What Comes Around Goes Around

If you have been driving or biking around town, you’ve probably noticed some new intersection upgrades like this roundabout on Central Avenue. Although there are differences of opinion, modern  roundabouts  have been deemed a “proven safety counter-measure” by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Did you know personal injuries and fatalities drop as much as 90 percent in modern roundabouts as compared to conventional intersections according to the Federal Highway Administration? Because roundabouts can handle 30-50 percent more traffic, they also improve traffic flow and reduce travel times. Pedestrians have an easier  time crossing because they must only watch one direction of traffic at a time. Bicyclists can safely use the road to travel through the roundabout, or they can use the pedestrian crossings if that feels more comfortable.

Many people who feel uncomfortable navigating a roundabout say they are unsure how to drive or ride through them. The City of Naples has been circulating educational materials to help everyone better understand how to safely use them. The State of Florida Department of Transportation has created the brochure to explain the usage and benefits of roundabouts.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR MOTORISTS WHEN USING A ROUNDABOUT:

• Decide where you want to go (which exit you will take).
• Slow down upon approaching the roundabout and ALWAYS go to the right and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
• The vehicles already in the roundabout have the right-of way but must allow entry to those on bicycles and yield to pedestrians.
• Use your turn signal prior to making your exit, and if you happen to miss your street, continue traveling around the circle until you are at your exit.

NOW A COUPLE TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS:
• Stay on designated walkways and crosswalks, and never cross to the center of the roundabout.                                 •  Even though pedestrians have the right-of-way, always watch for cars.

AND FINALLY, SOME TIPS FOR CYCLISTS:
• If you are approaching a roundabout from a bike lane, merge into the entry lane.
• When on a road, bicycles are considered a vehicle, and should enter the roundabout much like an automobile,
yielding to traffic already on the roundabout.                                                                                                                              • Communicate your intention to exit by pointing to your destination.
• If riding in the roundabout seems uncomfortable, dismount at the crosswalk and walk your bike, following the tips for pedestrians.

As with many things in life, practice increases your comfort level. Now that you have this information to help you correctly use a roundabout, don’t avoid them. They truly are a much safer and faster way to go!

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

DEPUTY RECOGNIZED FOR WORK WITH SPECIALTY COURTS

SGT. WEIDENHAMMER ACCEPTING HER AWARD.

As a child, Sgt. Leslie Weidenhammer dreamed of becoming a police officer but her parents thought it would be too dangerous and steered her away toward college to be a teacher.

She completed her degree and taught in Indiana before moving to Florida. She went to work for the Collier County YMCA and started an outdoor education program. But thoughts of being a police officer persisted. At the Y, a retired Chicago cop persuaded her to apply with the Colllier County Sheriff ’s Office.

Twenty-six years later she’s living her dream.

“Cliché I know, but I wanted to make a difference and help people,” Sgt. Weidenhammer said.

And she has. The Collier County Bar Association recently recognized Sgt. Weidenhammer for her work with the county’s specialty courts and awarded her its Medal of Honor.

Sgt. Weidenhammer is a member of the Collier County Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court Teams.

In these roles she works with individuals with mental illness and substance abuse problems who come into contact with law enforcement while in crisis. These courts offer an alternative to the traditional court system better suited for some individuals in need of treatment services.

Sgt. Weidenhammer is also a trainer for the CCSO’s Crisis Intervention Team and coordinator of the agency’s Mental Health Unit. She serves as a volunteer board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness where she focuses on youth programs.

Sgt. Weidenhammer has been recognized over the years by various county agencies for her role in mental health advocacy. She was nominated for the Collier County Bar Association’s Medal of Honor by Andy Solis, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, and Judge Janeice T. Martin of the 20th Judicial Circuit.

“(Sgt. Weidenhammer’s) collaboration with our Treatment Courts process has been nothing short of transformational,” Judge Martin wrote in her nomination letter, adding that in the two years since joining the Treatment Courts Team she has educated fellow members and worked to connect with participants of the program.

Chairman Solis called Sgt. Weidenhammer a true public servant.

“Her professionalism and insight is of great benefit to our community,” his nomination letter read. “She truly cares for those she serves, and conveys the message of help, hope and recovery in all that she does.

