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With new year, it’s time to think about how to do it better

Posted On: 12/24/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

As we get ready to start a new year, it’s a good time to push forward and think about all the things you’d like to do better or differently in 2014. As part of your planning for this year, consider taking action to improve your personal finances. To get started, here are some goals for 2014 and how to achieve them: Stick to a budget. You should know exactly where your money’s going and where you might make improvements. I’ve written about this before, and once you get started, it’s not too difficult. What’s not so simple for some? Following through! If you want to break out of the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck and learn how to spend within your means, keeping a budget is a smart first step. Pay off debt. There are many strategies out there to help you cut away your debt. You can start by paying down the debt that has the highest interest rate first and then work your way down. Just make sure you’re still making at least the minimum pa...
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New Berlin store provides tools for home beer brewers

Posted On: 12/19/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—If you blinked you missed it, but a new supply store for home craft beer brewers and winemakers has opened and, owner Tony Hilligoss is offering the creatively inclined the opportunity to create their own concoctions with “brew on premise” classes. The new venture, Brews Up, is located on U.S. Route 113 near the intersection with South Main Street, near Pitt Stop Beer & Wine. Hilligoss plans to lend his 30 years of culinary expertise to individuals who want to try their hands at the growing beer and winemaking trend, with their own personal coach. Craft beer preparation classes cost $40 for a 1 hour, 20 minute session, and winemaking classes cost $30 for classes that can take up to 45 minutes. The company will operate in soft opening mode until the grand opening in early spring, 2014, as Hilligoss continues setting up the kitchen; grain, fermentation, and tasting rooms; and brewing and winemaking stations, in the commercial-styled preparation area in the...
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Moves prior to Dec. 31 can make difference in tax bill

Posted On: 12/19/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

A take-off on the old adage “significant savings can often be had to those who ‘don’t wait’” states the case with year-end tax planning. A few smart moves prior to Dec. 31 can make a significant difference in your April tax bill. The key for most of us will be to defer income and accelerate deductions. Some common income deferrals include: delay year-end bonus, compensation, payments for service, and rents; postpone retirement plan distributions (that aren’t required), or hold off on the sale of capital gain property until after Jan. 1 (or possibly opt for installment payments instead). Investors want to be watchful of a few of the following points as well. New mutual fund investments may be best delayed until after year-end distributions have been made. This is because distributions are blindly made to an owner on a given date of record without regard to how long the investment was owned. Offsetting realized gains with losses can help as well, s...
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Consider giving monetary gift to charity this holiday season

Posted On: 12/12/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

‘Tis the season to give. Have you ever considered a substantial gift to a charity? With a properly planned gift, you could rearrange your investment portfolio without paying capital gains tax on appreciated property or you could also possibly get an income tax deduction. However, to get the tax advantages related with planned giving, your gift must be made to an eligible organization. To meet the criterion, a charitable organization must have been created in the United States, strictly be a non-profit business, and not be involved in politics. You can contribute almost anything to a qualified organization. The deduction limits are more limited for gifts other than cash, but you are free to give almost any property that has worth. In addition to making an out-and-out donation, there are a number of other gifting methods you can use. You can give life insurance which may allow you to bestow a sizeable future gift at a comparatively reasonable cost. Of course this type of giftin...
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New salon provides wide range of services to Ocean Pines area

Posted On: 12/5/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

New salon provides wide range of services to Ocean Pines area OCEAN PINES—Air services are moving over to make way for hair services Beauchamp Road as Kate Bathon, owner of the Enchanted Beauty Salon & Spa, prepares to greet new customers into the home-like setting of her new venture. The salon is located at 11220 Beauchamp Rd., across from St. John Neumann’s Catholic Church. The building formerly housed Bathon’s husband’s Marc Anthony Services, which provides heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical contracting services. It looks nothing like a site for mechanical work. Instead, the front office has been reworked as a reception area, complete with Mickey the guard-Bichon. Inside, the salon has a separate room for massages, a bathroom bathed in dark bold teal with silver accents, and a warm and inviting waiting room with comfy sofas, a fireplace, and light refreshments, although Bathon noted, “The cookies go quickly.” Bathon, who is originally from Russia, said the idea for the salon was her h...
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Create investment mix that includes three types of income

Posted On: 12/5/13
Written By:

