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Shifting Garfield County demographics point to continued imbalance between worker needs, housing

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New multi-family residential units under construction next to Carbondale’s new City Market were among the flurry of mixed-used building activity in Carbondale this year.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Garfield County’s changing demographics based on the new 2020 U.S. Census numbers reveal a Catch-22 when it comes to the county’s labor market and housing.

There are fewer people to fill available jobs — a situation that’s likely to worsen as more baby boomers age out of the job market — and housing costs continue to rise in Garfield and surrounding counties, making it harder to hire new workers.

That was just one takeaway from a presentation given Monday to the Garfield County commissioners by Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner.



Garfield County grew at a slower rate than the state as a whole over the past decade, from 2011 to 2020, than during the previous decade, Garner noted.

Colorado grew from 4.3 million people in 2000 to a little over 5 million in 2010 and then to 5.77 million with the 2020 census, for a growth rate of 14.8%.



The vast majority of that growth was along the upper Front Range, from Colorado Springs north to Denver, Broomfield, Longmont, Loveland and the Fort Collins and Greeley areas.

Garfield County, on the other hand, saw substantial growth between 2000 and 2010, from 43,791 to 56,389 — a growth rate of nearly 28.8%.

That trend slowed significantly over the past 10 years, though, as the county grew to 61,685 residents, a 9.4% increase.

With much of that existing population shifting into the 65-plus age group — Garfield County is forecast to see that segment of its population grow from about 9,000 now to nearly 14,000 by 2030 — it means there’s likely to be fewer workers to fill jobs.

Job growth statewide is expected to slow over the next decade, due in part to a slowdown in net migration of new residents into the state, and a decline in the under 18 population, Garner said.

On the other side of the jobs and labor coin, though, housing is not keeping up with demand for new people to replace older workers. And the housing market isn’t helping, Garner said.

“What we’re not seeing in the state as a whole is a good balance between housing growth and population growth,” she said.

Builders don’t necessarily look at growth as the main driver in building more housing. That has more to do with financing availability, she said.

If growth were more consistent, rather than subject to Colorado’s typical boom/bust cycles, it would be easier to plan ahead, she also noted.

With the ups and downs of the past decade, including the aftermath of the 2008 recession and more-recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state saw 126,355 fewer housing units built over the past 10 years (278,506) than from 2000 to 2010 (404,861), according to Garner’s demographics report to the county commissioners.

Garfield County saw more than 6,000 new housing units built during the prior decade, compared to a little more than 1,000 this past decade, according to the report.

And Garfield County isn’t going to be any less attractive a place for people to move to over the next 10 years, Garner observed.

It has natural beauty, but with a larger population than other rural areas and with a lot of amenities such as shopping, restaurants and cultural offerings, the county will continue to see growth pressures, she predicted.

“You are ripe for more growth simply because of who you are and where you are,” Garner said.

Local planning departments in areas where growth is expected are also starting to talk more about how to deal with that growth in the context of water and other natural resources, she also said.

Garfield County has seen an increase in building activity to help meet that demand.

Through October, residential building permits issued for the unincorporated parts of the county alone, 242, are on track to surpass the pre-recession peak of 281 in 2007, Garfield County Community Development Director Sheryl Bower reported to the commissioners last week.

The county saw 226 residential building permits issued during all of 2020, she said.

“That’s a pretty big jump from previous years, and we’re getting close to where we were in 2007,” Bower said. “We’ll likely see quite a few more before the end of the year.”

The majority of overall building in the county this year has taken place within the six municipalities, where 582 new units have been constructed.

Most of that new building has involved multifamily housing in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs (434 units total), with higher numbers of single-family homes being built in New Castle, Silt and Rifle (96), the county stated in a news release pointing out the building permit numbers.

Glenwood and Carbondale saw a total of 35 single-family homes built this year. Of 791 total units built in Garfield County so far this year, 102 were deed-restricted as affordable housing.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or [email protected].

Limited Social Media Engagement May Have Caused Older Adults To Miss Out On Resources And Support Early In The Pandemic

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020, the federal government asked individuals to social distance from one another. In response, state, and local authorities nationwide began issuing curfews and recommendations to “shelter-in-place.” Many people worried the mental health of older adults would suffer from the negative effects of COVID-19 and social isolation. Previous research by University of Minnesota School of Public Health researcher Jude Mikal showed that younger people turned to social media, such as Facebook, and used it as a sort of emergency broadcasting platform to share information, support, and resources early on in the pandemic. Now, new research from Mikal shows older adults signed on to social media too, but not for the same reasons or to the same effect.

“There are more and more Baby Boomers online, but we know very little about their social media engagement patterns,” says Mikal. “The cultural shock of COVID-19 and social distancing created a great opportunity to see if they would migrate in mass to social media for news and information.”

The study, co-authored by Professor Rebecca Wurtz and researcher Stuart Grande, recently appeared in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

For the study, Mikal and his team followed 22 Americans over the age of 65 who used social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and related media (Youtube, Netflix, New York Times etc.) over a period of six weeks beginning in March 2020. The surveys asked the participants about their computer and social media use, as well as social distancing practices during the period.

