Aging Connecticut

Connecticut’s population is in a state of disarray. A top-heavy age demographic is becoming an increasing concern in the state and could have severe economic implications.
As a nation, the United States is seeing a vast increase in the number of people over 60 years of age. A large part of this is due to the aging baby boomer population.
Connecticut is feeling the effects of an aging population more than most.
According to national census data, Connecticut’s median age was 34.4 years old in 1990 and has since reached a high of 40 in 2010. This is compared to a national median of 37. As the median age of the state has increased, the number of young people has been getting lower.
Connecticut has one of the highest median age of all the states according to the data released by the census bureau for 2010.
Between the years 2000 and 2010, Connecticut saw a loss of about 15 thousand people in the 20 to 34 year old range.
According to a 2008 episode of NPR’s “Where we Live”, a lot of young people looking to start a family or find affordable housing are migrating south, to places such as North Carolina.

Connecticut is not only seeing the impacts of aging baby boomers. Young people are leaving the state in droves in search of job opportunities and affordable housing.
Many 20 to 34 year olds are searching outside of Connecticut for places to work and live.
From a 2009 report by demographers at the University of Connecticut, “The state’s “dependency ratio” – the ratio of non-working people (ages 0-19 and 65 and older) per 100 workers (ages 20-64) – will increase from 68.5 in 2000 to 70.3 in 2010.” This means that the number of retired people in the state is on the rise while the number of young workers has remained the same or fallen.
Housing prices in Connecticut favor the wealthy.
According to New England demographer Peter Francese, the median price of a home in Connecticut is fives times greater than the average income of a typical 25 to 34 year old.
One issue facing Connecticut is the challenge of making it affordable for young people to stay in state.
When faced with the question of how to keep young people in Connecticut Oz Griebel, the CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance said, “Employment opportunities, to me, are the single most important thing that needs to be addressed to keep people in the state.” Griebel also said that about a quarter of Connecticut’s workforce are highly trained, very specialized workers. It is increasingly important to find and train young workers in these specialized areas.
The MetroHartford Alliance is a group of institutions focused on the economic development of the Hartford region.
Not only in Connecticut losing young people rapidly, it is also experiencing one of the slowest growth rates of all the states.
It’s not all bad news though. There is one job sector that is constantly on the rise in the state, elderly care. Nursing homes and in-home elder care are both seeing increases in the need for workers as the states population ages.
The problem is that there may eventually not be enough young workers to take on the responsibility of caring for an aging population.
As job growth continues to stagnate nationwide and with a cost of living that is among the highest in the country, Connecticut is finding it harder to compete with states that are more welcoming of a young population.

– Phillip Junno

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Newspaper Revenue; Surviving the Internet Generation

Topic: Newspaper Revenue; Surviving the Internet Generation

HARTFORD- It was with the rise of electronic media, that there began a noticeable fall in newspaper sales. In a society where newspapers have built up strong readerships and respected reputations, it is still uncertain whether or not they can survive the progression of a country and a generation that has become so reliant on technology.

There was a time during the birth of television and radio, when newspapers were first introduced to the threat of electronic media. Through reinventing themselves by becoming more personal and adaptable they continued to attract readers, and overcome that hurdle.

Then technology evolved and the Internet was born. We were introduced to wireless connections and transportable computers. As of 2010, 77.3% of the population is now using the Internet.

Thus introducing a new threat, one newspapers have come to learn that in this generation may not be so easy to over come.

A study done by The Pew Research Center Publications from 2007 had shown that the Internet tailed behind local and national television as the third most popular reference. Newspapers were at the bottom falling behind radio, struggling to keep up.

Eventually even television couldn’t compete with Internet. Results from a newer study in 2010 done by the Pew Research Center, has shown that the Internet has surpassed television as the main news source for young adults.

Results showed that, “in 2010, 65% of people younger than 30 cited the Internet as their go-to source for news, nearly doubling from 34% in 2007. The number who consider television as their main news source dropped from 68% to 52% during that time.”

