December 13, 2001
Divorce does not mean everything is
A story published today by the Washington Times reports that years after the American
divorce revolution began, a veteran observer has arrived at an unusual conclusion: Divorce
doesn't end most marriages.
Instead, couples enter the "aftermarriage," says longtime divorce lawyer
Anita Wyzanski Robboy. Spouses often think they will "be free of each other"
after the divorce, but the only two things it typically ends are the shared living
quarters and the marital rights, says Mrs. Robboy.
"The duties and obligations of marriage continue," often until death, she
says. Alimony, child support, college educations, health care, properties, businesses,
pensions, family reunions, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and funerals are just some
of the "thousand points of connection" that endure.
The only couples who escape an aftermarriage are those who marry briefly, don't have
children and don't "merge" their property or their lives. "All marriages
with children and marriages of long duration have an aftermarriage," says Mrs.
Robboy, who has seen thousands of divorces during her 27 years practicing family law at
Schnader Harrison Goldstein & Manello in Boston.
Divorce essentially rearranges the place of the other spouse in daily life, and a day
in court brings a temporary settlement of affairs, "not a day of judgment," she
said. Many divorce trials "have a very active afterlife."
Federal data show that divorce was relatively rare in the United States from 1940 until
1966, with two to 2.5 divorces for every 1,000 people. The only time divorce rates spiked
was right after World War II. After 1966, however, divorce grew steadily, peaking in 1981,
when 1.2 million couples divorced and the divorce rate reached 5.3 per 1,000 population.
In the past 20 years, divorce has declined gradually, and as of 1998, the rate has fallen
to 4.2 per 1,000 population. Still, more than 1 million divorces are recorded a year, a
statistic that hasn't changed much for the past 25 years. In a soon-to-be-released book,
researcher E. Mavis Hetherington also talks about misconceptions associated with the
"post-divorce" years. "Traditionally, marital failure has been viewed as a
single event, one that produces temporarily intense but limited effects," she writes
in "For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered," co-authored by John Kelly.
"Twenty years after divorce, most men and women are coping reasonably well with
their new situations. Divorce is a shadowy memory and one largely irrelevant to their
current lives," she writes.
But both Mrs. Robboy and Mrs. Hetherington agree that the unfinished business of a
first marriage brings peril to a second marriage. About 60 percent of second marriages
fail, most often "during the tumultuous early years of stepfamily life," writes
Mrs. Hetherington, adding that it takes five to seven years for tensions in a stepfamily
to subside to the stress level of a couple in their first marriage.
Bad marriages can hurt kids in the
A story published today by the USA Today reports that couples who keep a strained and
rocky marriage together "for the sake of the kids" tend to raise children whose
marriages are as miserable as the ones they grew up in, suggests a new 17-year study of
The findings provide strong evidence that marital unhappiness can be passed on to
younger generations, marriage experts agree.
Penn State University sociologist Paul Amato, senior author of the study and co-author
Alan Booth followed 297 married couples and one child from each family for 17 years. The
researchers took into account key influences on marital happiness, such as income,
education, age at first marriage and divorce history. Their research found:
* The more discord parents reported in their marriages, the more unhappily married
their grown kids were.
* The key qualities in parents' marriages linked to later bad matches for their
youngsters were: jealous or domineering behavior by spouses; quickness to anger; being
critical or moody; and refusing to talk to one's spouse.
"If people in these marriages are staying together for the sake of the kids,
they're not doing their kids any favor," Amato says.
Children raised by parents who quarrel bitterly or give each other "the silent
treatment" may imitate these patterns in their own marriages, Amato speculates. Also,
these kids don't learn how to resolve disputes with loved ones.
But most marriages go through bad patches, he adds. The findings don't suggest
youngsters are better off if their parents split up rather than working through periodic
But many marriages that end in divorce aren't hostile, Amato adds. Three out of five
divorcing couples are just bored by their partners, his research shows.
