ABC Newspapers http://abcnewspapers.com Local News from The Anoka County Union, Blaine Spring Lake Park Life and The Coon Rapids Herald Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:53:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Golf column: Fall back, swing forward http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/04/golf-column-fall-back-swing-forward/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/04/golf-column-fall-back-swing-forward/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:53:11 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166275 A lot of people fall back when they hit the ball.  This mostly occurs I think because people are trying to help the ball get in the air.

You can usually feel if you are helping the ball in the air, your weight will stay on the back foot, you will feel a flipping in the wrist, your club will be coming up typically before impact, and the shot will most likely be topped and roll on the ground instead of going in the air.

Instead of helping the ball, we are actually hindering it from getting in the air and flying to or near its maximum potential.

Joshua Breen PGA Head Golf Professional, The Links at Northfork
Joshua Breen
PGA Head Golf Professional, The Links at Northfork

Golf is a game of trust and if you don’t trust the golf club to do its job, you will have a tough time being in the correct position throughout the golf swing to do your job.

There’s a golfer that played in Blaine a few weeks back that even at the tender age of 79 stays down through impact better than most. His name is Gary Player.
Player has been undersized his whole life, but with a name like Player he knew he was destined for greatness.  The way he chases after the ball, he trusts the club, stays down through the impact of the shot and all his power is still driving.
You may notice he even has a walking motion in his swing.

All of the power he built up in the golf swing was released, and his back leg (right leg for right-handed golfers) has no weight on it. Then Player is already walking toward his next shot, wasting little energy and walking tall.

Joshua Breen is the PGA-certified head golf professional at The Links at Northfork in Ramsey. ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/04/golf-column-fall-back-swing-forward/feed/ 0 Earl J Karpe http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/earl-j-karpe/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/earl-j-karpe/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:36:48 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166465 Earl J. Karpe, Age 89, of Coon Rapids passed away on Friday August 28, 2015. Survived by wife, Sally; Son, Dale (Sherry), Daughter, Cynthia (Jay). Five grandchildren; Andrea Quenette (Scott); Gregory Karpe, Jordan Johnson (Ashley), Jared Johnson (Chelsia) Jessamyn Jenson (Nathan); Two great grand-children; Oliver and Madeline. Brother; Gene, Sister; Ruth Woehnker. And many nieces and nephews. Memorial service Sunday, September 13th, 2015, at 4:30 PM; Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses, 13751 Dolomite St. NW, Ramsey, MN 55303

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Retaining Wall Reduction http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/retaining-wall-reduction-2/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/retaining-wall-reduction-2/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:19:18 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166455 Retaining Wall Reduction ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/retaining-wall-reduction-2/feed/ 0 Proposed Property Tax Budget 2016 http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/proposed-property-tax-budget-2016-2/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/proposed-property-tax-budget-2016-2/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:16:52 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166452 Proposed Property Tax Budget 2016 ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/proposed-property-tax-budget-2016-2/feed/ 0 County plans to purchase property in Anoka http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/county-plans-to-purchase-property-in-anoka/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/county-plans-to-purchase-property-in-anoka/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:55:53 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166282 Anoka County’s footprint in downtown Anoka with the government center, courthouse and jail is on the verge of growing larger.

The Anoka County Board Aug. 25 authorized a work group comprising two county commissioners and five staff members to negotiate a purchase agreement for the county to buy five parcels owned by Jackson Street Properties, a city block east of the Anoka County Jail bounded by Fourth and Fifth avenues, Jackson and Golf streets.

Once developed, the purchase agreement will be signed by County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah, County Commissioner Matt Look, who chairs the Finance and Capital Improvements Committee, and County Administrator Jerry Soma.

The proposed purchase price is about $2.25 million, for which the county would use the asset preservation fund (reserves) or other identified funding sources, according to Soma in a report to the board.

In an interview following the meeting, Commissioner Scott Schulte, county board representative on the work group along with Commissioner Jim Kordiak, said that a loan or note, but not bonding, are being looked at as possible sources of funding, but indications are there is sufficient money in the asset preservation fund to pay for the properties.

On the parcels are three buildings – the three-story Jackson Professional Building, a two-story office at the corner of Jackson and Fifth Avenue that is currently rented to state public defenders who work at the Anoka County Courthouse, and a single-family home converted into an office that is currently vacant – and a large parking area.

The third floor of the Jackson Professional Building is completely rented to several attorney groups and part of the first floor is occupied by Goldberg Bond Company, but the rest of the first floor and all of the second floor are not rented at this time, according to Soma.

Three or four years ago, the county was approached by the owners of Jackson Street Properties about purchasing the property for some $3.5 million, but the county was not interested at that time, Soma wrote.

Recently, one of the Jackson Street Properties investors contacted Soma to tell him the group planned some $1 million in further improvements to the professional building and other areas and discussions on the county’s interest in the property resumed, he said.

In his report to the board, Soma wrote that buying the property now “as is” before the improvements are made could bring significant savings over the future years.

The county’s current facilities in Anoka are landlocked and offer very limited opportunities for expansion and it is expected that the county will need more office space and expansion of the jail at some point in the future, he wrote.

“When the county has a need to expand any of its facilities on the footprint currently owned by the county, it would have to go through an extensive tearing down and rebuilding of parking lots and facilities,” Soma wrote.

Purchasing these parcels to provide more space adjacent to the government center would be a more viable, long-term option for the county, he wrote.

According to Soma, for taxes payable in 2016, the city of Anoka has valued the five parcels at $1,986,100 with a property tax of $71,190,33.

The county, through Soma, Kordiak and Schulte, has been working with Ron Touchette of the Rock Solid Companies, Maple Grove, who represents the investment groups that owns the parcels.

According to Schulte, as discussions progressed Finance Director Cory Kampf and Facilities Management and Construction Director Andrew Dykstra as well as Christine Carney and Steve Nash from the Anoka County Attorney’s Office were brought into the work group.

The county initially offered $2 million to which the investment group responded that it would want $3.5 million if all the proposed improvements were made and $2.5 million with the buildings and property “as is” except for finishing the remodeling of the third floor of the professional building, Soma wrote.

The county’s $2.25 million offer for the property “as is,” with the exception of the third-floor remodeling already under way, was the recommendation of the work group first to the Facilities and Capital Improvements Committee and then to the county board.

According to Soma, there is some urgency for board action because the investors have borrowed the money to upgrade the building to entice more tenants and planned to start the project this fall.

If the purchase agreement goes through, the county would receive rental payments from the existing tenants of the building and would have the option of renting out vacant space in the professional building or using it for its own use, Soma wrote.

The County Board was unanimous in voting to move forward with the proposed purchase. According to Look, the county is looking to the future 10, 15, 20 years in terms of facility needs and will receive cash flow from renting out the buildings until they are needed by the county.

“Some of our buildings in the county are pretty old and for our future building needs we need to look at locating centrally to minimize the travel,” Look said.

The landlocked location of the government center, courthouse and jail make expansion to meet the county’s needs very difficult and the close proximity of these buildings “offer opportunities to expand as needed,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity at a reasonable rate to open up the door to our needs, which require attention,” Kordiak said.

While the county board has tried to keep government growth under control, outside forces such as federal and state mandates in such areas as the Affordable Care Act, MnCHOICES and child protection legislation has meant increases in county staff and “we need make sure we have a plan for the future,” Sivarajah said.

Commissioner Mike Gamache said population growth is occurring in some parts of the county and the county needs to be prepared. “A centralized location is more efficient,” he said.

The county board action is the “first step to getting us started,” Schulte said.

According to Schulte, while the county is not in that big of a hurry to conclude the purchase agreement, the Jackson Street Properties investors are and the county wants to accommodate them.

The goal is to finalize the purchase agreement by Labor Day, Schulte said in the interview. ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/county-plans-to-purchase-property-in-anoka/feed/ 0 Realistic Career Education http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/realistic-career-education/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/realistic-career-education/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=1011330bdd1f1e9e96d13e2475795c91 Vocational education is a fine way to prepare yourself for a job, in a world when too many young people can’t find employment. But the programs are not all good. Here’s how to tell the good from the bad.

I will gladly admit to a bias when it comes to the two-year community college system. As a retired professor of business administration in California, I saw the real value of a community college education, first hand. Particularly in the vocational disciplines. Such institutions deliver of excellent, hands-on and low-cost instruction.

