25 January 2009

"Sex in The Villages" -- Prurient Interest from the NY Post

New York Post
January 25, 2009

LADY LAKE, Fla. - It's 11 p.m. at the Bourbon Street Bar, and Roselyn's gyrating her hips to the blues band, Sue's sipping a cocktail and flirting with her new boyfriend, and Alan is scanning the crowd for cute girls.

"See those two?" a buxom blonde asks, pointing to an elegant couple at the bar. "They were caught having sex in their golf cart a few weeks ago. It happens a lot!"

Welcome to ground zero for geriatrics who are seriously getting it on.

It's a Thursday night at one of a half-dozen hot spots at the 20,000-acre Central Florida complex called The Villages, the largest gated retirement community in America - and one of the most popular destinations for New Yorkers in their golden years - where the female-to-male ratio runs 10 to 1.

It's a widower's paradise, and the word on the street is that there's a big black market for Viagra.

Though The Villages - which spans three counties with 40,000 homes and more than 70,000 residents - boasts 34 golf courses, nine country clubs, two downtown squares and a slew of restaurants and bars, getting lucky is one of the residents' primary pastimes.

The huge complex began growing rapidly in the mid-1990s, and reported cases of gonorrhea rocketed from 152 to 245, of syphilis rose from 17 to 33, and of chlamydia from 52 to 115 among those 55 and older in Florida from 1995 to 2005.

The state's sexually transmitted disease rate among those over 65 is one of the fastest growing in the country, one report claims.

In 2006, a local gynecologist reported that she treated more cases of herpes and human papillomavirus at The Villages than she did when she worked in Miami.

"I get offers for sex all the time," brags Dave, 70, who, like others who spoke about their sexually active set, asked that his real name not be used, "especially by women in their 70s. They say, 'Are you busy tonight? I'll show you a good time.' "

One overly charming lady-killer known as "Mr. Midnight" boasted of one of his conquests last year: "Absolutely beautiful. I've had her a few times. She comes over, takes a shower, jumps in bed, and then gets dressed and leaves. She's simply the best."

His story was told by Andrew Blechman, author of "Leisureville," about communities like The Villages.

"There is lots of romance around here," said Jean, a 63-year-old retired teacher. "But most of the men want a one-night meaningful relationship."

Her friend Louise agrees.

"A lot of the men down here are cheaper than heck," she says, "and a lot of the women are extremely brazen. Some girls will go into the parking lot with a man and come back a half-hour later like nothing happened!"

"We've had some of those complaints," said a laughing Lt. Laurie Davis of the Lady Lake Police Department, ticking off other offenses, like drunken driving in golf carts, illegal drug use, and bar fights.

"Whatever you know about 20-year-olds, it's the same with seniors," said Roselyn Shelley, 68, a divorced former dancer.

Sue Rice, a blonde who will only admit to being over 60 but who looks to be about 80 and dances like she's 14, has hooked up with Larry Tucker, an ex-banker about a decade her junior.

Tucker sports a gold charm around his neck that reads, "Bankers do it with interest."

"Feel this," Rice says, bouncing up from her bar stool and pinching her slim waist. "My body is the same as it was in high school! He can't keep up with me!"

According to Alan, a swarthy 62-year-old, there's a thriving black market for little blue Viagra pills.

"I did it once," he said. "I paid 12 bucks for a single pill."

Local cops just try to keep up.

"You see two 70-year-olds with canes fighting over a woman and you think, 'Oh, jeez,' " Lt. Davis said.

*Some names have been changed.

24 January 2009

55+ Foreclosures -- No real surprise here, aside from the optimistic spin put on it by the gullible reporter

Four Seasons foreclosure
January 23, 2009
[Northern Virginia]

Most of the nearly 204 acres upon which the Four Seasons age restricted development sits in Ruckersville off U.S. 33 is set to be sold at auction Jan. 22. But one local realtor says it doesn’t mean the sky is falling, and zoning officials assure residents that the zoning will not change.

In June of 2005 Fried Companies and K. Hovnanian Homes broke ground on nearly 204 acres off U.S. 33 near Advance Mills Road in Ruckersville to make way for the construction of Greene’s first age-restricted gated community.

The Four Seasons Active Adult Community was to consist of 535 homes starting in the lower $300,000 range and a 16,000-square-foot clubhouse for athletic and recreational activities. It was expected to generate at least $1.5 to $1.75 million in real estate taxes annually, representing 9 percent of the county’s then-general fund local source revenue - along with another $1.5 million in sales tax each year.

Since then, the real estate market slumped, recession hit.

Now, the 203.905 acres, less lots and homes that have already been sold, is scheduled to be auctioned off on the courthouse steps in Stanardsville at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22. It includes the land upon which the multi-million dollar 16,000-square-foot clubhouse sits. The clubhouse opened just last May.

