View Comments How’re those viewing party plans coming? Grease: Live will air on Fox on January 31 and we have a new promo for the iconic musical. “Aaron Tveit is going to nail this character, he’s got that cool,” proclaims Broadway alum Vanessa Hudgens, who will play Rizzo, stating what Tveitortots the world over already know. “I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to do it,” added Tveit, about taking on the role of Danny opposite Julianne Hough’s Sandy. “Doing musicals like this live just creates an element of surprise, and an edge that you don’t know what’s going to happen that I think is really exciting.” Oh, we’re excited alright! Check out the video below.
Rain from Tropical Storm Fay brought much needed moisture to Georgia August 22-26. According to the University of Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, many places got more than 10 inches of rain from the storm’s slow trek across the Southeast. The weather station in Cairo got 16.8 inches, the highest recorded. Other Georgia cities receiving significant rain include Attapulgus with 16.3 inches, Newton with 13 inches, Camilla with 10.8 inches and Dixie with 10.8 inches.Disease pressure high, pastures reboundingCrop diseases are expected to flourish across the region as a result of the significant rainfall. In Georgia, there are concerns about diseases in cotton, peanut, corn, soybean and forages. In particular, we might see an increase in incidences of leaf spot, white mold and Rhizoctonia limb rot in peanut, soybean rust in soybean, southern corn rust in corn and Stemphylium leaf spot in cotton.On a positive note, the moisture will improve forage conditions. While it is too late to provide extra forage production, the rain will allow for a good late cutting of Bermuda grass and extensive late-season grazing. It will also help tall fescue pastures rebound and allow warm-season perennials to approach the dormancy with some significant growth. This will enable them to better survive the winter. We anticipate good planting conditions for winter annuals because of the good moisture conditions. Lack of moisture was one of the biggest problems last fall when it was too dry to plant. Forage diseases like Helminthosporium leaf spot on Bermuda grass could be an issue, particularly if we get cool night temperatures. Later, cool-season annual plantings will be problematic with moist conditions. Peach trees broken and batteredSome peach trees in south Georgia were damaged by Fay’s rain and strong winds. Growers expect to lose trees that were pushed over by heavy winds. Wounded trees will be susceptible to boring insects and fungal problems that are associated with tree stress and wet conditions. Peach growers will need to take steps to reduce further tree damage and ensure that soil is replaced and adequately tamp down around all trees. To maintain good tree health next season, this should be done for all trees, even those that are not toppled over. Assuming that a good spray program is in place, apples will likely not be hurt by Fay. Growers may see an increase in late-season rots such as bitter rot. Grapes could split, rotThere is concern about the effect of wet conditions on wine grapes that are in the middle of harvest or just prior to harvest. If splits occur due to excess rain, it is possible that various rots will come through on wine grapes. Excess rain now does not benefit wine grapes as excess moisture is not good during the ripening process.The pecan trees in southwest Georgia along the Florida border from Lanier County to Lowndes County west to the Alabama border were significantly damaged by rain and wind. Damage includes broken limbs, downed trees and nuts blown off. Some growers estimate crop losses between 10 percent and 50 percent. In some orchards, up to two feet of standing water poses a problem if it does not drain within a week. The pecan crop overall from southern Mitchell County northward had minimal to no damage. Most pecan orchards were clean prior to the storm and are expected to remain disease-free.
My first question as Columbia County’s agriculture and natural resource Extension agent came from a gardener from my hometown of Lincolnton, Ga. She had planted pink hydrangeas in the spring, but now the blooms were blue. As a knowledgeable gardener, she understood the importance of adding lime to the soil to influence pH level and thus the hydrangea’s color. However, she needed specific information about the kind of lime and method of application.As all University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents will tell you, the best gardening begins with a soil sample. A soil sample indicates the nutrients and pH level of the soil, eliminating the guesswork on how much fertilizer or lime is needed.The secret’s in the soilLet’s look at why pH is so important.Most major plant nutrients are more accessible at a pH of 6 to 6.5. A pH that is too high or too low can keep plants from absorbing nutrients from the soil. The nutrients are unavailable — or not absorbable — to the plant because of soil’s chemistry. This problem can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but in the case of hydrangeas, the bloom color changes.Color variation in hydrangeas is due to the presence or absence of aluminum compounds in the flowers. If aluminum is present, the color is blue. If it is present in small quantities, the color is variable between pink and blue. If aluminum is absent, the flowers are pink.Soil pH indirectly changes flower color by affecting the availability of aluminum in the soil. When the soil is acidic (pH 5.5 or lower), aluminum is more available to the roots, resulting in blue flowers.Most Georgia hydrangeas bloom blueThe majority of Georgia soils are acidic; therefore, most hydrangeas blooms are blue. When the soil is alkaline (pH 7.0 or higher), the availability of aluminum decreases. The flowers in this soil are typically pink.To return my gardener’s hydrangeas to their original pink color, I recommended broadcasting one cup of dolomitic lime per 10 square feet and watering it into the soil. However, this method might take a