These schools also provide a superior experience at a bargain price to transferring students. In addition, community colleges offer remedial instruction to those who require it. No, folks, if you have any beef with public education, in general, community colleges, as a rule should not be your target.

Having said that. the question of private vocational or trade schools is an entirely different subject. These schools are for-profit businesses that for the most part also provide career education. The key phrase here is “for profit.”

While I am a businessman and a former business educator, I do realize that the word profit is far from a dirty word. But after over 40 years in the investment/financial field, I realize that profit as a means to itself will not build lasting client relationships. Let’s leave banks and oil companies out of the conversation for obvious reasons.

Some vocational (or trade) schools are more concerned with profit than providing the kind of training that should lead to a vocation.  Students are lured in with empty job placement guarantees and offer course credits that are worthless once a student tries to transfer to another school. Two years ago, ATI Enterprises, which once had 23 schools in five states, went bust a couple of years ago amid mounting investigations.

By 2020, 66% of the job force will require at least some form of post-secondary education, according to a study by research groups PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress.

Not only that, trade and vocational schools are more of an economic necessity than ever as middle-skill jobs – defined as jobs that require a high school diploma and some training or college, but not a four-year college degree – are in high demand.

In Houston, for instance, a report from JP Morgan Chase found that middle-skill occupations represent the largest sector of the economy, with nearly 19,000 openings projected annually in the petrochemical and commercial and industrial construction sectors for the next few years.

Meanwhile, four-year college costs have become staggeringly high. The staggering level of student debt, thanks to increasing tuition and other expenses, is a national disgrace.

Trade schools are fairly widespread in the U.S., but there has been growing interest in the potential of apprenticeship programs to provide another pathway to affordable higher education.

Apprenticeships, offered by businesses or schools working closely with business owners, give students on-the-job training rather than traditional classroom instruction. Students earn professional certificates upon completing their apprenticeship. There is a bipartisan effort in Congress aimed at providing tax credits to businesses that offer apprenticeship programs in the U.S.

Prior to signing up for a vocational school, ask these questions:

Are you accredited? Check to see whether the school is accredited by one of the 15 regional or national accrediting bodies, which the U.S. Department of Education has approved.

Are you licensed by the state? Most states require specific programs at career colleges and technical schools to receive licenses from the proper board. If a program isn’t properly licensed, its graduates will have a difficult time finding work.  Ask which state agency handles a school’s licensing.  Call the agency and verify.

Does it sound too good to be true? Be skeptical of any school that advertises degrees or certificates that require no actual work on your part. Likewise, don’t trust any institution that tells you they will 100% guarantee you a job after graduation.

What are the total costs? Some vocational schools can cost even more than traditional four-year institutions, so watch out for programs that are prohibitively expensive. If you have to take out student loans to cover tuition, be sure the amount is manageable. The student loan default rates at for-profit institutions is 22%, compared to 13% at public institutions.

Does the school have a history of complaints? Check with your state’s Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau to see whether the school is the target of any complaints.

Will this certificate or degree help me in the field? Ask professionals in the field you’re studying what certificates and training they needed to find a job. Not all trade school programs are created equal, and you may find that the certificate you earned doesn’t meet professional standards in your field.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

]]> Vocational education is a fine way to prepare yourself for a job, in a world when too many young people can’t find employment. But the programs are not all good. Here’s how to tell the good from the bad.

I will gladly admit to a bias when it comes to the two-year community college system. As a retired professor of business administration in California, I saw the real value of a community college education, first hand. Particularly in the vocational disciplines. Such institutions deliver of excellent, hands-on and low-cost instruction.

These schools also provide a superior experience at a bargain price to transferring students. In addition, community colleges offer remedial instruction to those who require it. No, folks, if you have any beef with public education, in general, community colleges, as a rule should not be your target.

Having said that. the question of private vocational or trade schools is an entirely different subject. These schools are for-profit businesses that for the most part also provide career education. The key phrase here is “for profit.”

While I am a businessman and a former business educator, I do realize that the word profit is far from a dirty word. But after over 40 years in the investment/financial field, I realize that profit as a means to itself will not build lasting client relationships. Let’s leave banks and oil companies out of the conversation for obvious reasons.

Some vocational (or trade) schools are more concerned with profit than providing the kind of training that should lead to a vocation.  Students are lured in with empty job placement guarantees and offer course credits that are worthless once a student tries to transfer to another school. Two years ago, ATI Enterprises, which once had 23 schools in five states, went bust a couple of years ago amid mounting investigations.

By 2020, 66% of the job force will require at least some form of post-secondary education, according to a study by research groups PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress.

Not only that, trade and vocational schools are more of an economic necessity than ever as middle-skill jobs – defined as jobs that require a high school diploma and some training or college, but not a four-year college degree – are in high demand.

In Houston, for instance, a report from JP Morgan Chase found that middle-skill occupations represent the largest sector of the economy, with nearly 19,000 openings projected annually in the petrochemical and commercial and industrial construction sectors for the next few years.

Meanwhile, four-year college costs have become staggeringly high. The staggering level of student debt, thanks to increasing tuition and other expenses, is a national disgrace.

Trade schools are fairly widespread in the U.S., but there has been growing interest in the potential of apprenticeship programs to provide another pathway to affordable higher education.

Apprenticeships, offered by businesses or schools working closely with business owners, give students on-the-job training rather than traditional classroom instruction. Students earn professional certificates upon completing their apprenticeship. There is a bipartisan effort in Congress aimed at providing tax credits to businesses that offer apprenticeship programs in the U.S.

Prior to signing up for a vocational school, ask these questions:

Are you accredited? Check to see whether the school is accredited by one of the 15 regional or national accrediting bodies, which the U.S. Department of Education has approved.

Are you licensed by the state? Most states require specific programs at career colleges and technical schools to receive licenses from the proper board. If a program isn’t properly licensed, its graduates will have a difficult time finding work.  Ask which state agency handles a school’s licensing.  Call the agency and verify.

Does it sound too good to be true? Be skeptical of any school that advertises degrees or certificates that require no actual work on your part. Likewise, don’t trust any institution that tells you they will 100% guarantee you a job after graduation.

What are the total costs? Some vocational schools can cost even more than traditional four-year institutions, so watch out for programs that are prohibitively expensive. If you have to take out student loans to cover tuition, be sure the amount is manageable. The student loan default rates at for-profit institutions is 22%, compared to 13% at public institutions.

Does the school have a history of complaints? Check with your state’s Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau to see whether the school is the target of any complaints.

Will this certificate or degree help me in the field? Ask professionals in the field you’re studying what certificates and training they needed to find a job. Not all trade school programs are created equal, and you may find that the certificate you earned doesn’t meet professional standards in your field.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Prison sentence affirmed by appeal court in sexual assault case http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/prison-sentence-affirmed-by-appeal-court-in-sexual-assault-case/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/prison-sentence-affirmed-by-appeal-court-in-sexual-assault-case/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:17:16 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166309 The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld an Anoka County District Court judge’s decision to send a man to prison after several probation violations following his guilty to a felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for an incident in Oak Grove in March 2013.

Kelly Eugene Jenkins, 24, who was living in Nowthen at the time, was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl more than once despite her protests the morning of Aug. 14, 2013 after she had spent time the previous day with a man she identified as Jenkins.

In a plea agreement Dec. 17, 2013 Jenkins entered a guilty plea to one of the first-degree counts and was offered a stayed prison sentence because the girl was too traumatized to testify at the anticipated trial, according to the appeals court opinion written by Judge Carol Hooten.

At sentencing Feb. 26, 2014, the court stayed a 144-month prison sentence and placed Jenkins on probation for 30 years. He was ordered to serve a year in jail with credit for 195 days served, but he was eligible to serve as a trustee in the workhouse, court documents state.

There were several conditions of probation, including abstaining from alcohol use, following all of the probation officer’s instructions and remaining law abiding.

According to the appeals court decision, three months later the state alleged that Jenkins was regularly drinking alcohol and had refused to comply with his probation officer’s instructions to notify him of any change of address.

Jenkins admitted the violations, then two weeks later he allegedly provided alcohol to an underage girl, violating the condition that he remain law abiding, continued to drink alcohol himself and did not provide his probation officer with changes in address, the appeals court decision states.

