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Seen on Sunday morning: January 20th

January 20, 2008 9:33:33 AM PST
CHICKEN SOUP FOR SOUL, ELECTRONICS RECYCLING, E FILING, TAKE GREAT PICTURES and ENHANCED FERTILITY -----CHICKEN SOUP FOR SOUL-----

Sharing the joy of cooking with your entire family - with some ideas this morning is the contributing chef of "Chicken Soup for the Soul... Kids in the Kitchen," Chef Antonio Frontera.

1) A peanut butter banana granola wrap
2) Breakfast Fruit Pizza
3) Mrs .Wilsons Waldorf Salad

For more information, go to www.antoniofrontera.com

-----ELECTRONICS RECYCLING-----

Don't just toss them... Recycle them. With us this morning to tell us where you can donate your old electronics with the profits given to charity, is ABC news radio technology producer, Andrea Smith. www.mygreenelectronics.org

Staples

Recycling ink cartridges: You get $3 back to spend on your next purchase. Last year, we recycled more than 17.8 million cartridges through programs such as InkDrop and Recycle for Education.

Recycling your old computers and related equipment: Even if you didn't purchase them at Staples, we'll responsibly and securely recycle them for only $10 each. Our Easy Tech technicians can securely transfer data from the computer you're recycling.

Put small electronics like PDAs and cell phones to good use. Our nonprofit partner, Collective Good, will recycle/refurbish them. Look for the collection tube in store.

EcoEasy helping others. Collective Good makes low-cost, refurbished phones available in developing nations. All profits are donated to charity.

Office Depot

Since 2003, Office Depot has been running a hugely successful ink and toner recycling program in the U.S. In exchange for each eligible ink and toner cartridge recycled at Office Depot, customers are given a $3 coupon to use on their next purchase.

From the program's inception through the end of 2005, Office Depot has collected more than 15 million cartridges in the U.S. alone. In 2006, Office Depot expanded the Ink and Toner Cartridge Recycling Program so that customers could recycle even more cartridges.

Through Office Depot's Tech Recycling Service, customers have the ability to recycle all of their technology items at one time by following three simple steps:

  • Step 1: Determine how many tech products you have to recycle and purchase the appropriate sized Tech Recycling Box at an Office Depot retail store location. (Boxes are priced at $5, $10, and $15, and include all shipping and handling.)
  • Step 2: Fill the box with acceptable technology items ranging from monitors, small televisions and printers to keyboards, digital cameras and cords and cables. (For a complete list, visit your local Office Depot store or go to www.officedepot.com/techrecycling.)
  • Step 3: Bring the filled but unsealed Tech Recycling Box to an associate at your local Office Depot store.

    Cell Phone donations: www.Securethecall.org

    A non-profit volunteer organization that cleans out your info and donates the phones to senior citizen centers, battered women's shelters, police and sheriff's departments.

    You can also go to, www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline

    Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program collects no-longer-used wireless phones (as well as batteries and accessories) in any condition from any wireless service provider. People can drop off their wireless phones and accessories at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store nationwide.

    Wireless phones collected by HopeLine that can be refurbished are sold for reuse, with the proceeds going to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. The remaining phones are disposed of in an environmentally sound way.

    Dell Computers

    Will recycle any Dell branded product for free at anytime (no new purchase required). And we will recycle for free other branded products with the purchase of a new Dell. The consumer just enters some information on our site, prints out a shipping label, and packs the old system - pick up from the consumer's home is included.

    Recyclers will first look to see if the products collected can be refurbished and reused (either at a system or part level) and if not they are dismantled and recycled. Essentially the recycling process results in plastics, metals and glass, which can be reused as raw materials.

    In addition to recycling, we offer U.S. consumers the opportunity to donate working, used systems (any brand) through a partnership with the National Cristina Foundation (www.cristina.org) the donation is matched to a non-profit in the donor's community - there is no charge for this service.

    -----E FILING-----

    Electronically filing your tax return is becoming more and more popular every year. But there are some things you need to know before you log onto your computer. With tips for us this morning is Ginger Broderick, CPA and president of Broderick and Company, CPAs.

    Why should I consider E-Filing?
    The biggest benefit for electronic filing is you will receive a confirmation that the IRS has received your tax return. Usually a taxpayer is not notified of a missing return until months or even years later.

    Also, your refund is likely to be processed faster. E-Filing means the IRS does not have to re-type your tax return into their service center, which means less chance the IRS will make a mistake when processing your return.

    What Happens If I Make a Mistake?
    Computers quickly and automatically check for errors and other missing information, making e-filed returns more accurate and reducing the chance of getting an error letter from the IRS.

    What Do Error Letters from the IRS Include?
    The IRS may claim an additional standard deduction if:

  • You are blind or over the age of 65 years of age.
  • You forgot to sign and date your return
  • You forgot to include your occupation description.
  • You included too much social security benefits as taxable income.
  • You forgot to include a credit for any overpaid social security taxes withheld from your wages when working for more than one employer.
  • Your name and social security number doesn't match with IRS records.
    Any of these errors could cause an audit for you! Be careful.

    How Do I Pay My Taxes?
    Electronic Payment Options! Convenient, safe and secure electronic payments options are available. If you owe taxes, you can e-file and schedule an electronic funds withdrawl from your checking or savings account, or pay by credit card.

    What are the most popular or easiest to use systems?
    E-file works in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service's electronic filing system. Taxpayers can e-file from a computer or by using a tax preparer who is an approved Electronic Return Originator (ERO).
    The state return in transmitted to the IRS along with the Federal return. When the federal return is accepted, an acknowledgment (electronic confirmation) is sent from the IRS.
    The IRS then transmits the state return information and when the state return is accepted, an acknowlegment is sent from them to the taxpayer as well.
    The most popular personal individual programs are: Turbo Tax TaxCut
    These products are for basic individual returns and provide tax tips and resources for preparing your taxes. They include tax articles and tax forms, information regarding tax law changes, including a tax preparation checklist.