The surveys showed:

  • Older adults tend to be more targeted in their use of social media, using it to check in on specific people or accounts compared to younger people who are more likely to browse the sites and apps more. For example, some older people in the study reported visiting Facebook for less than 10 minutes a day and only to look at the accounts of specific family members.
  • Older adults tend to favor one-to-one communication versus posting or reading content for group viewing. This means they were more likely missing out on sharing critical COVID-19 related posts, articles, and information that allowed social media to function like an emergency broadcast service.
  • Older adults had a conspicuous absence of engagement with businesses’ social media pages and weren’t seeking out information regarding how stores and companies were operating during the pandemic.
  • Over time, older adults progressively withdrew from participating in social media and consuming news online.
  • As a result, older adults increasingly sought connection in real-world interactions and began easing their social distancing compliance in advance of Centers for Disease Control recommendations. For example, people reported visiting with their grandchildren more, returning to choir practice, or spending extra time in gardening stores.

“Pew reports and other data show that up to 65% of older adults are on social media—it’s really high,” says Mikal. “Facebook is now the McDonald’s of websites—everybody is going there. But what we found is older adults are not participating in the most popular groups and pages or staying on social media sites long enough to see the most important information shared.”

Mikal says the results mean that flooding social media news feeds with pertinent information won’t necessarily reach older audiences. Rather, messages would have to be communicated very obviously, such as by using banners, in order to gain the attention of what he terms “drop-in users.” Mikal also recommends that social media platforms find ways to group users into smaller social groups that appeal to older audiences and develop strategies for effectively broadcasting information to them.


People used Facebook as emergency communication system during pandemic, study finds


More information:
Jude P. Mikal et al, Older Adults’ Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) Engagement Following COVID-19 and Its Impact on Access to Community, Information, and Resource Exchange: A Longitudinal, Qualitative Study, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1177/23337214211052201

Citation:
Limited social media engagement may have caused older adults to miss out on resources and support early in the pandemic (2021, November 15)
retrieved 15 November 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-limited-social-media-engagement-older.html

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Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Advises How To Get Into Bitcoin — Crypto Now 10% Of His Portfolio – Featured Bitcoin News

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Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, has some advice on how to get into bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. “It’s a wonderful universe. It’s a fantastic asset. It’s a must-own if you’re an investor,” O’Leary said. He also revealed that his crypto exposure has grown to about 10%.

Kevin O’Leary Has Some Advice for New Crypto Investors

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETFs, gave some advice for new investors wanting to get into bitcoin or the crypto space for the first time during an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, published early this month.

O’Leary was asked, “Do you have any advice for people curious about bitcoin or just getting into the space?” He replied:

I really advise them to explore this asset and the way to do it is to start small, start to understand the platforms. Are you going to buy it through a centralized wallet? Are you going to decentralize? Try all the options, learn by experience.

He added: “The thing about bitcoin is you need to learn how to work with it … There’s many different ways to approach it. There’s many different ways to own it.”

The Shark Tank star then shared that “his 25-year-old son is completely adept now at all of the ways to own bitcoin — all the ways to trade it, all the ways to own it, all the ways to stake it. He is the next generation. He did it on his own. He’s never been in a bank branch. He never goes into a bank, doesn’t know why he would.”

O’Leary continued: “Gen Z and millennials, and now baby boomers, are all learning. They make mistakes. I know people have lost their coins, but they did it on a small basis. And they don’t make that mistake again. They create awareness of how to do it.”

He emphasized:

It’s a wonderful universe. It’s a fantastic asset. It’s a must-own if you’re an investor, and then it’s about how you do it. But it’s all about education.

O’Leary noted that the good news is there is a “community that provides a tremendous resource online. You can spend just three or four hours and you will become … quite knowledgeable on what Bitcoin is, how it works, and how to own it.”

During a Reddit Talk session on Thursday, he explained that his crypto holdings include a number of cryptocurrencies as well as companies and products in the space, such as firms building decentralized wallets. “So, we’re going to end up at the end of the year with a very significant holding in crypto assets, and it’s not just bitcoin,” he shared.

While the Shark Tank star did not disclose all his crypto holdings, he confirmed that he owns bitcoin, ether, and USD coin, among others. He admitted that he owns “a lot of ethereum.” He bought his first coin in 2017.

Mr. Wonderful revealed:

I’ve grown the portfolio remarkably. At the beginning of the year, I was at 3% weighting. The target was to get 7% by year-end. However, because of the appreciation of so many of the assets I have now, we’re almost at 10% today.

In early October, he said that his crypto exposure was more than gold for the first time. In September, he said he expects a “trillion dollars” to flow into BTC.

Last month, Bitcoin.com News reported on his Shark Tank co-star Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, when he gave some advice to new crypto investors.

What do you think about Kevin O’Leary’s advice on how to get into bitcoin and crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again?

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Then there was a 35-year-old tech worker in Long Beach, Calif., who bought a house in Round Rock for $300,000 last October. By January 2021, it was worth roughly $400,000; in February, he bought two more. His winning bids were two of dozens that his real estate agent, a former equities trader who now works primarily with individual investors, made sight unseen, all of them for at least $40,000 over the asking price. “I’m part of the problem,” the buyer acknowledged to me, though he was not your stereotypical speculator: Despite earning six figures, he drives a 2005 Honda Civic and, when I spoke to him, was renting a room for $900 a month, preferring to save and invest. (Scarred by graduating into the Great Recession, he aligns with the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement popular on Reddit.) He marveled at how FaceTime, DocuSign and electronic transfers made everything seamless, but because real estate money can now move so easily, it meant what he had liked about real estate investing in the first place — its stability and relative slowness — no longer held true. “We’re gamifying real estate investment to the point that it’s almost like throwing money at the stock market,” he told me.

