Students help community with Tax Assistance Program

first_imgApril 17 may not mean much to most undergraduate students, but some of these students have taken it upon themselves to participate in tax season via the Vivian Harrington Gray Tax Assistance Program (TAP), which has helped local, low-income South Bend and Mishawaka community members fill out their federal and state tax returns since 1972, when professor Ken Milani started the program.Colleen Creighton, associate teaching professor of accountancy and the program coordinator for TAP, became a professor and joined TAP in 2016. Creighton said participating in TAP has been a “tremendous learning experience” for her and “enlightening” for the students who volunteer.“It is very eye-opening for a lot of people, figuring out how privileged we may be,” she said. “I had one student tell me that they were looking at a tax return for a family of four, and they made just a little bit more than they made over their summer internship.”Steffen Timmer, TAP’s student program leader, said he originally joined TAP because of the additional credits one can earn from taking the class, as students need 150 credits for the Certified Public Accountant exam. Still, he said being a part of TAP during junior and senior years has been a rewarding experience.“I like being able to talk to people and get to know them, help them with their problems and issues, even if it’s something as little as tax returns.” Timmer said. “It can make a big difference for these people that the program serves, because the other options like H&R Block or firms like that might charge 200 bucks or something for doing a tax return, and when your income’s not that high, that can make a big difference.”In the community program, undergraduate juniors and seniors studying accounting can take TAP as a two-credit pass/fail course after they have taken Federal Taxation. First they learn the tax filing process, then from Feb. 13 to April 14 they periodically work on location in the South Bend and Mishawaka area filing taxes.“Initially I think it’s to get the practical experience, but I think they really enjoy providing help,” Creighton said. “And most people are just so anxious for the help … the idea that someone is there to help lessen that burden is very helpful and they’re all very, very grateful.”Creighton said the “real live client” experience is an invaluable lesson that’s difficult to learn in the classroom.Timmer said he found that working with real-life clients helped him apply classroom concepts to the real world situations.“You actually work with clients, so when you start working you have some experience of how to communicate with people and help them out,” Timmer said. “Sitting in your accounting classes you’re not getting a lot of actual interaction with people like who you’re going to be working for in the future.”This year, the community TAP program made the shift to electronic filing. Not only did this increase efficiency, but it also benefits the clients, who get their refunds anywhere from four to six weeks sooner.“Particularly for the community that we’re dealing with, this tax refund has a tremendous impact, so the ability to shorten that and get them their money much faster has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm,” Creighton said.Besides the community program, TAP also includes an international program where students in Mendoza’s Master of Science in Accountancy program help international students, scholars and faculty with their taxes.“Most Americans have difficulty understanding their taxes, then you get somebody who’s only here for a short period of time,” Creighton. “So the International Program helps them with any US filing requirements.”Last year, the community program did 834 returns and 1,885 returns total combined with the international program’s returns. This year, Creighton said the program is on track to fill out at least as many returns as they did last year.“Tax returns, it’s nothing extremely challenging for us as accounting students at Notre Dame, but it’s stuff people are confused about,” Timmer said. “People don’t know tax laws, like an accounting major would, so it’s good to use what we know to help people with that.”Tags: April 17th, IRS, TAP, Tax Assistance Program, tax seasonlast_img read more

Tickets Now on Sale for The Mystery of Irma Vep,

first_img The Mystery of Irma Vep will have scenic design by John Arnone, costume design by Ramona Ponce, lighting design by Peter West, and sound design by Brandon Wolcott. Tickets are now on sale for the 30th anniversary revival of Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep. Starring Arnie Burton and Robert Sella and directed by Everett Quinton, the off-Broadway show will run April 10 through May 11 at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Opening night is set for April 17. The Mystery of Irma Vep With two actors playing multiple roles, The Mystery of Irma Vep careens through Shakespeare, Victorian melodrama, Poe and Hitchcock. After his first wife, Irma, meets her unfortunate demise on the mysterious moors, Egyptologist Lord Edgar takes Lady Enid as his second wife, much to the dismay of his protective maid, Jane, and his leering swineherd, Nicodemus. But when Lady Enid suffers a similarly supernatural attack, life at Mandacrest Estate quickly becomes a gripping whodunit (or whatdunit) where nothing is as it seems. Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on May 11, 2014last_img read more

