PNS Daily Newscast - April 22, 2019 

The vigilante accused of holding migrants at border to appear in court today. Also on our Monday rundown: The US Supreme Court takes up including citizenship questions on the next census this week. Plus, Earth Day finds oceans becoming plastic soup.

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Researcher: Seniors Key to Healthy Communities

To help small towns thrive, one expert says make seniors feel more welcome. (Herb Carter)
To help small towns thrive, one expert says make seniors feel more welcome. (Herb Carter)
July 24, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It's often said that children are our future, but a researcher who has studied hundreds of rural communities argues that seniors are key to revitalization.

Doug Griffiths, author of "13 Ways to Kill Your Community," stresses that older people have knowledge, time, experience and in some cases, wealth for their retirement - all critical elements to building a successful community.

But towns might need to make some changes to help seniors thrive - from the construction of low-maintenance condos or townhomes to offerings as simple as starting a square-dancing club.

"Giving them a quality of life, making sure they have the things that they're looking for, will help your community," he says. "They'll spend that money locally, instead of going someplace else."

Griffiths says seniors tend to believe strongly in volunteerism and need those opportunities as well. He adds Millennials are another important demographic for rural communities, since many aren't interested in the 80-hour workweeks and urban living that were hallmarks of "Generation X," and might appreciate the slower pace of small-town life.

While people often joke about Millennials posting pictures of their food on social media sites, Griffiths says that actually tells you something about their nature.

"They've realized that it's about living a little bit more in the moment - not for retirement because some people don't reach retirement," he explains. "And so, they're very community-focused - and with technology, they don't have to live in the city."

Griffiths says too many rural communities have been sabotaged by complacency. But he's convinced they can be revived with "little things," such as social activities; "big things," like investments in technology and housing; and strategies to attract businesses and encourage volunteerism.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - FL