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2013 Doodle 4 Google Contest PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Robert Haus   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:24

The Google "doodles" are the fun versions of the Google logo that you see on the Google homepage throughout the year in celebration of special events and people. Once a year, the company gives K-12 students across the U.S. the chance to display their own Google doodle on www.google.com through the Doodle 4 Google contest.

Google just announced the 2013 Doodle 4 Google contest, with the theme “My Best Day Ever...” This is a chance to give students a blank canvas to exercise their creative imagination and doodle about their best day ever -- be that in the past, present or future. Google is excited to see moments or thoughts that range from very small and personal to broad and far reaching -- maybe even out of this universe.

The stakes are high: in addition to seeing their doodle displayed on Google’s homepage in May, the winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for their school. Last year, Google received a record 114,000 submissions.

Students can submit doodles until March 22, and Google will announce a winner from every single state on May 1. Last year’s Iowa winner was Alexis Zaugg, from Southdale Elementary School in Cedar Falls, IA.

You can find the full blog post announcing the contest below. More information, including all contest rules, is available at google.com/doodle4google. Please also feel free to use the videos I’ve included to help your story come to life, and I’m happy to provide images of past years’ winning doodles.

Please let me know if you have any questions. We’re hoping to get the word out to students across Iowa, so we’d appreciate your help in communicating about the contest.

 
Governor Quinn Urges Working Families to Apply for Newly-Increased Earned Income Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erin Wilson   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:09

Launches EITC.Illinois.Gov to Help More People Get More of Their Money Back Through Awareness and Preparation Assistance  

CHICAGO – January 25, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by numerous community organizations to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his successful push for major tax relief for working families across Illinois. Governor Quinn fought for and signed legislation in 2012 that doubles the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) over the next two years, which is expected to save working families an extra $105 million a year. The same legislation also benefits all taxpayers by improving the value of the personal exemption by indexing it to inflation. Today’s event is part of the governor’s effort to drive economic growth and support working families across Illinois.

“Last year I fought to double the tax relief available for working families in Illinois because it is the best way to fight poverty and grow our economy,” Governor Quinn said. “But you cannot benefit from this tax relief unless you apply for it. Taxpayers who may be eligible should visit EITC.illinois.gov to learn more and take advantage of tax preparation assistance available.”

The governor’s efforts last year resulted in the biggest increase in the Illinois EITC since its inception in 2000. It boosted the state EITC from 5 percent of the federal EITC in 2011 to 7.5 percent in 2012. In 2013, it has risen to 10 percent of federal EITC. Almost 2.5 million Illinois residents benefited from the EITC in 2011.

Under the new law, a single mother with one child, earning minimum wage ($12,800 a year), will save $154 on her state income taxes for 2012 ($205 in 2013). A married couple with three children earning $30,000 a year will save $199 on their 2012 state income taxes ($265 in 2013). A married couple with three children and earning just over $50,000 could be eligible for up to $5,891 in state and federal tax relief. For more information about how much money taxpayers could save, visit EITC.Illinois.gov.

The EITC is uniquely pro-growth and pro-family. Available only to workers who are earning income, this tax credit provides incentive to work as well as much-needed tax relief to the lowest-income families. The EITC also generates local economic growth by increasing consumer spending. A 2006 Brookings Institution study found that every dollar a family saves through this tax credit translates into $1.58 of activity in local economies and can help businesses avoid layoffs, hire employees and pave the way for future growth.

How to Benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

To benefit from Illinois’ EITC, also known as the Earned Income Credit (EIC), taxpayers must include it on their tax returns. The not-for-profit Center for Economic Progress (CEP) estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not file for EITC last year.

“At the CEP we're excited to serve thousands of Illinois families who will benefit from the expanded state EITC,” said David Marzhal, president of the Center for Economic Progress. “Not only will most of our taxpayers get a bigger state refund, but they'll not pay one cent to get their taxes done by our certified and highly trained volunteers.”

To help working families achieve the maximum savings on their taxes, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) partners with the Center for Economic Tax Counseling Project to provide free tax preparation assistance at tax assistance centers across the state. The services are provided free of charge to families making less than $50,000 annually and to individuals with yearly incomes under $25,000. More than 25,000 Illinois taxpayers filed returns through the program in the 2011 tax season, with more than $45 million in state and federal tax refunds returned to clients.

DHS also funds the Tax Assistance Program (TAP) which has nearly 20 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. TAP recruits tax professionals to volunteer to assist low-income families. DHS also works with its clients and those who found jobs and have left DHS programs to educate them about tax preparation programs and ways to ensure they receive the maximum refund on their tax returns.

A list of locations across the state that offer free tax assistance to eligible individuals is attached.

For more information on the Tax Counseling Project, contact the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at 312-630-0273, or call the toll-free statewide number at888-827-8511. For information on the Tax Assistance Program call 312-409-1555 or 312-409-4318 (Spanish). Details are also available on the DHS website at www.dhs.state.il.usand the Department of Revenue website at www.revenue.state.il.us.

