Tag Archives: Southern Indiana

rodmoss-featured

Make It Count with Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC | Are You Ready for an IRS Audit?

By Doug York, CPA & Partner, Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC

If being selected for an IRS audit were a game show, it’d be called the Wheel of Misfortune.

Though the IRS in 2016 audited about one million individual tax returns, it represented only about 0.7% of all returns filed. That’s a 16% drop from a year earlier and means there was about a one in 140 chance that when the IRS wheel spun its audit wheel it landed on your name. That’s down from about one in 120 returns audited in 2015.

Corporate audits in 2016 fell to 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent a year earlier. Overall, it was the sixth straight year the number of audits declined.

Doug York CPA/Partner Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC

Doug York
CPA/Partner
Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC

Budget reductions at the IRS are blamed for reduced enforcement. Critics contend that years of inadequate IRS appropriates are leading to the decline in audits and thus perhaps emboldening tax cheats.

IRS critics contend that the IRS had become politicized; for example, the much-publicized IRS targeting of conservative organizations. After an investigation, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, in a letter to Congress saying that no charges would be filed against anyone involved in the scandal, explaining that what was discovered was, “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime.”

While poor management may not be a crime, it’s not a confidence-builder, either.

Audits tend to be dollar-figure driven. The higher an individual’s income, the greater the possibility of an audit. Income levels of more than $1 million a year saw audit possibilities approach 6%, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 26, 2017. Incomes above $200,000 saw a 1.7% chance of being audited. Under $200,000 the figure declined to 0.6%.

If your income is above $10 million, there’s about a one-in-three chance you’ll be subject to an audit.

The more complicated a person’s tax return, the more it raises the likelihood of an audit. As a person’s income increases their various financial instruments, shelters, investments, deductions, and other factors tend to become more complex – and more attractive to IRS auditors.

Suspicion of unreported income; questionable deductions; foreign income or accounts; appearance of unreported income; and other maybe-this-doesn’t-pass-the-smell-test factors bring the IRS bloodhounds sniffing at a person’s income paper trail.

Corporations stand a much higher chance of being audited, and again, the higher the income, the higher the probability of an audit because of the amount of money involved. Also, as with high-income individual taxpayers, corporate tax returns tend to be very complicated, which again leads to greater scrutiny.

Regardless of the numerical factors impacting the number of IRS audits, everyone – individuals and corporations – should conduct their affairs is if tomorrow they’ll receive notice of an audit.

Obeying financial laws and keeping good records for your own protection is common sense. That doesn’t mean regardless of your tax position that you and the IRS are going to agree on everything either through an audit or because your tax return was flagged for some reason.

The IRS doesn’t always prevail in tax disputes. And it’s possible, the faces behind the acronym being human, for IRS employees to make mistakes. Thus, keeping good records and not becoming overly “creative” in your financial reporting guard against IRS problems.

Another reason to always be audit-ready is that when the IRS Wheel of Misfortune spins, it will land on someone’s name. Betting it won’t be you is a gamble.

Rodefer Moss is a three-state accounting firm with offices in New Albany, Corydon, and Georgetown, Ind., Louisville, Ky., and four offices across Tennessee. The firm’s website is www.rodefermoss.com.

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Secondary Drowning

Many parents are unaware of the life-threatening danger

By Erika Janes, R.N., Injury Prevention Coordinator, Norton Children’s Prevention and Wellness

Imagine you are at a pool party with your young child. Everyone seems to be having a good time and you are watching your child from the side of the pool. You turn your head for a few seconds to ask another mom a question, and when you turn back, your child is struggling in the water. You rush to pull your child out of the pool. Your child is visibly upset, but other than coughing up a little water, seems fine once he or she calms down. Aside from being a panicked parent for a bit, and now more cautious around the pool, you assume your child is safely out of the water and out of danger. You could be wrong.

Many parents are unaware of a life-threatening danger known as “secondary drowning” that can happen after a near-drowning or close call. Even if the child appears well initially, his or her condition can change rapidly and dramatically hours or even days after the event.

