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Independent, unbiased and fair news about the Leasing Industry

Sales Professional-Nationwide
Are you producing over $250,000 a month and
want the ability to reach $1 million a month?

Ascentium Capital is self-funded equipment finance company focused on vendor programs across many industries, as well as end-user transaction sizes ranging from $10,000 to $500,000 per schedule.

We offer unlimited earnings potential based on your ability to innovate and produce results within an entrepreneurial sales environment. In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package which includes Medical, Dental, Vision, 401(k), Profit-Sharing as well as paid holidays.

If you believe that you have what it takes, please send your cover letter and resume to:
Join a resource-rich company with over $300,000,000 in lending capacity for your customers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today's Equipment Leasing Headlines

  Classified Ads---Controller/Credit
Bad Guy Bruce Donner sentencing rescheduled
 Searching for New CLP Foundation Executive Director
  Classified Ads---Testimonials
   Career Crossroad— "Thinking of going into another industry."
    Classified Ads—Help Wanted
 Leasing 102 by Mr. Terry Winders, CLP
  Fair Market Value as a Purchase Option
   Bank Beat---Bank Brokerage and Investments to Increase
    by Christopher Menkin
     Surprising 2012 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index
      41 Months plus $2.5 MM for Ponzi Scheme
  Top Stories February 13--February 17
   Kingwood, Texas Adopt-a-Dog
News Briefs---
 U.S. .Asia Stocks Fall Amid Greece Rescue Talks
  Bettie Kelley Sousa New Chair American Board of Certification
   Will your agri-legacy be a monstrous estate tax bill?
    Denny’s Sees Same-Store Sales Turnaround

Broker/Funder/Industry Lists | Features (collection)
Top Ten Stories Chosen by Readers | Top Stories last six months

   Soda Drinkers Beware!
   SparkPeople--Live Healthier and Longer
    Sports Briefs---
      Winter Poem
       "Gimme that Wine"
       This Day in American History
           Daily Puzzle
               Weather, USA or specific area
                 Traffic Live----

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release” and was not written by Leasing News nor information verified, but from the source noted. When an article is signed by the writer, it is considered a “by line.” It reflects the opinion and research of the writer. It is considered “bias” as it is the writer’s viewpoint.




Classified Ads---Controller/Credit

(These ads are “free” to those seeking employment or looking
to improve their position)

Chicago, IL
experienced in lease accounting, operations, management, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Seeking position with equipment lessor. Would consider contract assignments or relocating. 
Southeastern, MI
Controller & Management experience w/ equip lessors &broker. MBA, CPA w/ extensive accounting, management, securitization experience with public and private companies. Willing to relocate. 

Southern CA
20 years exp. as hands-on leasing CFO, managing accounting, treasury, FP&A, including securitizations, Great Plains/FRx, budgets, risk management.  MBA.  Also available as interim Controller/CFO, consultant. 

Credit and Collections Manager
Seasoned Small ticket Credit Manager with remote office based out of Chicago, IL willing to relocate seeks challenging high volume challenging position. | Resume


Free Posting for those seeking employment in Leasing:

All “free” categories “job wanted” ads:



Bad Guy Bruce Donner sentencing rescheduled
by Christopher Menkin

Bruce Donner, 52, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., owner of Donner Medical Marketing Inc., a New Jersey corporation that purported to be a medical equipment vendor, and forged invoices for Schwartz at Allied Health Care Services, sentencing has been rescheduled again, this time for March 8, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey before Judge Susan D. Wigenton.

Donner's lawyer, Keith Biebelberg of Biebelberg & Martin, Millburn, New Jersey, said he looks forward to "putting forth a vigorous and hopefully persuasive presentation" on Donner's behalf for a more lenient punishment. It won’t make the leasing companies who were screwed very happy.

Charles K. Schwartz, 52, the founder of Allied Health Care Service was convicted of the same mail charge as Donner which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Schwartz was sentenced to 16 years and three months, plus ordered to pay $80 million in restitution as fraud, as well as forfeiting $75 million (he filed bankruptcy before pleading guilty. He is now serving his time at the Fort Dix Penitentiary in Fort Dix, New Jersey. When he gets out, he will have to pay a percentage of his income until his debt has been paid in full, as well as have three years of supervised release. He could be out when he is 60 years old with good behavior.

He and Donner were found guilty of executing over $135 million phony leases that caused losses of more than $80 million, not counting court and collection costs by more than 50 financial institutions that he was found guilty of stealing by using phony invoices for equipment that do not exist to lessees that did not exist.

Donner admitted that after he received the payments, he sent 95 to 97 percent of them to an entity Schwartz created to facilitate the fraud. He kept the rest as a commission. He reaped more than $4.1 million, funds that must forfeit, according to prosecutors.

While Donner was not named as the party who turned states evidence in the FBI Press Release, to those who have been following the case since Leasing News gave its first alert on February 19, 2010, know it was Donner who was unnamed:

"Schwartz and the medical equipment 'supplier' undertook efforts throughout the scheme to evade questioning from bank examiners who sought at various times to inspect the non-existent medical equipment, which technically belonged to the financial institutions. At one point during an August 2010 conversation between Schwartz and the purported supplier, Schwartz commented that the financial institutions had fallen "hook, line, and sinker" for the false explanation they had given to bank examiners who asked why the purported supplier used his home address on certain invoices.



Searching for New CLP Foundation Executive Director

Looking for a candidate with a balanced background to include non-profit association management; marketing and sales skills a plus as well as knowledge of finance and leasing.

