5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester — Thursday, Jan. 16

5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester — Thursday, Jan. 16

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition — Thursday, Jan. 16 —  Massachusetts ranks pretty bad for smoker costs, Veterans, Inc. manager is moving to MetroWest organization, a report shows that we’re partial to being buried with our pets remains when we die, Worcester event to help seniors plan for “the next chapter” and an “Outbound” screening with its director is next up for the Worcester PopUps. 

Smoking Costs the Average Massachusetts Smoker $2.3 Million Over a Lifetime

It costs society more than $300 billion per year, and it’s going up, according to research by the personal finance website WalletHub. Based on that, WalletHub yesterday released a startling report on The Real Cost of Smoking by State.

Kick the habit, experts repeat. It’s estimated that 34.2 million people in the United States still smoke tobacco. WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses—including the lifetime and annual costs of a pack per day, health care costs, income losses and other costs—brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Here’s how the numbers shook out for Massachusetts, with 1 being the “best” or “lowest” in rankings, and 51 being the “worst.” 

  • Out-of-Pocket Cost per Smoker – $180,193 (Rank: 48)
  • Financial-Opportunity Cost per Smoker – $1,579,717 (Rank: 48)
  • Health-Care Cost per Smoker – $274,790 (Rank: 50)
  • Income Loss per Smoker – $325,727 (Rank: 47)
  • Other Costs per Smoker – $15,792 (Rank: 47)
  • Total Cost Over Lifetime per Smoker: $2,376,219
  • Total Cost per Year per Smoker: $46,593


Source: WalletHub


Morbid Methodology: A (Slight) Majority of People Prefer Cremation 

Preferences have changed over the years in the way humans prefer to be, er, handled once we check out of this planet. Many of us lay out our wishes before we die, after which we choose anything from the traditional burial in a casket to being cremated to being cryonically preserved. Or launched into space. Yes, that’s another option, too. 

Researchers at Choice Mutual, an independent final expense life insurance agency, surveyed 1,500 Americans about their burial choices—and “they’re not what you think,” according to the company. Choice put their findings in a detailed report that it just released, the report including how people plan on being buried. 

Here are a few interesting data points from the report:

  • 20 percent of respondents want to be buried with the remains of a pet or loved one
  • 1 in 10 Americans who plan to be cremated want to be planted as a tree
  • 30 percent of respondents would choose a different method of body disposal if they weren’t worried about family tradition, religious beliefs, or finances
  • 62 percent of millennials want to be buried with photos of loved ones, compared to only 40 percent of respondents ages 45+


Worcester Event Targets Helping Seniors to Plan for “Life’s Next Chapter” 

Benchmark Senior Living, a human connection company and provider of senior living services, just announced that Tatnuck Park is hosting a panel event on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 4:30–6:30 p.m. “Let’s Talk: Planning for LIFE’s Next Chapter” features experts with decades of experience helping local seniors and their families address the healthcare, financial, legal, social and other important considerations that aging brings.

A panel of experts tackle the difficult topics, including how to know which option is the right one, little-known financial solutions, the importance of engagement and much more. A Q&A follows the presentation. Speakers include Laura Silver Traiger, a senior associate at the law firm of Starr Vander Linden; Patty Servaes, founder of Elder Resource Benefits Consulting; Maggi Chase, a top real estate agent at Common Moves and a representative for Elderlife Financial Services; Amy Richter, associate professor of history at Clark University; and Jennifer LaCroix, CDAL, CDP, executive director of Tatnuck Park. 

“Taking any next step in one’s life is a big deal, but especially the decisions we make after we retire,” says Jennifer LaCroix, executive director of Tatnuck Park. “We plan for years before we have children, go to college or embark on a career but we find that people very rarely put as much thought and research into the decision over what to do when themselves or a loved one needs additional support. This is a big decision and we want to help people make the right one.”

Tatnuck Park is located at 340 May St., in Worcester. The event is complimentary and cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert are served. To RSVP or for more information, call 855.240.8550.

Veterans, Inc. Government Affairs Manager Moves to MetroWest Partnership That Addresses Regional Needs 

Formed in 2003, the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership is a dedicated public-private association that was created to “address all the sectors of need in the region, and act as an advocacy organization focused on economic development, transportation, and water supply issues that proliferate the 495/MetroWest Corridor.”

The partnership now has a new executive director in Jason Palitsch, who signed on to the position at the end of December and officially starts on Jan. 21. You likely already know his name. Palitsch was most recently the government affairs manager at Veterans Inc, and is a Shrewsbury resident who is an extremely active member on the Shrewsbury School Committee and in local government. 

“Jason brings not only his terrific experience which is varied, but also, enthusiasm, innovation and excitement for being named the new executive director of this outstanding organization,” wrote Kristen D. Las, AICP, public sector co-chair. “It is hard to believe we set out on this task many months ago. However, we feel that Jason is the right choice to lead the partnership in the new decade.”

Palitsch replaces Paul Matthews, who has reportedly moved on as executive director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau.


Worcester PopUp Hosts Screening of “Outbound” 

As you may know, the Worcester PopUp hosts a wide range of creative and community events including classes, gallery openings, performances, readings, workshops, film screenings and more. 

Next up on its agenda is a film screening of “Outbound” with its director Colin Langford on Jan. 17 at 6 PM at 20 Franklin St. in Worcester.  This crime drama delves into the darker sides of coming of age, offering perspectives and commentary on purpose, fate, love, business, and topics in the shadows of our minds.

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