Columns

From stunning to sad, a 12-day trip to Japan has produced an array of emotions. The cherry blossoms are more beautiful and more numerous than I can describe. The people are extremely friendly. But none of the things I’ve done matched the power, or the mixture of emotions, of visiting Hiroshima’s Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. That produced several lessons, some of which the museum’s creators may not have envisioned.

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If you look though old issues of the Blaine newspaper, around 1972, you’ll find that grass and peat fires kept the fire department hopping. Starting in May and continuing through the summer, almost every week’s issue lists at least one or two incidents. Oftentimes children were suspected of being the instigators. Before the northern suburbs filled in, there were lots of open spaces and low-lying bogs that provided tinder for these nuisance conflagrations. One such fire-prone area was a peaty expanse on the east side of University Avenue north of 109th Avenue. Today it’s the site of Park of the Four Seasons mobile home community, but prior to 1973 when Four Seasons opened, it was a good place for fires to start.

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Underwriting municipal securities (bonds) issues is not without risk. To spread this potential risk, underwriters (investment bankers that bring new issues to market) form an underwriting syndicate. Underwriting syndicates are typically organized as joint ventures rather than partnerships (which further limits the risk of the participants).

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“Simple Choices” is one of the wisest, most humble and helpful books for parents that I’ve read in a long time. It’s written by Lisa Graham Keegan, a nationally recognized educator and political leader who has had to deal with her father’s desertion of the family, discovery that she is carrying a genetic disorder and several other huge challenges. But with laughter and love, she has emerged as a kind, caring, positive parent. She has wonderful stories to tell and creative suggestions I’ve read nowhere else.

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A terrific new movie describes Cesar Chavez, a remarkable American whose influence continues to help Americans – and Minnesotans. Having seen the movie, talked with people who knew Chavez and had a tiny role in his work, I strongly recommend the picture. The movie “Cesar Chavez” was released March 28 and is rated PG-13.

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Until the Tax Reform Act (TRA) of 1986 changed the favorable tax status of Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and its successors, the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws in 1983. Many people used these accounts as a means of transferring highly taxable income and capital gains to a child in a lower tax bracket through gifts of money or securities.

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