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HIAWATHA oday Volume V  Issue 4

April 2018

Always Free - Always Local!

Local financial Library Board Trustee Honored advisor receives ‘Four Under Forty’ award


he National Association of Insurance and Financial AdvisorsIowa (NAIFA-Iowa), has announced that Kyle B. Zimmerman, CFP of Securian Advisors MidAmerica in Hiawatha is one of four outstanding advisors under the age of 40 who have been recognized with the Four Under Forty Award. Each year NAIFA-Iowa solicits nominations for NAIFA members who are 40 years old or under with successful careers and are committed to their families and communities. Winners are well-rounded professionals who excel in their field while giving back to the industry and their community. They have achieved a successful balance of their work and family lives. The winners were announced and recognized at the Newell C. Day Awards Luncheon during the annual NAIFA-Iowa State Convention in March. Winners will be featured in the Fall issue of NAIFA-Iowa’s quarterly magazine, the Iowa Advisor. Other 2018 Winners are: • Dane J. Johnston, LUTCF, Waverly • Matthew E. McCall, LUTCF, Tipton • Travis P. Risvold, FIC, Madrid NAIFA comprises more

Kyle B. Zimmerman, CFP Securian Advisors MidAmerica than 700 state and local associations representing the interests of approximately 200,000 agents and their associates nationwide. In the state of Iowa, there are 16 local associations and more than 800 members. NAIFA members focus their practices on one or more of the following: life insurance and annuities, health insurance and employee benefits, multiline, and financial advising and investments. The Association’s mission is to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members.


— Today Photo by Cynthia Petersen The Hiawatha Board of Trustees honored former member Janet Libe on April 10 at its monthly meeting in the Glenn Schminke Community Room at the Hiawatha Public Library. Libe retired from the library board last June, but was not formally recognized for her service at that time. Library Director Jeaneal Weeks presented Libe with the award, thanking her for her hard work in the early stages of the library expansion project. From left to right are April Neuendorf, Vice President Jerry Mohwinkle, Anna Ronnebaum, Libe, Sue Halter, Weeks, Secretary Karlene Nesslage, President Brenda Powers, and Matt Dunbar.

Ricklefs Excavating announces name rebrand to Boomerang


icklefs Excavating, an eastern Iowa leader in site development, announced on April 2, 2018, the company has been rebranded as Boomerang. The new brand comes as a result of the company’s rapid growth and increased service offerings, beyond excavation, to local and private entities. The new brand positions it as an elite civil construction company. It also will allow

the company to stand out in the marketplace while continuing to operate under the values of family, honesty, integrity and hard work. In addition to the headquarters at 12536 Buffalo Road in Anamosa, the company has announced a new location (satellite office), which will be opened in Hiawatha, Iowa, in the coming months. The comprehensive rebrand touches every area of

the company including a new website, messaging, vehicle wraps and identity materials that represent the new brand. Why Boomerang? “Our work is the starting point from which everything else returns to and is built upon. For a project to be done right, it all comes back to the planning and site work done at the beginning. We believe that’s why people keep com-

ing back to us. That’s why we’re Boomerang.” Boomerang was founded by Bryce Ricklefs in 1998. Since then, the business has quickly grown to be a premier civil construction company that offers site development, utility work, demolition and more. Boomerang takes on the most challenging infrastructure projects to empower its employees to become leaders within the company.



April 2018

Benefits of exercise can last a lifetime Cynthia Petersen Correspondent

R - Today Photo by Cynthia Petersen

Lincoln gives a lesson on history Cynthia Petersen Correspondent


he Hiawatha Library hosted Abraham Lincoln (Kevin Wood) April 9 as he presented a history lesson with a twist with: “A New Birth of Freedom.” Mr. Lincoln talked about his life, his marriage to Mary Todd, his four boys, and how his son, Thomas, became known as Tad (he thought he looked like a Tadpole when he was born). He told the audience littleknown facts about his life; he was born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana, and then to Illinois. He gave personal accounts of his life, such as how he and his family lived in a boarding house in Washington, D.C. for many years, and how Mary moved back home for a while because she didn’t

like it there. He read a letter she wrote to him, a letter asking to return. Mr. Lincoln talked about the events leading up to the Civil War, and how four states seceded and then seven others joined them, forming the Confederacy. He explained the real reason for the war; slavery had divided the country and he needed to do what he had to do to make the nation whole again. The former president answered questions from the audience about his life and his thoughts about the Civil War, revealing that he once owned land in Iowa. Throughout the entire presentation, actor and historian Kevin Wood stayed in character, even reaching into his stovetop hat to pull out the famous speeches he had written.

