Do you have questions about your taxes? Would you like assistance in completing your income tax forms?
The AARP Tax-Aide Program, in cooperation with the IRS, N.C. Dept. of Revenue, the Council on Aging and Buncombe County Public Libraries, will again offer free tax preparation for seniors and low to middle income taxpayers. The assistance will begin January 31 and end April 18.
In addition to the AARP tax assistance during the week, the VITA tax assistance program will be at Pack Library on Saturdays from February 5 to April 9.
Federal tax forms will be available by the end of January at every library except the Oakley/South Asheville Library. State tax forms are no longer distributed to the libraries. Libraries can print forms off the Internet for the standard library copy fee. Taxpayers may also order free copies of federal tax forms by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) and free copies of state tax forms by calling 877-252-3052.
Electronic filing (E-file) is available for safe and accurate preparation and fast refunds. The locations and times for tax assistance are:
Tax Assistance Sites
67 Haywood Street, Asheville
West Asheville Library
942 Haywood Road, Asheville
41 N. Main Street, Weaverville
Black Mountain Library
105 N. Dougherty Street, Black Mountain
Taxpayers should bring the following documents:
Questions and requests for homebound individuals can be directed to the Buncombe County Council on Aging at 277-8288.
As of Tuesday, January 18, the entire Buncombe County School system has missed at least 9 days of school. Owen District has missed a total of 10 days and North Buncombe District has missed 11.
The Owen and North Buncombe Districts will catch up with the rest of the system next week when they have school on Thursday, January 27. Teachers in the North Buncombe and Owen Districts will have their workday on Saturday, January 22.
The window for high school exams is now January 25-27; students and their parents should check with individual schools for their exact exam schedule.
Based on input from the Parent Makeup Day Survey, effective January 31; if the school system as a whole, or an individual district, misses a day of school on any Monday through Thursday of a given week, the system or district will make up the day on Saturday of that week.
The last day of school for Buncombe County School students will now be June 10. Originally, the last day of school was to be June 3.
Mid-year graduation will be held on Sunday, January 30 at Thomas Wolf Auditorium. At this time, end-of-year graduations for most Buncombe County high schools will still occur primarily over the weekend of June 10-12.
Memorial Day - Monday, May 30, will be used as a makeup day for all students. It will be an early release day and all schools will schedule Memorial Day remembrance activities.
As of January 18 and subject to change if necessary, Good Friday, April 22 will NOT be a student day. Other makeup days previously announced include optional teacher workdays originally scheduled for February 14 and March 3.
Librarians are practicing animal noises and silly songs in preparation for the 25th annual production of “Preschoolers, We Love You!”
This popular kids’ show began as a special valentine to the library’s under-five set and now regularly draws over 1,000 children for the multiple performances. The program is a musical revue especially designed for preschoolers, with puppets, dancing and other lighthearted nonsense. The talented performers are drawn from the library staff across the county.
The dates and locations for this year’s performances are:
Each location will have two performances. Shows begin at 9:30 and 10:45 a.m.
All shows are free, but groups need to call 250-4729 to make a reservation. If you miss the show in person, the production will also be televised on the Buncombe County television channel, BCTV. Check buncombecounty.org/bctv for listings.
Recently someone living in a neighborhood near UNC-A found a cat that appeared to be lost. They took the cat in from the cold; a simple, compassionate gesture that many animal lovers may relate to. Unfortunately, the cat later became ill and had to be euthanized. Last week test results revealed that the cat had been infected with rabies.
Here is what we know:
The cat received an injury from an unknown animal about a week before becoming ill. Many well-intentioned individuals leave food outdoors for cats. Because they roam outdoors, these cats can easily come into contact with other wild animals which can transmit rabies to the cat and potentially be further spread to other cats or pets.
As a result of this one cat being taken in, 6 people are receiving post-exposure rabies vaccines to prevent infection, including 5 employees of the pet clinic where the sick cat was taken. This is done as a precaution because if contracted, rabies is fatal for humans.