Some Austin real estate agents have positioned themselves to capitalize on all this out-of-town money. On a steamy 95-degree day in late June, Matt Holm lifted the winged door of his Tesla Model X so that I could hop in the back seat behind his client, Jon, a man who worked in commercial real estate financing in Santa Monica. (Jon asked that I withhold his last name because he hasn’t shared his relocation plans with his friends and family.) During the pandemic, Jon, originally from Madison, Wis., began to rethink what was keeping him in California. “I’m getting a little anxiety about making a longer-term commitment to L.A., just given the political climate, the tax climate, the homelessness problem,” he told me.

Jon had traveled to Austin three times in as many months and was getting a handle on the “resi” market. He was looking for a home where he could declare residency to take advantage of Texas’ lack of income tax — but he also wanted to live elsewhere half the year, and so he was looking for a place he could easily rent out and make money on. And he wanted guaranteed appreciation. “I mean everything’s an investment, right?” he told me. A friend of his who had just relocated to Austin introduced him to Holm, whose dirty-blond hair was pulled into a sleek ponytail. He founded the Tesla Owners Club of Austin in 2013 and proudly referred to himself as the “Tesla realtor” in town. When Jon slipped in to look at a short-term rental, Matt told me that Jon would like to spend $500,000 to $700,000, “but he’s going to spend 1.3 to 1.5 by the time he’s done.”

“There’s nine million square feet of office being built,” Holm said, as we drove through downtown, cranes and glass skyscrapers glinting above stalky yellow-limestone and red-granite buildings. (The Austin Chamber of Commerce gave a lower but still shocking figure, 6.2 million square feet.) “And it’s being built, like, it’s not occupied. So those jobs are coming. People are telling me, like, Oh, you know, we peaked. … As far as the metrics, the Texodus is not slowing down. We’re about to get a tidal wave.”

“People haven’t even factored in the Elon effect,” he continued, “I can’t tell you the number of people that are saying, Oh, Elon’s building a factory. Like, no, Elon’s not building a factory — this is headquarters for everything Elon. He hasn’t officially announced it, and I don’t know anything behind the scenes, but I can see very clearly the people that are moving here, and they’re not factory workers.” (Indeed, in October, Musk made it official.)

Holm and Jon spoke the same language. They analyzed every parcel for how to maximize profits and shared tips for minimizing taxes. Walking through a cavernous tiled-and-carpeted two-story in Travis Heights, Holm suggested that with its many bedrooms, it would make an excellent Airbnb. Although Austin and the state stipulated that owners could rent only their homestead and only for a maximum of six months a year, “that could be every weekend,” Holm said.

“The investor I know that’s killing it right now is a systems guy,” he continued. “And I told him for four years that he had to get into the Airbnb business and he thought I was B.S.ing him on the numbers. And finally, he believed me, and now he has 13 Airbnbs.”

What If the Boomers Outlive Their Money?

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In 2022, 70 million beneficiaries will receive a 5.9% COLA — one of the largest increases in decades. While that may seem like a windfall, it’s not. A corresponding Medicare B and D rate increase (which are deducted from social security payments), could offset all, or a substantial part of, the upcoming cost of living adjustment.

Unfortunately, rising inflation remains one of the greatest threats to one’s retirement savings. This presents just another reason for advisors to “think outside the box” for solutions as their clients advance into their golden years and begin withdrawals from their savings.

Higher Taxes and Reduced Social Security Benefits?

While President Biden’s claims that the new programs in his Build Back Better plan will be paid for by corporations and high income earners, some opponents believe it will also hit those at the bottom with higher prices passed on by corporations, loss of jobs, lower wages and ultimately more taxes.

Adding more fuel to the fire, the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to run out of money one year sooner than projected — yet another by-product of the COVID 19 pandemic. According to government officials, by 2034, Social Security will not be able to pay full benefits. If no changes are made before the fund runs out, the most likely result will be a 25% reduction in the benefits that are paid out.

Physical Longevity

Depending upon one’s financial assets and personal convictions, longevity may be a blessing or a curse.

Major advances in medical treatment have increased the odds of living past age 110, according to a new study from the University of Washington. Although life expectancy took a dip recently due to a rise in drug overdoses, suicide rates and liver disease, it’s likely that more people will make it into their 80s, 90s, and beyond. According to the Schwab Center for Financial Research, a 65-year-old woman today has a 50% chance of living to 85 and a 25% chance of crossing into her 90s.

Most aging seniors would agree that quality of life is far more important than simply living longer. Having the financial resources for proper medical care and a comfortable lifestyle is paramount.

Key Takeaways

The post-pandemic era is presenting a new set of challenges for workers and retirees who fear outliving their savings. Fortunately, options are available and thinking outside the box is key to implementing them.

In addition to traditional planning methods, financial professionals have a variety of tools to help clients protect their nest eggs. Examples include using the cash proceeds from a life settlement to boost the balance of their clients’ retirement investments. Another option some advisors are recommending is to provide the client with a guaranteed income stream by investing a portion of the client’s retirement savings into a fixed income annuity. And finally, a combination of both strategies would involve using the cash proceeds from a life settlement to purchase a fixed annuity.

If you have questions regarding life settlements and the broker’s role in maximizing the payout that policy sellers receive when selling their policies, call life settlement professionals. There´s much to discuss.


