Panelist David Muhammad said it would take prolonged effort by young people to see change school safety issues. File photo.By Roxie HammillStudents, parents and teachers cast a wide net Thursday night trying to find the reasons for gun violence in schools. The usual suspects were all there – mental health, easy access to guns, funding, toxic public discourse.There were no clear answers. But in the end the crowd of about 75 at a forum presented by KCUR and the Shawnee Mission School District agreed that if the problem isn’t going away, then neither are they.“Your civil rights moment right now is like other civil rights moments,” said Shawnee Mission East international relations teacher David Muhammad. “They go on for a long time. And as soon as you start thinking of the end game, that’s the time when more issues come up.“If you sit down now because you didn’t get instant gratification like you do when you make a post, then that’s exactly what those lawmakers want you to do. If you look at it as 10, 20, 30 years, your children, your grandchildren, that’s when you’re going to see some change.”The forum, taking place on the eve of the national March for our Lives in Washington D.C., and two days after another school shooting in Maryland, was taped and an edited version will be available on an upcoming No Wrong Answers podcast.The forum featured a panel that included Muhammad, Shawnee Mission Northwest junior Julianna Kantner, Dr. Erin Hambrick, an associate professor of psychology at UMKC and John Douglass, executive director of emergency services for Shawnee Mission Schools. There were audience questions and comments as well. KCUR newscaster Kyle Palmer was host.Topics ranged from the psychological impact of drills and new security procedures. Some said they were saddened that the discussion is even necessary.“It’s grim,” said Douglass, noting that he spent a summer reading reports about the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut in preparation for security changes at Shawnee Mission schools.“It seemed like I could only do a little bit each day. It was pretty sad,” he said.The Sandy Hook shooting was in December 2012. The shooter killed 20 students, mostly six and seven years old, as well as six staff members.Since then, the district approved a bond issue of $20 million for cameras, doors and locks and in some cases new entrances to schools. Even so, people have to stay vigilant because shooters have adapted to security measures, as was evident recently in Parkland, Fla., when a shooting happened after a fire alarm was pulled, Douglass said.Many in the audience stressed the need for effective counseling of troubled students before some event pushes them over the edge. And some said it would be nice if teachers had more time to have relaxed conversations with students. But that’s difficult given the teacher workload and time spent on standardized tests, said Muhammad.One teacher in the audience characterized school violence as hopelessness turned inward. Students are under intense pressure to achieve with scholarships and advanced placement because of the threat of crushing college debt, she said. And social media contacts don’t always give them the support they need to cope.Students at the event had differing opinions on what should be done. Emma Richardson, 16, a junior at Shawnee Mission South, was unimpressed by the response of lawmakers, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, to demands for action.When asked if she felt more energized to take issues to adults, she replied, “Yes and no. Yes, we want our voice to be heard but no, because in a sense we feel that we can’t trust adults. We can’t trust adults to carry our voices. Because yes, we are the next generation. But you’re not letting the next generation be heard. You’re shutting us out.”Josh Marvine, a junior at Shawnee Mission Northwest from Shawnee, said most discussion avoids the real issue. “Since the Parkland shooting, I have seen people propose solutions. Everything from finding kids who seem like they’re the mentally unstable school shooter type and cracking down harder on them to limiting our consumption of violent movies or video games to turning schools into places with clear backpacks and metal detectors and armed security guards-slash-teachers in every corner,” he said.Other countries have mental health problems, bullying and violent media, he said, but not the proliferation of guns seen in the United States.“When are we going to focus on guns in addition to everything else like mental health or social media?” However Kantner disagreed, saying stricter gun control wouldn’t make her feel better. Gun restrictions already on the books are not enforced, she noted.Several took the microphone to denounce the idea of arming teachers, saying teachers don’t have the constant training of law enforcement, and the guns would make for an oppressive vibe.“If we say, ‘Don’t shoot your peers,’ but we’re walking around with lots of guns I wonder from an observational learning perspective what message that sends,” said Hambrick.
