National Weather Service to Test Impact Based Warnings on April 1st

In 2012 the NWS Central Region identified five offices to begin the impact based convective warning experimental product to better communicate threats to partners and constituents. The “Impacts-Based Warnings” demonstration was well received and the demonstration was expanded to all 38 Central Region offices in the spring of 2013. The positive feedback is supporting a continued expansion in the spring of 2015 to include 19 Southern Region offices, 7 in Eastern Region and 3 in Western Region.

About

Any effort to change core convective warning products must operate under tight restrictions, including time constraints and procedural limitations. In addition, any radical changes to the convective warning products would demand a rather large adjustment by core customers and partners, and a massive public education effort. Therefore, this demonstration will work within the boundaries of the well-established weather enterprise infrastructure to ensure easy absorption into mass communication channels.

The demonstration will build upon pre-existing Central Region efforts to employ “event tags” at the bottom of each warning for severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. The additional tornado event tags will have tornado threat information attached to them as a quick means to provide users and partners with potential high impact risk signals that prompt faster risk assessment and protective action.

Project Goals

Provide additional valuable information to media and Emergency Managers

Facilitate improved public response and decision making

Better meet societal needs in the most life-threatening weather events

Intended Outcomes

Optimize the convective warning system within the existing structure

Motivate proper response to warnings by distinguishing situational urgency

Realign the warning message in terms of societal impacts

Communicate recommended actions & precautions more precisely

Evaluate ability to distinguish between low impact and high impact events

Warnings enhanced by:

Improving communication of critical information

Making it easier to quickly identify the most valuable information

Enabling users to prioritize the key warnings in your area of interest

Providing different levels of risk within the same product

Enabling the NWS to express a confidence level of potential impacts

Highlighting storms that are particularly dangerous

Allowing users and vendors to develop apps and tools for the public and broadcast meteorologists to better communicate areas of increased risk

This project will be evaluated by:

Social science research groups and National Weather Service

Using focus groups and surveys

Media partners

Emergency Management

Public

NWS Forecasters

Click HERE for more information.

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Become a Tourist in Your Own City : Akron2Akron and Jane’s Walk

As a lifelong resident of the Akron/Summit County area, I can appreciate the idea for being a tourist in my hometown.  I feel as if I know Akron pretty well, but I still have a mental list of places I wish to visit here (restaurants especially!).  There is a companion list of places I used to go to which no longer exist, and which I miss dearly-but that is another story.

Akron2Akron (https://www.facebook.com/akron2akrontours and https://twitter.com/akron2akron ) is a fledgling group of local residents who meet for informative and entertaining walks which highlight the charms and challenges of Akron’s various neighborhoods.  Areas visited thus far include North Hill, Firestone Park, and Downtown Akron’s Historic Cultural District (including Main Library, of course!).  Next on the agenda is a tour of Wallhaven, with more walks in the future.

Akron2Akron and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (also known as AMATS, http://amatsplanning.org/ ) are teaming up to co-sponsor Jane’s Walk in Akron.  Jane’s Walk is an international movement of free citizen-led walking tours, in other words, precisely what Akron2Akron has been doing.  The difference is that Jane’s Walk ( http://amatsplanning.org/ ) takes place on one weekend, rather than being spread out through the year.  This year it will be the weekend of May 1-3.  This is the second year in which Akron is participating in these walks which take place to honor forward- thinking urban activist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006). Her most notable book is The Death and Life of Great American Cities, first published in 1961 and enduringly influential.  This title, as well as a number of others by Jane Jacobs, is available at the library.  AMATS and Akron2Akron are actively recruiting fellow residents willing to plan and lead tours in our area (not restricted to the City of Akron) during the first weekend in May.  Akron’s Jane’s Walk coordinator is Phyllis Jividen whose contact information may be found on the Jane’s Walk website (http://janeswalk.org/united-states/akron-oh/ ) along with information on what goes into leading a walk (http://janeswalk.org/information/lead-walk/ ).

The weather has turned toward spring (fingers crossed), so no excuse not to join these intrepid and energetic “tourists” in celebrating Akron Neighborhoods.  And watch for information on available walks in Akron in celebration of the Jane’s Walk weekend, or volunteer to host one yourself.