Sgt. Weidenhammer accepted her award and gave a speech on her work with the agency and specifically the county’s specialty courts.

“I have to commend Sheriff (Kevin) Rambosk for his vision to recognize the needs of our community and citizens as it relates to mental health issues and substance use disorders, and then having the faith in me to develop a CCSO team focusing on prevention and intervention surrounding these issues,” she said.

Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve

August 6 – 10 | Summer Institute for Marine Science

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Students with an interest in marine science are invited to participate
in a very special opportunity to learn about the coastal environment with
Rookery Bay staff and local researchers during the Summer Institute for
Marine Science, August 6 – 10. This weeklong program brings students
into the estuary for hands-on experiences relating to ecology, marine
biology, sustainability and citizen science.
Activities will include kayaking, mudflat exploration and pulling a trawl
net behind a research reserve vessel to learn about the animals of the
Rookery Bay estuary. PLUS! We’ll take field trips to nearby environmental
centers, including MOTE Marine Lab, FGCU Vester Field Station and the
Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
The Summer Institute for Marine Science is for students entering
8th, 9th or 10th grade. Space is limited to 15 students and registration is
required. This program was made possible with funding support from the
Community Foundation of Collier County.

August 13 | Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding
your camera’s features, the Essentials of Digital Photography: How to
get the most from your digital camera workshop is for you. This class
covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use
your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to
create images with impact and creativity. Some previous camera or
photography experience is recommended, and a desire to learn. Sonny
Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction
and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of
students. Cost is $55.

August 14 | Breakfast with the Birds: Back from the Brink- Using
Social Attraction to Save Seabirds

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Learn about birds at this summer lecture series! Adam DiNuovo has
been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the US and beyond for
more than 15 years. He is currently the Shorebird Stewardship Program
Manager for Audubon Florida. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Lecture begins at
9:30 a.m. Enjoy pastries, coffee and juice. Cost is $15.

August 17 | National Honeybee Day

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In celebration of National Honey Bee Day, the Rookery Bay
Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.”
Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers. Must pay at
door.

September 4 | Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding
your camera’s features, the Essentials of Digital Photography: How to get
the most from your digital camera workshop is for you. This class covers
the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your
camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create
images with impact and creativity Some previous camera or photography
experience is recommended, and a desire to learn. Sonny Saunders
has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is
renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students.
Cost is $55.

September 29 | National Estuaries Day – Special 40th
Anniversary Event

9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Don’t miss this FREE annual celebration of the 29 Estuarine
Research Reserves around the nation. Called National Estuaries Day,
the celebration recognizes the importance of estuaries. Also called
“cradles of the ocean,” this habitat is found where rivers meet the sea
and is where many species of fish and shellfish start their lives. This
annual event includes staff-narrated boat tours (bus transportation
provided to the boat), introductory 30-minute kayaking trips and standup
paddleboarding demos on Henderson Creek, Estuary Encounter
interactive marine life exhibit, kids’ crafts, Junior Scientist activities,
behind-the-scenes tours of the science labs, films, a food truck and more.
Admission is free and activities are available on a first-come,
first-served basis. Sign-up begins when doors open at 9 am. Age
restrictions apply.
“VIP Express” Passes Available
Skip the line! Check out our “VIP Express” pass, available for our
11 a.m. boat tour with the option to reserve space in one additional
activity, front-row seating for Live Oak’s video presentation and more! A
limited number of these tickets will be sold. Cost is $25 with proceeds
supporting the Friends of Rookery Bay.

October 15 | Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding
your camera’s features, the Essentials of Digital Photography: How to
get the most from your digital camera workshop is for you. This class
covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use
your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to
create images with impact and creativity. Some previous camera or
photography experience is recommended, and a desire to learn. Sonny
Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction
and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of
students. Cost is $55.

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Enjoy the two-story visitor center, art gallery, gift shop, nature trail with viewing platform and more. Themed naturalist programs are offered daily on topics such as manatees, sharks, sea turtles, Estuary Encounter marine life exhibit and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 – 12, and free for kids under 6 and Friends of Rookery Bay members. Located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard.

