CSB’s Gorecki hosts Bert Blyleven
Circle Me History with Bert Blyleven fundraiser for Stearns History Museum will be held Wednesday, April 24 at Gorecki Center, 37 S. College Ave. N, St. Joseph. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Stearns History Museum at www.stearns-museum.org or 320-253-8424.
Sartell compost site opening delayed
Because of the nasty vagaries of Mother Nature, the Sartell Compost Site will not open Saturday, April 13, as earlier planned.
As soon as the weather starts acting like spring, the site will open. To find out when, visit the City of Sartell website at www.sartellmn.com, watch local-cable Charter Channel 19 or keep an eye on the community digital sign on Pinecone Road S.
Sartell City seeks volunteer for park commission
The City of Sartell is seeking a volunteer to serve on the Park Commission due to a recent resignation. The person would fill out the remaining nine months of a three-year term. To obtain an application, visiting www.sartellmn.com or stop by City Hall. Deadline to apply is noon Monday, April 15.
Sartell High School will perform “Fiddler on the Roof” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 18-20 and at 12:30 p.m. April 20. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Earth Day Run weekend is April 19-20
Central Minnesota’s largest running event returns with the April 19-20 Earth Day Run. About 4,500 runners, spectators and volunteers are expected to participate. Register at http://scsu.mn/ZlFasw to run in the 1K, 5K Corporate Challenge, 5K, Half Marathon Relay and Half Marathon. Pick-up race packets 11 a.m.-8 p.m. April 19 in the Halenbeck Hall fieldhouse. Race and event headquarters is in the fieldhouse at Halenbeck Hall. Get course maps, race information and more at http://scsu.mn/XQMkXx.
Preprinted tax forms not available at GRRL after 2013
Preprinted income tax forms will not be available at Great River Regional Library locations after this current tax season. The late release of printed forms from both the federal and state level, difficulties in obtaining the most frequently requested forms and instructions, and the move toward electronic tax filing have persuaded the library it’s no longer a service it should offer.
The library has made tax forms available at each of its 32 locations in Central Minnesota for many years, but it has found the process increasingly burdensome. Beginning in 2014, library staff will provide assistance in locating the IRS and Minnesota Department of Revenue sites online and taxpayers will be able to use library computers to print forms they need, but the library will not provide preprinted tax forms.
The IRS stopped mailing paper income-tax packages in 2011, reportedly to save money and to encourage taxpayers to file electronically. After post offices and most banks discontinued the service, libraries became the primary location where individuals who continued to use paper forms could obtain them. That is no longer always the case. Some states, including New Jersey and Iowa, no longer provide paper tax forms to libraries, and many libraries around the nation have discontinued providing paper tax forms because of problems with the service.
“The IRS has done a poor job of getting all of its information and all of the forms available in a timely manner,” said Karen Pundsack, Great River Regional Library patron services coordinator. Because of changing tax laws in the past two years, the IRS has had to delay printing and distributing forms. People become frustrated when they make multiple trips to the library hoping to pick up their tax forms only to learn the forms are not yet available. Also, people sometimes expect library staff to give them advice about which forms to use or even how to enter information about their tax returns.
“Library staff cannot offer tax advice or help in filling out tax forms,” Pundsack said. “We have tried to make it clear we cannot give people tax advice, but because we had the forms, people assumed library staff had expert knowledge.” The library’s role has been to make the tax forms available so people could find what they needed. “When the forms aren’t available, this just doesn’t work. We want people to have a good experience at the library, but where tax forms are concerned, that’s been taken out of our control.”
Each GRRL location has Internet stations and printers available to the public. Because of time limits, Pundsack advises people not to attempt to file electronically using library computers. Instead, they can print the forms they need for 10-cents per page, and library staff can assist them in locating helpful resources. Some library locations partner with local organizations and volunteers to assist seniors with tax preparation. GRRL will be looking at ways to expand this type of assistance and provide more resources for patrons in 2014.
The library chose this time to announce it will not provide tax forms in future so as to give taxpayers an opportunity to make alternative plans for next year, Pundsack said.
Great River Regional Library provides library services at 32 public libraries in Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Morrison, Todd and Wright counties. It provides central Minnesota residents with nearly 1 million books, CDs and DVDs, 250 public computers, programming and information services.
International students host ‘From Sunrise to Sunset’
The annual International Spring Festival will show how people share common experiences in family, workplace and religious settings across cultures from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at St. Cloud State University’s Atwood Memorial Center Ballroom. The event, “From Sunrise to Sunset,” is hosted by the International Students’ Association. The public is invited to experience music, performances and tasty cuisine from around the globe. Tickets may be purchased at the event. ISA is open to all SCSU students with the purpose of improving the understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
First Amendment Forum explores best practices in community journalism
“Heart and Soul: Community Journalism in Minnesota,” a panelist of seasoned and up-and-coming journalists, will speak during the 42nd annual First Amendment Foroum from 9 a.m.-noon and 1:15-3 p.m. Friday, April 19 in the Little Theater at Atwood Memorial Center, St. Cloud State University campus.
SCSU students Lindsey Branwall and Alyssa Chrisinger, co-presidents of the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, planned the event. The forum will address issues of journalistic ethics, watchdog reporting, coverage of new citizens and the impact of minute-to-minute news cycles. The morning session addresses changes in community journalism. Rene Kaluza, enterprise editor for the St. Cloud Times/Times Media, will serve as moderator. Featured panelist Reed Anfinson, owner/publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News, Benson, Minn., is winner of the 2013 Defense of the First Amendment Award. Anfinson will receive the award and present a status report on the free press preceding the lunch break. The panel also includes Julie Bergman, co-owner of Page 1 Publications, East Grand Forks; Tom West, editor and general manager of the Morrison County Record, Little Falls; and Tim Hennagir, editor of the Monticello Times. The afternoon panel “Future World Today” is an update on challenges journalists face in a constantly morphing news business. Reg Chapman, WCCO investigative reporter, Minneapolis, will serve as moderator.
Panelists are TaLeiza Calloway, freelance journalist, St. Joseph; Jay Corn, Patch correspondent, Minnetonka; Jun-Kai Teoh, digital content director, St. Cloud Times/Times Media; and Lesley Toth, reporter and columnist, Mille Lacs County Times, Milaca.
The First Amendment Forum is sponsored by the student chapter and national Society of Professional Journalists, the SCSU Department of Mass Communications, the MNA, SCSU College of Liberal Arts, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Upper Midwest Chapter and the St. Cloud Times/Times Media.
United Way volunteer opportunities
St. Cloud School District 742 and the Southside Boys and Girls Club are piloting a two-month after-school tutoring program for homeless students from Talahi School. Responsibilities include helping students who are facing homelessness and need academic support. Students will be kindergarten through 5th-grade at the Southside Boys and Girls Club. Volunteers will receive instructional materials and coordination from a District 742 teacher. Volunteers are asked to commit to one or two shifts per week for the duration of the program, April through early June. Contact Sonia Dickrell, Dist 742 K-12 volunteer coordinator, at 320-529-6500 x6268.
Do you want to help a child discover courage and abilities they never thought possible? The Therapeutic Horseback Riding program at Camps of Courage and Friendship may be right for you. They are looking for help with horse leaders for lessons, side walkers to assist riders, grooming and tacking. Volunteers will create memories, form new friendships, make a difference in someone’s life and more. Volunteer training provided. Contact Alia Mortensen, Friendship Ventures, at 612-874-0667.