The Executive Director is a part-time position, working from your own office or home. The basic operational duties include managing the CLP databases, maintaining accurate records, proctoring exams, coordinating updates and changes to website with Web Master and working on special projects as directed by the Board.

The Executive Director acts as a spokesperson in promoting the CLP program, primarily helping to organize volunteer efforts with the CLP Board and Committees. Association conference travel two to three times per year is required.

The Certified Lease Professional (CLP) designation is the preeminent credential for equipment leasing and financing professionals throughout the world. The title that appears after their name in correspondence, business cards, and in the press, shows the individual has demonstrated competency through testing of knowledge, continuing education and a commitment to their business practices and dedication to the industry.

Send resume to Cynthia "Cindy" Spurdle: or telephone: 610.687.0213



Classified Ads---Testimonials

Southern California

"We are definitely satisfied customers after placing our employment ad in Kit's Leasing News. Although the person we hired hadn't seen the ad, a friend of her's in the leasing industry saw the ad and told her that Dakota was hiring...

(The position was filled and time was left on the ad, so it was changed to a marketing person, which they also were successful in finding. editor.)

"It turned out we not only filled our open position, but were able to find an experienced leasing veteran who just wanted a location change. It worked out well for everyone!"

Mae G. Philpott
Sales & Marketing Director
Dakota Financial, LLC

Southern California

"The ad worked great. We hired a Documentation Coordinator that has been out of the industry for almost 3 years as a friend of hers saw our ad on Leasing News. She is now in her 2nd full week.

"We are actually looking to fill 4 sales positions this year so we’ll likely be back again. It feels nice to be managing growth, albeit measured, again.

Andrew Nere, President
Innovative Lease Services, Inc.


""I want to thank you for listing our Business Risk employment position in Leasing News. Through our various postings, we received resumes from over 50 very qualified candidates

""I am very happy to report that the position has been filled..."

Laurie Bakke, President
Western Equipment Finance

Help Wanted Web Ad New Programs

Classified Ad Section 
(rotates chronological above headlines and 
also appears in Classified Ad section.) *

21 days in a row:
$595 four lines (a space is a line) 
($40 each additional line or space)

Design work is free. Logo is free as well as company description not to exceed the number of lines of the ad.
Also free: click to a click to a web site or a full description of the position.

Ads are placed in the "Help Wanted' section by category, alphabetical, with the ad with the most lines first in the group. They appear on the web site and in each news edition at the top in a rotation basis per issue.

* Help Wanted” ads  appear in each issue on a chronological basis above the top headline as a courtesy. This position is not available as a paid position, but is generally on a rotation basis.  At the same time, the ad continues in the classified help wanted section in the news edition and web site, so in effect appears twice.

Leasing News reserves the right to refuse advertising, particularly to a company that has appeared in the complaint bulletin board


Career Crossroad— "Thinking of going into another industry."


I have been in Leasing Sales for a long time and it just isn’t fun any more, and deals just don’t get approved like they did in the old days. I am thinking of going into another industry. What are your thoughts?


The leasing industry has certainly gone through a tough time over the last few years – which has effected many individuals and companies – both large and small.

If you are considering using your sales talent in another industry … why? Have you really lost your passion for this industry or is it because the transaction types you were handling went down the tubes (e.g. trucking) – which of course as we all know this industry is cyclical / demand for each asset type changes as well.

If it is the latter, why don’t you present yourself to another leasing company showing your progressive success within the industry AND offer to take a commission only compensation plan until you have proven yourself … this scenario can keep you within the industry you enjoyed for a long time until recently.

If you have lost your “drive” for this industry, then consider companies and/or industries that were similar to the equipment niche you were (are) in (e.g. truck manufacturer or even a truck distributor or top dealer).

Regardless, the best thing you can do is to be more of a generalist with a 10-15% focus on a specific equipment niche. For example if you were a generalist (sales experience with a mix of asset types e.g. medical, it, ff&e, you would have a much larger window of opportunity for new positions). Keep these in mind moving forward ….

If you need further advice, contact me directly!

Emily Fitzpatrick
Sr. Recruiter
Recruiters International, Inc.
Phone: 954-885-9241
Cell: 954-612-0567

Previous Career Crossroad columns:




Leasing Industry Help Wanted

Sales Professional-Nationwide
Are you producing over $250,000 a month and
want the ability to reach $1 million a month?

Ascentium Capital is a self-funded equipment finance company focused on vendor programs across many industries, as well as end-user transaction sizes ranging from $10,000 to $500,000 per schedule.

We offer unlimited earnings potential based on your ability to innovate and produce results within an entrepreneurial sales environment. In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package which includes Medical, Dental, Vision, 401(k), Profit-Sharing as well as paid holidays.

If you believe that you have what it takes, please send your cover letter and resume to:
Join a resource-rich company with over $300,000,000 in lending capacity for your customers.

For information on placing a help wanted ad, please click here:

Please see our Job Wanted section for possible new employees


Leasing 102
by Mr. Terry Winders, CLP

Fair Market Value as a Purchase Option

One of the problems of a Fair Market Value (FMV) purchase option is the question of whose FMV are we talking about? The lessor may be in a State where the equipment is valuable and the lessee is in a State where it has a modest value. Plus the cost of returning the equipment may exceed its real value. Then what is its true value. So many of these questions, plus lots of other issues, are not spelled out in the lease agreement.

Lately the tax courts have been looking at the return provisions for requirements that are called onerous that put pressure on the lessee to purchase the equipment because the return provisions are difficult to comply with. Thus making it a non-tax lease. Then we need to look at the tax indemnity portion of the lease to see if the lessor can collect the tax value that was lost.