But why are young adults so turned on to the Internet? Being a young adult myself I see numerous reasons for this. We are constantly introduced to new technology such as laptops, cell phones, Ipads and things of that nature. These things all allow us to access information online quicker and more conveniently.

We are living in a fast-paced society where morning news is yesterday’s news. Young adults are obsessed with keeping updated on what is happening around them. The Internet can provide us with that quickly and easily.

Convenience isn’t the only problem newspapers are facing. Unlike newspapers the Internet and television can provide us with more current and up to date information. As a story develops the newspaper does not have the opportunity to present it to the public immediately. Time and production restrict this.

It seems like people my age are beginning to notice these things. Gabrielle Wichowski, a 22-year-old student from Quinnipiac University is one of them.

“I don’t see a point in reading newspapers that are outdated the next day,” says Wichowski, “you have to go out of your way to get them, when I can just turn on my phone and Google search what I want to know, plus its free”.

In my opinion when regarding to young adults the ability to access the Internet through mobile phones is the largest factor and threat in how news is obtained.

In 2009 there were 450 million mobile Internet users worldwide. Other studies are predicting mobile Internet usage increasing to one billion people by 2013.

The numbers seem to stack against newspapers but there are many obstacles that come with using the Internet as a news source.

Although it seems flawless there are many factors that turn people off to using the web. Many websites are very clustered with ads, links, pop-ups and busy screens. People like options, but giving them too much gives them a sense of insecurity and confusion.

With the Internet you are limited to what you are immediately shown depending on the size of the screen or type of website. You may come across a link that attracts you and skip over all the other things that you may not normally read.

When searching through the Internet, cyberspace leaves the potential for you to become lost in translation. One link may lead to a list of other links; you may be accessing news that is out-dated or irrelevant to what you are looking for.

Despite the disadvantages of Internet use, many newspapers are leaning towards the web for support. There are undeniable benefits of publishing content online.

The Internet is a highly targeted market for advertisers, which can bring in a large profit. You also avoid the cost of ink and printing. An often a larger staff is often not required.

The New York Times is working to keep up with the changing society by providing the content of their newspaper through a website. This method has received both appraisal and criticism.

On one end, readers who lead busy lives but follow the New York Times are happy that they can access it at their convenience. On the other end, it could be turning readers on to the website rather then the physical paper, and also risk the loss of income coming from the readers purchasing physical paper.

It seems that the NYT has recognized these issues, as they will now begin charging readers for an online subscription.

There can be multiple outcomes to charging the online readers. People may turn back to purchasing the actual paper. People may subscribe to the online source and that will bring in revenue. Worst-case scenario people may turn to another online news source that is free.

There are other things that papers should be wary of when choosing to put their content online. The Hartford Courant is an example of what not to do, if you are a paper that desires to continue printing.

If you look on the front page directly under the headline you see the address for their website. Promoting their webpage on the actual paper seems to me like its encouraging its readers to turn to the web. The format the newspaper has taken seems to resemble the website as well.

Despite all of these factors there are some people like Cooper Davis, the ex-assistant editor at The Vineyard Gazette in Massachusetts, who feel that newspapers can survive this:

“This has had a noticeable affect on all newspapers across the board but I think it will separate quality newspapers from poor newspapers. Quality newspapers will survive this evolution, however websites may not”.

One point Davis brings up is the sense of community that people still desire. Websites are always changing they may not provide enough consistency, or focus enough on the smaller groups.

“Many people prefer local, smaller papers,” says Davis, “they kick back against instant communication and free information. There is still a huge push towards community. People still desire that sense of community”.

The threat of electronic media exists, how newspapers will react as it advances remains to be seen. For many the history and efforts put into creating print media are overlooked, outdated, and unimportant.

There is still plenty of dedicated readers and supporters of print news. Although statistics show readership has steadily declined there are still a large number of people who prefer the physical experience the paper provides them, giving newspapers hope.