At a court hearing, Jenkins admitted to the probation violations and told the court he knew that he was doing so. The probation officer sought revocation of Jenkins’ probation, but defense counsel asked the court to consider furloughing Jenkins to an inpatient treatment facility to deal with his chemical dependency issues.

Although troubled by Jenkins’ admissions, Anoka County District Court Judge Jenny Walker Jasper accepted defense counsel’s furlough request and withheld final disposition for his admitted probation violations for 30 days, Hooten wrote in the appeals court opinion.

At the disposition hearing 30 days later, Oct. 10, 2014, the court was told that Jenkins had been involuntarily discharged from treatment, which prompted Walker Jasper to revoke probation and activate the 144-month prison sentence.

According to court documents, Jenkins was given credit for 335 days spent in jail and would be eligible for conditional release after 10 years.

Jenkins appealed the ruling after Walker Jasper rejected arguments that his prior violations were the result of lack of access to chemical dependency treatment and that he should be afforded another chance to get treatment, Hooten wrote.

According to Hooten, the district court has discretion to revoke probation if it finds that the defendant violated a condition of probation, the violation was intentional or inexcusable and the need for confinement outweighed policies favoring probation.

The first two factors were satisfied by “clear and convincing evidence,” while Jenkins’ inability to complete chemical dependency treatment supported the district court’s finding that the need for confinement outweighed the policies favoring probation, Hooten wrote.

The district court’s decision was “well reasoned,” she wrote. ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/prison-sentence-affirmed-by-appeal-court-in-sexual-assault-case/feed/ 0 SLP Schools faculty and staff encouraged to ‘keep it funny’ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/slp-schools-faculty-and-staff-encouraged-to-keep-it-funny/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/slp-schools-faculty-and-staff-encouraged-to-keep-it-funny/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:03:40 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166296 Spring Lake Park faculty and staff laughed when Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg fell off a mechanical bull.

The Spring Lake Park High School Pep Band plays the school song to kick off a welcome-back program for Spring Lake Park faculty and staff Sept. 1. Photos by Olivia Alveshere
The Spring Lake Park High School Pep Band plays the school song to kick off a welcome-back program for Spring Lake Park faculty and staff Sept. 1. Photos by Olivia Alveshere

They laughed when high school social studies teacher Darrin Olmscheid was magicked out of a $100 bill by entertainer Tim Gabrielson.

They laughed when early education teacher Sara Hansen cowered in her seat, frightened by a squirrel puppet flying through the air.

They didn’t stop laughing for almost two hours Tuesday morning during the district’s annual faculty and staff kickoff program.

New staff members were welcomed to the fold, and veteran staff members were commended for reaching 20-year and 30-year service milestones.

Ronneberg encouraged educators to innovate in 2015-2016.

New ideas and the talent required to implement them are out there, he said, but what may be lacking is the courage and initiative to act on those ideas.

Sometimes words of encouragement are all it takes to push someone to try something new.

Ronneberg’s daughter gave him the push he needed this summer to fulfill his dream of riding a mechanical bull.

“I did look a little bit ridiculous,” Ronneberg said, describing the situation and then letting staff members see video evidence.

Though Ronneberg’s ride only lasted a few seconds, he might have been wildly successful, he said, adding that you never know until you try.

He encouraged educators to be the support their colleagues need to take the plunge.

Educators know they need to cheer students on, but they also need to cheer one another on, Ronneberg said.

Gabrielson, the program’s keynote speaker, asked Spring Lake Park faculty and staff to “keep it funny” as he entertained them with jokes and magic tricks.

Each and every day, people choose whether they will have a good day or a bad day, Gabrielson said.

Laughing and smiling will go a long way to keep others positive, and cultivating a positive environment at work will make work fun, he said.

Faculty and staff gave Gabrielson a standing ovation before filtering out of the auditorium to continue preparing for the first day of school Sept. 8.

Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg asks Spring Lake Park Schools faculty and staff to take risks every day. He shared video from his riskiest moment this summer: riding a mechanical bull. Entertainer Tim Gabrielson, the program’s keynote speaker, tries to guess what type of animal cracker early education teacher Sara Hansen is holding. Tim Gabrielson tricks high school social studies teacher Darrin Olmscheid into smiling for a photo with a plunger on his head. Gabrielson’s message to Spring Lake Park Schools faculty and staff was to “keep it funny” this coming school year.
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Tim Gabrielson tricks high school social studies teacher Darrin Olmscheid into smiling for a photo with a plunger on his head. Gabrielson’s message to Spring Lake Park Schools faculty and staff was to “keep it funny” this coming school year.

olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/slp-schools-faculty-and-staff-encouraged-to-keep-it-funny/feed/ 0 Helping the Poor Financially http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/helping-the-poor-financially/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/helping-the-poor-financially/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=378082effa75851213145377f8c62ec9 Helping people work their way out of poverty isn't just about money. It requires addressing the beliefs and culture around money that may be keeping people stuck both financially and emotionally.

Like many of my financial planning colleagues, I have an interest in finding effective ways to help middle- and low-income people increase their financial health. One method I've used from time to time is teaching community classes.

I've offered classes on basic financial skills like managing money or the fundamentals of investing. I've also tried offering classes focused on money scripts – people’s basic, and sometimes fallacious, beliefs on the subject – or other aspects of money psychology. Guess which classes fill and which ones don't?  

No matter what their income level, people tend to shy away from looking at the relationship between money and emotions. There seems to be a widespread money script of: "More financial knowledge is all I need in order to have more money." Yet I've seen time and time again over the years that this simply is not true.

Helping low-income people increase their financial literacy is a start, but it isn't enough. This was confirmed for me recently, at the annual Financial Therapy Association meeting, when I heard a talk that Louis Barajas gave. A noted author and expert on giving financial advice to lower-income people, he said, "All the financial literacy in the world is not going to help the poor."

Born into a poor family in East Los Angeles, Louis managed to become the first Hispanic certified financial planner in the U.S. and pull himself out of poverty. After a successful career, he returned to the barrio to live his passion of helping his community transcend poverty. It turned out to be far more challenging than he ever dreamed.

As Louis said in his talk, he discovered that, "Most people in poverty are unaware that their cultural beliefs hold them back." He described some of those beliefs, which I call money scripts. A few of them are:

  • A sense of fatalism, that "this is just how things will be."
  • An assumption that working for someone else is the only option.
  • A group dynamic where anyone who reaches for too much success is pulled back down into the community's financial comfort zone.
  • A victim mentality of blaming and feeling powerless to change.
  • Relying for financial advice on the wealthiest or most successful person in the neighborhood, without the knowledge to evaluate the validity of that advice. 

Barajas has found that telling someone about a better way doesn’t work. He had to find how to expose them to it. As he said, "If you don’t see a brighter future, you won’t plan." But even before that, people need help to take care of their urgent needs first before they can even consider that a future exists.

Hearing Barajas's talk only confirmed for me how important it is to consider people's beliefs and emotions about money. This is essential knowledge for financial advisors, debt counselors, social workers, volunteers and anyone working to help people get out of poverty. More money or more knowledge about money is simply not enough to help people who seem stuck in poverty or in a repeated pattern of financial missteps.

The easiest way to advise people who are struggling financially is to focus on the mechanics of managing money. Yet anyone who really wants to help people make lasting changes in their money behavior needs to find ways to help them look deeper. Ironically, the need to look beyond the money to build financial health is one important thing the poor and the wealthy have in common.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, CFP, is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]> Helping people work their way out of poverty isn't just about money. It requires addressing the beliefs and culture around money that may be keeping people stuck both financially and emotionally.

Like many of my financial planning colleagues, I have an interest in finding effective ways to help middle- and low-income people increase their financial health. One method I've used from time to time is teaching community classes.

I've offered classes on basic financial skills like managing money or the fundamentals of investing. I've also tried offering classes focused on money scripts – people’s basic, and sometimes fallacious, beliefs on the subject – or other aspects of money psychology. Guess which classes fill and which ones don't?  

No matter what their income level, people tend to shy away from looking at the relationship between money and emotions. There seems to be a widespread money script of: "More financial knowledge is all I need in order to have more money." Yet I've seen time and time again over the years that this simply is not true.

Helping low-income people increase their financial literacy is a start, but it isn't enough. This was confirmed for me recently, at the annual Financial Therapy Association meeting, when I heard a talk that Louis Barajas gave. A noted author and expert on giving financial advice to lower-income people, he said, "All the financial literacy in the world is not going to help the poor."