One return provision we see a lot of is the right of the lessor to select anywhere in the United States for the return. If the lessor selects a location across the country then the return expenses may be so high to entice the lessee to purchase instead of return. This can cause a tax problem under a tax audit.

Some lessors have included qualifications to the FMV option such as: FMV installed (highest value), or FMV in exchange (street value), or orderly liquidation value (sold in parts), or Auction Value (commercially reasonable sale). The actual language on these options is longer but you see the attempt to qualify the FMV option.

Some lessors have chosen to offer a fixed price purchase option approximately equal to the future FMV of the equipment and back it up with research to that effect. This is allowed for legal, but is untested for Federal Income Tax.

If the lessee does want a purchase option the question should be “why.” The answer may surprise you but now you are getting to what they want to accomplish with the lease which may cause you to alter your lease proposal.

If you are going to offer a true lease that meets the IRS guidelines then any purchase option must not be conceived as a bargain. I believe that just to tack a FMV purchase option on to your lease would seem to indicate that you failed to ask the most important question: How long do you plan to use the equipment?

The real value of commercial equipment leasing is its ability to spread the tax expense over the actual term of use. Expensing the rent payments allows for a broad variety of payment terms and rent schedules. However, we see many lessors’ are offering level payments over 36, 48, and 60 months with FMV purchase options. If you asked the correct questions about the equipments use, maintenance requirements, insurance timing, and company cash flow you may find a payment plan that is different than level payments. Level payments just invite comparison to other financing opportunities and competition.

If you discover that the company exchanges equipment on a detailed schedule then perhaps a lease to that term with no purchase option but containing a upgrade clause would be more successful than a lease with a FMV purchase option.

An upgrade clause allows the lessee to act as your agent to trade the equipment in for the new equipment. The ownership of the equipment traded in belongs to the lessor and the replacement equipment is purchased by the lessor so no tax problems occur. There is no purchase option so there cannot be any “intent” to sell the equipment to the lessee for a bargain option. The lessor gets a reduced cost from the value of the trade in--- minus the residual assumption from the existing lease. It is true that any excess earnings from a residual sale is lost, but the trade in reduces the price “only” to the lessor and allows the lessor to retain a customer and still increase the lease rate because any payment offered by the competition must take into account the full purchase price of the new equipment.

A FMV purchase option should be a topic of discussion not just a common addition to your presentation. It will support how you view the lessee and how you present your lease. The more questions you ask the better your chances to offer a sound lease that the customer will accept.

Mr. Terry Winders, CLP, has been a teacher, consultant, expert witness for the leasing industry for thirty-five years and can be reached at or 502-649-0448

He invites your questions and queries.

Previous #102 Columns:


Mr. Terry Winders, CLP
Anaheim, California

April 5 & 6

Two Day Seminar
sponsored by
Equipment Leasing Department
4040 MacArthur blvd, Suite 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660

The seminar will contain information on how to approach leasing in 2012 with the following subjects:

  • New lease language
  • Proposed new accounting rules for lessee's
  • Structuring and pricing for competition
  • Income tax rules, Article 2A vs. Article 9
  • New reasons to lease
  • Questions to ask lessee
  • Vendor needs
  • Credit enhancements
  • Documentation issues 
    and a take home assignment to see how to propose a lease.

Cost $450 per person

Registration and Outline of Course: PDF

For questions, please contact Mr. Terry Winders, CLP, at or call 502-649-0448.


Bank Beat---Bank Brokerage and Investments to Increase
by Christopher Menkin

Last week Key Private Bank, the investment, trust and wealth management arm of KeyCorp ("KEY') established Key National Trust Co. of Delaware to provide trust services for wealth clients and prospects to take advantage of Delaware's favorable trust laws.

If you note in the chart below, KeyCorp had the second highest percentage of its revenue come from brokerage and investments, which generated 8.8% of its revenue from those business.

These products are not only very profitable to the banks, but also bring in the wealthy individuals and other entities, such as trusts, with their cash deposits, as often other business with companies and friends who also have deposits and all types of loan requirements. They are great income producers with little actual losses today.

KeyCorp has stated it is looking to grow its investment banking relationships with customers in the middle market.

Christopher Gorman, who is now president of Key Corporate Bank and chairman and CEO of KeyBank NA, told SNL Financial the corporate bank, which includes institutional and capital markets, real estate and equipment finance businesses, has identified 7,000 businesses within the company's footprint and industry focus that generate between $25 million and $1.5 billion in revenue

These products also have other advantages, such as helping the super-regional bank Regions Financial Corp. ("RF"), Birmingham, Alabama, who owes $3.5 billion, the most of any U.S. bank under the Treasury department's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP.) It may have $500 million to $700 million of excess cash and could tap $1 billion from its bank subsidiary with regulators' approval, in an effort to payback the money. Regions will also get $1.18 billion from the sale in January of its Morgan Keegan for $1.2 billion to Raymond James Financial, Inc., who according to SNL Financial chart above generated 18.5% of the company’s total revenue.

Last year with $251 million in the fourth quarter, followed by SunTrust Banks ("STI") at $142 million, then Fifth Third Bancorp ("FITB") at $90 million, and coming up from behind, KeyCorp at $85 million.

While SunTrust was second in percentages ( also second in actual dollars), Hugh Cummins III, who leads the corporate and investment banking operations at SunTrust, explained to SNL Financial that its SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. has been able to capitalize on efforts to increase its market share in syndicated loans.

"We targeted [syndicated loans] as a way to get a foothold and become more important to our clients," Cummins told SNL.

