EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR!
Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men;
but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.
CASS COUNTY COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE (CASA) is seeking a part-time Volunteer Coordinator. Qualifications include an Associate's Degree or equivalent with minimum of two years related experience in social work or working with children and families. Candidates will demonstrate strong skills in verbal and written communication, computer knowledge and experience necessary.
Send resume/cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information see www.casscasa.org. EOE.
MURRAY FREEDOM FESTIVAL
THE FIRST TUESDAY of EACH MONTH,
(next meeting December 1, 2015)
MURRAY TOWN HALL
106 MAIN ST
Anyone who wishes to be part of this group is welcome! We work together to plan our village's annual 4th of July celebration each year and fresh ideas are ALWAYS welcome.
As with any organization, volunteers are always needed, so even if you don't know what your family plans will be for next July 4th, we'd appreciate your help leading up to that date.
For more information, call John, 402-616-1367 or Pat, 402-235-2926.
YOUNG READERS INVITED to WRITE
Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author (living or dead) from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author's work changed the student's view of the world. The 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations. This reading and writing promotion is sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission, and supported by Houchen Bindery Ltd. and Chapters Books in Seward.
Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The Nebraska Center for the Book's panel of judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in a proclamation-signing ceremony at the state capitol during National Library Week in April 2016. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. Nebraska winners will receive state prizes, and then advance to the national judging.
A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12) to receive a $1,000 cash award, to be announced in May 2016. The judges will also select one National Honor winner on each competition level to receive a $200 cash award.
Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing, along with contest details and entry forms, at www.read.gov/letters. Nebraska-specific information (including lists of Nebraska winners of past competitions) is available athttp://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL.html. Listen to Nebraska winners, Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl, read and talk about and their winning letters to authors that meant something to them in their own lives on NET Radio's All About Books (http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/all-about-books).
Submissions from Grades 9-12 must be postmarked by December 4, 2015.
Submissions from Grades 4-8 must be postmarked by January 11, 2016.
For more information contact MaryJo Ryan, MaryJo.Ryan@nebraska.com, 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.
The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state's readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.
As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing
The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,
NEST 529 College Savings Launches
'Big Dreams $10K Giveaway'
Giveaway supports children and families in pursuit of big goals and higher education.
Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, NEST 529 College Savings and First National Bank of Omaha today are launching the "Big Dreams $10K Giveaway" to highlight ways for families to save for post-secondary education.
Two winners will be drawn from those who enter the Giveaway. Each will receive a $5,000 contribution to a NEST 529 College Savings account for the benefit of a child, designated by the winner, who is 10 years old or younger as of the date of the drawing. All U.S. residents (except residents of the states of New York or Florida) who are the age of majority or older at the time of entry are eligible. All that is required to enter is a quick online signup for the drawing at www.NEST529.com/10k.
"We recognize the importance of a college education and the amount of planning, saving and expense by parents and relatives that goes into fulfilling dreams for their families," said Stenberg, who is Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST). "We want Nebraska families and those across the country to understand that a NEST 529 College Savings account can help make those educational dreams come true."
"We are thrilled to offer people this opportunity to kick off their college savings in a big way," said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director of College Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha. "We hope this opportunity and the easy entry process for the drawing encourages people to think about college savings."
Official rules are available at www.NEST529.com/scholarships and at treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/scholarships/. Entries may be submitted online at www.NEST529.com/10K before midnight Dec.31, 2015. Or, an entrant may submit a 3-inch by 5-inch card that includes the entrant's first and last name, address, city, state, zip code, day and evening phone numbers and the words, "Big Dreams $10K Giveaway." The card must be mailed in a stamped No.10 envelope postmarked by Dec. 31 to the address on the official rules. Winners will be selected on or about Jan. 8, 2016.
