Categories
Your Family

What is the income tax deadline for 2021?

For the second year in a row, the IRS has extended the tax deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic.

The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.

Despite the extension, the IRS is encouraging taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.

For those who can’t file by the May 17, 2021 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

Categories
Crime

Florida man charged with assaulting Capitol Police officers with a fire extinguisher

A Florida man appeared today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on charges stemming from his alleged attack on law enforcement officers, as well as other crimes, during the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that disrupted a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming Presidential election results.

According to the FBI, 53-year-old Robert Scott Palmer, of Largo, Florida, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with any person assisting an officer or employee of the United States in the performance of their official duties while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon; one count of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with any law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder which in any way obstructs or delays the conduct or performance of any federally protected function; and one count each of unlawful entry, engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct, and engaging in an act of physical violence against any person on restricted building or grounds while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon.

Palmer was taken into custody by the FBI yesterday and, was released on bond at a detention hearing today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Palmer alleges that publicly available video shows Palmer’s assault on U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers who were assisting the U.S. Capitol Police in securing the Lower West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

According to the affidavit, the publicly available footage shows Palmer — wearing a red hat, face mask, and American flag jacket — throwing a wooden plank at the officers, followed by spraying the contents of a fire extinguisher at the officers, and then throwing the fire extinguisher at them. FBI officials say footage from security cameras inside the Lower West Terrace tunnel provided by the USCP shows that Palmer picked the fire extinguisher up from the ground and threw it at the officers a second time.

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.  The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Tampa and Washington Field Offices, along with the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct for purposes of establishing probable cause, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence.

Categories
Health

Why the time change affects you more than you think

Do you prefer standard time or daylight saving time? Do you like the time changes or would you rather pick one time and stick to it? Lastly, how does the time change impact your health?

These are the questions lawmakers throughout the nation are grappling with — and they were the questions asked in a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation. The results of the study indicate that Americans’ views of the time change often differ with the established research on the issue.

Most Americans don’t think their sleep, routines, or moods are affected by changing the clocks. In the National Sleep Foundation’s national, random-sample survey, over 70 percent of those in Daylight Saving Time-observing states said time changes in either direction aren’t a problem for them.

“We’re seeing gaps between what the public thinks and both published research and real-world observations of the clock change’s effects on health. Evidence has shown that changing the clock twice a year is detrimental to our circadian rhythm and overall health and safety, including cardiovascular events, mental health issues, and even traffic fatalities,” said Dr. Rick Bogan, Board Chair of the National Sleep Foundation.

Just one in four respondents would stick with the current system of two clock changes during the calendar year. Slightly more than half, fifty-four percent, of Poll respondents said they preferred year-round Daylight Saving Time, the “spring ahead” clock setting where time is moved forward by one hour. “It’s understandable why Daylight Saving Time is appealing, but it doesn’t fit our body clocks like Standard Time. This is an opportunity for us to continue educating the public on the role and importance of the science behind our sleep,” added Bogan.

According to medical experts, switching to permanent Standard Time would better align our bodies to daily sunrise and sunset which influences the natural sleep/wake cycles, also called circadian rhythm. Your body and brain work together in multiple ways to create and regulate this process, and sleep can suffer when your body’s circadian rhythm is out of sync.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, followed by 15 to 17 hours of being awake. 

For more information about circadian rhythm and other sleep health topics, visit www.thensf.org

About the National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice. thensf.org │SleepHealthJournal.org 

About the Sleep in America® Poll
The Sleep in America Poll is the National Sleep Foundation’s premier annual review of current sleep topics. The Poll was first conducted in 1991 and has been produced since 2018 by Langer Research Associates. The full Sleep in America Poll findings, including methodology, can be found at thensf.org/sleep-in-america-polls/

Categories
Trends

Doomscrolling, Finna, and Supposably just got added to the dictionary

Dictionary.com recently announced a slew of new words it has added to the dictionary for this year. Changes this year reflect the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on language and hit on a variety of additional themes relating to race, social justice, identity, and culture.

The leading online dictionary has updated 7,600 entries, including 450 new entries and 94 new definitions in existing entries.

First Thing’s First: If the idea of new words being added to the dictionary has you gasping and clutching your pearls, we need to have a talk about language before we talk about the new words. The words found in your dictionary in third grade were not set in stone. English is a living language, and words and meanings change and new words are introduced as new concepts are introduced and as culture changes. This is a normal process that has been going on for hundreds of years and is no reason for outrage.