Splitting up apparently hurts adult kids, too. Compared with couples from intact homes,
having one partner from a divorced family doubles the chance of an adult child's divorce,
says psychologist Mavis Hetherington, University of Virginia professor emeritus and author
of For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. If both spouses are from divorced
families, the risk is nearly three times greater.
Hetherington adds that none of this is written in stone, though. If a spouse has
divorced parents but marries someone from an intact home who is well-adjusted and
supportive, their divorce risk is no greater than that of couples whose parents weren't
Seniors in Michigan are opting to
live on their own
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that with Michigan's population
graying and birthrate dropping, more seniors are opting to live on their own rather than
move into retirement communities.
During the 1990s, their numbers rose in virtually every community in the Detroit area,
including areas that lost population, such as Madison Heights, Beverly Hills and Wolverine
These seniors -- most of them women -- are a breed apart. Many had worked outside the
home. They are not looking for a new mate, they mop up when the basement floods, and they
string their own Christmas lights.
In Farmington, 20 percent of the residents are 65 or older, and 9 percent of them live
alone. There is a network of mostly widows who play bridge, shop and dine together, manage
their own investments, and as much as they can, look out for each other.
Single older women are also commonplace in St. Clair Shores, Center Line and Royal Oak
Township, which, along with Farmington, have the highest concentrations of live-alone
seniors in the Detroit area, census data shows.
In the parking lot of the Essco Shopping Center in Center Line, women with walkers
cross the parking lot to get from the bank to the shops. Across the street, on the first
level of the Center Line Park Towers, a foot doctor, a hearing aid supplier and hair salon
serve the hundreds of older residents on the upper floors.
"None of us ever anticipated living out the rest of our lives in a building
surrounded by old ladies," said 78-year-old Mary C. Karwowski, who lives in the
300-unit high-rise for senior citizens.
Karwowski moved into the building after the death of her husband 11 years ago. It was
not what she had planned.
But Karwowski does not feel sorry for herself. She drives, plays golf during the
summer, bakes and sings. And she is not without suitors.
"It can be, if you allow it, very depressing. Having a happy frame of mind is
important," she said.
Wednesday, December 12, 2001
Study reveals older men are outliving wives
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that according to the
U.S. Census Bureau, an increasing number of older men are outliving their wives.
The number of widowers 65 and older was nearly 2 million last year, an increase of more
than 50 percent from 1.3 million in 1980. But widowers in that age group still are vastly
outnumbered by widows -- 8.5 million in the 2000 census.
Some research suggests that elderly men may have more trouble coping with a spouse's
death because they often are not prepared for it, and they are also less likely to confide
in anyone about their grief because they fear showing signs of weakness, said John
McIntosh, an Indiana University psychology professor.
At the same time, McIntosh and other experts also caution against drawing excessively
broad conclusions from such findings. Regardless of gender, other factors such as the
untimeliness of the death, the quality of the marriage and family support also influence
how a survivor copes, said Rick Morycz, chief of geriatric services at the Western
Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh.
``After a period of normal grief, about six months to a year, most people do
successfully adapt and do fine,'' Morycz said. ``If you're widowed and you have poor
health, or you don't have enough social support, those factors do more to directly affect
Local Pennsylvania group helps
A story published today by the Sewickley Herald Star report that Sewickley ,
Pennsylvania resident Kate Connor knows first hand how difficult it can be to raise a
child alone. "I used to feel so alone," Connor says, "like I was the only
single parent in the world."
However, Connor has found a local companionship and support group in her area called
Renee Boyka, one of the founders of the group describes SPARKS as "an organization
of single parents committed to addressing the unique challenges and concerns facing single
parents through education, shared experience and single parent-friendly social activities
for both parents and children."
Once a month the group features a renowned speaker who educates single parents on
important and interesting skills, such as stress management, getting along with a child's
other parent and how to keep a journal or scrapbook as a legacy for a child.
Since its inception, 55 community members like Connor have joined the organization and
have actively participated in the group's events.