Coaching Center of Vermont Announces New Partner

first_imgFROM: Coaching Center of VermontOne Main StreetChamplain MillWinooski, VT 05404Contact: Charlotte is external) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Coaching Center of Vermont Announces New PartnerGrowth Driving Expansion Winooski, VT, March 26, 2008 The Coaching Center of Vermont, a collaborative of life and business coaches located in the Champlain Mill, Winooski, is pleased to welcome Lea Belair, PCC as a new partner. Belair brings over thirteen years experience and entrepreneurial expertise, including having owned and managed several successful businesses. She brings international credentials and know-how as an instructor in coaching skills, change management, and business development. Her book Walk on Water: How to Make Change Easier is the basis of an advanced coaching program approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and makes Belair a popular speaker on thriving in change.In her new position, Belair will focus on a holistic approach to growing the Coaching Center and its two new divisions: Vital Business and The Worldwide Coaching Center. Liz Dallas, President and founding partner, started the business in 2002 as a collective of six coaches, now grown to ten fulltime members and six affiliate members. In addition to providing professional coaching services to the Vermont community, the Coaching Center owes its success to supporting its coach members in starting and building their own independent businesses.”With her proven leadership and success Lea will propel us forward in our company growth and strategic objectives,” stated Dallas, President of the Coaching Center. “Were developing satellite groups in Southern Vermont and the Upper Valley and setting the groundwork for our coaching collaborative to go virtual and expand to a world wide stage this spring.About the Coaching Center of VermontBased in the heart of Winooskis downtown renovation, the Coaching Center of Vermont is a collaborative of diverse business and life coaches offering coaching services in the areas of career development, life balance, executive leadership, business start-ups and growth, retirement, health and wellness, parenting and relationships, and team development. Its Vital Business Division focuses on leadership development and creating coaching cultures within organizations. The Coaching Center provides coach training to managers and professionals through the University of Vermont, Vermont Business Centers Coaching Certificate Program. More information is available at is external)last_img read more

Colombian and Miami Police Participate in Joint Training

first_img Armed to the teeth, five police officers burst into an apparently abandoned house. At the front of the group, one of the men moves forward, protected by a shield. On a hot Miami afternoon, beads of sweat trickle down under their helmets while the group opens doors, searches every possible hiding place, and shouts orders in Spanish. The action suddenly freezes when, from above, an instructor makes recommendations and asks for the exercise to be repeated. The scene took place at the facilities of the Miami-Dade Police Training Center, where members of the Colombian National Police participated in a joint training course organized by Special Operations Command South, part of the U.S. Southern Command. The other partner in the joint course, conceived as an exchange of information and lessons learned during years of operations against drug trafficking in both countries, was a group from the Miami-Dade Police Special Response Team, among the United States’ most distinguished. At the end of the year, the same group will visit Colombia to learn about policing in rural areas. In this initial part of the course, the training concentrated on police operations in urban environments. The Colombian team was made up of nine police officers from the Jungle Reconnaissance Company, specialized in fighting criminal gangs, guerrilla groups, and drug trafficking; four members of the Special Operations Command (COPES), responsible for carrying out high-risk missions; and four members of the Paramilitary Police (Carabineros) and Rural Safety Directorate, which works in rural and border areas. “We’ve learned techniques that will enable us to be at the forefront of police forces around the world,” affirmed Lieutenant Carlos González, a member of the Jungle Reconnaissance Company. “Although our work is done fundamentally in the jungle, we need to know about the urban side, since that’s where the white-collar criminals who are behind what happens in the jungle are,” he added. According to Lt. González, the group that visited Miami was chosen on the basis of merit in carrying out their responsibilities, results on a test of physical skills, and individual ability to learn and share the information received. The objective, he said, is for them to transmit what they have learned to the Colombian National Police tactical community. For his part, Lieutenant Jorge Herrera, head of training for the Miami-Dade Police Special Response Team, explained that his group contributed their professional and personal experience about how to respond to high-risk situations on buses, in buildings, and in other urban environments, to which they are accustomed. “Nevertheless, they can teach us a lot when it comes to how to behave in rural environments. Their work is as important as ours, and they show the same professionalism and the same passion that we do, although in different environments,” he commented. Among the most valuable lessons they will take back to their country, the Colombian police officers mentioned the techniques for searching buses without compromising the safety of innocent people, tactical negotiation skills, and technological advances such as a small robot that enables the police to see what is happening in a location before sending in personnel. By Dialogo October 28, 2011last_img read more