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Are You Self Employed? Check Out These IRS Tax Tips

Many people who carry on a trade or business are self-employed. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are two examples of self-employment. If this applies to you, there are a few basic things you should know about how your income affects your federal tax return. Here are six important tips about income from self-employment:

  • SE Income.  Self-employment can include income you received for part-time work. This is in addition to income from your regular job.
  • Schedule C or C-EZ.  There are two forms to report self-employment income. You must file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with your Form 1040. You may use Schedule C-EZ if you had expenses less than $5,000 and meet other conditions. See the form instructions to find out if you can use the form.
  • SE Tax.  You may have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax if you made a profit. Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. Use Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, to figure the tax. If you owe this tax, make sure you file the schedule with your federal tax return.
  • Estimated Tax.  You may need to make estimated tax payments. People typically make these payments on income that is not subject to withholding. You usually pay this tax in four installments for each year. If you do not pay enough tax throughout the year, you may owe a penalty.
  • Allowable Deductions.  You can deduct expenses you paid to run your business that are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for your trade or business.
  • When to Deduct.  In most cases, you can deduct expenses in the same year you paid for them, or incurred them. However, you must ‘capitalize’ some costs. This means you can deduct part of the cost over a number of years.

Visit the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center on IRS.gov for all your federal tax needs. You can also get IRS tax forms on IRS.gov/forms anytime.

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Trying to start your business, but bewildered by how to go about registering?

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone explain things in person and help guide you through the State of Ohio’s “Business Central” website?  Some to help you decide which are the correct forms to fill out?

Well….you have 2 chances for that exact thing.   On March 10th at 10:00am and April 14th at 5:30pm at the Main Library, a representative from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office has kindly offered to come to the library and help educate anyone who wants to learn about starting their business.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get hands on help and you can even get your business signed up during that session if you would like. The speaker will explain the process and then guide you through the correct form/s to fill out.

The workshops will be held in the computer lab on the first floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library on:

 

April 14th @ 5:30pm.

 

Parking is free after 5pm

Please bring a flashdrive if you are planning to save your work.

 

 

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Does your business have a blog?

Look at these tips that were suggested by Eric Siu who is the CEO of Single Grain and Founder of Growth Everywhere to improve your own blog:

Radical transparency. Want to really blow people away? Give them your secrets! The idea of radical transparency is often used on financial posts, in which business owners or individuals talk about their income, their outstanding debts or other interesting monetary tidbits (as in the case of Pat Flynn’s income reports on his “Smart Passive Income” website).

A complete “how-to.”“How-to” posts are always mentioned on lists of recommended blog post formats because readers really respond to them. But how often have you clicked on a “how-to” post, only to discover a sparse list of bullet points that doesn’t leave you any more educated than you were before you arrived on the site? If you want to really make your mark, make your posts so epic that people walk away with a complete understanding of the process you’re trying to teach.

Massive list posts. Again, list posts are a popular blog post format because they do tend to capture more attention than other structures. But that said, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out with lists of five to 10 items. Want to be truly epic? Create a massive list post with around 100 entries (or even more, if you’re feeling ambitious).

Explore a hard truth. There’s so much BS online that readers are sick of it. Despite your spin team’s best efforts, most people know when they’re getting the whitewashed “truth” rather than the real deal.

For this reason, one of the easiest ways out there to gain attention with epic blog content is to explore a hard truth. As an example, check out Common Health’s controversial post, “Why I Quit Medicine.” It isn’t always fun to be so blatantly honest, but your readers will absolutely love you for keeping things real.

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Small Business Grants? Maybe…

A popular question over the years is if one can obtain a grant for their small business. Unfortunately, despite what those in the media would have you believe, the answer, in most cases, is no.  The federal government DOES offer grants for highly specialized businesses which are beyond the scope of most entrepreneurs.  The reality is that obtaining money for funding, running and especially starting a small business is scarce.  Even loans are not easy to get, but not impossible if one has a sound business plan.  Most businesses have to get their funding in other creative ways such as savings, personal loans from friends and family, and credit cards (which should be executed carefully and wisely).