To find out more about NEST College Savings Plans, visit www.NEST529.com or the State Treasurer's website at treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska's 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 233,000 accounts, including 69,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have $20 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Individual Investment Option
First National Bank of Omaha to Be Program Manager for
Nebraska ABLE Program, Stenberg Announces
Lincoln, Neb. (Nov. 19, 2015) - State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced today that the new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, which will allow Nebraskans with certain disabilities to create tax-advantaged savings accounts, will be operational by summer 2016 and First National Bank of Omaha will be program manager.
Stenberg said he expects the Nebraska ABLE program to be one of the first ABLE programs in the nation to be up and running. The Nebraska program will be known as Enable.
A program management agreement with First National Bank was approved Monday by the Treasurer's Office, and investment options and fees were approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. The five-year agreement, which took effect immediately, includes the possibility of two one-year extensions. First National Bank has been the program manager of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) 529 college savings program for the past five years.
Stenberg is Trustee of NEST and of ABLE. His office oversees both programs.
"The Treasurer's Office and First National Bank have enjoyed an excellent working relationship these past five years and, together, have seen NEST accounts and assets grow significantly and fees charged to account owners drop as well. What's more, that relationship has brought about increased awareness of NEST and of the value of saving for college when children are young," Stenberg said.
"For these reasons, my staff and I are excited about starting a new venture with our existing, trusted and valued partner, First National Bank. First National Bank told us it has designed an ABLE savings program 'that will be embraced by Nebraskans and can be replicated in other states.' It also said the program will be simple to use and as low cost as possible," Stenberg said. "First National Bank's proposal is a very well thought-out plan."
One element of First National Bank's proposal that Stenberg said was important to the future of the ABLE program was the bank's significant outreach to advocacy and parent groups. "In developing its proposal, First National Bank said it set out to learn as much as it could about Nebraskans with disabilities," Stenberg said. "First National Bank's approach was not to design a program from the bank's perspective, but rather to work with the disability community to develop a program to meet the varying needs of people with disabilities."
The Nebraska ABLE Act was approved by the Legislature in 2015 and signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts on May 27. Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln sponsored legislation to create the ABLE savings program, following Congressional action in December 2014 to create Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 529A allows for a tax-favored savings program for eligible individuals with disabilities to be used to pay qualified disability-related expenses, similar to Section 529 that allows for tax-advantaged programs for college savings.
Under the Enable program, earnings in the accounts will not be subject to state or federal taxes as long as used for qualified disability-related expenses.
Stenberg announced the ABLE program manager selection at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda. Also speaking were Sen. Bolz; Michael Walden-Newman, State Investment Officer; and Clark Lauritzen, Executive Vice President of First National Bank. Others attending included Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank, and Rachel Biar, Assistant State Treasurer who is in charge of NEST and the new ABLE program.
"When I announced in July that we were issuing a Request for Proposals, I said then that my goal was to launch the Nebraska ABLE program in 2016 and that we had established an ambitious timetable to meet that goal. I said we wanted to make the ABLE program available to individuals with disabilities as quickly as we could, but at the same time, to be sure we were doing it right and were building a program to address the unique needs of our ABLE account owners, keeping in mind convenience, ease of use, and cost," Stenberg said at the news conference.
"In making this announcement today, I am confident that together, First National Bank, the Treasurer's Office, and the Nebraska Investment Council, are doing it right and are on course to meet our shared goals," he said.
First National Bank will provide a range of services to ABLE account owners for an annual fee of $50 per account. In most cases, a minimum initial deposit of $250 will be required, as will a minimum required balance of $50. Each account owner will be charged a program management fee of 50 basis points (bps). A basis point is equal to one-one hundredth of 1 percent of the average daily net assets in the client's account.
Treasurer Stenberg cautioned that some of details of the ABLE program, including fees, could change depending on final federal regulations. The proposed federal regulations are still under review by the Internal Revenue Service.
Stenberg said the Nebraska ABLE program will include the following features:
· Check writing capabilities with a debit card for daily and ongoing expenses.
· Bill paying from a checking account.
