On Saturday afternoon Minnesota taxpayers breathed a sigh of relief -- last week, the Minnesota Department of Revenue announced they would not accept Turbo Tax prepared returns because of an apparent security breach of the very popular tax software. Over the weekend the MN Department of Revenue stated they would allow residents of the state to again use the software for their 2014 tax returns.
Two Minnesota residents reported their taxes already being filed on Turbo Tax, leading many to believe the tax software had been breached. But after checking their system, Intuit, the manufacturer of the software Turbo Tax, claimed their system was not breached and they believe the personal data was stolen elsewhere.
Because Turbo Tax is such an inexpensive and easy method of filing taxes, this news of Turbo Tax's reinstatement in Minnesota means many residents can easily take care of their taxes before the April deadline. Users of the software can take comfort knowing that Turbo Tax is still safe and effective, and that Intuit "implemented new and targeted security measures."
Tax season is never fun or easy -- but for those who use Turbo Tax, it just got a little easier.
Around the holiday season, there are definitely those who get into the Christmas spirit more than any of us can imagine -- Jon and Brittni Wawra from Greenfield, MN, are two of those type of people. The not only set up a massive, 10 foot Christmas tree in their living room, but they decorated it with over 7,000 lights and then set up a system to control all the lights electronically to coordinate with popular music from 2014.
They posted their tree flashing to music on YouTube and now it has over two million views -- this will definitley put them on Santa's "nice" list for spreading so much Christmas cheer!
Jon has a computer engineering background which set him up to make such a marvelous tree. He is a modern day Clark Griswold, but with a lot more flare. Their video is gaining steam across the country and bringing a bit of noteriety to Minnesota's celebration of Christmas.
In Minnesota, ice fishing is a huge deal. For those who partake in the recreational activity, falling through thin ice is always a fear. For fishermen Bruce Halvorson and Paul Monahan, that fear became a reality on Long Lake when the pair broke through the ice and were unable to pull themselves out of the water.
Thankfully, two Minnesota teenagers, Cody Clements and Alex Stark, both 16-year-olds, heard the fishermen's cries for help and promotly ran to the source of the pleas for help. Stark used a shovel to help one man out of the freezing water, while Clements used a rope from his portable ice house to save the other.
For their heroic efforts, both teens were presented with citizens' awards for bravery by Long Lake Fire Chief James Van Elyll.
Without these two teens acting fast, this story would have definitely ended tragically.
The 2015 Minnesota State Fair is shaping up to be magical for country music fans, specifically those who love country music superstar Carrie Underwood. The beautiful singer with the powerful voice will play a concert at the famous Grandstand come next fall.
Who is Carrie Underwood? Come on, seriously? She is only one of the most successful musicians of the past decade, after winning American Idol in 2005. Since then she has won six Grammys, has more than 64 million worldwide record sales and 18 number one singles. Her accolades don't stop there -- and come August 2015 Minnesotans will be able to soak in all this superstar has to offer.
Even though us Minnesotans can hardly fathom the warmth of an August evening, fans of Underwood will need to be ready to get their tickets for her 2015 State Fair concert (set for Saturday, August 29th) in the coming week -- tickets go on sale December 15th and are priced from $50-$65. Fans can buy tickets at the fairgrounds themselves, visit http://www.mnstatefair.org/, etix.com, or call (800) 514-3849.
Even though I myself won't be attending the concert, just the fact that I will be in the same state as the wondrous Carrie Underwood, even if for just one day, I consider that a win.
Minnesota was ranked the ninth best overall state in the union by Forbes magazine. The ranking only means good things for Minnesota, which was put in the top ten for the second year in a row (though in 2013, the state was ranked eighth overall).
The gross state product for 2013 was $312 billion, something that factored into the 2014 top ten ranking. The magazine ranked the states on a total of 36 factors, from economic climate to business costs to labor supply.
Forbes cites Minnesota's great quality of life and strong economic climate as the main reasons for the excellent ranking. The quality of life in the state is measured by the health of the state's citizens, the low poverty rate and the well regarded schools. Though, quality of life surely doesn't measure the frigid temperatues in December and February as a factor.
The state is home to the headquarters of companies like Target, General Mills, 3M and Medtronic. With a 92.4% percentage of adults with a high school degree, the state has has the fourth highest in the country.
Minnesota continues to be a strong economic hub for the midwest region which bodes well for all the citizens of this great state.
Did you know the Mall of America is drastically expanding? In the coming years, the MOA will more than double in size. Yes, you heard that correctly, the massive mall is going to double!