Learn more and register for tours and events at rookerybay.org/calendar. Friends of Rookery Bay member discounts apply to most events

THE LAST CORMORANT FISHERMEN

THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING FOR TWO EIGHTY YEAR OLDS

by Ron McGinty

I will tell you what the last cormorant fishermen, Yue Chuanand Yue Ming, do now but first, let’s gaze into their lives.

Brothers Hung Yue Chuan (88) and Hung Yue Ming (82) began a life of fishing before the age of ten in a remote region of the Li River. Both are capable of fishing today, but the river was over-fished.

As young men, they built their homes close to the river and next to each other. In the Hung’s homes were pictures of not only the current household but also multiple generations.

I experienced a lifestyle still very basic with kitchen stoves no more than an open fire with a grate. Twelve-foot ceilings helped for the summer heat; winter demands lots of blankets. The saying “want not need not” is visible.

Yue Chuan has one son and three daughters, and Yue Ming has three daughters and two sons. Unfortunately, Yue Ming lost his wife due to diabetes two years ago, not much medical care. The male children normally follow in their father’s footsteps, but theirs had to leave for work in the city.

The most valued treasure I found in China is family. What is cormorant fishing? The cormorant is a bird who spots and dives for fish. The brothers each have two birds. The birds live by the river and are working companions. They attach a loose string around their necks and loose enough not to cause any discomfort to the birds. It is small enough to keep the birds from swallowing fish too big and are taught to return the fish to the boat.

The men would paddle daily upstream for hours on a homemade bamboo raft. Yue Ming and Yue Chuan threw their large fishnets all day. The work is strenuous but provided food and the needed money to support their families. They are true entrepreneurs.

Today it takes about $6,000 annually for family survival even with their minimal life-style. This held true for all the fourteen minority villages I visited through China.

Preferring to travel for photography by myself, I needed a private guide. My desire was to visit non-tourist places during my three-week journey. Fortunately, I found, Mia Beales of Guilin, she’s lived in China for over nine years. Her life as a guide and professional photographer has created a close relationship with people in the minority villages as friends. Minorities are non-Hunand live as mega families.

The next chapter in the Hung family is fascinating. They found a need for tourist and advertisers to take scenic pictures. Currently they sell their time as models. I was blessed to go past the picture takers and spend some time with them in their home. It was amusing, sitting with Yue Ming on his bed, he so was enthusiastic to show his photo album of advertisers. The one series he loved the most was beautiful models in bikinis on his boat holding a bottle. I don’t know what the product was, but it looked like sunscreen. You may see them in magazines in the USA someday; I wouldn’t be surprised.

The journeys of additional villages will be presented in subsequent issues of Life in Naples.

Giclée – Ask the Artsperts

Dear Artsperts:

I recently received an e-mail advertising the sale of an “oil painting print.” They also had an acrylic painting print. What does that mean? Are the prints they are selling done in oil and acrylic?

Signed,

Have an Inkling

Dear Inkling,

HIGH DEFINITION PRINTER USED IN PRODUCING GICLÉE.

“Oil painting print” and “acrylic painting print” is a new and very clever marketing scheme intended to confuse the consumer. It is really a reproduction of a painting that may have been originally painted in oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera, or even collage. Any 2-dimensional work of art can be photographed or scanned in high-resolution then printed using high definition inkjet printers.

The result of which is a digital print. These printers do not print in oil or acrylic, but rather use printer ink. But they can be printed on a variety of materials, including canvas.

The most often used term for a digital print is giclée. This term was coined by a printmaker in the early 1990s and is pronounced “Gee Clay” or “Zee Clay”. It loosely translates as “to spurt” which is in effect what inkjet printers do –spurt ink on a surface. An inkjet or digital print does not sound as appealing as a giclée print. The term was made-up as a marketing ploy to sound vaguely French.

Oil painting print is just another marketing scheme to make the product sound better than what it is – a high quality photocopy of a work art.

MASTER PRINTMAKER, WILL BARNET REVIEWING HIS WORK ON A LITHOGRAPHY STONE CIRCA 1934

This new era of digital printmaking eliminates the added skill and craftsmanship that was once necessary in the traditional printmaking process. Traditional prints, be it an etching, engraving, lithograph, or screen-print entailed hours in the studio with stone, screen or metal plates, chemicals and other complex equipment.

Master printmakers had years of experience and were highly respected for their craftsmanship.

