Help tax helpers in Duluth

Community Action Duluth, the kind folks who help prepare your taxes for free, need a little help of their own.

Volunteers are needed to help Community Action Duluth register customers, perform intake and exit interviews and assemble returns. Volunteer tax site assistants will not prepare tax returns.

For those who are interested, training and certification for tax site assistants takes place from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday and Jan. 23 at 2424 W. Fifth St., Suite 102, Community Action Duluth’s main office.

No tax experience is necessary, all training in tax site procedures and volunteer ethics will be provided by Community Action Duluth.

For more information about volunteering or about Community Action Duluth, go to communityactionduluth.org.

Like art? Prove it

An abandoned storefront, a handful of young artists and two years turned Prove gallery into a cultural force, and now they want to take it to the next step.

Using the popular crowd-funding website Indiegogo.com, the artist cooperative is seeking $5,000, and its campaign will end on Oct. 28. According to the gallery’s campaign page, $1,000 will go toward obtaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, $2,000 is earmarked to renovate the gallery’s work space and the remainder set aside to pay artists’ stipends, according to the campaign page.

Perks for contributing include a personalized, hand-written “thank you” with a hug (for those who will accept a hug), mix tapes, vinyl, figure drawing classes or even a print from Patricia Canelake, or an original painting from Adam Swanson.

Prove gallery describes itself as a cultural organization dedicated to the role of art exhibition as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Its stated mission is to foster appreciation of contemporary arts and provide cultural exchange, networking opportunities and educational outreach through interaction with contemporary arts.

Minnesota soldiers don’t get credit

If you served in a combat zone in 2009, you might be missing out on some money.

More than 2,300 Minnesota soldiers still have not claimed their 2009 military credit, the state Department of Revenue reports. The credit is $120 for every month served. There’s no catch, except that you do have to file by Oct. 15.

To receive the credit, soldiers must file Form M99, “Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone,” and attach corresponding Form DD-214. If still on active duty, soldiers can attach leave and earnings statements for each month of qualifying service. They must have been a Minnesota resident during the time of service to qualify.

Tornado telethon raises $15,614

More than 200 callers — one from as far away as Louisiana — pledged their support for the people of Moore, Okla., on Tuesday during a telethon to raise money for the tornado-ravaged city.

The two-hour telethon was organized by the Red Cross and broadcast by Northland’s NewsCenter on KBJR-TV 6, KDLH-TV 3 and Range 11.

The American Red Cross has sent more than 800 volunteers to the Moore area where they are providing food, clothing, emergency shelter, and health and mental health services.

Cirrus Aircraft made a corporate contribution of $2,500 to the effort and donated a one-hour plane ride for three people for the individual who made the largest gift. The winner of that prize was Theodore Marken of Duluth.

If you didn’t catch the telethon, you still can donate by calling (800) 733-2767.

That’s a lot of pancakes

Pancake Day chairwoman Barb Tanski told us the Lions Club served about 300 more people at last week’s pancake fundraiser than last year’s, so we knew the bottom line was going to be pretty good when the cash was counted.

Well, this week fellow pancake producer Brian Thompson tells us how much better they did: They raised $83,000 for people with sight, hearing and diabetes needs. Compare that to $70,000 last year.

Thompson says thanks to all the volunteers — “as well as the entire community for coming out for pancakes!” About 9,400 customers were served.

Scam text

An alert caller wanted to give readers a heads-up about a scam that’s hitting people via text message. The warning rang a bell with the Eh? desk because we received the same message.

On Sunday night, a generic text message came in from an unfamiliar number. It said something to the effect of “problem with account” and provided a call-back number. This Eh? desker just ignored the text by deleting it. Our curious caller dialed the call-back number and got a recording, which said there was a problem with his debit card and asked for the card’s 16-digit number. Knowing it was an obvious scam, the man hung up. He later checked with his bank, which assured him that nothing was wrong with his account.

So promise Mr. Eh? you won’t fall for these hokey problem-with-account text messages and e-mails, capiche?

Tax help available

Need help with your tax returns?

Community Action Duluth’s free tax sites has been up and running since late January with the help of about 90 volunteers.

Already this year they’ve helped more than 600 people who have claimed $1.45 million in tax refunds, according to Community Action Duluth.

Individuals and families earning up to $49,000 per year can get federal and state returns prepared free until April 15. The locations are:

  • Community Action Duluth, 19 N. 21st Ave. W. Doors open at this walk-in clinic at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 8:45 a.m. Saturdays.
  • Laura MacArthur Elementary School, 720 N. Central Ave. Call (218) 726-1665 to schedule Monday and Wednesday afternoon and evening appointments. Priority is given to taxpayers with dependents, disabilities and to seniors. Child care is available.
  • Ordean/United Way building, 424 W. Superior St. Call (218) 726-4796 to schedule Thursday afternoon appointments.

Taxpayers who have missed out on past refunds or filings can also get help from Community Action Duluth from April 10 through Aug. 14.

Say no to Novak

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, no, you are not the rightful heir of Andrew Novak and his lost millions.

It’s a scam, and a weird one, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Apparently someone’s been sending e-mails telling people that the Commerce Department has money for them in the Unclaimed Property Program. The weird part is the e-mails aren’t even in English.

“The e-mails reported to the Commerce Department use the subject line ‘Heritage’ and are written in Slovenian,” the department said in a news release.

The e-mails urge relatives of “Andrew Novak” to claim their inheritance and, of course, to provide personal information that you’ll regret sending.

Just remember, government agencies don’t send e-mails out of the blue requesting personal info. If you get something like that, be very suspicious.