reiterated.

Sophomore Marcus Rask was excited to take his turn with an AED.

“It was pretty cool,” Rask said. “I got to learn how to save a life.”


olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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Sheriff’s Office adds mobile digital forensic lab http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/sheriffs-office-adds-mobile-digital-forensic-lab/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/sheriffs-office-adds-mobile-digital-forensic-lab/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:34:47 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159819 The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office has a new vehicle that allows investigators to download photos, videos, texts, emails, calendar entries and other data and to record interviews, all at the scene of the crime or when searching for a missing person.

Detective James Schilling and other investigators with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office can use a new mobile digital forensic vehicle to download information from electronic devices at the scene of a crime. Photo by Eric Hagen

Detective James Schilling and other investigators with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office can use a new mobile digital forensic vehicle to download information from electronic devices at the scene of a crime. Photo by Eric Hagen

A donated 20-year-old ambulance from Allina will give the sheriff’s office what it believes to be the first mobile digital forensics vehicle in the state of Minnesota that has the capability to download information from any electronic device.

The sheriff’s office has had the technology to analyze electronic devices for many years. But rather than bringing multiple electronic devices back to the Andover office, they can “bring the lab to them,” said Detective James Schilling.

Cmdr. Brian Podany, of the sheriff office’s Criminal Investigation Division, said 15 to 20 years ago, investigators going to a home maybe had just one computer to look at. With all the laptop computers, cellphones and tablets in the home, there are a lot more devices where information is stored that could be useful to an investigation.

Having this vehicle will be helping for basic “triage” early in an investigation, Schilling said. If multiple people witnessed and recorded a shooting incident, the investigator could ask people if they are willing to part with their phones for a few minutes and download what they need in the van.

If somebody does not want to give up their device and the investigator has enough cause to request a search warrant, he or she can send information to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office remotely from the van and receive the search warrant and print it off in the van.

The day after the mobile digital forensic lab was put into service two weeks ago, and it was first used to download information from cellphones during the Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force’s execution of a search warrant in Columbia Heights, according to Podany.

“Our field is changing tremendously. One thing we’ve had to stay on top of is digital forensics,” Podany said. “Electronics is something that has revolutionized our world. I’d say a majority of our cases involve digital forensics.”

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office believes this is the first mobile digital forensic vehicle for any Minnesota law enforcement agency. Courtesy of Anoka County Sheriff’s Office

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office believes this is the first mobile digital forensic vehicle for any Minnesota law enforcement agency. Courtesy of Anoka County Sheriff’s Office

Inside the vehicle is a video camera that can record an interview. Podany said state law requires law enforcement interviewing any children to capture it on video. The sheriff’s office records all interviews on videos because it can be powerful evidence for a court trial.

One thing this vehicle does not do is surveillance, Podany said. They cannot tap into phone conversations and there is no video camera outside the vehicle. Custom painting the sheriff’s office logo, name and colors on the exterior of the vehicle was a majority of the $6,000 to $7,000 costs the sheriff’s office put into the vehicle. While adding another cost, Podany said it made sense to make this a visible vehicle to illustrate there is no clandestine purpose.

“If you see an unmarked van driving around, people become leery,” he said.

Podany lives in Anoka County, so budget decisions the sheriff’s office makes ultimately impacts his property taxes. If not for Allina’s donation of an ambulance, which he sees having five to 10 years of remaining use, Podany does not think they would have obtained a vehicle like this. Besides the custom painting on the outside of the vehicle and some cabinet work on the inside, sheriff’s office staff put in a lot of “elbow grease” into the project by gutting out the remaining ambulance gear and putting in the data forensic gear, all of which is equipment the sheriff’s office already owned. Had it bought all new equipment, it could have added another $20,000 to the cost, Podany estimated.

“We have always appreciated our partnership with Allina, but this latest venture truly shows how working together can better meet the needs of our communities,” Sheriff James Stuart said.

This is not the first time Allina has donated an old ambulance to a law enforcement agency.

“Allina has donated ambulances to SWAT teams, dive teams and other law enforcement purposes, but this is the most unique repurposing of one of our rigs that I have ever seen,” said Jeff Czyson, director of operations for Allina.

How this vehicle will be used on each case “will be trial by error,” Schilling said. Collecting a lot of photos and videos from cellphones is the most obvious use. But detectives can use it when looking for a missing person, whether that be a runaway teenager, an elderly person or a special needs person who wandered away from home, someone who was kidnapped or a suspect in a crime.

If Schilling has a cellphone number, he can ask the cellphone provider to do a precision locate search for the phone’s location. If the phone is on, the search is much more precise. If a phone call is made, the cellphone company can tell officers from what tower and antenna the call was made, which then tells the officers which direction to narrow their search.

Instead of going back to the sheriff’s office to coordinate all of this, this “command vehicle,” as Schilling calls it, allows all this work to happen in the field.

“This just speeds up the process,” Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said.

Karlene Apelt, who works for the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, said this vehicle could also be useful when investigating white-collar financial crimes. If officers are investigating somebody with multiple electronic devices in their home or at a business, this will come in handy.

Schilling and Apelt said they would not need to download everything from an electronic device unless they feel it is necessary and they have a search warrant or permission from a witness or potential victim of a crime.

Palumbo said he is a little surprised that no other Minnesota law enforcement agency has a vehicle like this considering all the emphasis on digital forensics. For him, getting information quicker is the key reason this is a good idea.

