Bill Harding: Moving Wall scholarship going on

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This scholarship is available for seniors and/or juniors this spring.

The scholarship will be awarded by winning the essay contest - 500 words - on "What the Moving Wall means to me."

The Moffat County High School English Department, through Sylvia Duncan, will administer the program at the school. A team of teachers will select finalists from all the entries submitted. The deadline for submission is March 31.

Those finalists will present their entry at the American Legion and VFW meetings in April. Those service organizations will select the winner based on their written and oral presentations.

The scholarship will be presented at the May Awards night. The winning essay will then be submitted to the Colorado Veteran and American Legion's The Observer along with pictures. The recipient also will be asked to be the featured speaker at the Memorial Day services at the Craig cemetery Monday, May 26.

2007 income tax, 2008 tax rebate information

Fellow veterans, (A fellow veteran's advocate sent the following to me)

It has recently come to my attention that some veterans do not file tax returns, because VA Compensation and Social Security is not taxable, under most conditions.

As we understand it, this year you must file for 2007, even if you had no taxable income. The reason for this is to qualify for the economic stimulus package (tax rebate) that President Bush signed into law. Therefore if you don't have to file and do nothing, that's what you'll get from IRS - nothing.

But if you want your share of that incentive money to stimulate the economy, file a 2007 Income Tax Return and then wait for you check about May or June.

Here is a short version of the program:

According to Robert Longley on About.com, Congress has passed the $170 billion economic stimulus bill, highlighted by Tax Rebate checks. Based on details released by the government, here's how the 2008 tax rebate will work.

When Will the Checks be Mailed?

The Treasury Department has stated that the IRS will begin mailing the rebate checks starting in early May. The Treasury estimates it should take about 10 weeks for all the checks to be mailed. People who fail to file their 2007 tax returns by April 15, 2008 and request a filing extension may not receive rebate checks until as late as December.

Who Will Get Tax Rebated Checks?

Tax rebate checks will be mailed to about 117 million middle- and low-income taxpayers. Thanks to amendments made to the bill in the Senate, some 20 million retirees living on Social Security and 250,000 U.S. veterans receiving disability benefits also will get checks. Single tax filers with adjusted gross incomes less than $75,000 and couples filing jointly with AGIs less that $150,000 will qualify for full rebates. Remember that your AGI is not your annual salary or income. Your AGI is your taxable income from all sources including wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividends, etc. minus IRS-allowed adjustments to income.

How Much Will You Get?

Qualifying single filers (AGI less than $75,000) will get rebates of up to $600. Qualifying couples (AGI less than $150,000) will get rebates of up to $1,200, plus $300 per dependent child, with no maximum on the number of eligible children. People who owe no income taxes, but earned at least $3,000 in income from Social Security and veterans disability will get rebate checks of $300 for individuals and $600 for couples.

What if You Made More than the Maximum Income?

You will still get a check, but it will be reduced by 5-percent of the amount you earned above the AGI income caps of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for couples.

For More Information Call the IRS.

Becasue everybody's tax situation is different, and final qualification for the rebate checks will be decided by the IRS based on each individual's 2007 tax return, all specific questions regarding the rebate checks should be directed to the IRS. You can call the IRS at: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040 Hours of Operation: Monday Friday, 7 a.m. 10 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Roul Francis King Jr. I am still receiving mail from the VA medical Center in Grand Junction for you. I have also just received some prescribed medicines. If you, or anyone that knows where you are, will contact me I will get these items to you.

Pentagon cites MIA deal with China

Robert Burns, AP writer

WASHINGTON - China has agreed to a long-standing U.S. request for access to sensitive military records that Pentagon officials think might resolve the fate of thousands of U.S. servicemen missing from the Korean War and other Cold War-era conflicts, a Pentagon official said Monday.

The arrangement is scheduled to be publicly announced Friday in Shanghai after a final set of talks to work out certain details, said Larry Greer, spokesman for the Pentagon's POW-MIA office. The deal marks a modest step forward for U.S.-China military relations, which have been strained in recent years, in part by sharp U.S. criticism of China's military buildup. China has periodically cooperated with the Pentagon on matters related to the search for MIAs, but it has balked at repeated requests to open its military archives for documents of interest to the Pentagon. Peter Rodman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who dealt with the Chinese on the military archives issue when Donald H. Rumsfeld was defense secretary, said in an interview that the agreement is a positive step.

"It has special meaning to our military," Rodman said, because it could answer lingering questions about the fate of servicemen whose families have waited for decades to learn more.

Rodman said the significance of the deal will depend on exactly what China has agreed to provide and how it is done. China entered the Korean War on North Korea's side in the fall of 1950 and succeeded in driving U.S. forces out of the north. Chinese troops killed and captured thousands of American troops; the Chinese also managed many of the POW camps established in North Korea during the war. More than 8,100 U.S. servicemen are still unaccounted for from the Korean War.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans' benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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