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Retire at 65 … Or Not? Your assets matter more than your age.

| Published on April 16, 2014

Isn’t 65 the traditional retirement age? Perhaps, but baby boomers are modifying the definition of a traditional retirement (if not redefining it altogether). The Social Security Administration has subtly revised its definition of the traditional retirement age as well.
If you glance at the SSA website, the “full” retirement age for …

The Business

| Published on April 16, 2014

If your summer travel plans usually include visiting far away wineries but the economic downturn is stopping this year’s excursion, I hope this article can provide some great alternatives this year. There are 3 new trends that we are starting to see in the wine industry which are great alternatives …

Spoiler Alert

| Published on April 16, 2014

This is about the Portage County Park District, first in what will probably be a series of rants.
Portage County DOES HAVE a park district. CATCH : Over 800 A of the land comprising the district are currently inaccessible because of a lack of funds.  The budget has been severely cut, …

“Which monks take a vow of silence?”

| Published on April 16, 2014

While we couldn’t find the answer in our copy of The Religions Book, nor by looking under “monasticism” and “vow” in Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, searching online turned up a variety of resources.
As it turns out, the Christian monks most strongly associated with silence are the Trappists. However, according …

A Walk in The Park

| Published on April 9, 2014

If you are anything like Joe and me, we are big supporters of our county park systems. County parks provide us with beautiful natural places to hike, bike, canoe, picnic, sled ride, fish, bird watch and much more. They also help to preserve habitats for plants, animals and other living …

Puppy Tails

| Published on April 9, 2014

On a pile of soft, cozy picnic blankets the floppy-eared puppy snoozed, very nearly to the point of snoring, in a slumber soothed by the calm breeze blowing through the nearby trees. The patches of grass newly filled with budding bulbs circled in their wavy lines around and around him, …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on April 9, 2014

I know many of you are sick and tired of seeing the snow, the gray clouds and having to deal with the colder temperatures. But as I mentioned in last week’s column there are some sure signs that Spring is around the corner.
Need some fun events to bring you out …

Asset Location & Timing to Reduce Taxes in Retirement Read this if you want to preserve more of your nest egg & lower your tax bill

| Published on April 9, 2014

Location, location, location … It matters when it comes to real estate, and it also matters when it comes to the way you hold and invest your retirement savings.
You can’t control what happens with the tax code, but you can control how your savings are held. As various types of …

April Showers

| Published on April 9, 2014

April showers bring May flowers, eh?
Somebody alert the providers of floral items.  They’re either going to be left twiddling their thumbs because the general public is inundated by blooms of exotic sizes and descriptions springing up along every highway and by-way or their own backyards…or…there will be wholesalers of flowers …

“I’m writing a story about cowboys, and I’d like to incorporate authentic cowboy slang. Could you help?”

| Published on April 3, 2014

While we have “Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang” and “A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles” available in the reference section here at the Newton Falls Public Library, both are more useful for looking up the origins of specific words and phrases. Putting “cowboy slang” into an online search engine brings …

Wine & Cookies

| Published on April 3, 2014

By now you probably have seen the Girl Scout Cookie booths at your favorite grocery stores, banks, malls and Wal-Marts so if you didn’t pre-order your cookies, make sure you pick them up while you are at the winery as cookie booth season is over!
As the proud sponsor of Girl …

Tax Efficiency: What it means, why it counts

| Published on April 3, 2014

A little phrase that may mean a big difference. When you read about investing and other financial topics, you occasionally see the phrase “tax efficiency” or a reference to a “tax-sensitive” way of investing. What does that really mean?
* The after-tax return vs. the pre-tax return. Everyone wants their investment …

Out Like A Lamb?

| Published on April 3, 2014

Out like a lamb?  Maybe a drippy-wet lamb.  Maybe a lamb looking up at the occasional flurries and possible thunderstorms lurking in the wings next  week.  Baaaa! Enjoy it while you can.  Quoting The Old Farmer’s Almanac here, “Showers often; the earth softens.  Sunny and sweet.  Watch out for sleet!”
Sounds  …