year to see a noticeable change in flower color. A faster way to achieve a change is through liquid soil drenches. Dissolve one tablespoon of hydrated lime in one gallon of water. Drench the soil around the plant in March, April and May with the solution. Avoid getting the solution on the leaves, as the solution can damage them.Dolomitic limes are sold by many brands, including but not limited to Pennington, Greenacres, Lilly Miller and Green Earth. There are also several brands of hydrated lime on the market, including Hi-Yield, Bonide, Hoffman and Lee’s. All are effective choices.Add sulfur to make pink flowers turn blueWhile Georgia homeowners often encounter acidic soil, alkaline soils do exist. To gradually change flower color from pink to blue, broadcast half a cup of wettable sulfur per 10 square feet and water it in. Again, a faster way to make the change is through liquid soil drenches. Dissolve one tablespoon of aluminum sulfate in one gallon of water, and drench the soil around the plant in March, April and May. Be sure to avoid getting the solution on the leaves.If you are interested in planting hydrangeas this fall, first amend the soil in the projected planting area. Apply 50 pounds of a composted organic matter per 10 square feet and incorporate it thoroughly into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil with a tiller or shovel.Dig the plant’s hole two times larger than the root ball. Don’t plant too deep. Make certain the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Water thoroughly after planting and apply 3 to 5 inches of mulch.Hydrangeas respond to several, light applications of fertilizer during the growing season. They are water-demanding plants and are best suited for the moderate water-use landscape zones.
Briefs July 1, 2001 Regular News Briefs FSU’s Atkinson awarded for his professionalism Rob Atkinson, a professor at the Florida State University College of Law, was the unanimous choice to receive the 2000 Faculty Award of Professionalism presented by the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism. He received the award at The Florida Bar’s Annual Meeting June 21 in Orlando. “Rob has been an extremely dynamic and successful teacher of ethics, professional responsibility, and professionalism,” said Dean Donald Weidner. “He is the moving force on the faculty behind our new orientation for all entering students, which begins with an entire day on professionalism.” Atkinson’s scholarly work is widely published and is known for its use of literature, history, religion, and philosophy to illustrate lawyer responsibility. “I am deeply honored to have my work recognized by this commission of The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court, two of the nation’s most active and effective custodians of lawyer professionalism,” Atkinson said. “And I’m profoundly grateful to Dean Weidner, not only for nominating me for this award, but also, and more importantly, for unfailingly supporting me and the commission in our professionalism projects.” Atkinson, a 1982 graduate of Yale Law School who joined the FSU faculty in 1987, was recognized for his service as a law professional and for his personal support on the Commission on Professionalism’s mission: “To promote the fundamental ideals and values of the justice system and the legal profession, and to instill those ideas in those persons serving and seeking to serve in the system.” UF trial team scores well in spring competitions The University of Florida Trial Competition Team recently completed a successful spring term with two high profile victories at the Florida Bar Chester Bedell Memorial Competition and the American Trial Lawyers Association Regional Competition. The Florida Bar victory — which amounts to the state championship — was particularly significant. UF garnered the top spot in Miami by defeating Stetson University, which has won the competition 13 times since 1983. (UF won twice in that period.) “This was a significant win because Stetson has won so many times over the past 18 years,” said Professor Kenneth Nunn, faculty adviser. “These students are establishing a winning tradition at UF.” UF continued its winning style in West Palm Beach at the ATLA Regional Trial Team Competition, capturing first place for the second year in a row. Competing were teams from Stetson, Barry, Florida Coastal, Georgia State, Miami, Florida State, St. Thomas, and Nova. Tom Farkash of Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, and Brande Swartz, a Gainesville prosecutor who was on UF’s 2000 ATLA Regional Team, coached the UF group. The victory secured a spot in the national finals in New Orleans, where UF finished sixth out of 26 teams. “These are unbelievably motivated students and the hardest working group I ever met,” said Adjunct Professor Carl Schwait of Dell Graham in Gainesville, who also serves as a faculty advisor. The 40-member team likes to keep in mind the vision of the late Professor Gerald Bennett, former faculty advisor. They said they know he wanted them to be this successful, and members appreciate his dedication and time, which helped lay the foundation for success. The UF trial team is sponsored through endowed scholarships created by former Law Center Trustees Chair Ronnie H. Walker of Orlando, and the law firm of Coker, Myers, Schickel, Sorenson, Higginbotham & Green in Jacksonville. A scholarship funded by Law Alumni Council member S. William Fuller, Jr., a trial lawyer with Fuller, Johnson & Farrell in Tallahassee, rewards students competing in the annual Florida Bar Chester Bedell competition. Paralegals to gather The Pinellas County Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., will meet July 9 beginning at 6:15 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. Judge David A. Demers will discuss legal research. For more information or to make reservations call Patricia Weaver at (727) 586-4224. Beard to lead Martin Bar Deborah B. Beard was recently elected to serve as president of the Martin County Bar Association. Other new officers include Vice President Jack Sobel, Secretary Darren Steele, and