Born into a poor family in East Los Angeles, Louis managed to become the first Hispanic certified financial planner in the U.S. and pull himself out of poverty. After a successful career, he returned to the barrio to live his passion of helping his community transcend poverty. It turned out to be far more challenging than he ever dreamed.

As Louis said in his talk, he discovered that, "Most people in poverty are unaware that their cultural beliefs hold them back." He described some of those beliefs, which I call money scripts. A few of them are:

  • A sense of fatalism, that "this is just how things will be."
  • An assumption that working for someone else is the only option.
  • A group dynamic where anyone who reaches for too much success is pulled back down into the community's financial comfort zone.
  • A victim mentality of blaming and feeling powerless to change.
  • Relying for financial advice on the wealthiest or most successful person in the neighborhood, without the knowledge to evaluate the validity of that advice. 

Barajas has found that telling someone about a better way doesn’t work. He had to find how to expose them to it. As he said, "If you don’t see a brighter future, you won’t plan." But even before that, people need help to take care of their urgent needs first before they can even consider that a future exists.

Hearing Barajas's talk only confirmed for me how important it is to consider people's beliefs and emotions about money. This is essential knowledge for financial advisors, debt counselors, social workers, volunteers and anyone working to help people get out of poverty. More money or more knowledge about money is simply not enough to help people who seem stuck in poverty or in a repeated pattern of financial missteps.

The easiest way to advise people who are struggling financially is to focus on the mechanics of managing money. Yet anyone who really wants to help people make lasting changes in their money behavior needs to find ways to help them look deeper. Ironically, the need to look beyond the money to build financial health is one important thing the poor and the wealthy have in common.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, CFP, is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Center for School Change earns kudos for PSEO school study http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/center-for-school-change-earns-kudos-for-pseo-school-study/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/center-for-school-change-earns-kudos-for-pseo-school-study/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:27:51 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166312 Minnesota has some of the nation’s best programs that enable high school students to take free accredited college classes. This includes the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program, which is open to students grades 10-12.

In order for students and their parents to make good planning decisions on taking college classes, state law requires that all district and charter schools provide “up-to-date” information on their websites and distribute materials to students in grades 8-11 and their families by March 1.

The Center for School Change, located in St. Paul, has released stunning results of a study involving 128 school districts and charter schools, including one from each of the 87 counties. The study revealed that fewer than 1 percent of those districts provided students with complete information on their websites on six major points of the Postsecondary Enrollment Options law.

Moreover, the CSC study found that some districts did not provide any information on their websites on the PSEO options. Most provided only part of the information on such basic facts that under PSEO, tuition, books and fees are free, or that there is a 10th grade PSEO option, or that students had to declare their intention to take college courses by May 30.

This is shameful.

Under PSEO, students in grade 10 who meet certain standards can take technical and career courses. Students in grades 11 and 12 can take free college credit courses either at the colleges or online.

Tuition, books and fees are all paid for students who take these courses. Money to pay transportation costs of students from low-income families is provided.

The Minnesota Department of Education, to its credit, has acted swiftly on learning the results of the study by the Center for School Change and its director, Joe Nathan. (Nathan writes a weekly column for ECM Publisher Inc. newspapers).

The MDE is revising its website with revisions made by the 2015 Minnesota Legislature. And on Aug. 14, MDE sent a note to every district and charter school urging them to take the message and transmit it via their websites to help inform parents. We urge districts and charters to provide this information by January 2016, when students begin registering for the 2016-17 school year.

A follow-up study by the Center for School Change is planned this fall, anticipating the March 1 date required by the law to notify students and parents.

ECM Publishers Editorial Board commends the Center for School Change, Nathan, assistant director Marisa Gustafson and intern Diana Chao for their revealing study. Since 1989, CSC has worked directly to improve education, with schools, families, community members and policy-makers. More on the center can be found at www.centerforschoolchange.org

 – An opinion of the ECM Editorial Board ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/center-for-school-change-earns-kudos-for-pseo-school-study/feed/ 0 Video: Hometown Sound Episode 7 with Zachary Scot Johnson http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/video-hometown-sound-episode-7-with-zachary-scot-johnson/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/video-hometown-sound-episode-7-with-zachary-scot-johnson/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:38:30 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166437

Zachary Scot Johnson enjoys playing music so much that he makes sure there is proof of it literally every single day. He started “the song a day project” over 1,090 days ago, for which he plays either an original or a cover song and posts it to YouTube each day. He’s had guests, including Jeff Daniels from “Dumb and Dumber” and Creed Bratton from “The Office.” He doesn’t feel like the project will be coming to an end anytime soon.

“I honestly think it could go on for a really long time, I mean, kind of crazy. People think I’m nuts when I say 10 years, but I think 10 years is totally doable,” Johnson said. 

Johnson plays a variety of music, whether it’s performing on the electric guitars, dobro, banjo, violin, viola, drums, ukulele or several other instruments. Being a musician isn’t his only talent, as he founded and ran an improv comedy group at Lawrence University for four years. His music has brought him to NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC morning shows and radio shows around the United States. He has performed with artists including Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn and Keb’ Mo’. 

The Racine, Wisconsin, native now lives in St. Paul and has released three CDs. He is looking forward to releasing a six-disc, 125-song tribute to Tom Waits’ music soon. 

“I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do, and I just feel so good that this is my job,” Johnson said.

To hear more of his music and get more information, visit www.zacharyscotjohnson.com. ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/video-hometown-sound-episode-7-with-zachary-scot-johnson/feed/ 0 Blaine Catholic Montessori school using new garden to educate http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/blaine-catholic-montessori-school-using-new-garden-to-educate/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/blaine-catholic-montessori-school-using-new-garden-to-educate/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:58:17 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166285 The tomatoes are plentiful. The lemongrass, mint and lavender are ready to be used in tea. And the perennials offer a colorful backdrop.

On the first day of school Sept. 1, students saw that the vegetable garden outside The Way of the Shepherd Catholic Montessori School has grown quite well over the summer. Photos by Eric Hagen
On the first day of school Sept. 1, students saw that the vegetable garden outside The Way of the Shepherd Catholic Montessori School has grown quite well over the summer. Photos by Eric Hagen

Students at The Way of the Shepherd Catholic Montessori School in Blaine came back to school Tuesday, Sept. 1. The students, as young as 3 years old and as old as sixth-graders, will learn about gardening and nutrition in this new season of education.

This past spring, a $3,000 grant from the Minnesota Independent School Forum provided this school of 84 students with the means to plant four gardens. They did “plot gardening,” using raised beds filled with organic soils to plant two vegetable gardens, a butterfly garden and a “cutting garden” where plants will rebloom after the heads of the stem are cut off, said Tricia Menzhuber, head of the school.

An Anoka County master gardener intern, Columbia Heights resident Betsy Mevissen, offered suggestions on what to plant and where to plant it. The side of the school facing Highway 65 gets a lot of sunlight, while the opposite side of the building lies in shadows.

Mickman Brothers, located just a few miles north of the school, offered advice and discounts on the plants and soil as well. Matt Anderson, of Boy Scout Troop 103 in Lino Lakes, helped with the design and planting last spring for his Eagle Scout project, Menzhuber said.

Sixth-graders also researched gardening tips online, finding out that coffee grounds and egg shells can be great fertilizers. A nearby Caribou Coffee donated old coffee grounds, Menzhuber said.

The students also learned that the garden attracted a lot of creatures to their school, and not all are welcome guests, even if it is a cute rabbit.

“They eat our carrots!” one student exclaimed.

Annie Reddy, of Andover, said she enjoyed watching the garden go in last spring and picking vegetables in the summer to bring home and she loves that this garden will be an education tool for her daughter Zelie, who is entering preschool. She noted that nutrition has always been stressed by the school, which asks parents to not pack sugar-filled snacks in their children’s sack lunches. Reddy remembers having muffins last year for birthday parties rather than cake.

“They focus on the whole child and not just the education piece,” Reddy said.

The school does not serve hot lunches, so parents are encouraged to bring home vegetables, such as carrots and tomatoes, and herbs, such as oregano and cilantro, to be used for healthy family dinners and snacks.

“We have tomatoes coming out of our ears,” Menzhuber said.

One snack Menzhuber is excited for the kids to try is kohlrabi chips. Toss it in some olive oil, salt and other seasonings and bake it, and you have a tasty, nutritional treat.