Wood is a professional Lincoln presenter, who not only looks a lot like the former president, but is extremely knowledgeable about Lincoln’s life and times. According to his website,, Wood was born in Michigan and has lived in a variety of locations, including Spain. He now resides in Illinois and travels the country educating, the public about the “Great Emancipator.” “As a young man, my height reached 6’3”, and I also grew a beard. It was then that my resemblance to President Lincoln first began to come out. Still, it didn’t occur to me until some years later to combine my love for history, my interest in Lincoln, my experience in public speaking, and my natural resemblance to ‘Honest Abe.’”

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- Photo Courtesy of Metro Creative smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise can prevent or manage a variety of health problems and concerns, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, different types of cancer, and arthritis. Being active can also help if you are feeling depressed or stressed out. Although it might be difficult to get started, once you take the initiative, not only will you feel better mentally, but you’ll feel better physically, as well. According to mayoclinic. com, exercising naturally makes you feel better about yourself for the following reasons: • Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. • Exercising makes you feel better about your appearance, boosts your confidence, and improves your self-esteem. • The more you exercise, the more energy you have. • Regular physical activity can also help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines for the average adult: Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the week. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking,

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emember when we were kids and gym class consisted of dodge ball, basketball, and other fun activities? It was the best part of the day, besides recess, and we all looked forward to releasing a little energy after sitting all day. But as we grew older, and the gym teacher decided it was time to run laps and do calisthenics, gym class became something of a chore. Some kids understood the value of exercise and went on to stay active their entire lives, while others adopted a more sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, sitting behind a desk all day and then sitting in front of the television all night has become the norm for many of us. Though some people still groan at the thought of having to exercise, developing good habits now will help you stay active as you get older. Whether it’s walking the dog, cleaning your house, or doing aerobics in your living room, doing your best to keep moving is one way to develop that habit. The healthcare professionals at the Mayo Clinic have stated that exercising 30 minutes each day will help you: • Control your weight • Build your immune system • Improve your mood • Boost your energy • Sleep better • Provide a social outlet For those who have the desire to exercise but don’t feel like they have the time, there are several ways to keep active. You could wake up earlier and start your day with a short workout or take the stairs instead of the elevator. You might also park your car farther away from the door or take a walk during your lunch hour. Go outside and play with your kids when the weather is nice. Being active boosts your good cholesterol and decreases the bad, according to an article on Exercising also keeps your blood flowing

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swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, resistance tubing, resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing. 30 minutes a day. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Exercising with a buddy will help pass the time. Join a fitness class, or turn up the music and dance to your favorite songs. Being active should be fun! Reduce sitting time. Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems, even if you achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For example, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure you stand up every 30 minutes and stretch, or take a short walk. The most important thing is to keep moving. Developing good exercise habits will not only keep you healthy and feeling good, but it will also help you live a better quality of life. The secret is to keep moving.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Hiawatha Today encourages readers to send thoughtful letters. Mail your letters to the address on the left or email to: news@ Please include a daytime phone number and hometown for verification purposes only. Letters that arrive without a phone number or are not signed will not run. Letters that are potentially libelous, more than 300 words, or in poor taste may be edited or rejected. -The Hiawatha Today Staff

