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Utah to honor top science and tech innovators, inlcuding Orem company

The Beehive State has recently stolen the national spotlight as an impressive innovation hub, and it’s time once again to recognize the stars. Governor Gary R. Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), announced today the 2014 winners of the Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology.

The Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology are awarded to residents and companies who have provided distinguished service or made significant contributions to Utah’s advanced scientific and technological knowledge, education and industry.

STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — is quickly becoming a familiar acronym associated with staying on the cutting edge of economic growth. Utah is no stranger to STEM education and innovation.

“Workforce development and STEM education are top priorities in the state for sustaining future economic growth,” said Gov. Herbert. “I am pleased to highlight the efforts of these innovative leaders and am grateful to see that our future workforce has the best of the best role models to inspire them.”

Medals are awarded in fields of academia, education and industry — plus one special recognition this year. This year’s recipients are:

Academia:

● Dr. Phyllis Coley, professor of biology at the University of Utah. Dr. Coley is a world leader in tropical biology and has pioneered a bioprospecting approach that enhances drug discovery as well as rainforest conservation.

● Dr. Erik Jorgensen, professor of biology at the University of Utah. Dr. Jorgensen has conducted ground-breaking work in genetics and neuroscience.

Education:

● Dr. Christine Fogarty Celestino, Juan Diego Catholic High School. Dr. Celestino developed the Juan Diego Academy of Sciences and created a summer internship program for high school students.

● Dr. Helen Hu, professor of computer science at Westminster College. Dr. Hu developed a new computer science course that is currently offered at 50 high schools in Utah.

Industry (individual):

● Niel Holt, director of Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory. Holt grew the SDL’s C4ISR division from the ground up, and now directs an organization (key to Utah’s aerospace/defense cluster) with more than 480 employees and $66.7 million in revenue.

● Dr. Ronald Weiss, professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and former president of ARUP laboratories. His leadership of ARUP, one of Salt Lake City’s top employers, has been one key to ARUP’s meteoric rise over the past two decades.

Industry (company):

● US Synthetic, based in Orem, is the largest producer of PDC diamond cutters in the world. The company continues to make generous contributions to STEM education in the state.

Special Recognition:

● Troy D’Ambrosio, founding director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. D’Ambrosio has spearheaded one of the premier entrepreneur programs in the country and will lead in the creation of the new Lassonde Studios — a combination residence and education facility with a unique live-learn-launch mission.

The award ceremony will be held on Wednesday April 15, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Masonic Temple. Event sponsors include the Clark Planetarium, Women Tech Council and STEM Action Center. Lindsie Smith, associate director of the Clark Planetarium, will emcee the event.

The Governor’s Medal award program was initiated in 1987 and nominations are reviewed by an advisory panel before formally presenting winners to the Governor.

Still time to contribute to an IRA for 2014

PThe Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers that they still have time to contribute to an IRA for 2014 and, in many cases, qualify for a deduction or even a tax credit.

This is the eighth in a series of 10 daily IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as the April 15 deadline approaches.

Available in one form or another since the mid-1970s, individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) are designed to enable employees and self-employed people to save for retirement. Contributions to traditional IRAs are often deductible, but distributions, usually after age 59½, are generally taxable. Though contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible, qualified distributions, usually after age 59½, are tax-free. Those with traditional IRAs must begin receiving distributions by April 1 of the year following the year they turn 70½, but there is no similar requirement for Roth IRAs.

Most taxpayers with qualifying income are either eligible to set up a traditional or Roth IRA or add money to an existing account. To count for 2014, contributions must be made by April 15, 2015. In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making these contributions may also qualify for the saver’s credit when they fill out their 2014 returns.

Eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA. For someone who was at least age 50 at the end of 2014, the limit is increased to $6,500. There’s no age limit for those contributing to a Roth IRA, but anyone who was at least age 70½ at the end of 2014 is barred from making contributions to a traditional IRA for 2014 and subsequent years.

The deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is generally phased out for taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan whose incomes are above certain levels. For someone covered by a workplace plan during any part of 2014, the deduction is phased out if the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for that year is between $60,000 and $70,000 for singles and heads of household and between $0 and $10,000 for married persons filing separately. For married couples filing a joint return where the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range for the deduction is $96,000 to $116,000. Where the IRA contributor is not covered by a workplace retirement plan but is married to someone who is covered, the MAGI phase-out range is $181,000 to $191,000.

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