Tight finances in DeKalb lead to cuts for Special Olympics

by Shelton on August 19th, 2012

filed under Finances

Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

In this 2010 photo, Drake Lumpkin, bottom, high fives teacher Chondra Rather, left, as other teachers Tiffany Anderson, top, and Kione Thompson, right, are shown after Lumpkins throw during a bocce ball tournament in the DeKalb County Special Olympics local competition at Stone Mountain High School.

Floridians deeply worried about their finances, Medicare and Social Security

by Shelton on August 19th, 2012

filed under Finances

Floridians 50 and over register high anxiety about the economy and their prospects in retirement. And to allay those fears, they want presidential candidates to say how theyll bolster Social Security and Medicare, according to a new AARP survey.

In a divided nation, theres a consensus that Democrats and Republicans both want answers to Medicare and Social Security, said GS Strategy Group pollster Greg Strimple. Politicians who dont address those issues ignore them at their peril.

Despite Floridas relatively high unemployment and the foreclosure crisis, retirees and near-retirees here are slightly less anxious about the economy and their lifestyle during retirement than their counterparts across the nation.

However, seven in 10 Florida citizens over 50 said they plan to rely more heavily on Medicare and Social Security as a result of the economic downturn a higher proportion than those nationwide.

A lot of these people, especially in Florida, seeing the travails of the real estate market, the job market they know how bad it can be down the block, Jim Dau, director of communications for AARP, said.

In Florida, among the over 50 set who are still working, 62 percent said they expect to have to delay retirement and 49 percent said they fear they may never get to retire. The national poll found that a whopping 72 percent of working Americans over 50 worry they will have to delay retirement and half say they despair that they will have to work forever.

Floridas survey included more respondents who were already retired than those about to be retired, which could account for the slightly more positive outlook. Boomers who are working reported more anxiety in general than those who have retired. But researchers and AARP representatives cautioned that the over-50 crowd in Florida is deeply stressed.

For instance, 77 percent of employed boomers and 66 percent of retirees said they worry because prices are rising faster than their income.

Among their other worries:

73 percent of boomers and 40 percent of retirees fear they wont have financial security in retirement.

66 percent of boomers and 47 percent of retirees fear they wont be able to pay health expenses

59 percent of boomers and 46 percent of retirees fear they will have to pay too much in taxes.

Respondents are disappointed in the dialogue in Washington about how to fix the economy and secure their future.

Just 41 percent in Florida approve of the job President Obama is doing and only 10 percent approve of the job of Congress.

The national results were similar with 42 percent approving of the president and 8 percent approving of Congress.

As for the match-up between Obama and Mitt Romney, Floridians gave a slight edge to the challenger. Forty-six percent lean toward Romney compared to 44 percent for Obama. The national poll registered a dead heat at 45 percent each.

Regardless of party or inclination to support Obama or Romney, respondents said they have heard too little during the campaign so far about specific plans for Social Security and Medicare.

In Florida, 94 percent of those surveyed 94 percent among Obama supporters and 93 percent among Romney supporters said they believe Social Security is key to seniors economic security. The same percentage overall said Medicare is critical to their future.

In separate questions, more than 90 percent of those surveyed said the next president and Congress must work together to ensure both programs are available in the future. An overwhelming number also said that the problems are too big for any one party to solve and they want both to tackle them together.

A response of 90 percent to anything in polling is stratospheric, Strimple said.

You have these two critical issuesSocial Security and Medicare that voters really feel are not being addressed well, he said. This is a number that you just cannot ignore.

Teenager’s fund-raising finances family fun day

by Shelton on August 19th, 2012

filed under Finances

Chelsi Beale (17), from Yaxley, managed to raise the impressive amount thanks to two speeches she delivered for grants to be made for the Woodston Community Centre, in Belsize Avenue, Woodston.

For her efforts, Chelsi has been nominated for a YOPEY Young Person of the Year award.

The fun day, which ran from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, offered visitors the chance to engage in a wide range of fun activities, such as battling in sumo suits, jumping on a bouncy castle and listening to the Peterborough Highland Pipe and Drum Band.

Chelsi, who is a pupil at Stanground Academy, first won £500 after giving a presentation to the Cambridgeshire High Sheriff for community-related funds.

That amount was then matched by money allocated to the community leadership fund for ward’s city councillors Lucia Serluca, Nick Thulbourne and Matthew Lee.

However, Chelsie was not satisfied with just £1,000, and won a second £1,000 grant after impressing workers at the charity Young Lives with another presentation.

Chelsi said: “We just needed to get as much as possible to help the day, so I did what I could.

“I have been involved with the Woodston Community Centre for two years now.

“I am proud to have got the money to put the event on, but am already thinking about how we can do it again.

“I want it to become an annual thing, and want to have more focus on live music down here next year.”

The organising committee have been working since January to put the £2,000 raised by Chelsi to best use.

The day saw activities for all ages in the form of a football tournament, a fire engine, bowls, dancing, martial arts and a raffle.

She was introduced to the Woodston Community Centre by Sue Schofield, a community based youth worker for Peterborough City Council, who Chelsi met while she did some outreach work at Stanground Academy.

Sue said: “This is the first community event to be organised in this area.

“It came about thanks to our young people desperately wanting to create something special for the local residents.

“We’re very proud of Chelsi and all the young people involved, for taking the initiative to try and make a change within their neighbourhood.”

Natasha Ardron (26), from Stanground, went along with her children Finlay (7 months) and Millie (21 months), as well as her little brother Kaan (7).

She said: “It is a really good event.

“The atmosphere is great and the children really love it.

“You don’t get many things organised like this around here and it’s really nice.”

Amongst the attendees were leader of the council Cllr Marco Cereste, Cllr Lucia Serluca and mayor of Peterborough Cllr George Simons.

The mayor said: “It is fantastically well organised and I’m delighted they got lucky with the weather.

“We need community events like this and you can see how much everybody really enjoys themselves.”