Giclée is effortless in comparison and as such is frowned upon by fine art galleries and museums. Giclée is also extremely difficult to control in terms of the numbers of prints produced. Once an image has been scanned digitally in high-resolution it can be reproduced in a variety of sizes and on almost any type of surface imaginable.

In traditional printmaking the prints were limited in number by either the process itself or on purpose by destroying the matrix used to produce the print. The size of the print was also limited by the matrix. Today some artists try to limit the Giclée prints, but it is entirely based on trust that the image won’t be reproduced beyond the limited edition.

Artists may also “enhance” giclée prints by directly painting on top of the print, sometimes this is called hand-embellished. These are sometimes passed off as originals since the print was altered slightly by the artist. Don’t be fooled by these as they are not considered original works of art by fine art galleries and museums.

A final aspect of giclée marketing intended to make the products sound more appealing is “hand wrapped” or “gallery wrapped” canvas. In reality you are getting less of a product. Traditionally works of art have always been sold framed, unless the artist intended otherwise. Hand wrapped just means you are buying an unframed work. A step up from purchasing an unstretched, rolled canvas, but in reality, you are getting less not more!

The over-commercialization of art has resulted in very clever marketing schemes. Unfortunately, it muddies the water for fine art and creates a great deal of confusion in our profession.

Sincerely,

The Artsperts

WHY AM I BEING AUDITED BY THE IRS?

Michael Wiener, E.A.

With the 2018 filing season currently behind us, notices have started to appear in mailboxes. While the IRS letterhead strikes fear into the hearts of most Americans, a vast majority of those notices are nothing to fear, since most of them are computer-generated and referring to outstanding tax bills you haven’t paid yet or errors on your taxreturn that can be easily addressed. Simply getting an IRS notice is not indicative of an audit.

With the numbers in for 2016 tax returns per the release of the IRS’s 2017 data book, fewer than 1 percent of individual tax returns were selected for a field or correspondence audit, which gives most people a 1-in-160 chance. But the Taxpayer Advocate Service watchdog group says that it’s actually 6.2 percent of tax returns, or a 1-in-16 chance of being audited. While audits demand back-up material and examining your past tax returns opposed to simply fixing errors or paying your unpaid tax bills, some of those computer-generated notices are more pernicious in their documentation requests and count in that 6.2 percent. “Audit flags” that don’t merit a full tax return audit but a partial one also count.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE IRS AUDIT PROCESS.

You were incredibly unlucky and got randomly selected.

In 2017, only 934,000 tax returns were audited, with 71 percent of them being done by mail.

The IRS always audits an incredibly tiny sample of tax returns. But if you are low or middle income with a relatively simple tax filing situation and wondering why you’ve been audited, you were part of that tiny random selection.

Your tax return has a common audit flag.

Even if you have legitimate deductions, credits and income substantiation, there are certain lines on your tax return that are rife with errors and fraud across the board. These include the charitable contribution deduction, home office deduction and adoption tax credit.

Specific tax benefits prone to error and fraud like the Earned Income Tax Credit have their own separate due diligence process. But the above three items are the most common triggers for an audit, even just partial audits, given the vast propensity people have in underestimating these items and not having them properly documented. People tend to overestimate the value of non-cash charitable contributions and frequently lack the substantiation for these deductions.

Adoption is an incredibly long and expensive process, and even though it is a legitimate tax benefit in which the adoptive parents will have substantiation, it also equates to a tax credit that can spread out over numerous years and result in paying little or no tax. Because of this, the IRS flags these tax returns frequently.

The home office deduction is another area where people tend to overestimate both eligible expenses and the percentage or square footage of the home being used for the deduction. This deduction can also generate a business loss, resulting in paying little or no taxes. Because of this, the IRS is likely to flag tax returns that have suspiciously large home office deductions.

Someone tipped off the IRS that you could be cheating on your taxes.

The IRS has a whistleblower program that awards up to 30 percent of the taxes collected and resultant penalties. If your ex-spouse suspects that you fudged your Goodwill donations or that coworker who doesn’t like you overheard you say, “They never check!” with respect to that side hustle you didn’t report, it’s possible they could’ve anonymously tipped you off to get a quick payday.

