“It’s expensive to be poor” was a comment that summed up a recent presentation of new data from United Way of Florida on families in our state and our region who may live above the poverty line but struggle daily to stay there.
We hear a lot in the news about the drug epidemic ravaging our country.
A new study finds that Sarasota-Manatee region had the second-highest number of “dirty air pollution” days in the state in 2015. Only Tampa-St. Pete had more.
The Environment Florida Research & Policy Center found that our region experienced 34 days in 2015 with elevated smog associated with the burning fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, according to reporting by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
We all know that positive civil discourse makes strong communities, but research shows that civility is essential for building strong and productive te
The Sarasota-Manatee-North Port metro area was ranked the 10th worst in the country for pedestrian safety, according to a new study released by the advocacy group Smart Growth America. Florida ranked the worst state for pedestrians, with nine of the top 11 most dangerous metro areas for walkers listed in the state. Others included Cape Coral-Fort Myers (1st), the Orlando area (3rd), and the Tampa area (7th).
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast (BBBSSC) has launched a new workplace-based mentoring program in Sarasota County that will expose at-risk high school students to future career opportunities in their home towns.
The rate of mothers breastfeeding their infants in Florida matches the national average; however, many Florida moms are giving it up too soon. That was the local thrust of a new report discussed in this story on the Sarasota Patch news site.
The North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota metropolitan statistical area cracked the top 10 of U.S. metropolitan area for projected job growth, according to Forbes.
A brand-new exhibit at Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium will give visitors a better understanding of challenges facing Florida's underwater environment and active scientific efforts to protect it.
On any given day in Florida, two out of three Medicaid-enrolled children who need dental care do not receive it. Of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Florida ranked 50th in the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled children receiving dental care.
Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Education released the 2016 Florida School Grades. According to a recent Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, the grades -- which evaluate both districts and their respective schools -- are based on “11 measures, mostly related to statewide standardized test scores and learning gains shown through those scores.
"It seems to be a very bleak picture." That's how one Manatee County Commissioner summed up the challenges faced by struggling households, adding that the problem is not just local but national, according to this May 17 story in the Herald-Tribune.
"Seagrass coverage across Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor has recovered and surpassed levels not seen since the 1950s," write the respective heads of the three National Estuary Programs named for those areas in a May 12 guest column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
A first-of-its kind engineering extension office of the University of Florida’s Wertheim College of Engineering aims to support economic and workforce development in the Sarasota-Manatee region, including training for high-tech, high-wage jobs.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has leveraged the power of information and communication to drive public investment in children and their families.
The foundation's KIDS COUNT project began in 1990 with a national data book comparing 10 indicators on children across the United States. The premise: If an accurate, comprehensive picture of what children need could be told, policy change would hopefully follow.
During a presidential election year, we can expect more news coverage and paid political advertising. But does this actually mobilize potential voters?
Sleep studies are as common as, well, sleep itself; but a new one out of the journal Sleep is providing some interesting new insight into the link between obesity in America and the infamous late-night snack.
How has the economy fared over the past few years? Well, according to a recent New York Times article, the answer depends on where you live.
According to this article from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD), teachers can be lulled into the false impression that using technology alone is developing creativity. With access to built-in graphics, using programs like Prezi, or devices like tablets with microphones, tech-savvy students are able to create brilliant work.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends depression screening for pregnant women and new mothers. The task force found that roughly nine percent of pregnant women and 10 percent of new moms will experience at least one depressive episode. According to the New York Times, many cases of what has been called postpartum depression may actually begin during pregnancy.
Florida ranked 16th most expensive of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in a recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
It may take you only a minute, literally, to perform health screening tests at home that could help you detect such maladies as hyperthyroidism or early vision loss. In this video from TODAY, NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar explains how.
‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry, but you might want to lighten up on the drinking. According to The Wall Street Journal, studies have shown chronic heavy drinking, even in people who never get drunk and aren’t addicted, can change the structure of the brain.