Connor, a member for three months, has found the meetings both informative and
enjoyable. Most beneficial to her was last month's talk on getting along with her son's
"I actually learned a lot of things I was doing were wrong," she laughs.
Beyond the education, she has found a way to get out and meet people who are in the
same situation. Just seeing all the faces at the meetings, realizing there are other
single parents out there, has offered Connor comfort and hope.
"Sometimes," she says, "it is easier to open up and talk to people that
you don't know, but who are in the same situation as yourself."
Boyka and co-founder Bernadette Dourlain were originally inspired to organize a group
for single parents about one year ago when they learned about the Single Parent
Association in Phoenix, Ariz.
After extensively studying various groups across the United States and Europe, the
innovative pair designed SPARKS by combining their favorite aspects of several different
Social Security panel presents reform proposals
A story published today by the Washington Post reports that the presidential commission
yesterday embraced three proposals that would allow workers to invest some of their Social
Security taxes in the stock market.
The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security acknowledged for the first
time that such a profound change in the nation's retirement system would eventually cost
at least $2 trillion, though it did not suggest how to pay for it. The panel also
concluded that Social Security cannot be rescued from the financial precipice it will
reach by the middle of the next decade without cutting benefits for retirees and disabled
Americans, using money from elsewhere in the federal budget, or both.
One of the proposal embraced by the commission would let workers divert 2 percent of
their payroll taxes into individual investments, but would otherwise leave the program
unchanged. A second alternative would allow workers to invest more of their taxes, but
would constrain benefits by changing the method to determine the size of retirees' checks
when they first sign up -- adjusting them to keep pace with inflation, rather than wages,
which traditionally have increased more rapidly.
Under the third plan, workers would be required to devote 1 percent of their own
earnings to retirement accounts before they could invest 2.5 percent of their payroll
taxes. This method would try to stabilize the program's finances through an infusion of
general revenue, as well as through subtler adjustments in the size of benefits and
incentives to work longer.
Republicans, Democrats and commissioners themselves said yesterday that any effort to
translate the panel's ideas into legislative action will be deferred for at least a year,
until after next fall's elections.
Opponents of individual investment accounts said the alternatives the commission has
embraced essentially demonstrate that the stock market cannot, by itself, alleviate Social
Security's impending financial crisis. "Privatization has no relevance to solving
Social Security," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the Ways
and Means Committee's Social Security subcommittee. "Privatization is a gimmick for
some on Wall Street to feather their own nest."
Matsui and other key Democrats also criticized Bush and the panel for deferring the
issue until after next year's campaign season -- and for avoiding a single proposal.
"We know what the options are. I was kind of hoping to get a recommendation,"
said Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), chairman of the Senate special committee on aging.
Enjoying the holidays
A column entitled "Single Tips" published today in the Philadelphia Daily
News offers some suggestions for solo single for this holiday season. Dr. Neil Clark
Warren, author of dating and relationship books and founder of eharmony.com an online
relationship-building site offers these coping strategies:
* Focus on the positive things in your life and not what's missing. When you are in a
spirit of appreciation, life takes on a brighter hue.
* Focus on the needs of others and make a genuine attempt to assist them. It is a
fundamental psychological truth that when you assist other people, you feel better.
* Forget the past and move forward. Forgiveness liberates you from your past, while
hopefulness maximizes your future.
* Spend time with people who love generously, listen carefully and take you seriously.
Coordinating visitations can help
children of divorced couples
A story published today by the Indianapolis Star reports that coordinating visitations
among divorced couples can be tough in the best of situations, and the holidays often
complicate things even more. Child development experts say that cooperation is the key to
easing trauma and stress for children whose parents are divorced.
Even if former spouses or lovers have only disdain for each other, they must be mature
about each other's desire for quality time with their children, said Charles Fay of the
Love and Logic Institute, a Colorado parenting organization that offers seminars across
When feuding exes withhold visitation from parents who aren't abusive or neglectful,
children can react with depression, anxiety or anger, and may act out at home and in
"Because of the way children process the world around them, they blame themselves
when there's conflict," said Fay, a school psychologist and the divorced father of an
8-year-old son."Ultimately, it's the kids who suffer."
