Saturday, April 24, 2010
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
First of all, I do believe tomorrow is the fourth of July, NOT the fourth of January. Snow has not been seen in Minnesota since March, so why is the photo of this home still in the MLS? The white wire reindeer just scream "Buy Me".
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A recent incident that is now recurring is forcing me to write this post about copyright of photos used on this site. (Notice the "Do not Copy" notice on the leftside of this blog.) To some people, it is ok to go onto the Internet and lift photos of other peoples work. They then use these photos on their websites without permission. They either do not care or don't know the law, but either way, what they are doing is stealing....oh, and Copyright infringement.
As a visitor to this blog, I am sure you can easily see that I travel around the area taking photos of historic homes (and other places around the Twin Cities), then post them to my blog with a story about the home. It's what I do, and the whole reason for this blog, which is to educate locals and others about the great historic resource we have in Minnesota through our homes and buildings. Taking these photos takes time, energy, patience, and creative thought.
What many people fail to realize is that even though the Internet is public domain, the content is not free for all to use. The general rule of thumb (in this instance) is that once a photo hits a hard drive, it is considered copywritten. The photo does not have to have a copyright notice on the photo, nor a big C. In order to use a photo, one must obtain permission from the source. So for those people out there that "right click and save" and then use the photo, you are committing copyright infringement.
Any excuse you give does not matter. Taking something created by another without permission is wrong.
I could go into greater detail, but I don't want to clutter up my nice blog with a post such as this. I just want you to know, that I work hard to write this blog, so please do not steal my stuff. Simple as that.
If you want to learn more about Copyright law as it pertains to blogs and websites, please visit a great lady's blog regarding copyright law, Lenn Harley, for in depth articles on the subject.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A great place to visit in Minneapolis is Minnehaha Falls on the east side of town. The evening I took this photo last weekend was Prom night, so we had to find a spot around the prom goers getting their photos taken, in order to take a good picture of the falls.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I can tell my readership has suffered because of this. Google analytics tracks my blogs and lets me know how many visitors I have daily. Needless to say, my readers have decreased. Google has dropped my site in page rank just this past week. Oh, well, what can you do? Obviously, writing a post everyday does really matter if you want your blog to rank high in Google. If it ranks high, more people visit you and possibly come back to read some more. The more people who visit, the more Google likes you. It is a vicious cycle!
So I would love for those that read me to stick around and visit every now and then. Or drop me a line and let me know what you love or hate about the blog. Trust me, I miss blogging everyday, but never can find enough time to do it anymore.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
On Friday, the art piece "Spoon and Cherry" at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, got its cherry back, after a few days of getting a new paint job. I took this photo yesterday, which was hard considering the amount of photographers there and prom goers.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Below is a press release sent to Minnesota Realtors regarding some important tax law modifications that will negatively impact homeowners in our state. Please take the time to read the below information and take action via the link below. All of us need to come together to protect our real estate market.
From the Minnesota Association of Realtors:
"On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives Tax Committee released a "delete all amendment" to HF2323 and added provisions that are negative for real estate in the Omnibus Tax Bill. Authored by DFL Representative Ann Lenczewski, it contains a number of tax law modifications that hurt all Minnesota home owners. We need you to review and distribute this "Call to Action" to your clients, customers, and friends.
BACKGROUND: The Minnesota legislature and many other state governments find themselves in a situation familiar to many Minnesota households – their expenses have outpaced their revenue. Whether it is your family budget, a business budget or government budget, when expenses are higher than income you have to make choices. Since 1992, even with all of the Budget Shortfalls Minnesota has faced, the spending has increased each and every year. In fact, Minnesota State spending has gone from $14.5 billion in 1992/93 to $34.6 billion in 2008/09 – that’s a whopping 138 percent increase.