If the child breathed any type of water — from a pool, lake, ocean, even a bathtub — into the lungs, damage to the lungs could occur. Water-damaged lungs can no longer provide oxygen to the body. Respiratory problems develop and can become irreversible in a matter of minutes, leading to secondary drowning. Because of the danger, it is critical that anyone who experiences a near-drowning or other close call in the water seek emergency medical care immediately.

Signs to watch for include:

Change in level of consciousness or personality

Extreme tiredness or weakness

Cough with or without pink, frothy mucus

Whistling or abnormal sounds while breathing

Vomiting

Breathing fast or not at all

Turning blue

Unconsciousness

Remember, anyone who experiences a near-drowning or close-call event must be seen by a medical professional after being rescued from the water.

Drowning is preventable. Active supervision is key to ensuring water safety, from the bathtub to the neighborhood pool.

Active supervision means:

Staying alert and avoiding distractions such as reading, eating or talking on the phone

Never taking your eyes off children or leaving them unattended in or around water

Continuously scanning the water’s surface and the bottom of the pool

Stopping unsafe play and running in the pool area

Knowing where to locate and how to use pool safety equipment

Keeping a phone near the pool for emergency use only

Do you want to learn more about water safety and keeping your child safe? Call 502.629.KIDS for more information and to request a Water Watcher card.

Robins

If You See A Robin In Your Yard Eating Cotton Candy – Don’t Shoot!

By Ray Lucas

“Robins are special birds,” my grandma took great care to tell me one spring day as I wielded my new BB gun around the yard as a boy. “I really don’t want you shooting anything in my yard, and especially not a robin.” I had received a BB gun for Christmas the winter before, and she was probably worried I would take aim at her beloved red-bellied birds in the yard.

Grandma understood the temptation for a boy to shoot cans, telephone poles and even birds. Like the fictional Atticus Finch, she seemed to be saying, “Shoot all of the other birds you like, if you can hit them, but not my robins.” I knew from that young age that robins were special.

Because of her love for them, I have always associated robins with her, even after her death. My mom was so like my grandma that I also came to associate robins with my mom after her passing when I was in college.

I now live in our 120-year-old family home place, where both my grandma and mom grew up. I am convinced that each spring the two return as robins to watch over me. I most often see them while cutting grass, hopping around the yard or singing from a tree limb. It’s like they have come home to check in on me and see how their family has grown as my children play about the yard. Robins make me smile in a way that no other animal can.

I am not really a superstitious person who believes in visits from the afterlife. I don’t normally go in for spirits and friendly ghosts, but in matters of robins I guess I feel differently. I have known others who associate past loved ones with something tangible and physical in their lives: a butterfly in the wind, a special rose bush, a hawk on a pole, a significant song, or a piece of jewelry. Maybe I’m superstitious after all.

I once read an article about how people die three separate deaths. One is our actual death that comes with obituaries, flowers and funerals where our loved ones gather to mourn our passing. The second death is when the last person who knew us personally while we were alive passes away. When they die, there is no remaining person on the planet that can say they knew us while we were alive.

The final death, is the moment in the vast future when the last records of our life disappear.  Our tombstone is reduced by the elements and any written record of our life – journals, birth records, newspapers – are lost.  Perhaps my stories in Extol will prolong my third death by several thousands of years, but one day even these digital fingerprints will fade.

I think this was an interesting way to look at death. I like how it acknowledges that my mother, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends, neighbors and mentors who have already passed are still very much alive as long as I am here and remember all they have passed along to make me who I am. As I tell readers and my children about their lives and how they touched mine, they will live on far into the future through these stories.

It also gives me some comfort that through my children and their future families, I might be alive for a very long time. Even after my love for fast food and sugary treats has taken its mortal toll (in my very old years, if I am fortunate), my children might see me in their yard as a red bellied robin while lying in a hammock and reading Extol under a shade tree.

And if they remember me through that spring robin in the yard, perhaps they might recall what the late poet Emily Dickinson, still very much alive through her words, once wrote:

If I shouldn’t be alive

When the Robins come,

Give the one in Red Cravat,

A Memorial crumb.

If a crumb isn’t handy, my children will knowingly recall my sweet tooth and know that a dab of cotton candy will suffice as I watch over them.