“I think this is the next step forward in computer forensics,” Palumbo said. “It allows all aspects of the criminal justice system to operate more efficiently with less impact on people.”

eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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Guider, Rooney take part in USA Hockey women’s goalie camp http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/guider-rooney-take-part-in-usa-hockey-womens-goalie-camp/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/guider-rooney-take-part-in-usa-hockey-womens-goalie-camp/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 17:45:59 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159803 USA Hockey gathered the top 18 female goaltenders in the country at the Schwan Super Rink on the National Sports Center campus in Blaine Memorial Day weekend.usa hockey photo

Among the participants were five with Minnesota ties, in addition to head goaltending coach Robb Stauber and assistant coach Steve Guider.

The camp was the first women’s only national team camp after six seasons sharing the time with the men’s program in Michigan.

Andover senior and soon-to-be Minnesota-Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney and Maple Grove sophomore Breanna Bresi both said they were excited about the chance to learn as much as possible from the goalies they’ve looked up to like multiple Olympian Jessie Vetter.

“Honestly, she knows when to be funny,” said Bresi, who as the youngest goalie in the camp was partnered with the most experienced veteran in the small-group. “It’s awesome to have someone like that to mentor you through it all and what to expect with colleges.”

The goal of the camp isn’t to see who was the best at the end but who takes away the most and continues to grow.

This is Bresi’s first national hockey camp experience.

“I just had a normal conversation with Jessie Vetter, an Olympic starter,” Bresi said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Aside from sharing ice time alongside Olympic-caliber goalies, the Crimson starter learned a lot in terms of what to work on and what tests the campers went through not only on the ice but in the classroom.

“I need to get better,” she said, realizing the need to hit the weights more to do more than one pull-up.

Last year she was the first alternate for the national development camp for her age group.

She said the focus of the camp isn’t about altering the styles but to focus on the little things on the ice and on the mental aspect of the game.

They spent two hours in the classroom working on what to think and how to keep distractions to a minimum, among other aspects of the game.

“It’s all going to be something I carry on and hopefully I’ll be coaching little ones and be able to pass it along to them,” she said. “They’re stressing that we need to take this back and use it in our game and apply it as much as possible.”

Rooney attended the co-ed Strelow camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan last summer.

She wasn’t anticipating the mental aspect of the camp: learning to stay away from bad habits, being self-aware and confident.

Rooney held her own with the Andover boys varsity program and will join Minnesota-Duluth in the fall under new coach Maura Crowell who replaces five-time national champion coach Shannon Miller.

“I loved it, it was fun,” she said about returning to the boys side for her senior season. “It took a few weeks to get back into it but I felt I adjusted pretty well.”

Guider is the head coach of the Blaine girls hockey program and has participated in USA Hockey camps on a national level since 1998 on an unofficial level.

He was asked back to help run a national camp for goalies under 14 in 2001. Guider still has the voicemail message from then women’s program head coach Ben Smith.

“It was the coolest thing ever,” Guider said about the message. “It took me all of a tenth of a second to say yes.”

He was the only goalie coach overseeing 18 goalies for more than 10 hours per day. “But I worked hard at it and they just kept asking me back,” he said. Last year he coached the under-18s.

This was his first chance to help run a camp of this caliber so close to home.

As for the mental training, Guider said: “It’s always been a huge part of the game. But it’s just the one that’s never coached on.”

At the highest level, Guider learned from Bob Harminson, a sports psychologist with the United States Olympic Committee, that Olympic-caliber athletes might spend 30-60 minutes per training day on mental training in the year after an Olympic cycle. In the Olympic year they spend as much as six to eight hours a day going through mental imagery. “When you get really good at it, your mind doesn’t know the difference between your body doing and mentally doing it. They’ll train two hours physically a day but put in 10 hours in a day.
“It’s incredibly important but never done.”

jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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Letters to the Editor for May 29 http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/letters-to-the-editor-for-may-29/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/letters-to-the-editor-for-may-29/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 17:39:06 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159793 Thanks for the letter

To the Editor:

I with to thank Mr. Imran Hayee, Outreach Director of Nusrat Mosque for his letter last week. I am a female Catholic and understand the bias and bigotry that you are going through in our country. Thank you for your letter sir.

Laurie Olmon
Nowthen

Most Democrats hold basic principles

To the Editor:

Calvin Bahr of East Bethel recently lamented where his Republican Party has gone. I can understand Calvin’s confusion. Are Republicans a Libertarian Party (Paul); a traditional pro-business, chamber-of-commerce party (Bush); a Christian fundamentalist party (Huckabee, Dr. Carson); a big-money, hate-anything-liberal party (Cruz); an elitist-corporatist party (Fiorino); an anti-union, budget-busting party (Walker); an American exceptionalist, anti-federal government party (Rubio); or a plain old Tea Party organization (Bachmann, King, et-al)?

I am a Democrat from Minnesota State Senate District 35. We’re not all peas-in-a-pod either, but many of us hold the same basic Democratic principles.

Most Democrats believe in international approaches to solving world problems – we tend not to be isolationists or America-first types.

Most Democrats believe in working persons’ rights – the right to unionize and the right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and terms and conditions of employment.

Most Democrats fear the power of an unchecked corporate America, and I have yet to meet a Democrat who doesn’t want to see the Citizens United decision overturned.

Many Democrats love to hunt and fish and own guns. Fewer of us own guns than Republicans, probably. However, many Democrats see the dangers in uncontrolled firearm ownership and usage – military-level guns don’t belong in regular citizens’ hands.

Some Democrats are pro-life – we’ve had pro-life candidates like Peterson in the 7th and Perske in the 6th. A majority of Democrats are likely pro-choice; abortion is legal in this nation, and when necessary, we support a woman’s right to choose abortion. Many Democrats do not ground these societal concerns in religious terms like Republicans do.

