Rona Barrett: Caring For Our Roots

Rona Barrett: Caring For Our Roots

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By Rona Barrett | Published on 07.29.2015 2:08 p.m.

Any idea what the two most popular pastimes are in America today? I’ll give you the runner-up now and the most popular later.

The second most popular American pastime is genealogy. Although, “pastime” is really a misnomer because tracing our family’s histories is closing in on becoming a two billion dollar a year industry.

The nationwide genealogy craze started, perhaps, with the Mormon Church opening branch genealogical libraries.

Then came Alex Haley’s “Roots” in the ’70s. Then it all moved online.

Then came the television shows, including Oprah’s publicized personal search, advances in DNA, and the advent of over-the-counter genetic test kits.

For many years, I had been aware of it, but I preferred living in the fast lane, not the past lane.

But I’ve come to the realization that as we age, genealogy and DNA gives us benefits previous generations did not have—an opportunity for closure and, perhaps, reconciliation—finding answers and roots. This marvelous tool fills in gaps in our personal histories, helps us to search out long, lost relatives and to discover new ones.

Beyond personal interest or fulfillment, DNA as a search tool can bring about more serious, life-changing forms of closure and reconciliation: solving decades old forensic cases, one separated twin finding another, adoptees reaching out to their birth parents, those with a life-or-death race against the clock to find their family’s medical histories, and individuals who want the real facts about their ethnic mix.

As you may know, I am awaiting the results from my genetic testing done at UCLA to learn more about whether I was diagnosed properly as having an arrested case of muscular dystrophy, which may be coming out of remission, or that I have something else.

So, this new accessibility of DNA testing may be of personal benefit to me. I may find a true answer after all these years as to the condition with which I was born. This has now made me curious about my own family and background.

Since I’ve already provided the first spit for my DNA, I’m now ready to find out perhaps some more surprises about my ethnic mix, and distant relatives along with around $100. In 6-8 weeks I hopefully will get some questions answered about gaps (not saps) in my family tree.

I’m going with Ancestry.com. It’s one of the many helpful self-starting, self-guiding sites that is the largest with approximately 12.7 billion records, more than two million paying subscribers, 191 million uploaded photos and more than 16 million uploaded stories.

I can even contact a “Search Angel,” who will help me search public records, conduct name searches, connect to relatives, and more—without charge.

In subsequent columns, I’ll let you know what I found out from both UCLA and Ancestry.com.

So, now that you know more about number two, did you guess America’s number one pastime in America? Gardening!

Isn’t it amazing that our top two favorite pastimes in America are about caring for our roots?

Until next time…keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at[email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

http://www.noozhawk.com/homes_lifestyle/article/rona_barrett_caring_for_our_roots

Rona Barrett: Seniors the ‘Perfect Victims’ for Scam Artists

Rona Barrett: Seniors the ‘Perfect Victims’ for Scam Artists

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By Rona Barrett | Published on 07.14.2015 11:00 a.m.

“So, how much should I write my check for?” I heard my aging father whisper.

“What check?!” I said as I grabbed the phone and heard the other end quickly hang up.

It turned out it was a lottery scam. If my dad sent them a check for $150 he would get back $1 million.

Now, years later, the same scenario: I swear my friend was a pharmacist in another life. In her late 80s, she is so smitten with ordering vitamins that her home looks like the inside of a local drugstore! Thankfully, after my constant harping to her about not being a vitamin scam victim, she has finally learned to not B-1 and hang up on scam artists.

You probably know of a senior with a scam horror story. In California, one in five seniors fall victim to scams. That’s because seniors are the “perfect victims,” as one professional con artist revealed in the book Outsmarting the Scam Artists.

“[Seniors] are easier to scam because their emotional needs are closer to the surface,” the con artist wrote. “They aren’t afraid to tell people [anything and everything]. They aren’t afraid to share their fears … These fears are real. And every one of them is a bullet for my gun.”

