Home

Personal Growth

Real Businesses, Real Breakthroughs, Real Progress with a Live Expert Business Panel

Business today requires creative, effective, and growing solutions. Herman & Teter are back with a vengeance and passion, supported by a team of great panelists bringing you new ideas, resources and real strategies for "Getting Back on Track." They will show you what's coming around the corner and give you the opportunity to get answers to nagging business questions.

Limited Space, Register Today!

What are the questions constraining your business growth?

We want to hear from you!

Register now, and give us your toughest questions.

Tuition-Free Event
Thursday, May 19th, 1-4 pm
Cecil County Administration Building, Elk Room
200 Chesapeake Blvd #2100, Elkton, MD 21921

Queen Anne's Arts Council Events February through April 2011

February

February 2: Be My Valentine Needlepoint Class, ages 18+: Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Learn the basics and create a needlepoint heart to give to your Valentine. Local artist and Arts Council Board Member, Hallie Rogers Rugg, shares her needlework talents in this class as part of the Centre’s Small Works Fundraiser. Needlepoint kit with practice canvas will be provided, bring scissors. Register by 1/25. $25 members, $30 non members. Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info.

February 2 – March 16: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! ages 10+: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (no class 2/9) This watercolor class centers around wintery scenes. Bring your favorite winter time photos and begin learning how to magically transform them into dreamy watercolors. Prior knowledge of watercolor painting is beneficial but not required. Specific instruction will be given including fun and innovative techniques to give your work that something special. While the weather outside is frightful, join the delightful Sally Clark for a workshop that will warm you up to watercolors. Materials: registered students will receive a supplies list. Register by 1/26. $150 members $171 non members. Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info.

February 5
: My Little Valentine, ages 7-12: Saturday, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. This delightful class is for young people and taught by Sally Clark. Students will make a variety of valentines and tissue paper flowers as gifts to give. Register by 1/29. $10 members $15 non members, Sponsored by Chesapeake Laser and Skin Care Center, Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info.

February 9
: Wine Glass Painting, ages 18+: Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Paint delicate details on wine glasses. Participants will receive 2 wine glasses to paint and give as a gift or take home to keep. Area artist Jean Hilleary joins us for the first time as an instructor for this fun and informative class. Register by 2/2. $25 members $30 non members Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info.

Choose Door Number Two this New Year!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

Wow. It’s almost 2011 – another year bites the dust.  Another year has passed without us realizing significant change in our lives.  We’re still overweight, under read, and standing on the brink of realizing our true potential.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had some actual accomplishments this year (like finally finishing my first manuscript!)  But there’s always more left undone.  I suppose I can look at it two ways:  1) everything I FAILED to accomplish with my life to date or 2) all these amazing things to reach for NOW. 

Hmm….I do believe I’ll take Door Number Two! So what do I win?

Well,  you’ve chosen an exciting path for 2011! Adventure, explosive growth and massive success stand behind Door Number Two! Of course, you’ll have to commit to the course and plan accordingly – you really can’t experience Door Number Two without actually getting up off the couch and DOING something!

You’ll also need to be prepared for anything. So make sure your passport & papers are in order, have someone on hand to care for the critters, and be sure to save money every month for last minute travel and opportunities!

Next, learn from the children in your life and ASK for what you want! Tell people your goals and expect them to help you reach them!  Accordingly, do whatever YOU can do to help other people accomplish their dreams, as well. 

After all, it’s a brand new year – and Door Number Two is YOURS for the taking. 

Will you take it?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."   -Marianne Williamson

Brown Bag Lunch - Fresh Food Resolution

Monday, January 3, 2011 at noon

Fresh Food Resolution:  A New Year's Plan to Grow Your Sources for Local Food

Elizabeth Beggins will be the January speaker for the Brown Bag Lunch program at the St. Michaels library sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Ms Beggins is a freelance writer and educator with over a decade of experience as a market gardener on the Eastern Shore.

She believes that our health depends on a keen understanding of what we eat, and that our food choices are vital to sustaining ourselves and our planet. Elizabeth also directs The You Food Project, a grassroots initiative designed to connect youth to food and the environment through school gardens. Currently underway with St. Michaels Elementary School fifth and sixth grades, the You Food program features hands-on lessons in plant and soil science, water conservation, local food systems, and gardening techniques.  Students plant the garden, and then take part in engaging discussions, activities and experiments during the weekly classes.