Hallman, from FrithScott Thomas, from FrithJeff Hallman and Scott Thomas are co-founders and managing partners at Asset Life Settlements, a life settlement brokerage company based in Orlando, Florida. Hallman can be reached at (888) 335-4769, extension 1108, and Thomas can be reached at (888) 335-4769, extension 1115.

In the West, assisted dying is rapidly becoming legal and accepted

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SHORTLY BEFORE Ángel Hernández handed his wife the glass of barbiturates that would kill her, he asked her once again if she wanted to die. “The sooner the better,” she replied. Ravaged as María José Carrasco’s body was by multiple sclerosis, she struggled to swallow the poison. In the end she forced it down through a straw.

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Ms Carrasco’s death in 2019 provoked a media storm in Spain. In Madrid the investigating judge initially referred the case to a court that specialises in violence against women. The prosecutor pushed for Mr Hernández, then 70, to serve six months in prison. But on June 25th Spain enacted a law allowing those with a “serious or incurable illness” or a “chronic or incapacitating” condition to seek help to end their own lives. Twelve days later, Mr Hernández was acquitted.

In much of the West public opinion has long favoured assisted dying. In 2002 60% of Spaniards supported voluntary euthanasia, a share which had risen to 71% by 2019. Writ large, secularisation and increasingly liberal values have solidified support. But so has personal experience, particularly that of baby-boomers who, having witnessed their parents’ suffering, are fighting for the right to deaths of their own choosing.

Change has been rapid. Assisted dying is now legal or decriminalised in at least a dozen countries, with legislation or court challenges pending in many others (see map). On November 5th Portugal’s parliament approved a revised bill which would allow those with “grave, incurable and irreversible” conditions to receive help to end their lives (the constitutional court had in March blocked an earlier version as being too imprecise). Other largely Catholic countries such as Chile, Ireland, Italy and Uruguay are also moving towards enshrining a right to die. In Belgium, Colombia and the Netherlands governments have broadened assisted-dying laws to include terminally ill children.

After years of struggle, activists and politicians have found ways through or around reluctant legislators. The right to die has been ticked through American ballot boxes, squeezed through Australian legislatures, and gavelled through Canadian and European courts. Proponents are using public consultations and petitions to demonstrate public support. And growing evidence from countries with assisted-dying laws has assuaged fears it will become easy to “kill granny”. The changes are snowballing as advocates in one country learn from their counterparts elsewhere.

Assisted dying is still rare. Most cases are cancer-related, and the number of deaths is tiny. But they are nonetheless changing how people think about dying. In some countries assisted dying has been extended to those with mental disorders and dementia, and even to old people who feel tired of life. A clandestine network of baby-boomers who share methods to kill themselves has sprung up on the internet. Even some proponents are beginning to worry about a slippery slope.

Thirty years ago assisted dying was illegal everywhere bar Switzerland. But in 1997 the American state of Oregon approved the Death with Dignity Act, initiating a spate of liberalisation. In Oregon two doctors must agree that a patient is of sound mind and has less than six months to live before he or she can receive the lethal drugs. These must be administered by the patient (known as physician-assisted dying) rather than injected by a doctor (voluntary euthanasia). Around 2,000 people have died under the law (roughly 250 of them last year, see chart 1), with no wrongful deaths reported. Versions of the law are now on the books of ten states, home to a fifth of Americans, as well as in Washington, DC.

Oregon’s rules are being copied internationally, with some modifications. New Zealand’s Oregon-style law came into effect on November 7th. In Australia, the state of Victoria passed a similar law in 2017, and since then all but one of Australia’s six states have followed suit. In Britain, an Oregon-style bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords in October. But to become law it would also need the support of the House of Commons and the government, which looks unlikely. Three-quarters of Britons support a right to die, but only 35% of MPs do.

Some campaigners are circumventing cautious representatives by going through the courts. In February Peru’s constitutional court ruled that the Ministry of Health’s refusal to help a woman with degenerative polio end her life violated her rights to “dignity” and “autonomy”. Several countries, such as Austria, are beginning to flesh out a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 that people have the right to decide the time and manner of their deaths. After Germany’s highest court declared in 2020 that a ban on repeatedly helping others die was unconstitutional, Dignitas Germany, a non-profit organisation, began to help people kill themselves.

Even after a legislature or court opens the door to assisted dying, those pursuing the option can face high hurdles. With 68 safeguards, Victoria’s law excludes some of the people it was intended to help. Doctors are forbidden to bring up assisted dying with their patients, so many do not know it is an option. Colombia decriminalised voluntary euthanasia in 1997, but is only now regulating the practice. As a result, many Colombian doctors refuse to get involved for fear of prosecution. Approval is rare and can be withdrawn.

Despite such strictures, the expansion of the right to die is not without controversy. In Canada, the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that a ban on medical assistance in dying (MAID) violated the national Charter of Rights. Now MAID is available to all Canadians who suffer from chronic physical illness or disability. Uniquely, the law allows patients to determine what constitutes “unbearable” suffering. In 2020 only 6% of written requests for MAID were refused.

Some advocates for the disabled argue that the amended law devalues the lives of those with disabilities. It’s “literally unthinkable” that MAID would be doled out instead on the basis of race, sex or any other protected characteristic, says David Shannon, a quadriplegic lawyer who campaigns against assisted dying. But others argue that the foundations of the disability movement lie in creating the freedom to make one’s own choices.

