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Protect Your Identity This Tax Season

Taxes are due April 15, and as busy professionals work to complete their tax returns, cybercriminals are stepping up their identity theft efforts. We want to make sure our customers know how to spot potential identity theft scams this tax season. It’s easy to let your guard down during a busy time like tax season. Cybercriminals take advantage of this, so it’s important to be alert to the types of fraud that are common this time of year. IRS impersonation scams involve phone calls or emails from someone claiming to work for the IRS. They may tell the victim that there is an issue with their tax return or that they need to update tax filing information. Following are tips on how to spot these scams. ·Don’t trust emails or phone calls. The IRS will not contact you by email or by phone to confirm information on your tax return. Ignore any such communications, and report suspected IRS impersonation scams to the IRS. ·Protect your Social Security number. If a criminal obtains your SSN, they …

Enjoying the Simple Things in Life

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In September I celebrated a significant birthday – the big 50!I’m not one who gets too worked up about getting older, I would rather focus on being thankful my feet still hit the ground each morning.When my husband asked how I wanted to celebrate my milestone birthday, I requested to keep it simple and fun.After pondering a few options, my party of choice consisted of the following: Guest List:My husband and myself Location:Clay County Fair Party Food: Concession Food Birthday Cake:A Spudnut Doughnut (more concession food) Present:A $28 ticket to see Maddie Poppe in concert that evening.If you don’t know Maddie, she won Season 16 of American Idol and is from Clarksville, Iowa.
As the celebration came to a close and I reflected on my day, here were some takeaways:1) you must pick your corn dog stand wisely; 2) a walk through the animal barns resulted in a miniature horse and Holland Lop bunny being added to my “someday” wish list; 3) Maddie is amazing!She performed a full concert despite wa…

IBA Board

In May I was selected to be a board member for the Iowa Bankers Association and my 2-year term as a board member started in October of this year. I am honored to serve the association in this capacity, and I am looking forward to the opportunity. Before I was elected to the board, I served on the Legislative Committee for the association. In this roll I helped select positions the IBA would take on certain political issues. I had several opportunities to work with our elected officials at the state level and went out to Washington D.C. once to meet with our federally elected officials. The legislative committee was a very interesting roll and I learned a lot about the association and issues that were important to our industry. The legislative committee was a passion of mine and I will continue to work with our elected officials to advocate for our industry. In my new roll on the board of directors I am looking forward to giving back to the banking industry which has provided me with m…

….where the deer and the buffalo roam! Where seldom is heard…..

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This past week I got the amazing experience to travel to Montana with my Aunt Jill and my mother Laura. I have always wanted to take a trip out there, especially after my aunt and mom had been out there a few years ago. This trip was filled with new experiences, amazing people, beautiful scenery, and a lot of laughter.
When we got to Montana my mom and my aunt Jill’s friend picked us up at the airport in a truck and trailer loaded with a horse. Needless to say, I felt at home from the beginning. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate with us the first few days. We spent some time seeing the amazing scenery full of mountains, valleys, and all sorts of wildlife. Eventually when the weather did clear up, we got to go riding. This was easily the best part of the trip for me. I could spend my life in a saddle, and I would be happy.
We spent the first half of our week at a beautiful ranch of one of our friends, riding, shooting prairie dogs, spending a lot of time with some great people laughin…

Steps to a Budget-Friendly Holiday Season

Shopping for the holidays can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead can help make sure that you don’t overextend yourself when shopping for loved ones. Check out these steps for a holiday season that won’t break the bank.
1.Make a list. Write down the names of everyone you wish to buy a gift for this holiday season and the items you would like to purchase or the amounts you would like to spend on each one. 2.Set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts for your loved ones this season, and make a pledge to not go over that amount. 3.Research. Start checking prices on the items you listed in Step 1. Go window shopping at stores and check prices online. Add them all up and compare this amount to the amount you budgeted for in Step 2. If it exceeds the total you want to spend, it’s decision time. Go back to Step 1 and either cut some items off your list or choose less expensive gifts for certain people. 4.Give your time and tal…

“We Bought My Sister at the Airport”, Our Adoption Story

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A doctor’s mis-diagnosis nearly took my life when I was eight years old.  It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned the full extent of the damage that was done from a ruptured appendix.    After eight attempts at in-vitro fertilization, we began the adoption process.  This will be easy, right?...…wrong.  There are so many things to learn, decide and complete.  What type of adoption, domestic or international?  What country?  It costs what?  We have to fill out an application.  What paperwork?   More paperwork?   It takes how long?  We have to wait?  Fingerprints at the Federal Building in Des Moines.  A physical exam with a doctor and a blood test, seriously?  A social worker will visit us, and we need personal recommendations.  We must attend a class?  Why doesn’t everyone who wants a baby have to go through this?  This must be like the application process for a job with the FBI!  This is not fair!
The paperwork started and the wait began.We had a checklist that I referred t…

State Fair Camping

I’ve been going to the Iowa State Fair for as long as I can remember.Up until just a few years ago it was typically just a single day trip up to Des Moines to watch a pig show with a return trip home at the end of the day.A cinnamon roll, a meal at the Pork or Beef Producers, and about half a dozen lemonades made it a day.I’m big on routines and this was my state fair routine.
The last few years I’ve been actively involved helping Jacob and the Scotton family exhibit their pigs at the state fair.The first year they showed in Des Moines I planned be at the fair for 3 or 4 days with them. My wife asked me where I planned to stay at night.“I’ll drive back and forth from home or stay at a friend’s house in Des Moines”, was my response.“Well, they’ve offered to let you stay with them in their camper on the fairgrounds” was my wife’s response, meaning, my idea wasn’t very good, without saying so directly.
I wish I could remember the exact words of my response, but I’m sure it would be inapp…