SunTrust's investment banking income has also risen in recent years. In 2011, SunTrust's investment bank income increased to $317 million, up about 38% from 2006. Cummins believes SunTrust will continue to win new business. He expects to take more syndicated loan market share especially as European banks retrench from the market, and another goal is to grow the leveraged finance business, which includes leveraged loans and high yield bonds.

Perhaps some of the European bank problems may come from its arranging or involvement in syndicated loans, whose main goal is to spread the risk of a borrower default across multiple lenders (such as banks) or institutional investors like pension funds and hedge funds. These loans can also be split into dual tranches for banks (who fund standard revolvers or lines of credit) and institutional investors (who fund fixed-rate term loans).

It is one of the major elements that brought down the mortgage industry in the United States which lead to the current “great recession,” as well as the current fears in Europe from several banks sharing syndicated loans with banks in countries having serious financial troubles.

Let’s hope all new investments, especially syndicated loans, are more prudent.

Comprehensive personal property tax outsourcing services
We accept file exports and integrate personal property tax information with all lease management or accounting software. No other firm offers the combination of individual attention, software capabilities expertise, "full disclosure" and web port accessibility to information more than we do.

Click here to learn what our clients say about our service
Gary DiLillo, President 440.871.0555 or



Surprising 2012 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index

These results may surprise you. The ratings are not for “the best,” but the loyalty of customers in the United States---Brands that indexed highest for loyalty/ engagement -- and therefore most "delighted" their customers -- within some specific categories:

Coffee (out-of-home): Dunkin' Donuts comes out on top for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Starbucks, McDonald's (which was #2 last year), Tim Horton's and Krispy Kreme. The #1 loyalty driver in this category is not quality/taste (which ranks second), but service/surroundings. These are followed by variety/selection and brand value and location.

Fast Food: McDonald's, followed closely by Subway, leads the pack, with all other (non-pizza) QSRs trailing substantially. Among pizza QSR's, Domino's indexed highest, followed by Papa John's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesar's and Round Table.

Casual dining restaurants: Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, Red Lobster, Outback and T.G.I. Friday's lead the loyalty/engagement rankings. In this category, the big loyalty drivers are brand value and menu variety, customer service, décor/entertainment value, and healthy choices.

Cereals: Among adult breakfast cereals, the leaders are Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Special K, Mini-Wheats and Fiber One. A brand's perception as a "tasty lifestyle" cereal is the biggest loyalty driver, followed by ingredients/nutrition value and price/value.

Bottled water: The highest-indexed brands are Aquafina, Fiji, Poland Spring, San Pellegrino and Evian. Here, the key drivers are "brand for value," environmentally sound/purity of source, refreshing taste and widely available.

Beer: Among regular (non-light) beers, Sam Adams and Coors come out on top. Full-bodied taste and "a brand appropriate for all occasions" are the top drivers in this category.

Vodka: Kettle One leads, followed by Grey Goose, Chopin, Ciroc and Stolichnaya. Here, the key drivers are brand image, price/value and smoothness. "This is one of the categories that is most sensitive to carefully crafted advertising," reports Passikoff. "For example, Absolut is no longer among the short list of top-indexed brands because, while it's great on offering a wide variety of flavors, it seems to lack a clear, compelling image in consumers' minds."

A complete list of 2012 Brank Keys Customers Loyalty Index:


#### Press Release #############################

41 Months plus $2.5 MM for Ponzi Scheme

Santa Ana- Brenda A. Eschbach, 55, owner of Aventine Investment Services and EMA Investment Properties, was received a 41 months imprisonment for money laundering and mail fraud, announced the United States Attorney’s Office, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

She also was ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution by United States District Judge James V. Selna. Eschbach previously pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of mail fraud.

According to the plea agreement filed in court, from 2007 to November 30, 2009, Eschbach engaged in a scheme to defraud millions of dollars from investors. Through her companies, Eschbach convinced investors to invest in a real estate investment trust, KBS Capital Markets Group (KBS). Eschbach also misled investors by telling them she earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine when she in fact didn’t have a Ph.D. from anywhere.

In furtherance of her scheme, Eschbach mailed investor statements showing that investor’s money was invested and earning a profit. In relation to the mail fraud count, on December 31, 2007, Eschbach mailed a fabricated account statement to an investor, reporting a $1.3 million investment which didn’t occur.

Instead of investing, Eschbach used investor funds to pay off other investors in a Ponzi-like fashion and for her own personal use. Eschbach admitted that she misappropriated more than $2.5 million in total from investors.

In a related case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that on February 14, 2012, it filed a civil injunctive action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California charging Eschbach with securities fraud, investment advisory fraud, and acting as an unregistered broker-dealer. In its complaint, the Commission alleged that Eschbach misappropriated over $3 million in investment advisory client funds from 2003 through 2009.

In the related case, Eschbach also consented to the issuance of a Commission Order barring her from association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, or transfer agent, and from participating in any offering of a penny stock. Issuance of such an Order is predicated on entry of the proposed injunction against Eschbach and her plea of guilty in the federal prosecution.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

##### Press Release ############################



((Please Click on Bulletin Board to learn more information))
(Leasing News provides this ad “gratis” as a means
to help support the growth of Lease Police)




Top Stories February 13--February 17

Here are the top ten sorties opened by readers:

(1) Joe Woodley, CLP, et. al. to go to trial March 12 by Christopher Menkin

(2) Equilease Wins $260 million portfolio

(3) Leasing 102 by Mr. Terry Winders, CLP
Income and Tax Consequences for New Leasing Companies

(Tie) (4) Borland Takes Back U.S. Energy Capital

(Tie) (4) Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sylvester Stallone same hospital room

(5) Solar firms that lease panels see business grow

(6) Why I became a CLP
Bernie Boettingheimer, LeasePolice

(Tie) (7) "Cigarettes Cheaper" Fraud Sentencing

(Tie) (7) Career Crossroad—"Don't want to give references on first interview."

