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Fasnacht Time ANY time now!

On the Saturday night before Ash Wednesday, the people of Helvetia (West Virginia, USA) put on scary masks and decorate their homes with scary figures to frighten away Old Man Winter. Then they gather at a local restaurant, light colorful lanterns, and walk to the community hall, where they parade around the dance floor as their masks are judged. They dance until midnight, when the fiddler announces it is time to burn Old Man Winter. The prettiest girl gets on the shoulders of the tallest man and cuts down the effigy of Old Man Winter that is hanging in the middle of the room. They drag it out into the snow, rough it up, and throw it onto a bonfire, showing that it’s time for winter to end!

From: the Americas Library

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Or from WikiPedia:

Fastnacht Day is dependent upon the day of Easter, and Ash Wednesday. Easter Day varies from year to year because of the spring equinox, or full moon, and is usually the last Sunday of the month of March. Fastnacht Day takes place 47 days before Easter Day, on the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday.

Fastnacht Day dates

  • March 5, 2019
  • February 25, 2020
  • February 16, 2021
  • March 1, 2022
  • February 21, 2023

Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht) is an annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The word translates to “Fasting Night” in English. The tradition is to eat the very best foods, which are part of the German tradition, and much of them, before the Lenten fast. Fastnachts (pronounced /ˈfastnaxt/ in German) are doughnuts. There are three types of Fasnacht, one made with yeast, one made with baking powder, and one made with potatoes and yeast. All are slightly crispy on the outside and not as sweet as standard doughnuts. From WikiPedia

Recipe #1:Fastnachts with baking powder

3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon ground mace (can use nutmeg) 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (use lard if you can get it) 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup milk vegetable or canola oil for frying, about 2 quarts

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and mace in a medium bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to combine. Set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until creamy. Gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, mixing on low speed, just until well-combined. Place on a floured board. Work the dough lightly with hands, adding a little more flour as needed if it is too sticky. (This dough should be very soft, something like a biscuit dough, so don’t add more flour than necessary.) Gently roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle or square. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares or similarly sized rectangles. Heat the oil in a deep-sided pot over medium heat to 375 °F. Carefully add the fastnachts to the oil, about 6 per batch, and fry until well-browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining fastnachts.[6]

Recipe #2: Fastnachts with Yeast

2 cups scalded milk, ½ cup lard, 1 cup mashed potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, ¾ cup sugar, 2 well beaten eggs, 1 package yeast, 7 cups flour, approximately

Scald milk and add mashed potatoes, sugar, salt, and lard. Cool until lukewarm. Add eggs. Add yeast and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead well and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise about 1½ hours. Roll ¼ inch thick on a floured board. Place on a cloth and let rise until doubled in size and fry in hot fat.[7]

Recipe #3: Fastnachts with potatoes and baking powder

2 1/2 c. hot mashed potatoes 1 cup milk 3 beaten eggs 2 Tablespoons melted butter 2 cups sugar 2 Tablespoons baking powder 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl combine all ingredients, but add flour slowly. Divide dough in half and roll to 1/2″ thickness. Cut with doughnut cutter. Fry in deep fat or oil, turning when brown. Drain on paper towels and let cool.[7]

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Inflation Adjustment: 2020 Tax items of most interest

This just in from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) <> (see web page at

The tax items for tax year 2020 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:

