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Guest Commentary

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Guest Commentator
7 days ago

To those people who believe that forming a new state made up of the rural northern California counties (the State of Jefferson), please note that I, and many others, don’t want our freedom to live in California taken away. I wish to remain a resident of this state for many reasons. Those who live in Amador (and several other rural counties) are recipients of many benefits provided by California.

According to a memo by Amador County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley to the Amador County Board of Supervisors dated January 20,...

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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

Have you considered managing your own stock market investments instead of using a professional money manager? Self-management popularity has skyrocketed the last couple of years, with one statistic magnifying the situation. In 2014, Vanguard Mutual Funds, the most popular choice of self-managers, had an all-time record of investment inflows for one company: $216 billion. Final numbers for 2015 have not been released yet, but they are expected to be even more. There are three primary reasons driving the move to self-managing.

Reduced...

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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

By Gwendolyn K. Christeson

The best legal advice I can give you is to: “Put It In Writing.”

Not convinced? The longer you wait to do what you know you should do, the riskier your situation. You can save your family members and heirs a lot of time, money and heartache if you choose now to “Put It In Writing.” I have been practicing law, specializing in estate planning for over thirteen years. While working with families and sometimes litigating these issues, I have seen the heartache, fighting and destruction of relationships...

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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

Guest Commentary by the IRS

If someone helps you do your taxes, you’re not alone. The IRS asks you to choose your tax return preparer wisely – for good reason. You are responsible for the information on your income tax return. That’s true no matter who prepares your return. Here are ten tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer:

Check the Preparer’s Qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications on IRS.gov. This tool can help you find a tax return preparer...

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Guest Commentator
3 weeks ago
Having read about President Obama’s historic signing of the landmark K-12 education measure signed into law on December 10, my first speculation would be that “Every Student Succeeds Act” will have no effect here. This is because it largely implements and allows — on a national level — what California has already been pioneering in the last two to three years. California has reduced emphasis on testing, changed to tests that are meaningful to teachers, increased flexibility in classrooms, and increased vocational, arts and life... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
4 weeks ago

In 2016, it is anticipated that there will be several competing propositions to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California. The proponents will tell you that too many people are going to jail for mere possession of small amounts of marijuana. The truth is that nobody goes to jail anymore for mere possession of marijuana for personal use, due to the impacts of Realignment and, more recently, Proposition 47.

Proponents will also tout the fiscal benefits to the state and local governments due to the taxation of...

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Guest Commentator
4 weeks ago
have met thousands of people in my course of campaigning, and many have asked me about my political ideology. Am I conservative or liberal? I told them I am in the middle. I questioned them about their ideology. Some would state that they were very conservative. Then I would ask them, “Do you believe in women’s reproductive rights?” “Of course I do” was their response. I would scratch my head. “What about same sex marriage?” I would ask. “Every adult has the right to marry the person of their choice” they would say. I would scratch... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
4 weeks ago

If you’re not close to retirement age, it’s easy to ignore what Social Security is doing. However, some significant announcements late last year make now a very good time to pay attention.

What follows is a summary of notable changes to Social Security at the start of 2016 and ways to ensure you’re making the right retirement planning and claiming (consumerfinance.gov/retirement/before-you-claim/) decisions based on what’s ahead:

1. 2016 Social Security payments won’t increase. In late October, Social Security (ssa.gov/myaccount...

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Guest Commentator
01/07/2016 11:13 AM

Six weeks ago, while foothill state legislators Senator Tom Berryhill and Assemblymember Frank Bigelow were staying in a luxurious Maui hotel at a private conference bankrolled by lobbyists and special interest groups, many Butte Fire survivors were still homeless and scrambling for assistance in the aftermath of the seventh most destructive wildfire in state history.

One week before the two foothill legislators departed to Maui, Katie Clark, whose parents lost everything in the fire, wrote to both lawmakers urgently requesting...

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Guest Commentator
01/07/2016 11:16 AM

The Desert Independent

Californians have a bad habit of merely paying traffic tickets, then paying even more for traffic school. California courts report that fewer than 10% of those with traffic tickets choose to go to trial.

In May, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court ordered a change. She demanded “a court rule that makes it clear that Californians do not have to pay for a traffic infraction before being able to appear in court.” She described the problem as “an access to justice issue.” Anyone who has tried to...

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Guest Commentator
12/29/2015 12:28 PM

Is beauty a real thing, or does it exist only in the eye of the beholder?

As an idea, beauty can take many forms: people, places, things, ideas, words. All of the aforementioned have beauty that eyes can behold.