Parents should work together to come up with a schedule that is fair to everyone, Fay
Both parties should keep written copies of that schedule to prevent memory lapses or
misunderstandings. A day planner or calendar can help prevent confusion.
To work around extreme acrimony, some communities operate divorce exchange centers --
neutral sites where parents can hand off their children.
The Hamilton Centers Youth Service Bureau is asking for grant money to open such a
facility in Noblesville, Indiana. The bureau hopes to open its Family Access Center next
"Our goal is to keep children's wounds and scars to a minimum," said
executive director Kelly Brian Kochell.
Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Single life and sometimes a
A story published today by the Washington Times reports that more and more of
America's 82 million singles seem to be opting for the non-paired life and at times, the
"I've seen a great outpouring from women on this topic," says Elizabeth
Abbott, a professor at McGill University and author of "A History of Celibacy".
"A ton of women out there are celibate, and they are not that old, either. Or at
least they stay that way for a few years to recuperate from a relationship. A lot of older
women are like me been there, done that, loved that, but there's other things they
want to do."
"On radio talk shows, I've been surprised to get as many male callers as women.
Women tend not to be as embarrassed to admit they are celibate. But men, even the young
ones, phone up and talk about it. They found going from one person to another was
exhausting and they didn't see the value in it."
Her book profiles Indian nationalist Mohandas Gandhi, who took a lifelong vow of
celibacy in 1906 at the age of 37. It was to fulfill his longing to be "God's
eunuch," a Christian concept that Gandhi, a Hindu, found attractive. Celibacy and
virginity never will be a major trend, says Abbott, but it needs to be provided as more of
a viable option.
"Most human beings like sex, and we are going to like it for large periods of our
life. I certainly have," she says. "I just don't want to put up with the
relationship. There is so much literal work in it. Egalitarian relationships between men
and women are pretty rare, and many women just want to live independently."
Joan Allen, a Baltimore author who co-authored "Celebrating Single and Getting
Love Right" with Dr. Marc Kusinitz, says the huge number of singles is like the
proverbial elephant amidst society's living room.
"A lot of people think that being single is pathetic," she says. "I was
reading in People magazine about Hollywood women Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan
who are single. I saw Julia Roberts on late-night TV apologizing for being single. Well,
if Julia Roberts says something like that, how does the average woman feel?
"What I find depressing is someone who stays in a dead-end relationship or a
loveless marriage. That is what I find to be pathetic." Miss Allen, 49, who has never
married, conducts "Celebrating Single" cooking classes for Fresh Fields stores
up and down the East Coast. She would like to see what she calls "a new
singletude." "I want to see the status of singles as being positive in this
country," she says. "It is not the end of the world."
Jacksonville leaders pushing for mandatory premarital
A story published today by the Florida Times-Union reports that according to the
Florida Office of Vital Statistics, in Floridas Duval county, the divorce rate for
2000 was reported to be at 73 percent. That means for every 100 couples that married in
Duval County, 73 couples divorced.
Some Jacksonville-area religious leaders and legislators want to help reduce the city's
divorce rate by making premarital counseling mandatory.
They hope to implement what's called a community marriage policy, similar to those
adopted in nearly 150 cities in the United States. Under such a policy, which is not
legally binding, area pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, and even judges, would refuse to
perform a wedding ceremony for a couple until that couple completed some predetermined
amount of premarital counseling.
At a minimum, a couple participates in at least 20 hours of discussion with a priest or
Plus, couples must complete a compatibility survey which touches on personalities,
communication skills, problem solving, religion, values, parenting, extended families,
sexuality and finance issues.
Of course, premarital counseling is not foolproof.
In the past 15 years, a nonprofit organization called Marriage Savers, based in
Maryland, has helped set up 147 policies in 38 states. Marriage Savers holds regional
conferences and produces materials to help groups develop policies and train mentor
It's hard, however, to document the effectiveness of Marriage Savers, said Del Palmer,
the organization's Southern regional director.