Opponents also fear that Canada may end up helping people die before it has helped them live. Disabled people who do not get enough support may choose to die because society has failed them, critics argue. They worry this may prove particularly true for people whose lives have been filled with abuse, racism and poverty, though data from America show that those who choose assisted death are overwhelmingly middle-class, white and educated.

From 2023, Canada will extend MAID to those who suffer solely from mental illness, on the ground that to do otherwise would discriminate. Many Canadians find this troubling (see chart 2). They worry that doctors may indulge the suicidal urges that are a symptom of many psychiatric disorders: one in ten schizophrenics kill themselves, some studies reckon. Others question whether a patient could have tried every possible treatment when the medical and social understanding of mental illness is so rudimentary and mental-health services are so often inadequate. Most people underestimate how serious an intractable psychiatric condition can be, says Mona Gupta, a Québécoise psychiatrist and bioethicist. They see depictions of mental illness in popular culture but have never met anyone severely affected.

The only way out

John Scully, who has lived with severe depression and PTSD for decades, agrees. At home at night in Toronto, Mr Scully, who is 80, is haunted by the horrors he witnessed as a war correspondent: the dead torn apart by vultures, the AK47 scoped to shoot him. He also experiences physical pain. “There is no cure,” he says. Nineteen shock therapies, countless medications and six stints as a psychiatric patient have failed to bring him relief. The “only help available”, he believes, is assisted dying. He sees it as a far more dignified choice than suicide, which he has attempted twice, and he thinks it would be less painful for his family.

Like other bioethicists, Dr Gupta thinks mental disorders should be seen in the same light as other conditions that create chronic pain. For doctors, she says, the assessment process would be much the same: distinguishing between an impulsive death-wish and a considered one, and determining if a patient is mentally competent. Such cases are rare. In 2020 in the Netherlands, only 88 people with mental illnesses—12% of all those who made requests—had their requests for help approved by a euthanasia clinic. Many are heartened by simply having the option.

Canada is making the same mistakes as the Netherlands, reckons Theo Boer, a Dutch ethicist who once supported his country’s euthanasia laws. Since Dutch doctors pushed to legalise assisted dying 20 years ago, he believes that voluntary euthanasia has gone from being a “last resort to prevent a terrible death to a last resort to prevent a terrible life”. Voluntary euthanasia is a shortcut to death, like a C-section is a shortcut to birth, he argues. In the Netherlands as a whole, one death in 25 is assisted, he notes, but in some cities that figure can be as high as one in seven.

The choice to die is often murkiest for those with dementia. In 2016 a Dutch woman with severe Alzheimer’s awoke during her euthanasia and, as she struggled, her family had to hold her down. Before dementia overcame her, she had made a written request for euthanasia, and the doctor prioritised that choice. In 2020, after the doctor was cleared of wrongdoing, the Supreme Court clarified that doctors cannot be prosecuted for carrying out euthanasia on patients with advanced dementia, even if they no longer express an explicit wish to die. The Netherlands averages around two such cases a year.

Bert Keizer, a geriatrician who has carried out some of the Netherlands’ most controversial euthanasia cases, is deeply uneasy about the new guidelines. Euthanasia usually happens with the agreement of the patient, doctors and the family. But in cases of dementia, he muses, “the one who it’s all about’‘ is “removed from the event”. Implicit in the court’s ruling is a judgment that the person one was has more value than the person one has become. A patient who wanted to live could be denied that choice.

What lies ahead

Swiss law, by contrast, mandates that those seeking to kill themselves be mentally competent. This can create a different fear. Alex Pandolfo has early-onset dementia. He has decided to die in Switzerland, yet he has postponed the day of his death once. If he waits too long, he will doom himself to the future he does not want.

Some proponents of assisted dying are pressing to expand eligibility, to include those who feel they have lived a “completed life”. In 2020 the liberal D66 party in the Netherlands proposed a law to make suicide pills available to people over 75 who felt they were done living. Critics point to research from the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, which shows that death wishes in older people are subject to change, and in some cases are caused by loneliness and isolation. Few truly want to die, and those who do often meet other criteria for euthanasia, a commission found in 2016. Supporters say it is important to offer the choice, even though few will take it in the end. Just 3% of the members of Dignitas, which campaigns for assisted dying, end up getting help to end their lives.

Some who are tired of life, or unwilling to endure its decay, do choose to press ahead. At 76, Dawn Voice-Cooper, who suffered from debilitating but not life-threatening ailments, saw her future and did not want to live it: the pain of having her ears syringed; the indignity of swimming with a colostomy bag; the diminishing freedom to move as her arthritic joints stiffened. Life was exhausting and would only become more so. “I don’t want to die but I can’t live like this,” she said. In October she travelled from her home in Britain to an industrial estate on the edge of a Swiss forest. After listening to Nick Drake’s “Day is Done”, she died, with her friend Mr Pandolfo (and a tabloid reporter) by her side.

“Many people are not waiting for laws to pass,” warns Katie Engelhart, author of “The Inevitable”, a book about the right-to-die movement. It reveals a secret world where people, fed up with restraints imposed by laws or doctors, order lethal substances over the internet. Their reasons are often existential rather than physical: a loss of purpose, fear of being a burden or of losing their dignity. People who seek death through legal channels have similar reasons. In Oregon the most common concerns among people who qualify to die owing to terminal illness include loss of enjoyment (94%), loss of autonomy (93%) and loss of dignity (72%).