Information about filing federal taxes online can be found at www.irs.gov.

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Iowa Supreme Court Opinions January 25, 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 09:41

Notice: The opinions posted on this site are slip opinions only. Under the Rules of Appellate Procedure a party has a limited number of days to request a rehearing after the filing of an opinion. Also, all slip opinions are subject to modification or correction by the court. Therefore, opinions on this site are not to be considered the final decisions of the court. The official published opinions of the Iowa Supreme Court are those published in the North Western Reporter published by West Group.
Opinions released before April 2006 and available in the archives are posted in Word format. Opinions released after April 2006 are posted to the website in PDF (Portable Document Format).   Note: To open a PDF you must have the free Acrobat Reader installed. PDF format preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. For more information about PDF read: Using the Adobe Reader.
For your convenience, the Judicial Branch offers a free e-mail notification service for Supreme Court opinions, Court of Appeals opinions, press releases and orders. To subscribe, click here.
NOTE: Copies of these opinions may be obtained from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319, for a fee of fifty cents per page.
No. 11–1262
STATE OF IOWA vs. KAREN SUE HUSTON
No. 11–1967
IN THE MATTER OF TRUST #T-1 OF MARY FAYE TRIMBLE, JUDITH R. CUNNINGHAM, Trustee

 
Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action **Thursday, January 24, 2013** PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 09:38

CHICAGO– January 24, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 3233  

An Act Concerning: Insurance 

Allows health maintenance organizations to charge deductibles for basic health care services, which may not exceed limits set by the IRS.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

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The Virtues of Bikes, Bourbon and Rock N Roll PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 09:30

Blurring Gender Roles are Fine, Writer/Rocker Says, But Men Still Need to be Men

Does a real man stay at home with the kids while his wife goes to work? Is he OK if she earns more than him? Will he do the cooking – and like it?

Yes, yes and yes, says contemporary philosopher Eli Just, author of the popular supernatural adventure series that begins with “Manny Jones and the Place” (www.elijustsupernaturalwriter.com).

“The ‘new masculinity’ – the new manly man – understands the value of blurring those old gender lines. And he’s also found the satisfaction and real pleasure that comes with some of those things,” Just says.

“But he balances that with some of the old old-school ideas about what it is to be a man. There’s still a lot to be said for the freedom of roaring along a highway on a motorcycle,  sipping  bourbon, and playing rock ‘n roll with your buddies in the garage.”

Just points to a poll of more than 87,000 men in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. AskMen’s Great Male Survey found that:

94 percent would feel fine about their wife earning more than they do. (“That may just indicate we’re evolving,” Just says. “It doesn’t seem kind of stupid to be upset about a better lifestyle just because you’re not the one providing it!)

78 percent say marriage potential is “very” or “somewhat” important in evaluating how they feel about the woman they’re dating. (“It’s nice to see we’re raising our standards,” Just says.)

64 percent cook at home and like it – only 5 percent called cooking “woman’s work.” (“It stands to reason that if you’re wife is out making the big bucks, you better learn to cook or go hungry,” Just says.)

50 percent say the ultimate manly man is a good husband and father. That beat out traditional “manly” virtues such as being good at fixing things (13 percent) and being a great lover (4 percent).

This new appreciation of men’s roles and responsibilities is great, Just says, but if guys want to remain attractive to the opposite sex, they need to retain some of their guy-liness.

“Men need to be open to adventure. They need to be courageous. And they need to lose those little skinny jeans and dress like men,” he says. “We’re already slipping on achievement – more women are getting college degrees than men. More women than men are breadwinners.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a woman. I love women. But men are not women and we shouldn’t try to be!”

What does he recommend for putting some muscle back into manhood?

• Find your sparkplugs. If you don’t know how to change your engine oil, you need to fix that. Take a class in basic automotive maintenance and repairs – they’re often offered at adult schools and community colleges. “There is nothing less appealing to a woman than a man who has no clue about what’s under the hood – especially when she’s broken down on the side of the highway,” Just says.

• Do a chin-up. A basic difference between men and women is upper body strength. If you’ve let yours go, you need to get it back. “Men should be strong,” Just says. “They should be able to punch the bad guy or open the pickle jar. Too many of us have let ourselves go. Believe me, your wife-to-be doesn’t want to be carrying YOU over the threshold!”

• Get over the video games. Men have gotten far too preoccupied with video games, Just says. “They’re playing in some fantasy world for hours at a time, getting pale, flabby and weird.” He suggests watching football. While many a wife and girlfriend complains about the time her guy spends watching sports, at least he talks to her during commercials, Just points out. They might even get out and throw a ball around. “You can’t do that with virtual cyber swords,” he says.

About Eli Just

Eli Just is the author of several books including the popular “Manny Jones” series and “The Eddy.” He has a master’s in history from Southeastern Louisiana University and is a self-taught student of physics, which he taught at the high school level. As a Christian, Just enjoys exploring themes involving physics and its relationship to religion. He lives in northern Georgia.

 
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