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News in brief AARP to offer help with taxes

CLAKAMAS — Beginning Thursday and continuing through April 17, AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide started in 1968 with four volunteers working at one site. Today, nearly 35,000 volunteers serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers at 5,000 locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers nationwide. There’s no fee, no age requirement, and AARP membership is not required.

“Getting help through Tax Aide is not limited to older adults,” said AARP Oregon Communications Director Joyce De Monnin. “We welcome older adults, families and even college students,” she said, if they are low to moderate income.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. In 2017, the program’s volunteers helped 2.5 million people navigate complicated tax codes, ensure proper credits and deductions, and file their federal and state tax returns.

To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site or more information, including which documents to bring to the tax site, visit aarpfoundation.org/taxhelp or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in conjunction with the IRS.

Flu outbreak triggers cautions

SALEM — Over the last four weeks, Dec. 24 to Jan. 20, Salem Health has seen more than 400 cases of the flu. While slightly lower than the 2017 flu season, this is the season’s peak, and the health care system has implemented visitor restrictions to help protect patients and the community.

The health care system has instituted the following guidelines for visitors:

• No visitors younger than 12 at any time.

• Visit the hospital only if you need to give support or care for a patient.

• Do not visit if you are sick or have been in contact with someone who is or was sick — even if you are not ill now. You can spread the flu virus several days before you have symptoms or know you are sick.

• Wash your hands.

• Cover your cough and use a mask if you have a cough or flu-like symptoms.

• Limit traveling around our campus as much as possible.

Additionally, Salem Health urges visitors to use the supplied tissues, masks and hand hygiene supplies (like alcohol-based hand foam) available at hand hygiene stations around campus.

Know before you buy digital cash

PORTLAND — In light of recent complaints and news reports about scammers manipulating digital currency markets using social media and fake news, the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services offers three warnings and three tips for consumers before purchasing digital currency.

Warnings:

  • Understand the risk — Digital currency is unstable and can experience a sudden increase and decrease in value. The market has seen almost a 50 percent drop in value last week alone. It is not subject to regulation in the U.S., so the government cannot help you if your digital currency is lost, stolen, or hacked.

  • Difficult to get your cash — Turning cash into digital currency is easy, but it can be difficult to turn it back into cash when you need it. This can prove risky considering how erratic the markets can be.

  • Not federally insured — Unlike money deposited into banks and credit unions, digital currency is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).

Tips:

  • Do not spend or exchange money you cannot afford to lose — The volatility of the digital currency market means that you should not use money that is needed for essential purposes, such as paying regular expense, debt, or saving for education expenses.

  • Treat digital currency investments like a commodity — Treat cryptocurrency like a non liquid investment similar to oil, copper, or gold, and understand that digital currencies do not have the basic value of most commodities.

  • Use a digital currency exchange that is licensed with the state — Oregon law does not require digital currency exchange companies, which only turn cash into digital currency, to be licensed. However, companies that help transfer digital currency from one person to another are required to be licensed by the state as a money transmitter.

Oregonians can check the money transmitter license of a digital currency exchange at dfr.oregon.gov/gethelp/Pages/check-license.aspx/.

Oregonians who need help with their digital currency exchange company can contact the Division of Financial Regulation at 866-814-9710 (toll-free) or visit dfr.oregon.gov.

Grants for historic cemeteries

SALEM — The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries is offering grants for qualified historic cemeteries.

The annual grants fund projects that preserve historic cemeteries. Projects funded in the past include marker repair workshops, fencing, signs, interpretive panels and brochures, security lighting, access improvements, records management, and more.

Awards typically range between $1,000 and $8,000, but have been higher.

Anyone can apply for a grant, for projects on cemeteries listed on with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. Recent projects include marker repair and workshops in several cemeteries, installations of signs and informational kiosks, a preservation plan, and fence replacement.

To learn more about the grants or workshops: www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

Sparky award nominations accepted

SALEM — The Office of State Fire Marshal is accepting nominations for the 2018 Golden and Silver Sparky awards.

Nomination forms are available online on the OSFM website at www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/pages/index.aspx.

The Golden Sparky award recognizes a member of the fire service for outstanding achievement in fire prevention or public fire safety education. The Silver Sparky award recognizes a civilian for outstanding achievement in fire prevention or public fire safety education.

You don’t have to be a member of the fire service to nominate any person or agency. Nominations may be submitted by any member of the public.

The nomination deadline is Feb. 23. Submit completed forms with an explanation and examples of your nominee’s achievements and contributions to preventing fires and fire losses in Oregon. Send nominations or questions via email or standard mail to sally.cravinho@state.or.us or Sally Cravinho, 3565 Trelstad Ave. SE, Salem, OR, 97317-9614.

Awards will be presented at the 2018 Oregon Fire Marshal Conference in March.

Salem Health invests in community

SALEM — Each year, Salem Health invests in community initiatives that improve the overall health of the community by partnering with organizations that are meeting key health and well-being needs in unique ways, according to a press release from Salem Health. The 2018 Salem Health Community Partnership Grants to be awarded total approximately $285,000.

Current priorities for projects include obesity prevention, tobacco and substance use cessation and promoting early childhood health.

The recipients of these grants in Polk County are:

• Boys and Girls Club of Marion and Polk Counties — $25,000 to support the Triple Play initiative, an initiative to encourage healthy and active lifestyles among youth.

• Marion Polk Food Share — $25,000 to increase access to fruits, vegetables and nutrition education through innovative partnerships with community-supported agriculture and community health clinics.

• Community Services Consortium — $50,000 to fund the CSC Youth and Community Garden, a new, community-based project in Independence designed to address the issue of obesity by providing experiential education opportunities to community members through gardening, nutrition education and promotion of active lifestyles.

• Liberty House — $50,000 to establish a new and critically-needed medical evaluation service for children in Polk County who are referred to Liberty House with concerns of physical or sexual abuse or neglect.

• Options Family Counseling — $44,418 to increase access to substance use disorder treatment in Marion and Polk counties in collaboration with Bridgeway Recovery Services.

For more information: www.salemhealth.org.



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