Every once in a while, articles and advertisements appear that assert they have information on obtaining small business grants.  It is important to use caution when investigating these claims. Scams are common and most of it is repackaged free information, so never pay for it.  Anyway, here is an article that lists information on small business grants for minority owners, and others really. It may be worth your time to look at them, although they are probably not a panacea for funding, or easy to get.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not worth your time.

http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/top-10-grants-financing-black-businesses-minority-entrepreneurs/

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Winter Driving in Ohio

As our recent round of Ohio weather has shown, winter is not nearly done yet.  February is the shortest month, but its placement-at the end of winter-always makes it seem the longest!  Icy weather like we have experienced recently often results in treacherous driving, not to mention even more stressful navigation of sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways.  Our friends at the Ohio Department of Transportation have supplied us with an internet tool to help us on our travels.  OHGO (www.ohgo.com) is the streamlined and updated successor to Buckeye Traffic.  OHGO lets you select your area of the state on a map and immediately lists local traffic alerts and areas of slowdown.  Buttons on the right side of the page allow display of construction areas, road sensors which detect freezing, and cameras showing real time traffic flow.  A very handy feature is the Winter Conditions button which displays whether to anticipate icy, wet, or dry road conditions for a given area and is frequently updated.  This stripped down and easy to use website allows a quick check of major roadways.  If only there was such a thing for those always problematic side roads!

Another concern this time of year is the burgeoning number of new potholes and the increasing size and depth of those already in existence.  Downtown Akron routes as well as other major throughways throughout the city are the worst.  Stephanie Warsmith of the Akron Beacon Journal reported recently on this year’s bumper crop of potholes and steps which City Council has taken to add  an additional $1.3 million to the $2 million already slated for road resurfacing, which includes pothole repairs, in the city of Akron (http://bit.ly/1E0G5Dp).  The Summit County Engineer’s office also spends much time and effort on late winter/ early spring pothole repairs.  Their website provides a link for your enjoyment which clearly explains how potholes form (http://www.summitengineer.net/resources/learning/52-potholes) and how to report a pothole to their office (http://www.summitengineer.net/component/content/article/45).

So armed with these handy tools and information, we shall all just hang in there, drive carefully, and watch out for potholes!  Spring will come!

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Find Financial Aid for College or Career School

Are you or someone in your household college bound? If so, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – and don’t worry, it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds.

The U.S. Department of Education created this video, which leads you step-by-step through the application process. Please note, every school has their own deadline for when the FAFSA is due – so it’s best to get it done sooner rather than later, to be on the safe side.

Figuring out how to pay for higher education can be overwhelming and confusing, but there is lots of help out there to make it simpler for you.

The FAFSA Home page is here.

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Important 2015 Tax Prep Notice

January 23, 2015

For over thirty years, the Akron-Summit County Public Library has been proud to assist the IRS and the State of Ohio during tax season, serving as a distribution point for tax forms and publications. Due to recent federal budget cuts, however, the IRS is no longer providing instruction booklets and most tax forms to public libraries. (Only the Federal 1040, 1040-A, and 1040-EZ forms will be provided.) Additionally, the State of Ohio will also be sending a greatly reduced supply of state tax forms.

We will continue to assist you in locating tax materials on the IRS website or in a notebook of reproducible forms that will be available at all ASCPL locations. (Copies or computer printouts cost five cents per page.)

For more information about tax assistance and filing, please visit the links below:

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s tax season! Either you love it or hate it.  Here are some dates to keep in mind as you prepare to file your taxes for 2014:

January 5, 2015 is the first day that the IRS will have most, if not all, of the forms needed to file individually.  Many companies open up their e-filing on this date too.

January 23, 2015 is the date that the IRS will start accepting returns and also when their e-filing begins.

January 31, 2015 is the employer deadline for mailing out your W-2s.  This is simply a postmark date not a “receive by” date.  Check with your company to see if you are able to view yours online (usually the same website that allows you to view your checks). This is the same date that the state will mail their 1099-G for those on unemployment income.

April 15, 2015 is the day! Hopefully you have finished all your forms.  Your forms must be postmarked before midnight in order to be considered on time by the IRS.  However, you are able to file up to three years later with no late fees. It is technically the deadline to have already filed and paid to avoid late fees.  This deadline does not apply if you are anticipating a refund.

October 15, 2015 is the date that is given to those who have petitioned for an extension to file their taxes.  This is the absolute last date to file and pay any fees owed.

If you are filing taxes yourself, the library has a limited amount of books to help you file for 2014.  We do have some tax forms however it is first-come first-serve and are extremely limited. Keep in mind that as much as the library wants to help its patrons we are not tax experts and are unable to help you fill out your taxes.

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