The auction, by The Tranzon Companies, a nationwide organization of real estate auction professionals, is taking place as a result in a default of payment by Charlottesville Development, LLC to New York’s Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company.

No representatives of the parties involved commented for this article: either they refused comment, or could not be reached for comment.

However, Bill Gentry of Jefferson Land & Realty in Rochelle says the auction “does not mean the sky is falling or the project is going down the tubes.“

Gentry, along with county planners, explains that the terms “developer” and “builder” are not synonymous: the developer owns the land; the builder buys from the developer to build upon the land.

While Gentry makes it clear that he is not aware of any of the particulars of the coming auction, he has seen similar things happen over the years. He explains that if a builder’s sales slump, it sometimes happens that the developer is not able to move its land fast enough to keep the lien it has on its land current, and foreclosure ensues.

Based on his observances of similar situations, and his knowledge of real estate, Gentry adds: “In this economic climate, there are not likely to be too many buyers for that project. The bank might want to restructure the loan.“

But if that is not what happens, Four Seasons residents need not worry that the zoning for their community will change, say county planning officials.

The property - to be sold subject to conditions, restrictions, rights-of-way, easements, reservations and all other matters of record taking priority - is contained in a Senior Residential Zoning District.

In Greene, such districts can be either 100 percent or 80 percent age-restricted. If they are 100 percent age restricted, all of the residential units must be occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older. Guests or children 19 years old or younger are permitted for a maximum 21 days each calendar year. If a person under the age of 55 should, for example, inherit a home in the district and take title, he or she will not be able to reside there until he or she reaches the age of 55.

An exception to the rule is a surviving spouse under the age of 55: he or she can occupy a dwelling without regard to age.

Those districts that are 80 percent age restricted require that 80 percent of the residential units be occupied by at least on person 55 years of age or older.

There is another difference between senior residential zoning districts that are 100 percent and 80 percent age restricted.

Single family detached dwellings, duplex, triplex and quadplex-type dwellings, condominiums, townhouses, patio houses, apartments, and community facilities can all be built by-right in communities that are 100 percent age-restricted.

In 80 percent age-restricted communities, such dwellings can only be built via a special use permit.

The Four Seasons Active Adult Community is 100 percent age restricted. No type of dwelling permissible by right in such a district was ever restricted there.

As for the auction itself, documents provided by Tranzon state that the property may be sold as an entirety or as individual parcels. All or part of the property may be withdrawn from sale at any time before the bidding ends, or, any and all bids may be rejected.


15 January 2009

Grandma in the White House: rebirth of the extended family?

Barack Obama's mother-in-law will move to White House for trial visit
'First Granny' Marian Robinson will help young girls adjust to their new lives

By Stacy St. Clair
January 12, 2009

Marian Robinson doesn't like a lot of fuss. She doesn't like a lot of attention, either.

But as the country's unofficial First Granny and a future White House occupant, she'll soon be facing plenty of both.

The Obama transition team announced late last week that Robinson, 71, the mother of Michelle Obama and a retired secretary from the South Shore, would be going to Washington to help the family settle into a routine. Aides describe her extended stay as a trial visit, a chance for Robinson to see if she's ready to trade her classic Chicago bungalow for the nation's most famous mansion.

However temporary, the living arrangement thrills senior advocates, who say Robinson will serve as a role model for the growing number of U.S. retirees who are moving in with their children and grandchildren. More than 3.6 million parents lived with adult children in 2007, according to census data. That number is up 67 percent from 2000.

And at least 24 percent of Baby Boomers expect their parents or in-laws to move in with them eventually, according to the AARP.

Senior advocates say Robinson could show that moving into a grown child's home does not mean surrendering one's independence or usefulness.

They expect Robinson to continue her busy lifestyle, which until a few years ago included both a job and competing in the 100- and 50-yard dashes at the Illinois Senior Olympics.

"She is the kind of role model you want," AARP spokeswoman Nancy Thompson said. "She's an active retiree with her own life."

Robinson, who gave only a few interviews during the campaign, already has media and special interest groups lining up to speak with her. Generations United, a group that aims to increase interaction between children and seniors, has asked her to be the keynote speaker at its international conference this summer.

Robinson hasn't responded to the invitation yet, but organizers believe she already has done a tremendous amount to help their cause by taking an active role in her granddaughters' lives.

"It's such a nice example of so many generations working together to raise a family," said Donna Butts, Generations United's executive director. "We believe the Obamas will show Americans the valuable role each generation can play."

Multigenerational White Houses, however, have not always been harmonious. Harry Truman's mother-in-law belittled him constantly while living there, questioning both his policies and ability to govern. Dwight D. Eisenhower's mother-in-law often wintered at the president's mansion, where she lounged in bed and bossed around the staff and her daughter, Mamie.

