Christmas with the Nelsons tells the story of three family Christmases in the lives of America’s First Family of Entertainment, the Nelsons! Fresh off securing two Top 10 Billboard Christmas singles in the last two years, Matthew and Gunnar bring their award winning talent to the stage. This heart-warming multi-media live concert stars the third generation of No. 1 Nelson family hitmakers, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. A genuine blend of Everly Brothers-style harmonies and Smothers Brothers-style comedy, multi-platinum recording artists Matthew and Gunnar have been thrilling sellout audiences worldwide for the past decade and they’ve got a new gift for you to open. From the “Holly Jolly” 50s to the 70s when “Santa Claus Came to Town” to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, this is the Christmas show all ages of girls and boys have been waiting for. The entire Nelson family invites you to celebrate, Christmas with the Nelsons! | Carlson Center, Dec. 23 at 7PM. General Admission seating
Archives for November 2017
Anchorage, Alaska — Nov. 27, 2017 Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest is reminding donors to be wary of charity fraud this holiday season, especially with Giving Tuesday tomorrow and an increase in charity scams.
Charity fraud varies from a scammer posing as a reputable charity to a misrepresentation of how much money actually goes to the charity’s clients. There have been over 100 more scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker this year compared to 2016 with a loss of nearly $380,000, $140,000 more than 2016. Charity scammers often take advantage of the holiday giving season since American charities receive one-third of their annual donations during this time of year.
BBB is reminding donors to make the most of their generosity this holiday season with these giving tips:
- Watch out for look-a-likes. Organizations with name similarities could either be a charity who supports the same cause or a bogus charity using a similar name to a reputable organization. Consumers should research the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.
- Avoid high-pressure emails and phone calls. Donation requests are common around the holidays, but consumers should avoid emotional pleas and high-pressure emails and phone calls, especially when organizations pressure them to make an immediate decision.
- Be wary of charities that don’t disclose. Although participation is voluntary, charities that don’t disclose any of the requested information to BBB Wise Giving Alliance should raise a critical red for donors.
- Start with trust. Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Stands for Charity Accountability. Consumers can get free access to charity reports at give.org.
To view more tips about donating this holiday season, visit https://www.bbb.org/givingtuesday/.
Last week I started a series on my 10 Principles of Disaster Preparedness. It is my sincere belief that your efforts to prepare should follow a plan. Being prepared is more than a full pantry of Spam, rice and beans. Preparedness begins with a mindset that says, “No matter what happens, we’re going to get through any disaster thrown at us!” Accumulating extra stores and planning ahead is all part of the overall picture, but there should be some guiding principles behind how you prepare and for what reasons. In case you missed the first three principles, see last week’s column or check it out on my blog.
4. There is value in redundancy. An old joke among government employees is that somewhere deep in the bureaucracy swamp known as Washington, there is an agency known as the Department of Redundancy Department. This principle sounds a bit like #3, “Always Have A Plan B,” but if you only have one way of purifying water, then two ways is even better. If you have one case of toilet paper, two is better. The more you have stored, the more you have available for barter or charity. Equally as important are the qualities of versatility and flexibility. Disasters don’t follow a rigid design, so it’s best if you design your plan with a certain adaptability factor as well.
5. Don’t make preparations out of fear. Several months ago we held a class at our church on Disaster Preparedness. There were about 25 people in attendance. We discussed some of the reasons for prepping including the possibility of a mega-earthquake. After the class one of the attendees went home, gathered her children and pitched a tent out in the middle of a field in fear of an earthquake destroying her house. That wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. I carry a spare tire in my car, not out of fear of a flat tire, but just in case. I have Band-aids in my wallet, just in case. The story is told of an 80 year old woman confronted by police. It was found she had two handguns in her purse, one in her glovebox and a shotgun under the seat. The officer asked, “Ma’am, just what is it you are afraid of?”Her reply, “Nothing!” When you lay in extra stores, do so with the posture of “just in case.” Not because you’re afraid of what might happen.
