Opinion

AARP tax-help story deserved bigger play | Editor's Notebook

Richard Walker ... editor of the North Kitsap Herald - File photo
Richard Walker ... editor of the North Kitsap Herald
— image credit: File photo

The caller didn’t leave her name. What she did leave was a well-deserved verbal bashing.

The caller’s irritation: She couldn’t find information in the Herald about free income tax return preparation and filing help, provided in North Kitsap by AARP volunteers. A friend called her attention to a fine story by Kristin Okinaka in the Central Kitsap Reporter.

“Why did I have to go to a newspaper in Silverdale to get that information? Why couldn’t I have gotten it in the Herald?” the caller asked. “Some editor.”

Ouch. That hurt. But she’s right.

Sure, we published a brief news item about AARP tax help being provided here, way back on Feb. 4, page 9. But how and where a story is presented is as important as the information. And some information, like getting free help dealing with something as onerous as tax forms, is a big story to a lot of people.

Here’s the story: North Kitsap residents can get free help through mid-April preparing and electronically filing their tax returns at the Poulsbo Fire Department on Liberty Road and the S’Klallam Elders Center in Little Boston. The tax assistance is free to all community members, working and retired. The sites are staffed by trained volunteers. The program helped 522 taxpayers in 2010. For information, call Ed Ramey,  638-1525.

As Okinaka reported in the March 11 Central Kitsap Reporter, help is also available at the Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way NW, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; Sheridan Park Center, 680 Lebo Blvd., Bremerton, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays; and Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave., Bremerton, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

As Okinaka reported, the AARP Tax-Aide program is geared toward the elderly and lower-income families but volunteers can help anyone.

It’s easy in this business to get caught up in the so-called big stories of the day and overlook the smaller things that are important – smaller things that aren’t, as this caller reminded me, so small at all.

Any time you feel we’ve missed the mark, call or e-mail me: 779-4464, rwalker@northkitsapherald.com.

TAX HELP

North Kitsap residents can get free help through mid-April preparing and electronically filing their tax returns at the following locations:

— Poulsbo Fire Department, 911 Liberty Road, Poulsbo. Thursdays, 1-5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays,  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

— S’Klallam Elders Center, 31912 Little Boston Road, Little Boston. Mondays and Tuesdays, 1-5 p.m.

For hours and schedule changes, call Ed Ramey at 638-1525.

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