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Track & Field Compete At Spire Invite And Samford Invite

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 4:48pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two weeks since bringing home two trophies from the New Balance Invitational, the Mississippi State track and field teams will divide action for the weekend at the Spire Invitational and Samford Invitational.

Mullen, Prescott, Hughes Speak at Metro Jackson Kids Fair

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 4:19pm
JACKSON, Miss. – Over 2,000 high school kids throughout the state of Mississippi turned out to listen to Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen and graduates Dak Prescott and Jay Hughes give a motivational speech on the importance of education and career planning on Wednesday at the Jackson Convention Complex.

Bulldogs Gear Up Spring Season In Florida

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 3:10pm
STARKVILLE, MS – Following a record-breaking fall performance with two first-place finishes and a No. 1 ranking, the Mississippi State women's golf team looks to continue its success at the Florida State Seminole Classic in Tallahassee.

How Will Individual Shared Responsibility Affect Your Tax Return?

Lifestyles - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 1:22pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Unless you've been way out of touch, you probably know that a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that taxpayers have qualifying health care coverage. Those without will need to qualify for an exemption, or pay a penalty. This "Individual Shared Responsibility" provision applies to both individuals and families. So, while preparing your tax return this year, here are some things you ought to know.

If in 2014, you, your spouse and everyone else on your tax return (dependents) had "minimum essential coverage," which includes most employer-sponsored plans, as well as programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you're in fine shape. Just check the appropriate box that says you are insured for the full year. If there were months that someone on your return had no coverage, that person needs to qualify for an exemption or pay a penalty.

To qualify for an exemption, one of the following situations must exist:

* The individual does not have access to affordable coverage because the minimum annual premium available is more than eight percent of the household income.

* The gap in coverage existed for less than three months.

* The individual qualifies for other exemptions that include a hardship or being a member of a group that is exempt from health coverage (for example, incarcerated inmates or members of a federally recognized Indian tribe).

Without coverage or an exemption, you'll have to pay a penalty for each month you were not insured. This penalty is calculated and reported on your tax return. In general, the payment amount is the greater of 1 percent of your household income over the filing threshold for your filing status, or $95 per person ($47.50 per person under 18 years old). This caps at a family maximum of $285 for 2014.

You'll owe half the annual payment for each month you or another person on your return doesn't have either qualifying health care or an exemption. Sound complicated? Taxes are. That's why so many taxpayers are thrilled to turn their taxes over to a paid preparer.

If that's your plan this year, be careful to make sure your preparer is licensed and required to complete continuing education to keep up with the changing tax code. Enrolled agents ("EAs") are licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, must pass an exam administered by IRS and complete IRS-approved continuing education. You can trust your taxes to an EA -- locate one in your area on the searchable "Find an EA" database at www.naea.org.

Virtually Everywhere -- Your Cash May Be a Thing of the Past

Lifestyles - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 1:18pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Coins jangling in a pocket is likely to be a thing of the past if companies that promote virtual currency (VC) have anything to say about it. The attraction of using VC stems from massive credit card hacks to retailers, such as Home Depot and Target -- all of which have raised questions among consumers about how safe their personal information is.

Currently, consumers have much of their information on display with their credit card company of choice and, for anyone with mediocre knowledge of technology and a laptop, it means open season. This is why it makes sense to consider how blockchain technologies (i.e., virtual currency) may help.

One of the problems is that there are only about 80,000 merchants worldwide that recognize and use VC, but from a business standpoint, it is worth exploring. Not only does it fit into a global economy, but it also offers consumers a higher level of security. The upside for retailers like Overstock and Dell (which support the use of virtual currency) is that it reduces credit card and debit card fees from 3 percent to 1 percent after the first $1 million in sales, which in turn defrays outgoing business costs and puts that money back into retailers' bottom line.

While much has been made of VC, it is clear that companies are using it and creating better ways to bridge old-world payment systems and new, coming technological advances. As an example, MovoCash (www.movocash.com) is a digital currency that allows consumers to link peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers that can be spent in-store, through e-commerce and m-commerce.

