Take a look: Completed Mississippi College construction projects

A few of the completed construction projects: bookstore, student lofts, and Pimento's Cafe.

A few of the completed construction projects: bookstore, student lofts, and Pimento’s Cafe.

Today’s Suburban Digest article serves as an update on construction projects and renovations in the City of Clinton, mainly in Olde Towne and Mississippi College. I asked Mississippi College’s news coordinator Andy Kanengiser to send photos and here are a few completed projects: the bookstore, student lofts and Pimento’s Cafe, completed last August. Enjoy!

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Working families can save money on Super Tax Day’s free tax prep

The United Way of the Capital Area kicks off its free income tax service for low-to-middle income families with Super Tax Day at Metrocenter Mall this Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. IRS-certified volunteer tax prep volunteers will be on hand to file taxes for FREE for anyone whose household income was under $50,000 in 2012.

A typical tax payer will save hundreds of dollars in preparation fees and refund anticipation loans by taking advantage of the VITA program. Additionally, VITA volunteers are trained to identify taxpayers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which could be worth as much as $5,800 for some qualifiers.

In addition to the free tax service, Super Tax Day will feature a variety of exhibitors offering information on banking, workforce development, and other valuable information.

Throughout the entire tax season, free tax prep will be offered in 11 locations throughout the tri-county area. Hours of operation at each site varies.  Hours, locations, and other information is available on United Way’s website (www.myunitedway.com) or by dialing 2-1-1 to reach a call specialist.

Last year, United Way’s VITA program filed nearly 2,780 tax returns putting $4.7 million back into the tri-county in refunds and credits.  The service is completely free.  Refunds and credits can be deposited directly into bank accounts, and volunteer tax preparers are trained and certified by the IRS.

 “We hope everyone who qualifies for VITA takes advantage of this service. We can save the average tax payer hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees,” says Ira Murray, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way.  “Clients who use the VITA service keep their entire refund and pay nothing for the service.  In some cases, we find that clients qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which puts even more money into their pockets,” he said. 

“Rapid refund and fast tax establishments charge high interest rates for refund anticipation loans, charge high fees for their service, and aren’t necessarily trained to look out for EITC and other tax credit eligibility,” Murray said.

Items clients must have with them in order for their taxes to be prepared are:

  • ORIGINAL Social Security cards for the filer and anyone claimed on the return (NO PHOTOCOPIES ACCEPTED);
  • Valid photo identification;
  • All income documents such as W-2’s, 1099’s, etc.;
  • Bank routing number and account number for direct deposit.

If you know anyone who could benefit from this free service, pass this along! 

Mississippi College athletes raise funds to fight cancer

Some good news submitted by Mississippi College: SClintonFundraisertudent-athletes are helping collect spare change at Choctaws hoops games Thursday night January 31 and  Saturday afternoon Feb. 2 at the Golden Dome to raise money to combat cancer. It’s part of an effort throughout the American Southwest Conference to raise money to support good causes. Pictured are: Connor Neuman of Houston, Texas, a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball team; MC cheerleader and track team member Morgan Tynes of Waynesboro, and MC Lady Choctaws softball player Catherine Brand of Hickory. The three MC students began collecting funds at the Christian university’s cafeteria on Wednesday.

Kudos to these students for their efforts! I can’t wait to see how much they collect.

Outgoing Clinton police chief to be honored with reception

Clinton police Chief Don Byington

Clinton police Chief Don Byington

After 42 years of service to the city of Clinton, police Chief Don Byington retired Dec. 31, 2012, and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen will honor Byington this weekend.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, join city leaders and the community for a reception at Quisenberry Library, from 2-4 p.m. There will be a special presentation at 3 p.m.

Byington is the administrative director of Capitol Police. He joined the Clinton force in 1970 as a patrolman and witnessed tremendous growth in the city.

 

Find service opportunities on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402On Friday, I received an email from Volunteer Mississippi, the state’s volunteerism office. It was an invitation for all Mississippians to do acts of service and charity throughout the year starting with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21. Search or create volunteer opportunities on the Mississippi MLK Day website, http://mlk.msdaysofservice.org. There you can find tool kits and other resources to help you get started.

A press released stated Volunteer Mississippi was established by executive order in 1994 as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS). Volunteer Mississippi has worked to encourage a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility to America. “Volunteerism is an open secret in Mississippi: it’s everywhere, but few people talk about the small and large acts of kindness they offer to the world around them,” spokeswoman Deirdra Harris Glover said. “Our organization aims to help Mississippians find meaningful ways to connect to their neighbors and communities, and also to honor and recognize those who make significant contributions to our great state and her people.”

The agency’s website has a new look to reflect the new name, featuring messages from the First Family, volunteer profiles and information about national service programs in the state. Visit VolunteerMississippi.org and take the pledge to make 2013 “The Year of the Volunteer.”

 

2013.

I’m always excited for another year of life and another chance to live my God-given purpose. Even though I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions, I still have a few goals that carry over year to year if they’re not met. When it comes to my career, one goal is to be better than the last year – a bolder reporter with a stronger news judgment. Personally, I want to write a few more short stories, travel and have fun with my husband. There is another personal goal, but I don’t wanna speak too soon and jinx myself. 🙂

A lot happened to me and my family last year and I’m happy to say it was more positive than negative. Trials and struggles have made us stronger, and I have learned to have more faith and trust in God in all areas of my life. Especially when I took on this new beat last May. I love what I do and I’m actually proud of myself at this point.

Here’s to making more important connections, prosperity (I’ll survive the higher tax rate), growth and enjoying life! Have a great year, everyone!

Clinton Fire Department seeking volunteers to help place smoke detectors in homes

Courtesy of Clinton Alderman Jehu Brabham, I wanted to share this with you. It didn’t make it to the Suburban Digest page, so I hope there’s time for interested volunteers to sign up.

If you are looking for a “help your neighbor” project to start the new year, then volunteer to be a smoke alarm installer. The Clinton Fire Department by way of the state Fire Marshall’s Office is making a concerted effort to place a FREE fire alarm in every house. What is needed are volunteers willing to be trained and take smoke alarms to the requested houses and install them at no cost to the homeowner. Smoke alarms are also being made available to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Clinton Fire Marshall Richard Hanks will conduct a training session Wednesday, January 9 at 9 a.m. at Brighton Park clubhouse. If interested, email Jehu Brabham at jbrabham@pbcclinton.org.