Democrats are very inclusive – far more so than our Republican counterparts. Democrats have been champions of civil rights, women’s rights and gender rights for the past 50-plus years.

Democrats believe government works. Democrats are derided by some as the “tax-and-spend” party. Taxes are the government’s source of revenue. We spend to protect our communities, protect our environment, provide an infrastructure, provide for our aged and needy and provide an educational system that works. In my view, Democrats generally put community and others ahead of self-interest and profiteering.

Wes Volkenant
Andover

Drop Dayton’s preschool plan

To the Editor:

Gov. Mark Dayton says Republicans hate kids because they refused to compromise on the education budget. The Republicans have compromised. They passed a $17.1 billion dollar education bill containing $400 billion in new spending. That’s an 8 percent increase. That increase is three to four times the current rate of inflation. Obviously proof that Republicans hate kids.

Seriously? Give me a break. The governor’s comments are petulant and unbecoming.

The governor has partially shut the government down for a proposal that he couldn’t even get out of his own DFL controlled Senate. The bill he is vetoed – that he calls proof that Republicans hate kids – passed the DFL controlled Senate with a veto proof majority. Can someone explain to me what is progressive about spending millions upon millions so rich kids in Edina, Minnetonka and Eagan, can get free preschool?  By making it universal you will only be implementing the achievement gap earlier.

Here’s the solution. Expand the excellent, already existing pre-K scholarship fund to cover 4-year-olds who qualify for free and reduced lunch and drop Dayton’s obsession with the universal, top down, one size fits all approach he’s clinging to.

Tom Knisley
Blaine

All men are created equal

To the Editor:

I am writing this in answer to Sen. Paul Gazelka.

Our forefathers came to this country America in pursuit of religious freedom. The Constitution supports this.

Then President Abraham Lincoln through the Civil War claimed all men are created equal.

Next I come to the Bible in God’s Word.

Genesis 1-27:”Like God did God make man like his Makers. Like God did God make Man.”

Now go to Acts of Apostles Chapter 10, verse 15: Peter saw a vision: The voice spoke again, “Don’t contradict God –if he says something is Kosher then it is.”

In verse 24 Peter told them, “You know it is against Jewish Law for me to come into a Gentile home like this. But God has shown me in a vision not to think of anyone an inferior.”

If God created man in His image and likeness, who are we to say we can’t serve him just because we don’t like his color, religion or belief.

Clara Bragelman
Anoka

College provides powerful opportunities

To the Editor:

Editor’s Note: This is a joint letter from the leadership at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College.

An investment in our public colleges is an investment our community. Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College offer immeasurable, life-transforming impact on the lives of students and the success of local businesses. For example, 90 percent of Anoka Tech graduates are employed in a job related to their program of study within a year of graduation.

Another example is the story of Victorine Almo Forch, a mother of five children and immigrant from Cameroon who is transforming her life and the lives of her family members by completing her pre-pharmacy associate’s degree at Anoka-Ramsey.

She will transfer to the University of Minnesota Pharmacy program to complete her bachelor’s degree. Forch has a 4.0 GPA and advises others considering college to “not limit yourself. Believe in yourself. Have a dream and go for it!”

This story illustrates one of the many powerful ways colleges provide opportunities for all Minnesotans to create a better future.

This particular example was possible because of the outstanding work of our dedicated faculty and staff, but also because we had the resources to make it happen.

Our colleges and universities have two primary sources of funding: tuition from students and appropriations from the state of Minnesota. Thanks to the legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton, we have frozen tuition for the last two years, making college more affordable for students in East Central Minnesota and the northwest metro region. Since 1999, Minnesota has cut higher education funding by 53 percent. We used to lead the nation when it came to supporting our state colleges, but now we lag far behind. Once we were 21 percent above the national average, and now we’re 20 percent below. It has become increasingly difficult to offer opportunities like the one Victorine Almo Forch has.

Making college accessible to all Minnesotans, meeting the future workforce needs of Minnesota and protecting our ability to deliver the programs necessary to make that happen are all things worthy of our investment.

College President, Kent Hanson; Bargaining Unit Leaders; Student Leaders

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Delay Retiring? $$ Questions http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/delay-retiring-questions/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/delay-retiring-questions/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:30:03 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=4baa5ec545fc672c30493939744814ca If you’re fortunate enough to look forward to a company or state pension, retiring as soon as possible and collecting the benefit may tempt you, or you might want to collect Social Security benefits at the minimum age of 62. Before launching your golden years, consider all effects on delaying retirement and continuing to work.

First, two obvious points: Find out if you accrue extra pension benefits for extra years of service; regarding Social Security, your monthly benefits generally rise the closer you are to age 70 before you begin taking them.

For example, let’s say John becomes eligible to retire at 55 and receive a pension of $5,500 per month. If John waits until age 60 to retire, his pension increases to $7,500 per month, a considerable difference of $24,000 a year.

Recently, one of my clients asked which of the above I recommended. I asked what makes this person happiest. We then dove into possible scenarios and future goals.

After about an hour, this person – still young enough to re-enter the workforce and with the $7,500 coming in monthly – decided to delay retirement in exchange for the extra benefits.

The same can be done if you delay your Social Security benefit past normal retirement age. Postponing benefits to close to or past what the Social Security Administration terms your full retirement age (FRA) can increase your benefit as much as 8% per year.

For each month after age 62 that you delay applying, you increase the amount of your actual benefit. When you delay applying past your FRA (67 for anyone born after 1960), you increase your benefit above that point – a sum known as the primary insurance amount (PIA).

These increases are Delayed Retirement Credits. With DRCs, each month you delay ups your benefit two-thirds of 1%, making a total increase each year of 8% (a little less if you were born before 1943).