How 2020 changed language: “2021, so far, is still so much about the events of 2020—and this is true for our work as a dictionary,” said John Kelly, Managing Editor at Dictionary.com. “We continue to keep up with the many ways the pandemic has transformed our language. This includes, for instance, usage notes on capitalizing and spelling COVID-19, a term only added to the dictionary a year ago. This also includes an entry for the name of an application that, for so many of us, became synonymous with life during COVID-19: Zoom.”

New words: Without further adieu, here are some of the words that Dictionary.com added this year.

Doomscrolling: the practice of obsessively checking online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the news will be bad, such that the feeling of dread from this negative expectation fuels a compulsion to continue looking for updates in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Finna: a phonetic spelling representing the African American Vernacular English variant of fixing to,a phrase commonly used in Southern U.S. dialects to mark the immediate future while indicating preparation or planning already in progress: Oh, no, she finna break his heart!

Overpolice: to police excessively, as by maintaining a large police presence or by responding aggressively to minor offenses: The panelists agreed that poor communities are overpoliced, and their residents are more likely to be Black and Latino.

Hybrid learning: education in which the face-to-face classroom experience is combined with or replaced by an online experience that includes synchronous and asynchronous interactions with peers and instructors, and lessons and assessments that can be completed digitally or in person.

Superspreader: Pathology. a person who spreads a contagious disease more easily and widely than the average infected person: About forty percent of the superspreaders had no symptoms of the virus.

Sponcon: sponsored content: Influencers with large social media followings can earn a lot of money with sponcon.

Deepfake: a fake, digitally manipulated video or audio file produced by using deep learning, an advanced type of machine learning, and typically featuring a person’s likeness and voice in a situation that did not actually occur.

Indoor voice: This is a phrase teachers and parents have been using for decades, but it finally made its way into the dictionary. In case you didn’t know, the definition is, a modulated, relatively calm voice, considered polite and socially appropriate when speaking indoors, as at home or in school or in an office (opposed to outside voice): The students were reminded to use their inside voice and not shout their responses in class.

Supposably: as may be assumed, imagined, or supposed:In our modern and supposably transparent era, the government’s motives for war have come into question.

Those are just a few of the 450 new entries this year. You can find more words and information about the new words here.

Categories
Government

7 takeaways from Joe Biden’s first presidential address

President Joe Biden gave his first prime time address as president Thursday night at 8 p.m. to give an update on the nation’s fight against coronavirus and to talk about the path forward.

Below are some of the more interesting points from Biden’s speech.

Biden is constantly reminded of the victims: Biden mentioned in his speech that the back of his daily schedule — which he keeps in his pocket — has the updated number of American lives lost to COVID-19 written on it. At the time of the speech that number was 527,726.

“That’s more deaths than in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. There are husbands, wives, sons and daughters, grandparents, friends, neighbors, young and old,” Biden said. “We leave behind loved ones. Unable to truly grieve or to heal, or even to have a funeral. Also thinking about everyone else lost this past year to natural causes, by cruel fate of accident or other disease. They too died alone. They too leave behind loved ones who are hurting badly.”

A new view of government: Democrats are often called the party of big government while Republicans have a reputation of being the party of small government. Biden laid out his vision of government as being made up of the people and as a positive force in fighting the global pandemic.

“We know what we need to do to beat this virus. Tell the truth. All the scientists and science, work together, put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people. No function more important. We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in some distant capital. No, it’s us, all of us. We the people, for you and I, and America thrives. We give our hearts. We return our hands to common purpose.”

Everyone will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in May: The Biden administration is directing all states, tribes and territories to make all Americans over the age of 18 eligible for the vaccine no later than May 1. That doesn’t mean all Americans will be vaccinated by then, but it means all Americans will be able to receive the vaccine. The wait to sign up will be over.

Finding the vaccine will be easier: In tandem with increasing eligibility for the vaccine, Biden vowed to make finding the shot easier. He said a new website will roll out that will allow you to enter your address and find a location to get vaccinated near you.

Biden wants schools to reopen soon: We are on Day 50 of Biden’s presidency. Biden wants the majority of K-8 schools open in the next 50 days and will be directing government resources to get teachers vaccinated and help schools reopen.

It isn’t just about government: During the speech, Biden made a plea, telling Americans that he needs them in order to beat the virus and encouraged everyone to wear masks, socially distance, continue washing hands and get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

“Talk to your family, friends, your neighbors. The people you know best who have gotten the vaccine. We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands. Stay socially distanced and keep wearing the mask, as recommended by the CDC,” Biden said. “Because even if we devote every resource we have beating this virus, getting back to normal depends on national unity. And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington. What the loudest voice is saying on cable or online. Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, and we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. Please, we don’t want to do that again. We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up.”

