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The Unforgettable Nat King Cole

By Billy Gee

I believe Nat King Cole was one of my first and most significant influences.  His silky smooth, mellifluous voice was something I emulated–consciously or unconsciously (And so did Ray Charles, early on!)
“Route 66″ has always been one of my very favorite songs by Nat, but oddly, it was the Manhattan Transfer version of this hit that prompted me to sit down with a road map and learn whether or not there even was a “Route 66,” and if so, did it actually go through a town called Joplin, Missouri, or one called Gallup, New Mexico.   Thanks for the geography lesson, Nat!  (Actually, the song was composed by a jazz piano player named Bobby Troup)
Next came “Nature Boy,” composed by a rather nature boy-looking cat whose name was Eden Abez.  ‘Story goes that Nat was working at the Lincoln Theater in Los Angeles in 1947, when Abez tried unsuccessfully to give the song to Nat.  Maybe because of his appearance Nat didn’t take the guy seriously.  Undaunted, he gave a copy of the song instead to Nat’s valet, who in turn, passed it along to Nat.  And the rest is history.
Happy Birthday, Nat!  Thank you for your music.

5 Smart Spending Tips for Tax Refunds

Lynnette Khalfani Cox

Lynnette Khalfani Cox

By Cricket Wireless and Lynnette Khalfani Cox

Get the most value from your money this tax season

For savings-savvy consumers, tax season means getting creative with how to use your federal tax refund check.

The IRS says the average tax refund issued so far in 2015 tops $3,500. While it can be tempting to hit up the mall and blow through your money the second that big check arrives, smart spenders find ways to turn a refund into a “MeFund” through thrifty money-management decisions that keep cash in their pocket.

To help you become a better saver and a more prudent spender, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach® suggests five smart ways to stretch your refund check, making your money go further and enhancing your quality of life:

1) Invest in yourself

In today’s economy, it’s wise to invest in your education, your career and your health. Each will benefit you personally and professionally. Consider using some of your tax refund check to take a continuing education class or attend a business networking event. Similarly, invest in your health by signing up for a gym, taking yoga classes, or getting the aid of a personal trainer. A healthy body can boost creativity and productivity – and hopefully lower your long-term healthcare costs too.

2) Pay off debt

A recent study from the American Psychological Association showed money is a top cause of stress for Americans. To help rid yourself of money worries, reduce debt with your tax refund. Pay off a credit card bill, wipe out a lump sum on loans, or make an extra mortgage payment to help toward becoming debt free.

3) Spend wisely by taking advantage of seasonal promotions

If you are going to spend on something you want, do it the smart way. Take advantage of seasonal promotions in order to keep much of your refund in your pocket. For instance, if you’re in the market for a new phone, go to Cricket Wireless to receive free or discounted phones, all after mail-in rebate, such as the Nokia Lumia 635.  And, if you port your number to Cricket, you may also get a free month of service after completing two months on one of the provider’s Smart, Pro or Advanced plans. Check out more details atwww.cricketwireless.com.

4) Budget for larger purchases

If you’re thinking about spending your tax refund on a vacation or must-have electronics, be sure to first budget realistically. Remember, a vacation won’t just involve travel expenses and hotel accommodations. Be sure to factor in food, entertainment and miscellaneous costs such as tips, souvenirs and parking. Before using your refund on a big-ticket purchase, you should also use helpful budgeting tools to monitor your monthly spending. Mint.com is a good online and mobile budgeting software tool that can help you track your spending.

5) Create a “MeFund”

A final way to put your money to good use is to boost your savings. Create a “MeFund” as a way to save more every month – whether from a tax refund check, through smart budgeting or value found by switching to a no-contract wireless carrier like Cricket on a nationwide 4G LTE network – so you can spend more on the things that matter to you in the future. Whatever your goal, you’ll reach it a lot sooner if you save exclusively for it.

From investing in yourself to paying down debt and being a smarter spender and saver, let tax refund season be your time to get ahead. After all, by using that tax refund check wisely, you’ll set yourself up for financial prosperity in 2015 and beyond.

 

Child Abduction Unit reunites father with his 8-year-old daughter

Tasha Montgomery and Jonathan Beasley

Jonathan Beasley with Daughter

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- An 8-year-old girl has been reunited with her father after her mother violated a court order allowing visitation rights.

In February 2014, Tasha Montgomery, 27, of San Bernardino, violated a court order when she failed to allow visitation of her daughter with the biological father, 29-year-old Jonathan Beasley of San Bernardino.

Montgomery’s disregard for the court order led to a modification, wherein the father was granted full custody of the child.

According to District Attorney Investigators, Montgomery was very transitory, complicating efforts to locate her and the child.

On Febraury 26, Investigators from San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit located the child in San Bernardino where she was taken into custody pursuant to a Protective Custody Warrant. She was reunited with her father after a separation of one year.