Essentially, delaying pension or the Social Security benefits increases your income floor. Think of your floor as a guaranteed stream of income that never decreases throughout the rest of your life no matter what happens to the economy, the stock market or any job you take while retired.

If you need approximately $5,000 monthly for expenses in retirement and you have a $3,000 income floor (between either or a combination of a pension or Social Security), you need only find another $2,000 per month from other sources such as employment or savings in a 401(k) or individual retirement account. You may also build your floor with payout from a longevity annuity, using some of your retirement savings for the insurer’s premium.

Putting off retirement is a big decision. Talk to a competent financial professional; look at your recent Social Security statement to see how much delaying might increase your benefit and, if you get a pension, talk to your human resources department to get estimates of your payouts.

Take your time and make the right decision. Neither retirement nor the work world will go anywhere until you say.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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If you’re fortunate enough to look forward to a company or state pension, retiring as soon as possible and collecting the benefit may tempt you, or you might want to collect Social Security benefits at the minimum age of 62. Before launching your golden years, consider all effects on delaying retirement and continuing to work.

First, two obvious points: Find out if you accrue extra pension benefits for extra years of service; regarding Social Security, your monthly benefits generally rise the closer you are to age 70 before you begin taking them.

For example, let’s say John becomes eligible to retire at 55 and receive a pension of $5,500 per month. If John waits until age 60 to retire, his pension increases to $7,500 per month, a considerable difference of $24,000 a year.

Recently, one of my clients asked which of the above I recommended. I asked what makes this person happiest. We then dove into possible scenarios and future goals.

After about an hour, this person – still young enough to re-enter the workforce and with the $7,500 coming in monthly – decided to delay retirement in exchange for the extra benefits.

The same can be done if you delay your Social Security benefit past normal retirement age. Postponing benefits to close to or past what the Social Security Administration terms your full retirement age (FRA) can increase your benefit as much as 8% per year.

For each month after age 62 that you delay applying, you increase the amount of your actual benefit. When you delay applying past your FRA (67 for anyone born after 1960), you increase your benefit above that point – a sum known as the primary insurance amount (PIA).

These increases are Delayed Retirement Credits. With DRCs, each month you delay ups your benefit two-thirds of 1%, making a total increase each year of 8% (a little less if you were born before 1943).

Essentially, delaying pension or the Social Security benefits increases your income floor. Think of your floor as a guaranteed stream of income that never decreases throughout the rest of your life no matter what happens to the economy, the stock market or any job you take while retired.

If you need approximately $5,000 monthly for expenses in retirement and you have a $3,000 income floor (between either or a combination of a pension or Social Security), you need only find another $2,000 per month from other sources such as employment or savings in a 401(k) or individual retirement account. You may also build your floor with payout from a longevity annuity, using some of your retirement savings for the insurer’s premium.

Putting off retirement is a big decision. Talk to a competent financial professional; look at your recent Social Security statement to see how much delaying might increase your benefit and, if you get a pension, talk to your human resources department to get estimates of your payouts.

Take your time and make the right decision. Neither retirement nor the work world will go anywhere until you say.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The Street’s Fed Blame Game http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/the-streets-fed-blame-game/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/27/the-streets-fed-blame-game/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 14:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=9ca8844ccab06350eaf06e1735277d65 When the economy and the stock market eventually flag, Wall Street has a convenient scapegoat at the ready: the Federal Reserve and its plan to raise interest rates.

The business cycle, though, is going to end whether the Fed raises rates or not. We are getting near the finish line of the current cycle.

I don't know that this cycle will end before the Fed raises rates, but I believe the central bank can probably slip in at least one or two rounds before it starts to contract. The current speculation is that the Fed will wait until at least September to tighten monetary policy.

Wall Street is hooked on cheap money, which is the product of the Fed’s holding rates near zero since the financial crisis. Perversely, any sign of economic weakness cheers the market, which believes that the Fed will postpone action to avoid hurting the economy even worse. On April 6, for instance, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.66% in the wake of a poor jobs report.

The investment community’s paranoia about the Fed recently found expression in an ill-informed Wall Street Journal column. It claimed the Fed has already slowed the economy by virtue of its tightening talk. Puh-leez – this is so wrong.

For one thing, the credit markets are booming. Financial conditions aren't tight, unless you think that a stock market that doesn't move relentlessly higher is a sign of tightness.

Mundane realities won't stop the Street from blaming the bank for the long fall from sky-high valuation levels (although not as high as the tech bubble) to the concrete below. The reason for the upcoming fall is the inevitable end of the business cycle; for the size of that fall, blame the Street's foolishness in chasing prices to ridiculous heights. But it will blame the Fed for that too, even as it took credit for all the great performance that preceded the slump. It's just the nature of the beast.

Earnings tremble on the negative, from the looks of the first quarter reports thus far. Thomson Reuters projects that they will rise just 2.1% compared with 2014’s first period. As such earnings are probably not a good springboard for further rallies, I expect yet another pullback in June. Nevertheless, the market's guiding light is Fed policy and apparently will remain so. The trend is your friend, until the end.

If you want to blame the Fed for something, it’s better to focus on its lack of the firepower needed to combat the next economic downturn. The central bank won't be able to get rates high enough to provide the Fed with much of a safety cushion going into the next downturn, as Chair Janet Yellen will discover.

But even the ability to cut by two percentage points - which the bank will almost certainly not have - can't stop a contraction. Monetary policy is a cushion in downturns, not some reality transmogrifier out of Calvin and Hobbes.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

M. Kevin Flynn, CFA, is the president of Avalon Asset Management Company in Lexington, Mass. Website: avalonassetmgmt.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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When the economy and the stock market eventually flag, Wall Street has a convenient scapegoat at the ready: the Federal Reserve and its plan to raise interest rates.

