Finalists Selected for Mohawk Trail Entrepreneurship Challenge

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass.—Four companies from the Mohawk Trail region have been selected as finalists for Lever's second Mohawk Trail Entrepreneurship Challenge. 
 
These wood-based businesses now begin a startup acceleration to refine their business plans and pitches and work with mentors; the Challenge will culminate in a final pitch event in May 2022, where the winning company will receive a $25,000 innovation grant from Lever.
 
 
MTEC Finalists
 
The Cruckfather, LLC, Shelburne
The Cruckfather is a timber frame business that uses the old New England construction tradition to create timber-framed structures of all shapes and sizes. The Cruckfather's owner, Alan Spooner, aims to branch out into small-scale manufacturing, creating small-scale timber frames and structures on-site in Charlemont in addition to its on-location construction services.
 
Larkitecture, North Adams
Larkitecture is planning to address a major issue many people have with camping: uncomfortable sleep. The company plans to build and sell a "teardrop"-style camping trailer (a pod design with a retro feel) that is comfortable for overnight stays, no matter where it's parked. Their design will feature locally harvested wood products. 
 
Hall Tavern Farm, Charlemont
Hall Tavern Farm is the oldest privately owned tree farm in Massachusetts. Its 350 acres, used as a farm since the 1920s, have been conserved through a state Agricultural Preservation Restriction, and it also offers custom sawing and milling services. Hall Tavern's team is planning to develop an on-site wood processing and forest education center that would serve as an incubator and equipment share for other wood-based businesses.
 
Coopers Wood Products, North Adams
Coopers Wood Products creates custom wood signs, mantles, beer taps, cabinets and more, frequently using reclaimed barn wood for its products. Coopers also produces large-volume wood items for other artists. Coopers' goal is to increase the amount of reclaimed wood used in its projects.
 
Designed with a focus on sustainability and job creation in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Region, the MTEC is supported by a $60,000 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA). The MTEC aims to maximize regional economic impact through businesses that can attract revenue from areas outside the Mohawk Trail region, create new jobs, and attract financing from multiple sources. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Can you reduce the Medicare surcharge?

Submitted by Edward Jones
Before you turn 65, you'll want to become familiar with Medicare's rules and features. And if you're a high earner, you'll want to be especially aware of the Medicare premium surcharge — because, over time, it can add up to some significant dollars.
 
The premium surcharge — known as the income related monthly adjustment amount, or IRMAA — is assessed on premiums for Medicare Parts B and D, and generally is based on an individual's modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of two years ago. So, the IRMAA for 2023 would be based on one's MAGI from 2021.
 
For someone who's married and files taxes jointly, and whose MAGI for 2021 was $194,000 or less, the Part B premium for 2023 will be $164.90 per month, and the Part D premium will be whatever amount is charged by their Medicare plan. But if their 2021 MAGI was between $194,000 and $246,000, they'll pay $230.80 (a surcharge of $65.90) for Part B and an additional $12.20 for Part D. And the IRMAA rises at different income levels, reaching a maximum of $560.50 (a surcharge of $395.60) for Part B and an additional $76.40 for Part D for a MAGI of $750,000 or more.
 
If you're unprepared for the IRMAA, it can be an unpleasant surprise. So, if you've still got a few years until you enroll in Medicare, you may want to look for ways to control your MAGI and possibly limit the surcharge.
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