Julia Schmidt-Kuehn and her husband, Ryan, hope the garden instills nutritional eating habits on their son Frankie, a kindergartner who is newly enrolled at the Montessori school.

“We grew up eating so badly. We’ve made a concerted effort to change eating habits, so we’re really having a lot of vegetables at home,” said Julia Schmidt-Kuehn, of Anoka.

The Minnesota Independent School Forum gave 22 private Minnesota schools a total of $113,000 last year to encourage science, technology, engineering and math programming, and the $3,000 given to this Montessori school was one of these 22 grants, according to Michelle Ponsolle, director of development and programs for the Minnesota Independent School Forum.

Thanks to corporate donations, the Minnesota Independent School Forum was able to support new greenhouses, model rockets, materials for catapults and much more at these other schools.

“We’re so blessed to be able to do this for our schools,” Ponsolle said.

Zachary Miller, 7, picked out two large tomatoes to snack on later. First-grader Sean Holmstadt shows Mary Plankers a cherry tomato he picked from the school’s vegetable garden. A Catholic Montessori school in Blaine planted vegetables, perennials and herbs in gardens to educate students about nutrition. The sixth-grade class (some of them shown in this picture) helped with planting it last spring. From left to right are Sophie Beyer, Elizabeth Kuehn, Abigail Turner, Nathan Kavanaugh and Mary Olson. The Rev. David Blume, the school’s canonical advocate, blessed a plant and a pot of water held by fifth-grader Ben Vacco before he sprinkled the holy water on the garden. After a brief back-to-school ceremony and flag raising, the students walked around the school for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new garden.
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A Catholic Montessori school in Blaine planted vegetables, perennials and herbs in gardens to educate students about nutrition. The sixth-grade class (some of them shown in this picture) helped with planting it last spring. From left to right are Sophie Beyer, Elizabeth Kuehn, Abigail Turner, Nathan Kavanaugh and Mary Olson.

eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/blaine-catholic-montessori-school-using-new-garden-to-educate/feed/ 0 Final summer event showcases renovated Riverview Park http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/final-summer-event-showcases-renovated-riverview-park/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/final-summer-event-showcases-renovated-riverview-park/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:07:48 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166302 A renovated Riverview Park was showcased Aug. 25 in the final city of Coon Rapids’ Summer in the City events for 2015.

Children romp and play on new playground equipment at Riverview Park Sept. 1. Photo by Sue Austreng
Children romp and play on new playground equipment at Riverview Park Sept. 1. Photo by Sue Austreng

Neighborhood residents and city officials alike were delighted with the results of the first city park to be redeveloped with proceeds from the $17.4 million park bond referendum passed by voters at the November 2013 election.

The work at Riverview included new playground equipment, a multi-purpose warming house with restrooms, tennis court, basketball half-court, large picnic shelter, skate park, trail work, T-ball fields, pergola and expanded parking switched entirely to 105th Avenue, eliminating the park’s previous road access from Uplander Street by making it a trail.

Peterson Companies, Inc. was awarded the contract for the project totaling $1.66 million plus $133,900 for two alternates with several pieces of equipment amounting to $224,000 purchased by the city and installed by the contractor as part of the project.

Construction began after Labor Day last year and was completed this summer.

According to Himmer, a few punch list of minor issues have to be addressed by the contractor – holes in the concrete path surrounding the playground, minor drainage problems and some trees that don’t look as healthy as they should.

Otherwise, he is delighted by the way the project has turned out, Himmer said.

So was Neal Livermore, a member of the Coon Rapids Parks and Recreation Commission which worked closely with the Coon Rapids City Council and consultant on the parks and trails master plan, the park bond referendum and on implementation of the projects.

“I love it,” Livermore said.

The quality of the project shows that the referendum money is being well spent, he said.

He is looking forward to the project next year renovating four neighborhood parks, Pheasant Ridge, Delta, Mason and Woodcrest, Livermore said.

It’s very nice, said Leroy and Polly Harmon. “A lot of work has been done to make it look nice,” they said.

Jennifer Haas, whose 6-year-old daughter Audrey enjoyed exploring a police squad car, large fire engine and a public works front end loader at the Summer in the City event, was equally as enthusiastic.

“We are here every evening,” Haas said. “It’s made a big difference.”

According to Beth Tomlinson, who lives two blocks away, the improvements are great. “The girls love it,” Tomlinson said.

Kara Hurley moved into the neighborhood a month ago and comes to Riverview Park every other day with her son, Josiah Hufanga, 2. “It’s awesome,” she said.

There was a good turnout for the Summer in the City program Aug. 25 at Riverview Park, the first Coon Rapids park to be renovated with proceeds from the $17.4 million park bond referendum approved by voters in November 2013. Photo by Peter Bodley
There was a good turnout for the Summer in the City program Aug. 25 at Riverview Park, the first Coon Rapids park to be renovated with proceeds from the $17.4 million park bond referendum approved by voters in November 2013. Photo by Peter Bodley

Mayor Jerry Koch said he has heard nothing but good things about the renovated park. “It’s just beautiful,” he said. “Everyone likes it. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out.”

Koch said it is clear that people from outside the neighborhood are finding the park and using it, judging by the vehicles he sees in the parking lot when driving by.

The renovation project did not include the Coon Rapids Cardinal Little League-owned baseball fields or the city-owned baseball field which is used and maintained by the little league organization, according to Himmer.

There was a good turnout at the Riverview Park Summer in the City event.

Attendance at the three other locations this year ranged from 75 to 80 at Rockslide and Prairie Oaks parks and 150 at Moor Park, according to Kristin DeGrande, the city’s neighborhood coordinator, who organizes the Summer in the City program.

“We had a large turnout at Moor Park when we had a Summer in the City event there a few years ago,” DeGrande said. “There is a very tight-knit neighborhood by the park who are very engaged.”

The purpose of the Summer in the City program is to give residents the opportunity to meet and talk with council members and city staff one-on-one in an informal setting.

Staff from various city departments manned display tables to provide information and literature on city programs and projects.

Following the open house, Mayor Koch made a presentation, speaking about city events, projects and programs and giving police and fire updates ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/final-summer-event-showcases-renovated-riverview-park/feed/ 0 Anoka manager leaves ‘steady ship’ behind http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/manager-leaves-steady-ship-behind/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/manager-leaves-steady-ship-behind/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:52:39 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166274 After 14 years at the helm of Anoka’s municipal operations, City Manager Tim Cruikshank is moving on to the same job in Golden Valley.

Tim Cruikshank
Tim Cruikshank

His last task will be the Sept. 8 City Council meeting.

“Proud” is how Cruikshank said he feels looking back on his time in Anoka. “I love the team and how it has all come together for some positive results that you can actually touch and feel. That has been really rewarding.”

He said his job has been keeping the Anoka train “on the track” and his time with the city can be broken down into three distinct phases.

In the early years, there was some political turmoil and resulting organizational distress within the city.

Once that settled down, the recession hit Anoka – and its residents and business owners – hard.

There have been six years of no tax levy increases while the council pushed to increase its efforts in infrastructure investments, taking advantage of good pricing and responding to serious needs.

There were also staff cuts, trimming a workforce of about 125 full-time positions when he started 14 years ago to closer to 100.

During Cruikshank’s tenure there has been much turnover in departmental leadership, with new hires and internal promotions, as the current team was built. He said that was done with particular focuses on personality, style and attitude and how that fits with the city, in addition to technical skills.

“This last phase has really been about everything coming together,” Cruikshank said.

Anoka has had many big wins over the past few years – the redevelopment of the Main and Ferry corner, the relocation of Castle Field, the new Rum River Shores housing development, the addition of the Volunteers of America senior living campus, recreation development along the Rum River and more.

Among those that Cruikshank has been pleasantly surprised by are the resolution on the 280-publicly owned acres north of Bunker Lake Boulevard, which are now a mix of a conservation area and high-end housing, as well as finding consensus on a plan for Highway 10 improvements.

City Clerk Amy Oehlers has worked for 22 years in municipal government. She joined the Anoka staff a year before Cruikshank and said his departure bittersweet – it’s exciting for him to have an opportunity to move on to another city, but he will be missed.

“He is the type of manager that empowers the employees while providing them with guidance and support,” Oehlers said. “He has developed a strong team here at City Hall.”