The business cycle, though, is going to end whether the Fed raises rates or not. We are getting near the finish line of the current cycle.

I don't know that this cycle will end before the Fed raises rates, but I believe the central bank can probably slip in at least one or two rounds before it starts to contract. The current speculation is that the Fed will wait until at least September to tighten monetary policy.

Wall Street is hooked on cheap money, which is the product of the Fed’s holding rates near zero since the financial crisis. Perversely, any sign of economic weakness cheers the market, which believes that the Fed will postpone action to avoid hurting the economy even worse. On April 6, for instance, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.66% in the wake of a poor jobs report.

The investment community’s paranoia about the Fed recently found expression in an ill-informed Wall Street Journal column. It claimed the Fed has already slowed the economy by virtue of its tightening talk. Puh-leez – this is so wrong.

For one thing, the credit markets are booming. Financial conditions aren't tight, unless you think that a stock market that doesn't move relentlessly higher is a sign of tightness.

Mundane realities won't stop the Street from blaming the bank for the long fall from sky-high valuation levels (although not as high as the tech bubble) to the concrete below. The reason for the upcoming fall is the inevitable end of the business cycle; for the size of that fall, blame the Street's foolishness in chasing prices to ridiculous heights. But it will blame the Fed for that too, even as it took credit for all the great performance that preceded the slump. It's just the nature of the beast.

Earnings tremble on the negative, from the looks of the first quarter reports thus far. Thomson Reuters projects that they will rise just 2.1% compared with 2014’s first period. As such earnings are probably not a good springboard for further rallies, I expect yet another pullback in June. Nevertheless, the market's guiding light is Fed policy and apparently will remain so. The trend is your friend, until the end.

If you want to blame the Fed for something, it’s better to focus on its lack of the firepower needed to combat the next economic downturn. The central bank won't be able to get rates high enough to provide the Fed with much of a safety cushion going into the next downturn, as Chair Janet Yellen will discover.

But even the ability to cut by two percentage points - which the bank will almost certainly not have - can't stop a contraction. Monetary policy is a cushion in downturns, not some reality transmogrifier out of Calvin and Hobbes.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

M. Kevin Flynn, CFA, is the president of Avalon Asset Management Company in Lexington, Mass. Website: avalonassetmgmt.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Ending a Bad Money Cycle http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/ending-a-bad-money-cycle/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/ending-a-bad-money-cycle/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 19:00:03 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=0bb0ca9e337a3f63647a97afdf874cbd Living paycheck to paycheck causes obvious stress. Even worse, it puts you at risk for financial disaster when an unexpected expense or loss of income drives you to credit cards and mushrooming debt. Here’s how to escape this vicious merry-go-round.

Economists at Princeton and New York University estimate that about a third of all US households live paycheck to paycheck. Some of these households hold a small number of assets but many have hard-to-access illiquid holdings such as houses and retirement accounts.

Nevertheless, you can break this trap.

Realize the benefits. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle. Instead of feeling deprived when cutting costs, think of what you’ll gain.

After gaining control of your finances, you can pay off debts, build an emergency fund to protect your family, save for large purchases and invest for a comfortable retirement. Understanding such plusses make getting (and staying) motivated easier.

Spend with purpose. To put your money where you want it, track your spending to understand your current spending.

You can use such online tools as Mint.com or such downloadable software as You Need A Budget. If you like low-tech solutions, keep your paper receipts for a month. Once you form a view of your spending, create a realistic spending plan.

To supercharge your savings, pull out cash for your frequent and pricey outlays like groceries and entertainment.

Cut costs. To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to reduce your expenses. One of the best tactics, because it’s easy to get your arms around: lower your monthly recurring outlays.

Have a gym membership you don’t use? Subscribe to a magazine you barely read? Can you switch providers to reduce your phone bill, or call your utility companies and negotiate a lower rate?

Making these changes takes effort, but from then on you keep saving with no additional effort. Cutting costs also doesn’t automatically mean that you deprive yourself. If you like to go out with friends, for instance, find free and fun activities nearby, or invite friends over for a dinner instead of going to a costly restaurant.

Boost income. If you cut costs to the bone, consider how you can earn more.

Ask your boss for a raise. Find a part-time job for a few months or do odd jobs for friends, family and neighbors. Do freelance or consulting work or use sites like eBay to sell possessions you no longer want or use.

Pay yourself first. Start a nest egg before you do anything else with your money. Set up a savings account with an automatic transfer right away. You might miss the cash, but if it’s out of your hands, you’re less likely to spend it.

If no high-interest debt needs your financial attention immediately, give yourself a goal of saving at least three months’ expenses. One reason people end up living paycheck to paycheck: digging out from unexpected big-ticket costs such as car repairs, a medical bill or a job loss.

Eventually, you want to invest for retirement. If your workplace offers a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, take advantage. Again, since the money comes out before it even hits your pay, you barely notice it’s gone.

Once you escape a hand-to-mouth financial life, make sure you never go back. As your income increases over time, use at least half to fund your wealth-building plans. Saving, paying down debt and investing are among your best tools to break the cycle forever.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

]]>
Living paycheck to paycheck causes obvious stress. Even worse, it puts you at risk for financial disaster when an unexpected expense or loss of income drives you to credit cards and mushrooming debt. Here’s how to escape this vicious merry-go-round.

Economists at Princeton and New York University estimate that about a third of all US households live paycheck to paycheck. Some of these households hold a small number of assets but many have hard-to-access illiquid holdings such as houses and retirement accounts.