3 HIAWATHA oday Event encourages Hiawatha plans repainting project kids to stay active April 2018

Cynthia Petersen Correspondent


he Stoney Point YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active at the annual YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families on Saturday, April 21. Healthy Kids Day is an opportunity to ignite children’s imaginations so that they can imagine what they’ll accomplish this summer. Kids will enjoy active games such as kickball, musical chairs and more! Pick up some free books for summer reading, learn how to make healthy snacks with Hy-Vee, plant seeds with Culver’s Garden Center and learn about the Y’s summer programs and what other organizations in the community have planned. Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at over 1,500 Ys across the country by over 1.2 million participants, works to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that they continue all summer long. When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to outof-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer as during the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y wants families to focus on helping children accomplish all that they can over the summer. Keeping Kids Healthy All Summer Long In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect: • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit

or vegetable at least once a month. • Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants—and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well. • Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes. • Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong. • Make Sleep a Priority – Doctors recommend 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5 to 12 and 7 to 8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions. The Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at the Stoney Point YMCA from 9 a.m. to noon and features fun, active play and educational activities. Healthy Kids Day encourages youth and families to awaken summer imagination, and this cannot be done without proper nutrition. Walmart Foundation is proud to sponsor Healthy Kids Day to raise awareness about the importance of food security and nutrition for youth and families. Delta wants to ensure that kids have their best summer ever and is a proud sponsor of Healthy Kids Day. Locally, Healthy Kids Day is sponsored by UnitedHealthCare, Hy-Vee, Mercy Medical Center and Great Harvest Bread Co. For more information, visit the Y’s Facebook page @CRMetroYMCA or go to


lthough the snow has slowed down Hiawatha construction plans a bit, the weather forecasters are calling for milder temperatures the rest of the month, which will enable those projects to move forward. One project John Bender, Hiawatha’s city engineer, is hoping to complete at the end of the month, is the repainting of North Center Point Road, between Emmons Street and Boyson Road. The painting project will make the current fourlane stretch of road into a three-lane roadway with a bike lane on both sides. The proposed painting plan includes removing all the existing lines and symbols and repainting the lines for the new lane configuration, said Bender. “There are several reasons for this,” he said. “But the biggest reason is safety.” Bender explained that motorists and bicyclists trying to cross or come onto the road will have an easier time trying to keep track of two lanes and a turning lane, as opposed to two lanes going in both directions. “It’s just safer for everyone,” he said. Bender added that the Iowa Department of Transportation approves of this type of “Road Diet,” which is actively used across the country. “It’s also more cost efficient,” he said, explaining that the city won’t have to do any construction, and can change it back if the traffic flow become heavier. The change will also work well with the other sections of the road, said Bender. “Right now, going from a three-lane to a fourlane and back to a threelane, is confusing for some people. This will end that confusion and help make that section flow easier.” For more information, visit the city’s website at

- Photo Courtesy of the City of Hiawatha

Business Directory



April 2018

Easter Fun Community Calendar City Council Meeting The Hiawatha City Council will meet on Wednesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. at Hiawatha City Hall. For future city council meetings, visit the City of Hiawatha website.

Iowa Author Linda McCann Wednesday, April 18 | 6:30 p.m. | Hiawatha Public Library Linda McCann, author of Civilian Conservation Corps in Northeast Iowa, will be at the Hiawatha Public Library on Wednesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. During her visit she will discuss stories she has heard from members of the CCC and talk about this federal program that helped young men support their families. Stop by the Hiawatha Library and learn more about the CCC and Linda’s next book about POW camps.

Earth Day Collection/Recycling Event The City of Hiawatha is celebrating Earth Day by hosting its annual collection/recycling event at the Public Works Facility, 1410 Robins Road. This is a chance for all Hiawatha residents to drop off the following items for recycling and proper disposal: • Household hazardous waste, sponsored by Linn County Solid Waste • Electronic equipment, sponsored by Midwest Electronic Recovery • Documents for shredding, sponsored by Heartland Shredding • Unserviceable flags (plus an opportunity to purchase new flags), sponsored by American Legion Post 735 • Gently used cell phones to be donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers sponsored by the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary Chapter 735 • Eyeglasses and hearing aids, sponsored by the Hiawatha Lions Club • Prescription/medication waste, sponsored by Hy-Vee Pharmacy • Household Appliances • IDNR Seedings - first come, first serve This 2018 Earth Day event is scheduled for Saturday, April 21, from 9 to 11 a.m.