It Saves to be Green – Tax IncentivesThough famous for saying, “It’s not easy being green,” Kermit the Frog may be singing a different tune in today’s economy, where going “green” often comes with significant opportunities for tax incentives and savings.Both the federal government and many states, including Arizona, provide a range of tax credits and other financial incentives for builders to go green. Key among these incentives are federal’s energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction and energy investment tax credit, and the State of Arizona’s commercial and industrial solar tax credit and renewable energy tax incentive program. Unfortunately, many builders and real estate professionals have been slow to reap the benefits of these green project incentives, often leaving cash on the table.Federal LevelEnergy-Efficient Commercial Buildings DeductionEnacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction provides owners with an immediate tax deduction for all or part of the cost of installing certain energy-efficient property. The deductible amount is up to $1.80 per square foot for the installation of interior lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water or building envelope systems that are installed as part of a plan to reduce the amount of power used by 50 percent or more, in comparison to a reference building as defined in the Treasury Regulations. The deduction is available for property that is “placed in service” before Dec. 31, 2013, and covers “green” projects such as the installation of automatic lighting controls, efficient insulation, and the use of recycled water for cooling and restroom facilities.Energy Investment Tax CreditThe federal energy investment tax credit is aimed at encouraging taxpayers to produce and use energy sources other than oil or gas. Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), businesses are entitled to claim a 10 percent or 30 percent credit for installing systems that generate energy for the business’ own use. A 30 percent credit is available for the installation of equipment using solar energy to generate electricity or to heat or cool a building, fuel cells that generate electricity, and small wind energy property. A 10 percent credit is available for the installation of a solar system for lighting a building, certain combined heat and power systems, and equipment using groundwater for heating or cooling. In order to claim the credit, the taxpayer must either construct or reconstruct the property, or be the first user of the property, and the residence must satisfy certain performance and quality standards set forth in the Treasury Regulations.State LevelArizona Commercial/Industrial Solar Energy Tax CreditUnder Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), an income tax credit is available to businesses that install one or more solar energy devices in an Arizona facility. The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the cost of the solar energy device, with up to $25,000 of tax credit available for a single building. The credit is available through the Arizona Department of Commerce (ADOC), which is authorized to certify up to $1 million in solar energy credits per year. Solar energy devices qualifying for the credit generally include devices designed to provide heating, cooling or daylighting, or to produce electrical power from solar energy.Arizona Renewable Energy Tax Incentive ProgramEffective Jan. 1, 2010, the State of Arizona began offering a tax incentive program aimed at encouraging renewable energy product manufacturers to relocate to Arizona, or expand their local operations. The program provides income and property tax incentives to businesses in the solar, wind, geothermal or renewable energy industries that make certain qualifying investments in manufacturing or headquarter operations in Arizona. Qualifying businesses may receive a refundable income tax credit, as well as real and personal property tax reductions. The credit is available through the ADOC, which is authorized to certify up to $70 million in income tax credits for a five-year period, beginning on Jan. 1, 2010.The green tax credits and incentives highlighted above represent only the surface of potential tax and financial benefits available to companies committed to green construction. However, because the ability to claim tax incentives and credits for green projects often involves some pre-planning, certification or record keeping requirements, consulting with a professional tax adviser prior to undertaking a green construction project is advisable.[stextbox id=”grey”]www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.aspwww.azcommerce.com/incentives.aspxwww.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/publ_109-058.pdfwww.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=98137,00.htmlArticle written for AZRE by Kelly C. Mooney, J.D., L.L.M., who is a shareholder in the Tax Department at Gallagher & Kennedy P.A. She practices in the area of federal tax law, with an emphasis on the taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, tax-exempt entities, estates and trusts, and civil tax controversy matters.www.gknet.com[/stextbox]AZRE Magazine July/August 2010
Related TopicsCleveland Indians Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation’s Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42 Ashley Bastock GOODYEAR, Ariz.– The Cleveland Indians have announced spring training roster moves.Abraham Almonte, Francisco Mejia, Julian Merryweather, Shawn Morimando and Adam Plutko have been optioned to Triple-A Columbus.Bobby Bradley, Louis Head, Josh Martin and Adam Wilk have also been reassigned to Minor League camp.The Major League roster currently stands at 50 players.
Mike Coutee Before heading to Wednesday’s game, the Cavs were 15-2 against Toronto in the last two seasons with LeBron James. Now, the story is different.We can now say, that the Cavs are not on the Toronto Raptors level anymore.With many opportunities to beat the Raptors last night in their 116-104 loss, it’s still a learning process for the wine and gold. After a close first quarter, Toronto outscored Cleveland 32-22 in the second quarter to take a double digit lead at the half. However, everything went south for Cleveland to start the second half, as they were quickly down by 20 points which was the largest deficit in last night’s game.In the next quarter, better defense lead to better shot making. Cleveland came back to cut the lead to single digits on George Hill’s jumper to make it 106-97. However, the Raptors lead went back to double-digits after Kevin Love’s technical foul. Scratching and clawing to come back, the closest the Cavs would get was nine points.The shot making by Kyle Lowry and the addition of Kawhi Leonard were to much for the newly Cavs team to handle.Playing without the King, this will be a learning process for Love and his young teammates.Rookie struggledThe Cavs rookie Collin Sexton made his first NBA regular season debut. Matched up against an all-star in Lowry and Fred VanVleet – one of the finalists for the sixth man of the year award, Sexton struggled.These are the kind of matchups that the 19-year old will have to go through all season long.Coming in at the 3:49 mark in the first quarter, the guard immediately missed five straight shots. His first basket came in the fourth quarter at the 8:59 mark. He finished with nine points on 2-of-7 from the field.There was no loveThough finishing with 21 points and 1-for-4 behind the arc, Kevin Love is the player to count on this season – being the face of the franchise. The Cavs will look to Love for leadership and rely on his playing abilities throughout the season. Staying healthy is another concern with Love. This pre-season, the forward dealt with shoulder issues.Bright spot for Cedi OsmanAnother player that the Cavs will rely on this season after an energetic performance last night. Replacing LeBron James in the starting lineup, he finished with a double double – the first of his career, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Related Topics
SAN FRANCISCO | Ride-hailing service Lyft says it’s testing a feature that would let users schedule a trip up to 24 hours in advance.While many commercial taxi and car services let passengers reserve a ride in advance, on-demand ride companies like Lyft and Uber haven’t offered that service. They have said it’s more efficient to dispatch cars when riders are ready to use them. Competing service Uber doesn’t allow advance reservations, although some independent smartphone apps say they can help you schedule an Uber pick-up in advance.Lyft says it’s now testing the reservation feature with its own employees but promises to offer the service to riders in San Francisco and other cities this summer.