Have any unused electronic items (old cell phones, computers, laptops, wiring, printers, peripherals, etc.)? Dispose of them safely at the upcoming Electronic Waste Drive in Fredericksburg on Saturday, April 16 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Gillespie County Law Enforcement Center (behind the Pioneer Library). All electronic devices will be accepted except analog televisions. For details, contact Sherryl Brown at 830-990-9305.
Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm will host its annual Old Time German Smokehouse Secrets demonstration this Saturday, February 5 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the farm at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site on Hwy 290 E. (16 miles east of Fredericksburg). See interpreters demonstrate how this area’s German settlers cured bacon and stuffed sausage as you observe local meat processing methods of the early 1900s. This event is free to the public. For information, call 830-644-2252 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/lbj.
Recent congressional actions have affected many real estate issues. Consult your tax advisor if you think any of these general provisions might apply to you and for special requirements rules and effective dates.
- The ability to deduct state and local sales tax instead of state and local income tax has been extended through 2011.
- The 2010 income tax rates will be retained though 2012, with a top rate of 35% on ordinary income. The current capital gains and dividend rates have also been extended for the next two years; 0% for anyone under the 25% tax bracket, 15% for those above the 25% tax rate.
- For those of you with children, the child tax credit, dependent care credit, earned income credit and the adoption tax credit have all been extended, as have education incentives such as the student loan interest deduction and the tax credit for qualified tuition and fees.
- The estate tax is back with a $5 million per person exemption. Unused exemptions of a deceased spouse will transfer over to the surviving spouse. Estates over $5 million will have a top rate of 35% for estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes trough 2012. For estates of decedents who died in 2010, they may choose to apply the new rules or have no estate tax and use the modified basis rules of 2010.
- Individuals can still make tax free distributions to charity up to $100,000 per taxpayer directly from their IRA’s.
- Bonus depreciation has been enhanced: 100% for qualified purchases after 9/8/2010 and before 1/1/2012, 50% after 12/31/2011 and before 1/1/2013. It may make more sense to use the deduction in future years when we expect taxes to be higher.
Also, don’t forget that the county deadline for agriculture and homestead exemptions is April 30, 2011. You can pick up applications at the Appraisal office located in the basement of the courthouse. If you have just purchased a home your appraisal will arrive in the mail and make sure the stated value is correct. If you have questions call our office, 830-997-9591.
Friday, January 21st, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Showtime! Rockbox opens their new season this weekend with performances Friday, 8 pm, Saturday, 4:30 & 8 pm and Sunday at 1:30 pm. For information and box office, please visit www.rockboxtheater.com
Save Energy This Winter
11 Ways to Cut Energy Costs in 2011
1. Turn down the dial.
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. With each degree you lower, you can save 2-5% on heating costs. Layer warm weather clothing while at home and you won’t even notice the difference. At night or when leaving the home for an extended period of time, lower the thermostat to 55-60 degrees. An automatic thermostat will make this even easier! Just program the temperatures based on your daily schedule. Doing this will knock off 5-20% on your heating bill.
2. Don’t overreact to a cold home.
When you come home after a day of work to a frigid home, or are home in the middle of the day when your thermostat is programmed to 55, don’t overreact and crank the heat up to 75. You only need to heat to 68 degrees and setting the thermostat to 75 won’t heat the home any faster than if it’s set to 68. If you are home before the furnace has turned on, you can simply override your thermostat to 68. Be patient and throw on a sweater. You may not realize when the thermostat reaches 68, and before you know it you’ve been heating your house at 7 degrees higher than you need – or want – to pay for!
3. A clean furnace is an efficient furnace.
Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict air flow and increase energy use.
4. Hot water can still be hot and save you money!
Set your water heater to the normal setting or 120 degrees. You can save up to 11% on heating costs!
5. Go green with ENERGY STAR®.
Consider replacing old gas appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified products. If your appliances are more than 12 years old, you should consider the upgrade. The Consumer Energy Center recommends replacing your old gas appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified products. Gas water heaters are labeled with an EF number the higher the EF, the more energy efficient the appliance will be.
6. Beat the cold weather dryness.
Use a humidifier to add moisture to the dry winter air in your home. Moister air feels warmer, so by using a humidifier, you will be more comfortable in your home even when the thermostat is set to a lower temperature.
7. If you don’t use it, don’t heat it.
Close off unused rooms such as spare bedrooms. When the room is not in use, close the floor or wall registers and keep the doors closed. If you have guests coming to visit, you can re-open everything and the room will warm up in just a couple hours.
8. Let the sunshine in.
Open south or east facing window curtains and blinds in the morning and during the day to take advantage of sunny days. At night, close window coverings to keep the heat in.
9. Let your radiators and heating vents do their job.
Don’t block your radiators or vents with furniture or draperies. Keep them free of dirt and dust and position your furniture so the heat can fill the room.
10. Cold water can do it better.
Cold water does more for your disposal. Run cold water when you are using your garbage disposal and it will work even better. Hot water uses energy to warm the water. Cold water saves energy, plus it solidifies grease, moving it more easily through the garbage disposal and pipes.
11. Cook small.
Prepare meals with small appliances rather than firing up the range. A microwave, toaster oven, electric skillet and slow cooker use much less energy than the range. Plus, the smaller appliances heat up much quicker. You can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80% when using your microwave for small portions. So when you’re preparing smaller recipes or just need a quick warm-up, the smaller appliances are perfect!
Country Subdivisions and Tracts Closings: Vacant properties with no home on property with country subdivision restrictions
Farm and Ranch Closings: Most have no restrictions on property and vast majority are 25 acres or more
Residential: Includes in town properties as well as homes in the country
Judging for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s 2011 International Wine Competition took place this past November, with 1,789 wines from 591 wineries and 16 countries competing and resulting in 1,147 medals awarded. Becker Vineyards’ 2009 Viognier took top honors in the Top Texas Wine competition.
In addition, the winery earned honors for its Reserve Cabernet Franc, Claret and Reserve Chardonnay (silvers) and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Vintage Port and Roussanne (bronzes). Congratulations! To learn more about this local winery, visit www.beckervineyards.com
Find beauty at the Fredericksburg Rockhounds Club’s 42nd Annual Hill Country Gem and Mineral Show this Saturday, January 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 16 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Pioneer Pavilion of Lady Bird Johnson Park on Hwy 16 S. in Fredericksburg. There is no admission charge and parking is free. For information, call 830-990-9823 or visit www.fredericksburgrockhounds.org.
KFAN Texas Rebel Radio’s 9th Annual Windows on Texas Music Festival and Industry Conference, presented by ARRIBA! Salsa, Riba Foods, opens at 7:00 p.m. this Thursday, January 13 at the Auslander Biergarten and Restaurant and runs for four days (through Sunday). This free event is happening at various venues around Fredericksburg and showcases up-and-coming musicians from across Texas.
While the music events are free during the four days of this festival, purchased tickets are needed to attend the final night’s Fabulous Sunday Night Wrap-Up Show on Sunday, January 16, from 5:00-10:00 p.m. at the Crossroads Saloon and Steakhouse. For information, including locations, times and performers, or to purchase tickets for Sunday’s wrap-up event, call 830-997-2197 or visit www.texasrebelradio.com.