The Mona Lisa, family bonding, the Great Outback of Australia, the harmonic sound of a violin – these are only a few examples of what someone might consider beautiful. What some see as beautiful, others do not. For example, a tornado may be a beautiful and astounding sight from a safe distance, but you wouldn’t feel the...

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Guest Commentator
12/29/2015 12:43 PM

The biggest news in Medicare for 2016 is the Part B premium. I’m happy to report that for most people with Medicare, the premium will stay the same as it was in 2015: $104.90 per month.

In fact, Part B premiums – which pay for doctor services, outpatient care, and preventive health benefits, among other things – haven’t changed for the last three years (2013, 2014 and 2015).

That’s because of slow growth in medical costs and inflation.

Since there’s no Social Security cost-of-living increase for 2016, the law requires that...

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Guest Commentator
12/22/2015 12:06 PM

Why Christmas is important to all, not just believers but other religions and even people that don’t believe in God or any faith or religion.

By Father Roger Riggsby

As not only a Christian and a Minister, my life is dedicated to Jesus as my Savior and constant guide to all that I am and strive to be through his words and actions.

I would propose that the birth of Jesus and his life and times were and are still relevant to our culture and societies today. Of course to me Jesus is the Lord and central focus of who I am, but...

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Guest Commentator
12/17/2015 12:58 PM

A couple of months back, it was announced that we’d be getting a Han Solo-centric Star Wars Anthology film in 2018 to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie”) and scripted by screenwriting legend Lawrence Kasdan (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and his son Jon Kasdan.

For whatever reason, I find myself thinking about this Star Wars film more than any of the others in development with the exception of the imminent “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”...

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Guest Commentator
12/17/2015 12:54 PM

I say this with an ache in my heart though. This trip to the Butte Fire burn area was by far the most exhausting and emotional so far. Mountain Ranch, the tiny town that has become an island in a war zone known as a wildfire, had their Christmas parade yesterday and you could feel how forced the attempt to experience some small piece of holiday joy was. The sadness in people’s eyes and wounded hearts could be hidden from me. I felt every bit of it.

As I drove through and around a large percentage of the burn area seeing the...

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Guest Commentator
12/10/2015 12:38 PM

Today, without force of arms, the United States is being invaded not by any one country, but by aliens from all over the world. In the discussion of this immigration invasion, you may wonder is moral support being given by those within our borders under such euphemistic banners as the richness of diversity, immigration is our traditional history, immigration is good for the economy and the inevitability of a multicultural society.

If this is so, well, then how are the multiethnic countries of the world celebrating their multicultur...

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Guest Commentator
12/10/2015 12:35 PM

On a cold day in Amador Superior Court in Jackson, 35 members and supporters of the Ione Valley Land Air & Water Defense Alliance, LLC (LAWDA) sat on one side of the courtroom with our single attorney. On the other side: a dozen lawyers from the county and the project Developer. All sat through two hours of hyper-technical, complex legal arguments regarding the Ione Valley LAWDA Referendum, which was validated and certified by the County on June 9 of this year.

Summary: The Referendum in question was created by LAWDA after the...

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Guest Commentator
12/10/2015 12:32 PM

One hour after a new poll came out Sunday night showing a large majority of Americans disagree with President Obama’s ISIS strategy, the President took to national television to double down on his current course of action. So what does Ami Bera think? Does he stand with President Obama by supporting his current strategy that is roundly being rejected nationwide?

“Ami Bera’s constituents deserve a representative who is willing to put the safety of Americans ahead of playing nice with a President who has not taken the threat of ISIS...

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Guest Commentator
12/03/2015 12:31 PM

Presidential elections may grab the national headlines, but local elections also have a big impact on voters’ daily lives.

Locally elected officials are typically much more accessible to voters, whose participation in local elections can bring about real change. With that in mind, here are some tips to prepare for Election Day, whether you are selecting state, county, town, provincial, labor union, or school officials.

Solidify your stance. The first step to casting your vote is deciding how you feel about key issues and candidates....

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Guest Commentator
12/03/2015 12:29 PM

By Sara Royster

While serving an 18-year prison sentence, James Whitfield completed a paralegal training program. He was determined to work in law upon his release—but was rejected by every firm he applied to. “No one was willing to take a chance on me because of my criminal record,” he says.

Whitfield decided that he didn’t want other ex-offenders to experience the same kind of rejection he had faced. So he began the Ex-Offenders Resource Network, a nonprofit organization that helps people with criminal backgrounds find employment....

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