6. Beware of “Style Over Substance!” Politicians are fond of making laws, usually with great pomp and volume, that are long on publicity and short on actual effectiveness. We all know of products that don’t live up to their billing. Not everything labelled “Survival” will be of benefit when actually put to the test. I am convinced that much so-called “survival” gear was designed by the P.T. Barnum School of Marketing. You’ll recall their motto, I’m sure: “There’s a sucker born every minute!” When making a purchase for your preparations, do your research and think it through. First ask yourself if you know how to use it. Then try to determine the probability of necessity if there is a disaster. Make smart, well informed purchases before you invest. It’s not only your money at stake, your life may depend on this thing.
Next week we’ll continue with more of my Ten Principles. As always send your questions, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my blog for previous columns at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired postmaster, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.
The holidays are upon us. We are faced with longer lists of thing to buy, a limited amount of time to do the shopping and a limited amount of money. Stores are trying to maximize their profits. There is a reason that they call it Black Friday. That is the day many of our stores enter into the profitable range for the year.
Considering what’s going on in Alaska’s economy, many of us have been on a tighter budget this year. If this is your case or if you are among those of us who just want to get the most out of your budget, it pays for us to understand the psychology of selling. What ploys do the stores use to separate you from your hard-earned money?
Watch for cheap come-ons. As you head for the store, you are met at the door with a flurry of inexpensive items to purchase. These are “open your wallet” items. Once you put one item in your cart, you’ll finish filling it up. That one inexpensive item is just like priming a pump. You’ll spend more.
That shiny shopping cart just might enhance your shopping habits as well. Nature abhors a vacuum or an empty shopping cart. If you only want a few items, carry them. The minute you switch to a basket, or from there to a cart, you will put more items in there. Martin Lindstrom, a grocery store consultant, reported an experiment where doubling the size of a cart increased the purchases by 40 percent.
The stores are filled with holiday colors. But did you realize that the color red will entice you to spend more? A study published in the journal Emotion shows that people react faster and more forcefully when they see the color red. Red stimulates and energizes the brain, causing you to act — in this case, to buy.
The stores are crowded and we are far more inclined to want to be “part of the group” by purchasing something. In addition, crowds bring out the competitive spirit in us. No way is someone else going to get a good deal without us getting the same good deal ourselves. All you have to do is view the shoppers on Black Friday to see this competitiveness. The lines start forming outside the store far before it opens.
Lest you think that you’ll beat the stores by shopping at home on the computer, the internet markets have our number as well. Your favorite website may have free shopping, but it only kicks in at a certain dollar amount. I personally have found myself searching for another item to purchase to raise my online cart over the $50 or $75 limit. If you are purchasing something you don’t need, you are better off paying the shipping. It may just cost less than another item.
Sites that offer free shipping regardless of your purchase cost are also ensuring that you will always turn to that site. Amazon Prime has ensured our continued business by having a flat fee for shipping for the year. In one way, it is smart to look at sites with free shipping first but only if you are sure that you are getting the best price on whatever items you are purchasing.
Each site wants to become your favorite. You are more likely to purchase something on a site that already has your credit card number entered. Whether it is because we are lazy about re-entering all those numbers, or we are simply not wanting to open another account and leave a digital footprint that can be stolen, the result is the same. We buy where our credit card information is already recorded.
This holiday season, buy what you need, but don’t fall into the trap of spending more than you intended. Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of the Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at email@example.com or by calling (907)474-7201.
“Caribou In Snow” – Caribou in the Donnelly Flats forage after the first significant snowfall of the season.
Photo Courtesy Steven Miley Photography
As the holidays approach, I want to remind you about the cornucopia, that oddly shaped basket with fruit stuffed in it. This is a symbol we don’t see much any more and not many people know what it symbolizes.
According to Webster’s, a cornucopia is “a curved, hollow goat’s horn or similarly shaped receptacle (such as a horn-shaped basket) that is overflowing especially with fruit and vegetables (such as gourds, ears of corn, apples, and grapes) and that is used as a decorative motif emblematic of abundance — called also horn of plenty.”