Treasurer Edwin Mortell. O’Keefe named ‘Most Productive Young Lawyer’ Kelly O’Keefe of Tallahassee won the Young Lawyers Division’s 2001 Lynn Futch Award for the Most Productive Young Lawyer. This award is given to a young lawyer who is not a member of YLD Board of Governors, who has worked most diligently in the past year in Bar activities and/or law related public activities, and who has an excellent reputation for legal abilities and integrity. O’Keefe won the award based on her commitment to her work, her profession and her community, according to the YLD. O’Keefe, an associate with Broad and Cassel, served as Tallahassee Women Lawyer’s president in 2000. The two projects she was most proud of initiating as president were the TWL FSU Law Student Scholarship Project and the bi-monthly mentoring lunches, which give young attorneys an opportunity to discuss various topics with seasoned attorneys and judges in an informal setting. O’Keefe also served as secretary for the Florida Association for Women Lawyers during the past two years and has been primarily responsible for overhauling its website. She also testified before the legislature on behalf of FAWL this year in opposition to legislative efforts to weaken the Bar and the judiciary. O’Keefe was also part of the Florida First 150 Women Lawyers Committee, which sponsored programs in May and June 2000 honoring those women. O’Keefe was recently appointed to the Young Lawyers Section Board of the Tallahassee Bar Association. O’Keefe serves on the Judicial Administration Selection and Tenure Committee of The Florida Bar, and served on the Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee which selected the 2001 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Award recipient. O’Keefe also has been the Lincoln High School Mock Trial Team coach since 1996. 11th Circuit JNC to fill county seat The 11th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications to fill a seat on the Dade County bench, created by the elevation of Judge Kevin M. Emas to the circuit court Applicants must be registered voters, have been members of the Bar in good standing for the preceding five years, and reside in Dade County. Application forms may be picked up at the offices of H.T. Smith, JNC chair, 1017 N.W. 9th Court, Miami 33136. Applicants should note that this JNC requires certain information not contained in the application form available on The Florida Bar’s website. An original and nine copies of the completed application and the applicant’s e-mail address for notification purposes must be received by Smith no later than 5 p.m., July 9. 15th Circuit JNC to fill county seat The 15th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications to fill a seat on the Palm Beach County bench. Applicants must be registered voters, have been members of the Bar in good standing for the preceding five years, and reside in Palm Beach County. Applications are available at the law libraries in the main West Palm Beach and South County courthouses, at the information desks of the North County and Belle Glade courthouses, at the Palm Beach and South Palm Beach Bar associations, and at the offices of Silber & Valente, 1801 Australian Avenue, South, Suite 201, West Palm Beach 33400. The application also can be downloaded from the Bar’s website. Applications must be received by Silber & Valente no later than 5 p.m., July 15. Frank Johnson petitions for Bar reinstatement Frank T. Johnson has petitioned the Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement. Johnson was suspended from the practice of law for 91 days, effective January 21, by a December 21 Supreme Court order. Johnson was suspended for violating Bar rules relating to providing competent representation, acting with reasonable diligence, keeping a client reasonably informed, and providing a client with a reasonable explanation sufficient to enable the client to make an informed decision. Johnson was found guilty pursuant to his filing of a conditional guilty plea for consent judgment. Anyone wanting to comment on Johnson’s petition for reinstatement may contact William L. Thompson, assistant staff counsel, The Florida Bar, Suite C-49, Tampa 33607, (813) 875-9821. Gutierrez petitions for Florida Bar reinstatement Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, Armando Gutierrez has petitioned the Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement. Guiterrez was suspended pursuant to an August 8, 1994, court order as a result of misrepresentation, conflict of interest, and a lack of diligence. Any person having knowledge bearing on Gutierrez’ fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact William Mulligan, Assistant Staff Counsel, The Florida Bar, Suite M-100, 444 Brickell Ave., Miami 33131, (305) 377-4445. Second DCA JNC taking applications The Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Second District Court of Appeal created by the resignation of Judge David F. Patterson, effective July 10. Applicants must be registered voters, have been members of the Bar in good standing for the preceding five years, and reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Application forms are available from Wallace Pope, Jr., JNC chair, 911 Chestnut Street, P.O. Box 1368, Clearwater 33757-1368 or can be downloaded from the Bar’s website. Ten copies of the completed application must be returned to Pope no later than 5 p.m., July 18 FLA slates annual workshop Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., will hold its 15th annual workshop and seminar July 27-28, at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club on Gulf Shore Boulevard. Michael J. Cohen, FLA’s executive director will open the workshop with a report of FLA’s activities and accomplishments and objectives for the future. Other topics to be discussed include a private practitioner’s perspective on representing attorneys and bar applicants with issues of impairment, character, and fitness; a description of the Bar’s new ACAP program and its place in the discipline system; the Board of Bar Examiners’ character and fitness examination; addiction and mental