(8) Aslam Khan—from dishwasher to owner of 150 stores IFC Conference Part II

(9) IFA Conference Opening Predicts Growth in Franchising 2012, General Economy
Report by Bob Rodi

(10) Bank Beat---Illinois and Indiana Bank Fail/Why?

Not Counted Due to Technical Problems:
Extra******CFA-FNA Merge Extra******

John Kenny Receivables Management

• End of Lease Negotiations & Enforcement

• Fraud Investigations
• Credit Investigations • Asset Searches
• Skip-tracing • Third-party Commercial Collections | ph 315-866-1167|


(Leasing News provides this ad as a trade for investigations
and background information provided by John Kenny)


Kingwood, Texas-- Adopt-a-Dog


Siberian Husky/Heeler Mix
Primary color: Red, Chestnut or Orange
Up-to-date with routine shots

“...DOB 12/1/11...Contact Hattie is playful, adorable and extremely smart. She would enjoy living with an active family and would excel at agility, fly ball and dock diving. She is working on leash and obedience training - already knows how to sit, down and high-five. She is crate trained and does well with not having accidents when free in the house. Hattie will be a medium sized dog when full grown and is vetted appropriate to her age. Contact “

*****If you would like more information about the dog featured above, be sure to send a note to the "Contact Person." This is the person fostering the dog and they will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Also, in sending your note to the Contact Person, be sure to include information about yourself, family, home, yard, fence, other pets, work situation, and pet accommodations. This information will help us make the best match between you and one of our dogs***

Twyla's Friends
526 Kingwood Dr. #321
Kingwood, TX 77339
Phone: 832 488 7937
Email: or

Adopt-a-Pet by Leasing Co. State/City

Adopt a Pet


News Briefs----

U.S. .Asia Stocks Fall Amid Greece Rescue Talks

Bettie Kelley Sousa New Chair American Board of Certification

Will your agri-legacy be a monstrous estate tax bill?

Denny’s Sees Same-Store Sales Turnaround


SparkPeople--Live Healthier and Longer

Soda Drinkers Beware!




Sports Briefs----

The Huddle




Winter Poem

I Who All the Winter Through
by Robert Louis Stevenson

I who all the winter through
Cherished other loves than you,
And kept hands with hoary policy
in marriage-bed and pew;
Now I know the false and true,
For the earnest sun looks through,
And my old love comes to meet me
in the dawning and the dew.

Now the hedged meads renew
Rustic odour, smiling hue,
And the clean air shines and tinkles
as the world goes wheeling through;
And my heart springs up anew,
Bright and confident and true,
And my old love comes to meet me
in the dawning and the dew.


“Gimme that Wine” 

Consumers across three continents prefer lower alcohol wines

Wine Turns Mortgage Title Mogul Into Entrepreneur of Viticulture

Free Mobile Wine Program

Wine Prices by vintage

US/International Wine Events

Winery Atlas\

Leasing News Wine & Spirits Page



This Day in History

      1704-The first permanent newspaper was "The Boston News-Letter," first issued this day. The first in Pennsylvania was "The American," published in Philadelphia in 1719. The first in New York was "The New York Gazette," in 1725; the first in Maryland was the "Maryland Gazette," issued at Annapolis in the summer of 1728. "The South Carolina Gazette," printed at Charleston at the beginning of 1732, was the first issued in that province; the first in Rhode Island was "The Rhode Island Gazette," printed at Newport in 1732; the first in Virginia was "The Virginia Gazette," printed at Williams burg in 1736; the first in Connecticut was "The Connecticut Gazette," printed at New Haven in 1755; the first in North Carolina was "The North Carolina Gazette," printed at New Berne the same year; and the first in New Hampshire was "The New Hampshire Gazette," printed at Portsmouth in the summer of 1756. At the period of the French and Indian war newspapers were printed in all of the colonies excepting in New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia. The printing-machines on which all the colonial newspapers and books were printed were simple in form and rude in construction.
    1821-Birthday of Charles Scribner . He and his sons form one of the most important publishing houses in New York . They published, among others, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, & Wolfe.
    1828- Cherokees receive their first printing press. The Sequoia tree is named after the man who invented the Cherokee alphabet, enabling writing and now printing.