Patrons are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy coffee and sweets provided by the library.  Pre-registration is not required for this program. For more information, call the library at 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

WWII Traveling Exhibit

Traveling Exhibit Tells Unknown Story of German POWs Held in Camps All Over the U.S. During WWII

By the end of World War II some 425,000 German, Italian and Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) found themselves imprisoned in over 660 base and branch POW camps in almost all of the then-48 United States and the territory of Alaska. Millions more Axis and Allied POWs were held in other camps in Europe, the Soviet Union, Canada, Australia and Africa. While Axis and Soviet POWs were both the perpetrators as well as victims of dictatorial governments and state-sponsored violence, POW experiences on all sides embody ageless and timely themes of war and peace, justice under arms and issues regarding human rights, international reconciliation and future conflict avoidance.

The roughly 372,000 German POWs held in U.S Army-operated camps across the United States were sent out to harvest or process crops, build roads and waterways, fell trees, roof barns, erect silos, work in light non-military industry, lay city sewers and construct tract housing, wash U.S. Army laundry and do other practical wartime tasks. With the high rate of 19th-century German immigration to America, many of those who worked with POWs spoke to them in their native tongue; some even had relatives or former neighbors among them. In the process, they formed significant, often decades-long friendships with “the enemy” and underwent considerable changes as individuals and as a group – thus fundamentally influencing postwar German values and institutions, as well as American-German relations. A number of POWs even chose to immigrate to the United States after the war.

The Good Farm: A shore gal's adventure with organic farming, sustainability and eating locally!

by Christie McDowell

Organic growing is everything to me.

I started my journey with organic growing four years ago. It is a full-time passion, hobby, exercise, lifestyle, mindset; and part time job. My produce has been purchased by restaurants, a health food store, traded to restaurants, used as landscape and interior decoration, bartered to a commercial fisherman for seafood, given to friends, and it feeds my ducks and chickens on occasion.

Several years ago I asked Nino Mancari (chef at the time at Solstice Grill at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin) how important it was to him if the produce he bought was certified organic or not. He said that if it was certified organic and shipped from Costa Rica, it defeated some of the greater purpose by adding to the carbon footprint. He said he would far prefer something grown naturally, locally. He also realized there was a far greater chance of having me patronize his restaurant than having the owners of Sysco or some other corporate food distributorship come in for a meal. We talked about the economics of sourcing locally and keeping resources within our own community.

Roth: To Convert or Not to Convert

By Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

New regulatory changes make it easier than ever to convert a Traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plans to a Roth IRA—even if you didn’t qualify in the past because of your income level. That can mean the retirement assets you are working hard to build now, will one day become retirement income, free of tax.

You may have read that tax law changes went into effect in January that made everyone eligible for a Roth IRA conversion, regardless of income level or tax filing status. What’s so special about a Roth IRA? The assets you are working hard to build now will become tax-free income in retirement. Rather than paying taxes when you withdraw the funds in retirement, you pay taxes on the assets when you invest in a Roth IRA. If you have a Traditional IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you may be wondering if you should convert those savings to a Roth IRA. There is no one  definitive answer to that question, but following are a number of reasons why, depending on your personal financial situation, converting an existing retirement plan to a Roth IRA could help you meet your financial goals. 

You don’t expect to need all of the funds when you retire.

With a Traditional IRA, you must stop contributing and start taking minimum distributions from your account at age 70½. Roth IRAs have no such age restrictions: there’s no contribution cutoff, provided income requirements are met, and no rule that you must begin tapping your account at age 70½. Your funds have the potential to grow tax-deferred as long as you want and you gain greater control over your income in retirement. You can tailor withdrawal amounts to your actual income needs—or eliminate them altogether in any given year.

So if you are past age 70½ and would like to quit taking those required minimum distributions, you may still have the option to convert some or all of your IRA into a Roth, allowing those funds to have the potential to grow tax-free for your own needs later in life or for your heirs. Note that you will need to pay taxes on the taxable amount of the IRA at the time of the conversion, so you should review this option carefully with your tax advisor before electing to convert to a Roth IRA. Also, the funds may only be converted after any current year required minimum distributions have been withdrawn.

You want to leave a lasting financial legacy to your heirs.

If you won't need your IRA to fund your retirement income, a Roth IRA can be an effective wealth planning tool, since heirs can enjoy continued asset growth potential without paying taxes when they withdraw assets. By using a “stretch IRA” strategy, you can extend the tax-deferred growth potential and tax-free income benefits of your Roth IRA across multiple generations. This works by taking advantage of the fact that, while the beneficiaries of your Roth IRA (other than your spouse) will be required to take minimum distributions annually after your death, those distribution amounts will be calculated using a life-expectancy factor based on their own age, not your age. This allows more of the funds to remain in the account longer, continually reaping the benefits of tax-deferred growth potential, and if your beneficiary outlives the account, it can similarly be passed on to the next generation, and so on.