· Qualified withdrawals online, over the phone, or through the mail.
· A bank saving option insured by the FDIC, like the one available to NEST account owners, for Nebraskans seeking stability of principal.
· Three low-cost, risk-based long-term investment choices – a growth portfolio, a moderate portfolio, and a conservative portfolio – all with underlying funds from Vanguard.
· A call center that will be managed by the same team that serves our NEST program, making it easy to transfer calls between NEST experts and ABLE experts. Processes will be in place for non-English speaking callers and for callers who are hard of hearing or deaf.
More information is available on the Enable website at enablenebraska.com and at
Stenberg Pleased with IRS Guidelines Announced Friday
To Simplify ABLE Program Administration
Lincoln, Neb. (Nov. 20, 2015) – Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg says he is very pleased with and encouraged by interim guidelines for the new tax-favored Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) programs across the United States, including Nebraska. The new interim guidelines were announced today by the Internal Revenue Service.
"This will allow us to implement our Nebraska ABLE program in the manner which we had hoped to do when we announced key details of our program yesterday," said Treasurer Stenberg, who is Trustee of Nebraska's ABLE program, to be known as Enable and to be managed by First National Bank of Omaha.
In a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, Stenberg announced that First National Bank would be the program manager for Nebraska's ABLE program and that the program will be operational by summer 2016. Stenberg was joined for the news conference by individuals with disabilities and their families, as well as State Sen. Kate Bolz, State Investment Officer Michael Walden-Newman, and First National Bank Executive Vice President Clark Lauritzen.
"In particular, I am very pleased that the IRS will no longer require states to obtain information about expenditures by plan participants and that states will no longer be required to seek and receive medical information about ABLE plan participants," Stenberg said Friday after receiving the IRS announcement. "Had those requirements remained in place, the cost of the ABLE program would have increased substantially. With this new guidance from the IRS, I am looking forward to making the Nebraska ABLE plan available in summer 2016, as we discussed at our news conference yesterday."
In its announcement, the IRS said the three changes it was making to the proposed rules for ABLE accounts "will make it easier for states to offer and administer ABLE programs."
The IRS statement continued: "States, program administrators and other interested commenters identified the three areas for change this summer during a 90-day comment period and at an Oct. 14 public hearing on the proposed implementation regulations."
Stenberg had written a letter to the IRS in July in which he identified his major concerns over the proposed federal ABLE regulations. He said he shared concerns raised by the College Savings Plans Network and supported many of the suggested revisions put forth by the network. Nebraska is a member of the network, which is made up of state-sponsored 529 college savings programs like Nebraska's NEST. The federal ABLE legislation was modeled after the state-sponsored 529 college savings programs.
In his July letter, Stenberg said he strongly agreed with the network's position that if three provisions, in particular, were not clarified soon, they could "substantially slow down and perhaps even halt the launch of ABLE programs anxiously awaited by families of individuals with disabilities."
"It would be a great tragedy," Stenberg wrote, "if persons with disabilities all across the nation were denied the benefits of the ABLE legislation for an extended period of time because of unworkable federal rules."
The IRS said full details describing the changes were posted on IRS.gov at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-15-81.pdf.
The IRS provided the following information about the two guidelines of most concern to Nebraska:
· Categorization of distributions not required: ABLE programs need not include safeguards to determine which distributions are for qualified disability expenses, nor are they required to specifically identify those used for housing expenses.
· Disability diagnosis certification permitted: Designated beneficiaries can open an ABLE account by certifying, under penalties of perjury, that they meet the qualification standards, including their receipt of a signed physician's diagnosis, if necessary, and that they will retain that diagnosis and provide it to the program or the IRS upon request. This means that eligible individuals with disabilities will not need to provide the written diagnosis when opening the ABLE account, and ABLE programs will not need to receive, retain, or evaluate detailed medical records.
