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Preventing Child Abduction

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Ask almost any mom, and she’ll remember a time when her son or daughter went missing – if only for a moment. She’ll likely describe the aching panic in the pit of her stomach at the thought her child might have been kidnapped. But for parents who have actually experienced the reality, they say the nightmare is indescribable.While child abduction cases are thankfully rare in our community, local law enforcement leaders say it’s important for parents and children, from toddlers to teenagers, to stay educated, prepared and alert. New Tools and Old Beliefs Over the past decade, the child safety playing field has changed considerably. Advancements in technology have led to the AMBER Alert notification system and an international database for missing children. Yet, we’ve also witnessed the growing popularity of a dangerous new tool for child predators – the Internet.Unfortunately, old myths about kidnap prevention remain, such as teaching “stranger danger,” and the need to wait 24 hours before reporting a missing child – two mistakes that could be deadly.Detective Sergeant Dennis Walsh with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department says that statistically, the vast majority of child abductions are perpetrated by someone familiar to the child or the family. That’s why national experts say the “stranger danger” message gives children a false sense of security around familiar faces, while at the same time promotes a fear of strangers whom actually could be rescuers. Kidnap Prevention TechniquesThe key to reducing the risk of child abductions, say authorities, is a combined effort on behalf of parents, children, law enforcement and the community, focused in three areas – education, awareness and preparation. They offer the following tips:For Parents of Younger Children:Make sure your child knows their address, full phone number and parents’ full names.Don’t put your child’s name on the outside of clothing, backpacks or lunch boxes. Warn children about approaching a vehicle or giving out personal information, such as name, address or school, to strangers. Remind children that adults should ask other adults, not children, for things like directions, or help finding a lost pet. Role play other scenarios with examples of common enticements such as candy or ice cream.Watch for teachable moments where you can practice “what if” scenarios and point out “strange” adults (security officers, other parents) your child might safely approach if lost.Have your child’s picture taken yearly and keep a photo and their fingerprints with you at all times. Consider purchasing a GPS-enabled wristwatch or bracelet, or child-locating device.Never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Have your child practice the Buddy System, even in public restrooms. Establish a family code word for emergencies.Screen babysitters and caregivers carefully. Be aware of others who may live or work at the same facility.Teach your child that if a stranger tries to grab him, he should yell loudly for “HELP!” or “I DON’T KNOW YOU!” And then run.Without a doubt, one of the best tools for prevention is community involvement, says El Dorado County Sheriff Sergeant Bryan Golmitz. He says over the last year his office received multiple calls reporting strangers approaching young children, and they thoroughly investigated every one. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to identify and report suspicious circumstances immediately to law enforcement,” Golmitz says. “We can’t help if we don’t know about it.”

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Preventing Child Abduction

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Ask almost any mom, and she’ll remember a time when her son or daughter went missing – if only for a moment. She’ll likely describe the aching panic in the pit of her stomach at the thought her child might have been kidnapped. But for parents who have actually experienced the reality, they say the nightmare is indescribable.While child abduction cases are thankfully rare in our community, local law enforcement leaders say it’s important for parents and children, from toddlers to teenagers, to stay educated, prepared and alert. New Tools and Old Beliefs Over the past decade, the child safety playing field has changed considerably. Advancements in technology have led to the AMBER Alert notification system and an international database for missing children. Yet, we’ve also witnessed the growing popularity of a dangerous new tool for child predators – the Internet.Unfortunately, old myths about kidnap prevention remain, such as teaching “stranger danger,” and the need to wait 24 hours before reporting a missing child – two mistakes that could be deadly.Detective Sergeant Dennis Walsh with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department says that statistically, the vast majority of child abductions are perpetrated by someone familiar to the child or the family. That’s why national experts say the “stranger danger” message gives children a false sense of security around familiar faces, while at the same time promotes a fear of strangers whom actually could be rescuers. Kidnap Prevention TechniquesThe key to reducing the risk of child abductions, say authorities, is a combined effort on behalf of parents, children, law enforcement and the community, focused in three areas – education, awareness and preparation. They offer the following tips:For Parents of Younger Children:Make sure your child knows their address, full phone number and parents’ full names.Don’t put your child’s name on the outside of clothing, backpacks or lunch boxes. Warn children about approaching a vehicle or giving out personal information, such as name, address or school, to strangers. Remind children that adults should ask other adults, not children, for things like directions, or help finding a lost pet. Role play other scenarios with examples of common enticements such as candy or ice cream.Watch for teachable moments where you can practice “what if” scenarios and point out “strange” adults (security officers, other parents) your child might safely approach if lost.Have your child’s picture taken yearly and keep a photo and their fingerprints with you at all times. Consider purchasing a GPS-enabled wristwatch or bracelet, or child-locating device.Never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Have your child practice the Buddy System, even in public restrooms. Establish a family code word for emergencies.Screen babysitters and caregivers carefully. Be aware of others who may live or work at the same facility.Teach your child that if a stranger tries to grab him, he should yell loudly for “HELP!” or “I DON’T KNOW YOU!” And then run.Without a doubt, one of the best tools for prevention is community involvement, says El Dorado County Sheriff Sergeant Bryan Golmitz. He says over the last year his office received multiple calls reporting strangers approaching young children, and they thoroughly investigated every one. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to identify and report suspicious circumstances immediately to law enforcement,” Golmitz says. “We can’t help if we don’t know about it.”