“There’s a real value to having that physical experience. They offer something you just can’t simulate, you don’t get the smell of the ink from the click of the mouse. You don’t get the same sense of pride seeing that picture of a loved one cut out and hanging on the fridge. The papers are a reminder of what’s real, and there’s nothing the Internet can do that could be more real then the feeling of that paper in your own hands”.

-Molly Puzycki

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Faceless Interviewing

Choosing a password and username you won’t remember, having to electronically duplicate information already in your resume because the red * indicates a required field, and the dreaded system timeout in the middle of the 45 min long online “screening” questionnaire.

Save and continue to the next page….

This is the ugly side of the online application system. I imagine a computer in the middle of a dark, empty room that no one goes into. The computers only function is to receive application emails until the end of time, while people with more experience talk to the presidents and CEO face-to face-and get hired.

~ Jaymi Harrison

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The best system to pay student loans… EVER!

I originally heard the idea from a caller on The Suze Orman show. I did a keyword search online for transcripts of the show, but wasn’t able to find out the exact details of the trick. So, I’m going to summarize as close as as possible.

The caller and Orman were talking about her debt and using a CD to pay off long-term debts. She said she graduated from law school and ended up racking up somewhere in the area of $80,000 in student loan debt. She wondered if she should keep on paying in increments or pay it off all together if she had the money.

In the meantime, the callers solution for paying the loan off was to open a monthly maturing CD worth $10,000 (about that) and every month the CD matured she would use it pay the minimum payment on her student loan.

I’m sure the details aren’t right, but I found a link for the Savings Builder CD that explains a little more about the type of account and system she used to do this. It’s not exactly what I remember, but you’ll can get the gist of it.

~ Jaymi Harrison

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“Mommy-like” Care

As of April 2010  Connecticut’s unemployment rate was listed as 9%, which translates into 176,487 people in CT as unemployed today.

I found myself unemployed for 2 year from 2008-2010.  I left my last job because of workplace harassment which was beyond tough to deal with.  As miserable a situation and as unhappy I was, I still ask myself knowing what I do now abut how hard it is to get a job, would I have still quit?  The answer is, yes.

The first year was a series of applying for state benefits, cutting coupons, creating a budget that would effectively utilize my $236 a week unemployment, and asking mom.

I wanted to prove to my family and friends who were worried about my financial worries that I would bounce back, but I didn’t.  I couldn’t because of little experience professional experience in one area and the job market economic meltdown in 2008.  In 2009 the unemployment rate was at 10.7% at it’s highest point.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and took control.   I had a knack for working with children, especially the learning, development and educational aspects of child care.   Today child care requires the same amount of “mommy-like” care with an emphasis on helping children excel educationally, developmentally, even emotional expression (child care workers with artistic, theater, bringing out a child’s personality and helping them develop socially are highly noticed).

If anyone would like to figure out how I would suggest the International Nanny Association (INA) website www.nanny.org.  They are non-profit and have a few resources that will help you get started, including a highly regarded membership to the association that looks great on resumes, a page for recommended practices for Nannies & babysitters, educational info and how to start your own agency.

~ Jaymi Harrison

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If There’s A Happy Hour, Then Maybe A Happy Day?

Diego Vicente

If there’s A Happy Hour There Should Be a Happy Day.

Propping herself onto a tall slender stool, one Connecticut mother is seeking a liquid remedy from her demanding and draining corporate schedule. Barbara Gavoli scans the leather bound drink menu in search of anything vodka, and settles on an apple martini. After taking an ample first gulp, a wave of immediate relief and contentment washes over her face.        

“If only I could drink like this in my own home” said Gavoli, 49, as she placed her glass back on the bar counter.

However, it’s Sunday and Gavoli is unable to legally purchase liquor in Connecticut. Like many working adults who juggle a full-time job and the responsibilities of being a parent, priorities are important; restocking the liquor cabinet isn’t one of them, said Gavoli.

“People have told me that if I want to drink so badly I should just get my booze on Saturday,” said Gavoli. “I tell them I should be able to buy liquor whenever I want. Restaurants distribute it, why can’t stores?”