Nevertheless, you can break this trap.

Realize the benefits. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle. Instead of feeling deprived when cutting costs, think of what you’ll gain.

After gaining control of your finances, you can pay off debts, build an emergency fund to protect your family, save for large purchases and invest for a comfortable retirement. Understanding such plusses make getting (and staying) motivated easier.

Spend with purpose. To put your money where you want it, track your spending to understand your current spending.

You can use such online tools as Mint.com or such downloadable software as You Need A Budget. If you like low-tech solutions, keep your paper receipts for a month. Once you form a view of your spending, create a realistic spending plan.

To supercharge your savings, pull out cash for your frequent and pricey outlays like groceries and entertainment.

Cut costs. To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to reduce your expenses. One of the best tactics, because it’s easy to get your arms around: lower your monthly recurring outlays.

Have a gym membership you don’t use? Subscribe to a magazine you barely read? Can you switch providers to reduce your phone bill, or call your utility companies and negotiate a lower rate?

Making these changes takes effort, but from then on you keep saving with no additional effort. Cutting costs also doesn’t automatically mean that you deprive yourself. If you like to go out with friends, for instance, find free and fun activities nearby, or invite friends over for a dinner instead of going to a costly restaurant.

Boost income. If you cut costs to the bone, consider how you can earn more.

Ask your boss for a raise. Find a part-time job for a few months or do odd jobs for friends, family and neighbors. Do freelance or consulting work or use sites like eBay to sell possessions you no longer want or use.

Pay yourself first. Start a nest egg before you do anything else with your money. Set up a savings account with an automatic transfer right away. You might miss the cash, but if it’s out of your hands, you’re less likely to spend it.

If no high-interest debt needs your financial attention immediately, give yourself a goal of saving at least three months’ expenses. One reason people end up living paycheck to paycheck: digging out from unexpected big-ticket costs such as car repairs, a medical bill or a job loss.

Eventually, you want to invest for retirement. If your workplace offers a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, take advantage. Again, since the money comes out before it even hits your pay, you barely notice it’s gone.

Once you escape a hand-to-mouth financial life, make sure you never go back. As your income increases over time, use at least half to fund your wealth-building plans. Saving, paying down debt and investing are among your best tools to break the cycle forever.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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David L Swanson http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/david-l-swanson/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/david-l-swanson/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:16:28 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159732 David Swanson, age 80 from Backus, MN, formerly of Dalbo and Anoka, MN passed away on March 4, 2015 in the care of his loving wife.
Survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia (Hartfiel); children, Vicky (Michael), Kathy (Ronald), Michael, Robyn (Dan), Rebecca (Robert); 11 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by son John; three siblings; parents Leslie and Katharine (Conway) Swanson.
David was born in 1934 in Anoka, MN where he grew up on the family farm using horses to work the land. He left Anoka school to join the U.S. Air Force where he served 10 years. He met and married Patricia where six children were born to the union. He worked their family farm in Dalbo while he was employed for 32 years at Federal Cartridge. He enjoyed volunteering in the Anoka saddle club; playing softball; and was a member of the Anoka and Backus American Legions. He was able to enjoy his retirement on a lake home in Backus where he spent his time gardening, feeding wildlife, dancing at the Legion Clubs, fishing, and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
There will be a private family service held at Minnesota Veteran's Cemetery in June 2015.

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Robert F. Mahutga http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/robert-f-mahutga/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/robert-f-mahutga/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:14:56 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159728 Robert   F.  Mahutga

Robert F. Mahutga, age 64-1/2 of Nowthen, MN passed away on May 21, 2015 at home after a year long battle with brain cancer.
Preceded in death by mother, Magdelene and father, Merritt.
Survived by his wife of 43 years, Deborah; sons, Matthew (Rhonda) and Eric; sister Joann (Paul) Wolner; brother, John (Dory); nieces and nephew, Katy, Amy, Joshua.
Bob enjoyed his career as a diesel mechanic for the city of Elk River and farming with his sons, along with collecting international tractors.
Funeral service Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11 a.m. Dare's Funeral Home, 805 Main St. NW, Elk River. Visitation Friday 5-8 p.m., also one hour prior to service, all at the funeral home. Interment Lakeview Cemetery, Nowthen, MN. Arr. Dares Funeral Home, 763-441-1212. www.daresfuneralhome.com

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Anoka-Hennepin meal prices will increase next year http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/anoka-hennepin-meal-prices-will-increase-next-year/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/anoka-hennepin-meal-prices-will-increase-next-year/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:00:22 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159446 The Anoka-Hennepin School Board May 11 agreed to increase meal prices by 10 cents starting in September.

The increase was passed as part of the consent agenda. There was no discussion.

Beginning next school year, an elementary school breakfast will cost $1.30, and a lunch will cost $2.20. At the secondary level, the district will charge students $1.45 for breakfast and $2.35 for lunch.

The district last increased meal prices before the 2011-2012 school year. The board implemented a 10-cent hike at that time, too.

Child Nutrition Director Noah Atlas proposed an increase at the April 27 board meeting, citing tightening federal guidelines and rising food prices as the impetus for his ask.

For example, guidelines now require students take at least a half cup of produce with every meal, so child nutrition has to budget more for fruits and veggies.

Food costs have skyrocketed, too – meat in particular.

Guidelines have caused Anoka-Hennepin to reduce the size of its hamburger patties, but each patty still costs 22 cents more than its larger 2011 counterpart, according to Atlas.