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Batter Chatter

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Hey, how ya doin. I’m a backstop. Yep, that big metal thing behind home plate at a ballpark near you. I know...I’m not supposed to be able to talk. Well, your kids aren’t supposed to climb on me, so we’re even. Tom was a little too busy (i.e. he couldn’t think of anything to write) so the editors asked me to step in and share a few of my thoughts on a national treasure that’s about to come back around again, youth baseball.I’ve been a backstop for a long time. The parks department put me up in ‘83. I’m 20 x 16 panelized feet of galvanized steel. I’ve seen a lot of kids playin’ ball and there’s nothing I love more. I guess you could say it’s my reason for being. Over the years I’ve noticed that a few certain elements seem to be the keys to success for everything from boy’s hardball to girl’s softball – both of which I love, by the way. Hey, backstops don’t play favorites (and neither do the umps, but no one ever believes me on that one).One: The parents gotta not only care, but care for the right reasons. If their six-year-old doesn’t poke a homer off the tee, they still oughta get a trip to the ice cream shop after the game. I’m happy to report, most parents get that. But I think the same should go for a 12-year-old. Yeah, they may look like a big-leaguer when they step up to the plate or onto the pitcher’s mound with their game face on, but in the dugout they’re still having burp contests and arguing over who would win in a fight, Batman or Spiderman. Come to think of it, so are a lot of the players in adult recreational softball leagues. Two: Hopefully your kid is out there because they love the game, because there’s no doubt they’re out there because they love YOU. They want you to be proud of ‘em – even the little tyke doing the pee-pee dance in right field. Never stop letting them know how great you think it is that they lace up their cleats – even if they’re tying them on their own now. Three: They’re learning a game – how to hit, throw, run it out to first, all that stuff. But they’re also learning life lessons like fair play, good sportsmanship and making a commitment to others. If you’re tryin’ to stack a team in the pre-season draft, or yellin’ at a 15-year-old ump for missing a call at second, or always missing practices or getting your kid there late, think about the message that sends. It sure ain’t one they’re gonna run on the scoreboard between innings at Pac Bell Park. Four: Winning is great. It’s awesome. It makes me quiver right down to my anchor blocks. But win with class – clamp down on any smack talk or in-your-face celebrations (and that includes some of you parents in the stands). And while you’re at it, teach them how to lose with grace. Sure, it’s fine to kick a little dirt, but losing a little league game shouldn’t be anything that ruins a weekend, or even the ride home. Five: Teach ‘em to support their teammates. Parents and coaches are one thing. But there’s nothing better to the ears (or heart) of a kid who just struck out for the fifth time in a row than to get some encouragement and a pat on the back from a teammate. When they finally do uncork one, it’ll be tough to tell who’s got the bigger smile.Six: Countin’ on your kid to be the next Jenny Finch or Dustin Pedroia? Great, but don’t push ‘em too hard or else you run a real risk of burning them out or wearing them out before they even reach high school. Let your kid’s drive lead you...not the other way around. That’s not to say don’t push a little, but never let that push become a shove.Seven: The most important – enjoy these moments. Once they’re gone, that’s it. You wanna come away with some great memories, right? Well, so does your child. Support, teach, and support some more. It’s pretty simple. Oh, and don’t forget the ice cream. •Catch Tom on the Pat and Tom Morning Show on New Country 105.1.