“The Buncombe County Department of Health is working closely with the Asheville Police Department (APD) and Animal Control to increase surveillance and possibly capture feral cats in the immediate area where the rabid cat was recently discovered,” said Marc Fowler, Environmental Health Director with the Department of Health. “Concerns about feral cats in the city limits may be referred to the APD at 252-1110."
Several animals are responsible for transmitting rabies in Western North Carolina including coyotes, foxes, skunks, groundhogs and bats. In a majority of cases rabies is carried by raccoons. All these animals are known to live throughout the state and Buncombe County, including the city limits of Asheville. They live on food found around trash cans and dumpsters everywhere, and also on pet food left outdoors for domesticated animals.
This has been a difficult situation, but one we can all learn from.
If someone is aware of unknown cats in their neighborhood, they should not feed them, and call Animal Control.
In the Asheville city limits they should call 252-1110.
In Buncombe County call 250-6670.
Vitamin D is important in helping our bodies absorb calcium and decreasing our chances for osteoporosis and fractures. It also supports our nerves and muscles. Lately there has been some evidence that vitamin D may also reduce our chances for some cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
Do I have enough Vitamin D?
To determine if you have enough Vitamin D, you need to measure the 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in your blood. It can be measured in nmol/L or ng/mL. You need to know which measurement is used to determine your status. Your health care provider will decide if you need to take a supplement.
Vitamin D (nmol/L)
Vitamin D (ng/mL)
|Less than 25||Less than 10||Deficient|
|Less than 37.5||Less than 15||Inadequate|
|Greater than 50||Greater than 20||Adequate|
|Greater than 80||Greater than 32||Proposed “optimal”|
|Greater than 250||Greater than 100||Potential toxicity|
How do I get Vitamin D?
We can make up to 1/3 of our daily need for Vitamin D in our skin. Sunlight changes a type of cholesterol in our body into Vitamin D. The amount of sunlight we need each week is dependent on multiple factors. Most of us need between 10 – 15 minutes of sun exposure to our face, arms and legs per week. This exposure is additive and should not be long enough to create sunburns. Ways that Vitamin D production can be decreased or blocked are having dark skin tones, covering exposed skin or using sunscreens, seasonal changes in the sun’s UV rays, age, the further north you live and even window filters that block UV sunlight.
Dietary sources of Vitamin D
To make up the rest of what we need, we can eat foods and drink beverages that have vitamin D in them. Use the Nutrition Facts label to see what % of the daily value is met. Each 25% of the daily value is equal to 100 IUs of vitamin D. Here's a list of some good food sources:
Am I getting enough Vitamin D?
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine came out with new recommendations for Vitamin D intake. This intake can come from foods and beverages and supplements (if your health care provider recommends it.)
Recommended Daily Allowances
|1 year – 70 years old||600 IU (15 μg) per day||Less than 4,000 IU per day|
|71 + years||800 IU (20 μg) per day||Less than 4,000 IU per day|
If you have questions about your vitamin D status and needs, ask your health care provider.
Source: East Carolina University Department of Medicine/NC Cooperative Extension & Purdue University Cooperative Extension
Throughout Buncombe County the conversations seem to be about the cold and all the affects resulting from the frigid temperatures. The potential for frozen pipes increases dramatically when temperatures drop below freezing for the amount of time that we have been experiencing. Here are some tips to help you keep your pipes from freezing and to help you know what to do if they do freeze.
Be aware of which pipes are most likely to freeze.
The hardest area to find is where a pipe passes a spot where cold air hits it directly. It can freeze in that location and keep the whole line from flowing. Look for where a pipe may pass a crawlspace vent, basement window, or run along a sill plate. Look for areas where there is cold air coming in.