  • The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $24,800 for tax year 2020, up $400 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $12,400 for 2020, up $200, and for heads of households, the standard deduction will be $18,650 for tax year 2020, up $300.
  • (ed. The lowest rate is really Zero 0% – a married family which brings in $24,800 or less does not owe any Federal Income tax. You must earn more than $24,800 to be taxable at all.)
  • The lowest rate is 10% for incomes over and above the standard deduction: single individuals with incomes of $9,875  or less and $19,750 for married couples filing jointly. [[ed. to clarify: to owe any tax at all for 2019 a family must earn at least $24,801 – $24,800 is subtracted off as the standard deduction, and 10% tax is owed on the remaining $1, or 10 cents tax total. You must earn $19,751 more than $24,800 to owe 12 cents tax on the $1 over $24,800+$19,750. By comparison the standard deduction in year 2016 was only $12,600 – half as much – so you had to pay 10% tax starting at $12,601 and the next bracket was 15% not 12% and started at only $9,275. See the Forbes article here]]
  • 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $518,400 ($622,050 for married couples filing jointly).
  • 35%, for incomes over $207,350 ($414,700 for married couples filing jointly);
  • 32% for incomes over $163,300 ($326,600 for married couples filing jointly);
  • 24% for incomes over $85,525 ($171,050 for married couples filing jointly);
  • 22% for incomes over $40,125 ($80,250 for married couples filing jointly);
  • 12% for incomes over $9,875 ($19,750 for married couples filing jointly).
  • For 2020, as in 2019 and 2018, there is no limitation on itemized deductions, as that limitation was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • The tax year 2020 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,660 for qualifying taxpayers who have three or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,557 for tax year 2019. The revenue procedure contains a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.
  • For tax year 2020, the adjusted gross income amount used by joint filers to determine the reduction in the Lifetime Learning Credit is $118,000, up from $116,000 for tax year 2019.
  • For tax year 2020, the foreign earned income exclusion is $107,600 up from $105,900 for tax year 2019.
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2020 have a basic exclusion amount of $11,580,000, up from a total of $11,400,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2019.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts is $15,000 for calendar year 2020, as it was for calendar year 2019.
  • The maximum credit allowed for adoptions for tax year 2020 is the amount of qualified adoption expenses up to $14,300, up from $14,080 for 2019.

Deer archery season begins Oct. 1


This just in via email from Indiana Department of Natural Resources <>:

The deer archery season runs from Oct. 1 through Jan. 5, 2020. Are you prepared? Buy an archery license, a crossbow license, or deer bundle license online today at If you’re hunting from a tree stand, remember to use a safety harness to prevent accidental falls.

For more information on bag limits and quotas, check out the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide.

Year 2018 saw a 20% increase in felonious deaths of law enforcement officers

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This just in via email from Police On Target <>

The FBI has released its 2018 LEOKA report, detailing the line-of-duty deaths that occurred last year. In 2018, 106 law enforcement officers were reported killed in the line of duty, with a 20% increase in felonious deaths of law enforcement officers compared to the previous year (from 46 to 55), according to the FBI’s report “Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018.”

Official report is at

The 55 felonious deaths occurred in 28 states and in Puerto Rico. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2018 was 9 more than the 46 officers who were feloniously killed in 2017. The 5- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 4 felonious deaths compared with the 2014 figure (51 officers) and an increase of 7 deaths compared with 2009 data (48 officers).

Of the 55 officers feloniously killed:

  • 23 died as a result of investigative or enforcement activities
    • 8 were performing investigative activities
    • 6 were involved in tactical situations
    • 3 were interacting with wanted persons
    • 3 were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances
    • 2 were conducting traffic violation stops
    • 1 was handling a person with mental illness
  • 11 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation)
    • 6 were involved in pursuits
    • 4 were involved in foot pursuits
    • 2 were involved in vehicular pursuits
  • 4 were responding to crimes in progress
    • 2 were burglaries in progress
    • 1 was a report of a person with a firearm
    • 1 was reported in the category of other crime against property.
  • 3 were involved in arrest situations and were attempting to control/handcuff/restrain the offender(s) during the arrest situations
  • 2 were on administrative assignments and were performing prisoner transports
  • 2 were assisting other law enforcement officers with foot pursuits
  • 2 were responding to disorders or disturbances
    • 1 was responding to a disturbance call
    • 1 was responding to a domestic violence call
  • 1 was performing traffic control
  • 1 was involved in an unprovoked attack

For more information, see the full article at

House Bill 1284 to enhance protections for defense of self and others

This just in via email from NRA-ILA Indiana Alert <>

On Monday, January 28th at 10:30AM, the Indiana State House Committee on Judiciary will be hearing House Bill 1284 to enhance protections afforded to law-abiding citizens acting in defense of themselves and others. Please contact House Judiciary Committee members and urge them to SUPPORT HB 1284.

House Bill 1284, sponsored by Representative Jim Lucas (R-69), would provide immunity for a justified use of force in certain instances. A trial court would be required to conduct a pretrial hearing concerning the application of the immunity when the defendant raises the justified use of force immunity as a defense and dismiss the claim when justified force is used. This bill would also require a court to award, in certain instances, reasonable attorney’s fees if it determines a suit was brought unjustly, helping to prevent financial ruin for individuals protecting themselves and others.