health issues, the ADA, and conditional admissions; intervention and addiction treatment for professionals; a physician’s view of the biochemistry of alcoholism and the AA model of recovery; and finding satisfaction in the practice of law. The advance registration fee for the workshop by July 7 is $110. Registration after July 7 is $140, and the guest fee is $55. Scholarships are available on an as needed basis, and written requests for scholarships must be mailed or faxed to FLA at (954) 568-0803. For more information visit www.fla-lap.org/workshop01.html. Mills to remain as UF’s law dean Jon Mills has lost the “interim” part of his title. University of Florida Provost David Colburn announced June 13 that Mills, the former Speaker of the Florida House who has been serving as interim dean since September 1999, has been named as permanent dean of the Fredric G. Levin College of Law. “Jon Mills has done an excellent job as interim dean and has earned the respect of the law school faculty and students, and faculty and administrators across campus,” Colburn said. “His actions and leadership on an interim basis clearly displayed his abilities to be an effective dean and his dedication to the school, its students and alumni.” Mills served in the legislature from 1978-88, including the last two as House Speaker. He went on to become the head of the law school’s Center for Responsible Government, of which he is a founding director. He also served as a member of the state’s 1998 Constitution Revision Commission and has been involved in a wide variety of court cases, including voting and civil rights issues, before state and federal courts. As interim dean, Mills steered the law school through controversies about the diversity of its faculty and dealt with ABA mandates on school facilities. He headed a $7.5-million fund-raising drive for a library addition and a new student/faculty center, to be built by 2004. “Jon has done an outstanding job as interim dean and will be an excellent permanent dean,” said Robie Robinson, chair of the Law Center Association board of trustees. “He is a leader who has not only capably handled difficult issues he has faced, but he also has begun taking the College of Law to the next level.” Court amends family law rule Following legislative amendments to F.S. § 61.30(11)(b) on child support guidelines, the Florida Supreme Court has amended the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(e) to conform to the law. Change affects the child support guideline worksheet. The court noted it received input from the Advisory Workgroup on The Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms before okaying the changes. “approval of this form, we express no opinion as to its correctness or applicability,” the court said in its per curiam order. The order and the revised form are available on the court’s website at www.flcourts.org. The case is Amendments to Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902.(e), Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, case No. SC01-1138. Ludovici to lead HAWL The Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers has elected Lorena Hart Ludovici as its new president. Established in 1982, the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers’ mission is to promote and recognize the contributions of women in the legal profession, offer peer support, and contribute to the community through civic and pro bono activities. FALSS sets Pensacola meeting The Florida Association of Legal Support Specialists will hold its First Quarterly Membership Meeting at the Ramada Inn Bayview Hotel in Pensacola July 20-21. Two legal education workshops will be offered dealing with “Understanding a Residential Closing Settlement Statement” and a mock trial involving a wrongful death action. A “power luncheon” also will be held July 21 to afford attendees an opportunity to network and exchange ideas with state officers. For more information call Robin White, registration chair, at (850) 435-7116 or email@example.com. Del Amo to lead Coral Gables Bar The Coral Gables Bar Association recently installed Carlos C. del Amo as the first Cuban-American president in the history of the organization at its 50th annivarsary ball. Del Amo was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States in 1961. He graduated from Florida International University in 1976 and began graduate school at Barry University but left the program before completion to help support his family. In 1985, at the age of 32, del Amo returned to school, this time to earn his J.D. from the University of Miami. He graduated in 1988. Also installed as officers and directors of the Coral Gables Bar Association were: Allison L. Friedman, (president-elect), David B. Mitchell, treasurer, Kenneth P. Hassett, secretary, and directors Rex E Russo, Ignacio Arango, Daniel Davis, Kenneth R. Harrison, Sr., James P.E. Roen, T. Nicole Saunders-Meske, Linley Schatzman, and Ignacio J. Segurola. Florida Receivers Forum sets high tech seminar The Florida Receivers Forum, a support goup for court-appointed receivers and other related professionals, will present “Conducting High Tech Investigations: Techniques for the Effective Use of Electronic Discovery” June 28 at 5 p.m. at the Bankers Club, One Biscayne Tower in Miami. Today’s “scene of the crime” may be a computer’s hard drive or the World Wide Web. The Florida Receivers Forum will present an educational progam featuring a leading security expert discussing how data can be stored, sources of evidence, where to find deleted files, recoverable data, swap files, audit trails, browser and cookie histories, logs, and handling evidence. The fee for this progam is complimentary for Florida Receivers Forum members, who have paid their 2001 dues, and govenment employees. For non-members, the cost is $35 per person if registered by June 26 and $40 at the door. Registration, networking and hors d’ouevres begin at 5 p.m. and the presentation is from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information and to register, call (305) 443-6622, ext. 509, or visit www.florida receivers.org.
