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Tips on how to avoid arguments, penalties with IRS 


    A quick tax quiz:
    Q. Payment of tax is voluntary?
    Q. Taxpayers can reduce their federal income tax liability by filing a “zero return?”
    Q. The IRS must prepare federal tax returns for a person who fails to file?
    Q. Compliance with an administrative summons issued by the IRS is voluntary?
    If you answered true to any of these, you could be in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service.
   

Gas prices keep climbing in Sierra


    Some local station owners and employees reject the idea that soaring gas prices are solely the result of the Libyan rebellion.
    Exports from the oil-rich nation have been all but shut down as political unrest expands, causing a spike in gas prices last week.
    Prices started going up long before the rebellion, say those at Tuolumne and Calaveras county gas stations, although fears have intensified that world oil supplies could dry up if the current political unrest spreads to other oil-rich countries.
    “A lot depends on whether the rebellions spread,” said Cecil Sooter, who owns two Jamestown area gas stations.
   

ServSafe Certification class offered March 14

    The Business Alliance of Tuolumne County this month will offer a one-day ServSafe Certification class for food handlers and owners of all food service facilities in Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Mariposa counties.
    A test will be given and a certificate issued for all attendees who participate in the class and pass the exam.
    The class will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 at the Best Western Sonora Oaks Conference Center, at 19551 Hess Ave., East Sonora.
    Register by the March 11 deadline by calling the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce at 532-4212 or log on to www.tcchamber.com. The cost is $150 per person and seating is limited.
   

Schools celebrate National FFA week


    Students throughout the Mother Lode and the country this week are celebrating National FFA week with activities ranging from the academic to fundraisers and petting zoos.
    Tuesday, as Sonora High students quizzed each other on agriculture trivia, students at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp were entertained as one teacher or staff member who raised the most money for charity kissed a ceremonial pig at lunch in the school quad. The teacher’s name was not available at presstime.
    Today, Bret Harte students will host a petting zoo for local kindergarten and first-grade students, and Friday, the schooling continues when agriculture students give mini-lessons to other Bret Harte students about the opportunities offered in ag classes.
  

Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley thrive on more snowpack

By MOLLY TOWNSEND
The Union Democrat

    Ski resorts have fared well throughout the 2010-11 season thus far, with snow levels and visitation remaining at an all-time high despite a drier January.
    Dodge Ridge Ski Resort near Pinecrest has received a total of 392 inches of snow as of Tuesday — 86 percent of last year’s total seasonal snowfall of 456 inches, according to Amber Jenquin, marketing manager.
    Bear Valley Ski Resort on upper Highway 4 has received a total of 317 inches of seasonal snowfall as of Tuesday, in comparison to 196 inches that time last year, said Rosie Sundell, marketing manager.
    She said the resort receives an annual average of 365 inches.
    Both Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley resorts are still ahead in visitor numbers as well, according to Jenquin and Sundell.
  

Portable desktop desk serves many needs

By MOLLY TOWNSEND
The Union Democrat

    Sonora High School special education teacher Rob Mayben, of Angels Camp, continues to meet his goal of leveling life’s playing field and promoting independence for disabled individuals through the invention of his desktop desk.
    Mayben has since had the device patented in November 2010, and now owns and operates his family-run company, Mayben Assistive Devices LLC, which has made the device available for purchase online through companies such as Amazon and FlagHouse.
    The primary distributor of the desktop desk is now Sammons Preston Medical Supplies of Bolingbrook, Ill., which has distribution worldwide, according to Mayben.
  

Pumped up

    The Arco gas station and AM/PM minimart at 15 Pesce Way in Sonora reopened Monday after three months of renovations. The station now has 10 self-service gas pumps, but no longer offers diesel fuel. The store has been fully remodeled and offers a number of new food and beverage items, including a choice of 20 fountain drinks, 12 varieties or coffee and cappuccino, baked goods, chips, candy and snacks. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. and there are special lunch deals. The station and store are now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, call 532-4370.

Huell Howser show features Ironstone and other Calaveras County attractions

    “Mother Lode,” a new episode of the “Road Trip” series with Huell Howser, will air at 8 p.m. Thursday on KVIE, Sacramento’s public television station.
    Huell travels to the historic Gold Rush region of the Sierra foothills visiting locations throughout Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
    While in Calaveras County, Howser visits Ironstone Vineyards, touring the 14 acres of landscaped gardens and tasting room complete with an oak bar that came from A.J. Bumps Saloon in Freeport, near Sacramento.
  

Fundraiser set at Elks Lodge to benefit agriculture department

    A New York steak fundraiser dinner will be held to benefit the Sonora High School Agriculture Department on Feb. 25 at the Elks Lodge.
    The social hour begins at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m., said Stan Kellogg, Sonora High ag teacher and FFA advisor.
    Dinner will be New York steak, baked potato, green beans, salad and garlic bread, which costs $25 each.
    There will be a wagon-wheel bench door prize and many raffle items.
  

AT&T check boosts local businesses

By Joshua Sanchez
The Union Democrat

    AT&T on Friday contributed a $10,000 check to the Economic Prosperity Council of Tuolumne County during a governing board meeting at the Reverb Communications Inc. headquarters in Twain Harte.
    The contribution will be used to buy 10 laptop computers and to fund business classes for the community, with an aim to keep local businesses competitive and running efficiency.
    “This contribution will be used to train future business owners,” said Larry Cope, director of the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, which works with the Prosperity Council. “We are going to invest in laptops, business software and classes so that we can keep local business owners prosperous during these economic times.”
    Eric Johnson, interim director of external affairs at AT&T, said he was proud to present a check to bolster community economic growth.
    “Although this check has already been cashed, I’m proud to present this contribution that will help local businesses,” said Johnson. “I’m honored to be working closely with the community and helping anyway I can.”
    The Economic Prosperity Council shares both a board and executive director with the TCEDA. Its mission focuses on research and education that assists with economic development.

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