Robinson, whose close relationship with her son-in-law was documented in Election Night photographs of her holding his hand as they watched returns, will play a much different role from her predecessors. In addition to claiming no interest in politics, she'll serve as the primary caretaker for granddaughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, when their parents are unavailable. It's a position she willingly accepted in 2007, when she retired from her job as an executive secretary for a bank to care for the girls while Michelle and Barack Obama worked the campaign trail.

"The sole reason Michelle was willing to campaign at all was because she knows that Mom is there to help take care of the girls," Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, said at the Democratic National Convention last year.

For 22 months, Marian Robinson cooked meals, prepared baths, helped with homework and shuttled the girls to various soccer practices and ballet lessons. Although she tried to adhere to Michelle Obama's rules about organic foods, limited TV exposure and an 8:30 p.m. bedtime, Robinson acknowledged being a softhearted grandmother who occasionally questioned her daughter's modern-day approach to child raising.

"I've heard [Michelle] say, 'Mom, what are you rolling your eyes at? You made us do the same thing,' " Robinson said in a rare interview with the Boston Globe in March 2008. "I don't remember being that bad. It seems like she's just going overboard."

Presidential historians believe Malia and Sasha will benefit greatly from having their grandmother in the White House. Robinson will be called on to provide the same stability the girls enjoyed in Chicago as they adapt to their new roles as the country's most famous tweens.

"It may save their lives," said Presidential Historian Doug Wead, author of "All the Presidents' Children." "The children will need as much support as they can get. If Grandma is there to offer comfort when their parents aren't home, that could make a huge difference for the girls."

Amy Carter, for example, had spent significant time with her paternal grandmother, Lillian, when they lived in Georgia and missed her terribly when her family moved to Washington, said former White House correspondent Bonnie Angelo, author of "First Families." Angelo believes Carter's lonely White House existence might have been cheerier if her Miss Lillian, as she was called, had been a permanent resident in the mansion and not just a frequent visitor.

"I think it's wonderful that Mrs. Robinson is joining the Obamas," Angelo said. "It may be the best family decision they make in the White House."

Whether Robinson stays after her trial visit remains to be seen. Aides have said they wouldn't be surprised if she bought her own place in Washington, so she could maintain her independence and still care for her granddaughters when needed.

"I love those people, but I love my own house," Robinson told People magazine in November. "The White House reminds me of a museum. How do you sleep in a museum?"

Robinson's aversion to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is in keeping with her no-frills persona, family and friends say. Widowed in 1991, she has long valued her independence, opting to stay in her blue-collar neighborhood and to continue working despite the success of her two Ivy League-educated children and famous son-in-law.

About a week before the inauguration, many homes along Robinson's street still have "Obama-Biden" signs hanging in the windows. Robinson's, though, remain bare with no sign of her son-in-law's prestige, save the security system warnings posted in the front yard."She doesn't like a lot of fuss around her," Barack Obama told "60 Minutes" in November, explaining why she may not live with the family. "And like it or not, there is some fuss in the White House."


12 January 2009

Interesting Article from the SJ Mercury News about the Rebirth of the Extended Family

With more generations under one roof, U.S. families no longer shrinking, census data shows
By Mike Swift -- Mercury News -- 01/10/2009

Lynn Fielder moves haltingly between the kitchen island and the cupboards in her Palo Alto home, intent on preparing a pot of coffee for her mother, Sondra Erickson, and a guest.

In a nearby alcove, Fielder's jewelry-making workshop is cluttered with her work. A guitar on the wall belongs to Fielder's 16-year-old daughter, Maya, who is asleep in a room off the kitchen. Erickson's mother, 94-year-old Alice Roberts, is out back.

This is not a special holiday gathering. All four women — all four generations — are home.

Even as Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, makes headlines as the "first granny," returning extended-family life to the nation's most famous house, a quiet revolution is beginning to transform America's families, as the "traditional" nuclear family becomes less universal.

After nearly half a century, the chronic shrinking of the American family has stalled. Fueled by more extended families living under same roof, the nation's families may be growing for the first time since the early 1960s. The trend is particularly visible in areas that combine high housing prices with high numbers of immigrants, like Silicon Valley, where the average Vietnamese, Filipino or Mexican family already has more than four relatives sharing a home. The Census Bureau defines a family as a group of people related by birth, marriage or adoption who live together.

But while Asians and Latinos still have the largest families, average family size grew most among whites and African-Americans since 2000. New data says that is true in Santa Clara County and the United States. The change corresponds with a surge in the number of parents like Sondra Erickson and Alice Roberts living with their adult children.

"It wouldn't work for everyone," Erickson said of their four-generation living arrangement, based on health needs as well as Palo Alto's extreme housing costs. "But it works for us."