The IRS also provided information about a third guideline that also was changed:
· Contributors' TINs not required: ABLE programs will not be required to request the taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) of contributors to the ABLE account at the time when the contributions are made, if the program has a system in place to reject contributions that exceed the annual limits.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE
Special Hours on Nov. 28 ONLY- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See every room of the author's historic home decked-out for the holidays! Enjoy complimentary holiday treats and shop for Aldrich novels and
other great gifts after your tour.
$3.00 ages 6-12
FREE for 5 & under
CALL to PHOTOGRAPHERS
Hildegard Center for the Arts, in partnership with the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the Nebraska State Historical Society, is sponsoring a statewide "Call to Photographers" for the great state of Nebraska. The Call began June 1, 2015 and runs through January 4, 2016 and is titled "Bridges: Sharing our Past to Enrich the Future". It is calling photographers throughout Nebraska to highlight historic places and often over-looked historical treasures in all of the State's 93 counties ~ historical sites either found on the National Register of Historic Places OR places of community/personal significance to the photographer. i.e. historic properties, recognized historical landmarks, cultural activities/events with a basis in local history and in context with a historic place, or historic buildings that are representative or unique. From Adams to Antelope, Banner to Butler, Garden to Gage, Scottsbluff to Sheridan, and Dundy to Douglas, this juried exhibition is serving as a bridge to connect Nebraskans with their culture and heritage.
Photographs selected from this juried exhibition:
·Will be featured in a statewide traveling photography exhibit that coincides with Nebraska's sesquicentennial in 2017.
· May appear in Nebraska Tourism travel guides, posters and calendars to promote this project and the State of Nebraska.
· Will be showcased in a digital catalogue.
· All submitted photos will be featured virtually on partnering websites. (Hildegard Center for the Arts, Nebraska Tourism Commission, Nebraska State Historical Society).
Photographs can be submitted online at the Hildegard Center for the Arts website, www.hildegardcenter.org, beginning now through January 4, 2016.
Entrants must be at least 15 years of age and need NOT be residents of Nebraska. Photographers may enter up to 5 images per submission for a non-refundable fee of $15. Multiple submissions are allowed. For a complete list of entry rules and judging criteria, go to www.hildegardcenter.org.
Questions: Contact Project Chair, Cathy Harrington | 402.730.6668; email@example.com.
ONGOING AREA EVENTS and ACTIVITIES...
ARE YOU 55+
LOOKING FOR PART-TIME WORK?
The following is an employment opportunity available to older adults in Cass County.
Experience Works is a national, non-profit organization funded by the US Dept of Labor to administer the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which assists people 55 and older in getting updated training to assist in returning to the workforce. This is a federally funded program and offers a no-cost employment service to older adults who qualify. Once accepted into the program, individuals are placed in a training site in or near their community, where they gain on the job experience while working 20-21 hours/week at $8/hour. We also help with skill assessments, computer training, resumes, cover letters, job search, etc. The goal is that through the training and job search assistance we gain help older adults gain good jobs in or around their communities.
Nebraska Tollfree Number: 1-877-314-7526
Community Sustaining Sponsors 2015
2015 Community Sustaining Sponsor
2015 Community Sustaining Sponsor
2015 Community Sustaining Sponsor
2015 Community Sustaining Sponsor
HOW TO SUBMIT ARTICLES TO THIS NEWSLETTER...
Below is a list of categories that we are happy to post, (at NO COST to you!), in the weekly Murray online newsletter:
That's right! These are all items that can appear FREE of CHARGE in each Wednesday's Murray Newsletter and/or Calendar! All YOU have to do is send the information to us - it's that simple!
DEADLINE for submissions to each week's Wednesday Newsletter is NO LATER THAN NOON on the prior MONDAY.
There are 3 ways you can submit your articles:
1) You may call your information to 402-235-2926 and leave a voice mail with your name and phone number.
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Send photos ONLY in .jpg format, no larger than 450 pixels wide to the e-address above with your story in plain text.
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