History

The Paradox of Parenting in the Trump Era

By Farrah Alexander

“Mom, do you like Donald Trunk?” my four-year-old son asked with a somber, quizzical expression.

My son, with his limited knowledge of our nation’s current polarity, couldn’t have possibly understood what a loaded question this was. Although I’m pretty passionate about political issues, I tend to shield my children from civil discourse. At least until after kindergarten.

But I knew my son needed an answer to this question, which was very simple in his mind. He’s starting to grasp new concepts such as that he lives in the United States. Also, we have a president of the United States who sits in a very prestigious looking office and wears suits. Also, his mom doesn’t seem to like the president very much, which is strange because she seems to like everyone.

One week before the 2016 presidential election, I wrote a piece published on HuffPost and Scary Mommy with the headline “I Have to be Able to Tell My Children I Stood Against Trump.” In the piece, I discussed why I felt a personal responsibility as a parent to do everything I can to prevent a Trump presidency:

“I believe after our children learn of the atrocities committed by Trump and the carnage left behind by his vile campaign, they’ll then look to us – as survivors of the 2016 election – and want to know how we felt. More than that, what did we do about it?”

Honestly, I never genuinely considered the possibility of Trump actually winning. I felt assured by Nate Silver’s projections that Clinton would win by a large margin. But beyond poll numbers, I really just had enough faith in the American people that they would not elect someone who spewed vitriol and embraced such intolerance. And yet, here we are and my son is asking if I like Donald Trunk.

It’s quite the parenting dilemma. I have to explain to my children that while Trump holds our nation’s highest office, I hope they never grow up to be like him.

I may have differing political opinions than Trump, but that has no bearing on my opinion of him. If my son asked about George W. Bush, I would choose to talk about how he sought to unite our country after the most horrific terrorist attack most of us had ever seen. If my son asked about Barack Obama, I would discuss how he worked so audaciously his entire life to break down walls and became the first black president. Even if he asked about a presidential candidate such as John McCain, who I didn’t vote for, I would discuss his tremendous courage and bravery in an utterly hopeless scenario.

I plan to teach my children to treat everyone they encounter with respect, regardless of religion, gender, nationality, sexuality, race, disability or any other inherent differences. They are neither inferior nor superior to their peers. I’ll encourage them to treat others as they would like to be treated and choose to be kind.

When I see Trump mocking a disabled reporter, hear him bragging about committing sexual assault and read his callous insults on Twitter, these are all examples of how I raise my children not to behave.

I believe the Maya Angelou adage that when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. With Trump’s position of high visibility, I know my kids will be exposed to both his past transgressions and his future offenses. I’m not a total pessimist, but I’m not hopeful that Trump will suddenly put a stop to the same vile behavior that brought him into the political realm.

Many have accused Trump of acting like a toddler. As a parent of a toddler, I find this assertion completely absurd. My toddler is more mild mannered, sweeter and doesn’t whine nearly as much.

I understand my children will likely see Trump as someone who has had fame, fortune and now the oval office. After all, his name alone is plastered in large gold letters on the sides of skyscrapers in most major tourist destinations. Many people probably view such success as a goal to aspire towards. So, I know it’s difficult to tell my children not to emulate the behavior of someone in such a unique position of power.

Behind the glitz, tweets and presidential seals, Donald Trump is just a man. He’s a man who has said and done some very bad things that lead me to believe he may not be very nice.

I always want to protect my children from bullies as they grow and bullying becomes an unfortunate reality. But even more so, I never want them to become bullies. Zero-tolerance policies common in schools would discipline any student using language like Trump routinely uses in an attempt to eliminate the bullying behavior. Elementary school students are not allowed to model the behavior they see from the sitting president.

Success is a worthy goal and I hope I give my children the tools to achieve their own definition of success. But success is not the one and only goal to chase in life. Whether my children grow up to be professional street performers who juggle fire for tips in a can or real estate moguls, I just hope they also have character and integrity. I hope I raised them to be good humans.

I want to give my children the strength and courage to stand up for what is right, even if it’s difficult. It’s my job to monitor who influences my children, helps shape their character and molds them into the contributing adults our society depends on. I know I don’t want that influence to come from Donald Trump.