To combat the ever-increasing number of senior scams, the Contractors State License Board recently conducted 14 stings.

Among the 105 arrested in 14 cities up and down our state: 101 may face charges for contracting without a license; 92 may be charged with illegal advertising; 10 others may be charged with requesting an excessive down payment; seven failed to carry required insurance; three were using another contractor’s license number; and 12 had felonious criminal records!

The CSLB is inviting us to one of its popular “Senior Scam Stopper” seminars. The soonest and closest to us is being supported by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson in Camarillo on Thursday, Aug. 6. Contact her office at 916.651.4019 for further information. And/or contact the Contractors State License Board by clicking here for its valuable guidelines.

But please, don’t sign anything until you and someone else you trust understand the terms — someone who will prevent you from making a decision when you are, as the con artist calls it, “under the ether” — when your emotions are stirred up, you’re pressured and can’t think straight.

You may be saying to yourself, “I’m not stupid. This will never happen to me.”

“I didn’t want to talk to stupid people,” the professional con artist wrote. “Stupid people don’t have $50,000 lying around to give me. You would be amazed at how many doctors, lawyers, engineers and college professors I ripped off. The bottom line is, fraud is a crime that can happen to anyone, given the right con man and a victim with the right set of circumstances.”

I wish this advice had been around when my dad was still alive. After two years of arguing and more than $1,000 lost to scam artists, he finally said to me, “You win! I won’t ever answer the phone if you’re not here.” He then handed me his checkbook.

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

 

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at[email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

 

http://www.noozhawk.com/homes_lifestyle/article/rona_barrett_seniors_perfect_victims_scams

 

Rona Barrett Foundation Launches Naming Campaign to Raise Funds for Golden Inn & Village Project

Rona Barrett Foundation Launches Naming Campaign to Raise Funds for Golden Inn & Village Project

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Rona Barrett Foundation Launches Naming Campaign to Raise Funds for Golden Inn & Village Project

By Lauren Gunther for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 07.12.2015 3:59 p.m.

The Rona Barrett Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services for seniors in need, is rolling out its new naming opportunities campaign to raise critical funds for its affordable senior housing project, the Golden Inn & Village.

The GIV is the Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing project and is currently under construction; however, funding needs still remain to cover the costs of interior and exterior design, spaces, furnishings and hardscape.

After securing funds to meet the low-income housing tax credits program threshold for construction on the GIV, the Rona Barrett Foundation is now seeking help from the community to transform the Golden Inn & Village into a true home for seniors with its “Golden Stars” campaign.

The Golden Stars campaign provides donors with a series of naming opportunities at various sponsorship levels ranging from $100 Donor Wall tiles to a $75,000 Computer Room. Each sponsorship level, whether it is $1,000 Outdoor Bench or a $50,000 Beauty and Barber Shoppe, provides donors with the opportunity to “name a space” within the Golden Inn & Village and remind seniors in need that they are not forgotten in their golden years.

“I’m excited for this campaign as so many in our community and beyond have expressed an interest to become involved,” said Rona Barrett, CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation. “Through this campaign not only will sponsors be involved but their name will become a permanent fixture of the Golden Inn & Village.”

By becoming a Golden Stars sponsor for a venue within the Golden Inn & Village, donors will be forever remembered for their support in an enduring way. Golden Stars sponsors may choose to memorialize a parent or grand-parent or make a tribute gift in honor of a family member, friend, cause, organization or their business. Golden Stars will be commemorated with a beautiful plaque or tile placed within the Golden Inn & Village and their contributions will help turn a house into a home for the area’s most vulnerable seniors.

The Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization, seeks to provide a solution to affordable housing and supportive services for seniors in need with the development of the Golden Inn & Village, where seniors may access a variety of care that meets their needs as they age in place.

To become a Golden Star sponsor or to learn more about the Golden Inn & Village, please visit the Rona Barrett Foundation website by clicking here.

 

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/rona_barrett_foundation_launches_naming_campaign

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