    1855 – Washington Monument Dedication. The official dedication of the monument to honor President George Washington took place in Washington, D.C.. Now known as the Washington Monument, it wasn't completed for another thirty-three years. In fact, the structure took a total of forty-eight years to finish. The stone obelisk honoring the first President of the United States was designed by Robert Mills who died in this, the year of the dedication.
    1855-Wesley College President Alice Freeman Palmer, born at Colesville, NY. She became president of Wellesley College at the age of 27. Under her leadership the school grew into one of the leading women's colleges. She was also instrumental in bringing the women's school Radcliffe College into its association with Harvard University. One of the organizers of the American Association of University Women, she served as its president for two terms. She was appointed the first dean of women at the University of Chicago when it opened in 1892. Palmer died Dec 6, 1902, at Paris.
    1858-First Burglar Alarm: Edwin Thomas Holmes installed the first burglar alarm in Boston, MA. The releasing of a spring by the opening of a door or window made a contact the caused a short circuit of the wires.
    1862-Slave Trading Hanging: the first execution for slave trading was carried out by the federal government by the hanging of Nathaniel Gordon at the Tombs prison, New York City. He had been tired and convicted of piracy under the lay of May 15,1820, which defined slave trading as piracy. Gordon, a native of Portland, ME, was the captain of the Erie. His ship was stopped by the U.S. Mohican about 50 miles off the African coast and was found to be carrying 890 Africans, including 600 children, to a slave market. The captives were released in Liberia and Gordon's ship was brought to New York City, where his trial was held.
    1862-Battle of Val Verde. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley (described by his officers as "a walking whisky keg") led a band of Confederate volunteers from what is now Val Verde County here in southwest Texas to defeat in a Civil War battle in New Mexico. The goal was to bring the Western territory into the Confederate States of America, primarily for the gold and silver, and to keep the territory out of the United States. Confederate President Davis promoted Sibley to brigadier general on June 17, 1861, and sent him to Texas to put together a brigade to clear (what is now) New Mexico and Arizona of Union presence. He believed that his troops would be able to live off the land of New Mexico, and that the Union troops would not resist a Confederate invasion. On both counts, he was mistaken. While he defeated Union forces at Valverde and La Glorieta, he was unable to withstand the Union counterattack. He and his 1,500 remaining troops withdrew to Fort Bliss, Texas, and went to San Antonio to escape the California Column, under Union Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton. After this, Sibley was assigned to minor commands, and struggled with chronic illness and alcoholism. His performance in the Teche River Campaign of 1863 was poor. He was court-martialed and censured, but not convicted, after the Union failures at Irish Bend and Fort Bisland in April of 1863. Four years after the Civil War, he became general of artillery for the khedive of Egypt
    1866-First woman dentist: Lucy Hobbs became the first woman to graduate from a dental school at Cincinnati, OH, earning a DDS degree.
    1878 - The first telephone directories issued in the U.S. were distributed to residents in New Haven, CT. There were less than fifty subscribers; many complained their names were not spelled correctly and others listed, said they preferred to be “unlisted.” Ads supported the publication.
    1887- Oregon becomes the first state to make Labor Day a holiday. 
    1904 - The National Ski Association was formed in Ishpeming, MI
    1910-Tenor Sax player Big Al Sears born Macomb, IL , Died March 23, 1990
    1916-Battle of Verdun, the German High Command launched an offensive on the Western Front at Verdun, France, which became WWI's single longest battle. An estimated one million men were killed, decimating both the German and French armies, before the battle ended on Dec 15, 1916.
    1917—Trumpter player Tadd Dameron birthday
    1925- The New Yorker magazine published. Founded and edited by Harold Ross, he declares it is not "for the old lady in Dubuque." Some say the magazine to this day defines a “New Yorker”, perhaps, “wannabe New Yorker.” Dorothy Parker was Ross' friend, as was James Thurber, the cartoonist. Thurber asked Parker, who later became dramatic & literary critic, to contribute some material to the magazine, which at the onset was running on a shoestring. She said, “I came by the office to write something, but somebody was using the pencil.”
    1931 -- Scott Fitzgerald's short story “Babylon Revisited” is published in The Saturday Evening Post. It is arguably his finest piece among his semi autobiographical stories. It was later filmed as “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” with Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor.
    1932 –The camera exposure meter was invented in 1931 by William Nelson Goodwin, Jr. of the Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, Newark, NJ, who obtained a patent this day on a thermal ammeter. The first one, also manufactured in February, 1932, was called a photoronic photoelectric cell, popularly now known as a camera exposure meter. It contained a dial calculating device for translating brightness values into camera aperture settings. It required no battery for its operation, as it changed light energy directly into electrical energy.
    1933-Jazz singer Nina Simone, whose real name is Eunice Waymon, was born in Tryon, North Carolina. She got her first gig in an Atlantic City nightclub, changing her name to avoid embarrassing her deeply religious mother. Simone earned a gold record in 1959 for her recording of Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy." By the late 1960's, she had become deeply involved in the black-power movement, alienating the white audience with such songs as "Mississippi Goddamn" and "Four Women," both of which were banned on radio. Nina Simone quit the music business in 1974, making a comeback album four years later.
    1941-Trumpeter Jonah Jones joins the Cab Calloway Band. Arranger Buster Harding writes “Jonah Joins the Cab” as a welcome (Okeh 6109.)
    1947 –The instant camera was the Polaroid camera, invented by Edwin Herbert Land and demonstrated this day at a meeting of the Optical Society of America at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City. The camera contained a specially prepared photographic paper with “pods” of developer and hypo sandwiched with the film. The turning of a knob squeezed open one of the pods, which developed the negative and made the black and white print. The picture was produced in about one minute. It was not available for sale to the public until November. Various improvements have been made including color, speed of film and development. The digital camera has now replaced the simplicity and low cost of the camera and film, but the once profitable company has fallen on hard times.
    1948---Top Hits
I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover - The Art Moonie Orchestra
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
Now is the Hour - Bing Crosby
I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
    1951-Cornet player Warren Vache born Rahway, NJ
    1952- A 17-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis marries his first wife, preacher's daughter Dorothy Barton, in what is rumored to be a shotgun wedding.
    1953- Lighthouse All-Stars record at Hermosa Beach, CA ( Viva Zapata, Four Others.” This is the start of the famous Lighthouse All-Stars, who as teenage from 1956-61 would visit often: Shelly Manne, Shorty Rodgers, Bud Shank, André Previn, Art Pepper and many more.
    1956---Top Hits
Rock and Roll Waltz - Kay Starr
Lisbon Antigua - Nelson Riddle
It's Almost Tomorrow - The Dream Weavers
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
    1958-- Gibson's first "Flying V" guitar is shipped from a factory in factory in Kalamazoo, MI.
    1963- the Rolling Stones went “down under, playing Adelaide, Australia. 5,000 fans clashed with police. What has this to do with American History? America loves the Rolling Stones: Satisfaction is often voted the most favorite Rock ‘n” Roll song.
    1964---Top Hits
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore
She Loves You - The Beatles
B.J. the D.J. - Stonewall Jackson
    1964-A New York band called The Echoes recruited a young piano player named Billy Joel. The quartet would play cover songs under the names The Lost Souls, The Commandos and The Emerald Lords before Billy split two years later to join The Hassles. He would make his breakthrough in 1973 with "Piano Man".
    1965- Malcolm X Shabazz, a black leader who renounced the Black Muslim sect to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity and to practice a more orthodox form of Islam, was shot and killed as he spoke to a rally at the Audubon Ballroom at New York, NY. Three men were convicted of the murder in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. Born Malcolm Little, the son of a Baptist preacher, at Omaha, NE, May 19, 1925. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925. In 1947, while in a New York prison, he was introduced to the radical teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam and soon espoused their views. In 1964, Malcolm X was suspended by the NOI for his outspokenness and soon split with them. Following a pilgrimage to Mecca, he accepted the Islamic name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, and at the time of his death, had begun to develop more moderate, multicultural views. The originator of the Muslim faith was murdered, some say by the heir, and the history of this sect is full of violence. Malcolm X autobiography, with the help of author Alex Haley, is one of the most powerful written. Of the people I interviewed as a newsman, he was the most powerful, electric individual, I can remember. His aura was very similar to President John F. Kennedy, who you could feel had walked into the room before you actually saw. Malcolm X controlled every conversation.