FREE Yoga Thursday, April 26 | 6 p.m. | Hiawatha Community Center Want to learn how to do yoga? Stop by the Hiawatha Community Center on Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. for free yoga! Build strength, flexibility, balance and breath awareness. All levels are welcome to participate.

Hiawatha Farmers Market Every Sunday | 11 a.m. | Guthridge Park Hiawatha’s Farmers Market will take place every Sunday morning starting on Sunday, April 29, at 11 a.m. Stop by to purchase locally grown foods and handmade crafts.

Hiawatha’s Annual Garage Sale It’s that time of year! Time to dig out all that stuff in your house that no one is using anymore and get rid of it at this year’s annual garage sale on Saturday, May 5. If you want to be part of the listing, contact City Hall at 319-393-1515 or email aseverson@

FREE Zumba Wednesday, May 9 | 6 p.m. | Hiawatha Community Center Want a full body workout and have fun while doing it? Stop by the Hiawatha Community Center on Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. and every second Wednesday of the month in 2018 to work out Zumba style. These classes are free and open to the public.

Adult Craft Night: Glass Etching Thursday, May 10 | 6:30 p.m. | Hiawatha Public Library Explore your creative side with glass etching at the Hiawatha Public Library on Thursday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. Create a decadent vase or elegant centerpiece for yourself or a loved one. Registration is required to reserve your seat.

Friday Flicks: Paddington 2 Friday, May 11 | 3 p.m. | Hiawatha Public Library Paddington is back at the Hiawatha Public Library for more adventures. Join your favorite bear on Friday, May 11, at 3 p.m. as he searches to find the perfect pop-up book for his aunt’s 100th birthday.

Bike Rodeo and Parade Friday, May 18 | 4:30 p.m. | Guthridge Park It’s a bike rodeo at Guthridge Park on Friday, May 18, starting at 4:30 p.m. Learn about bicycle safety and other tips from members of the Hiawatha Police Department and Northtowne Cycling and Fitness. Bring your bike and get a chance to decorate it and parade it around the park at 5:30 p.m. First 50 children will receive a free helmet if you need one.

Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Meet Saturday, May 19 | 1 p.m. | Kingston Stadium Its race time folks! Children ages 7 to 14 are participating all over Iowa in the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships. Join the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha Parks and Recreation Departments on Saturday, May 19, starting at 1 p.m. at Kingston Stadium for this free competition. Contact Hiawatha Parks and Recreation Department for registration information.

City Offices Closed City Offices will be closed Monday, May 28, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. — Photos by Jeff Mahannah Nearly 5,000 eggs were set out by the Hiawatha Parks and Recreation Department on March 30, 2018, for its annual Easter Egg Hunt. Eggs were gone in a matter of minutes, grabbed by area children.


April 2018


Crystal Group pledges Hi-Crew helps ease $100,000 to Hiawatha food insecurity Library Project

Cynthia Petersen Correspondent

Cynthia Petersen Correspondent


embers of the HiCrew Kiwanis joined others Sunday, April 8, to prepare meal kits for Take Away Hunger, a local nonprofit, to help ease food insecurity in the Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Marion communities. This was the 6th year HiCrew has participated in the event. The prepared kits will be then be given to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) and distributed to families in need. The Hi-Crew group was assisted by Marion Metro, Marion Sunrisers, and Cedar Rapids Kiwanis clubs, as well as Xavier, Prairie, and Kennedy Key Clubs. Joe O’Leary, who heads the Cedar Rapids branch of Take Away Hunger, said although the new facility at 641 31st Avenue SW has just recently opened, he has been holding the fundraisers for 11 years. “We are an all-volunteer local non-profit dedicated to feeding the hungry here and wherever disasters strike,” said O’Leary. “We have packaged and shipped millions of meals since we began partnering with groups like the Kiwanis. One hundred percent of the money raised by these groups goes into the food. All expenses, including our new facility, are donated. Our new facility will better help us serve the CR area.” O’Leary said the groups who filled the kits on April 8 packaged enough food to feed 8,000 people. “Each package will feed a family of six. Hopefully that will make a small dent in the hunger problem in the area.” O’Leary said everyone can do their part in easing food insecurity, but one of


