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COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION. As you can see in the bulging special section included in this issue, commercial construction is thriving in the area, and the numbers bear it out. Without a huge sample only the year's first two months' figures are available there is more of it going on in Springfield in 1999. Permits issued for new commercial buildings totaled $14.9 million on 20 projects so far in 1999. In January and February of 1998 there were permits issued for 15 projects worth $10.6 million. Commercial remodel permits totaled $345,000 this year, behind the 1998 two-month total of $542,000 in permits issued.

TAXING CREDIT. Yes, you can put your taxes on plastic this year, but as so often is the case with the IRS, it'll cost you. Part of the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act granted the Internal Revenue Service the ability to accept credit-card payments for personal federal income tax payments. What Congress did not do is grant the IRS the ability to pay merchant fees associated with credit-card transactions. Who pays those? One guess. Audiotex, a California company, is processing the credit-card payments. MasterCard, American Express and Discover are taking part. Visa has declined to take part. If you pay your taxes with one of those cards, you'll also be stuck with a service fee of 2.5 percent of the total, according to CardTrak, a credit industry newsletter published by CardWeb Inc. The Wall Street Journal reported that through March 26, 3,900 taxpayers had paid with the credit-card option, with an average payment of $1,306.

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. Speaking of taxes, the U.S. Attorney announced March 25 the indictment of Brady Allensworth on tax fraud charges. A release from the U.S. Attorney said Allensworth is the former operator of Rayco Tax Service in Springfield. The indictment alleged that in 1995 and 1996 Allensworth filed 16 federal income tax returns in his own name and in the names of clients claiming $205,848, of which Allensworth collected $31,934 in refund checks. The indictment alleges 16 counts of making false claims against the United States, two counts of mail fraud and one count of interstate transport of a fraudulently obtained security.

MVA TO STAY. The Missouri Vocational Association will hold its summer conference in 2002 and 2003. The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau said the bid was secured in competition against Lake of the Ozarks and St. Louis to maintain Springfield as host city. The MVA has held its summer conference here since 1990. About 3,500 delegates are expected. In the process of filling every hotel room in town during its July conference, MVA members spend about $1.5 million while they're here, according to CVB estimates.

NURSING HOME SALE. The sale of Ash Grove Nursing Home Inc. to Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation is expected to close by April 28. The acquisition comes after the foundation took over management of the nursing home in August 1998. The foundation, a sister corporation of Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, plans a $250,000 upgrade to the nursing facility. The nursing home can care for 62 residents and employs 62. Ash Grove Nursing Home opened in 1968. Jeremy MacLaughlin is the facility's administrator and will continue in that position after the sale is complete.

SPA ON. In the March 22 SBJ, it was reported in this space that the Fountain Day Spa planned for the corner of Sunshine and Oak Grove was not happening. While the project will not be built at that site, its principals are still continuing with plans for the spa, said Ty Morgan, president of Fountain Investors Inc. Morgan said sites, investors and financing are being sought.

SLICE OF NICE. Local community leaders are lining up to Kiss A Pig for the American Diabetes Association. The association's 10th annual Kiss A Pig contest is going on now to raise money for research and for programs for people in southwest Missouri. This year, Woody Justice, of Justice Jewelers; Mike Edwards, of Oldies 105.1; Steve Burch, of NationsBank; Tim Mitchell, of Liberty Bank; Dr. Tedd Hamaker, of Springfield Veterinary Hospital; and Gary Gibson, Springfield City Council, are participating. The individual who raises the most money before May 7 will have to kiss a pig at Justice Jewelers at 6 p.m. on that date. To donate to any campaign, stop by that individual's business or call the American Diabetes Association at 890-8400. [[In-content Ad]]

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