August 1, 2003 News and Notes August 1, 2003 Regular News Summer L. McDonald, of Hackley and Serrone, Weston, has been appointed as the Liaison for the American Immigration Lawyer Association’s (AILA) South Florida Young Lawyer Division Chapter. Jonathan T. Levy, of Rosenthal and Weissman, P.A., served as committee chair for Seagull Industries, for the Disabled Silver Cup Golf Tournament, held in West Palm Beach. Thomas O. Katz, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., addressed the Planned Giving Committee of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. He spoke on the topic of Strategic Charitable Planning–Charitable Lead Trusts: The Lower the Rates, The Greater the Benefits. Dennis McClelland, of Holland & Knight, has been installed as president of the Young Lawyer Division of the Hillsborough County Bar Association . Clemente Vazquez-Bello, of Gunster Yoakley, Miami, has been re-appointed as general counsel for the Florida International Bankers Association. G. Thomas Smith, of Smith, Sauer & DeMaria, has been elected to a three-year term as trustee for the Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, representing the First Judicial Circuit. He has also been elected to serve on the board of directors of the same company. Dennis M. Stotts, of Katz, Barron, Squitero, Faust & Boyd, P.A., Miami, helped teach a course titled Environmental Permitting and Enforcement Update, at the Florida Chamber’s Environmental Permitting Summer School, in Marco Island. Gary Resnick, of Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Guedes Cole & Boniske, P.A., spoke recently in Baltimore at a seminar sponsored by Law Seminars International on the topic of Municipal Broadband. Mark F. Grant, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., was awarded the Jack and Lilyan Mandel Human Resource Development Award by the United Jewish Community of Broward County. Lori T. Milvain, a partner of Gronek & Latham, LLP, Orlando, was sworn in as the 2003-04 president of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Stuart N. Ratzan, of Ratzan & Alters, has been elected to the board of directors of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. Michael Cohen made a presentation titled The Role of Judges in Addressing the Issue of Impairment in the Legal Profession, to the Circuit Court Judges’ Conference in Orlando. He also made a presentation on Overcoming Obstacles to Implementing Drug & Alcohol Policies at Law Schools and Encouraging Lawyer Assistance Programs at the ABA, New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust, and the Bar of the City of New York sponsored conference on Meeting Our Responsibilities: Substance Abuse and Law Schools. Neil Rambana and Elizabeth Ricci of Rambana & Ricci, P.A., were appointed co-chairs of the Tallahassee Bar Association’s Membership Committee. Rambana also was elected for a three-year term to the board of The 21st Century Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Tallahassee and Leon County. Lucinda A. Hofmann, of Holland & Knight LLP, Miami, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the board of directors of the University of Miami’s Law Alumni Association. David A. Gast, of Malloy and Malloy P.A., lectured on the topic of Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in the U.S., to foreign dignitaries invited by the U.S. Embassies as part of the International Visitor Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Mary Li Creasy, of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLC, has been invited to join the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) panel of neutrals. Nathaniel L. Doliner, of Carlton Fields, Tampa, was a speaker at, and a member of the planning committee for, an international institute on mergers and acquisitions in Paris. Eric L. Lundt, of Heinrich Gordon Hargrove Weihe & James, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, has been elected to the University of Miami School of Law Alumni Association board of directors. Eric K. Gabrielle, of Akerman Senterfitt, Ft. Lauderdale, has been appointed chair of the Employment Law Section of the Broward County Bar Association. David J. Abbey, of Abbey, Adams, Byelick, Kiernan, Mueller & Lancaster, LLP, has been installed as president of the St. Petersburg Bar Association. Mark Kamp, of Edwards & Angell, LLP, spoke on the topic of Pitfalls in Software Licensing–Make Sure Your License Gets You What You Need, at the Licensing Executives Society, Florida Chapter, in Delray Beach. Bruce A. Weihe, of Heinrich Gordon Hargrove Weihe & James, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, has received the Davidson College Alumni Service Award. Steven E. Eisenberg presented a Florida Bar continuing legal education seminar titled Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going, an entertainment case law update, at the Entertainment and Sports Law Section’s Annual Meeting in Naples. He also received the New Theatre’s 2003 Dianne Joyce Award for his outstanding corporate and personal support. J. David Pena, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., has been appointed to a two-year term on the board of governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Renaldy J. Gutierrez, of Gutierrez & Associates, Miami, was elected secretary of the executive committee of the Inter-American Bar Association, at the AIBA’s Annual Conference held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana. Joel Levine has written an article titled Winning at Arbitration, published in the June 2003 issue of The Advocate, issued by the Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar. Dinita L. James, of Ford & Harrison, LLP, Tampa, has been elected president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers for 2003-04. Lynn M. Gollin, of Tew Cardenas Rebak Kellogg Lehman DeMaria Tague Raymond & Levine, P.A., Miami, was named a member of the 2003 Presidential Rank Award Review Board. Carlos G. Muniz, of GrayHarris, was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the First Appellate District Judicial Nominating Commission. Edward H. Zebersky,of Zebersky & Payne, LLP, Hollywood, was elected secretary of the executive board of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers at the Academy’s Annual Convention in St. Petersburg. He was also presented with the AFTL 2003 Gold Eagle Award and the Trial Lawyers PAC Award. Andrew Needle, of Needle Gallagher & Ellenberg, P.A., Miami, presented the Medical Malpractice Law Legislative Changes and Case Law Update to the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers at its annual convention in St. Petersburg. Michael Goldstein, of Akerman Senterfitt, Miami, gave a presentation to the South Florida Association of Environmental Professionals about the brownfields marketplace in South Florida and the related business opportunities and challenges for environmental engineers and consultants. The seminar was held at the Secret Wood Natures Center in Ft. Lauderdale. Lawrence H. Kolin, of Alvarez, Sambol, Winthrop & Madson, P.A., conducted a nursing home seminar for industry professionals regarding the perceived effects since changes in the statute pertaining to nursing home civil enforcement actions took effect. Elsa E. Waite, of Ryles & Waite, West Palm Beach, has been elected president of the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association for the 2003-04 term. Alison M. Yurko, of Thomas P. Callan, P.A., Orlando, was featured at the National Business Institute’s seminar in Orlando, titled Florida Land Use: Current Issues in Subdivision Annexation and Zoning Law. David Sampedro, of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., Miami, has been elected president of the Young Lawyers Section of the Dade County Bar Association. Daniel Marinberg, of Buchanan Ingersoll, Miami, has been named chair of the Dade County Bar Association International Law Committee. Jonathan Kilman, of GrayHarris, was featured in a New York Times Bestseller, Secrets of the Young and Successful, published by Simon & Schuster. Lynn E. Wagner, president of Litigation Alternatives, Inc., Winter Park, has been appointed to the arbitration and mediation panel of the American Health Lawyers Association. Mitchell J. Panter, of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., Miami, was installed as president of the South Miami Kendall Bar Association. Dennis McClelland, of Holland & Knight, LLP, has been elected president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Frank M. Petosa, of Petosa & Fernandez, P.L., was a featured speaker on Nursing Home and Legislative Changes and Case Law Update at the 2003 Legislative and Case Law Update Seminar held in St. Petersburg, sponsored by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. He was also elected to the executive committee and board of directors of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. Edward M. Ricci, of Ricci Leopold, West Palm Beach, has been selected as a 2003 Crystal EAGLE Award recipient for his dedication to the success of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers’ EAGLE program. J. Mason Williams III, of GrayHarris, was a recipient of the National Bronze Leadership Award, one of Junior Achievement’s highest forms of recognition for outstanding volunteer leadership. John Arrastia, Jr., a Shareholder of Adorno & Yoss, P.A., was appointed chair of the Banking and Corporate Litigation Committee of the Dade County Bar Association. Mark R. Eiglarsh, of Robbins, Tunkey, Ross, Amsel, Raben, Waxman & Eiglarsh, P.A., Miami, was re-elected to the board of directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Tom Scarritt, of Scarritt Law Group, Tampa, delivered the keynote address of the Florida State University College of Law Mock Trial Team Annual Banquet in Tallahassee. Jason M. Wandner, of Jason M. Wandner, P.A., and Menashe R. Frank, of Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P., participated in a 10-day conference in Israel at the Israel Law Center. The conference included briefings with political, military, and legal officials regarding the present security situation in Israel, discussions focusing on the effect terrorism has had on the Israeli legal system, and workshops on using the concept of suing nations and organizations that support terrorists, on behalf of their victims, as a means of preventing terrorism in the future. Allan Geiger, of Rogers Towers, P.A., was elected to the board of directors of the American Heart Association, Florida/Puerto Rico affiliate, at the organization’s delegate assembly in Palm Harbor. Frank Gassler, of Fowler White Boggs Banker, presented a program titled Responding to Discovery in the 21st Century: Retrieval of Electronic Documents at the 7th Annual Florida Liability Claims Conference held in Maitland. Jonathan T. Levy, of Rosenthal & Weissman, P.A., has been elected chair of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Young Lawyers Section. Arthur J. Furia, of Gunster Yoakley, Miami, has been appointed to the board of governors class of 2005-06 of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Christopher M. Shulman, of Tampa, has been recruited to the American Arbitration Associations’ Panel of Neutrals to serve as a mediator for the organization. Barton S. Sacher, of Sacher, Zelman, Van Sant, Paul, Beiley, Hartman, Terzo, Rolnick & Waldman, P.A., Miami, spoke at the 2003 Annual Meeting of The Florida Bar, addressing the various issues regarding compliance and governance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Details The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has recommended a number of actions that can be taken to further improve the strategy for addressing excess IRA contributions. Using information from tax year 2011 Forms 5498, IRA Contribution Information, the TIGTA audit found that 57,484 individuals potentially made $125,432,255 in improper IRA contributions because of lack of compensation. It also calculated that the unreported six percent excise tax on each individual’s excess contribution totaled $7,525,935.The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that 43 million individuals had IRAs in tax year 2011 with a fair market value of $5.2 trillion. The tax laws limit the amount that individuals can contribute to IRAs in a tax year, and any individual noncompliance with the excess IRA contribution rules results in a revenue loss to the Treasury. The IRS has previously estimated that as much as $4.2 billion of the tax gap can be attributed to underreported retirement income. Given the enormity of the tax gap, even small improvements in identifying noncompliance could reduce revenue losses.TIGTA previously performed audits—in fiscal years 2008 and 2010—to determine whether the IRS has an effective strategy to identify and address excess IRA contributions. In response to