Viewpoints

Wed
26
Feb

What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits

Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation. Will you have to ante up to Uncle Sam when you begin to collect Social Security? If you’re not certain - or if you’re currently being taxed on your benefits - the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers advice on ways to minimize your outlay.

Mon
24
Feb

Intro to chaos theory

Researchers studying chaos theory should leave the lab and try coaching fourth-grade basketball.
If you want a good look at how random elements affect dynamic situations, look no farther than a basketball tournament for 10-year-old boys. Check out a game sometime: You’ll find 10 beginners attempting to play basketball, but succeeding primarily in developing a hybrid of rugby and amoeba soccer, where everyone keeps stealing the ball from one another and at any given time half the players are laying on the court crying. You’ll also find two sets of coaches popping Advil like Skittles.

Sat
22
Feb

Your Legal Rights: Living Trust Mills

About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day. With the aging population, many people are thinking of estate planning. The best course if you want a will or estate plan is to hire an experienced local attorney. You should steer clear of “living trust mills,” which hold themselves out as estate planning specialists but churn out boilerplate documents for a high fee, all to get their foot in the door to sell you annuities or insurance products later on.

Sat
22
Feb

Why Wanton Vandalism?

Frequently in juvenile court we judges see cases of vandalism from minor egg-throwing to major wanton acts of property destruction in the tens of thousands of dollars. I have never been able to understand the mindset of the juveniles involved in such incidents. Sometimes the juveniles explain that they didn’t plan on doing any damage and that it was their friends that goaded them into participating, i.e. peer pressure. Surveys have shown that the typical vandal is a young male middle school student acting in a small group.

Mon
17
Feb

Maybe we’ll all get medals

Who knew awarding the winter Olympics to a summer resort town would result in problems?
So thought the International Olympic Committee, apparently, when it awarded this year’s Games to Russia eight years ago. I’m sure no rubles exchanged hands over this deal, which resulted in Sochi getting picked over Salzburg, Austria. You know, a place that actually has winter.

Mon
17
Feb

Plea Bargains in Criminal Cases

People often express concerns about “plea bargains” in criminal cases. They wonder, “Why should a criminal get a bargain? Doesn’t anyone take crime seriously?” In fact, everyone in the criminal justice system takes it very seriously.

Fri
14
Feb

What does the fox say?

Now that’s a very good question! The Norwegian musical group Ylvis seems to be pondering that very question in their 2013 song of the same name. The YouTube video of the song has been hugely popular. Toddlers to grannies recognize the tune. The riddle of what the fox says is never solved in the song.

Fri
14
Feb

Healing from Groundwater Contamination in Washington County

In the next few weeks, select residents in Oakdale, Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove will receive letters in the mail from the Minnesota Department of Health asking them to participate in an important study tracking the impacts of groundwater contamination in Washington County. Titled PFC3 (East Metro PFC3 Biomonitoring Project), the study is part of a larger Department of Health effort with the unsettling name Minnesota Biomonitoring: Chemicals in People.

Wed
12
Feb

Five steps to achieving your financial goals

What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there’s no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

Fri
07
Feb

You are Presumed Innocent

Among the fundamental rights we all have as U.S. citizens is the presumption of innocence. Whether a citizen gets a speeding ticket, is charged with DWI, or is indicted for murder, the presumption of innocence remains throughout the entire court process, including any appeals if the citizen is convicted by a judge or jury. Unlike the right to counsel or reasonable bail, the presumption of innocence is not in the U.S. or Minnesota Constitutions. It is a part of the common law which American jurisprudence has followed from the British tradition.

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