Say Cheese

| Published on April 3, 2014

This weekend, I had the opportunity to make some homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses with some friends, and the results were simply delicious. Although ricotta cheese can be made using basic ingredients most of us have in our kitchens, I chose to use a cheese-making kit, which includes everything needed …

Harbingers of spring…The Great Morel

| Published on March 27, 2014

Wow what a winter! It is like the children’s fairy tale “The Never Ending Story” instead we should call it “The Never Ending Winter.” To date, 93% of the Great Lakes are frozen and some say it is the coldest since the winter of 1977-78. Believe it or not, spring …

Misguided Cats

| Published on March 27, 2014

Maplewood, beware!
I’m thinking that the cats—at least some of them—need occupational/vocational counseling.
One of the guys(It’s always the guys)apparently thinks that he is a watchcat, protecting us all from  dangerous gray tiger cats out on the back porch.  He pays no attention at all to the calico incipiently-maternal feline that appears …

Ideas for Your 2013 Tax Refund What could that money do for you?

| Published on March 27, 2014

Is a tax refund coming your way? If you have already received your refund for the 2013 tax year or are about to receive it, you might want to think about the destiny of that money. Here are some possibilities.
Start (or add to) an emergency fund. Many people don’t have …

Cookies

| Published on March 27, 2014

Like many of you, our family and employees are saddened by the loss our town suffered this past weekend. We have grown to know many of the business owners and their families over the years and are working with the fundraising groups in Garrettsville to host a number of events. …

Gone…. GONE…. GONE!

| Published on March 27, 2014

The first department store in Portage County (Chic & Shabby/the Root Store)transformed into a  source for home decorating with a distinctive touch…a craftsman fascinated by and devoted to clocks… a fledgling lawyer, an experienced attorney…the Barber of G-Ville…lawn and garden equipment gurus…a quilt shop drawing craft persons  from all over …

“I’d like to learn more about using computers, but I can’t make it in to all the classes at the library. Are there online classes I can take?”

| Published on March 26, 2014

The Newton Falls Public Library offers free computer classes and one-on-one times three Mondays and one Saturday every month. However, we understand that everyone has busy schedules. Fortunately, there are online resources available. Cynthia Casterline, our technology educator, recommended LearningExpress Library and GCFLearnFree.org.
LearningExpress Library requires that you set up an …

Puppy Tails

| Published on March 26, 2014

The wind still whistled through the curious puppy’s floppy ears, but Doodle Dog had so much fun at the park he decided to go back again today to see what more he could find. As he made his way down the sidewalk, his little legs tilted his body slightly to …

“Can you taste the difference between an expensive and inexpensive wine?”

| Published on March 21, 2014

One of the most frequently asked questions I get at the winery is “Can you taste the difference between an expensive and inexpensive wine?” This is always a tough question to answer but usually I can tell the difference between the two wines. However there are some inexpensive wines that …

Oxford English Dictionary and then some

| Published on March 21, 2014

The Oxford English Dictionary has just come out with its quarterly revisions and additions.  Some nine hundred new words and phrases have now been deemed worthy to grace its pages, some of them pretty far out there.  How often do you wish to know the meaning of Empedoclean? ( Don’t …

“Can groundhogs climb? I swear I saw one in a tree, but no one believes me.”

| Published on March 21, 2014

At the Newton Falls Public Library, we weren’t familiar with tree-climbing groundhogs either, but we looked into it and, as it turns out, they’re very capable climbers and they’re also able to swim!

Wise Decisions with Retirement in Mind Certain financial & lifestyle choices may lead you toward a better future.

| Published on March 21, 2014

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want, others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of stock market performance or investment selection that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort. 