I remember as a kid hearing, reading and seeing stories of the “Pilgrims and Indians” having meals together, and it always seemed like a cornucopia was involved. There was plenty and they shared with each other.
As the holidays approach, it seems like this is the time to reflect on what we have. We should do it all year, but it comes to the forefront around this time. Some people may have more than others and that’s okay. For those of you who are blessed and have a “cornucopia,” I want to challenge you through the holiday season to see how you can help someone else. As you do, I hope you will include your children, if you have any, and teach them to give.
People outside your family don’t need to see you give. It is fun to give and not to expect anything in return or to be acknowledged. These are lessons that we need to teach the youth of today as too many times they give and then expect something in return. We need to help them realize it is okay to not receive or be recognized.
However, what if you can’t afford to give or don’t feel like you want to part with certain items? There are many other ways to share your abundance. Take your family and work at the food bank or the soup kitchen. When the snow comes, you can shovel someone’s driveway. I remember a family who would get up early and shovel their elderly neighbor’s sidewalks and driveways before anyone else was up and then do a few others randomly to surprise people. It didn’t cost them anything but it meant a lot to those people who had it done for them.
Another idea would be to invite people over for a meal, especially ones who don’t have family and are alone. I had someone tell me lately that they don’t have friends — they have acquaintances. That hurt as I feel that person is a friend of mine. I need to figure out how to do a better job of showing my friendship to them. There are lots of elderly, single people, college students and youth who don’t have family around or a place to go. What a great example to be able to share with your kids and help them understand it is good to help others any way you can.
So, this holiday season and maybe throughout the year, wouldn’t it be great to give selflessly of yourself? Whether it be money or labor, it will be worth it. I have said it many times — your reward will be greater than what you give. Have a great holiday season.
4-H is a youth organization for youth K-12 that helps youth learn about certain items of interest to them, but also teaches them life skills. 4-H has a club structure with leaders who are adult volunteers with current background checks. To learn more about the local program, contact Marla Lowder, Tanana District 4-H agent, at 474-2427. You can also check out our web page . 4-H is a part of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Many of us are cash-strapped. We might need money for a down payment on a house, to pay off our credit card debt, or even to hold us over when we are unexpectedly left without employment.
For most of us, savings are in short supply. However, many people have savings in the form of a retirement account, which is unavailable. Or is it? Rather than liquidating a retirement account when cash is in short supply, many people are considering whether they should simply borrow against it.
When you close a retirement account, you have to pay taxes and fees to cash it in before the appropriate time. Money drawn out of a retirement account will cost you between 25 and 50 percent, depending on your tax bracket and the applicable fees. However, it might be possible to take a loan against your retirement account to pay that debt, make a down payment or take advantage of that big opportunity without those additional costs.
First, check your retirement account for details. Does it allow loans? You are not allowed to borrow against Individual Retirement Accounts —IRAs and Roth IRAs. You may be allowed to borrow against a 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b).
Some retirement accounts offer a hardship distribution in certain cases, such as down payment or repairs to a home or saving a home from foreclosure. Be sure to check your account then check the IRS website for regulations on a hardship distribution. That may solve your cash shortage, but remember that you are liquidating your savings and any future gains from that account.
A loan on your retirement account, however, may be a good option for you. Accounts that offer loans cap the amount that can be borrowed at 50 percent of the total amount in the account. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service sets a maximum amount of $50,000 for a loan, regardless of how much money is in the account.
Remember that this is a loan, so it must be repaid. Get clear on the terms of that loan. Most loans have a five-year term, but could be longer if you are borrowing for a down payment on your primary home. The interest rate should be approximately what the going rate is if you borrowed the money. In most cases, the loan can be repaid with a payment or a deduction from your paycheck. Just make sure you understand exactly how the loan will be repaid.