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Style Magazine
Local Area Tidbits

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Spring has almost sprung...so don’t forget the start of Daylight Saving time and “spring” your clocks forward on March 8...GNC just opened a new store in El Dorado Hills at 4420 Town Center Boulevard, so make sure to visit and take care of your nutritional needs!...The Folsom CAVE After School Program is in need of several items for their middle school sites. Check out the complete list of items at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.folsom.ca.us">folsom.ca.us</a> and donate to a good cause...And speaking of the CAVE program, if you are an energetic person with strong leadership skills, and want to make a difference in a child’s life – apply to be a Summer CAVE Camp Counselor. For more information, call Ryan Erwin at 916-351-3510...On December 29, Dr. Leon Owens, founder of the Teachable Moment Foundation, which successfully helped to change laws in California associated with drunk driving, along with Captain Mike McCarthy of the Sacramento Police Department and Christopher J. Murphy, the director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, unveiled <a target="_blank" href="http://www.every37.com">Every37.com</a>, a Web site aimed at preventing drinking and driving...The El Dorado Hills Library will hold their American Girl Book Club on March 13, and every second Saturday of the month at 3:30 p.m. Participate in discussions, crafts and special projects based on the series...The El Dorado Hills CSD will offer an Intermediate Digital Photography class on March 4 (at the CSD), from 6:30-10 p.m., and again on March 23 at the Folsom Community Center.  For more information, call 916-355-7285 or register at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.webtrac.folsom.ca.us">webtrac.folsom.ca.us</a>...Travel to Tuscany, Italy for eight wonderful days (March 27-April 5) and learn the techniques of “plein aire” landscape painting from the Charles White Artist Workshop. For more information and pricing, call 916-351-1623 or e-mail <a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a>...Also this month, every Monday night, the Ravine Bar & Restaurant will host the only Stand-up Open Mic Comedy Night in the area. See national headliners and local comedians. Sign-up at 8 p.m. and show starts 8:30 p.m. And, throughout March, the Ravine will display numerous local artists’ work with scenes featuring food, wine and local scenery on the walls of the restaurant – stop by for a bite and a viewing!...Registration is now open for the Prairie City Race Series. The first race is on April 1, so sign up early! Cost is $25 for single, and $35 for tandem for the first race. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.racemtb.com/registration.htm">racemtb.com/registration.htm</a>...Congratulations to Conductor and Music Director of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Morgan, who led the Cairo Opera Orchestra on January 11, which featured the Egyptian premiers of two iconic American works. The Cairo Opera’s Artistic Director invited maestro Morgan as part of an exchange started by the Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento community leaders in 2008...Folsom is now home to the “Green Home of the Year” and the recent recipient of the LEED’S Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest honor in “green” home building. The house on Mormon Street is a new step towards “zero energy” housing, a state goal for 2020, and features recycled glass countertops and a solar unit...And check back next month for our Get Outside feature issue! •<hr>Send your news to: <a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a>.

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Check-up Time

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Culturally we are acutely aware of certain types of cancer, yet we remain blissfully unaware of one of the most deadly forms: colorectal cancer. Cancer of the colon, rectum or appendix, though not discussed much, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, right behind lung cancer.Most colorectal cancer begins as polyps, or pre-cancerous growths, which are largely benign on their own, but can become cancerous if left untreated. If polyps are detected and removed early, colorectal cancer can be prevented. A Preventable DiseaseAccording to Maria Robinson of the Great Valley Region office of the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer education is one of their primary focuses. “It is so preventable if people would just get their check-ups. Depending on the specific demographic to which an individual belongs, we recommend that regular examinations start about age 50.” Follow your doctor’s advice regarding colonic examinations.According to ACS literature, the chances of successful treatment are the greatest when colorectal cancer is detected early, using a combination of these procedures beginning at age 50:Fecal occult blood test Flexible sigmoidoscopy Colonoscopy Double contrast barium enema Experts Weigh InWe visited with three health professionals to gain some perspective on colorectal cancer and how to avoid it. Sheila Leard, a registered dietician and certified personal trainer, is aware of the concerns of patients facing colorectal cancer.Leard advises that good nutrition is important for preventing, dealing with, and surviving cancer. The cause of most cancers is still unclear, but a healthy lifestyle can improve your odds and help maintain your health during treatment. In particular, certain foods can assist in protecting you from colon cancer.Leard suggests adding these foods to your meal plan for better health:Whole-grain breads, pasta, cereal and brown riceDried beansFresh fruits and vegetables, especially applesHigh-fiber foodsVarious types of berries, including cherries, raspberries and strawberries Dr. Alan G. McNabb of Roseville Surgical Alliance sees patients with colorectal cancer after they have been diagnosed and polyps need to be removed. He removes sections of the intestine as needed, to eliminate the cancerous cells, and rebuilds sections that need it. “I am not saying that there is no reason for concern...it is really easy to spot colorectal cancer early with regular examinations,” Dr. McNabb points out optimistically. Candice Cantin of the Ever Green Herb Garden has a balanced holistic view of health in general, and this, of course, encompasses colorectal health. “We need to consider what we put into our systems,” Cantin says. “It should go without saying, but we need to remember, whatever we put in one end, has to come out the other. Think of your stomach as a big Crock Pot – you don’t want to fill it with a lot of stuff that doesn’t go together. You end up digesting some things, half digesting other things, and not digesting yet other items at all. Put in a mix of foods and fluids that work well together to keep your system in the best working order.”Cantin further points out, “In Eastern health disciplines, the rule of thumb is that you want one-third of your stomach filled with solids, one-third with fluids and leave it one-third empty, so it can work!” We should not eat to maximum capacity – this prevents your digestive tract from doing its work.Although colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death among cancers, it does not have to be. With careful preventive care and proper nutrition, this is a highly preventable disease.

