October 6, 2008

Zorells Raises $5K for Make a Wish

The Partners Internship Program that grants internship awards to nonprofit organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota and northwestern Wisconsin has scheduled a series of informational sessions in North Dakota.

Eligible organizations must have 501(c)(3) or (4) status.

The schedule:

* Monday, 4 p.m., Moorhead, Minn., at PEPP office, 116 12th St. S., phone 218-236-5434.

* Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Grand Forks, The Link Community Room, 300 Cherry St., 701-746-2580.

* Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., Minot, Bremer Bank Community Room, 20 First St. S.W,, 701-825-3361.

* Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. Bismarck, brown bag lunch at Bismarck Public Library, 515 N. Fifth St., 222-6410.

* Wednesday, 4 p.m., Dickinson, Dickinson Public Schools Central Office Board Room, 444 Fourth St. W., 701-456-0002.

RSVP to [email protected] is requested. For more information, visit www.hecua.org /pip.php.

WASHINGTON " Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., recently met with Jamestown, N.D., native Charlie Kourajian to congratulate him for being named North Dakota's Experience Works Outstanding Older Worker of the Year.

"Charlie has lived a life of service to his country, his state and his community. This award celebrates his commitment to making Jamestown a better place to live," Conrad said. "Charlie has shown that you can have a positive impact on your community at any age."

A former Jamestown mayor, Kourajian, 77, now sits on the city council, where he has served for more than two decades. He also helped organize Jamestown's 125th anniversary celebration and produces a monthly newsletter called The Downtowner.

AARP Tax-Aide, a free, volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service, seeks volunteers across North Dakota to help people prepare and file their income tax returns.

Each year from Feb. 1 through April 15, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers prepare federal and state tax returns for low- and middle-income taxpayers.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Volunteers receive free tax training and reimbursement for qualified program- related expenses.

This year, 100 volunteers helped 6,110 people with their tax returns at 18 locations across the state.

For more information on becoming a volunteer, contact coordinator Muriel Peterson at 258-5993 or e-mail [email protected] People can also apply to become a volunteer on the AARP Web site at www.aarp.org/taxaide.

The North Dakota Insurance Department's State Health Insurance Counseling program has received a performance award of $32,319 for outstanding achievements in 2007 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

North Dakota's SHIC program performance ranked second in the nation and first in a group of nine similar-sized states.

"This award will allow us to reach out to more North Dakotans with questions about Medicare, medications and health insurance," Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm said. "I'm proud of the people in the Insurance Department whose hard work achieved this recognition from the federal government."

SHIC offers free and confidential help with Medicare and other health insurance. For more information, call 888-575-6611 or visit www.nd.gov/ndins.

The Anne Carlsen Center of Jamestown will be sharing its assistive technology expertise with the rest of the world by participating in Closing the Gap, an international conference that focuses on assistive technology and education, Oct. 13-18 in Minneapolis.

"This conference is a good chance for us to keep up with what is new and what is cutting edge," said Mark Coppin, Anne Carlsen Center assistive technology director. "We get to meet vendors and national speakers and develop relationships with them."

Once vendors and companies are aware of the center, they may send software or equipment to the Jamestown campus to be tested. Through this testing, the Anne Carlsen Center keeps current on new technologies, as well as giving input on ways to help individuals with disabilities.

ACC will be represented by Coppin and five other employees at the conference.

The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives was recently awarded a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Clare Carlson, N.D. state director of USDA Rural Development, said the purpose of the grant is to help foster the development of rural enterprises.

NDAREC will use the grant monies to provide technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives, particularly in the industries of alternative energy, rural cooperative housing and dairy, and to provide education and training to developing businesses.

"We are pleased to partner with USDA Rural Development in growing the rural economy of North Dakota," said Dennis Hill, executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. "This grant allows us to provide technical assistance in areas of the state that are often underserved or do not have access to other economic development services."

For NDAREC, this is the 14th RCDG grant received since 1994.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm has advised consumers with AIG insurance policies to be careful if approached to purchase replacement policies.

"AIG's insurance companies are financially sound and are able to pay claims," Hamm said. "If someone tries to sell you a replacement policy claiming that an AIG insurance company is in financial trouble, please call the Insurance Department before you make a decision."

The company's problems deal with AIG's holding company, not the individual company subsidiaries with which consumers do business, he said.

Hamm said replacing a life insurance policy or an annuity can have hidden costs and tax consequences. Other types of policies sometimes have cancellation penalties.

The local Make a Wish chapter was the beneficiary of $5,000 raised in September through a promotion at Zorells Jewelry in Bismarck.

Tim Ell, Zorells president, last year came up with the idea of inserting gemstones into balloons that customers can purchase, pop and keep the contents. Zorells donated the gemstones and advertising, and all balloon proceeds went to Make a Wish.

"It takes approximately $5,000 to grant the wish of a terminally ill child, our goal wsa to raise enough money to help grant that wish, and I am very proud to announce that we did it," Ell said.

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