Some shrug this off, arguing that “assisted dying is not suicide.” But Ms Engelhart believes that such deaths are inevitably linked to the strictures around assisted dying. In New South Wales, Australia, for example, one in five people over the age of 40 who kill themselves have a terminal or debilitating illness. Yet many lonely suicides are not planned and considered, so a black market in suicide can bring terrible risks. Earlier this year a 28-year-old Dutch woman died after taking a substance from an affiliate of Last Will Cooperative, a right-to-die organisation, it seems impulsively. Several members of the group, including its leader, have since been arrested. Prosecutors suspect the group is involved in dozens of deaths.

In the West, assisted dying is helping to change the culture of death. People are talking about it more, and even scripting it, says Naomi Richards, a British anthropologist. Death is becoming an event to be scheduled, controlled, reached via a byway past ageing or suffering. In an Instagram age, it is possible to imagine a “good death” being idealised and curated. Ellen Wiebe, a Canadian doctor, says she has helped people die “on a beach, in a forest and in the middle of a party”. Such deaths may seem particularly appealing when, for generations, dying has been medicalised and hidden, and during a pandemic in which so many have died alone in hospital.

For those left behind, an assisted death can feel like a blessing or a curse. Some, such as Tom Mortier, who has taken his mother’s case to the European Court of Human Rights, feel angry and resentful that a relative was taken too soon. But most find solace. Heather Cooke’s son, Aaron Ball, chose to die last year, at 42, while suffering from metastatic colon cancer. Ms Cooke suffers the agony of a mother who has lost her only child, but she is also comforted that he died in peace, at home, surrounded by his family. Medically assisted dying was a “gift” for us, she says. “But I understand why people fear it.”

This article appeared in the International section of the print edition under the headline “Death on demand”

Whippersnappers ask if it’s time for Golden West College mascot Rustler Sam to hit the trail? – Orange County Register

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Fifteen years after the first major showdown, Golden West College’s mascot Rustler Sam is, once again, wanted dead or alive.

Whippersnappers denounce him as a good-for-nuthin’ bandit – who’s long in the tooth, to boot.

“Rustlers steal cattle,” said sophomore Jovani Figueroa. “Why would we relate to that?”

Hearing such disrespect can make an ardent alum hot under the collar. “C’mon. Have some appreciation for tradition,” said Brandee Lara Barnaby, class of 1979.

So in September, when students assembled the “Mascot Change Task Force” – possibly to send Rustler Sam out to pasture – a posse of mostly baby boomers alums swiftly circled the wagons.

Sporting “Save Rustler Sam” tee shirts, supporters Zoom into student council meetings to register their dismay. At one Mascot Change confab, students complained that they couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

“Members of the public interrupted and stopped us from getting any work done,” said  task force chair Alex Gonzales, executive vice president of the Associated Students of Golden West College (ASGWC).

Some alums have sent emails threatening to pull scholarship donations, said Figueroa, vice president of college life for ASGWC.

“It’s like they’re more in love with a picture than with the institution,” he said.

Rustler Sam has been the scrappy face of Golden West for most of the Huntington Beach college’s 55-year existence.

In 1968, students who admired the then-popular “Tumbleweeds” comic strip wrote to its creator, Tom K. Ryan, in Muncie, Ind., to ask if they could use one of his cowpokes as their mascot.

Instead, Ryan drew them their very own buckaroo – requesting in return only an “extra large sweatshirt with emblem imprint” and a school pennant.

At the time, “Tumbleweeds” was still new to the funny pages. Ryan, who died two years ago, retired his brainchild in 2007.

Today’s young’uns don’t tend to put much stock in Old West humor. Insult to injury, most have never even heard of the “Tumbleweeds” cartoon.

The original Rustler Sam wore a humongous cowboy hat, grungy facial stubble, shaggy hair and a grumpy expression. A cigarette dangled from his mouth and a gun peeked from his holster.

As a finishing touch, he brandished a branding iron – its “GW” still smokin’ hot from re-tagging the cattle he’d just stolen.

“He’s not very pleasant to the eye,” opined Figueroa.

Still, to his credit, “Sam’s cleaned himself up a lot” since his debut, observed Golden West administrator Claudia Lee, vice president of student services.

In the 1990s, students concerned about the dangers of smoking sparked a redesign that gave Sam a shave and a tobacco-free environment.

“He’s like Benjamin Button, getting better and better with age,” Lee quipped.

 

But Sam’s detractors say cosmetic tweaks don’t render the poor fella, or his job, relatable to people born decades later – especially at a college that’s considerably less white and more diverse than back in the 1960s.

Golden West’s first graduating class in 1967 was made up of 87 students who, judging by photos, were white.

Now the college has a student body of about 19,000. Latinos comprise one-third of the Golden West population, three times the number only three decades ago. In that same period, Asian attendees grew from 24% to 32% of the total, while white students plummeted from 58% to 26%.

At a recent council meeting, student Nikki Do explained why she thinks Rustler Sam should ride off into the sunset. “Vietnamese Americans have never felt represented at Golden West,” she said.

Another speaker labeled the mascot “racist.”

Barnaby, a cheerleader during her Golden West days, bristles at the accusation.

“He’s offensive? Really?” she said. “He’s just goofy – an ironic antihero.”

Not every critic views the dopey rustler as inherently malevolent. Sam’s a lousy role model for anybody at all, Figueroa argued.