he Hiawatha Library is closer to the next phase of its expansion project, thanks in part to a $100,000 gift from Crystal Group of Hiawatha. Scott Kongable, president of Crystal Group, toured the Hiawatha Public Library April 5 to receive an update on the library renovation and addition project from library Director Jeaneal Weeks. Joining him were Library Board of Trustees President Brenda Powers, Library Board of Trustees members Jerry Mohwinkle and Matt Dunbar, City Administrator Kim Downs and City Finance Director Cindy Kudrna. Because of its donation to the Make Room for Imagination capital campaign, Crystal Group will have the vestibule named in its honor. Crystal Group, located at 850 Kacena Road, provides server, switch, display, storage, and embedded computer architectures and related in-

- Today Photo by Cynthia Petersen Crystal Group President Scott Kongable took a tour of the Hiawatha Public Library and met with the Library Board of Trustees and city staff. Shown above from left to right are Library Director Jeneal Weeks, Crystal Group President Kongable, Library Board of Trustees President Brenda Powers, and City Administrator Kim Downs. tegration services for mission critical installations worldwide. Hiawatha Library Director Jeaneal Weeks said she is grateful for organizations such as Crystal Group, for their generosity. These

pledges are helping the library to reach its goal. To donate to the project, or for more information, visit the Hiawatha Library’s website at hiawathapubliclibrary. org.

- Today Photos by Cynthia Petersen Members of the Hi-Crew Kiwanis prepare meal kits for Take Away Hunger on April 8, 2018, to help ease food insecurity in the local area. Hi-Crew members were assisted by Marion Metro, Marion Sunrisers, and Cedar Rapids Kiwanis clubs as well as Xavier, Prairie, and Kennedy Key Clubs. The prepared kits will be given to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) and distributed to families in need. the best ways “is to get a church group, school, or organization excited about fighting hunger by holding a packaging event.” “We can feed someone for 25 cents, so if they raise $500, we can feed 2,000

people. However, $500 generally is our smallest event.” For more information about holding a meal kitpackaging event, contact O’Leary at (319) 491-6660.

Meet the Hiawatha City Staff Main Phone

City Administrator

Water Superintendent


Kim Downs 319-393-1515, ext. 523

Marty Recker 319-393-1515, ext. 232

Hiawatha Mayor Bill Bennett 319-393-1515, ext. 525

Council Members Rob Archibald Steve Dodson Dennis Norton Dick Olson Aime Wichtendahl

City Clerk Kelly Kornegor 319-393-1515, ext. 526

Finance Director Cindy Kudrna 319-393-1515, ext. 522

Park & Recreation Director Kelly Willadsen 319-393-1515, ext. 251

Community Development

Police Chief

Patrick Parsley 319-393-1515, ext. 229

Dennis Marks 319-393-1212, ext. 133

City Engineer

Fire Chief

John Bender 319-393-1515, ext. 511

Mike Nesslage 319-393-4180

Public Works Superintendent

Library Director

Rod Jasa 319-393-6601

Jeneal Weeks 319-393-1414



April 2018


Supporting Iowa farmers and businesses By Liz Mathis State Senator


owa farmers and businesses could be deeply affected by a trade war ignited by President Trump’s recent threats to impose tariffs on steel and other products from China. China is one of the top five importers of Iowa’s manufactured goods and value-added agricultural products. Our state exported $560 million in goods to China in 2017. The President has ordered a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. He has also announced proposed tariffs on Chinese technology. China has responded, proposing a 15 to 25 percent tariff on most U.S. exports,

including a 25 percent tariff on pork, corn and soybeans—key Iowa exports. In 2017 U.S. exports to China totaled more than $12B for soybeans, nearly $500M for pork and pork products, and more than $150M for corn. Also in our community, a tariff on aeronautics could affect airplane exports, which, in turn, would affect Rockwell Collins. Responding to the concerns of my constituents, I have put my name on a letter to President Trump, urging him to consider the negative consequences on Iowa farmers, rural communities and those whose livelihood is threatened by a trade war with China. As always, if you have questions or concerns, you can reach me at Liz.