Consumers link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported merchants. Eliminating the need for merchants and consumers to adopt closed-loop systems like near field communication (NFC), such as that used by Apple Pay.

Another benefit of MovoCash is that consumers' personal credit or bank information is not stored on merchant servers, but rather in a PCI-compliant environment, where tokenized form factors are generated to secure transactions using gateway technology and existing merchant POS terminals.

MovoCash follows bank rules and regulations, which are designed to protect consumers and merchants. The reality is that both are hesitant to adopt VC, which is why MovoCash is working on a product feature called BARK -- Bitcoin Account Relay Key -- which will allow consumers to convert Bitcoin to MovoCash (in a PCI-compliant environment) and enable them to spend anywhere Visa & MasterCard are accepted.

In this way, MovoCash catapults itself to the forefront of payments by integrating the old-world way of doing payments with new-world technology and advancement, with the opportunity to take a bite out of a $190 billion annual fraud problem for consumers, banks and merchants.

Eric Solis is a fin-tech entrepreneur and innovator, with three award winning start-ups under his belt.

Bulldog Women’s Tennis Returns to Action This Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:42pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After an almost two week hiatus, the Mississippi State women's tennis team (4-1) will resume regular season play this weekend, hitting the road for a pair of matches against Winthrop (2-5) on Friday, and a neutral site match against East Tennessee State (5-0) on Saturday.

Soccer Opens Spring Slate March 6

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 8:49pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State will host four of five spring exhibitions beginning March 6, head coach Aaron Gordon announced Wednesday.

5-0 Softball To Host February Freezer This Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 5:29pm
Coming off of an opening weekend of success and growth, the young Mississippi State softball team will look to build on its 5-0 start as it hosts the February Freezer at the MSU Softball Field, Thursday to Sunday.

No. 13 MSU Heads To Lexington To Face No. 10 Kentucky Thursday

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 4:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following one of the most impressive wins of the Vic Schaefer era, No. 13/15 Mississippi State looks for an even bigger victory Thursday when it travels to Lexington for a Bluegrass State showdown against No. 10 Kentucky.

3 Ways to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge in 2015

Lifestyles - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 2:41pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - In case you are unaware, major changes to the shipping industry are afoot this year, which could cost businesses big bucks.

To better understand the transformation that is coming and find ways to save, read on:

* Beware of FedEx and UPS's New Pricing. The two shipping giants recently implemented dimensional weight pricing for all Ground shipments. What that means for business owners is that the cost of shipping a package will be based in part on how much space it takes up in a truck, as opposed to just its weight. As a result, sending large, lightweight items by UPS or FedEx could end up costing as much as 50 percent more. With this new pricing in place, businesses should re-examine how they send merchandise or risk paying extra to ship some of their packages. Companies should consider alternative carriers, such as the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), to offset this new pricing model.

* Get Lower Rates With the Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service chose to forego a price increase in January and also recently lowered rates for Priority Mail, making it an affordable option for packages weighing as much as 40 pounds. Priority Mail is a great alternative to FedEx and UPS Ground, which takes five to six days to deliver coast-to-coast. To compare, Priority Mail generally takes only two days to cross the country.

* Make Money on Returns. According to a survey conducted by Endicia, a provider of ecommerce shipping solutions, 89 percent of shoppers say they will revisit an online store following a positive returns experience. To this end, business owners need to offer a convenient returns process or risk losing customers to competitors. One option is to use Endicia's Pay-on-Use Returns, which allows retailers to create USPS return shipping labels to include in an outbound package or send via e-mail upon request from your customer. Postage for the label is deducted only if and when it is actually used. This means business owners won't have an outlay of money in pre-paid shipping labels and can take advantage of low shipping rates from the USPS.

"It's important for businesses to take a look at their shipping mix this year since there are many significant changes happening in this industry," said Endicia Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Harry Whitehouse. "If not addressed, increased shipping fees will certainly impact a business's bottom line."

For more small business shipping tips, visit endicia.com/edge.

5 Ways to Be Sweet and Healthy on Valentine's Day

Lifestyles - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 8:00am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Get healthier this Valentine's Day by following these five healthy alternatives from Kaiser Permanente's registered dietician, Ricia Taylor. For more information, visit kp.org.

