Many thanks to Bob Sheeley for hosting our Valentine Week meeting at his office. This has become a tradition and Bob always does it right. The members enjoyed visiting and breakfast from Nuevo Leon.
Certified Arborist, Jim Breaux of Personal Touch Tree Service, informed us about best practices for taking care of our trees. Jim’s company offers an extensive menu of arborological services and can tackle any tree problem, no matter how large or small. A new tree should be pruned to train it for growth and a mature tree usually needs trimming every 2 – 3 years. There is no need to paint the surface of a cut. He recommends that trees be fertilized by liquid injection and says that a “weed and feed” grass fertilizer should never be used around trees. His current tree of choice is an Autumn Blaze Maple.
Tuesday’s presenter, Phillip Thomas, entered the Dallas film industry in 1970 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. He started work at a Dallas PBS station as a documentary filmmaker for Jim Lehrer’s “Newsroom.” That experience led him to freelance as a director/editor cameraman, and by the late 70’s was directing national commercials and filming the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls Live” concert. Phillip shared several of his films, including “Bobcats in my Backyard” which has quite a YouTube following. His areas of renown include time-lapse and aerial cinematography and have been utilized in productions which include an IMAX film for The Science Place, Oliver Stone’s “The Doors,” films for the Canadian Park System, and Garden of the Gods.
One of the best ways to see a city is through the arts. Lynn Hood showed us more of Dallas when she took us on an artists’ walk of downtown Dallas with a PowerPoint of many of the outdoor sculptures. If you’re looking for something fun to do on a nice day, take the Dallas walking tour and visit these beautiful outdoor sculptures. From Pioneer Plaza to Deep Ellum, plan for about 2-3 hours depending on how quickly you go.
Kalpana Murthy of WSI Kriti Web Solutions was Tuesday’s presenter. Kalpana has been assisting DBA with its website for the past several years. Her company creates and designs websites and develops online marketing strategies tailored specifically for a client. She has recently updated the DBA website and demonstrated some of its enhancements. She recommends that DBA develop a content plan for maximum utilization of its website. The following are social media links for DBA that need content:
Kalpana recommends that each DBA member post a review of DBA at the following Google Review Link:
Kalpana Murthy continues to assist DBA with monthly updates to the website.
In his TED talk, activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.
Is your County Residential Property Tax Appraisal too high? Prissy Maher, Ebby Halliday Realtors, provided insights as to how to effectively protest an appraisal. She recommends filing the protest immediately and having the meeting with an appraiser as soon as possible after the April 15th initial filing date. You should have comparable properties and pictures to offer as proof of the value of your property. Obtain the comparable properties that the county utilized and contrast these with your comparables. She does not recommend pursuing a hearing with the appraisal board as it rarely awards any relief. Prissy is glad to assist in obtaining comparable properties and highlighting the differences.
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. In her TED talk, she explained her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success
After five years of teaching seventh graders, she went back to grad school to complete her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now an assistant professor in the psychology department. Her research subjects include students, West Point cadets, and corporate salespeople, all of whom she studies to determine how “grit” is a better indicator of success than factors such as IQ or family income.
So what’s all the fuss about CBD oil? As explained by Connie Smith and her staff, Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep. CBD may also offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain.
TED talked at Tuesday’s meeting via Susan David, a Harvard Medical School psychologist, who studies emotional agility: the psychology of how we can use emotion to bring forward our best selves in all aspects of how we love, live, parent and lead. Drawing on more than twenty years of research in the field of behavioural science, David reveals how ‘emotional agility’ is the key to flourishing in work and life. She says: “The discomfort associated with emotions is the price of admission to a meaningful life”.
Jim Poluikis, our resident car expert from Sewell Lexus, provided some insight as to how dealerships are able to make such offers. Basically, it is due to their having the information necessary to determine your current vehicle’s value which is inputted to computer programs that identify the best time for you (and them) to make such a deal. They can readily access information that permits them to determine a vehicle’s value based on sales of similar vehicles and the service/repair history of the particular vehicle.