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Placerville Hardware

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

It is wholly appropriate that Placerville Hardware is known as the oldest hardware store this side of the Mississippi. Upon entering the store, you begin to notice certain things. The floor is scored with scratches, nicks and dents; it is well worn with the accumulated foot traffic of more than 150 years. Glancing to the immediate right while still in the doorway, a framed black and white picture hangs on the wall. It is a snapshot of the store in its early days, back when the wooden counters were relatively fresh and unmarked. In comparison, the store remains somewhat unchanged, save for the weathering of age, a difference in items sold, and an increase in store size. David Fausel, the current owner of Placerville Hardware, states that the store started out as a tinshop in the early 1850s; that is, it sold cookpans and fryware. Over the passing years the ownership of the store changed hands a few times, and the name of the store changed as well. Past owner Joe McKee changed the store name to Placerville Hardware in the early 1900s, and it hasn’t changed since. McKee sold the store to Albert Kyburz in the late 1940s, and in 1952 Kyburz sold the store to Frank Fausel and his two brothers. The Fausel family has been running the store now for roughly three generations. David Fausel took the helm in 1983 when his father, Frank, stepped down. David’s son Albert will manage the store after David steps down.Perhaps the most amazing thing about the store is how well it has survived, even thrived, over the last 150-plus years. Still true to its tinshop origins, the store offers cookware and other kitchen accessories. Yet that is only a part of the store inventory, as it has considerably expanded its stock over the years to keep up with changing times and necessities. Another interesting fact about Placerville Hardware is that it is a lasting piece of old “Main Street America” that hasn’t been turned into a souvenir or antiques shop, like many other historical buildings. Instead, it remains a very relevant part of Placerville. Not just in history but also in business. David Fausel credits the store’s success over the years with its ability to sell “a little bit of everything,” while providing excellent customer service. The only trouble with running the store, according to Fausel, is having enough room. In providing a little bit of everything, it turns out that maintaining enough room for all the various items offered in the store is hard work. From featuring items that range from hardware to cookware to electronics and things in between, it seems that there will always be a need for Placerville Hardware in Placerville, no matter what changes come along in the future. It is appropriate that the floorboards, shelves, and even the store itself, have survived into the current day. They represent a piece of California history thriving in the present. •