“We’ve kept the price down over the years,” Atlas said, noting that when Anoka-Hennepin increases its prices this fall, they will still be lower than many neighboring school districts, including Osseo School District to the southeast.


olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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In remembrance at Bunker Hills Regional Park Veterans Memorial http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/in-remembrance-at-bunker-hills-regional-park-veterans-memorial/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/in-remembrance-at-bunker-hills-regional-park-veterans-memorial/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:51:25 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=159719 A tradition that veterans organizations in Anoka County have observed for decades the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend had to be changed this year.

Raising of the colors at the Veterans Memorial in Bunker Hills Regional Park began the Memorial Day weekend service hosted by the veterans service organizations of Anoka County Saturday, May 23. Photos by Peter Bodley

Raising of the colors at the Veterans Memorial in Bunker Hills Regional Park began the Memorial Day weekend service hosted by the veterans service organizations of Anoka County Saturday, May 23. Photos by Peter Bodley

In the past, two services of remembrance to honor veterans who have lost their lives in service of their country have taken place – first at Morningside Memorial Gardens’ Field of Honor and then at the Veterans Memorial in Bunker Hills Regional Park.

A project to reconstruct a segment of University Avenue where Morningside cemetery is located meant that May 23 only one service took place – at the Veterans Memorial, where there are flagpoles each with a designation for a veterans organization in the county and a monument that stands in memory of county’s World War II Medal of Honor recipients.

Retired Anoka County Commissioner Dennis Berg, who served on the county board from 1991 to 2010 and before that on the Burns Township Board of Supervisors for 18 years, was the guest speaker.

Berg, who spent 13 months in Vietnam in 1966-1967 as a sergeant and convoy driver with the 87th Transportation Company, spoke about a specific incident that occurred one morning in November 1966, a fellow soldier who he did not know that saved his life that day while sacrificing his own and Berg’s own quest to learn the identity of that man and find his relatives that culminated in Berg speaking at a Memorial Day program in 2008 in Waterloo, Iowa, the home of the soldier, Pfc. Russell Halley.

While he had never met Halley before that November day in Vietnam, he learned later they had a lot in common, according to Berg. “He was the best friend who gave his life to save mine,” Berg said.

The morning of Nov. 21, 1966, a convoy of 80 trucks left Long Binh carrying classified “precious cargo.” It was ambushed 45 minutes later by two battalions of Vietcong totaling some 1,000 soldiers using rifle, machine gun and rocket fire, he said. That was his first combat experience, Berg said.

Three trucks ahead of him were destroyed by rockets, so he and the gunner that was with him abandoned their truck and found cover in a ditch at the side of the road, where they were pinned down by enemy machine gun fire, Berg said.

Halley, as it turned out, was in one of the armored vehicles escorting the convoy and drove up to where Berg and his gunner were. Halley stepped out of his truck and protective cover to shoot a sniper that had his gun trained on him, according to Berg.

“Russ was mortally wounded protecting us and died that night,” Berg said.

Two of his fellow drivers in the convoy were killed that day and others were wounded, but because of the classified nature of the convoy, their families could be told very little, which Berg found hard to deal with, especially when he read a letter from a daughter of one of those who died pleading for information about her father, he said.

Indeed, when he returned home from his military service, Berg made up his mind never to look back, he said. “I was just happy to be done, but as I look back I was really messed up,” Berg said.

Berg did not tell his wife, Darlene, about his experience in Vietnam for fear of giving away classified information, he ended up in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer, had nightmares and would only mow the lawn at night, not during the day because he feared snipers, he said.

His thoughts kept returning to the unknown soldier who had saved his life and in 1987, he began the search to find the identity and relatives of the soldier that had saved his life, going through documents, writing letters, contacting veterans and other military officials, attending reunions and reading a book about the incident that was published about that time, according to Berg.

Eventually in 1993, he was able to locate and contact his commander, Lt. Neil Keltner, gave him a shortlist of names, including Halley, that possibly included the soldier that saved his life and Keltner identified Halley, Berg said.

Berg did not stop there. He was able to find and get in touch with Halley’s widow, who had been trying to get information about how her husband had died in Vietnam, and they met, he said.

Berg’s long journey ended when he spoke in Waterloo, Iowa, on Memorial Day 2008. “I worked really hard on that speech because I wanted it to be special, but I was a basket case when I got to Waterloo,” Berg said.

The speech honoring Halley went great and at that point “I felt like a different person, a calming peace came over me that I still have today,” he said.

“After 40 years the nightmares stopped,” Berg said. “It was the only way I could heal.”

The Veterans Memorial program also included representatives of veterans organizations placing wreaths at the foot of the Medal of Honor memorial, then children followed by adults individually lay a flower with the wreaths.

In addition, Betty Orton sang “Sleep Soldier Boy” and “God Bless America,” Harold Reiner played “The Service Songs” and other selections on the trumpet and Diane Bohlman read the poem, “In Flanders’ Field” and gave the invocation and benediction.

A rifle squad salute that included members of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Anoka County chapter, and representatives of other veterans organizations closed the program followed by “Taps” played by Reiner and Bob Pellow, Metro Marines on the trumpet.

Gary Exley, Anoka County Veterans Council chairperson and commander of the Blaine VFW, was the emcee.

The veteran council hosted a picnic in the park following the service.