recommendations from these audits, the IRS developed a broad-based strategy that focuses on educating individuals and tax preparers about the IRA rules and notifying individuals when they have potentially exceeded the IRA contribution limits.TIGTA’s most recent audit looked at the actions that the IRS has taken to address previous audit recommendations and found that improvements could be made.The audit found that, while the IRS developed educational material for individuals and tax preparers, it did not develop—or even consider—educational materials for IRA custodians. In analyzing tax year 2011 Forms 5498 for excess contributions, TIGTA determined that approximately seven percent (834,000) of the 11.9 million 2011 Forms 5498 filed by IRA custodians appeared to be inaccurate. The audit found instances in which Traditional and Roth IRA information from the same custodian was reported on a single Form 5498, and other instances in which IRA custodians reported rollovers from other IRAs in the IRA contribution box on Form 5498. TIGTA also noted that individuals responding to IRS notices to address retirement plan noncompliance sometimes reported that Forms 5498 received from IRA custodians were inaccurate and contained incorrect contribution amounts.These types of information reporting errors by IRA custodians make it more difficult for the IRS to determine potential excess contributions. This could result in the IRS erroneously contacting compliant individuals who did not make excess contributions, while overlooking noncompliant individuals who did make excess IRA contributions.The IRS also implemented processes to send soft notices to a sampling of individuals whom the IRS identified as having potentially made excess IRA contributions in tax year 2011. These soft notices do not require the individual to pay additional tax, furnish additional documentation, or even respond to the IRS. They serve to educate the individual that he may have made an excess IRA contribution and encourage self-correction. But while they encourage individuals to file an amended return if appropriate, it is not required. The IRS chose to implement this soft notice process because the costs associated with more robust enforcement efforts would outweigh the benefits.The IRS evaluation of the tax year 2011 soft notice sampling results is not complete. However, the TIGTA audit found that while the IRS has made strides in identifying and notifying individuals who have potentially made excess IRA contributions, the methodology used for identifying noncomplying individuals could be improved.For tax year 2011, the IRS identified 22,634 individuals with potential excess IRA contributions, and selected a sampling of 1,502 individuals to receive the soft notice. But when creating the criteria to identify potential excess IRA contributions, the IRS did not consider whether the individuals had compensation. By including compensation in the criteria, the TIGTA audit determined that more than 57,000 individuals contributed more than $125 million in IRA contributions in tax year 2011 that are potentially ineligible because the individuals did not report any eligible compensation to the IRS.TIGTA Audit RecommendationsTIGTA recommended that the IRS develop educational materials for IRA custodian to inform them of common mistakes made on information returns and the importance of submitting accurate information returns. They also recommended that the IRS identify a more complete and accurate universe of individuals who potentially made excess IRA contributions from which to select potentially productive cases.IRS Response to TIGTA RecommendationsIn responding to TIGTA’s recommendations, the IRS indicated that it will continue to inform IRA custodians of issues and errors that affect IRA administration from a tax perspective. The IRS will use existing communication vehicles, including the IRS’ Employee Plans News, to address and reduce common information reporting errors. The IRS also agreed that the next logical step is to expand the soft notice program by increasing the scope of notice recipients. They also indicated that they will continue to evaluate the pilot notice program from a budget perspective.It remains to be seen how quickly the IRS expands the soft notice process, given current budget constraints, and the fact that the average potential excise tax deficiency associated with excess IRA contributions is only $131 per taxpayer. What is certain is that policymakers are focused on closing the tax gap as one way to shrink the budget deficit. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, speaking to the Tax Executives Institute in late 2008, acknowledged that the IRS cannot audit its way to full compliance, and that information reporting will be the key to future success in reducing the tax gap. With $4.2 billion of underreported retirement income, and $5.2 trillion in IRA assets, further scrutiny of reporting IRA transactions is to be expected.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Visa Inc. is planning the biggest changes in a decade to the rates U.S. merchants pay to accept its cards, hoping to persuade more people to abandon checks and adjusting its fees for new businesses such as ride-hailing services.The company’s interchange rates — fees charged every time a consumer uses a card — will go up or down depending on the merchant and the way a consumer pays for their purchases, according to a document Visa sent to banks that outlines the changes. Higher rates are looming for transactions on e-commerce sites, while retailers in certain services categories, such as real estate and education, will see fees decline.“The U.S. credit interchange structure has been largely unchanged for the past 10 years,” Visa said in the document, which was seen by Bloomberg. “Based on the most recent review in the U.S., Visa is adjusting its default U.S. interchange rate structure to optimize acceptance and usage and reflect the current value of Visa products.”While the changes amount to just a few cents on every transaction, those pennies add up. Swipe fees are already a flashpoint between merchants, banks and payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard Inc. Retailers have long complained about the more than $100 billion they spend each year to accept electronic payments, a figure that’s grown in recent years as fees increase and consumers flock to premium cards, which carry higher interchange rates.