Lack of funds slows bias study 10-year retrospect project

first_img Lack of funds slows bias study 10-year retrospect project Jan Pudlow Associate EditorLack of funding has stalled a 10-year retrospect project on the 1990-91 report and recommendations of the Florida Supreme Court Racial and Ethnic Bias Study Commission. Nearly a year ago, members of the original commission and new voices gathered in Tampa to try to answer these questions: What recommendations made in 1990-91 were not implemented and why not? Are there new recommendations that should be made to ensure greater fairness to all who participate in the justice system? But on the way to seeking answers to those ambitious questions, a whole new question has been raised: Is there any funding to continue the effort? “Those reports gained national prominence,” said 10-year retrospect project member Raul Arencibia, of the original headline-grabbing reports that documented racial and ethnic bias in the court system — ranging from the impact of the death penalty on minorities to the dearth of black judges. “They were used for various purposes by other states and other courts in advancing projects to ease racial and ethnic bias. Unfortunately, my understanding is there is no funding available at this point to continue on with a very worthwhile project, which is looking back at those reports and doing an analysis to see how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go.” Arencibia, former chair of the Bar’s Equal Opportunities Section, added: “New areas have come up in the meantime, for example, the DNA issue, the disenfranchisement of felons by taking their voting rights away. Those are additional areas that need to be looked at, in addition to the issues that were raised, such as diversity of The Florida Bar, diversity of the judiciary, and now, with the change of the judicial nominating commissions, to make sure that diversity continues. At this point, the Supreme Court doesn’t have any funding. It’s something that needs to be done and must be done.” Frank Scruggs chaired the original commission that produced a report that sparked national attention, raised consciousness, and prompted landmark legislative action. He also chaired the meeting a year ago to launch the 10-year retrospect project and said at that time that his goal was to “contribute to the public debate in a way that’s profound.” He challenged participants to “be stewards to do grand-scheming. This can’t be done casually or inexpensively. We should not aim too low in our scope.” Since then, Scruggs has resigned his position as chair, declining to give reasons, other than to say: “With the conclusion of the national conference in Orlando, my role on the retrospect project concluded, at my request,” referring to the 13th Annual National Consortium of Task Forces and Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts held in May. He referred further questions to Debbie Howells, executive assistant at the Office of the State Courts Administrator, who said Scruggs did not give the court a reason for stepping down, but she acknowledged the funding problems. “What we did was on a shoestring budget,” Howells said of the incomplete 10-year retrospect report found online at (click on “What’s New”). “The Supreme Court hasn’t decided what is next,” Howells said. “The court intends to keep working on these issues. But it will be a scaled-down version, not a replication of what we did 10 years ago with three full-time staff people.” While there is no separate allocation to work on this project, Howells said, she has suggested that half of the $40,000 allotted in the budget for the Fairness Commission be applied to racial and ethnic projects. Her suggestion has not yet been acted upon. Arencibia, however, said to do the job right would take substantial funding. “We’re talking about in the $100,000 range,” Arencibia said. “I’m not sure another round of public hearings is absolutely necessary, but we do need to do a report with the necessary editorial and writing staff and statistics people to prepare a thorough, concise, and accurate report. I think we need to try to raise the funds to do that.” It is clear from reading the 10-year retrospect report that the lack of funding is at the heart of moving forward: “While much progress has been made in the last 10 years, much remains to be done. State and national research, as well as daily news reports, indicate that racial and ethnic bias in the justice system continues at an unacceptable rate,” according to the report. “It is time to reflect on these issues, take stock of Florida’s successes, and renew the judicial branch’s efforts to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all our citizens, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or national origin. It is time for the Florida justice system to return to the forefront on these issues and make every effort to move our justice system forward in ensuring full racial and ethnic equity.” Then comes this telling sentence: “To fully assess the implementation status and develop a comprehensive action plan for moving forward, the Florida Supreme Court must secure adequate resources – including both staff and expense monies.” While many recommendations made a decade ago have been implemented, as documented in the report, the status of many other recommendations are unknown, and often these words followed: “Due to limited time and resources, this preliminary assessment was unable to ascertain what improvements, if any, have been made.. . . ” In the meantime, Chief Justice Charles Wells has asked each circuit court to prepare a local action plan for addressing racial and ethnic issues and submit it to the court by the end of the year. September 15, 2001 Associate Editor Regular News Lack of funds slows bias study 10-year retrospect projectlast_img read more

