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Twenty minutes is all it takes for flood survivors to apply for assistance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Got 20 minutes? Then you have time to register for federal disaster assistance if you sustained damage from the spring storms and floods in Tennessee. But those who haven’t applied for federal grants and low-interest loans have only a few days to do so. The deadline is Thursday, August 5, 2010. “It’s vital that survivors of Tennessee’s unprecedented floods register for assistance before time runs out,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. “Help is still available, and it only takes a few minutes to apply. But to benefit, you have to sign up.” Survivors of the severe storms and flooding that occurred between April 30 and May 18, 2010, must register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to be eligible to receive disaster assistance. The application process takes 15-20 minutes and can be initiated by: · Calling the FEMA helpline at 800621-FEMA (3362), or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for those with speech or

hearing disabilities. The helpline operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with assistance available in all languages. · Going to www. DisasterAssistance.gov online. · Visiting m.fema. gov on a Web-enabled mobile device. Aug. 5 is also the deadline to submit applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for low-interest disaster loans to repair physical damage to homes, personal property and businesses. While no one is required to take out an SBA loan, applications are a key part of the FEMA registration process. A loan denial may open up other assistance to eligible applicants. “I urge every Tennessean who suffered flood or storm damage, no matter how large or small, to register for federal assistance,” said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director James Bassham. “With the deadline just days away, filling out the application might be the most critical 20 minutes a survivor has spent in

the past three months.” When applying for help, be sure to have the following information available: Your current telephone number. Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying. Your Social Security number. A general list of damages and losses you suffered. If insured, the name of your company or agent and your policy number. Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance by using direct deposit. More than 66,000 individuals and families recovering from the storms and flooding have registered with FEMA. Individual Assistance is available in 46 counties in West and Middle Tennessee. To date, FEMA has approved more than $155 million in aid to disaster households in the state, while the SBA has approved more than $144 million in lowinterest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

How Shopping Smart Can Help Your Favorite Charities

(StatePoint) How do you shop? When faced with aisles of cleaners that all claim to do the same thing, electronics that play the same content or cars that all get you where you need to go, most people choose products based on quality and price. But a new trend is developing as more consumers are taking into account a company’s charitable contributions or standing in the community. Now more than ever, shoppers want to buy products from good corporate citizens. Especially in light of recent worldwide crises, many companies are providing assistance quickly -- and consumers are taking note. For example, Wal-Mart financially supported Red Cross emergency relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake and sent prepackaged food kits, helping to raise its standing in the eyes of many. But corporate social responsibility isn’t limited to international disasters. Many organizations contribute to their local communities daily, supporting such efforts as education, environmental sustainability, disease prevention, animal care and rescue, and safety programs. If educational causes are important to you, for example, look for products from companies such as Honeywell or Toyota, that have long sponsored programs to assist teachers and students. By providing science education grants to teachers and scholarships to minority and disadvantaged students, Toyota is among many corporations helping enhance community schools, while Honeywell supports classroom safety programs. Here are some other tips for becoming a more conscientious shopper: * Do Your Research: There are several

publications that report on companies’ corporate social responsibility, but you can also go straight to the source and check the Web sites for your most frequently bought purchases. Search “environment” or “corporate social responsibility” to learn what companies are doing to make the world a better place. * Switch Teams: If a company doesn’t give to any charities or causes, or you don’t like the ones to which they give, switch products and start buying from a company whose charitable work you support. * Start with the Cause: Instead of researching companies, you can research causes and organizations to learn which companies are supporting them. You can usually find this information on a nonprofit’s Web site or in its annual report. For instance, by visiting the National Safety Council’s Web site, you can find lists of corporate partners and the initiatives they co-sponsor, such as free teen driving programs. * Participate: Take part in corporatesponsored events. For example, National Public Lands Day is the largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance U.S. public lands, and has been made possible by a 10-year sponsorship from Toyota. In 2009, 150,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, removed trash and invasive plants, planted trees and restored water resources. If you’re interested in attending this year’s event, visit publiclandsday.org. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Buying products benefiting causes and charities close to your heart is more powerful than talking. With every purchase, you can change your community or even the world!