Here comes the money: Biden closed his speech by talking about the American Rescue plan, which was signed into law prior to the address. Under the plan, a family of four earning less than $110,000 per year will receive a check for $5,600.

Biden also talked about the other aspects of the rescue plan. ” It helps small businesses. It lowers healthcare premiums for many. It provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes, and it will cut child poverty in this country in half, according to the experts. And it funds, all the steps I’ve just described, to beat the virus and create millions of jobs,” he said.

Categories
Government

How to watch Joe Biden’s first presidential address tonight

Joe Biden will address the nation tonight for the first time as president.

The address comes as the United States marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic that set off nationwide lockdowns, mask ordinances, and social distancing protocols.

Biden said he will be talking about the next phase in the country’s pandemic response.

How To Watch

The address will begin at 8:02 p.m. Eastern. Since this is a prime time speech by the president, it will be widely available. That means it should be covered by cable news networks like CNN as well as the broadcast networks, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox.

If you don’t have cable, you can stream the speech on the TV networks’ news apps, CBSN, ABC News, and NBC News.

The speech is expected to last about 20 minutes.

Categories
The Public Record

The Public Record: Salt Lake County councilman’s comments set off firestorm

The Gist: A Salt Lake County councilman found himself in hot water after a facebook post criticizing “the left.” He has since apologized.

The Players: The councilman involved is named David Alvord, who serves District 2. Prior to serving on the Council he was mayor of South Jordan.

The Post: In a politically charged post, Alvord said — among other things — that the “left” would not be happy until “we each have light brown skin” and “there are no males, no females, and we each have the same muscle mass, brains, talents and energy.”

The full post is below. The post was initially a public post, but was changed to friends only after Alvord faced criticism.

The Aftermath: The Utah Senate Minority Caucus, a group of six Democrats in the Utah Senate, quickly condemned Alvord by releasing the following statement:

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the comments from newly-elected Salt Lake County Council Member Alvord in his recent Facebook post. His comments were not only callous, but also destructive to our vibrant Utah community. We call upon Council Member Alvord to actively consider the impact of his commentary as a public official. These comments do not reflect the state’s values of inclusivity. As Utahns, we celebrate an abundance of lifestyles, ethnicities, cultures, and opinions. To demean any one of those is not the “Utah Way.”

The Apology: Alvord has also since apologized. Below is his statement.

“Social media is a place for ideas and conversation. My post was meant to engage discussion about where ‘cancel culture’ is heading, which I believe has a dangerous destination. The examples I came up with were simply hyperbole meant to illustrate why cancel culture is problematic.

“I recognize that as an elected official, words take on extra meaning and significance. I would like to apologize for any who misunderstood my intentions. I assure you that I don’t hold any ill will towards anyone.

“As the representative for District 2, I care about all residents and look forward to your engagement and input as the many policy issues arise.”

This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting statements by public officials called The Public Record, where we present recent quotes by public officials or candidates. You may not be able to attend every public meeting or see every occasion where your representative speak, but you still have a right to know what your representatives and those who hope to represent you have been saying. 

“Because public men and women are amenable ‘at all times’ to the people, they must conduct the public’s business out in the open.” -Charles L. Weltner Sr., former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court

Categories
Weather

Got allergies? Here’s what you can expect in Spring

Spring is creeping up fast in the United States, and that means warmer weather is on the horizon after a rough winter in some regions, but for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, there may only be a few weeks left in some parts of the country before allergens begin to kick into full gear. And one part of the nation is already beginning to feel the effects of the spring pollen season.

New research from Germany suggests that climate change is now causing allergy season to last longer, as rising temperatures are causing plants to bloom earlier, and pollen from early-blooming locations are traveling into later-blooming locations, UPI recently reported.

AccuWeather meteorologists, led by Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert, released their annual spring allergy forecast this week, after digging into the data and exploring which areas of the country may experience an early or extended season as well as which areas could face higher-than-usual pollen counts.

Simply put, different allergens will begin to affect Americans at different points in the season, depending on the region and the weather conditions. AccuWeather forecasters have you covered on where in the U.S. allergy sufferers may need to stock up on tissues — and keep the windows closed at times this upcoming season.

“Spring by definition usually involves tree pollens … trees tend to be dominant in the spring, summer tends to be dominated by grass pollens and fall tends to be dominated by mostly weeds and some molds,” Jody Tversky, assistant professor and former clinical director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University, told AccuWeather. 

March and April are typically when tree pollen begins to take off in the U.S. People with oak, maple, birch, elm, sycamore and hickory allergies in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. will begin to feel their allergies come on this month.

