Wednesday, March 5, 1997
How to get help
from the IRS

People whose homes or property are damaged by recent storms and current flooding may be able to get an immediate tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To claim the loss on your 1996 return, your area must be declared a federal disaster area. That has not yet occurred in Greater Cincinnati, but it is likely because governors in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio have requested federal assistance. Thirty-five counties in the three states affected.

People need to claim a tax deduction called a Nonbusiness Casualty Loss.

If you've already filed and want to claim the loss now, you can file a 1040X form to amend your claim.

For more information, order IRS Publication 547 ''Nonbusiness Disasters, Casualties and Thefts;'' Publication 584 ''Nonbusiness Disaster and Theft Workbook;'' and Form 4684 ''Casualties and Thefts'' by calling 800-829-3676.

Information on claiming business losses is in IRS Publication 334 ''Tax Guide for Small Business.''

Commuting tips

Columbia Parkway problems: Cincinnati officials were to make efforts overnight to reopen Columbia Parkway. It was shut down Tuesday between Delta to east of Beechmont.

Morning commuters should listen to radio or watch the news for current information.

One detour route is Eastern Avenue. Traffic can re-enter Beechmont Avenue or Columbia Parkway in the area of the Beechmont/Columbia Parkway interchange.

Another diversion is a Delta and Linwood route. If Eastern is flooded, traffic will be diverted to the Delta/Linwood route.

Also, motorists can use I-275 to I-471 into downtown from the east.

Sixth Street detour: All westbound car and truck traffic on the Sixth Street expressway is being diverted to West Eight Street to State Street to River Road.

However, special arrangements are being made for the 4-6 p.m. rush hour. During that time, westbound cars only will be allowed over the Sixth Street expressway to Elberon Avenue. Trucks will not be permitted.

Helpful phone numbers

Emergency Management Office agencies:

Hamilton County: 851-7080.

Clermont County: 732-7661.

Adams County: (937) 544-8251.

Brown County: (937) 392-4384 or (513) 403-1192.

Scioto County: (614) 290-8300.

American Red Cross:

Cincinnati chapter covers Adams, Brown, Clermont and Hamilton counties: 579-3000

In Scioto County: (614) 354-3293

To make donations, contact (800) HELP-NOW.

Area Agencies on Aging:

These groups help meet the needs of Ohio's senior citizens, such as those who are bed-ridden.

Hamilton and Clermont counties: Council on Aging of the Cincinnati Area Inc., 644 Linn St., Holiday Office Park No. 1100; 800/252-0155 or 721-1025.

Adams, Brown, Scioto counties: 218 N. College St., University of Rio Grande, Rio Grande, Ohio; 800/582-7277 or 614/245-5306.

Mental Health Boards and Agencies:

Organizations that provide counseling, crisis information or other mental health related services:

Hamilton County: Hamilton County Mental Health Board, 621-3045.

Clermont County: Clermont County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Board, 732-5400.

Brown County: Brown County Counseling Center, 800/233-HELP.

Adams/Lawrence/Scioto counties: Shawnee Mental Health Center and the River Valley Health Center: (800) 448-2273.

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters: (VOAD)

This is a volunteer group comprised of 30 various organizations throughout Ohio and the U.S. It specifically focuses on disasters. If you want to volunteer, donate goods or have needs, contact them this week at (614) 799-3978.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio:

If problems with utilities develop, first contact your local utility company's customer service department. Ohio residents also can contact: (800) 686-PUCO.