The Brownsville States-Graphic, Thursday, August 5 , 2010 — Page A3

IRS Tax Tips: Do You Need to Amend Your Return?

If you forgot to include some income or to take a deduction on your tax return – you can correct it by amending your tax return. In some cases, you do not need to amend your tax return. The Internal Revenue Service usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms – such as W-2s or schedules – when processing an original return. In these instances, do not amend your return. However, you should file an amended return if any of the following were reported incorrectly: Your filing status; Your dependents; Your total income; Your deductions or credits. You may also elect to amend your 2009 return if you are eligible to claim the first-time homebuyer credit for a qualified 2010 home purchase. The amended tax return will allow you to claim the homebuyer credit on your 2009 return without waiting until next year to claim it on the 2010

return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Be sure to check the box for the year of the return you are amending on the Form 1040X, Line B. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS processing center.. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the centers. The newly revised Form 1040X (Rev. January 2010) now has only one column used to show the corrected figures. There is an area on the front of the form where you explain why you are filing Form 1040X. If the changes involve other schedules or forms, attach them to the Form 1040X. For example, if you are filing a 1040X because you have a qualifying child and now want to claim the Earned Income Credit, you must

attach a Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit to show the qualifying person’s name, year of birth and Social Security number. If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund. If you owe additional tax for 2009, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions. Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. Form 1040X and instructions are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800829-3676).

THP gears up for Back to School Enforcement

NASHVILLE---The Tennessee Highway Patrol is gearing up for the school year with a heightened enforcement campaign to keep children safe in and around school zones. Cracking down on motorists who disregard laws designed to protect children and monitoring school zones and bus stops are just a few components of the enforcement effort. “As thousands of students return to the classroom on foot or in school buses, we want to remind everyone to be extra cautious around school zones,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “The goal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is to help local law enforcement and schools protect children from drivers who may be distracted, impatient or careless.” State Troopers are urging motorists to be alert, slow down and be careful in school zones, while also encouraging caregivers to educate children on safety measures when walking, biking or riding the bus to school. Motorists should be aware that the speed limit is 15 mph in school zones and the fine for speeding in a school zone is up to $500 dollars. It is also against the law to pass a school bus when it is stopped and loading or unloading passengers. The driver can be fined no less than $250 and up to $1,000. “Motorists can expect stiff penalties for driving unsafely in school zones and for

Scholarship Continued from A1

Looking for more mentors. Representatives of the program will be present at Haywood County High School once a week, STEP Coordinator Cedric Deadmon said.

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placing our children at risk while doing so,” said THP Colonel Mike Walker. “But there is no punishment more severe than the lifelong guilt and remorse for hitting or killing a child. We are asking everyone to do their part to help a Tennessee child make it to school and home safely.” In 2009, State Troopers issued 5,445 citations in school zones. Of those citations, 973 were speeding violations, while one citation was handed out for passing a stopped school bus. Since 2006, there has been a 15.9 percent decrease in the number of crashes occurring in school zones between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There was also a 13.5 percent decline in the number of school bus-related crashes between those same hours. Each day, 25 million children in the United States ride school buses, including 600,000 in Tennessee, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The National Safety Council (NSC) reports approximately 26 students were killed while they were entering or exiting a bus in the U.S. last year. Close to 800 children are killed annually and many more injured going to and from school in a vehicle other than a school bus, according to the NSC. For more facts, figures & safety tips, please see the attached Safety Tips and visit our Web site: www.TN.Gov/Safety .

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We’ll check out your car policy to make sure your coverage is the best fit, then show you all the State Farm® discounts you could be getting. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.® CALL AN AGENT TODAY.

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Jim McAdams CLU, Agent 100 North Washington Brownsville, TN 38012 Bus: 731-772-6000 www.jimmcadams.com

Danny Murley, Agent 1014 E Main Brownsville, TN 38012 Bus: 731-772-6600 www.dannymurley.com

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