    The cost can range from $30-$100 depending on the complexity of the tax return.

    IMPORTANT: Do not wait until the last minute to file your tax returns. Last year, there was a backlog in the computer systems because so many people waited until the last minute to file their taxes. (The IRS later granted a week extension for online filers but that is not a guarantee for this year). You can file at any time but the payment of taxes is not due until April 15th.

    But I Don't Want the Government to Have Knowledge or Access to My Banking Information! If the IRS wants you..., It will find you! E-Filing is the way of the future. More and more individual and business forms are available to file electronically. Be the first one on your block to do the E-Filing. Learn now and you will be ahead of the game when it becomes required by the government. States are following the Federal Government requirements in e-filing procedures as well.

    Any more questions regarding e-filing: Check out the IRS website: www.irs.gov. Or call 800-829-1040 if you have any questions.

    -----TAKE GREAT PICTURES-----

    Making memories last through pictures - with us this morning to share tips for taking pictures of your family, friends and pets is take great pictures.com photographer, John Bentham.

    Be prepared: Have the camera with you, if the kids are doing something cute they wont wait while you go back in the house for the camera. Also keep the camera batteries charged up.

    Fill the frame: Get closer, many people take pictures from too far away. You don't have to include head to toe of everyone. Just get close enough to eliminate objects you don't want in your picture.

    What do you see in the viewfinder?: Look carefully at everything you see, the background, the foreground and the subject. Look at the edges of the frame, not just the subject in the foreground. Make sure you don't have plants or telephone poles growing out of the subjects head. If so move the camera before you take the picture. Make sure your own shadow is not in the picture. Be aware of things like the horizon. Is it level? Try taking pictures on an angle.

    Horizontal & Vertical: Take photos both in vertical and horizontal format. Experiment with shooting at eye level, and from a high or low viewpoint. Move yourself around to get the most interesting shot.

    Take multiple frames of the same thing (3-4). Each one will be a little different and one will be better than the others. Take a couple posed shots AND a few candid shots of the same subject/scene. You can always delete the rejects.

    Children have a limited attention span, and limited patience for photos. Don't try to pose them too much, keep it spontaneous. Make it fun by having them shoot some of the photos. There is no wasted film when shooting digital.

    Pets: Shoot extreme close ups of pets using the Digital-Macro feature available on many point-and-shoots cameras.

    Cats: Catch them when they're sleeping. They don't like to pose - You've heard the expression "Like herding cats". Dogs are more social, they like to be included, photograph them playing with the family.

    Mix it up a little: Children with pets, adults with children etc. Don't forget to include yourself in a few pictures using the self-timer.

    Natural/Existing light vs. flash: Use Natural Light instead of flash whenever possible. Shoot outside or near bright window light. Your pictures will look more natural. Flash changes the look of a photo, try the shot with and without flash.

    Newborn children: Don't Use FLASH, their eyes are too sensitive for the first few weeks. (Also applies to puppies & kittens).

    Red-Eye: Sometimes it's better to turn OFF the RED-EYE feature. There is a delay between the pre-flash which reduces red-eye and the actual exposure. As a result often you miss the shot. If you turn this feature off you can fix red-eye on the computer later.

    Windows/Mirrors: When shooting through a window or into a mirror, you get a reflection of the flash back into the camera. Avoid this by shooting on an angle to the glass/mirror.

    Mistakes are OK: You might make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes make good pictures.

    For more information, go to www.takegreatpictures.com or www.johnbentham.com

    -----ENHANCED FERTILITY-----

    Enhancing your fertility through acupuncture, it's a unique treatment that's getting results. With us this morning is Lara Rosenthal, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbologist in downtown Manhattan.

    Why do people turn to acupuncture?
    It's more natural - you are using the body's own energy and not adding drugs into the system. Also it's a relatively inexpensive way to boost the odds, alone or in conjunction with medical treatment.
    And it helps the whole body come into a better balance so people may sleep better, have more energy, and generally feel better.

    How does it enhance fertility?
    Studies show it improves blood flow through the reproductive organs, calms the nervous system and reduces stress, and may help regulate hormone balance. All of these are tremendously important for achieving peak fertility.

    What's the evidence that it works?
    Studies show it dramatically increases pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF. It also has been shown to help women who don't ovulate to ovulate and conceive.

    Does it hurt?
    The needles are about as thin as human hair so most people feel very little or nothing. It's something like tweezing a hair.

    How often?
    1-2 times a week for 3-6 months.

    Cost?
    NYC - $50-200/session

    How long are the sessions?
    Anywhere from 30 min to a little over an hour. The first visit is usually longer, like 1-2 hours, so collect the medical history.

    You mentioned some things that are important to know regarding fertility that you can do yourself:

  • If you are female, know when you are fertile - it is only about 3 days a month.
  • For men - avoid Jacuzzi, steam room, bike riding. Sperm is sensitive to chemicals, so some prescription drugs and recreational drugs may kill sperm

    Some fertility Do's and Don't's:

  • Eat breakfast and proper nutrition - this balances your blood sugar and if your hungry your body initiates a stress response which you don't want since it throws it off kilter. depends on individual needs - most can reduce or eliminate sugar -Focus on vegetables and fruits, don't be a couch potato
  • Stress factor - in wartime women stop menstruating
  • Regular Exercise & Sleep - like acupuncture it moves and increases blood flow plus energy and an added benefit is it also reduces stress, improves libido
  • Eliminating alcohol and stop smoking because smoking messes with blood flow.


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