But most cities have seen their divorce rates drop by some margin after implementing a
policy, he said.
For example, Modesto, Calif., adopted a policy 15 years ago and has since seen a 46
percent decrease in its divorce rate, Palmer said.
Ken Hurley, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Jacksonville,
said he doesn't foresee any problems.
"I'm all in favor of counseling individuals prior to marriage," Hurley said.
"It's more difficult to get a driver's license than a marriage license."
Palmer said it's impossible to get all clergy on board.
"You just try to get a representative group, you get as many as possible," he
said. "The neat thing is that it is usually something all can agree on. They know
divorce is a problem in their congregations and schools. It can really bring clergy
Monday, December 10, 2001
Hiking trails to meet other singles
A story published today by the Arizona Republic reports that singles in Arizona have a
new way of meeting other singles, hiking through one of the hiking trails in the Arizona
Leaders of active singles groups recommend five Valley mountains with social potential:
Squaw Peak, Camelback Mountain, North Mountain, Shaw Butte and South Mountain. Single
hikers flood the trails after work. They wear stylish hiking outfits, and some women sport
a little eye shadow and lipstick. They hang around at the summit, eyeing each other, or
gab in the parking lot, planning where to go for dinner or drinks. Most have stories about
chatting with strangers on the mountain.
Squaw Peak and Camelback Mountain are known for a superathletic, flashy crowd, plus
tourists. North Mountain and Shaw Butte are quieter paths with more locals. The first is
paved and the second is a mostly gravel road. South Mountain is popular with bicyclists
and horseback riders.
What are the key features of a good singles trail? It's a peak where people stop and
chat before heading down, and the path should be narrow, says Bart Whitmore of the Take a
Hike Club, a hiking group of mostly singles that meets in Tempe.
"The trail is often single-file, so people talk a bit easier - they don't feel the
pressure," Whitmore says. "And they're doing something that is
Local paths attract a loyal group of hikers, says Michelle Vanevery of Outdoor
Encounters, a group with about 80 members.
"If you hike Squaw Peak every day at 5, you see the same people over and over
again," Vanevery says. "You say 'hi' at first, and then it becomes - you might
as well hike together."
Regrettably, the trail may not always lead to romance.
For example, Liatt Bailey, 28, of Phoenix, spied an attractive hiker along the North
Mountain trail, but silently watched her pass.
"What's the proper pickup line when you're sweating like a pig and out of
breath?" Bailey asks.
And Jennifer Bodin, 30, of Mesa, says no one has ever given her a line during her hikes
at Apache Junction's Wind Cave trail.
But hope thrives. As she ventures up Camelback's Cholla trail one recent day, Bodin is
asked if she would like to find a potential date on the way.
"Sign me up," she says.
Homeless shelters help out single moms
A story published today by the Enterprise reports that the statistics from the
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless indicate the number of homeless families in
Massachusetts has doubled from 5,000 to 10,000 between 1990 and 1998. The booming economy
caused rents to skyrocket and the lack of affordable housing contributed to the increase.
Kim Vincent, who's never been married, and her four children, Kahla, 12, Chellsey, 8,
Myles, 3, and 20-month-old Tristan, live at the Conway House, a shelter in Middleboro.
Currently, there are 11 mothers and 19 children living in the 13-family shelter that
was formerly a nursing home.
"In the last few years, the age of the homeless mother has become younger,"
said Pat Perry, site director at the Conway House. "When a mom comes here, she's
already lived in a motel. They're usually there from two weeks to two months."
Vincent became homeless almost two years ago after having a disagreement with her
landlord in Brockton, where she had been living for almost six years.
"I never realized how hard it would be to get an apartment," she said.
"Nobody wants a single mom and four kids."
The number of shelter units for families funded by the state Department of Transitional
Assistance has also grown from 728 to 968 in the last two years.
