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As he did for the Plaza 24 mini-mall on 24th Street West, Mike Stock of Stock Land Properties has mostly pre-leased the lookalike plaza he’s building at King Avenue West and South 24th Street West by Old Chicago Restaurant.

The building called South Plaza 24 was scheduled to be finished this month, but the hard winter set back the work.

“We’ll be done in about five weeks, probably the last week in May, depending how much rain we get,” Stock said.

Four of six spaces are leased already with one tenant taking two spaces. Stock could only talk about one deal that was completed because the other leases are still being negotiated.

A Colorado restaurant franchise called the Spicy Pickle is going into the South Plaza 24. Other tenants will include a retail store and a service retail business such as an insurance agent or investment company.

“It’s very good to have the leases, but then it’s a dynamite location,” Stock said.

South Side ready to party

The annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at the South Side IGA on May 5 has been turned over to the community this year, although it will still be held in the grocery store parking lot at 4220 State Ave.

Nonprofits from the Little League to Living Waters Church are organizing events like a car wash or a dunking booth and the Ladies of Guadalupe will host the bake sale.

“It’s always been the IGA thing. This time the community organizations get to do it and use the day as a fundraiser,” said Shayne Meskimen.

Shayne and his wife, Dani, have owned the Lockwood IGA for two decades and they bought the South Side grocery store last spring. Since then they painted the neighborhood grocery walls bright yellows, oranges and greens and installed new meat cases.

Supervalu, a Minnesota food wholesaler serving more than 2,200 independent grocers, just chose Meskimen as grocery retailer of the month among stores in the Midwest and Northwest.

Tax time hits Monday

If you have last-minute tax questions, you can go to the IRS YouTube channel to watch videos on hundreds of topics presented in English, Spanish and American Sign Language. The subjects include filing tips, filing for free and tracking your refund. To access this service, go to: www.irs.gov and then enter YouTube in the search window.

Scams du jour

Scam artists are crafty watchers of the calendar and they hone in on the annual tax filing deadline.

One e-mail making the rounds claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service and promises the recipient a tax refund of $620.50. But if you hit the “click here” link, it asks for your name, Social Security number, address and other personal information. The real IRS never asks those questions in emails.

Meanwhile, Billings Federal Credit Union tellers said several members complained recently about bogus telephone calls from “United Legal Investigation Bureau.”

The caller threatens to freeze the person’s bank account and have them arrested if they don’t pay a delinquent payday loan. If they refuse to play along, the caller becomes vulgar and volatile.

By the numbers

12: The Internal Revenue Service has listed the top “Dirty Dozen” tax scams: hiding income offshore; “phishing” or identity theft; fraudulent tax preparers; filing false or misleading forms; frivolous legal arguments; exaggerating withholding on nontaxable Social Security benefits; abusing charitable and tax-exempt deductions; abusing retirement plans; disguising corporate ownership; filing phony wages statements that zero-out income; misusing trusts; and scams involving tax credits for fuel.

29 percent: The jump in U.S. corporate profits during the fourth quarter, the fastest growth in 60 years. Despite annual profits of nearly $1.768 trillion, chief executives aren’t hiring fast enough to significantly reduce the official 8.8 percent national unemployment rate.

12 percent: The hike in the overall compensation last year over 2009 for the top executives of 200 major U.S. companies. They earned an average of $9.8 million last year, a 12 percent hike, according to The New York Times.

Laugh lines

History from a kid’s viewpoint:

“Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hole. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Since then no one ever found it.”

Contact Jan Falstad at jfalstad@billingsgazette.com or 406-657-1306.

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