After yet another month of job growth and unemployment holding steady at 5%, Federal Reserve officials likely have the confidence to raise their interest-rate target according to The Wall Street Journal. “We know that zero rates are no longer required for this economy,” says Joseph Carson, director of global economic research at AllianceBernstein. After a seven-year run of near zero rates and adding nearly 12 million jobs since the end of the recession in mid-2009, t
For the first time in nearly 25 years, the rate of new diabetes cases in the United states fell by about a fifth from 2008 to 2014 according to the New York Times.
While the United States is considered by many to be the wealthiest nation on the planet, based on a global survey of financial literacy around the world, Americans are lacking in financial knowledge, coming in 14th after countries like the Czech Republic, according to the Wall Street Journal. The survey was conducted by a partnership between Standard & Poor's Rating Service, Gallup World Poll, the World Bank, and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at George Washington University.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall, the data show that obesity rates are leveling off for most American adults. The youngest Americans are actually doing better. However, middle-aged women and especially minority women have seen increases in obesity rates. "The biggest problem is that the obesity rates among low-income Americans and minorities are not improving," says expert Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina.
An estimated 7.9 million kids in the U.S. live in "food-insecure" households. This means there's not always enough to eat at home. But when these kids go to the doctor for a checkup, or a well-child visit, the signs of malnutrition are not always apparent. So pediatricians say it's time to start asking about it, as stated in a recent article on npr.org.
Could sunscreen be killing the Earth’s coral reefs? According to this recent article in the Huffington Post, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has raised concerns about a global coral bleaching event. Although climate change and El Nino have been both been cited as culprits for an international mass die-off of coral, a recent study has found the chemical oxybenzone, an ingredient in sunscreen, could be causing more damage than first realized.
A newly released study out of Vanderbilt University's Peabody Research Institute has put the merits of Voluntary Prekindergarten under the microscope. The results of this first-round evaluation raise major concerns and beg for a deeper dive into the world of pre-K.
While the gun-control issue can be particularly fraught in the US, some simple facts are clear: more than 60% of people in the US who die from guns die by suicide, according to the New York Times. Suicide is also the second-most common cause of death for Americans between 15 and 34.
A Bloomberg Business article stated that grade school students become more pessimistic about graduating with a job as they get older, and girls are especially likely to lose confidence in their prospects, according to a Gallup poll released in February 2015. "There’s very little about the overall school experience that is connecting young people in a meaningful way to work experience," says Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education.
It has long been the case that better-educated, higher-income individuals enjoy longer life expectancies than those who are less-educated and earn lower-incomes. The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income, as told by The Washinton Post, further explores the recent report discussing not only the massive jumps in life expectancy acros
Giving to others not only makes us happier but can help lower our blood pressure, researchers told a conference in London. Reuters reports that experts from Britain and Canada were debating the latest research on happiness and altruism, as part of a conference on "nudging" - using psychological insights into human behavior to get people to make good decisions.
Stigma runs deep when it comes to government programs designed to aid low-income individuals and families. Mashable.com explores six common myths that continue to exist regarding need-based assistance programs in the U.S. The first myth is people on welfare are unmotivated and not working. Nearly 73% of people receiving assistance are in working families.
What does it cost for a family of four in America? This recent Wall Street Journal blog article has taken rent, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes into account to find the most affordable place to raise a family in America. 140 communities and regions throughout the United States were analyzed to understand the minimal income needed to meet the most basic criteria.
A college degree is often thought of as a great equalizer; a way for young adults to have similar opportunities, despite where they came from. A recent New York Times article questions this commonly held belief based on recent research that shows higher education is incapable of “leveling the playing field” when it comes to differences in race and wealth.
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a report called The Complex Story of American Debt, detailing the types and amounts of debt Americans hold across generations as well as their feelings toward debt.
In a recent article by Feeding America, Sarasota’s All Faiths Food Bank is resolving common barriers to hunger and feeding children in the summer months when school is out of session. It is a combination of multiple diverse tactics with one goal in mind: get more healthy food to more children in need. It’s a comprehensive approach to feeding more kids by addressing common barriers to food access.
Maggie Johnson leads Google’s K12 educational programs in STEM and computer science. Within the company she manages all technical training, content development, and information management programs for Google engineers and operations staff. Needless to say, she is a qualified thought-leader on the future of computer science and believes coding is a fundamental literacy, like reading, writing, and arithmetic.