Even with the increase, there isn't adequate space to shelter all eligible families
without homes, said Mary Doyle, executive director of Homes for Families, a state-wide,
nonprofit advocacy group.
At some point during the year, more than 20,000 children in the state will be homeless.
Trying to blend each mother's parenting styles and family rules with the rules at the
shelter is difficult, causes stress, strains relationships and can be confusing to the
children, according to local experts.
At the Conway House, each mother is responsible for buying her own food and preparing
her family's meals. There's no set schedule; it's first come, first served.
The mothers are also required to attend weekly Strategies for Success classes taught by
a certified teacher through MainSpring Coalition for the Homeless.
In addition to basic educational skills, the leader teaches life skills, such as
writing business letters and filling out paperwork involved in searching for an apartment.
There's also weekly Women's Issues meetings conducted by a certified therapist, where
the mothers discuss everything from stress management to child rearing.
"They talk about all the things that impinge on a woman, who is raising her
children alone," Perry said. "Sometimes it's a relief to find out that other
mothers feel the same way you do. That can be a big stress reliever."
Once a week, an educator from the Plymouth County Extension Service conducts a class on
nutrition, including cooking, healthy diets, shopping strategies and tips on getting kids
to try new foods.
The women are also required to spend one hour a day, four days a week searching for an
Vincent has just qualified for Section 8 housing subsidy, said Perry, who calls Vincent
an energetic go-getter. Clients on Section 8 never pay more than 40 percent of their
income for rent and the government pays the difference within certain guidelines.
"There's a shortage of affordable housing, and even with a Section 8 it's
difficult," said Perry.
Although Vincent isn't looking forward to Christmas, she's trying to make the best of
it for her children. She's been reading "The Night Before Christmas" to her two
little boys and they've watched "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" on TV.
Vincent says she has instilled in them the same values her mother instilled in her that
money and possessions are not what's important in life.
"That's the best thing she ever gave me," she said.
Sunday, December 9, 2001
Out of wedlock births slowly on the rise
A story released today by Cox News Service reports that according to the National
Center for Health Statistics, births to unwed women nationwide have increased, especially
in poor, rural areas.
In 1998, 33 percent of all births were to unwed mothers, up from 28 percent of all live
births in the United States in 1990, according to the center.
With teenage pregnancy slowing, the numbers suggest a growing acceptance of
out-of-wedlock pregnancy among adults.
The federal government reported this summer that the teen pregnancy rate hit an
all-time low in 1997, the last year for which data were available.
The numbers are alarming, says University of Georgia demographer Douglas C. Bachtel,
because they indicate a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break.
"When you have a high rate of births to unwed mothers in these poor areas, you are
likely relegating these mothers and children to poverty," said Bachtel, who is
working with the Black Belt Initiative, an effort to create a program to address rural
poverty in the Southeast.
Children in many of the single-mother families, he said, have trouble in school and
experience other social problems.
Decades ago, scarlet-letter stigmatization or shotgun weddings were common for single
women who became pregnant. Now, having a child before marriage is seen as a lifestyle
choice in many circles.
"Clearly there is much less stigma attached," said Isabel Sawhill, a senior
fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Still, Sawhill said, problems with births outside wedlock remain.
In the Southeast, two of the poorest states - Mississippi and Louisiana - have the
highest rates of out-of-wedlock births in the country.
In Georgia, impoverished counties such as Hancock, Stewart, Warren and Taliaferro top
Georgia's Terrell County has a population of 10,970 and a per capita income of $23,292.
It also had the fifth-highest out-of-wedlock birth rate in the state in 1999.
Because of the limited job options and a "lack of morals," many young women
in Terrell don't consider career and marriage as options for themselves, said Charlotte
Law, nurse-manager of the Terrell County Health Department, about 30 miles northwest of
"When I came along, if you got pregnant you got married," Law said. "But
these girls don't even think about marriage."
Wisconsins Fox Valley area teeming with single people
A story published today by the Northwestern reports that recent census figures
show that Wisconsins Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah area of the Fox Valley has about 56,000
single men. By contrast, the same region has about 62,000 single women.
