South Sound dads fight the mighty IRS, and win

The OlympianFebruary 17, 2014 

Faith Freeman of Olympia sits down to work as her father, Loren "Mike" Freeman, drops her off for her job in the Utilities Department at Olympia City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. "We let her do as much as she can on her own, and are here to help when she needs it," Mike Freeman said.

TONY OVERMAN; STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

YAY: CRUSADING DADS

A group of South Sound fathers have proved that determined citizens can “fight city hall” and win. In this case, Loren Freeman and Eugene St. John and others took on the Internal Revenue Service in a multi-year battle to win a tax break for the care of their disabled adult children.

The fathers fought for two years to change an IRS rule taxing state Medicaid payments for children’s “difficulty of care” expenses to live at home. Last month’s IRS decision to reverse that policy will have national significance.

It’s encouraging to know that persistence for a just cause can ultimately triumph, even with the IRS.

 

BOO: DIRTY TRICKS

We are 10 months away from the 2014 general election, but the dirty campaign tricks have already begun. The National Republican Congressional Campaign has purchased hundreds of Internet addresses that might apply to Democratic candidates. They have started creating mock websites at these URLs and some people have mistakenly donated money to the GOP, thinking they were supporting a Democratic candidate. We wish both parties would run positive campaigns this year.

 

YAY: GREAT MESSAGES

When passionate leaders speak about the issues that matter most to them, their words often transcend the moment. A speech by Billy Frank Jr. at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Boldt Decision on treaty fishing rights, included a quote of that nature.

Frank said, “You’re the next generation to take the fight on for your culture and your way of life. You’re an Indian, and you gotta be proud — proud of who you are.”

That last line is a great message for anyone.

 

YAY: MUSIC EDUCATION

For 28 years, Grant Sears has inspired students in North Thurston Public Schools to love and understand music. He has brought the joy of music into hundreds of young lives. Recently inducted in the Washington Music Educators Association Hall of Fame, Sears said teaching is “something that I’ve always loved to do.”

There’s a necessary emphasis on math and science education these days, but Sears reminds us that music and the arts should not be forgotten.

 

BOO: TELEPHONE SCAMS

Think twice about returning a missed call from some exotic location. The state Attorney General’s Office says scammers hope consumers will return the call out of curiosity and be charged $19.95 for an international fee plus $9 minute. Most of the calls originate in the Caribbean. The AGO recommends not returning calls to numbers you don’t recognize.

 

YAY: SHOWER AT WORK

Employees who shower during the working day are happier and more productive, according to an eight-week study in England. The public relations firm Lucre conducted the study with a range of businesses that gave employees a shower break. The businesses reported a 42 percent increase in productivity, and a corresponding 33 percent boost in creativity. Don’t throw cold water on this idea.

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