Like all financial transactions, there are good and bad aspects of this action. The good aspect is that you are paying it back to yourself and the interest paid goes into your account. If you have marginal credit, you probably can get a better interest rate and terms than from a conventional lender. The bad aspect is that you are raiding your retirement funds and it will take a long time for your funds to reach prior levels. If you leave that employer, the loan must be paid in 90 days. If you fail to repay that loan, there are tax penalties and fees.
Borrowing against your retirement may make sense for your financial future, but before you take that step, check the details on your account and the rules and policies at www.irs.com.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of the Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (907)474-7201.
This week’s column begins a series of my Ten Foundational Principles of Disaster Preparedness. Call them core values, immutable truths or life rules, I am fully convinced everyone needs to develop their own personal “prepper philosophy” so there will be some direction and structure in your planning. Although my list is a work in progress, here it is and you are welcome to copy this as your own:
1. Prepare before the disaster happens. I am always mildly amused and somewhat bewildered by the ones who run to the store either at the last minute or after the fact. That’s a bit like having a fender bender then calling your insurance man to buy some coverage. In my observations of situations like Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, I see people who had plenty of advance warning still getting caught empty-handed. The chaos, frustration and desperation that characterizes the unprepared can all be avoided by simply planning ahead. Your family is worth it. A biblical proverb says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes on blindly and suffers the consequences.” (Proverbs 22:3, New Living Translation) Plan ahead.
2. Avoid ready-made kits. There are literally thousands of ready-made kits available for purchase. Almost every disaster preparedness blog (except mine) has a kit for sale. I think some of them are pretty well thought out and actually very cool. However there is a certain satisfaction in building your own, choosing quality components and actually designing the kit for your specific needs in your specific neighborhood. The person that lives miles out in the hills will have different needs than the person who lives in the city. Some families have babies and their kit will require diapers and anti-rash ointment. Others will have “seasoned citizens” in the household and their needs are unique to their circumstance. Check out the ready-mades to get ideas on what you might need, but make your own list, then fill it to your satisfaction.
3. Have a plan “B” and a plan “C.” Every experienced battle commander knows his plan is perfect until the shooting starts. Most plans begin to unravel as they’re put to the test. This is a huge flaw I see in the National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers.” Every featured group I have seen prepares for a specific disaster scenario. Just imagine how disappointed they’d be if they prepared for a nuclear attack and got hit with a coronal mass ejection (solar storm) instead. Now I am convinced if you live in hurricane country, then plan for a hurricane, but have two or more different evacuation routes. Prepare two or more retreat locations, just in case. If you live along the Oregon Coast, plan for an earthquake-tsunami episode, but always have a plan B. Your first escape route may be blocked with debris or a bridge may be impassable. Make alternate plans.
Next week we’ll continue with my Ten Basic Principles.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
TIME: 5:30 PM
PLACE: School Board Conference Room, District Office
The Delta/Greely School District provides each student with opportunities to become a
responsible and productive member of society.
Richard Mauer, President
Eileen Herman,, Vice President
Dana Mock, Treasurer
Flower Cole, Clerk
Harrison Kiser, Student Representative
LTC Michael Foote, Military Representative
A. Call to Order
B. Roll Call
C. Pledge of Allegiance
D. Correspondence to/from Board
E. Discussion Items
1. 1st Reading Policy 4253 – Public Comment/Discussion
2. 2nd Reading Policies 1250, 5119 and 6142.1 – Public Comment/Discussion
3. FY 18 Budget Revision – Public Comment/Discussion
F. Future Meetings
1. School Board Work Session January 11, 2018
G. General Comments from the Public
H. Comments from the Board
2017 – 2018 Board Goals
1. Facilitate the planning, programming, budgeting, execution and reporting of a short and long term maintenance
2. The board will adopt key indicators of success and implement an annual review of those indicators.
3. The board will facilitate the on-going implementation and review of the strategic plan.
4. The board will continue to analyze budget data to identify efficiencies and priorities.