Oehlers said Cruikshank’s open-door management style allowed employees the opportunity to provide professional opinions, ideas and suggestions.

“He encouraged us to strive to be the best municipal employees we could be, focusing on the goals of the City Council to continue the great successes that Anoka has had,” she said.

The time was right for Cruikshank, 51, and an involved dad to his 15-year-old daughter, to make a change.

“You don’t want to leave a ship when it’s going down. You want to leave it when it’s steady, on course,” Cruikshank said.

And that is what he feels he is doing.

Cruikshank said working for an older, established city, rather than a suburban bedroom community, appeals to him.

“There aren’t many cities that interest me, but Golden Valley is one of them,” he said.

And there are many similarities between Anoka and Golden Valley – the challenge of aging infrastructure, the role of each as a destination city and both are home to some big-name businesses.

Mayor Phil Rice said he was surprised by Cruikshank’s resignation, particularly because he is the leader of what Rice considers a “championship team.”

“Why would anyone want to leave a championship team,” Rice said. “It’s fun to play on a team that’s winning.”

Rice said Cruikshank has been more interested in where things are going and how to get there than focusing on negatives and conflicts. His professionalism and affinity for preparedness were a benefit for Anoka’s staff and City Council.

“He is very into knowing what to expect and there not being any surprises,” Rice said. “As a council that is nice – if there was going to be an issue, if the public was going to react to a hot-button issue or a conflict, everyone was prepared about the questions that were going to be asked and what the answers were.”

Rice said he was particularly impressed with how Cruikshank managed the large staff employed by the city and how he dealt with disciplinary issues when they arose.

Working for an elected committee of five can come with challenges, but Cruikshank has good things to say about the current Anoka City Council.

“Anoka has a mayor and city council that a city would be fortunate to have,” he said. “They are knowledgeable, involved and steady.”

Economic Development Manager Erik Thorvig is grateful that Cruikshank and Planning Director Carolyn Braun took a chance on hiring him 10 years ago.

“I think at the time they probably wanted someone who had more experience. If they hadn’t done that, I’m not sure where my career would be, “ said Thorvig, who has shared the experience of job transition with Cruikshank over the last month as he, too, moves on to be Blaine’s economic development director.

He describes Cruikshank as a manager who lets his staff work things out on their own, but is always available.

Thorvig said he has learned many things from Cruikshank over the years, but what impresses him most is his ability to problem solve.

It was a regular occurrence for he and Braun to be working through a problem and Cruikshank would come in and be “a voice of reason.”

“What Tim leaves behind is a city with a lot of stability and a pretty well-oiled machine. That’s going to attract a great next city manager,” Thorvig said.

If Cruikshank has learned one thing in his time in Anoka, it’s how to handle the many fires that flare up in the day-to-day management of a city. And there are many – large and small.

“The biggest change for me is the I’ve learned that in a crisis you have to be calm and to know you are going to get through it,” Cruikshank said.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/manager-leaves-steady-ship-behind/feed/ 0 Anoka Ramsey hosts 1,200 youth football players at annual jamboree http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/anoka-ramsey-hosts-1200-youth-football-players-at-annual-jamboree/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/anoka-ramsey-hosts-1200-youth-football-players-at-annual-jamboree/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:43:05 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166262 Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association hosted its annual youth football jamboree Aug. 29 at Central Park in Ramsey.

Approximately 1,200 third- through eighth-graders representing 75 teams from across the metro area had a chance to scrimmage in a free, controlled, non-scored event that allowed coaches to be on the field during plays.

More than 75 youth football teams helped donate more than 2,200 pounds of food during the youth football jamboree at Central Park Aug. 29. Submitted photo
More than 75 youth football teams helped donate more than 2,200 pounds of food during the youth football jamboree at Central Park Aug. 29. Submitted photo

Organizers also collected more than 2,200 pounds of food for Hope 4 Youth to help homeless teens in Anoka County. Concessions were provided by the Dylan Witschen Foundation which awards college scholarships to graduating seniors from Anoka High School.

Many volunteers helped organize the event that came about after many youth football organizations struggled to add new players in recent years.

“Anoka Ramsey and several other communities have taken steps to make the game safer and that seems to have helped youth football gain some momentum,” Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association football board member Paul Lombard wrote. Lombard is the program’s director of player and coach development. The association appointed a player safety coach and required all coaches to become USA Football’s Heads Up program certified.

“Many surrounding communities have also gone through this process that helps provide training for coaches in the safe techniques in blocking and tackling. It also provides concussion awareness and training in equipment fitting, heat and hydration and other aspects to help youth football coaches,” Lombard said.

An Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association team lines up during a scrimmage at Central Park Aug. 29. Submitted photo
An Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association team lines up during a scrimmage at Central Park Aug. 29. Submitted photo

jason.olson@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/anoka-ramsey-hosts-1200-youth-football-players-at-annual-jamboree/feed/ 0 Commodities: No Relief http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/commodities-no-relief/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/commodities-no-relief/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:00:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=eb4ba4594e5aac9050183512e9d5f86e Commodities tend to run in long cycles. The huge run-up in their prices, which peaked in 2011, has now degenerated into a rout. People who think that this situation will stabilize and turn around anytime soon are kidding themselves.

China’s pell-mell growth was the stimulus for the so-called commodity super-cycle, which began around 2002. But the huge nation’s expansion couldn’t go on forever at a double-digit clip. China’s deceleration to a 7% rate, while pretty good by Western standards (the U.S. grows at a 2% pace), is enough to squelch the commodity boom, and keep it squelched for a good long while. Not to mention, plunge stocks into correction territory, as we’ve seen lately.

When you go on an eating binge, especially with food that’s rich in calories, the body finds a way of correcting your overindulgence. In the same spirit, the world continues to grapple with the aftermath of a 10-year feast of infrastructure spending in emerging markets, which their commodity exports underwrote.

Consequently, commodity prices in these markets hit an 11-year low recently.  

Countries like Canada and Brazil are hurt because of their exposure to oil, along with other self-inflicted wounds (like Brazil's political turmoil). The Dow Jones Commodity Index is down more than 15% this year.

Brazil, which produces a range of commodities from iron ore to oil seed, has fallen far. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its government debt recently to one grade above junk status, and the real, its currency, just hit a 12-year low. Look at the fate of one of its prime exports, sugar, which has dropped 70% from its high in February 2011. Brazilian sugar growers ramped up output far beyond a sustainable level.

In the capital markets, the implications from the commodity crash continue to reverberate. Oil is the biggest problem. Samson Resources, an oil and gas producer that private equity powerhouse KKR backs, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – it’s the victim of plummeting energy prices. You have to believe other areas of the oil complex are starting to feel some serious pain as well.

Oddly, oil output hasn’t dwindled as the result of the price plunge. Due to the global glut, the price is off one-third since June, touching $40 per barrel in mid-August. A brief surged petered out Tuesday. 

Oil production remains at lofty levels because of the advances in technology.  Extraction costs continue to get dramatically cheaper, although much depends on how attractive the geology of the field is.  

Still, with the bulk of output in the first few years of drilling, especially in shale-related territories, the dramatic reduction of rig counts should start to drag down production levels, probably beginning in 2016. Operating rigs are down by more than half from 12 months prior.

I continue to believe consolidation is going to happen in the oil patch, especially with cheap capital available.  It is not a matter of if, but when, and with whom.  

But that would serve the oil industry only as a bulwark again a long, bad trend. The same goes for other commodities.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Yale Bock, CFA, is the owner and operator of YH&C Investments in Las Vegas.

Y H & C Investments, Yale Bock, his family and clients own shares in the companies mentioned. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing principal in the capital markets is not guaranteed and there is the risk of losing money. The CFA charter in no way guarantees investment results, which will be superior to an index.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

]]> Commodities tend to run in long cycles. The huge run-up in their prices, which peaked in 2011, has now degenerated into a rout. People who think that this situation will stabilize and turn around anytime soon are kidding themselves.

China’s pell-mell growth was the stimulus for the so-called commodity super-cycle, which began around 2002. But the huge nation’s expansion couldn’t go on forever at a double-digit clip. China’s deceleration to a 7% rate, while pretty good by Western standards (the U.S. grows at a 2% pace), is enough to squelch the commodity boom, and keep it squelched for a good long while. Not to mention, plunge stocks into correction territory, as we’ve seen lately.