“I don’t feel it is racial thing,” Figueroa said. “But the way the mascot is portrayed is not engaging. What’s the harm in reviewing it?”

Truth be told, staking out even the sanitized Rustler Sam is like a game of  “Where’s Waldo?” Merchandise boasting his caricature has pretty much vanished from the campus bookstore. And few signs feature his image.

The Golden West football team replaced screwball Sam with a rustler who looks more menacing than cantankerous – his eyes scowling above a bandanna that hides half his face.

“He’s creepy,” grumbled Barnaby, who still faithfully attends football games.

Football Coach Nick Mitchell found the stock image on the Internet soon after joining Golden West 16 years ago. He aimed to toughen up Sam without cutting him from the team altogether.

“Golden West athletes are proud to be Rustlers,” Mitchell said.

Even so, he added, “I’m all about progress. I’m all for whatever the students want to do to improve the image of our campus. Rustlers or no Rustlers, I’m open to anything that helps recruit young men and women to our school.”

Golden West has even considered changing its name to Huntington Beach College for geographical desirability.

“Before COVID struck, we were looking at our branding,” said Golden West director of marketing Pam Brashear. “It’s under the umbrella of, what do we need to do to be modern and relevant? But renaming is such an expensive endeavor. We’ve put it on hold for now.”

Alexis deFries-Anderson, 28, doesn’t cotton to the notion of altering a thing. A Rustler through and through, she ran track and field at Golden West and now works in the office of student enrollment.

“I participated in school life. I put on the uniform,” deFries-Anderson said. “I think that changes your perspective. The Rustler embodies school spirit.”

Mark Craig, class of 1980, also put on the uniform, playing French horn in the symphonic band.

“To this day, my veins bleed green, gold and white,” Craig said, listing the school colors. “I don’t understand the negativity about the Rustlers. Oh my God, Orange Coast College has the Pirates. Pirates plunder, but I don’t see them changing their mascot. We would be doing a disservice to our history to change ours.”

Meanwhile, the Mascot Change Task Force forges ahead, although it has not yet submitted candidates to replace Rustler Sam.

The group is composing a questionnaire to poll students about where they stand. Suggested inquiries include: “Do you know what a rustler is? Do you personally identify with the mascot?”

Scoffing, Barnaby called the questions “leading.”

“Do you relate to being a thief?” she parodied. “I looked up the definition for the word rustler. It can mean ‘an energetic person.’ Yeah, I can relate to that.”

For their part, Lee said, school administrators welcome ideas about adopting a 21st Century mascot.

It’s a debate that bubbles up every few years. “Students ask, ‘Hmm, why is that our mascot? Is it still relevant? Do we resonate with it?’” Lee said. “We want them to be curious and to feel empowered to change the world.”

In 2005, such a campaign nearly ended Rustler Sam, but that push fizzled out.

Some believe it could happen again.

“When you go to a university, you have four years to champion a cause,” Lee said. “Our students have two years and then they transfer or start a career. The next group of leaders coming in might not have the same priorities.”

Student body president Kaly Mendoza said she’s sitting on the sidelines, trying to a remain a neutral voice in the Rustler Sam duel.

“I understand both sides,” Mendoza said. “It’s beautiful to have traditions. But it’s also beautiful to be a part of meaningful change.”

Golden West College’s football team is ranked 4th in the state among California Community Colleges. The Rustlers play 7th ranked Fullerton College for the Conference Championship noon Saturday, Nov. 13,15744 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach. General admission tickets are $10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Boulton on leaving Sky News: ‘We baby boomers have had our day’ | Times2

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For Sky News’s editor-at-large Adam Boulton it has been another day of all-out politics. Minutes before his thusly named daily show, All Out Politics, begins at 11am Jacob Rees-Mogg performs a breakneck U-turn over the parliamentary ethics row.

Hours later, the MP at its centre, Owen Paterson, resigns. On such days, Boulton says, his job is “action-painting”, splashing the news in broad-brush over his canvas, speedily filling in the background from his decades of experience and then over-painting as new facts emerge.

Back at his pied-à-terre in Covent Garden, however, it is now 6pm and Boulton is looking back not on today but his 33-year career at Sky News.

Britain’s doyen of rolling news, for 25 years the station’s political editor, its host for

Three honored for service to older residents | Local News

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Three community volunteers from Otsego County were recently honored by the New York State Office for the Aging for their service to older adults and others in the community.

According to a NYSOFA media release, Michael and Carole Lachance of Fly Creek, and Gary Ray of West Edmeston were nominated by the Otsego County Office for the Aging for recognition at NYSOFA’s annual Older New Yorkers’ Day celebration.

The virtual celebration premiered Nov. 5 on social media, with a video presentation featuring about 90 honorees from around the state, along with remarks from state officials.

According to the release, Michael and Carole Lachance established the Cooperstown Senior Community Center in 2018, creating a social and educational space for older adults. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as older adults faced new levels of social isolation, they developed a daily newsletter to keep people connected, created a telephone reassurance project and obtained a grant to install an air filtration system in the community center so it could host seniors safely.

Ray serves as president of the fire department and commissioner for the West Edmeston Fire District. He is also an ambulance squad driver. This past year, he helped save two lives in the community, quickly responding to start CPR until other support could arrive, the release said.