— Photo submitted On April 12, the Iowa Senate honored the incredible career of native Iowan, Peggy Whitson, with Senate Resolution 117. Peggy flew on Expedition 50/51 and has participated in four spacewalks. With a total of 665 days in space, she holds the U.S. record and is eighth on the all-time space endurance list. Whitson also completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the station for Expedition 5 in 2002, and as the station commander for Expedition 16 in 2008. She accumulated 377 days in space between those two missions, the most for any U.S. woman at the time of her return to Earth. Pictured left to right are Senators Amanda Ragan (Mason City), Pam Jochum (Dubuque), Janet Petersen (Des Moines), Whitson, Liz Mathis (Hiawatha) and Rita Hart (Big Rock).



D.C. may be the only Simple video calling devices place in the U.S. where for tech-challenged seniors you pay $139K for a door Dan Brawner Columnist


hen I see what some of the White House cabinet secretaries are paying for a little remodeling, it makes me wish I lived closer to the nation’s capital. When House Oversight and Government Committee chair Trey Gowdy noticed that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wanted $139,000 for a door, he was curious. Just what kind of a door costs more than a modest two-bedroom home or a four-year university education, or three new Cadillac CTS sedans? We’re talking about a really nice door here, right? Well, Secretary Zinke spoke right up and assured Gowdy that he had been doing some tough negotiations. He could snag this door for – not $139,000, not $110,000, not even $86,000 – but because he knows what’s what and nobody can pull the wool over his eyes, he chiseled the contractor down to a piddling $75,000! (I bet the D.C. contractors are all lining up to “negotiate” with Mr. Zinke! “You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Zinke, but I’ll tell you what I’ll do….”) By now, everybody has

heard about Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s deal on a $31,000 dining room set for his office. I am sorry to admit I can’t imagine what a $31,000 dining room set would e v e n l o o k like. But does Dr. Carson actually eat in his Dan Brawner office? Don’t most people just order a Subway and eat it at their desk? Given Carson’s extremely relaxed, even sleepy, appearance, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would work past dinner time. If he needed any furniture for his office, it would be a bed. But Washington’s least savvy shopper has to be Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt. Forget about the $120,000 Italian vacation, at taxpayers’ expense. And forget about the fortune he spent on an army of 20 fulltime security guards. Forget even about Pruitt’s request for a $70,000 bulletproof desk (no, I am not making this up). What got me was the $43,000 soundproof phone booth for his office.

Okay, the actual phone booth was merely $25,000. But it had to be built into the wall, which cost an additional $18,000. This included $3,470 for a five-by-fivefoot slab of concrete two feet thick. A new drop ceiling ran another $3,361 and the small section of wall where the phone booth goes had to be patched and painted for the low, low price of $3,350. (Boy, did they see him coming!) Where were the country’s champion cheapskates while this was going on? Where were the Bernie Sanders of the world? Where were the Charles Grassleys? When Pruitt was asked why he couldn’t fly coach, he replied that one time when he did, somebody yelled at him. The irate passenger reportedly shouted, “You’re ______ing up the environment!” You can see how that might hurt your feelings if you were in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. When Pruitt was asked why he, of all government employees, required his own sound-proof phone booth, he said so nobody could overhear his private conversations with the President. But wouldn’t it be cheaper to just whisper?


Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any seniorfriendly devices that you can recommend for video calling? I live about a day’s drive from my 83-year-old father and would like to see him more often, but he doesn’t use a computer, tablet or a smartphone. Searching Susan

Dear Susan, Video chatting is a great way to stay connected and keep tabs on an elder parent when you can’t be there. To help you and your dad achieve this, there are various products on the market today that offer simple video calling for seniors who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology. Here are three unique devices to consider. ViewClix If you’re interested in a device that requires no input from your dad, check out the ViewClix Smart Frame. This is a 15-inch digital picture frame with video calling capabilities designed specifically for seniors. Ready to use right out of the box, this device lets family and friends make video calls and send photos (displayed as a slideshow) directly to your dad’s ViewClix Smart Frame anytime from their smartphone, tablet or computer. To do this, you simply download the free ViewClix app to your devices. All photos sent and video calls made to your dad’s ViewClix are received automatically. But, it is worth

noting that this is a receiving device only. Your dad cannot initiate video calls from his ViewClix. This device is available at or 800304-4281 for $299 (Wi-Fi is required), or you can purchase their 4G Broadband model that works with TMobile (if Wi-Fi is not available) for $299, plus a $20 monthly broadband fee.