Local woman seeks volunteers and donations to continue making sleeping bags for those in need

first_imgBINGHAMTON (WBNG) – A Binghamton woman is asking for the community’s help to make homemade sleeping bags for people in need. For the past five years, Jill Madigan and Lorna Koberlein say they have been collecting donated blankets, comforters and ties to make the sleeping bags for people of all ages. Madigan says she is also accepting donations of used sheets, blankets, comforters, and new toiletries. The volunteers say the sewing is not just a bonding experience but a mission to make a better community and help those less fortunate. “When people come in that don’t have anything to sleep with or are homeless. Or if people come in that move in from out of town, they have kids they don’t have beds yet. Sometimes I’ve given away four or five at a time so the family can have something to sleep on,” said Madigan. “We are very busy in this basement,” said Madigan. “One of my gifts from God is giving and this is a good way to give back to the community.” “You don’t get paid or anything, that’s not the point of it all. The point is just knowing that somebody is going to have something to sleep on. When you go to bed at night, aren’t you comfy in your bed? Well I think of people who don’t have a bed,” said Madigan.center_img Madigan says she with the help of volunteers, has made and distributed more than 30 sleeping bags this year and they continue to make them in her home. “Every sleeping bag has toiletries in them. From shampoos, to conditioners, combs, brushes and wash clothes,” said Madigan. If you would like to donate or take part in making homemade sleeping bags, you can contact Madigan via email at [email protected] “If one of the colleges, either Binghamton University or Broome would have some kind of student group that would want to help do this and carry it on because let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger and the majority of people that have been making these for Broome County are older than me and they are no longer doing it,” said Madigan. Madigan then distributes the bags to local food or clothing banks in the Southern Tier including Nearly New Shop.last_img read more

Balotelli not surprised by Mancini exit

first_img Press Association Balotelli, who was signed by Mancini for City before being sold to AC Milan in January, insisted his fellow Italian is a “great manager”. Asked about Mancini being sacked, Balotelli told CNN: “I am not really surprised but when I was with him he was a great manager and we had one of the best teams I have played with, the best players. I don’t know why they didn’t win. But obviously there were some problems inside. I am here [Milan] so I don’t know.” Mario Balotelli is not surprised that Roberto Mancini was sacked by Manchester City because of internal problems between his former manager and the club.center_img City said on Monday that Mancini had been sacked after failing to meet all “stated targets” apart from qualifying for next season’s Champions League. The club added: “This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond.” Reports in Spain said Malaga have opened the way for Manuel Pellegrini, whose representatives have already held talks with City, to move on at the end of the season and he is favourite to replace Mancini. The Malaga Hoy newspaper said the Qatari-owned Spanish club has waived the release fee in the Chilean’s contract which would allow him to leave when it expires on July 1, and that he has already agreed a two-year deal with City. However the club are unlikely to announce any appointment before next week’s short end-of-season tour to the USA where Brian Kidd will remain in charge of the team. last_img read more

Naismith: I’m learning all the time

first_img Press Association For Everton forward Steven Naismith, every day is a school day under manager Roberto Martinez. “He has opened my eyes to a totally new way of playing football,” Naismith told Press Association Sport. “I am really interested in it, so when he does talk to you about things which may have happened in a game the night before it will be something you have learned off him in terms of watching to see how teams work. “He will say ‘did you notice this?’ and it is not something you just say ‘oh aye’ just for the sake of it, you have a conversation with him. “It is kind of being like at school, you are learning all the time. “Sometimes you find yourself watching games and you think ‘the manager might come and talk to me about this’ so you end up taking note of what’s happening.” Naismith came off the bench at Fulham at half-time last weekend to turn the game, creating one goal and scoring another, and he admitted afterwards he had watched the first half carefully to see where he could make an impact. That is something else which he has learned to do over time. “It’s funny because there are so many different aspects to being on the bench – from being peed off you’re not playing to just thinking so many different things that your mind could not be on working out how you can improve the team,” he added. “Nowadays it is a squad game and the few games I have come on and had a good impact you understand that it is about the squad and the manager has made that clear here. “As I’ve got older I have learned to watch where I’m likely to come on and you do pick up things and see things that happen. “I definitely pick up things like how I can get a chance on goal or cause problems to the other team’s defence: styles of play, the formations – so much goes on in games that you can capitalise on these things.” Naismith has made just seven league starts (compared to 17 substitute appearances this season) but has scored three goals and every one of those has been in an Everton victory. Everton host Arsenal on Sunday in what is being billed a Champions League qualification decider, with the Toffees just four points behind their fourth-placed opponents with a match in hand. Midfielder Mikel Arteta says Arsenal have the required mentality to come through a first test of their renewed character. Arsenal travel to Merseyside on the back of a morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Manchester City, which went some way to exorcising the ghost of the nightmare 6-0 trashing at Chelsea which ruined manager Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge. The Gunners also suffered the disappointment of conceding a last-minute own-goal in their 2-2 draw with Swansea. Arsenal are, however, only four points ahead of fifth-placed Everton, who have a game in hand – and with the small matter of an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan on the horizon, Arteta knows how important building momentum will be. “Mentally, it will be a big boost if we win, and hard to take if you don’t so it will be important,” Arteta said. “Some of the performances we have put in away from home in the big games have touched in a bad way the season we have had so far. “We made mistakes and did not perform when we should have done, but we have to take it. “Overall we have been really consistent and considering the injuries we have had, things have gone well and we have stepped up a long way from last season.” Arteta, 32, left Everton for Arsenal in August 2011, the former Rangers man having become an integral part of the David Moyes’ squad following his move from Real Sociedad. The 27-year-old may have played more than 250 senior matches and 28 internationals for Scotland, but he admits he is learning more than ever thanks to the guidance of the Spaniard. It has even got to the stage where Naismith is doing “homework” when watching matches on television, just in case his manager should ask him a question about it the next day. last_img read more