Tamie Reed, director of the Otsego County Office for the Aging, said: “Michael Lachance, Carol Lachance and Gary Ray are outstanding examples of volunteerism and altruism in our community, providing vital help so their peers — and others — can overcome social isolation to stay safe. As we look around our community at volunteer fire departments, libraries, community centers, civic organizations, food pantries and youth activities, we see older faces. We see activities, events, services and programs that would truly not exist if it weren’t for the older adults who dedicate their time to lead and sustain them. We are indebted to these volunteers and it is an honor to recognize them.”

New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said: “Older adults contribute mightily to their communities. These individuals are a great reason why New York lives up to its designation as an age-friendly state – the first in the nation to receive this distinction. Older New Yorkers not only help their peers in the same age group, but also families and youths as well, with a level of voluntary contribution that is unmatched by any other demographic group. We are so proud to celebrate their incredible contributions. We thank them for their wisdom, their talents, their mentorship, and their service.”

Throughout New York State, more than 935,000 individuals age 55 or older contribute about 495 million hours of service to their communities annually, the release said. That translates into an annual economic output of $13.8 billion.

People over the age of 50 also account for the majority of volunteering, philanthropy and donation activities in the U.S. Older New Yorkers and Baby Boomers make up 63 percent — $379 billion — of all the household income generated in New York state, according to the release.

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Why national debt is not a priority for Gen Z, millennials – NBC Boston

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This story originally appeared on LX.com

While opinion polls show young voters consistently rank climate change and the future of the planet at or near the top of their priorities when they think about casting a ballot, the same surveys also reveal Gen Z-ers rank the future of the national debt considerably lower down their list of priorities.

It’s almost a mirror image of the polling numbers for older Americans, who, according YouGov America public opinion tracking, are more likely to be concerned about government spending than the climate crisis.

Why are Gen Z and millennial adults, who will inherit the nation’s debt, so much less concerned about it than older voters who won’t likely ever have to pay it off?  And why are baby boomer politicians so concerned about the national debt that they’ve threatened to shut down the entire federal government over the nation’s spending?

Three explanations:

Young voters see social spending as investment, not debt

Many millennials and Gen Z-ers see addressing the climate crisis and expanding access to affordable college and health care as ways to save money in the long term, no matter how many trillions of dollars it costs in the short term.

“Costs increase over time,” said Kristin McGuire, executive director of Young Invincibles, a nonprofit that advocates for the economic advancement of young adults. “If we don’t invest in items like health care now, we end up with a population that’s sicker later. If we don’t invest in higher ed now, we have an ill-equipped workforce later.”

Young Invincibles is a nonpartisan group, but it has endorsed President Biden’s Build Back Better social spending plan.

“I think not investing in this critical moment could cost us in the long run,” McGuire continued. “We have to think about the long-term economic security goals for our country, which is so much more than just a number.”

Identity politics

Younger voters are less likely than older voters to identify as Republican, the party, which, traditionally, has advocated for smaller government and less debt.

And even though the Republican Trump administration grew America’s national debt by more than $8 trillion between 2017 and 2021, sociologists say limiting spending is still much more baked into the DNA of older, more conservative voters than their younger counterparts.

“When you look at Gen X, for example, [they grew up in] the Reagan years,” said Abby Kiesa, deputy director for the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.  “So Gen X has a tendency to be a little bit more conservative than millennials … who came of age during the Obama years and the Obama campaigns.”

According to the YouGovAmerica tracker, more than 15% of Republicans named government spending as the most important issue facing America, compared to just 3% of Democrats. 

Young voters are disconnecting from both parties

Even the young voters who identify as conservatives may not identify as Republican, as Kiesa says many Gen-Z voters don’t feel connected to either party.

A third of all voters aged 18 to 29 chose President Trump last November, but CIRCLE research indicates many of them have significantly different political priorities than older conservatives.

Some 52% of Trump voters under 30 indicated they are concerned about climate change, with 56% indicating they favor investing in green energy. So the discrepancies on debt shouldn’t be surprising, according to Kiesa. 

She says Republicans also don’t try very hard to court young adults.

“One of the things we’ve seen over the past several years is that young people who identify as Republican are less likely to be contacted by the Republican Party or Republican campaigns,” Kiesa said. “And young people who support Republican candidates are less likely to have interest in various forms of political engagement.”

One reason why young adults perhaps should care more about the national debt? Young voter apathy toward the national debt may also be attributed to a lack of understanding of the topic. 

An October POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found only 36% of Gen Z-ers said they understood the debt ceiling well, compared to 50% of millennials, 58% of Gen X-ers, and 55% of baby boomers. That’s to young voters’ detriment, according to one of the nation’s youngest elected officials.

“This isn’t fake money that is just printed from nowhere and grows on trees,” said Joe Mitchell, a 24-year-old state lawmaker in Iowa.  “We’re talking about actual money that you’re going to pay back at some point in the future, which is the scary thing.”

Mitchell recently launched Run GenZ, an organization dedicated to getting more young conservatives to run for office. He also wants to help educate younger voters on the cost of national debt.

“We can throw a bunch of money at health care programs and Green New Deal programs right now,” he said. “But unless we have the money to maintain those programs into the future, they’re not going to work.”

Most economists agree that too much debt is a problem, but a modest amount of debt is not to the wealthiest nation in the world. However, there’s great disagreement, especially between parties and among American generations, as to how much is too much.

Noah Pransky is NBCLX’s national political editor. He covers Washington and state politics for NBCLX, and his investigative work has been honored with national Murrow, Polk, duPont and Cronkite awards. You can contact him confidentially at [email protected] or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.