GrandPad Another nifty product that offers simple video calling, and much more, is the grandPad. This is an 8-inch touchscreen custom tablet designed for seniors, ages 75 and older. It comes with a stylus, charging stand and Verizon 4G LTE built-in so it works anywhere on the Verizon network – home Wi-Fi is not necessary. This unique tablet provides a simplified menu of big colorful icons and large text to only essential features, giving your dad clutter-free, one-touch access to make and receive video calls and phone calls, send voice emails, view photos and videos, listen to personalized music, check the weather, play games and more. But, to simplify usage and avoid confusion, it does not offer Web browsing. GrandPad also has a “Help” button that offers 24/7 phone/tablet remote assistance to help your dad with any facet of his tablet, and it provides damage and theft insurance so if your dad breaks or loses his tablet, it will be replaced at no additional cost. It is available

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at or call 800704-9412. A grandPad leases for $66 per month, or $49/ month if you pay one year in advance. Echo Show If you don’t think your dad would mind talking to a machine, the voice-activated Amazon Echo Show is another senior-friendly device for video chatting (Wi-Fi is required). Available at Amazon. com for $230, the Echo Show has a 7-inch color touchscreen that would let your dad make and receive video calls to those who have their own device, or who have the free Amazon Alexa app installed on their smartphone or tablet. Once you set up his contacts, to make a call your dad would simply say, “Alexa, call Susan.” And when a call comes in, he would ask Alexa to answer or ignore the call. There’s also a feature called “drop-in,” which could allow you and other preselected relatives or friends to video in to your dad’s device at any time without his input. The Echo Show also offers a bevy of other features your dad might enjoy like voiceactivated access to news, weather, his favorite music and more. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.


April 2018



How your tax strategy can help cover rising college costs Submitted by Larry K. Fox


n today’s world, many families rely on more than one strategy to save for the costs of their children’s education. Whether your children are getting ready for kindergarten or graduation, capitalizing on tax-saving opportunities can help make college a financial reality. Long-term saving strategies The best defense to rising costs is to save early and often. While there are a variety of accounts and ways to save for college, 529 plans, Coverdell and custodial accounts offer possible tax benefits. 529 plans These plans, named after a provision in the tax code, are one of the most popular ways to build savings over time. A parent or even a nonrelative can establish a 529 plan for a student, with the ability to switch potential beneficiaries anytime. The person establishing a 529 account retains control over the assets and how they are used. Any earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis and any withdrawals used to meet qualified higher education expenses of the named beneficiary are income-tax free. This is a significant incentive to save for college and offers a great deal of flexibility due

Financial Advisor Joshua J. Katcher, CFP® APMA®; Private Wealth Advisor Larry K. Fox, CFP® ChFC® CLU®; and Private Wealth Advisor Aaron D. Sannes, CFP® ChFC®. to the high maximum contribution amounts, which vary by state. While contributions to a 529 plan are not deductible for federal income tax purposes, many states allow for deductions/credits on state income taxes. Check your state’s laws and consider making a contribution before the end of the year to claim a deduction/credit on your 2018 state return. Custodial accounts The Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) custodial accounts offer a way to transfer assets to your minor. A named custodian manages the account until the designated minor is old enough to assume ownership (usually 18 or 21, de-

pending on the laws of your state). However, because the student is the account owner, the assets may affect his or her eligibility for financial aid. The tax benefits to the donor include reducing the size of the donor’s estate for estate tax purposes and the ability to exclude earnings on these assets from the donor’s income taxes, though income tax rules still apply to the child (and kiddie tax could have an impact). A Coverdell education savings account, a specific type of trust or custodial account, allows you to save for higher education as well as private elementary, middle or high school expenses. Contributions are limited to $2,000 a year for a single beneficiary, and are only al-

lowed until the minor turns 18. Any earnings in the account grow tax free, and there’s no federal tax when the money is withdrawn for qualified expenses. The account funds must be distributed before the designated beneficiary turns 30, and any remaining money will be distributed to the beneficiary with the earnings subject to tax and penalty unless the account is transferred to another family member. If the Coverdell is established for a special needs beneficiary, the rules vary. Tax-saving strategies when you are making tuition payments Once you transition to paying for college expenses, there are potential tax credits