To resolve the budget shortfall, legislators have a number of options: 1) raise taxes to cover the government spending; 2) reduce spending to equalize the revenue projected; 3) raise revenue and reduce spending. The House/Senate DFL plans focus on option 3 – raise taxes and reduce spending. Governor Pawlenty has proposed a plan focused on reducing spending and raising revenue without raising taxes.
HOUSE TAX BILL HURTS REAL ESTATE. The DFL House Tax Plan raises revenue by cutting a number of income tax deductions. Of significant concern to Minnesota REALTORS® and homeowners, the DFL House plan eliminates two major real estate tax deductions: the Mortgage Interest Deduction and Real Estate Property Taxes. The bill also eliminates provisions of the Relative Homestead Tax.
Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID)– a feature of the tax code since 1933, the MID has helped numerous generations achieve the American Dream of owning a home. A significant public policy objective for decades, homeownership stabilizes families, neighborhoods and communities. The House DFL Tax Bill eliminates the MID for homeowners and replaces it with a "housing credit" for qualified homeowners. The maximum credit is $420, which is equal to 7 percent (7%) of up to $6,000 of mortgage interest paid during the taxable year. However, no credit is applied to the first $4,000 of interest paid. Therefore, a homeowner must pay at least $10,000 in MID in order to receive the full $420 credit. As an example, if a homeowner has mortgage interest of $8,000 in the tax year, the credit equals $280. ($8,000 - $4,000 = $4,000 x 7% = $280).
This provision hurts young families disproportionately because mortgage debt loads are highest when people are establishing their households. This provision changes the financial plans numerous families have made when purchasing a home and increases the financial difficulties many are facing during this economic downturn. At a time when housing is finally getting a financial foothold why eliminate a tax provision that has helped millions of families achieve the "American Dream?"
Real Estate Property Tax Deductibility –This public policy provision has been included in the tax code since 1933 and allows taxpayers to deduct property taxes paid from their income. The House DFL Tax Bill eliminates the deductibility of real estate property taxes at a time when local property taxes continue to increase faster than Minnesotan’s income.
Relative Homestead – If you own identical houses, with identical values, with identical tax rates you would assume you would pay identical taxes – Right? Not if the House DFL Tax Bill becomes law. In a provision of the bill, authored by a DFL legislator, families that provide housing to other family members will pay more taxes on the second home. The goal of the provision, as stated by the legislator, is to stop parents from buying homes for their college students. MNAR pointed out that this is a small piece of the overall program and instead the proposal will be hurting families trying to assist other family members who may have gone through job loss, divorce or other financial difficulties. Isn’t it better to have families provide for families instead of government?
These provisions have been designed according to the author to make the Minnesota tax system more progressive and to raise revenue to fill the state’s pending budget shortfall. Because real estate related public policy provisions of the tax code benefit the upper 50% of tax payers – Top 50% begins at $40,061 according to the Tax Incidence Study (http://www.taxes.state.mn.us/legal_policy/other_supporting_content/2009_tax_incidence_study_links.pdf ). At a time when the housing market is beginning to stabilize, this House DFL sponsored proposal sends the wrong message to struggling Minnesota households.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® has a long and respected position that government, at all levels, needs to "Live Within Your Means." Just like families sitting around the kitchen table trying to make ends, Minnesota's legislative body should not be adding to the long-term financial burden of Minnesota homeowners. The House DFL Tax Bill penalizes families who have invested in the American Dream and provide for the backbone for stable communities.
ACTION REQUEST: To fight this unbelievable proposal we are asking that you take three steps:
- Please contact your legislator and let them know how you feel about this proposal. Please find attached a list with legislator contact information or use this link: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/Districtfinder.asp
- Forward this email to your clients, customers and friends. Let them know what is being proposed and give them the web address above to review the bill.
- Go the extra mile and CALL your legislator about this tax bill. Let him/her know your concerns and how it will impact your clients, your family and your business. Let your Representative know that it is time for our elected officials to "LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS" by prioritizing spending and not raising taxes.
You can access the bill summary (48 pages) at: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/bs/86/HF2323.html