Tales From Down The Old Road… Early Memories of the Family’s Automobiles

| Published on March 21, 2014

How far back can you remember into your childhood?  I’m guessing that most people can’t remember much before 4 years old.  I’ve read that approximately 4 years of age is somewhat of a threshold of actively recalled memory experiences. This is not to say that there aren’t occasional flashback experiences—dreams …

The MyRA, the USARF & Cash Balance Plans New & old concepts to address the retirement savings gap.

| Published on March 14, 2014

How many 401(k)s have more than $100k in them? According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the average 401(k) balance at the end of 2012 was $63,929. Even with stocks rising last year, the average balance likely remains underwhelming.1
Is this enough money to retire on? No – and this …

Parings

| Published on March 14, 2014

If you are an avid reader of this column, you know that I love getting together with friends and pairing different foods and wines together. We’ve paired Halloween candy, BBQ sauces, pizzas, Girl Scout cookies and desserts. This past weekend we had a fantastic time sitting with Chef Gary from …

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

| Published on March 13, 2014

It seems that most everyone is Irish, at least on Saint Patrick’s Day. And although my family is truly Irish (just ask Grandma Flanagan!), we haven’t inherited a love of many of the Irish foods typically served this time of year. Sorry, Grandma, but cooked cabbage has been pretty much …

The Old Farmer Says….

| Published on March 13, 2014

The Old Farmer says of the month of March (and I quote), “In like a sea lion, cold and wet with fishy breath. Rain to snow and snow to rain—di-si-do and back again!  This month can’t be trusted; the hinge of spring has rusted.”

“What do you do with the money from the book sale?”

| Published on March 13, 2014

There are two annual book sales at the Newton Falls Public Library, one in the spring and one in the fall. There’s also a small cart in the lobby where people can buy books year-round. All sales are put on by the Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library.
The Friends …

The American Woodcock

| Published on March 12, 2014

Have you noticed? It’s getting lighter closer to breakfast and is still light out after supper! The temperatures have warmed (albeit very slowly) but you know spring is around-the-corner now that the sap buckets are hung and local breakfasts are serving hotcakes and maple syrup.

Puppy Tails

| Published on March 12, 2014

It was time to go outside – Doodle Dog was tired of being cooped up indoors! Some furry rodent had supposedly predicted that winter would be camped out for quite a while longer, but some other furry rodent claimed that wasn’t true. Doodle Dog didn’t know who to believe so …

Tasting

| Published on March 9, 2014

As the cold stabilization stage starts to wind down this year, I had the chance to sample some of the new wines we are going to release this year. Sampling some of the wines before they are finished is one of my favorite jobs around the winery. This sort of …

“How long is the Buckeye Trail Little Loop? Can you bike it?”

| Published on March 9, 2014

One of our patrons, an avid walker and biker, was making plans to spend a few weeks in late spring or early summer going around the Little Loop of the Buckeye Trail.
The Buckeye Trail winds around the interior of Ohio. It’s made up of twenty-six sections and covers around 1,444 …

Why Don’t All Affluent People Become Wealthy? Perception, hesitation & poor decisions are factors.

| Published on March 9, 2014

Why do some people let their potential for lifetime wealth slip away? Some people are better off economically at 30 or 40 than they are at 50 or 60. In some cases, fate deals them a bad hand. In other cases, bad decisions and inaction are to blame.
They buy depreciating …

The Maple Tour Begins

| Published on March 9, 2014

“Maple syrup is a unique product made in a limited part of the world, and Ohio is fortunate to be located in the heart of it,” explained Nate Bissell, owner of Bissell Maple Farm and board member of the Ohio Maple Producers Association. Bissell and his colleagues at the Ohio …

Whoa! Missed it Again!

| Published on March 9, 2014

Mardi Gras, that is.  Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, beginning of the Lenten season.  Carnavale, Carnival, Carnaval, Karneval, Faschtnact/Fasching…whatever your ethnic background, if there’s a shot of Catholic in there anywhere (or even if there’s no Catholicism but a lot of fun-lovers), you may be acquainted with Mardi …