No, my son, your mother does not like Donald Trump.

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Exit | June/July 2017

“I took this photo on Sept. 11, 2016, at the Mellwood Arts Center during our visit to the Mellwood Arts and Crafts Fair. My mom, Nancy Snyder, 86, is still to this day the most stylish and sparkly lady I know.

img_6241The weather that day was hot, and after climbing the hill at Mellwood and walking around in the sun, we needed a rest in the shade and a cold drink. The spot was on the side of a building with a brick ledge she could lean against and sip her Coke. It suddenly occurred to me her flaming red hair looked even redder against that blue wall. I took out my iPhone, stepped out about 8 feet or so and got the picture in one take. I love the colors in this photo with the blue wall, yellow purse, red brick, checkered pants, and navy blue sparkle shoes. I also love the hip sunglasses she’s wearing, very Janis Joplin-esque! She’s so rock ‘n’ roll but she always has been. She’s a young spirit in an older woman’s body, born generations too early when women were very limited in what they could be and the roles they were assigned. Those traditional roles never fit her. I love that she is very much her own person and that her style always comes through, like a weed in the middle of a concrete highway.” –Laura Shine

 

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DIY Sidewalk Chalk

By Morgan Sprigler

What you will need:

Plaster of paris
Acrylic or tempura paint in bright colors Silicone molds or a cake pop pan Plastic cups
Plastic spoons
Cold water
Sandwich bags (optional)
Scissors (optional)
Lemonade (optional but encouraged)

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Step 1:

Set out plastic cups in a row. Squeeze a quarter size of paint into the bottom of the cup. Repeat this step with each color. I found bottle of bright, acrylic paint at Meijer for 79 cents apiece. My daughters and I selected six different colors. They wanted 27 different bottles, but after a tantrum and a healthy screaming match, we settled on six.

Step 2:

Pour cold water into each cup, filling it approximately one-third of the way full. Using cold water is a very important step. If you are crafting outside (which I highly recommend for this project), bring a pitcher of ice water with you. Now, let your kids stir with their plastic spoons while you check your Insta-stories/email/Facebook.

Step 3:

Slowly add plaster of paris, taking time to stir in between pours. A good rule of thumb would be to use twice as much plaster as water. You want to achieve the consistency of yogurt. Please explain to child that this is not actual yogurt. The label clearly states, “DO NOT INGEST.” So, please, don’t.

Step 4:

Pour your mix into your mold. We used both silicone molds and a steel cake pop pan. The chalk was much easier to remove from the silicone, but both worked. Let your chalk sit out in the sun for as long as your children will allow.

Step 5:

Lemonade break!

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Step 6:

I gave in after 5 hours and being asked, “Ready yet Mommy?!” no less than 1,000 times. Ideally, you want to let your chalk form for 24 hours. If your children will approve, you can pop out a few a bit early and let the rest sit until the next afternoon. Simply remove your chalk from your molds. Your molds can be washed and reused for future baking.

Step 7:

Grab a chair, sit back and relax while your little ones draw pretty flowers and happy faces all over your driveway. Take a moment to walk inside and spike your lemonade (no one is judging here).

Step 8:

After the girls went to sleep, I was feeling creative and decided the cupcake chalk molds we made needed “icing.” I mixed quite a bit more Plaster of Paris with the same amount of water from step three, making a thick paste almost too hard to stir. I then transferred the paste into a sandwich bag and used my scissors to cut one of the bottom corners. A makeshift icing bag. In a circular motion, I iced my little cupcakes and added some glitter on top. Because, well, #whynot #everythingisbetterwithglitter.

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All jokes aside, we really enjoyed this project. We have plenty of supplies leftover to re-create this all summer long and the girls are already asking to do it again. Have fun experimenting with different shapes, layer your colors or use your creations to give away as party favors for your next cookout! Tag me in your Instagram chalk/spiked lemonade photos this summer @Mrs_Sprigler. Until next time!

So, I am aware you can purchase a 60 count of sidewalk chalk for $5.99 at pretty much any store on Earth. However, aren’t we all looking for a way to keep our precious offspring busy this summer? It’s time to create some memories and you don’t have to be a master crafter for this project (my one-year-old excelled at making her first batch of homemade chalky goodness). 