If you’re a small business owner or freelancer and someone with whom you do business was audited, you have an increased likelihood of being audited.

Even if your client, supplier or other business associate was not committing tax fraud or malfeasance but simply got audited, people and companies that they paid or received money from are likely to be next. If they didn’t correctly report payments made, the IRS will want to see how the payers’ or recipients’ tax returns also match up.

While random selection has a low probability, most audit flags are beyond your control. Always have proper substantiation in case you get that information request.

Please call our office to be your dedicated resource to take the stress out of resolving your IRS notice in the shortest amount of time possible.

If you should have a topic that you would like me to discuss or if you should have a question, please feel free to call 239.403.4410 or e-mail me at michael@mwtaxandaccounting.com.
4280 East Tamiami Trail
Executive Suite 302-M | Naples, FL 34112

An enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.

HODGES UNIVERSITY TO LAUNCH PROFESSIONAL EFFECTIVENESS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

FROM L TO R: JEIDDY OTERO, MOVIANA ST. VIL, JACQUELYN CHEVERIE, ANDREA FORTIN (SEATED), YESENIA SANCHEZ, DANAYS IZQUIERDO AND CAROL WILLIAMS WITH CAREERSOURCE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

As workforce development and training in Southwest Florida continue to appear in headlines throughout our region, the need for answers and solutions grows more urgent each day.

The need is continually articulated ranging from the narrow context of an employer’s access to suitable skilled labor to close a specific employment gap, to the broad context of enhanced regional economic development.

Hodges University has been and remains a key player in the discussion surrounding workforce development and training. Hodges has collaborated with Florida Gulf Coast University(FGCU) and Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) as part of the regional Workforce Now research initiative to identify critical employment gaps and alignment between jobs and professional degrees offered.

One thing we discovered is a core need identified by many employers in the region for foundational skills training, and Hodges is directly addressing this training deficiency with our Professional Effectiveness Certificate (PEC) program.

Launching in fall 2018, the program is a competency-based certificate that prepares individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be successful in today’s workplaces. Hodges University faculty has developed this program to address this issue by working with major regional employers and workforce agencies, including Arthrex, Chico’s, and Lee Health, as well as with the FutureMakers Coalition, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, CareerSource of Southwest Florida, FSW, and the Lee County School District.

The curriculum development was funded by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Hodges University.

Using employer input as well as information gathered from the Department of Labor (DOL) and O*Net online to serve as a guide, PEC is designed to improve an individual’s marketable skills and workforce competencies that are essential to even the fastest growing occupations. The PEC program serves as a market for individuals seeking employment and who want to improve their opportunity for an interview and success on the job, as well as employers in need of retraining their employees.

Students who enroll in the program complete five courses and can earn up to nine digital badges while mastering more than 40 competencies, which were defined and articulated by local employers. Once the individual demonstrates mastery of a specific competency and creates an e-portfolio upon successful completion of a hands-on designed assessment, he or she will earn a digital badge.

The program is fully customizable based on the needs of the employer or individual pursuing the certificate.

PEC program completers:

  • Demonstrate the ability to give full attention to what others are saying through active listening skills.
  • Use high-quality, professional written skills to project a positive image of the business.
  • Demonstrate the importance of immediately acknowledging every customer in a friendly manner.
  • Effectively handle unpleasant or angry customers.
  • Consider culture when communicating with others.
  • Demonstrate the ability to foresee problems, resolve conflicts, and prevent them from happening (problem-solving).
  • Balance conflicting priorities in order to manage workflows, ensure the completion of essential projects, and meet critical deadlines (task management).
  • Exhibit the ability to arrive on time (punctuality).

It may seem as if many of the above skills are elementary; however, employers in Southwest Florida – and indeed worldwide– continually report applicants lack some or all of these skills, making it difficult for their business or organization to thrive and succeed.

Hodges University is thrilled to be able to offer this truly first in the world educational product to the direct benefit of the Southwest Florida economy.

As a member of the Southwest Florida community, Hodges University will continue to play an integral role in providing opportunities and services to our local workforce. As we continue to work alongside higher education institutions and local employers, we believe collaboration is a key component of our region’s workforce development and economic opportunities.

To learn more about the PEC program, contact Hodges’ Office of Admissions at 800.466.0019.