Wasilewski announces new Foxes deal

first_img Wasilewski, who has won 60 caps for Poland and played at both Euro 2008 and 2012, joined Leicester in September 2013 after six seasons at Belgian club Anderlecht. The veteran played an important role in Leicester’s battle to avoid relegation in the closing months of the Premier League season and has now made over 60 appearances for the Foxes. Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has spoken highly of the rugged Wasilewski in the past, saying: “I love him, he’s great. “Centre-backs who enjoy defending are a dying breed. “He is an exceptionally honest professional who knows the game. “He is a good player as well. I am not saying he is just an honest player and tough, he is a very knowledgeable defender.” Leicester confirmed Wasilewski’s contract had been extended until the end of the 2015-16 season on their club website on Thursday afternoon. The Foxes said the new deal also includes the option of a one-year extension. “He (Wasilewski) played a vital role in his side’s surge to Barclays Premier League survival, helping them secure five clean sheets in their final seven fixtures,” said the statement. . Poland defender Marcin Wasilewski has announced that he has signed a new contract with Leicester. The Barclays Premier League club have yet to confirm the news but Wasilewski has posted a picture on his Instagram account saying: “Today, I signed a new contract at #LCFC”. It is understood that the Krakow-born centre-back, who turns 35 next week, has penned a one-year extension at the King Power Stadium. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

FIFA dragging its feet in Afghan sex abuse scandal, says coach

first_imgBERLIN, Germany (Reuters) – World soccer’s governing body FIFA has been dragging its feet and needs to urgently widen the investigation into a sexual abuse scandal involving Afghan women players, national coach Kelly Lindsey said in a letter to FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.In June the former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), Keramuddin Keram, was banned from football for life after FIFA’s ethics committee found him guilty of abusing his position and sexually abusing female players.Keram, also a former FIFA Standing Committee member, was accused by at least five Afghan female football players of repeated sexual abuse between 2013 and 18. He was also fined one million Swiss francs (£847,806.40 or $1.03M).But Lindsey and Khalida Popal, the team’s programme director, said in their letter that several other individuals had been named by the players as being directly or indirectly linked to the case and no action had been taken against them.Victims and whistleblowers were in fear of repercussions, they said. “… the accounts and evidence provided to you named other individuals as well, and referred to a widespread culture of abuse, with complicity at all levels of the AFF,” they wrote in their letter to Infantino dated August 6.“The accounts mention numerous other individuals, including senior individuals in ongoing positions of power, who committed sexual and physical abuse and/or failed to report abuse even though they knew or ought to have known of the abuse and/or sought to cover up abuse.“This, and the apparent inaction from FIFA since these concerns were raised, has allowed that culture of abuse to continue to thrive in the AFF.” FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation after Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported in November 2018 that senior figures linked to the Afghan women’s team had alleged that some players had been molested by officials from the federation. According to the Guardian, the alleged abuse took place inside the federation’s headquarters in Afghanistan as well as at a training camp in Jordan in February 2018.FIFA, which began its investigation in December when it suspended Keram, said he had breached ethics code rules on protection of physical and mental integrity and abuse of position.The national women’s team was formed in 2010. Some conservative-minded Afghans oppose women playing sports.Afghanistan is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries for women and allegations of sexual contact outside marriage can have deadly consequences.last_img read more