XO

Morgan

 

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Maker13: A Community Workshop

Dream.Design.Build

Story and Photos by JD Dotson

I was first introduced to the idea of Maker13 by the owners in a tent at Harvest Homecoming 2015. I bought some small, laser-cut wood pieces to use in my jewelry making and picked up a brochure about the Maker Mobile and a future “makerspace,” a place where people from all walks of life would have access to resources, equipment, technology and knowledge they otherwise might not have the opportunity to use.

I have always been an artist and crafter, but the expense of equipment and space has left me relying on others. The thought of a makerspace in Southern Indiana made my head swim with possibilities.

With backing from the Ogle Center, John Riley and Brian Niehoff designed and brought to life a mobile version in the Maker Mobile, a non-profit, fully functioning maker studio on wheels. Maker Mobile is a 32-foot trailer outfitted with laser cutters, 3Dprinters, Vinyl Cutters, computer stations and more. It travels to schools, organizations and robotic competitions all over Southern Indiana and Kentucky educating and exposing people to opportunities to create and build.

With their engineering expertise in the field, Riley and Niehoff enlisted a finance and accounting specialist and a marketing entrepreneur to join in opening Maker13 in Jeffersonville. Together, husband and wife teams John and Christy Riley and Brian and Lauren Niehoff, have built a space for dreamers and artists, small business owners, crafters, builders and curious people like me wanting to be all of the above. The unassuming. charcoal gray building in Jeffersonville houses a beautifully-decorated interior, and an incredible collection of tools and machines, some I am familiar with and some I am itching with curiosity to learn.

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Maker13 has many options for membership, including ones for individuals, families and businesses. There is a weekender membership, monthly memberships or rates for the year. There are even scholarships available for qualifying makers. Classes are offered for each of the machines in the space for a small fee. Once the class has been completed, you are free to sign up to use the machine of your choice. Maker13 also offers events, one-time classes, date nights and group events, and parent and child classes to members and non-members alike. Some of the classes and events include handmade cutting boards, trivets, paint and stencil classes, mason jar candy dispenser class and an Etch and Brew with a local beer distiller.

The list of equipment at Maker13 is extensive. Surrounding several work tables and computer stations is a bank of Ultimaker 3D printers, which lay down thin layers of melted plastic to build your three-dimensional design. Maker13 is an authorized reseller of the Ultimaker 3D printer as well.

Next to the printers are three different sizes of laser-etching and -cutting machines. Materials ranging from wood to slate, metal, plastic and glass can be etched or cut using these machines. Sewing machines and an embroidery machine cover an area in the corner. A vinyl printer and digital vinyl cutter align the wall with capabilities of printing on all types of material, including vinyl stickers, heat transfers for t-shirts, and printing on canvas. The woodshop in the back of the Maker13 space is home to your basic wood shop tools: hand power tools, miter, band and table saws as well as some not-so-basic machines. The CNC ShopBot Router and CNC Metal Mill are cutting, drilling, carving and machining powerhouses. These smart machines are perfect for furniture making, machine part manufacturing, sculptural pieces, sign making and any type of woodworking a creative mind can dream up.

The staff does an amazing job training curious novices in the operation of all the machines, as well as in safety procedures and finding online resource material. The machines can be intimidating at first, but the classes have given me confidence and boosted my creativity with endless possibilities to realize a dream of starting or enhancing a small business, jumpstarting creativity, the ability to design something and see it come to life, and the tools to build everything imaginable. I am starting to rethink my year-long membership. I should’ve signed up for the lifetime option.

Maker13

Open House 6:30-8:30 p.m.

June 7

629 Michigan Ave.

Jeffersonville
502.208.3440
www.maker13.com info@maker13.com

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Home Expo Represents “Dream Time” For Home Builders and Buyers in Southern Indiana

The good news is: The dream is back. After four years, Home Expo is back in Southern Indiana this summer.

The bad news? There really isn’t any.

That’s the estimation of Charlie Smith, CEO of the Building and Development Association of Southern Indiana (BDASI).