 

You’re concerned about taxes.

You’re aware that diversifying your portfolio by investing in multiple asset classes, including stocks, bonds and cash, can be a way to mitigate risk. The same logic applies to tax diversification: by spreading your retirement assets across different types of accounts provides diversification. A tax-free Roth account combined with a taxable account, like a brokerage account or mutual funds account, and a tax-deferred account, like a 401(k) or Traditional IRA, can give you the flexibility to potentially keep taxes low in retirement. This is especially important if you’re concerned about future tax increases or you think that your tax liabilities may be higher in retirement. Converting some of your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can be an effective strategy that allows you to take income from different sources to potentially keep taxes low in retirement.

You think that you might need some of the money before you retire.

If you withdraw funds from a Traditional IRA before age 59½, not only will you be taxed on the value of the funds withdrawn, you will also be subject to a 10% early-withdrawal penalty unless an exception applies. With a Roth IRA, you can withdraw contributions at any time, tax free and without penalty. You can even withdraw earnings, but if you do not meet certain requirements regarding the length of time held, age and other considerations, you will be taxed on the earnings when you withdraw the funds.*

The Facts: Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

 

 

 

Roth

Traditional

  • Nondeductible contributions
  • Tax-deferred growth potential
  • Tax-free withdrawals*
  • Deductible or nondeductible contributions
  • Tax-deferred growth potential
  • Taxable withdrawals
  • Tax-free withdrawals during retirement
    do not raise the tax bill on Social
    Security benefits.
  • Taxable withdrawals in retirement can raise
    the account owner’s tax bill on Social Security benefits.
  • No required minimum distributions
    during account owner’s lifetime
  • Able to continue contributions
    after age 70½
  • Must begin taking required minimum distributions at age 70½
  • Cannot contribute beyond age 70½
  • Assets remaining in IRA pass
    income-tax-free to heirs.*
  • Assets left to heirs will be taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal.
 
   
   
   

 

 

A few additional points to consider:

  • When you convert from a Traditional IRA or employer-sponsored plan to a Roth IRA, you will incur certain tax liabilities. These include taxes on any pretax contributions plus taxes on any earnings or growth.
  • If you have pre-tax and after-tax funds in a Traditional IRA, there are certain rules that determine how these funds can be converted. You tax advisor can help you determine which funds can be converted and the amount of taxes due on a conversion.
  • To help ease the tax burden, you can spread your tax payment across two years. So instead of paying all the taxes when you convert in 2010 you can include 50% of the income in 2011 and 50% of the income in 2012 at rates in effect in those years. This option is a one-time offer for 2010 conversions only.
  • It’s important to identify funds outside the IRA that can be used to pay the taxes due on the conversion to a Roth IRA. Tapping into the amount converted from a Traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan to pay taxes will reduce the amount available in the Roth IRA to earn tax free income—and trigger a 10% penalty if you’re under age 59½ (unless an exception to the penalty tax is available).

 

To help you decide whether a Roth conversion is a good idea for you, you should speak with your tax advisor, plus ask your Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Financial Advisor to prepare a personal Roth Conversion Illustration Report for you. The illustration will show the after-tax future value of an IRA balance, comparing the outcomes of a Traditional IRA or employer-sponsored plan with those of a Roth IRA. You’ll also be able to see the wealth planning advantages of “stretching” a Roth IRA over multiple generations.

Is a Roth Right for You?

We have touched on some key benefits of converting to a Roth IRA, but for many individuals a Roth conversion may not be the best strategy. If one or more of the following apply to you, it might be best for you to avoid conversion or to only convert a portion of your retirement account:

  • You expect that your tax bracket will be the same, or lower, in retirement.  
  • You do not have funds available to pay the extra taxes from the conversion.
  • You only have a short time frame to take advantage of potential tax-free compounding before retiring.
  • You have projected income needs equal to or greater than the required minimum distributions of the IRA.

Get Help Making your Decision

To help you understand how a Roth conversion will likely impact your financial scenario, ask your Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Financial Advisor to provide a personal Roth Conversion Illustration Report for you. This report explores your specific situation, factoring in such variables as the amount to be converted, the distribution year, your date of birth and where you are in the retirement planning cycle. Based on this input, the report shows the after-tax future value of an IRA balance, comparing the outcomes of a Traditional IRA with those of a Roth IRA. You’ll also be able to see the wealth planning advantages of “stretching” a Roth IRA over multiple generations. Finally, as with all tax related issues, you should also discuss your situation with your tax advisor.

 

The Hale Miller Group, Financial Advisors at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney located in Easton, MD and may be reached at (410) 770-6139 or www.fa.smithbarney.com/halemillergroup.