SANK

| Published on March 9, 2014

SANK!  The word is SANK!  The past  tense of “sink”  is “sank”…”sank”, not “sunk”.  “Sunk” is the perfect tense, which is either being shamefully abused or ignored most of the time by people who ought to know better.  If I have to listen to some talking head on a TV …

Why are shamrocks considered lucky?

| Published on March 9, 2014

Various symbols and imagery breathe life into St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In addition to Kelly green clothing, leprechauns and Irish flags, shamrocks are commonly seen decorating homes and people.

“How do birds stay warm in the winter?”

| Published on February 26, 2014

One of our patrons stocks several bird feeders year-round. With the cold weather we’ve been having lately, she was worried about how her birds were keeping warm. Putting “how do birds stay warm” into an online search engine showed that this is a popular concern.
Some birds will fly south for …

Game Nights

| Published on February 26, 2014

One thing I have learned over the years is that wine tastes the best when shared with friends with some friendly competition. On any given Sunday night you can find us hanging out with the owners of Sharon James Cellars (11303 Kinsman Road, Novelty, Ohio – www.sharonjamescellars.com) enjoying some wine …

Why Does Family Wealth Fade Away? A lack of vision is often the answer to that question

| Published on February 26, 2014

Many are the stories of family wealth lost. In the late 19th century, industrial tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed the equivalent of $100 billion in today’s dollars – but when 120 of his descendants met at a family gathering in 1973, there were no millionaires among them.1
Barbara Woolworth Hutton – daughter …

Puppy Tails

| Published on February 26, 2014

Doodle Dog uncurled his little body and slowly stretched his legs so that they peeked out over the edge of his cozy bed, extending his paws so that they untucked from the soft blanket keeping the floppy-eared puppy, his legs and his paws quite warm and comfy. About to curl …

Getting the Straight Answer on Hair Treatments

| Published on February 26, 2014

One of the revolutionary new trends in hair care is the Global Keratin Hair Straightening Treatment or “Brazilian Blowout.” This in-salon treatment was designed to help clients with kinky, curly and unruly hair achieve a sleek, stylish, and manageable hairstyle that can last up to three months. Global Keratin treatments …

Ragnarok

| Published on February 26, 2014

Well, here we go again.  The Mayan “end of the world” didn’t pan out, so, now we can look forward to the Viking Apocalypse.
It seems that in some enormously long poem in Norse mythology written in the 13th century by( Here’s a name to conjure with) Snorri Sturlson, the gods …

Spice of Life

| Published on February 19, 2014

Sometimes bon appetit, the 0h-so-upscale cooking magazine, is just too much.
They just assume that everyone has access to—and a budget for—artisan cheeses and spirits, baby organic lettuces, at least four different varieties of milk…and we don’t mean simply whole, skim, 2% and buttermilk…oh no.  You’re deprived unless the shelves boast …

Life, Art and Cookies

| Published on February 19, 2014

Recently, I heard an interview with a writer in Nebraska, who compared this winter’s polar vortex conditions to the ninth circle of hell mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno”. That reference brought to mind a quote by writer Oscar Wilde, who said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Lately …

“What happened to the lady who used to sit at the desk?”

| Published on February 19, 2014

We’ve gotten this question a lot in the past few months. The desk everyone’s been talking about is the reference desk, and the lady in question is Carol Baker, who had been our reference and adult services librarian here for quite a while. If you’ve been to the Newton Falls …

It Isn’t Too Late to Save for Retirement – If you’re 40 or 50 and haven’t begun, you must make the effort

| Published on February 19, 2014

Some people start saving for retirement at 20, 25, or 30. Others start later, and while their accumulated assets will have fewer years of compounding to benefit from, that shouldn’t discourage them to the point of doing nothing.
If you need to play catch-up, here are some retirement savings principles to …