“The recession was a tough time for the housing industry,” Smith said. “People stopped buying. Builders stopped building. Lenders stopped lending. It was a standstill.”

In 2013, after years of putting on the annual Home Expo – a building and housing showcase of what builders could do and what was available on the market – BDASI put the event on hiatus. But, said Smith, the time is exactly right to start exhibiting homes again.

And not just homes, he said, “but what we feel are the best of the best. The crown jewels of the building industry. It’s time to dream again.”

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The site of this year’s expo, which begins June 17, will be Champions Pointe, a luxury resort-style community in Memphis, Ind. The expo will feature a selection of new homes in various styles. The homes are all fully furnished and decorated. No two houses are alike. However, said Smith, they represent the very best of what today’s builders are capable of, at price points starting at $550,000.

“This,” he said, “represents what the building industry can do – and what we do best.”

Besides, he said, Champions Pointe is a glorious setting to serve as a showcase.

Representatives of these companies will be on hand to discuss how they are able to work for interested buyers. It may be buying a particular house. It may be building the same home on another plot in Champions Pointe or a similar home somewhere else.

Various suppliers – of materials, furnishings, kitchens, countertops and the like – will be on hand, as well, to explain their work on display in the show homes and all the various things they have to offer. Everything from a fully furnished kitchen to a paint color that an attendee might like.

Smith said the homes on display represent a brand-new section of Champions Pointe, a premier development situated on the beautiful backdrop of one of the resort-style golf courses designed and built by Southern Indiana’s own Fuzzy Zoeller, Masters and U.S. Open champion who won 10 PGA tour events and was the USGA golfer of the year in 1985.

The development also features amenities that include a swimming pool, best-in-class clubhouse and the area’s only private splash park. Tennis courts are coming, too.

bdsi4The presenting sponsor of the event is River City Bank, which will have representatives on site to discuss today’s lending and mortgage opportunities.

Platinum sponsors include Signature Countertops and Coronado Stone.

For a full list of the sponsors involved, please visit BDASIHomeExpo.com.

“There are a lot of other home events out there, and a lot of fluff,” said Smith. “Our event has substance. That’s why we’ve waited since 2013. That’s why we feel now is the time.”

Champions Pointe is located at 1820 Champions Club Lane in Henryville, three miles west of I-65, off Exit 16 – 15 minutes from downtown Louisville.

The eight-day event begins June 17, and runs through June 25. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. Admission is $10 per person.

More information is available on the association’s website, bdasihomeexpo.com.

“This is the Home Expo the way it’s intended to be,” Smith said. “The types of houses people dream about.”

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The Building & Development Association of Southern Indiana is a local non-profit membership association dedicated to serving the housing industry by advancing professional growth and providing quality, affordable housing for the community. While a large portion of its membership is builders, about two-thirds of its membership is in closely related fields such as mortgage financing, building products and design. Associate memberships are available to providers of products or services to home builders. They might sell lumber, windows or appliances, or offer services such as land development or financing expertise.

There’s also a Builder Level Membership for any person whose business is the construction, remodeling or renovation of housing. In addition to Home Expo, BDASI also puts on the Parade of Homes, this year scheduled for the fall.

BDASI HOME EXPO

WHEN: June 17-25

WHERE: Champions Pointe, 1820 Champions Club Lane in Henryville

COST: $10 per person

MORE INFO: bdasihomeexpo.com

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A Jeffersonville Oasis

Story by Allison Jones | Photos by David Harrison

Searching for the ideal place to call home can be daunting, but Nikki Coffman didn’t waver. “I wasn’t interested in a large house that would require a great deal of upkeep or extensive yard maintenance,” she said.

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A native of Southern Indiana, her roots were firmly planted in finding a place in the area. After months of searching, she stumbled upon a condominium in The Harbors and fell in love with the location, the conveniences and the amenities offered, not to mention the picturesque landscape of the Ohio River and the downtown Louisville skyline.

jo2While the condominium itself was turnkey, Coffman put her own personal reflections into the interior design. “The previous owners upgraded the kitchen with subway tile backsplash and marble countertops … something I would have picked myself, and the only other thing I did was have it repainted.” For the rest of her place, comfortable elegance is sprinkle throughout with each room echoing her personal style. “I have an ongoing relationship with Leslie Lewis Interiors. Designer Tammy Randall knows what I like, so it is easy creating spaces that capture my essence.”