Crossword Puzzle CLUES ACROSS 1. Maintained possession of 5. Dropsy 10. Type of music 12. One who is deliberately cruel 14. 411 16. Rhode Island 18. Follows sigma 19. Baked dessert 20. Craftsman 22. Austrian river 23. Distributed 25. Close 26. Midway between E and SE 27. Thunderstorm code 28. Where wrestlers work 30. Away from (prefix) 31. Canadian law enforcers 33. Shade 35. Sir Samuel __, Brit. statesman 37. Della __, singer 38. Existing in fact 40. Tennis matches have at least two 41. Reunifying Chinese dynasty 42. Not just “play” 44. Angry 45. Photomultiplier tube 48. Slovenly person 50. __ and Diu 52. Cologne 53. What actors deliver 55. Campaigned 56. Cash machine 57. Spanish be 58. Animal that eats insects 63. Colonists who supported the British 65. Loved 66. A pair of people who live together 67. Work tools CLUES DOWN 1. Kilogram force (abbr.)

and deductions that may help you save money on your tax bill. Tax credits Tax credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes due. Credits can be earned in the year tuition is paid, in many cases, even if it is for the academic period beginning in January thru March of the following year. Payments made by the end of 2018 may qualify for a credit on next year’s tax return. Two credits you may qualify for include the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Income restrictions and other qualifications apply, so work with your tax professional who can help you determine the best tax strategy for your situation. Tax deductions Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for deductions related to education expenses at the federal and/or state level. For example, a federal income tax deduction of up to $2,500 is available for the interest paid on a qualified education loan; however, certain income restrictions apply. Consult with your financial advisor about the best college saving strategies for your situation, and with your tax advisor on potential taxsaving provisions of the law.

Larry K. Fox & Associates is a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Hiawatha and Waterloo, IA. This group specializes in feebased financial planning and asset management strategies and its advisers have been serving clients for 45 years. For more information, please contact Carly Pagel at (319) 200-2520 or visit the team website at Clients contributing to a 529 Plan offered by a state in which they are not a resident, should consider, before investing, whether their or their designated beneficiary(s)’ home state offers any state tax or other benefits only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. Neither Ameriprise Financial nor its affiliates or representatives may provide tax or legal advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2017 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sudoku Puzzle Here’s How It Works: Sudoku puzzles are formatted as a 9x9 grid, broken down into nine 3x3 boxes. To solve a sudoku, the numbers 1 through 9 must fill each row, column and box. Each number can appear only once in each row, column and box.

2. Your consciousness of your own identity 3. Score 4. A way to modify 5. Respect 6. Midwife 7. Region near the Dead Sea 8. __ Gerais: gold-rich state of Brazil 9. Equally 10. Monetary units 11. The mentioning of things one by one 13. Traveling entertainers

15. Small island 17. A way to sing 18. __-bo: form of exercise 21. “The Bard” 23. The best player 24. Male parent 27. Harm the reputation of 29. Allow for the tare of 32. Grand __: wine classification 34. Soak 35. Bother 36. Ophthalmologist 39. Preceded 40. __ Francisco, California

43. Touch gently 44. Lithuanian given name 46. Matched 47. Stomach 49. Mother of all gods in Scots’ Celtic mythology 51. Partner to cheese 54. Fit of irritation 59. Visit 60. Suffragist Wells 61. Swearing to the truth of a statement 62. Old Red Sandstone 64. Sacred Hindu syllable

Sudoku and Crossword Puzzle Answers

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Hiawatha Today April 2018  

Hiawatha, Iowa

Hiawatha Today April 2018  

Hiawatha, Iowa