Precautions to Take
If you haven’t already taken the steps necessary to avoid pipes freezing here are some precautionary steps you can take:
If Pipes Freeze
Although we do NOT recommend thawing pipes yourself, if you do try to thaw:
The safest approach to thawing a frozen pipe is to wrap a towel around the pipe at the suspected area and pour hot water unto it. Slide the towel along the suspect pipe and keep adding hot water until you reach the area where it is frozen. This method will never overheat the pipe or create a fire danger. Be sure to have the faucet or valve turned on so you’ll know when the water begins flowing.
A quick and effective method to thaw pipes is to use a hair dryer, but it can also pose some risks. Never let the pipe get hotter than what you can touch with your hand as you don’t want to generate steam. As long as the pipe feels warm it should be enough to thaw the ice.
For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.
How can you tackle spring cleaning without using cleaners that may harm both your family and the environment? Follow these tips for easy, economical and green ways to freshen and clean your home this spring.
The Friends of the Black Mountain Library will host a program on Monday, January 31, at 6:30 p.m. entitled "How to Turn Your Book into an E-book and Get Published."
The program will offer publishing tips including how to get a book contract, how to find the right editor for your book, and how to establish a publicity track record.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at 250-4756 or email email@example.com.
This week we are featuring some animals available for adoption from FurEver Friends. Please consider making one of these animals your "FurEver" friend by giving it a loving home.
Special - adopt any cat one year old or older in through January 31 for only $35!
Lots and lots of kittens!!!
Come to our adoption event at Petco to see all the beautiful kittens we have up for adoption! There's sure to be that special one for you!
|Salem (Adopt me for only $35!)
Breed: Domestic Short Hair-Black [Mix]
Rusty (Adopt me for only $35!)
Breed: Tabby - Brown [Mix]
All of these cats have been:
Upcoming Petco adoption days:
Sundays from 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursdays from 5 - 8 p.m.
Petco is located at 825 Brevard Road in Asheville (across from the Biltmore Square Mall).
The volunteers can't transport all of animals to the adoption event every week, so if you would like to meet one of these pets or one you see on the Furever Friends website, call (828)-670-6723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time to make sure that it will be there.
Animals may also be seen by special appointment.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145 | Total Fat: 3.1g | Cholesterol: 7mg
Please select the “Recipe of the Week” icon in the sidebar of the eZine if you are interested in entering the contest. If your recipe is selected you will receive a prize!
Got a troubling diagnosis? Wondering what to do about it? This may clear it up:
How often does getting a second opinion change treatment substantially?
a. In about 20 percent of all cases
b. In about one-third of all cases
c. In about 60 percent of all cases
d. Very rarely
The answer is B. In about one-third of all cases, a second opinion can change treatment substantially. This makes it all the more amazing that so few patients get second opinions. Some people may be concerned that they will alienate their current doctor if they call upon the professional opinions of another. These days, doctors expect you to get a second opinion for serious health concerns. They would certainly get a second opinion if they were sick.
Let your doctor know you plan to do just that. While you are at it, ask your doctor what the odds are that his or her diagnosis is correct, as well as whom the best physicians in the business are for your condition.
Got an old bathroom or throw rug you are thinking of tossing? Don't do it! Recycle those old rugs by donating them to FurEver Friends Animal Rescue Network and Sanctuary.
Furever friends will throw them in the washing machine, clean them up, and use them as bedding in their animal cages.
If you have one or more rugs you can donate, you can drop them by Petco any Sunday between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Petco is located at 825 Brevard Road in Asheville across from the Biltmore Square Mall. You can also call Steve Poplawski at 398-4943 or email him at email@example.com.
With family members getting ill from the cold or flu, it is all the more reason to keep the house disinfected. Since product labeling can sometimes be confusing, an explanation between a disinfectant and a disinfectant cleaner or antibacterial cleaner may be necessary.
Disinfectants contain antimicrobial ingredients that kill germs if surfaces are free from heavy soil. Disinfectant or antibacterial cleaners contain ingredients for removing soil, as well as antimicrobial ingredients that kill germs. Also remember - household bleach disinfects when used according to label directions.
Questions? Call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.