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Pandemic led to surge in multigenerational homes

Grandparents served as a safety net for grandkids when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with unexpected numbers of elders moving in or opening homes to an additional 460,000 U.S. children, said a Washington State University researcher.

A study found such multigenerational households comprised a majority in a 2020 surge of nearly 510,000 children in all pandemic-era “doubled-up” residences. That meant kids and at least one parent lived with another adult – grandparent, aunt, cousin or roommate. The study didn’t count a parent’s partner or an adult sibling.

Mariana Amorim.

Mariana Amorim, a WSU sociology assistant professor and lead author, said mainly grandparents provided a safety net for families, particularly for six months beginning in spring 2020, when schools and other systems closed.

However, the spike in such living arrangements from 2019 to 2020 was temporary and returned to expected levels in 2021. The research compared such yearly co-residency patterns by using survey data collected by the U.S. Census.

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The Spokesman-Review
The Chronicle



Where Donald Trump Meets Bernie Sanders

A Democratic Senator Defends ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’

A hit country artist offended progressives who couldn’t recognize his song as a primal cry of pain.

The future of progressive politics in America just might revolve around whether someone like Chris Murphy, a U.S. senator from a prosperous New England state, can find common ground culturally and politically with a man like Oliver Anthony. Earlier this month, Anthony, a young country singer, dropped his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” into the nation’s political-cultural stew pot. A red-bearded high-school dropout, former factory hand, and virtual unknown, he strummed a guitar in the Virginia woods and sang with an urgent twang about the despair of working-class life:

Murphy, who is the clean-cut son of a corporate lawyer and has what appear to be national ambitions, makes an unlikely populist. But he seems intent on listening. Earlier this month, he headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains city of Boone, North Carolina, where 37 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. “It’s one of the poorest regions in America and offers a different conversation than in suburban America,” he said. “That trip reinforced to me that we should not obsess on what divides us.”

Jennifer Sherman.

Deaths of despair—that is, from suicide, drug overdoses, and alcoholism—are rising at a frightful pace. Overdose deaths in the United States topped 106,000 in 2021. By comparison, the European Union, which has 100 million more people, recorded about 6,200 overdose deaths that year. Such deaths tend to break along economic and educational lines.

Jennifer Sherman, a Washington State University professor who is president of the Rural Sociological Society, has spent decades among working-class and poor people in the mountains and plains of the West. She has observed a pervasive sense of loss. Workers drop out or end up in service jobs, she told me, and fight losing struggles with the wealthy over zoning and for control of land, forests, and water. “If the Democrats want to figure out how to be relevant, they have to move beyond ‘Trust us, we care,’” Sherman said.

The Republicans are aware of these shifting class tectonics. “I have a very smart conservative friend who describes the next five years as a race,” Murphy said, “to see whether the right can become more economically progressive before the left becomes a bigger tent.”

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The Atlantic

Tri-Cities to name street after Hanford cleanup advocate, community philanthropist

The Tri-Cities remembered one of its strongest champions of economic development and most generous donors to community causes, Bob Ferguson, on Thursday, July 6. Ferguson was the first chairman of the Tri-City Development Council, then called “the Tri-Cities Nuclear Industrial Council,” and was a champion for nuclear power, Hanford nuclear reservation site cleanup and economic development in the Tri-Cities.

A year before his death he donated $500,000 to Washington State University Tri-Cities to endow a faculty position in energy and environment as the first step toward launching WSU Tri-Cities Institute for Northwest Energy Futures. It is envisioned by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to become a center recognized globally for its innovation in developing clean energy sources and technology.

Ferguson said when he made the donation that he’d like to see a graduate degree offered for students studying the complex economic, political, technical and social issues of global climate change.

Previously the Ferguson family donated $100,000 to start the William R. Wiley Scholarship for WSU Tri-Cities students. The scholarship honored Ferguson’s friend Wiley, a former Pacific Northwest National Laboratory director, and is helping minority students studying science, technology, engineering, math or nursing in the Tri-Cities.

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 Tri-City Herald

More Kids Vape Weed in States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal

It’s not clear why, but youths in U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal report more vaping of cannabis than their peers in states where weed is legal for all adults or it is completely illegal.

New research found that about 27% of 12th graders in medical marijuana states reported vaping cannabis compared to 19% in states that bar the drug or allow it for adult use.

Christian Maynard.

“More than a quarter of our youth in medical states were vaping cannabis. That’s a lot,” said first author Christian Maynard, a doctoral student in sociology at Washington State University.

“We were expecting medical and adult use states would be more similar. Instead, we didn’t find any statistical difference between prohibited and adult use states,” he said in a university news release.

Jennifer Schwartz.

For the study, Maynard and his university adviser, sociologist Jennifer Schwartz, analyzed responses from 3,770 high school seniors in the 2020 Monitoring the Future survey. It has surveyed U.S. youth since 1975.

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Globe Gazette
UC San Diego Health
WSU Insider

How 2 Oregon brothers’ efforts to mitigate food waste created the beloved tater tot

When brothers Golden and Francis Nephi “Neef” Grigg began renting a frozen foods plant in the tiny Idaho border town of Ontario, Oregon, in 1949, they were hoping to expand their existing frozen corn business to include potatoes. Little did they know they’d taken the first step toward creating Oregon’s prodigal spud: the tater tot.

A few years after the Griggs converted the flash-freezing plant to a potato-processing facility, the building’s owners went under. The Grigg brothers bought the building they’d been renting out of foreclosure, and in 1952 the company known as Ore-Ida was born.

By 1955, Ore-Ida had already been advertising its frozen diced potatoes and shredded potato patties in earnest, so by the time the tater tot was released a year later, the product was well-positioned to be embraced by American households. Released into grocery stores in 1956, tater tots captured the zeitgeist of midcentury America.

They were easy. Picky kids loved them.

Even in the Mormon community whence the Griggs came, tater tots couldn’t have come at a better time.

Armand Mauss.

According to Washington State University professor emeritus of sociology Armand Mauss, the 1950s saw Mormons pulling away from the wholesome, from-scratch farm fare. They were adopting a more American mainstream cuisine, combining processed, ready-to-eat foods, turning Jell-O and canned fruit cocktails into “salads” or cream-of-whatever soup and frozen potatoes into casseroles.

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FOX 12