When you go on an eating binge, especially with food that’s rich in calories, the body finds a way of correcting your overindulgence. In the same spirit, the world continues to grapple with the aftermath of a 10-year feast of infrastructure spending in emerging markets, which their commodity exports underwrote.

Consequently, commodity prices in these markets hit an 11-year low recently.  

Countries like Canada and Brazil are hurt because of their exposure to oil, along with other self-inflicted wounds (like Brazil's political turmoil). The Dow Jones Commodity Index is down more than 15% this year.

Brazil, which produces a range of commodities from iron ore to oil seed, has fallen far. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its government debt recently to one grade above junk status, and the real, its currency, just hit a 12-year low. Look at the fate of one of its prime exports, sugar, which has dropped 70% from its high in February 2011. Brazilian sugar growers ramped up output far beyond a sustainable level.

In the capital markets, the implications from the commodity crash continue to reverberate. Oil is the biggest problem. Samson Resources, an oil and gas producer that private equity powerhouse KKR backs, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – it’s the victim of plummeting energy prices. You have to believe other areas of the oil complex are starting to feel some serious pain as well.

Oddly, oil output hasn’t dwindled as the result of the price plunge. Due to the global glut, the price is off one-third since June, touching $40 per barrel in mid-August. A brief surged petered out Tuesday. 

Oil production remains at lofty levels because of the advances in technology.  Extraction costs continue to get dramatically cheaper, although much depends on how attractive the geology of the field is.  

Still, with the bulk of output in the first few years of drilling, especially in shale-related territories, the dramatic reduction of rig counts should start to drag down production levels, probably beginning in 2016. Operating rigs are down by more than half from 12 months prior.

I continue to believe consolidation is going to happen in the oil patch, especially with cheap capital available.  It is not a matter of if, but when, and with whom.  

But that would serve the oil industry only as a bulwark again a long, bad trend. The same goes for other commodities.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Yale Bock, CFA, is the owner and operator of YH&C Investments in Las Vegas.

Y H & C Investments, Yale Bock, his family and clients own shares in the companies mentioned. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing principal in the capital markets is not guaranteed and there is the risk of losing money. The CFA charter in no way guarantees investment results, which will be superior to an index.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Life Crime Briefs for Sept. 4 http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/life-crime-briefs-for-sept-4/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/life-crime-briefs-for-sept-4/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 11:14:28 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166306 Man sentenced after attempting to cash forged U.S. Treasury check

A 37-year-old Minneapolis man will serve jail time after trying to cash a forged U.S. Treasury check at a Blaine Wal-Mart.

James Franklin Winder was convicted of felony check forgery in Anoka County District Court Aug. 12.

The Blaine Police Department responded to a report from Wal-Mart, 11505 Ulysses St. NE, that a man was trying to cash a forged check there April 11, around 3:30 p.m., according to the criminal complaint.

A loss prevention employee directed law enforcement’s attention to a man, later identified as Winder, who was pacing and seemed to be talking on a cell phone, the complaint states.

Police and the loss prevention employee moved toward the man, and he ran out of the store. He was to the edge of the parking lot by the time police made it outside, according to the complaint.

Another police officer came upon Winder, who threw his cell phone when he saw the officer, the complaint alleges.

The phone was recovered later with the assistance of a Fridley Police Department K-9 and its handler.

In an interview after Winder was apprehended, a loss prevention employee told law enforcement that Winder had attempted to cash a check that appeared to be written to him from the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $6,926, but the name was altered and changed, according to the complaint.

The employee went on to say that a man had attempted to cash similar-sized Treasury checks at Wal-Mart stores in Brooklyn Center and Fridley, the complaint states. The employee showed police a photo from one of the incidents, and the man in the photo appeared to be Winder.

Winder had a 22-month prison sentence stayed for five years, but he was sentenced to serve one year in jail with credit for five days served.

Winder will be granted furlough to complete a chemical dependency treatment program, and if he successfully completes treatment and aftercare, he will not need to serve any remaining jail time.

Winder will be on probation for five years and owes $125 in fees.

~ Olivia Alveshere

Almost 1.5 pounds of meth found in car stopped on Highway 65

A 50-year-old New Brighton man was arrested when the Minnesota State Patrol found nearly 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine and two loaded handguns in his vehicle the evening of Aug. 15.

Law enforcement stopped the vehicle David Lawrence Bennett was driving on Highway 65 after allegedly seeing Bennett commit several traffic and equipment violations around 11:30 p.m., according to the criminal complaint.

A canine indicated that there were drugs within the vehicle, and upon searching the vehicle, troopers found almost 1.5 pounds of meth, suspected hallucinogenic mushrooms, 22 hypodermic needles, several pills and two loaded handguns, one of which was reported stolen in Wright County in July, the complaint states.

Bennett is not allowed to possess firearms after a violent crime conviction in 2003.

~ Olivia Alveshere

Woman who stole SLP dump truck sentenced

A 20-year-old woman who stole a city of Spring Lake Park public works department dump truck was sentenced Aug. 13 in Anoka County District Court.

Sabriena Ann Hale, of Brainerd, was convicted on two felony charges of motor vehicle theft and fleeing police in a motor vehicle. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail but given credit for 27 days served and also placed on eight years probation. She is also facing restitution payments totalling $18,582.17.

According to the criminal complaint, Hale stole a city-owned one-and-a-half-ton dump truck from a city park April 8. The Spring Lake Park Police Department was alerted at 2:50 p.m.

Just after 4:30 p.m., a Blaine police officer spotted the truck heading north on Highway 65 near 109th Avenue. Hale would not stop the dump truck after police began pursuing her. At one point, she swerved into a Blaine squad car while driving in the Best Buy parking lot, according to Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson.

The chase ended when Hale lost control of the dump truck and it fish-tailed and slammed into the back of another vehicle that was in the southbound left-turn lane of Highway 65 to go east on 105th Avenue. A 10-year-old girl in this vehicle was transported to Mercy Hospital, according to the complaint.

The chase lasted less than five minutes, according to Olson.

~ Eric Hagen

Drug charge stayed

Cecily Ann Latvala, 21, had a fifth-degree drug charge stayed in Anoka County District Court for five years.

Spring Lake Park police arrived at Once Upon a Child, 8181 University Ave., Spring Lake Park, the afternoon of July 25 after employees called to report their suspicions that Latvala, of Minneapolis, was trying to sell a stolen stroller, the criminal complaint states.

She had already left the store when police arrived, but employees said she would return shortly, according to the complaint.

Latvala pulled up to Once Upon a Child, but began walking toward the nearby Holiday gas station when police exited the store, the complaint states.

An officer drove after her and eventually had to chase her on foot, according to the complaint.

A search of the woman revealed a glass pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine, and a search of the vehicle Latvala was driving turned up a prescription bottle of 29 amphetamine capsules prescribed to someone else, the complaint states.

Latvala told police she accidentally took the amphetamines from a friend and was going to return them, according to the complaint.

One fifth-degree drug charge and a misdemeanor fleeing police charge were dismissed.

A second fifth-degree drug charge was stayed for five years Aug. 25.

During a five-year probationary period, Latvala must submit to random testing, neither use nor possess alcohol or drugs and more.

Latvala must carry out 40 hours of community service.

~ Olivia Alveshere ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/life-crime-briefs-for-sept-4/feed/ 0 Energy-efficient home trends http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/energy-efficient-home-trends/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/energy-efficient-home-trends/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:00:44 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=164933  

One of the top trends driving today’s housing market is the demand for energy-efficient homes that don’t sacrifice comfort for quality. If you’re looking to purchase a new home, green features can save money both now and in the future, with numerous earth-friendly benefits. Here’s what is trending for 2015 and beyond.

EnergyFunctional spaces

Homebuyers are looking to get more functionality out of less space and often discover downsizing is a viable option for both young families and empty-nesters. Modular or manufactured homes are gaining popularity. Homebuyers enjoy thoughtful modern designs that maximize space and functionality, plus the waste from building an entire house in a controlled environment is minimal – typically fitting into just two 30-gallon drums or less.

ENERGY STAR

Many of those on the market for a home are seeking ENERGY STAR certification, meaning the home meets stringent requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR certified homes cost less to heat and cool, are quieter, more durable and have better indoor air quality. Energy savings options  include low-e windows, additional insulation and advanced heating and cooling options.

