Columns

Tue
15
Apr

Learning to take my time in Azerbaijan


New Year’s Tree in Yevlakh. Santa Claus comes to Azerbaijan on New Year’s Eve! (photos by Rebecca Rowe)

Making cookies or other treats is quite common for me as I simply have a difficult time going anywhere without some sort of gift in my hands. Here I made some, let me say, delicious chocolate chip cookies for a birthday present.

A Soviet-era Vladimir Lenin statue was cut into pieces and left in a Yevlakh junkyard.

A student group with whom I work; originally I had taken the photo of each student this autumn so that I could quickly learn each of their names.

Dear friends and family: I thought I would take the opportunity and send a quick update regarding my wellbeing. Everything is fine.
I had a bout of mononucleosis from late November through December which limited my levels of energy, but, of course, I persevered. The persistent feeling of having been hit by a bus and constantly needing sleep was – as those of you who know me can imagine – both unfamiliar and unwelcome. I’m glad that my health is much improved now.

Mon
14
Apr

The virtual workplace: What’s ‘the office’ these days?

As technology continues to challenge the traditional paradigm of employees and “the office,” many businesses and individuals find calculating taxes for work done outside company office space to be confusing. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, there are now an estimated 3.2 million full-time employees who telecommute for at least half the workweek, up 79 percent since 2005.

Sat
12
Apr

The extraordinary world of Mr. Selfridge and his fabulous store


Selfridges department store dominates Oxford Street in London, just as it has for over 100 years. ( Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Little did I know when I started watching “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater last year that the go-getter who opened a shocking new store in the heart of London in 1909 was the same person who first modernized and popularized Marshall Field’s in the heart of Chicago. I often shopped at Field’s as a high school and college student.

Mon
07
Apr

The wheels of justice

It is sometimes said that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine. Many people become frustrated that there are so many steps before a criminal case is concluded. However, the process is better thought of as deliberate rather than slow.

Mon
24
Mar

Time to become Mr. Clean

As my sister-in-law handed over her cleaning supplies, I felt as if I had inherited Brooks Robinson’s mitt. I held the tools of a master, and couldn’t have felt less worthy.

Mon
24
Mar

New gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers

As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants offers important reminders related to Minnesota’s new state gift tax.
The new tax, effective July 1, 2013, and included in 2013 tax filings, collects 10 percent of a taxpayer’s cumulative lifetime gifting exceeding $1 million. Minnesota is only the second state in the country to enact a state gift tax.

Thu
20
Mar

Spring Cleaning: recycling, donating, and composting

It’s that time of year again, cabin fever is setting in and residents are getting the ‘spring cleaning’ itch. If you have the ‘throw it out’ mentality, please, instead, rethink possible ways to reuse or recycle unwanted items. Beside curbside recycling, drop-off recycling is an option for paper, metal, glass, plastic and other products at the Environmental Center in Woodbury, 4039 Cottage Grove Dr. Items accepted include:

Thu
20
Mar

Keeping an eye on water

Low White Bear Lake water levels and low groundwater volume have alerted local residents that one of our most precious resources needs watching.

Thu
20
Mar

Beware of tax-related ID theft, other scams

Whether you’re expecting a refund or owe money to Uncle Sam, tax season marks a good time to become familiar with tax-related identity theft and other scams. The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates 1.6 million Americans were victims of such theft in the first six months of 2013, an increase from 1.2 million in all of 2012.
Don’t let this happen to you. Be on alert for these common scams:

Thu
20
Mar

Water, water everywhere, but not a drip in the sink

The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually contains more than 12,000 lakes and 92,000 miles of streams and rivers. In addition, Minnesota boasts an abundance of ground water resources.
Fresh water supplies such as these are essential to our quality of life in many ways. Water is a necessity for human health as well as the health of crops, livestock and other living organisms. Water is also required to produce energy and manufacture countless products. Although freshwater is plentiful in Minnesota, it is not limitless. Conservation efforts today will help ensure a future with abundant water resources.

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