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Contact: 

Marty Wartick, associate professor of accounting, (319) 273-7754, 266-2799, Marty.Wartick@uni.edu
Diane Depken, associate professor, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, (319) 273-7287, 266-4457, Diane.Depken@uni.edu.
Bill Stigliani, director, Center for Energy & Environmental Education, (319) 273-7150, 273-2573
Katherine van Wormer, professor of social work, (319) 273-6379, Katherine.VanWormer@uni.edu.

Complete information necessary for accurate answers to tax questions

Posing as taxpayers and phoning IRS help-lines, Treasury Department workers recently determined that nearly half the answers given by IRS workers are incorrect or incomplete. The IRS disputes the study, and Marty Wartick, associate professor of accounting at UNI, also is skeptical. She says a telephone call may not be the best way to seek help. 'One thing that's unique about tax preparation is that the omission of a single fact, or the changing of a single fact, might change the correct answer. Any tax question depends on the facts, and it's difficult to get all those facts by phone.' For example, she notes, the answer to a question about claiming a college student child as a dependent can change depending upon how many hours the student is taking.

Wartick suggests taxpayers seeking answers to tax questions first log on to the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, which features publications, frequently asked questions, and even interactive chats. 'Sometimes, just getting a bigger picture of your own question can help someone else answer it for you,' explains Wartick, who has trained UNI accounting students to work in the university's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA provides free tax assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals.

Contact

Marty Wartick, associate professor of accounting, (319) 273-7754, 266-2799, Marty.Wartick@uni.edu

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





Legacy of Miss America Pageant isn't beauty and perfection



Seventy-two years ago this month, this country crowned its very first Miss America. Diane Depken, associate professor in the UNI School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, says pageants like this one emphasize thinness and physical beauty, and thereby reinforce unrealistic and unhealthy goals for young women. And that can contribute to depression and eating disorders in young girls. Depken says mothers and other role models can help by examining their own body issues. 'We should look at the things we were told growing up. That will help us to not pass those things to our daughters. Even in the academy, I hear adult women talking about dieting and hating parts of their bodies. We can't get rid of that judgment, but we can reject reinforcing it, and we can stop saying it.'

She says other ways to help include teaching girls to critique media messages, and emphasizing body efficacy versus body attractiveness.

Contact:

Diane Depken, associate professor, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, (319) 273-7287, 266-4457, Diane.Depken@uni.edu.

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





Distributed power could help avoid black-outs

With major power outages on the East Coast and, more recently, London, energy production and delivery is once again a hot topic. Bill Stigliani, director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa, says one solution to power outages would be to have 'distributed power' where a home or business produces its own electricity with a fuel cell, as opposed to the centralized delivery of power we have today. He says such capability is still in the future, but inroads are being made on its development.

Contacts:

Bill Stigliani, director, Center for Energy & Environmental Education, (319) 273-7150, 273-2573

Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761





Teens in small high schools less likely to use drugs

Parents who want to steer their children away from substance abuse might do well to put them in smaller high schools. Katherine Van Wormer, professor of social work at UNI, says a new study by National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse indicates a series of factors that often lead teens to abuse drugs or alcohol. 'Ideally, a high school should have 300 to 600 kids. In the smaller schools, teachers tend to know the families, they give students more individual attention, and the students feel responsible to the teachers. They don't want to let those teachers down. I think it's a big mistake to consolidate smaller schools.'



She says other factors leading to drug/alcohol abuse include having too much extra spending money, being stressed by peer pressure, having parents who aren't involved in the child's life, and even being bored. A parent herself, van Wormer says increased parental involvement can help. 'We have to keep parents in the picture. These days, work pressures are so strong that parents often neglect the kids. Instead, they give the kids money, saying, 'Here, go buy what you need, get your own supper, take care of yourselves.' That leads to problems.'

Contact:

Katherine van Wormer, professor of social work, (319) 273-6379, Katherine.VanWormer@uni.edu.

Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761