Independence Leo Club Visits Lions Services Helps serve holiday lunch to visually impaired workers

By Michele Dotson  Dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

On December 20, when the rest of their classmates were cracking the books at school and waiting for the end of the day to start their long holiday break, 17 Leo Club members boarded a bus to Lions Services on Tryon Street to help set up and serve the company’s annual Christmas luncheon.

Lions Services provides vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

The organization, founded in 1935 by the Charlotte Central Lions Club, provided employment for the blind. Initially, the goal was to employ WWI veterans to re-cane chairs.

In 1975, the company was incorporated as a nonprofit textile manufacturer with the purpose of providing vocational rehabilitation for people who are blind and became known as Lions Services, Inc.  Continue reading

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Ugly sweater party brings youth together

By Michele Dotson  dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

youth group 1For the youth group at St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church on Margaret Wallace Road, Christmas wasn’t over on December 25.

The youth group gathered on Saturday, January 4 for an Ugly Sweater Party. The group played games, ate pizza, listened to music, and voted on the ugliest sweater.

According to Christian tradition, the Christmas season concludes on “Twelfth Night,” which is literally the twelfth night after Christmas, and falls on January 5.

Ellen and Ande Rummel have been youth group advisors for about three and a half years.

Ellen says, “The goal of the youth group is to create a Christian community where the youth of the church has the opportunity to socialize with other Christian kids and learn how to get involved in service projects for the Church and community.”

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Mint Hill resident receives promotion still finds time to clown around

By Michele Dotson  Dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

Brett Ford

Brett Ford

Long-time Mint Hill resident and 1988 Independence graduate Brett Ford is ringing in the New Year with a promotion at AT & T. This is Ford’s second promotion since joining the company in 2000.

“My first position for 10 years was a Service technician,” says Ford. “Then in 2010 I became a Facility Technician working on everything from the cut wire in your backyard, the jack in your bedroom that quit working, DSL, networking, high speed data lines and everything in between.”

Ford’s new position is a Specialist-Network Control in the AT&T Network Operations organization. He will oversee the circuits that handle the cellular traffic all across the country.

“It is a management position which came with a raise,” he says.

This is good timing for Ford, whose wife Madonna, a former surveyor, is beginning her student teaching in mathematics at Rocky River High School.  Additionally, Brett is finishing up a BA in Networking Administration. Continue reading

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‘Tis the season for giving IRS reminders for charitable contributions

By Michele Dotson
Staff Writer
Dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

Cleaning out closets, weeding out unwanted Christmas decorations, and year-end home renovations can yield some great items to donate to one of the many local charitable institutions that will take them. For those tax payers who itemize their deductions, donations made prior to January 1, 2014 can be claimed as deductions on their 2013 taxes.
Also, any monetary contributions made to qualifying organizations can also be used as a deduction.
But just what is deductible and what is the process for claiming a charitable contribution deduction?
The IRS has recently posted the following reminders to its site, www.irs.gov in preparation for the 2013 tax season, which officially begins January 31, 2014.
Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2013 count for 2013. This is true even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2014. Also, checks count for 2013 as long as they are mailed in 2013.
Only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible. The IRS provides a searchable online database available on its website. This lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations, even if they are not listed in the database.
For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to individuals who choose the standard deduction, including anyone who files a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ). A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the 2013 Form 1040 Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.
For all donations of property, including clothing and household items, get from the charity, if possible, a receipt that includes the name of the charity, date of the contribution, and a reasonably-detailed description of the donated property. If a donation is left at a charity’s unattended drop site, keep a written record of the donation that includes this information, as well as the fair market value of the property at the time of the donation and the method used to determine that value. Additional rules apply for a contribution of $250 or more.
The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. Form 1098-C or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return.
If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly-completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return.
Always keep good records and receipts.
More information on preparing taxes can be found at www.IRS.gov.
The IRS website also warns individuals to use caution in selecting a tax preparer to be certain they are properly licensed and are updated on the most recent tax changes.
The tax payer is ultimately responsible for any information that is submitted to the IRS.

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The Mint Hill Police Department will be hosting Coffee with a Cop next Tuesday.

MINT HILL, NC—On January 7, 2014, officers from MINT HILL POLICE DEPARTMENT and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee.
All community members are invited to attend. The event begins at 9:00 am on January 7, 2014 at Burger King, 7002 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill, NC. Please contact Chief Tim W. Ledford with questions: 704-545-1085.

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New board sworn in at December Mint Hill commissioners meeting

Mayoral appointments made; Mayor Pro Tempore selected

By Michele Dotson  dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 7.57.29 PMThe December 12 meeting of the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners was the first for newly elected member Richard Newton. Newton, along with fellow Board members Lloyd Austin, Mickey Ellington, and Mayor Ted Biggers were sworn in just after the Municipal election results for Mint Hill were accepted.

Commissioner Tina Ross, who was reelected along with Austin and Ellington, is undergoing treatments for cancer and is expected to be sworn in at the next meeting.

“I ask that you keep Commissioner Ross in your prayers,” says Mayor Biggers. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family and we look forward to seeing her at our next meeting.”

Outgoing commissioner Brenda McRae was praised for her years of service and dedication to the town. Continue reading

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