With the latest addition, Radisson Blu, the top-notch hotel connected to the mega mall, the MOA is set to expand by leaps and bounds in the coming decade.
A ‘Class-A’ office building will soon be connected to the MOA's north entrance, making a fantastic location for businesses who want to be near the airport, close to plenty of amenities, and be set up in brand new office space.
The first phase of the coming expansion will add on another hotel, more mall space by adding another mammoth atrium, and even an expansion to “Underwater World.” The sea life aquarium will see a $2 million addition, a 15,000 gallon sting ray exhibit which allows visitors to touch the many creatures of the sea.
All this growth plays in tandem with the upcoming Super Bowl that will be hosted in the state in 2018 – though the MOA’s expansion isn’t tied directly to the world event, with the media spotlight on the Twin Cities, having an even larger mall that will amaze all the visitors seems like a worthwhile upgrade.
Introducing 3624 Zane Avenue N. Crystal, MN 55422. The charming 1 ½ story home with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and 1710 sq ft is complete with numerous updates and curb appeal. The contemporary kitchen is a chef’s dream with stainless steel appliances, beautiful bamboo flooring, granite countertops, custom cabinetry and space to cook!
The floor plan features two generous size bedrooms on the main with the master bedroom on the upper level. The finished lower level walk out has been recently updated as well from floor to ceiling with recessed lighting. The spacious family room and recreation room, currently features a wet bar, are located on the lower level and have been tastefully finished. Don’t forget the immaculate laundry room.
Entertain on the deck that sits above the neighboring homes and overlooks the large, fully fenced, park like setting back yard. 3624 Zane Ave N is located in a quiet neighborhood that is down the road from Welcome Park and the Crystal Community Center, blocks away from shopping & restaurants and provides easy access to highways and downtown.
In the coming weeks, Homes of Minnesota and our team of Realtors will represent one of the most substantial properties in our successful history. The “Bleu Valley Estate” is one of the most prestigious equestrian properties in the state of Minnesota – many stakes-winning thoroughbred racehorses have called this estate their home.
Located in Stillwater, this 70+ acre property rests just minutes away from the Gateway Trail extension. The paved trail is home to both bikers (non-motorized) and pedestrians, but also has plenty of unpaved trails for horseback riding. “Bleu Valley Estate” is only a few minutes away from the St. Croix River Valley and downtown Stillwater.
The property features a gorgeous log-sided home that overlooks the vast countryside and breathtaking scenic views.
The “Bleu Valley Estate” property features: a T-shaped barn with two 36' X 84' sections, an attached 55' x 60' indoor arena, 75' x 100' outdoor area, 36' x 48' hay or equipment shed, 14' x
28' machine shed, 8 pastures featuring run-in lives tock shelters and Miraco automatic livestock water dispensers. The estate also has over 3,000 feet of underground water lines and 17,500 linear feet of fencing. The estate also has the utmost privacy, with the surrounding properties being secured in a Land Trust. The front 20 acres of the property also have plenty of potential for future development. To learn more about this once in a lifetime opportunity to own this property, visit www.bleuvalleyestate.com
If you are a medical doctor or even a resident or intern, there is a great mortgage loan program that might work for you! Traditional mortgage loans require 20% down payment if you want to avoid paying mortgage insurance, but this special loan program for Doctors allows qualifying applicants to avoid paying mortgage insurance even with a down payment as low as 5%. The even better news is that this program extends to loan amounts up to $1,000,000 and even as high as $1,500,000 with a 10% down payment.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. That day and those following are always filled with events to check out around the Twin Cities. While Thanksgiving is usually about family, food and football, the day can feature less traditional activities. Most are closed on Thanksgiving, but the Twin Cities offers plenty to do on the busy day.
The Depot in Minneapolis has a gorgeous ice skating rink that will host guests on Turkey Day. The rink opens November 23rd if you can't wait that long.
The Mall of America hosts a 5k Walk to End Hunger Thursday morning, before any lavish turkey dinner. The annual Life Time Fitness Turkey Day 5k kicks off from downtown Minneapolis in the morning as well. So, you can't do both, you'd have to pick one marathon or the other.
Phalen Park in St. Paul has over a million Christmas lights and lively displays from November 23rd until January 1st. Thanksgiving Day could finish perfectly, segueing nicely into Christmas.
And of course, you could spend the waning hours of Thanksgiving in line waiting for deals on merchandise early morning Black Friday. Bundle up!