Representatives of Anoka County veterans organizations placed wreaths at the foot of the monument honoring Anoka County’s World War II Medal of Honor recipients. Children attending the In Remembrance Memorial Day weekend service at the Veterans Memorial in Bunker Hills Regional Park May 23 were invited to place a flower with the wreath at the World War II Medal of Honor monument. Retired Anoka County Commissioner and Vietnam War veteran Dennis Berg was the guest speaker at the May 23 Memorial Day weekend service hosted by Anoka County veterans organizations at the Bunker Hills Regional Park Veterans Memorial. Boy Scouts and U.S. Navy sea cadets held a giant American flag as Betty Orton sang “God Bless America.” A rifle squad salute followed by the playing of “Taps” closed the Memorial Day weekend service of remembrance at the Veterans Memorial in Bunker Hills Regional Park May 23. ]]>
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College $ Burden: Plan Early http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/college-burden-plan-early/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/26/college-burden-plan-early/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:00:03 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=4119a237363ed41c534ba7261bcf45ed The cost of a college education increases every year, largely unbeknownst to you until you confront the bill. The pile of money you must save is staggering. If you have children, plan for college costs as soon as possible.

Children are costly even before college. Raising a child from birth to 18 runs some $245,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, varying widely depending on where you live and how much you earn. Estimates for high-income earners in the Northeast, for example, can reach $455,000, with urban areas usually pricier.

These figures are based on housing, food, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, including cell phones and computers. The bad news, especially if you’re still in sticker shock: These prices do not include the cost of a college education, which shot up some seven-fold in recent decades and at more than twice the rate of health-care costs since 1983.

“The younger the child, the more college is likely to cost,” according to JP Morgan Asset Management, which calculates that the eventual outlay for a newborn’s four-year college education will reach some $424,425 for a private college, $190,767 for a public. Either way, such a sum shapes up as one of your family’s largest expenses ever.

Here planning comes in, establishing a goal and determining how much you need to (and can) save for your child’s tuition. More than simple saving, this means creating an investment plan and strategy that can increase growth potential and steadily accumulate more for college. Your biggest advantage for this job outweighs even your paycheck’s size: time.

The sooner you start saving, the more time you enjoy to grow your college fund through long-term compounding. Even the smallest contributions make a difference over many years.

For example, let’s say you still have 15 years to save for your child to attend four years at a public college. Targeting a goal of $194,000 (this leaves a little extra for your kid’s pizza and laundry money) and figuring a conservative return rate of 4% annually, with such a lengthy time to save you only need to put away $650 a month.

The right investing vehicle is also significant. A 529 College savings plan, for instance, offers tax-free investing and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The investments won’t incur capital gains taxes, increasing available funds when you’ll need them.

Note: Some states do offer tax deductions or credits for contributing to any 529; states also offer different 529 options.

Diversification of investments within the 529 plan, as in most portfolios, helps you to achieve your results without undue risk. If true to history, a balanced stock/bond portfolio delivers higher returns than do straight bonds or cash. Choose a fund that will help your investments outperform the inflation rate of tuition (generally about twice the general inflation rate, the latter right now at slightly less than 2%).

Two more, very cautionary notes: Don’t forget to examine all the fees and expenses associated with a 529, such as asset-based fees (a sort of retainer scaled on the size of your investment), enrollment or maintenance fees and sales commissions to the fund managers. And do not forsake saving for your retirement to save your children’s college expenses.

You and your kids can get student loans much easier than you can borrow money to fund your golden years.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Maureen Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Her websites are www.CrimminsWM.com and www.RootsofWealth.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The cost of a college education increases every year, largely unbeknownst to you until you confront the bill. The pile of money you must save is staggering. If you have children, plan for college costs as soon as possible.

Children are costly even before college. Raising a child from birth to 18 runs some $245,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, varying widely depending on where you live and how much you earn. Estimates for high-income earners in the Northeast, for example, can reach $455,000, with urban areas usually pricier.

These figures are based on housing, food, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, including cell phones and computers. The bad news, especially if you’re still in sticker shock: These prices do not include the cost of a college education, which shot up some seven-fold in recent decades and at more than twice the rate of health-care costs since 1983.

“The younger the child, the more college is likely to cost,” according to JP Morgan Asset Management, which calculates that the eventual outlay for a newborn’s four-year college education will reach some $424,425 for a private college, $190,767 for a public. Either way, such a sum shapes up as one of your family’s largest expenses ever.

Here planning comes in, establishing a goal and determining how much you need to (and can) save for your child’s tuition. More than simple saving, this means creating an investment plan and strategy that can increase growth potential and steadily accumulate more for college. Your biggest advantage for this job outweighs even your paycheck’s size: time.

The sooner you start saving, the more time you enjoy to grow your college fund through long-term compounding. Even the smallest contributions make a difference over many years.

For example, let’s say you still have 15 years to save for your child to attend four years at a public college. Targeting a goal of $194,000 (this leaves a little extra for your kid’s pizza and laundry money) and figuring a conservative return rate of 4% annually, with such a lengthy time to save you only need to put away $650 a month.

The right investing vehicle is also significant. A 529 College savings plan, for instance, offers tax-free investing and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The investments won’t incur capital gains taxes, increasing available funds when you’ll need them.

Note: Some states do offer tax deductions or credits for contributing to any 529; states also offer different 529 options.

Diversification of investments within the 529 plan, as in most portfolios, helps you to achieve your results without undue risk. If true to history, a balanced stock/bond portfolio delivers higher returns than do straight bonds or cash. Choose a fund that will help your investments outperform the inflation rate of tuition (generally about twice the general inflation rate, the latter right now at slightly less than 2%).

Two more, very cautionary notes: Don’t forget to examine all the fees and expenses associated with a 529, such as asset-based fees (a sort of retainer scaled on the size of your investment), enrollment or maintenance fees and sales commissions to the fund managers. And do not forsake saving for your retirement to save your children’s college expenses.

You and your kids can get student loans much easier than you can borrow money to fund your golden years.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Maureen Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Her websites are www.CrimminsWM.com and www.RootsofWealth.com.

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