If you depend on fixed-income investments for at least part of your income, you probably haven’t been too happy in recent years, as interest rates have hit historic lows. Nonetheless, even in a low-rate environment, you can broaden the income-producing potential of your investment portfolio. However, before taking action, it’s helpful to know what the near-term direction of interest rates may look like. The Federal Reserve has stated that it plans to keep short-term rates at their current historic lows until at least mid-2015. The Fed doesn’t control long-term rates, making them somewhat less predictable, but it’s still likely that these rates will rise sooner than short-term ones. In any case, rather than worry about something you can’t control – that is, interest rate movements – try to focus on those things you can accomplish. And one achievable goal is to create an investment mix that includes three types of income: variable, reliable a...
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Sales bonanza begins Friday in Berlin

Posted On: 11/27/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Sales bonanza begins Friday in Berlin BERLIN—Fashionistas, shopaholics, coupon clippers and sales spotters unite; the holiday shopping season officially begins in Berlin Friday, Nov. 29. Get ready, aim and say “charge it” with specials deals from American Express’s Small Business Saturday campaign, the statewide launch of “Main Street Maryland,” and loads of discounts offered by local merchants. For the third year, American Express is marketing its popular Small Business Saturday campaign featuring small retailers that cater to their cardholders, on the day after Black Friday. AmEx cardholders are directed to participating businesses in their zip code areas where they can earn incentives like a $25 credit on their monthly statements when they shop at participating stores. As a result, businesses can rack up purchases like meals or gifts of $25 or more on that day, while diners or shoppers receive a rebated $25 for what they purchase on SBS. The marketing gimmick generated an estimated...
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Canfield named new Berlin Chamber executive director

Posted On: 11/27/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Canfield named new Berlin Chamber executive director BERLIN—The Berlin Chamber of Commerce has chosen Joya Canfield as its new part-time executive director. Her first introduction to the business community was during a Nov. 21 after hours event. Canfield is a Berlin native who previously made a name for herself as an excellent cross-country and track athlete when she was a student at Stephen Decatur High School, from which she graduated in 2006. She has since earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in marketing, from High Point University, in North Carolina. She previously worked as an event coordinator with managerial and public affairs responsibilities, for Aerosports Trampoline Parks, in Delmar. During a Nov. 20 interview, Canfield said she decided to pursue the position because she wanted to renew her connection with Berlin. “There was really no other reason that I left [Delmar] other than coming back to the Berlin area,” she said. Canfield will be overseeing the daily operations of the Chambe...
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Maryland casinos generate $66.38M in revenue in Oct.

Posted On: 11/21/13
Written By:

MARYLAND–The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency recently announced October’s revenue numbers for the state’s four casinos–Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, Casino at Ocean Downs in Worcester County, Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County. October’s combined statewide revenue totaled $66,378,026. Hollywood Casino Perryville generated $6,901,049 from both slot machines and table games in October. Gross gaming revenue per unit per day was $163.77 for slot machines, $2,414.30 for banking table games and $399.50 for non-banking table games. Hollywood Casino’s October revenue increased by $1,422,923 or 26 percent, from October 2012. Hollywood Casino Perryville operates 1,158 slot machines and 22 (12 banking and 10 non-banking) table games.   Casino at Ocean Downs generated $4,238,061 in October, and its gross gaming revenue per unit per day was $170.89. Casino at Ocean Downs...
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Nancy and Susan Taylor find alpacas to be no ‘trouble’ at all

Posted On: 11/21/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—In an early episode of the original “Star Trek” TV series, “The Trouble with Tribbles,” the Enterprise crew had their hands full with small adorable balls of fluff. Two sisters-in-law, Nancy and Susan Taylor, of Berlin are having a much easier time of it, with balls of fluff that stand five to six feet high. The in-laws and business partners have been raising alpacas for two years and on Saturday, Nov. 23, will host an open house to showcase their new alpaca store in the family’s circa 1912 farm, just off westbound Route 50. The event will include a fiber artist’s demonstrations. Susan said the idea for the alpaca business happened because of their love of knitting.  They got the idea for the store, because they needed an outlet for all the yarn they started producing. The store is actually a loft in the upper part of the barn that was built for the animals. “We had this great space upstairs and friends who enjoyed coming o...
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