A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that ranks U.S. states for child well-being puts Florida at 37th overall.
According to a New York Times blog article, a recent Stanford University study indicated that walking outside in a natural environment, such as a park, provided meaningful improvements in mental health.
Women are making their mark in most STEM fields, but are still falling behind in computer science, according to a New York Times article. Women’s participation in psychology, bioscience, engineering, and social sciences has been rising steadily since 1991. This is in contrast to the computer science field, which is still largely dominated by men. Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s
New research from McKinsey Global Institute highlights the potential impact of “online talent platforms” to better connect workers with labor needs. Looking at labor markets in the global economy, McKinsey notes: “Millions of people cannot find work, even as sectors from technology to healthcare struggle to fill open positions.” Locally, we’ve felt such labor-market inefficiencies in the Manatee-Sarasota region—and specifically in sectors like healthcare and technology, according to the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.
“Chow bus” is what some kids are calling the custom school buses traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood that provide free and reduced lunch-eligible children meals throughout the summer, according to a National Public Radio segment. In partnership with local school districts, the USDA hopes to meet its goal of providing 200 million meals this summer throughout the nation.
Rather than waiting on the government to require it, as happened in France last week, England’s largest supermarket chain enacted a plan to give away unsold food to nonprofit organizations. Read here about how 10 Tesco stores will be giving away food, that would otherwise have been disposed of, to women’s refuge centers and children’s breakfast clubs.
The debate over standardized testing seems never-ending. But as voices from different (and often opposite) corners join the chorus calling for reducing the number of tests students take, the question remains what would replace them to monitor learning and ensure accountability, according to NPR’s lead education blogger, Anya Kamenetz.
According to the Pew Research Center, 30 percent of America’s workforce earns a near-minimum-wage salary -- that’s almost 21 million people. A study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition examined wages and determined how much an American worked needs to earn per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment and it found that in no state can a person earning minimum wage afford such an apartment at market rent.
You borrow $100 to keep your electricity on and if you can’t pay it back, your debt increases to $3,600. This is a true scenario for many families struggling to make ends meet financially that become dependent on payday loans. Payday loans are free from underwriting or interest regulation so interest rates are commonly 200% – 500%. A vicious cycle of suffering.
A new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research on state-funded pre-K education sends a few mixed messages, according to this story from NPR: Enrollment and funding are up...but in many places, they are still remarkably low.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported in March that as many as 31,000 lower-income residents in Southwest Florida may lose regular health care. An estimated 30,500 uninsured or underinsured Sarasota County residents, including 13,700 children, rely on this county’s health care service each year.
“If [employers] don’t help nurture this group of students coming through school now, they’re not going to have future employees” says Deborah Seehorn, chair of the board of the Compute Science Teachers Association (CSTA). According to this article, in 2013, one of the largest fields hiring is information technology. Job postings that stayed unfilled the longest had one main required skill in common: coding. Most colleges in the United States teach computer science, but earlier exposure has it benefits.
New digital breast tomosynthesis technology finds more than 40 percent more breast tumors compared to mammography. As the most common cancer in women, and the second deadliest according to the CDC, breast cancer will claim the lives of an estimated 40,290 American women in 2015. Not only is the DBT tool significantly more effective at detecting tumors than mammograms, it also exposes women to less harmful radiation and is less painful.
The New York Times today published an article with an interactive explaining how geography plays a role in the likelihood of marriage for Americans. Among the dividing lines also include political ideology, whether a person is from a small town or rural area versus a city, and income. If a child were to grow up in Sarasota County, versus the average place, he or she would be 1 percentage point less likely to be married by the age of 26. This has many implications for society and scientists believe they have discovered a causal role that geography plays in people's lives.
According to a new report just released by data provider CoreLogic and featured in a recent article in the Sarasota-Herald-Tribune, Florida isn’t out of the dark yet when it comes to foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies. “The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region was home to the highest foreclosure rate among major metro areas in March,” the article states; and that’s after a big improvement over the previous year.
In Sarasota County 29% of the workforce is between 45-64 and according to a new study released by AARP in a Society for Human Resource Management article, this population of employee is more engaged and produces more income for their employers. The study, released in April 2015, found workers ages 50 or older are 7% more engaged than younger workers and they only increase a company’s total annual labor costs by 1% or less. This contradicts the common thought that older employers are significantly more costly to hire and retain.