The net combination means there are almost 120,000 single people in the Valley. The
Census 2000 figures define a single person as someone 15 years or older who is in an
Of those thousands of singles, almost 73,000 have never married. Roughly 19,500 men and
women are widowers or widows. About 26,500 have divorced and werent married during
Although the figures dont account for those who are minors and those who are
adults, they illustrate that in the face of singles looking for friendship, a date or
companionship, there are a lot of singles out there.
At The Bar, Ric Thompson is eating and drinking with friends at one of
Oshkoshs largest singles bars.
At 23 years old, he is a former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student who likes his
work as a carpenter and part-time bartender at The Bar.
Tonight he is a customer, laughing and talking with friends at a table over chicken
baskets and fries. Back-ground music melds with people talking. He agrees to talk about
his experiences of trying to find the "right one" and settle down. Some of his
female friends tease him about being interviewed.
"I think girls have this perception that guys are out to play them and
theres not a whole lot of places to meet people," said Thompson. Although he
has optimism about dating prospects in Oshkosh, he also understands how the city can be
rough, "being single in Oshkosh, its definitely difficult."
However, bars arent the only places singles meet. A non-denominational group that
involves more than 125 men and women held a dance on a recent Friday night at St. Raphael
"I think a lot of singles are trying to get away from the bars. People want
something to do," said Jeff LaPoint, a 49-year Oshkosh divorcee on the dance floor.
Friday, December 7, 2001
Connecticut governor addresses the issue of children and divorce in his state
A story published today by the Republican-American reports that Connecticut
Governor John G. Rowland has created a commission that will study how the state can best
respond to the needs of children who have been affected by their parents divorce. A recent
study shows that divorce affects two out of every five children in Connecticut.
"Divorce is one of the most emotionally traumatic events in the life of a
family," Rowland said. "It's important that we take steps to make sure the
special needs of children are addressed as a family goes through a divorce. Anytime we can
make government more responsive and caring we are taking steps in the right
Appellate Court Judge Anne Dranginis of Litchfield, a respected jurist known for her
devotion to the welfare of children, will be co-chairwoman of the 20-member commission.
Thomas Foley of Greenwich, who heads an organization called In the Best Interest of the
Child, will be co-chairman.
The commission will also include judges, lawyers, family service workers, child
psychologists, psychiatrists and parents. Members have a year to develop a set of
recommended changes to laws and procedures that impact the children of divorced parents.
Turn singles night into a cooking
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that in Philadelphia, a new turn
in an old term for singles night out would hopefully provide the right recipe for
love, a cooking class that is dedicated to single people.
Fresh Fields store marketing expert, Shari Stern, started the class because
looking for love among organic vegetables seemed awkward, she said. The cooking class is
held in an upstairs kitchen and provides a diversion that includes a well-known chef and a
"The attention is on an activity, so theres not as much pressure to recite
information about yourself," Stern said."It seems to come out more
Stern said some of the chains stores in the Washington, D.C., area have
inquired about the idea and might try it. There are nearly 130 Fresh Fields stores
The class, which had 15 students Wednesday night, draws chefs from restaurants in the
Philadelphia region who give instructions while they cook. The class is held in two
sessions per month, one for those younger than 35 and another for those older.
Some in the class of under 35-year-olds Wednesday said they had difficulty dating
because of their priorities, such as work or school, while others said they had strict
requirements for a partner that were often hard to fulfill.
Some of the students in the class said they had tried other methods for finding a
match, including a beer-tasting singles night at a bar in Philadelphia and singles night
at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
"It was easier for people to communicate with each other than it was when people
were just walking around shopping," said 28 year old information technology
specialist Adam Gross of the singles cooking class, which started this fall.
The singles cooking class was the second for Gross, the techie who said he doesnt
drink or smoke, and therefore rarely goes to bars or clubs to meet women.
Gross said, the class was just a way to get out and meet new people. After the last
class, he said, he and other attendees got together for sushi.