    1966--The Beatles record "Nowhere Man."
    1966- Elvis begins filming his 22nd movie, Spinout. He also tells a local Los Angeles paper about the gospel album he's currently working on, eventually titled How Great Thou Art.
    1968 – Baseball Players get $10,000 minimum salary. An agreement between baseball players and club owners increased major league players' minimum salary to $10,000 a year.
    1969 –“Portnoy's Complaint”---Philip Roth's novel was published by Random House.
    1969- Elvis Presley purchases a Kodak microfilm reader and begins microfilming over 4,000 personal items.
    1970-Simon & Garfunkel's album "Bridge Over Troubled Water" enters the U.K. chart at Number One and stays there for nearly forty weeks; it remains in the Top Ten for 126 weeks. The title track goes gold in five days.
    1970-The Jackson 5 make their TV debut on American Bandstand where they sing "I Want You Back".
    1970- AFL joins NFL: After a protracted battle over players, fans and television ratings, the American Football League, founded in 1960, became part of the National Football League. Teams from the AFL were joined by the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Colts to become the American Football Conference. Remaining NFL teams became the National Football Conference. 1970- Jackson 5 make TV debut on "American Bandstand"
    1971 - An outbreak of tornadoes hit northeastern Louisiana and northern and central Mississippi. The tornadoes claimed 121 lives, including 110 in Mississippi. Three tornadoes accounted for 118 of the deaths. There are 1600 persons injured, 900 homes were destroyed or badly damaged, and total damage was 19 million dollars.
    1972---Top Hits
Without You - Nilsson
Hurting Each Other - Carpenters
Never Been to Spain - Three Dog Night
It's Four in the Morning - Faron Young
    1972 - The group, Climax, was awarded a gold record for their only hit, "Precious and Few". The Los Angeles, California-based group was led by Sonny Geraci, from the The Outsiders of "Time Won't Let Me" fame.
    1972-Nixon goes to China: Who would have believed it? Richard Nixon became the first US president to visit any country not diplomatically recognized by the US when he went to the People's Republic of China for meetings with Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Premier Chou En-lai. Nixon arrived at Peking on this date, and departed China on Feb 28. The "Shanghai Communiqué" was issued Feb 27. He actually opened up a lot more trade and diplomatic relations with this country.
    1972- Climax' "Precious and Few" is certified gold.
    1974- Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" is certified gold.
    1975 – Watergate: Three aides of United States ex-president Richard Nixon, former attorney general John Mitchell, former chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and domestic adviser John Ehrlichman, were each sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment for obstructing the course of justice in the Watergate affair.
    1975- TV Show “Midnight Special:”Record company executive Clive Davis became the first non-performing host of the television show "Midnight Special." Featured acts were Barry Manilow and Melissa Manchester, both from Davis's Arista label.
    1975- "NBC Nightly News" ran a story on kung-fu dancing, a short-lived fad inspired by Carl Douglas's number-one record "Kung Fu Fighting." It is making a come-back among young Asian dancers.

