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Hudson - Litchfield News January 21, 2011 - 11

American History Essay Contest Offered to College Students

submitted by The American College of History and Legal Studies An essay contest on American history open to community college students in New England is being sponsored by the American College of History and Legal Studies in Salem. The winner will receive a $1,000 prize; the second-place winner, $500; and the third-place winner, $250. Entrants must be enrolled in an Associate Degree program. Entrants can select any topic they

choose related to U.S. history, but must limit their submission to 1,000 words or less, according to Maureen C. Mooney, Associate Dean of the new college, located at One Stiles Road.

Entries must be submitted by 3 p.m. on

February 1 and winners will be determined by February 20.

Submissions can be about any topic relevant to American history. Sample essay

topics might be: • Compare the modern “Tea Party” movement to its Revolutionary War-era ancestor.

• Is American history repeating itself? • Choose a pre-Revolutionary War figure who is still relevant today.

• How has the immigration of different ethnic and religious groups to this country contributed to America today?

• What can be done to prevent religious intolerance in our society today? To be considered, the essay must be double-spaced and typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Entrants must also submit a cover sheet that includes their name, phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, the community college they attend, their major(s), if known, and the year anticipated for graduation to obtain their Associate Degree.

Essays and cover letters can be hand-

delivered, mailed, or e-mailed to the ACHLS at The American College of History and Legal Studies was created by the Massachusetts School of Law. The ACHLS is an affordable “completion” college offering the junior and senior years of undergraduate study toward a bachelor’s degree in history and legal studies. All classes exclusively use the discussion (not lecture) method of teaching. ACHLS offers an “Early Admission to Law School” program, whereby qualified students can combine their senior year of college with their first year of law school at the Massachusetts School of Law. To schedule a visit, request a catalog, or apply, visit, e-mail, or call 458-5145.

Piece of the Pie Maintaining Your

The Tax Return -

Your Annual Financial Checkup W.F.Boutin EA - Total Tax Solutions LLC

I am happy to participate in The Area News Group’s “Maintaining

January is National Radon Awareness Month DES Encourages Testing for Radon

submitted by NH Department of Environmental Services The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) in recognition of January as National Radon Action Month encourages homeowners to test their homes for radon. Radon awareness is particularly important to New Hampshire residents because the “Granite State” has higher-than-average radon exposure potential. About 25 percent of the state’s homes have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended health-based action level.

Radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause among non-smokers. Nationally, EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year; data suggests that it may be responsible for as many as 100 lung cancer deaths a year in New Hampshire. Radon is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless radioactive gas. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. Radon can get into the air you breathe within your home and into

your drinking water. The only way to know if it is a problem in your home is to test for it. In general, the migration of radon up from the soil contributes the largest percentage of radon found in the average home. Water from a private well, particularly a bedrock well, also known as an artesian or drilled well, can also be a source of radon in the home. DES recommends testing the indoor air in your home and your private well for radon. Testing for radon in both air and water is an important part of protecting public health. It is inexpensive and easy. Elevated levels of radon in the air and water can be remediated. Starting January 10, DES is offering a very limited supply of free

radon test kits to the public. Kits will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in obtaining a kit, fill out the form provided at ehs/radon/index.htm or call the DES Radon Program at 271-1370.

Students ‘Tour’ Europe via Cultural Festival

submitted by Brianna Belley On January 6, Mrs. Zemetres’ World

Geography class had a European cultural festival. This was the culmination of a month-long unit on Europe. Each student selected a country from the European continent. Everyone created an informational visual that represented their country. These posters consisted of information on the culture, food, economy, and physical features of their country. In addition, each student prepared a dish that had significance to the culture of the country. Some of the highlights were pierogies from Poland, lasagna from Italy, kourabiedes (Greek wedding cookies), lebkuchen bars from Germany, and piroshky from Russia. In addition, the students walked around the festival and wrote down information on the countries of their choice. Students and teachers enjoyed the food and the information of the fun-filled festival.

NH Teacher of the Year Call for Nominations

submitted by NH Department of Education The NH Department of Education (DOE) is accepting nominations for the 2012 NH Teacher of the Year. Anyone can nominate an outstanding teacher by simply contacting Lori Temple, Teacher of the Year Coordinator, at 271-6646 or ltemple@ed.state. by February 17, or downloading an application at www. and submitting it to the DOE no later than March 18. A Teacher of the Year candidate should be an exceptionally

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Your Piece of the Pie” series once again this tax season. Over the next several weeks, I will be presenting a series of articles that will cover various aspects of the income tax return. Knowledge and understanding is a very powerful weapon. These articles help dissect the income tax return, define certain terminology and discuss benefits available in the tax code to lower your taxable income. My purpose is to help make you aware of the multiple options you have to enact informed decisions regarding your upcoming expenditures to help plan your financial future in these challenging times. At Total Tax Solutions we view the preparation of the income tax return as a time for an annual financial checkup. The tax laws can be complicated and confusing to many individuals. Each taxpayer’s situation is unique and might change from year to year. The income tax return itself can be complex since a minor change in one area of the return can affect several other areas of the return. Certain transactions that may occur during the year can cost you much more than you anticipated. This is because of the affect an increase in total income can have on certain deductions and credits that have phase out limits.

Of course I recommend that you have your taxes professionally prepared so that you can: 1) ask questions pertaining to your return: 2) understand your options to lower your taxes for the next year and 3) have someone who you can call if a particular situation should arise during the year. With your previous year’s data in our computers we can give realistic advice instead of assumptions. Many of our clients take advantage of this service which is included in their one time preparation fee.

I realize that not all returns are so complicated as to require professional preparation. Self preparers however should consider having their taxes professionally prepared at least once every 3 to 4 years. Tax preparation software is not intelligent software. The software simply adds and subtracts data inputs based upon answering yes and no questions. The user cannot interact with the software by asking questions, and must spend time reviewing tax law, to answer these questions correctly. Having your return professionally prepared once every fourth year gives the self preparer the opportunity to verify their understanding of the tax laws, allows them to ask pertinent questions pertaining to their unique situations, and most important, gives them the peace of mind that they have fulfilled a financial checkup. Mistakes made on previous returns have a three year window for amendment. Many mistakes that we have found over the years would have cost taxpayers much more than a tax preparation fee. Last year 15% to 20% of our first time clients had errors on their previous year’s returns. These clients benefited from amended returns with refunds of $250 to $1800 because of such errors. The errors found were not only from self prepared returns or from an interpretation of tax law but from inexperience. When having your tax returns professionally prepared, do not hesitate to ask for references and question experience. Next week – Know Your Preparer Have a tax question? E-mail About Total Tax Solutions: W.F. Boutin EA registered Total Tax Solutions in the State of NH as a LLC in the summer of 2006 after 10 years experience working for a major tax preparation company and 8 years of teaching various tax courses. The company mission is to deliver an excellent customer service experience year around, to offer knowledgeable advice so that clients can make informed decisions regarding their financial future, and to provide this service with integrity, confidence and professionalism.

dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled person from any state- approved or accredited school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, who intends to continue in the teaching profession. The purpose of the program is to select a teacher who is worthy of speaking for and energizing the teaching profession, and representing the positive contributions of all teachers statewide.

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