“By the time we reach summer, the trees are in full bloom, and you can tell this when you go to your car and you see these pollen grains on your windshield,” Tversky said. The pollen grains people see building up are too large to actually be the cause of people’s allergy symptoms, but they do signal that allergy-causing pollen is in the air.

Tree pollen forecast

The Southeast is already beginning to experience the first effects of allergy season. Trees around the Gulf Coast in particular, Reppert said, have begun releasing pollen.

Tree pollen counts for the Northeast are forecast to be around average for most of the region this year, with some above-average tree pollen forecast for the area surrounding the Great Lakes beginning in mid-March and extending through April.

This season could end up being a nasty spring season for tree-allergy sufferers in the Midwest as the weather warms up.

Midwesterners, including those who live around metropolitan areas like Chicago and Detroit, could experience some of the worst conditions for tree pollen this season.

Residents in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and eastern Oregon can also expect tree pollen to reach high levels this year.

In contrast, across the Plains, tree pollen should be on par with what is considered average for the region.

Southwest residents with tree allergies will be the only ones that will truly be able to rejoice — with an expected drought and higher-than-usual temperatures on the horizon, tree pollen counts in the region are expected to remain low throughout the season.

“Anything that does grow will be pretty quick to die off,” Reppert said. “When the grass [and] weeds dry out and have no rainfall for some time, it will actually stunt the grass and weed growth and not allow it to really grow.”

Grass and weed pollen forecasts

The mid-Atlantic and Northeast can expect above-average grass pollen counts to move into the region beginning in late May for points farther south and through June and July for points farther to the north. Several states will have some of the highest grass pollen counts in the nation this year, Reppert said.

The highest above-average pollen counts will be focused in the northernmost portion of Virginia into southern Maine. The Great Lakes region, including Michigan, northern Ohio, as well as northwestern parts of Pennsylvania and western New York, will all experience higher-than-average grass pollen counts.

Grass pollen could also spell trouble for the northernmost part of the Midwest, most prominently in Michigan, Ohio and parts of Wisconsin. The eastern half of the region can expect above-average weed pollen levels, while the western half will experience normal levels.

Above-normal levels of grass pollen are forecast to extend into the northern Plains, but the rest of the region should align with levels typically observed in the region.

Grass pollen is forecast to come in with near-normal counts for Nevada, Utah and Colorado but will be well below the average for other parts of the Southwest this year, such as across New Mexico, Arizona and western Texas.

Spring allergy sufferers in the Southeast could be facing a double whammy this year. Forecasters not only expect above-average grass pollen levels across the region, but also weed pollen counts are predicted to reach well above average during allergy season.

Categories
Crime

Shots fired during Indiana police chase that ended in crash

MUNCIE, INDIANA — A tense police chase in Muncie, Indiana involved shots being fired at residents in the area as well as police and ended in a crash.

Delaware County and City of Muncie Police Officers were involved in a pursuit with a male suspect who was armed. During the pursuit, which occurred at about 1:40 p.m., it was reported that the male suspect fired shots at both residents and officers.

All county and city schools were asked to lock down for safety of students and faculty while this pursuit was active. The pursuit ended in the city and the suspect was taken into custody and transported to Ball Memorial Hospital.

Police say there is no longer a threat to the  public safety and school officials were notified.

The Indiana State Police are investigating multiple crime scenes throughout Delaware County. However local residents are no longer in danger, as the pursuit has ended and the driver has been taken into custody.

Detectives request any witnesses who may have video of the event, or anyone with damage to a residence or vehicle to contact the Indiana State Police Pendleton District at (765) 778-2121 or 1-800-527-4752.

Categories
By The Numbers

Here are the most common superstitions by state

Does your St. Patrick’s Day tradition include kissing a blarney stone or wishing on a four leaf clover?

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino analyzed Google search volume for more than 200 different superstitions to find the most popular superstitions in every state across the country.

They also surveyed over 1,000 Americans to learn more about their belief in superstitions.

The most popular superstitions in America, according to the report are as follows:

Throwing salt over your shoulder is the top superstition in the nation, followed by the belief that bad luck comes in threes. If you’ve had two bad things happen to you, the number three superstition — carrying a lucky rabbits foot — may stave off that third bad event. The fourth most common superstition is Friday the 13th and rounding out the top five is the belief that Ladybugs are a sign of good luck.

Below are some more findings from the survey.

  • 65% of Americans are superstitious. 83% believe in good luck, 50% believe in bad luck. 
  • 37% of Americans believe Friday the 13th brings bad luck.
  • 34% of Americans believe St. Patricks’ Day is a lucky day. Nearly double that amount (60%) say they wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s what the most commonly held superstition was in each state.