This was one of many arguments proposed by several residents and liquor store owners for and against the ongoing debate regarding Sunday liquor sales.

“I am having a difficult time understanding the legislation and Connecticut Package Store Association’s reasons for not allowing it,” said Calvin Tourek, 35, manager of Enfield Liquor Depot. Since opening in 2009, Tourek said he has already noticed the migration some residents are making.

“I can guarantee I am losing business to stores across the border in Massachusetts,” said Tourek. “If the government cared about our economy, the consumers, and local business, then they would consider it.”

Danielle Delmar, a 26-year-old bartender said with her experience in the fine dining industry, she is surprised area restaurants haven’t been a dominant force in the opposition.

“If you think about it, restaurants should be the ones opposing it, because people go there to drink instead,” said Delmar.

For others, the desire to drink or purchase liquor has no influence on their opinion regarding the issue.

Ximena Ragland, 23, of Farmington, said she couldn’t think of any instances why someone would need to go to a liquor store on a Sunday as opposed to any other day, but that they should be open because it’s not legal or fair.

“From my understanding, the only reason this law is in place is because it was established by Puritan colonies in the 18th century, a blue law,” said Ragland, a recent University of Connecticut communications graduate who does not drink. “It’s antiquated, and it’s been established that there should be a division between church and state and this law is one of those remaining threads holding them together.”

Ragland said that the only real benefit is it may reduce the number of people driving home after going out to drink on Sunday.

Ruslan Hsia, 24, of West Hartford, agreed with Ragland regarding the religious connotations tethered to the law.

“I don’t think laws that pertain to what I can or cannot buy should be religiously based,” said Hsia inside CT Liquor Depot in West Hartford. “Those that don’t believe in a specific religion in general shouldn’t be held back from buying alcohol on any given day.”

According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, since 2009, there has been a steady increase in support.

The percentage of people has jumped from 54% in 2009 to 66% in 2011, a noticeable boost. Conversely, the same poll revealed that people were not as adamant about grocery stores selling liquor on Sundays with 43% saying yes and 50% saying no as of March 2011.

“I don’t see why they shouldn’t,” said Melissa Pessoa, 24, while carrying a case of beer outside a Springfield, MA gas station that sells alcohol. “Not that getting liquor was such a burden before, but having the choice and the availability makes it easier on consumers.”

However, some liquor store owners continue their relentless fight. Owners Sue and Joe Santolli of Santolli’s Epicure Liquor in Farmington said that the additional burden of being open on Sunday in the already struggling economy would force them to close.

“Some of our customers have been coming here for wine and other liquor for over 15 years,” said Joe Santolli. “I would want to stay open on Sundays for them but I know we wouldn’t make it. We’d be caught in a tough spot because then we could lose some of our loyalty to stores down the street.”

According to the Connecticut Package Store Association, 300 to 350 “mom and pop” liquor stores would close statewide because of the inability to pay utilities or increase in employee salaries.

However, according to a 2009 report issued by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Legislative Program Review, the state could see an increase of up to $8 million if the Sunday prohibition was appealed. The report also states stores would not legally be required to stay open on Sundays, but rather provide the choice for business owners to do so.

Tourek said that while he supports the repeal, every state is different and we won’t know the benefit or detriment without trying.

“It could mean the difference between a good couple months or a bad couple of months,” said Tourek. “But I don’t think the state should be afraid to do a trial run. We don’t have much to lose.”

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“Golf Is a Game, Not a Sport.”

Matt Donia

 “Golf Is a Game, Not a Sport.”

As the economy fluctuates, so do the rounds of golf being played at near-bye Southington,Conn.golf courses.

“I had to stop playing because it’s a pretty expensive game for a college kid with no job, but I’m sure I’ll pick it up in a few years again once I get a real job,” said Joe Izzo a resident of Southington and college student at Central Connecticut State University.

As of this year there are over 17,000 golf courses in theUnited States, 194 golf courses in the state ofConnecticut.

There are 3 golf courses inSouthington: Southington Country Club, Hawks Landing Country Club and Pine Valley Golf Course.