Senior Corporal Greg Phillips of the Dallas Police Department was our guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting. Officer Phillips encouraged neighborhood awareness of crime statistics and referenced dallasareawatch.com and dallaspolice.net as resources. These websites make crime incident data available to the public. The City of Dallas uploads the data onto their Dallas Police Department web site every morning about 6:00am. The data consists of public information about crimes reported the previous day as well as updates to earlier crime incidents. In commenting on the current Amber Guyger situation, Officer Phillips made it clear that the Dallas police are trained to stop a threat, not to kill. The City of Dallas recently provided a significant raise to its officers, making police salaries competitive with surrounding cities. Officer Phillips says that this will certainly assist in reducing the current shortage of officers.
Beau Lotto was our TED talk presenter at Tuesday’s meeting. He is a professor of neuroscience who utilizes color games to spotlight what you can’t normally see: how your brain works. He uses color and our perception of what we see to emphasize why we see what we do in order to create the possibility and agency in deciding what to perceive next. In his TED talk Lotto states: “I have pretty much two aims: to create doubt through the awareness of perception, and to create space for holding that uncertainty. At its core, that’s what science is: it celebrates not knowing in an attempt to find better questions.” We often operate on “autopilot” and miss significant awareness of our sightings. Lotto’s work focuses on the biological, computational and psychological mechanisms of perception. He has conducted and presented research on human and bumblebee perception and behavior for more than 25 years, and his interest in education, business and the arts has led him into entrepreneurship and engaging the public with science.
Thanks to Dr. Dennis Cianciulli for hosting Tuesday’s meeting at his office. Dennis has been providing chiropractic care for over 25 years. He recently moved to Carrollton from Houston when he purchased an existing practice. Chiropractic care focuses on a more holistic method to obtaining pain relief by using a hands-on approach to assist one’s body in a natural healing process. It focuses on diagnosing and treating issues within the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Dr. Cianciulli utilizes numerous treatment methods including cold laser therapy and intersegmental traction. After relief from pain is addressed, a strengthening program is utilized.
Lynn Hood of LJH Interiors introduced us to “Decorating 101”. Lynn founded her design company in 1975 and has since assisted untold numbers of clients through every detail of the design process, from simple paint color schemes to elaborate furnishing layouts and lighting. An interior designer has more formal training than an interior decorator and utilizes many factors to create unique interiors which reflect a client’s tastes and lifestyles. Style, balance, color, patterns, and a budget are all essential considerations for creating desired results. Current trends include the use of wallpaper, gold accents, bold colors, and oriental rugs. Navy is the new black and gray is out. Lynn prides herself in creating attractive, affordable spaces that both meet the client’s functional requirements while considering and working within their budget.
Is it currently possible to have a free and fair election? Tuesday’s TED talk raised this and other questions as it examined the Brexit vote and how it was influenced by social media. The speaker opinioned that the Brexit referendium basically took place on Facebook and was influenced by individuals and companies that had their personal agendas, which violated electoral laws. She called upon Facebook to release data that might identify the violaters.
In the discussion that followed, it was acknowledged that each of us has the duty to do our own due diligence when faced with an electorial decision. Likewise, we should refrain from publishing information that we have not verified as being factual.
Three years ago, Bryan Brown and his son, Blake, decided they wanted to own and operate a roofing company that “did it the right way”. They left the roofing contractor they were working for and Brown Roofing Solutions was conceived. Their company has steadily been growing, with over 80 roofs being repaired/replaced last year. They only utilize the best of the best roofing products and do their utmost to make sure every customer is completely satisfied – as their’s is primarily a referral based business. In addition to roofing, they provide services for almost anything external – fences, gutters, siding, etc. If you need repairs/replacement for anything external on your home, don’t get a Homer, call Brown Roofing Solutions.