* Contributions can be withdrawn tax-free at any time, and earnings can be withdrawn without income tax if the account has been in effect for five years and the owner is over age 59½, has died, is disabled or is a qualified first-time home purchaser (maximum $10,000).

Articles are published for general informational purposes and are not an offer or a solicitation to sell or buy any securities or commodities. Any particular investment should be analyzed based on its terms and risks as they relate to your specific circumstances and objectives.

Tax laws are complex and subject to change.  Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. This material was not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Individuals are urged to consult their personal tax or legal advisors to understand the tax and related consequences of any actions or investments described herein.

The appropriateness of a particular strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives.

© 2010 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.  Member SIPC.

 

GP10-00723P-N03/10

Ballroom Classes Continue To Sizzle at the Centre for the Arts

From the timeless box step of the Foxtrot to the cat like steps of the Tango, Championship Dancer and popular Arts Council dance instructor, Amanda Showell, offers a review of the most popular ballroom dances. This award winning dancer instructs students of all levels in all ballroom dances, and has gained a faithful and growing following in Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties.

Three classic dances, Tango, Waltz and Foxtrot are showcased in Smooth Review beginning October 13 at 7pm. On the same night at 8 pm a more intricate knowledge of the Tango is offered. Singles and couples are welcome to these four-week courses. The deadline for registration is October 6, and the class fee is $50 for members of the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, or $55 for non members. Students who sign up for both classes qualify for a discount rate.

Instructor Amanda Showell has taught at some of the largest dance schools on the east coast, having coached the dance teams of both Princeton University and the University of Delaware. A teacher since 1996, she has won numerous ballroom dance competition titles and trained with World Class dancers such as Peter Eggleton and Charlotte Jorgensen.

The Centre for the arts classes are designed to renew existing artistic interests, and to develop new skills. Registration materials are available at 206 South Commerce St. in Centreville, MD Tuesday-Friday from 9am to 5 pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm, or by calling 410-758-2520, online, www.arts4u.info, or request via email at exhibit@arts4u.info. The Centre receives support through a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, Inc., is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, expanding and sustaining the arts.  Visit us on the web at www.arts4u.info.

 

The Dale Carnegie® Course: Effective Communications and Human Relations

Local Dale Carnegie® Training Franchise to Offer 12-Week Dale Carnegie® Course: Effective Communications and Human Relations

Dale Carnegie® Training, the leader in performance-based training, has nearly 100 years of experience helping all types of people sharpen their skills and improve performance.

The Dale Carnegie® Course: Effective Communications and Human Relations offers people the opportunity to strengthen interpersonal relationships, manage stress and handle fast-changing workplace conditions.  By the end of the course graduates will be able to tackle complex challenges, reduce self-consciousness and fear, project an executive image and sell themselves and their ideas. 

HG Wilson has been a Dale Carnegie® trainer for almost 30 years.  Born and raised on the Eastern Shore, he graduated from North Dorchester High School, and then attended Frostburg University.  After that he went into sales and marketing, working for some of the leading firms on Delmarva.  Wanting to expand his horizons, he went to Tampa FL to work as Sales Manager for one of the top 5 Dale Carnegie franchises in the world.

Jack Medina, How to fuel your body for peak performance.

Jack MedinaJack Medina, M.A.

will teach you how to fuel your

body for peak performance

on the field and in the classroom.

Jack’s most recent talk for the Texas High School
Coaches Association Conference in July 2010 included
methods for fueling and fi ring energy systems. Jack
commented “Many coaches are training their athletes
the way that they themselves were trained by their
coach. The Texas coaches ranked my talk the best of
the conference because they learned new methods to
fuel and fi re the different energy systems of the body.”

 

Jack’s bio includes:
Date: Wed., Sept. 29 • Time: 7pm
Location: Talbot Community Center
1028 Ocean Gateway, Easton
• Training National event gymnasts including Cathy Rigby
• Strength and conditioning consultant for football teams
Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Read More Articles

Local experts give advice on health & fitness!
Find eclectic shops and outstanding bargains!
Literary corner, product reviews and more!
Small town happenings, festivals and events!
Critters & flowers & veggies - oh my!
Sometimes....you just have to laugh!
Hiking, cycling, kayaking, fishing & more!
Restaurants, local produce, canning & food preparation!
Inner peace and community action
Create a home that blesses & restores your spirit!
Dancing Women
Need something done? We'll introduce you to the local experts!
Learn, stretch, grow
Exhibits, concerts, plays and much, much more!
Near, far and everywhere in between
Adventures, positive parenting & homeschooling information