Coffman’s living room is bursting with pops of color and a patterned accent wall that creates a focal point. “I was concerned that going from a 3000-square-foot home to a condominium smaller in square footage would be a problem. What I found is that downsizing is freeing.” One look at her multilayered home shows how right she was to take the minimalist path.

Just a little over six months of living here, Coffman already has been entertaining. “I hosted a Thunder over Louisville party. Twenty people came and the space really worked.”

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The living room, dining area, and kitchen are all one entity, but architectural elements – like the archway and the mirrored accent wall – create the illusion of a bigger venue. Using moveable and multi-purpose furniture pieces was another smart way she utilized every nook and cranny without overwhelming the space.

The biggest attraction is the ever-changing landscape from the balcony. “I spend most of my evenings out here to watch the beautiful sunsets. She made the area inviting with plush lounge chairs and a pub table with matching chairs. The river traffic and the twinkling lights of the Louisville skyline make this the ideal spot to unwind.

Additionally, Coffman’s bedroom has become an oasis. She chose French doors with a frosted glass inlay as a stylish way to define the space between the living area and the bedroom. Paper art decorates the wall and flanks the bed that boasts an elegant tufted headboard and plush linens. A stylish, contemporary chandelier illuminates the room.

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Coffman’s style lies on the traditional side with a modern edge which over the years has softened.  “With this home, I definitely have leaned toward a more feminine feel,” she said. With mirrored lamps and splashes of colors throughout the home, she has created a luxurious look that is warm and inviting. “I am so enamored with my home, it’s hard to leave. When I do leave, all I want do is to be at home.”

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Nikki’s Favorite Things

Tammy Randall of Leslie Lewis & Associates Interior Design

Schmitt Furniture

Paint Colors – Living Room/Dining Room – Sherwin Williams SW7649 Silverplate

Paint Colors – Bedroom – Sherwin Williams SW9137 Niebla Azul

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Triumph over Tragedy

Dawne Gee recounts her blessings after a stroke

Story by Lynn Choate | Photos by Danny Alexander

Who would have thought you could find blessings beyond measure after a stroke? Dawne Gee did. And in true triumph-over-tragedy fashion, she is recounting those blessings every chance she gets.

Just before Thanksgiving last year, Gee, 54, suffered what could have been a life-ending stroke while on the air as she anchored the WAVE 3 evening news.

In the week leading up to the stroke, she recalls feeling “just not right.

“I went to my rheumatologist, orthopedic specialist and an immediate care center all before attempting to finally take the doctors’ advice to rest,” Gee said. “My legs were swollen two to three times their normal size, and I just felt bad.”

Despite her best intentions, Gee didn’t get the rest her body so badly needed. On Thanksgiving Day, she was called to report live from the scene of a mass shooting at a well-known Louisville event.

She was back to work on Black Friday and remembers experiencing some chest pain. She had nitroglycerin tabs for angina, a heart condition that causes chest pain. By the time the 7 p.m. newscast started, she had taken three tabs and was counting down the minutes until she could go home. She told herself to just read what was on the teleprompter: “You can do that – just read.”

Little did viewers and her co-workers know, she was seconds away from having a stroke on live TV.

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“I remember tossing to the weather segment and feeling like I had to sit down while I was off camera,” she said. “I could hear (WAVE 3 Chief Meteorologist) Kevin (Harned) doing his weather forecast and preparing to send it back to me, but by then I was sitting on the floor and wasn’t sure how I would get back up.”

With all her might, Gee was able to pull herself up to a standing position as the camera turned back to her. She tried to speak, but she had no control.

“From there, I don’t remember anything until I woke up in the emergency room,” she said.

Gee was rushed to Norton Hospital. A team of physicians, nurses and medical personnel quickly assessed her condition and determined she was having a stroke and part of her brain was being deprived of oxygen-rich blood.

‘Cheering me on from the sidelines’

Now six months after her stroke, Gee is surrounded by cheerleaders — and maybe a few babysitters.