“I do marching band, I do concert band, and I also do chorus,” he said. “Just to know that we all love you as students and as friends,” said Junior. He even makes nods to office and cafeteria staff, IT support, drivers, volunteers, and custodians. Like many students in New York, Junior was upset he wouldn’t be returning the middle school for the rest of the academic year. But the real message is for teachers, who are continuing to work hard every day. “Even though I can’t see them, I still love them very much and I want to make sure they’re safe and they’re healthy,” he said. One student in the Johnson City School District is singing about it, capturing hearts around the Southern Tier. Junior dedicates it to teachers and school staff. “It’s not just about the friends and the people I say hi to everyday. It’s the teachers and the things that happen in school in general really,” he said. JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — The news of schools closing across New York left many students and teachers devastated. Junior says it’s all to spread some hope and joy during a tough time. “In the end I realized that every single lyric was true. I wanted to express that I understand that we’re all going through a hard time. Everyone is suffering through this all together,” he said. Edgardo Ramos, who goes by Junior, is an eighth grader at Johnson City Middle School, involved in the music program. For a link to the full video and lyrics, click here. With the help of his school counselor, his thoughts were turned into a song.
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ILOILO City – Mayor Jerry Treñas would no longer allow home quarantine for all returning locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from other provinces and cities. “I and the Iloilo City COVID team decided to disallow LSIs to go on home quarantine,” Treñas said in a statement on Wednesday. He also ordered to stop the use of rapid antibody test kits in screening these LSIs for SARS-coV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It’s difficult to ensure that these LSIs will stay inside their homes for the duration of the quarantine, Treñas admitted. Arriving LSIs in Iloilo City starting today would now be housed in quarantine facilities. Mayor Jerry Treñas. ARNOLD ALMACEN/CMO On May 25 President Rodrigo Duterte ordered concerned government agencies to bring home all overseas Filipino workers and other people stuck in Metro Manila and elsewhere due to the quarantine. “They would be isolated either in a hotel or local government facility,” the mayor added. Camalig village head Nestor Loma said while under home quarantine, the LSI – who is now Western Visayas Patient No. 174 – had a drinking session together his relatives and neighbors prior to the release of his real time-polymerase reaction tests (RT-PCR). Barangay Camalig was placed under lockdown on Sunday, June 21 and will last until the RT-PCR test results of the LSI’s close contacts will be released. He cited several reports that some LSIs were defying health authorities’ advice to observe the mandatory 14-day home-quarantine. Yesterday, local authorities ordered the lockdown of at least 20 houses at Barangay Camalig’s Zone 5 in Jaro district after an LSI who recently returned there tested positive for the viral disease. “Sa mga LSIs nga nagalagaw kag indi madakpan sang aton compliance officers, ako na lang ang madakop sa inyo,” Treñas warned. There at least 100 individuals living in the 20 houses but not all of them had exposure to the patient. Last June 11, Treñas issued Memorandum Order No. 159 enforcing strict implementation of the 14-day home quarantine of all LSIs and overseas Filipino workers who will arrive in Iloilo City beginning on 16 June 2020 onwards until a vaccine to eradicate COVID-19 is readily available to the general public. These past few weeks, LSIs returning to Iloilo from Cebu and other parts of the country were not required to pass RT-PCR tests. They were only asked to present a travel authority and certificate stating they completed 14 days of quarantine. Loma, however, could not yet determine the exact number of the LSI’s close contacts. The agencies concerned were the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Department of Health./PN
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