Mike Mitchell of Millennium Mortgage Services Corporation has observed a significant change in the manner in which mortgage loan applications are processed. Everything is now automated and it is a rare occasion when Mike actually meets his client. After 15 years as a real estate broker, Mike decided to enter the lending side of the real estate business. His company acts as an online resource for those seeking a residential or commercial mortgage. He has numerous sources for loans and provides personalized mortgage solutions; fast customized quotes; great rates; and service with integrity. The “full documentation” loan remains as the best option for the lowest rate, although lending restrictions imposed after the 2008 mortgage crisis are easing somewhat and new programs are being introduced to assist those with bad credit. If you are in need of a mortgage loan, contact Mike.
The designer of DBA’s current website and logo, Kalpana Murthy, soke to us about current trends in digital marketing and potential upgrades to our website. Kalpana founded Kriti Web Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of WSI, in 2009. Her company brings state-of-the-art strategies and solutions to leverage the power of the internet and help businesses to broaden their reach online in their target market. In reviewing the analitics of the DBA website, Kalpana reported that the site had 449 unique views within the first 3 months of the year, with an average stay on the site of 2 minutes. She suggested that DBA implement a Google My Business Page, which is a free business profile listing on Google My Business. She also suggested utilizing banners to increase information and to capture leads by including a lead form. Including videos and testimonials on the website will increase our web presence. Overall, the analitics indicated that the website was performing well.
Do you remember your “word” for 2019? Bruce challenged us to recall our word and provide an account of how successful we have been in implementing our word. For those in attendance their respective words were: Jim- Planning; Robin- Rejuvenate; Elaine- Wellness; Lynn – Intentional; Guy- “Do More” for others; Brian- Personalization; Bruce- Relationships; Bob S- Confusion. Our guest Mike Mitchell said his word would be “faith”.
Jim Poluikis of Sewell Lexus explained the benefits of the Lexus One Pay Lease. This particular lease is a 3-year lease that requires the lessee to make one substantial payment at the time of signing. After 3 years, the vehicle can be returned or purchased for a price that is generally less than the current market price for the vehicle. This technique works extremely well for individuals who have received an insurance payment as a result of a total loss of their vehicle and who don’t want to spend the difference to purchase a new vehicle. Before considering this option, Jim makes sure the potential lessee’s driving habits are well known, as it wouldn’t be advisable for someone who has a high yearly mileage. Whether it be a new or used car, Jim always familiarizes himself with a potential customer’s driving habits in order to provide the best option.
Michelle Kubitz of Amegy Bank discussed the ins and outs of a HELOC. (Not to be confused with Walter Brennan’s definition of a HELOT in the movie, Meet John Doe.) Michelle’s bank can do a HELOC loan for up to 80% of the loan to value of a homestead. Like all credit, the rate for a HELOC depends on many factors, including: credit score, first or second lien position, ability to repay, etc. The beauty of a HELOC is that there are no closing costs (under $250,000) and it can be repaid at any time, without penalty. It is best to secure a HELOC before retirement, due to the ability to repay requirement.
He calls it the “The CPA Retirement Act” but it is officially known as “The Tax Reform Act of 2017”. Bob Sheeley, CPA, described some of the changes implemented by the new tax laws that will affect 2018 tax returns. These include a higher standard deduction amount and a simplified Schedule A, which will result in fewer taxpayers being able to itemize deductions. A cap of $10,000 now exists for the deduction of sales and property taxes and significant changes were made to “miscellaneous deductions”. When Bob wants to question the IRS about a particular provision, he expects to wait 4-5 hours on the phone before being able to talk to a live representative. It all adds up to extra time and income for his retirement account.
If called, go. Bob Nienstadt felt the call to travel to Ukraine to assist
with his church’s mission work. He answered the call and traveled
there this past August. For the better part of a week he assisted with
reaching the people by leading worship, Bible Study, and visiting
church members and friends. The people were very kind and
appreciative of his willingness to share.
Thanks to Bob Sheeley for hosting an open house at his new office location. Bob decided to punt on the ask the CPA questions. He will address them at a subsequent meeting. Bob did share that he played his first 9 holes of golf since his cancer surgery 5 years ago.
GUESTS: Former member, Dr. Karen Allen and Bob’s landlord, Houston Goodspeed