Could snowbird-season traffic woes cause residents and visitors to question the Gulf Coast region’s barrier islands as vacation and second-home destinations? That was the sentiment of Longboat Key’s town manager during an April audience with a bicounty transportation planning board, according to this Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, headlined “Island traffic jams jeopardize area’s reputation.”
What if a parent told you their 7-year-old goes to a school where the students set their own learning curriculum and Mark Zuckerberg is a $100-million donor? This may read like a page from a fairytale, but it is the real story for parents who send their kindergarten through eighth-graders to AltSchool. This San Francisco start-up school, founded in 2013 by former Google head of personalization Max Ventilla, is an experiment with an educational philosophy known as student-centered learning.
An article from Next City describes how designing better cities for aging baby boomers doubles as a benefit for millenials, based on a report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), called "Ageing in Cities." OECD is a membership group of more than 30 countries that focus on the global economy.
Location matters when it comes to income mobility, according to the New York Times. The article includes an interactive map that shows data on income mobility, county by county, along with tailored, comparative analysis based on the county selected. The study was also covered by Morning Edition on NPR. Listen to the story here. Both cite studies by Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his team that followed children and families living in public housing who were given vouchers for housing in low-poverty neighborhoods.
According to an article published in the Herald Tribune on April 30, Gulf Coast Community Foundation received ideas from 34 companies, research institutions, and charitable organizations on ways to innovate marine sciences along Florida's southwest coast. The ideas were submitted to the Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge, an incentive-grant challenge Gulf Coast Community Foundation designed to jump-start marine enterprises and diversify the economy while creating jobs and protecting the environment.
Four of the 10 most popular places to retire in the U.S. are along the Gulf Coast of Florida, based on a Topretirements.com annual list. Sarasota and Venice are among the group, placing second and third, respectively. Topretirements.com attributes the cultural amenities and laidback beach atmosphere as big draws to these communities. Read more on MarketWatch.
The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify unique jobs, by state, and then present them in one interactive map. For example, did you know that Hawaii has more professional dancers and that New York state has more fashion designers than the national averages? And the most unique occupation in Florida? Athletes and sports competitors. Read more on unique jobs by state on pewtrusts.org.
However, in an opinion piece for The New York Times about the survey results, columnist Joe Nocera pointed out: "Actual cigarette smoking — the kind that requires inhaling carcinogens, that kills one out of every two long-term smokers and that public health officials have been trying to eradicate for decades — that kind of smoking has dropped to a mere 9.2 percent among teens.
The AARP Public Policy Institute on Monday launched an ambitious new initiative to measure quality of life in communities around the country. The new Livability Index is an interacive website that lets users compare communities across dimensions including housing, tansportation, neighborhood characteristics, and health.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that while housing prices are rebounding, many Southwest Florida families are struggling to find basic affordable housing, additionally exacerbated by stagnating salaries. Read more here.
One Seattle-based company raised its minimum wage to $70,000 a year, citing a happiness study. As the disparity between CEO and employee salaries continues to grow and gain negative attention in the U.S., the CEO of Gravity Payments recognized an economic issue and took this unusual action. Read more in a story from the New York Times.
The Gallup-Healthways annual Well-Being Index ranked the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area with the highest well-being score across 100 large communities in the United States for 2014. According to Gallup and Healthways, which have partnered for a number of years to measure well-being, “the concept captures the important aspects of how people feel about and experience their daily lives.” Read more on the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index site.
New county health rankings show Southwest Florida’s counties are healthy places to live, according to a recent Sarasota Herald-Tribune story, but factors like Florida’s high uninsured and childhood poverty rates could pose challenges to future health in the region.
Health News Florida recently reported that Florida has the “highest per-capita rate of deadly bicycle accidents in the country.” Journalist Abe Aboraya cites Smart Growth America’s “Dangerous by Design 2014” report in his story.
According to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was the 18th fastest-growing metro area in the country from July 2013 to June 2014. Six of the top 20 fastest-growing MSAs were in Florida. Read more in this Bradenton Herald story from March 27.