Low-E windows

Windows are an investment that pays dividends for many years to come. Buyers are demanding at least double-paned options with low emissivity, also known as low-e, advanced window coatings that help retain heat during winter and keep it out during summer. This microscopic layer also blocks damaging ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor carpets and furniture.

Effective insulation

Homebuyers are asking about extra insulation in homes, including the walls, roof and flooring. Properly installed insulation that meets or exceeds national code requirements helps better regulate a home’s temperature so the furnace and air conditioner don’t have to work harder than necessary. The result is lower utility costs and a quieter, more comfortable home.

Advanced heating and cooling features

According to a 2009 RECS Survey conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, space heating accounts for 41.5 percent of the average household’s energy consumption, which is why homebuyers seek atmosphere controlling features that can cut this number dramatically. More efficient and properly sized heating and cooling systems, such as a heat pump, use less energy, which makes the home much more energy efficient throughout.

Smart lighting alternatives

Homebuyers are demanding energy-efficient options to save money and energy. According to the EPA, CFL light bulbs use less energy than many other types, which makes them a smart option for an energy-efficient home.

Tight construction

It’s not just what you can see that makes a house green, it’s the process itself that can make a big difference. That’s why tight construction and tight ducts are a must when building a home. Builders must pay close attention to detail by sealing all holes, cracks and seams in ducts and construction assemblies. This helps to eliminate drafts, moisture, dust, pests and pollen, plus boosts comfort while lowering maintenance costs.

by Brand Point ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/03/energy-efficient-home-trends/feed/ 0 Coon Rapids skaters win at state, move on to October regionals http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/02/coon-rapids-skaters-win-at-state-move-on-to-october-regionals/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/02/coon-rapids-skaters-win-at-state-move-on-to-october-regionals/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:16:22 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=166255 Coon Rapids Ice Center figure skaters took to the ice for the Minnesota Figure Skating Championships held Aug. 21-23 at Charles Schulz Highland Arena in St. Paul.

More than 200 skaters from across the state competed in 10 youth and six adult divisions.

Seven skaters who train at the Coon Rapids Ice Center competed in championship rounds. Most of them will go on to compete in the U.S. Regional Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Oct. 8-12.

CRSkaters: Coon Rapids Ice Center skaters were well-recognized at the Minnesota Figure Skating Championships last month. Pictured here (left-right) are skaters McKenna Shoberg, Holly Olson, Bianca Dickson, Riley Shore, Lily Zieg and Alicia Fripp. Also recognized but not pictured is Ashley Pugh.Photo submitted
CRSkaters: Coon Rapids Ice Center skaters were well-recognized at the Minnesota Figure Skating Championships last month. Pictured here (left-right) are skaters McKenna Shoberg, Holly Olson, Bianca Dickson, Riley Shore, Lily Zieg and Alicia Fripp. Also recognized but not pictured is Ashley Pugh. Photo submitted

The Adult Gold State Champion was Bianca Dickson and Holly Olson won the Adult Gold Silver medal. Junior Ladies Bronze medalist was Riley Shore.  Lily Zieg took home the Juvenile Girls Pewter medal and McKenna Shoberg was also recognized in the Juvenile Girls division.
In the Open Juvenile Ladies division, Ashley Pugh was rewarded. Preliminary Girls Pewter medalist was Alicia Fripp.

“Coon Rapids Ice Center was well represented,” said skating director Karen Meck.
Sue.Austreng@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/02/coon-rapids-skaters-win-at-state-move-on-to-october-regionals/feed/ 0 Bad $$ Ideas of the Young http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/02/bad-ideas-of-the-young/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/09/02/bad-ideas-of-the-young/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=64afad7a22ea2d4d824e586c88bab497 You found the one to start a life with. You now share home, love – and your financial backgrounds with your new partner and family. Here’s what to know and how to tackle debt, budgeting and other aspects of your newly merged money matters.

Young couples and families often begin the journey together with a large amount of debt from student loans, car payments and perhaps one or both partners’ past credit card usage. The responsibilities of starting a family only deepen the hole.

If you are a young adult still looking for a high-paying job, who can’t afford a home or car and who constantly struggles with debt, then financial planning and effective debt management can help you. So can dispensing the following preconceived money notions common to young families.

We don’t need professional help. Young families with debt – especially those with children – need to think hard about meeting a financial planner to put finances in order. A planner can not only set a proper budget for you, but also advise you on how to invest for the best possible returns.

For example, planners can advise you on saving for a home, setting up a college fund for your kids and establishing a fund to handle unexpected emergencies.

What’s wrong with a little credit card debt? The greatest financial blunder a young family can make is carrying too many credit cards – and the accompanying huge bills and balances.

Mitigating and managing credit card debt becomes particularly tricky when these balances typically carry one of the highest rates of interest (often more than 17%). Inexperienced new adults with fresh plastic frequently make the mistake of paying only the monthly minimum. Continuing to do this means paying off the entire balance – assuming a family racks up no more debt on a given card, which is unlikely – will take more than a decade.

Attempt to make at least $100 more than the minimum payment on each card account and try to use cash instead of plastic as much as possible. If you or a member of your family has difficulty controlling card use, you can look for assistance from a credit counselor.

Let’s fly without a budget. Poor budgeting is close kin to any debt issue. Young couples tend to overspend mostly because they often underestimate expenses and practice the flawed habit of spending first and then planning to save what’s left. Unfortunately, spending incessantly rarely leaves anything at the end of the month.

Make (and follow sincerely) a frugal budget, keeping in mind all your daily expenses and saving plans, needs and intentions.

Retirement is far away. Many young adults just don’t understand the significance of saving for retirement and so skip investing in 401(k) workplace retirement plans or individual retirement accounts. These youngest wage earners literally labor under a misconception that the future is too far away to worry about, and instead focus on such short-term goals as buying a new car.

If you invest at least 15% of your income in retirement savings consistently from an early age, you’ll remain far ahead financially after retirement. Here’s timeless advice for all young adults: You’ll need that money sooner than you think.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit www.kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

]]> You found the one to start a life with. You now share home, love – and your financial backgrounds with your new partner and family. Here’s what to know and how to tackle debt, budgeting and other aspects of your newly merged money matters.

Young couples and families often begin the journey together with a large amount of debt from student loans, car payments and perhaps one or both partners’ past credit card usage. The responsibilities of starting a family only deepen the hole.

If you are a young adult still looking for a high-paying job, who can’t afford a home or car and who constantly struggles with debt, then financial planning and effective debt management can help you. So can dispensing the following preconceived money notions common to young families.

We don’t need professional help. Young families with debt – especially those with children – need to think hard about meeting a financial planner to put finances in order. A planner can not only set a proper budget for you, but also advise you on how to invest for the best possible returns.

For example, planners can advise you on saving for a home, setting up a college fund for your kids and establishing a fund to handle unexpected emergencies.

What’s wrong with a little credit card debt? The greatest financial blunder a young family can make is carrying too many credit cards – and the accompanying huge bills and balances.

Mitigating and managing credit card debt becomes particularly tricky when these balances typically carry one of the highest rates of interest (often more than 17%). Inexperienced new adults with fresh plastic frequently make the mistake of paying only the monthly minimum. Continuing to do this means paying off the entire balance – assuming a family racks up no more debt on a given card, which is unlikely – will take more than a decade.

Attempt to make at least $100 more than the minimum payment on each card account and try to use cash instead of plastic as much as possible. If you or a member of your family has difficulty controlling card use, you can look for assistance from a credit counselor.

Let’s fly without a budget. Poor budgeting is close kin to any debt issue. Young couples tend to overspend mostly because they often underestimate expenses and practice the flawed habit of spending first and then planning to save what’s left. Unfortunately, spending incessantly rarely leaves anything at the end of the month.

Make (and follow sincerely) a frugal budget, keeping in mind all your daily expenses and saving plans, needs and intentions.

Retirement is far away. Many young adults just don’t understand the significance of saving for retirement and so skip investing in 401(k) workplace retirement plans or individual retirement accounts. These youngest wage earners literally labor under a misconception that the future is too far away to worry about, and instead focus on such short-term goals as buying a new car.

If you invest at least 15% of your income in retirement savings consistently from an early age, you’ll remain far ahead financially after retirement. Here’s timeless advice for all young adults: You’ll need that money sooner than you think.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit www.kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

]]>
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