See full-sized image here.

Bulldogs Drop Heartbreaker To Alabama

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:17am
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Another hard-fought Southeastern Conference battle went the visitor's way Tuesday night.

Thirty MSU Student-Athletes Named To SEC Fall Honor Roll

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 4:59pm
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Thirty Mississippi State student-athletes were named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league office announced Wednesday.

Baseball Announces Schedule Changes For Opening Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 4:05pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – To ensure an enjoyable fan experience for baseball fans, the Mississippi State baseball team has moved up the times of its first three games of the season at Dudy Noble Field.

MSU Climbs Four Spots To No. 15 In USA Today Coaches Poll

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 3:26pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A day after climbing four places into the Top 15 of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Mississippi State women's basketball team made a similar rise to 15th in Tuesday's USA Today Coaches Poll.

NFR legacy strong in Guymon

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 1:04pm

GUYMON, Okla. – There is a powerful rodeo legacy in Texas County, Okla.

It might be the vast grasslands or the Western heritage that encompasses the landscape. It might be that there is a terrific proving ground just miles away from the county seat, at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Cort Scheer

Cort Scheer

The reality, though, is that this vast land is home to many of the greatest cowboys who have ever made a living on the rodeo trail. Those that still compete are already making their plans to return home for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“I love that rodeo,” said Cort Scheer, the 2014 Reserve World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider from Elsmere, Neb. “I’ve never won it, but that’s on the bucket list. In fact, it’s closer to the top of the bucket list. It’s pretty much a hometown rodeo.”

Scheer is a four-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and is one of five men who competed in Las Vegas this past December with ties to the area. He was joined by Taos Muncy, Tyler Corrington, Joe Frost and Trevor Brazile.

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

Brazile, the 21-time world champion who earned steer roping and all-around gold buckles in 2014, grew up near Gruver, Texas, just south of Guymon. He is the King of the Cowboys with world titles in three of four roping disciplines and a record 12 all-around championships. In Vegas, Brazile won more than $191,000 in team roping and tie-down roping.

Now living in Decatur, Texas, he is a multi-time Pioneer Days Rodeo champion. That’s one of a couple of comparisons he shares with Muncy, a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider from Corona, N.M. While a sophomore at Panhandle State, Muncy won the college bronc riding championship, then followed it up in December with the world title.

Joe Frost

Joe Frost

He added another championship in 2011. His run in 2014 was worth a sixth-place finish. He is one of just three men to have won a college championship and a world championship in the same discipline in the same calendar year, joining all-around titlist Ty Murray and bull rider Matt Austin.

Frost had a chance at that run. As a junior at Panhandle State, he won the college bull riding title, then qualified for the NFR. From Randlett, Utah, he pocketed nearly $105,000, winning two go-rounds and finishing second in the average. He also finished as the Reserve World Champion.

Corrington is from Hastings, Minn., but now lives near Gruver. He earned more than $26,000 in Las Vegas and finished 11th in the world standings. His traveling partner, Scheer, had a big payday in the City of Lights, cashing in for more than $93,000. He won the opening round and finished second in the average.

Now they’re eyes are set on Texas County the first weekend in May. For Scheer, he’ll carry on a strong legacy that comes with being a Panhandle State rodeo team alumnus.

“With that, you’ve got motivation and pressure,” he said. “You want to make them all proud. I don’t know if I’ll ever do what they did, but I’m dang sure going to try.”

That’s quite a quest. In all, cowboys with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle own 12 gold buckles: saddle bronc riders Billy Etbauer (5), Robert Etbauer (2), Muncy (2), Tom Reeves and Jeff Willert, and team roping heeler Jhett Johnson.

“It’s an honor to ride in front of those guys,” Scheer said. “Guymon is made for bronc riding. A lot of guys say it’s South Dakota, but after the Etbauers moved down here from there, this is bronc riding territory. There are a lot of old guys around this area that rode broncs and rode them right.

“There ain’t no sugar-coating going on around here. You have a lot of world champions on the back of the bucking chutes. You can just get better because of the level of competition.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
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