“Bless my family! They are by my side every step of the way,” Gee said. “They not only attend doctors’ appointments and physical therapy updates, they participate — asking questions and seeking out ways to make life better for me.”

Although her entire family — her children, grandchildren and siblings — have been rocks for her to lean on, Gee acknowledges that it is her mother who perhaps has been her biggest cheerleader through all of her illnesses and life crises.

“She never left my side,” Gee recalled, fighting back tears. “From the emergency room to the intensive care unit and the many weeks of therapy at Frazier Rehab, Momma never left my side.”

Her mother put the time spent with Gee in rehab to good use. She made more than 200 Hershey’s Kisses roses, a simple gesture to thank everyone who crossed the threshold of Gee’s door to care for her.

“If they cleaned my room, checked my vitals or brought me a dinner tray, Momma was thanking them with a Hershey’s Kisses rose,” Gee said. “Both my mother and father are real troopers.”

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Her parents also supported Gee while watching her calendar fill up over the past 15 years. She admits that in addition to her work schedule and a full plate of medical worries, she was committing to 200 or more speaking engagements in a year.

“There were some weekends that I would have four to six events over the course of two days,” she said. “Many times Momma and Daddy would go with me to these events, and in hindsight, I think they were watching over me.”

Although she admits to not saying it enough, Gee is learning to say “no” to some events and speaking engagements since her stroke.

“I don’t want to, but I have to,” she said. “I physically can’t keep up that schedule anymore. My body is recovering and I physically can’t do all the things I use to do.”

Truth be told, she shouldn’t have been overextending herself at all. She knows that now but admits that it’s hard turning down events when the causes are near and dear to her heart.

Gee has faced mixed responses from people when she has declined speaking engagements over the past few months.

“People see me on TV and think, ‘Oh, she’s doing great,’” Gee said. “What they don’t see is that I sit down during the commercial breaks, that I get tired very easily and that I get very anxious.”

All of these are common side effects after a stroke.

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‘If it hadn’t been for those around me’

When Gee started experiencing stroke symptoms, thankfully those around her knew the signs and acted quickly to get her lifesaving help.

Harned quickly noticed that something just wasn’t right.

“I noticed she was sitting on the floor rubbing her leg while I was doing the weather. I thought something was odd then, but we’re on live TV,” said Harned, a long-time friend and colleague of Gee’s. “Then I noticed as she began to give the news that she was slurring a bit and having trouble reading. Within seconds she was on the ground. I called out to the floor crew to call 911.”

Gee attributes the crew’s fast action with saving her life.

Aaron Ellis, assignment editor, was working that night but was in a different area of the building. He recalled the producer announcing over the building’s intercom that something was wrong with Gee.

“Everyone in the building, which was a skeleton crew because of the holiday, jumped in and did their part,” Ellis said. “I sent the reporter who initiated the 911 call into the studio to take over the on-air duties while I took over relaying information to MetroSafe.”

Having been co-workers and friends with Gee for many years, Ellis knew about her past medical history. He encourages everyone to be aware of their loved ones’ medical history and medications.

“Dawne is smart! She has most of her medical information stored on her smartphone,” he said. “I was able to access the information and relay it to MetroSafe during the call and with first responders who arrived on scene.”

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Although she doesn’t remember much from that Friday after Thanksgiving, Gee wanted to thank those who rushed to her aide. She received that opportunity recently when the Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center reunited her and six other stroke survivors with their care teams.

At the event Gee became emotional when her own story was shared from the podium. One by one, members of her care team stood to be recognized.

“These people saved my life,” Gee said through tears. “Thank you isn’t enough.”

Today Gee is back to doing the work she loves, anchoring the news, helping others in need through her “Pass the Cash” TV segment and spearheading the charitable organization she founded, “A Recipe to End Hunger.” S

he continues outpatient physical therapy once a week. Over the coming months she is looking forward to transitioning out of medically-supervised physical therapy and starting an exercise program with a personal trainer.

“I’m hoping to lose a few more pounds and continue building up my strength,” Gee said. “I’m also working on getting my blood pressure more under control.” She continues to count her blessings for the people who support her along her journey.