Here you can get the “Kung Fu Dancing Hamster:”
    1976-- The Four Seasons finally score a UK #1 -- their first and last -- with their latest single, "December '63 (Oh What a Night)."
    1977 - NBC airs The Neil Diamond Special, a concert taped at the famed Greek theater in Los Angeles. The concert was simultaneously released as the live album Love at the Greek (sic).
    1979- The Dire Straits album is certified gold.
    1979- Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" is certified gold.
    1980---Top Hits
Do that to Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Yes, I'm Ready - Teri DeSario with K.C.
Love Me Over Again - Don Williams
    1981 - REO Speedwagon's "Hi Infidelity" was the #1 U.S. album. "Hi-Fidelity" spent a total of fifteen weeks at number one. The tracks: "Don't Let Him Go", "Keep on Loving You", "Follow My Heart", "In Your Letter", "Take It on the Run", "Tough Guys", "Out of Season", "Shakin' It Loose", "Someone Tonight", "I Wish You Were There".
    1981 - Dolly Parton reached the top spot on the pop music charts with "9 to 5", from the movie of the same name, in which Dolly starred with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. The hit song stayed at #1 for a week, gave way to Eddie Rabbitt's "I Love a Rainy Night" and popped back two weeks later for another week at number one. The era of independent women had started with quite an unlikely trio.
    1982 -"Ain't Misbehavin'" closes at Longacre Theater NYC after 1604 performances
    1982-Rock 'n' roll disc jockey Murray (the K) Kaufman, the self- proclaimed "fifth Beatle," died of cancer in Los Angeles. While we normally only mention birthdays, Murray the K was one of the most popular and influential deejays in New York City from 1958 to 1965 on WINS. In 1964, when the Beatles became famous and hit North America, Murray the K dubbed himself the "fifth Beatle" and tried to do as many interviews with the quartet as possible. He also played a small role in a fictitious film about the Beatles' arrival in New York, and was an adviser on "Beatlemania," a live show featuring Beatle look-alikes. Murray the K's last gig was as the host of a syndicated radio series featuring music of the '60s.
    1986- AIDS patient Ryan White returns to classes at Western Middle School

    1986- Montreal-born folk singer and poet Leonard Cohen appeared in an episode of the TV series "Miami Vice." He has many dedicated fans, perhaps a cult following.
    1987 - Low pressure over central California produced gale force winds along the coast, and produced thunderstorms which pelted Stockton, Oakland and San Jose with small hail.
    1988 - Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart announced tearfully in front of a crowd of 6,000, and while on national television, that he would relinquish the pulpit because of publicized photographs of him visiting a prostitute. Only a year earlier, Swaggart had denounced his rival evangelist Jim Bakker after a sex scandal had destroyed Bakker's PTL ministry. Swaggart was quoted, "I have sinned against you, and I beg your forgiveness." Swaggert claimed he did not engage in intercourse with the woman, but "paid her to perform pornographic acts". He then announced he would be leaving his ministry for an unspecified length of time. (Defrocked in April by the Assemblies of God, he was ordered to stay off TV for a year, but returned after only three months.)
    1988---Top Hits
Seasons Change - Expose
What Have I Done to Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield
Father Figure - George Michael
Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star - Merle Haggard
    1989 -Pete Rose meets with Commissioner Ueberroth to discuss his gambling.
    1989 - Thunderstorms developing during the morning hours spread severe weather across Georgia and the Carolinas. Strong thunderstorm winds caused one death and thirteen injuries in North Carolina, and another four injuries in South Carolina.
    1991 -Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" premieres at Richard Rodgers Theater in New York NY for 780 performances
    1992- Kristi Yamaguchi of US wins Olympics gold medal in women's fig skating
    1994-Russian Spies Arrested: Aldrich Hazen Ames and his wife Maria del Rosario Casas Ames were arrested on charges they had spied for the Soviet Union beginning in 1985 and had continued to spy for Russia after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Ames had worked as a counterintelligence officer for the CIA at its headquarters at Langley, VA. Prosecutors said that the pair had been paid about $2.5 million for their activities and were probably responsible for the deaths of at least 10 CIA agents whom Ames had identified for the Soviets. The government considered this to be one of the most serious spy cases ever uncovered in the US. On Apr 28 Aldrich Ames was sentenced to life in prison. Rosario Ames was sentenced to a 63-month prison term in return for her husband's promise to cooperate with authorities1995 - Former Chicago stockbroker and U.S. balloonist Steve Fossett made history. He was the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada on this day.
    1995- Bruce Springsteen played with former members of his E-Street band for the first time since 1988. The brief reunion took place at a New York club, and was arranged to record a video for Springsteen's single "Murder, Incorporated." But he and his old band mates also ran through several favorites, such as "Prove It All Night," "Backstreets" and "Thunder Road."
    1995- Kenny Rogers proved the ultimate substitute at the Imperial Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He filled in for impersonator Mark Hinds on "The Gambler" and "Ruby," then teamed with Dolly Parton impersonator Sandy Anderson on "Islands in the Stream." The audience wasn't told that the real Rogers was appearing.
    1996-Prodigy is sold again. There was Mosaic, which became AOL, CompuServe, one of the most popular for downloading software programs (if you knew the exact number—they did not use “names,” and Prodigy, perhaps the leader in the 1980's for “consumers” to utilize. After purchasing the program in a joint venture with IBM in 1986, Sears decided to sell its stake in Prodigy. Perhaps this was the foretelling of the future for the industry. The ten- year-old service, a joint venture by Sears and IBM, had cost one billion dollars to develop but had never shown reliable profits. Sears had initially hoped the venture would foster online shopping. The key was the speed of the Wide World Web where most used dial-up connections at 32,000 baud, and ISDN was expensive, as users were charged per minute for each of the dual lines. The hope was for 52k to increase speed, but the various companies had been producing their own codes that often did not work with current dial-up companies. Sears was having its own financial problems as they had hoped the web as their catalogue in the 19 th century would put them ahead of their competition. Later in the year, Prodigy's management would buy the company from Sears and IBM. It goes to show you being first is not all that it is cracked up to be, and of course, timing is everything.
    2008-- In what is reported as one of eBay's most expensive sales yet, the online auction house brokers a deal between an unnamed US music collector and an unnamed Irish collector for three million albums and singles in various formats, for a grand total of about one dollar per item.
    2009-An exhibit of James Brown's personal belongings opened at South Carolina State University. The collection included photos, crystal-studded suits, and even the hair curlers Brown used to form his signature pompadour.




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