Immigration, housing prices and the economy are all factors in the expansion of families. But some demographers and sociologists say other social changes are pulling generations closer, and broadening the template for the American family.

'Shift in family life'

"There is a rediscovery of intergenerational ties," said Stephanie Coontz, director of research for the Council on Contemporary Families. "I think it's a very significant shift in family life."

For Lynn Fielder, 46, the four-generation household started as an economic arrangement — a common story due to the Bay Area's housing prices. At a time when she worked for a nonprofit agency in San Jose, she and her husband, Kurt, were able to afford a neighborhood where the residents include uber-techies like Steve Jobs and ex-49ers star Steve Young by building a bungalow behind her grandmother's house.

Then came Maya, and a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease for Lynn Fielder. Wanting to be close to their new grandchild and help their daughter, Sondra Erickson, a retired nurse, and husband Jim Erickson, a contractor, returned to the house where she had grown up in the 1950s.

Jim helped convert the house to be handicapped accessible. He and Sondra live upstairs and help care for the generations — younger and older. Lynn, Kurt and Maya live on the ground floor in the main house, with great-grandmother Alice moving to the bungalow out back.

Her parents are "a big help with a disease like this," Lynn said.

Families like the Fielder-Erickson-Roberts clan are becoming more common. There are about 3.4 million parents sharing a home with their adult children in the United States, according to census data released in December, up from 2.1 million in 2000.

There also has been an increase, both nationally and locally, in the number of adult brothers, sisters and other relatives including cousins, aunts, nephews or in-laws living together.

Charles Wong, who was born in Vietnam, is part of a four-generation household in Milpitas. He lives with his mother, his 33-year-old daughter, her husband and their two children, and the arrangement feels normal. The average Vietnamese family has more than four people in Santa Clara County, census data shows, compared with 3.03 people for whites.

"In Vietnam, we usually live together with the parents, unless we have different jobs that are far away," Wong said. In California, it's also a way to share culture, especially home cooking, "so we don't have McDonald's every day," he said. It made sense, Wong said, to take in his daughter and son-in-law when they had job problems.

Wong, a real estate agent who wants to retire but whose income helps support the family, views the arrangement as temporary.

"I want to help my daughter for awhile, until they are able to move out," he said. "At my age, I want more quiet."

California has the second-largest family size in the U.S. at 3.52 persons per family, behind only Utah.

In California, family size "is certainly driven more by immigration than by economics, but they are both responsible," said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California.

After World War II, the average American family peaked at 3.72 persons in 1966, before dropping steadily through the 1970s and 1980s. Family size reached an all-time low of 3.13 persons in 2003. But average family size has not declined for the past five years, for the first time since World War II, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey.

Meanwhile, a Census Bureau survey that covers a much larger share of U.S. households indicates the average American family is actually growing — particularly white and African-American families. Contrary to stereotypes, average family size for Latinos and Asians is shrinking.

First (extended) family

In Washington, the Obama family has determined that the new first lady's mother will live in the White House.

"Mrs. Robinson has been a rock for the Obama family and an active grandma for the girls, especially over the last year while their parents were campaigning," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a transition spokeswoman for the family. "Mrs. Robinson will be coming with the family to help the girls get acclimated, and she will determine in the coming months whether or not she wants to stay in D.C. permanently."

A century ago, extended-family households were common in America. Today, beyond economic stresses and immigration, other forces are also reshaping American families.

With young people waiting longer to marry, and parenting styles becoming more "democratic" over the past 30 years, baby boomers' adult children are likely to have closer relationships with their parents, Coontz said. More young adults get to know their parents as equals.

The increase in extended-family households is a well-developed trend, "but people haven't recognized its implications," said Coontz, author of "Marriage, A History."

Even the Fielder-Erickson-Roberts family struggles to explain why their arrangement works.

"For the married-ons, for the husbands in our case, it takes a great deal of understanding to live with your in-laws," Sondra Erickson said. "I think it takes a special person to do it and be comfortable with the situation."

Sitting at their dinner table, Lynn Fielder, a Planned Parenthood executive in San Jose before Parkinson's forced her to retire, agrees.

Recovering from brain surgery in October to stabilize her motor function, Fielder can focus on creating her jewelry in part because her mother drives Maya and her to appointments. Just now, she is working on a Parkinson's fundraiser this month at Vino Locale, an art gallery in downtown Palo Alto.

Because of the family's closeness, Maya gets to have special family experiences like playing music with her great-grandmother.
And Roberts, a vibrant nonagenarian who rides an exercise bike, quips that she won't break up the family.

"I love it," Roberts said of her living arrangement. "I promised Maya I would be around for her high school graduation, so I have another year to go."