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2008 Tax Law Updates

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

The echo continues – 2009 will be a year of change! But there are several changes occurring in 2008 that will affect you as you prepare your tax returns, and plan for 2009. The following are a few of the most significant changes:Mortgage Debt ForgivenessTaxpayers with loans forgiven or foreclosed between January 1, 2007 and January 1, 2013 will be allowed to exclude from taxable income up to $2 million of mortgage debt forgiven on their principal residence. This exclusion does not apply to rental or vacation homes, only in principal residences. It is important to note that the exclusion only applies to the amount of debt related to acquiring or improving your home. If you refinanced and used the proceeds to pay off a car loan, credit card or pulled cash out to use for non-home improvement items, the forgiveness of that portion of the debt will be taxable. The rules are complex and California did not conform to all of the federal rules, so if you are in this situation it is important to seek professional assistance.A Tax Credit with a TwistFirst-time homebuyers will be allowed a refundable tax credit that is the lesser of 10 percent of the purchase price of a principal residence or $7,500 ($3,750 for married individuals filing separately). The credit applies to first-time homebuyers who purchase a principal residence after April 8, 2008, but before July 1, 2009. A special rule allows those who purchase a principal residence after December 31, 2008 but before July 1, 2009, to treat the purchase as being made in 2008. (Effectively allowing taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 returns rather than on their 2009 returns). The credit is then paid back over 15 years. So, in effect this is not a true credit, but more of an interest free loan from the government. Limitations do apply for taxpayers with income over $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers).Property Tax Deduction for Standard Deduction TaxpayersTaxpayers who claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing deductions will be allowed to claim an additional deduction for state and local property taxes paid. The deduction, which applies only to tax years beginning in 2008, is the lesser of the property taxes actually paid, or $500 ($1,000 for joint return filers).Reduced Home Sale ExclusionAfter 2008, some home sellers who don’t use their properties as their principal residences for the entire time they own them may pay more of a tax bill than they would under current rules. The tax break affected is the home sale exclusion, which generally allows up to $250,000 ($500,000 married filing joint) of home sale profit to be tax-free if a home was owned and used by the seller as the principal residence for at least two of the five years before the sale. For sales after 2008, the gain potentially eligible for the home sale exclusion will be reduced proportionately for the period of time a home wasn’t used as a principal residence, such as a vacation/rental home that is turned into a principal residence by its owners. There are, however, a number of exceptions, so be sure to check with your tax professional.Deduction for Mortgage Insurance PremiumsThe deduction for mortgage insurance premiums has been extended and will continue to be allowed for amounts paid or accrued between 2007 and 2011.Extended Tax BreaksMore than 30 tax breaks that either expired at the end of 2007, or are soon to expire, have been extended. For example, the deduction for state and local general sales tax, the deduction for higher education expenses, and the deduction for educator expenses have all been revived to apply to the 2008 tax year, and are extended to apply in 2009 as well.Raised Depreciation LimitsA qualifying business can expense up to $250,000 (increased from $128,000) of qualifying property purchased by the taxpayer in tax years beginning in 2008.Additional DepreciationA business can now claim additional depreciation equal to 50 percent of qualifying property purchased, beginning in 2008.The previous is just an overview of the most widely applicable law changes for 2008. There are many more that may apply depending on your specific situation, so please consult a qualified tax professional for advice regarding your specific tax situation.<hr>Darla A. Colson, CPA, MST and Terra VanZant, CPA, are with Gilbert Associates, Inc., in Folsom. They can be reached at 916-646-6464.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Feb 28, 2009 ● By Super Admin

In 2008, the economy played the largest role in influencing several changes in our tax system. Since there’s much more to each of the issues discussed below, we recommend that you consult your tax professional on the specifics. Here’s an overview of some of the changes affecting us in 2009.THE GOODEconomic Stimulus Checks – Get a second chance at those rebate checks, maximum of $1,200 for married couples and $300 per each qualifying child. If you were short changed last year because of various technical requirements from your 2007 tax filings, you can claim the difference based on your 2008 data when your return is filed in 2009. This is especially beneficial if you had a child or adopted a child in 2008. And if you would have received less based on 2008 data, you are not required to give back the difference on the amount you already received.  Homebuyer Credit – First time homebuyers, who are defined as anyone who has not purchased a principal residence in over three years, can receive a refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 or 10 percent of purchase price, whichever is less. The home must have been purchased after April 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. You can apply qualified 2009 purchases in the 2008 tax return. Unfortunately, you have to start repaying the credit to IRS over a 15-year period beginning in the second year after purchase. So technically, it’s more like an interest-free loan.   Property Tax Deduction – taxpayers who claim standard deduction can claim extra deductions for local real property taxes for 2008; maximum of $1,000 ($500 for single).   THE BADOil – Due to severe changes in gas prices, Congress changed the standard mile deduction for business purposes in the middle of the year; first half at 50.5 cents per mile and second half at 58.5 cents per mile; moving and medical miles were 19 cents for first half and 27 cents for second half of the year. Charitable miles still stands at 14 cents.Stock Market – No relief on the required minimum distribution (RMD) for 2008; only for 2009. The theory to not require RMD is that retirees should not be forced to take a distribution from their retirement accounts when the value of that account has plummeted, especially since the calculation or the RMD for 2008 is based on the account value as of December 31, 2007.  THE UGLYForeclosures and Short Sales – The real estate melt down has been the most prominent “Ugly” and largest contributor to the economic downturn. Luckily, Congress did come through here. Taxpayers can exclude from income up to $2 million of qualified principal residence indebtedness for discharges incurred on or after January 1, 2007, and before January 1, 2013. Generally, debt discharge would be considered income to taxpayers.  Auto Industry Bail Out– Even the tax incentives didn’t help the auto industry. Congress enacted a temporary increase in the allowable depreciation deduction for passenger vehicles under the luxury car rules. Basically, taxpayers could deduct over $11,000 as first-year depreciation on business use vehicles purchased and placed in service in 2008.  Again, these are just a few of the changes and only a brief discussion on each, making this a critical year to ensure you have expert advice.<hr>John Choi, CPA JD is with Professional Solutions Group, LLP in Roseville. He can be reached  at 916-791-3120 or [email protected]

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