At Southington Country Club the prices for non-members and 9 holes is $19.50, seniors and juniors (62 and older before 3 P.M. and 18 and under before 3 P.M.) $14.50 with an additional $9 per person for a cart. 18 holes go for $35 for non-members, $25 for seniors and juniors with an additional $16 per person for a cart.

Weekends and holidays is even more of an increase. For non-members and 9 holes you drop $22, $14.50 for seniors and juniors and still only $9 per person for renting a cart. 18 holes run non-members for $38, $25 for seniors and juniors, and also still $16 per person to rent a cart.

Memberships at Southington Country Club range from $1,650 for unrestricted males and $1,540 for unrestricted females to as high as $2,640 for husband and wives.

“2009 and 2010 actually came out even. The rounds were up and even the tournaments were up, but the actual participation in the tournaments was down,” said Harry Kastner, General Manager of Southington Country Club. “Also, a lot of people dropped to switch to other golf courses, including ours; we got 30-40 new members for this season. The leagues are still good and what is an advantage to us is we have the new clubhouse that enhances the appearance of the course.”

The second golf course inSouthingtonis Hawks Landing Country Club. Hawks Landing’s golf rates go for, $19.50 for 9 holes as an Adult, $15 as a senior and junior and $8.75 for half a cart or $17.50 for a full cart.    As for 18 holes, golfers will save a few bucks compared to Southington Country Club and only pay $33 dollars as an adult and $26 as a senior or junior with a $15.50 fee for half a cart rental or $31 for a full cart. Weekends rates run about the same as Southington Country Club, going for $22.50 as an Adult and $37.50 for 18 holes.

Hawks Landing has different options for their membership fees. Adults pay $1,590 plus tax and as much as $2,690 for a husband and wife. For weekday rounds, an adult will spend about $1,100 and at the most $1,875 for a husband and wife. Lastly, Hawks Landing has a summer membership which runs adults for $575 plus tax, $400 seniors and $350 dollars for juniors.

“If we compare 2010 to 2009, I can tell you rounds were down about 1,000 (34,000 compared to 33,000), however, number of tournaments were up.  I will tell you that about half of the larger tournaments had less participants in 2010 than 2009 (range of decrease was from 3 to 24,” said Dave Rustico, General Manager of Hawks Landing Country Club.

The last golf course inSouthingtonis Pine Valley Golf Course which is the most expensive and making it harder for golfers to play there.

On weekdays, 9 holes for non–members will cost $20, $16 for 62 and older and an additional $17 dollars for renting a cart or $8.50 per person. As for 18 holes on weekdays, non-members will pay $36, $30 for 62 and older and an additional $34 in cart fees or, $17 dollars per person. As for weekends and holidays, like the other two courses, the prices climb. 9 holes on a weekend or holiday tops out at $22 while 18 holes is upwards of $41.

In comparison of all three courses, Southington Country Club and Hawks Landing are the same price for non-members to play 9 holes, and cheaper thanPineValleyby $.50. For seniors and juniors, Southington Country Club was again cheaper by $1.50 overPineValleyand $.50 than Hawks Landing. For 18 holes and non-members it’s a different story. Hawks Landing was the cheapest for playing 18 holes by $3 overPineValley, and $2 than Southington Country Club. However, as a senior or junior, Southington Country Club was again the cheapest by $5 dollars thanPineValley, and $1 than Hawks Landing.

“We have covered this in many of our classes. People that are serious about golf are always going to find a way to play the sport. It has to do with the concept of disposable income. Golf is more or less a recreation sport for most people, so this is where you have your decrease in revenue during the economic downturn. So most people are going to decrease their time on the golf course and buying new equipment,” said Mike Bernard, a student and golfer at the Golf Academy of America inMyrtle Beach,South Carolina.

“Because these things have always come in the department of disposal income, it is not in the “must have” department if you will. So people like me who are always playing all the time and practicing will not decrease their time at the course, but some may still not spend the money for newest equipment like they have in the past.”

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