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Jason LaForest, right, presides over a City Council meeting in July. The two-term councilor has tendered his resignation as of Monday.

North Adams Council President LaForest Resigns

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Jason LaForest, president of the City Council, has resigned Monday effective immediately. 
 
With LaForest, fully one-third of the council elected in 2019 has resigned before completing their term. He has not attended the last two council meetings or last week's public hearing.
 
The licensed practical nurse posted on Facebook Monday morning that his decision was made after "careful consideration of my personal and professional obligations in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."
 
He also wrote it was influenced by "shameful dirty back-door politics that has marked this council; and the absurd grand-standing and conspiracy theories of other councilors and candidates."
 
LaForest made no specific allegations against his fellow councilors but there have been obvious tensions and disagreements among them most often played out in comments and deliberations during council meetings. LaForest has often found himself on the losing end of 7-2 votes and had strongly implied his questioning of the mayor had lost him the presidency at the beginning of 2020.
 
LaForest was elected to vice president in January 2020 at the beginning of his second term and elevated to president on the resignation of Paul Hopkins in May. Robert Moulton Jr. resigned in 2020 after making comments about the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter on his public access television show. 
 
LaForest was a frequent critic of the way the budget was presented, pointing out that the administration had failed repeatedly to provide a capital plan in a timely manner. He also had championed in the last year the need for a division to ensure the fire hydrants were working and to find a solution to the obsolete public safety building. 
 
"Sadly there is no room for debate, dissent or advocacy for the people who have built our city over multiple generations," the councilor wrote in his Facebook post.
 
The councilor had briefly mounted a campaign for mayor after Mayor Thomas Bernard said he would not stand for re-election but that effort dissolved after allegations of inappropriate behavior arose over a Facebook posting. LaForest publicly apologized for the post.
 
He did not take out papers to run for mayor and did not return nomination papers for council. His post, in full above, asks voters to "vote wisely this November."
 
Vice President Lisa Blackmer said her recommendation to the council will be follow the same procedure used when the late Clark Billings resigned in August 2009 by immediately seating the highest non-incumbent vote-getter after the November election. In that case, it was David Bond, who had received the second-highest number of votes for City Council. 
 
The council can decide whether to do that or follow a different path.

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Are your loved ones prepared to be caregivers?

Submitted by Edward Jones
Once you're retired and your children are grown, they are likely "off the books," as far as your financial responsibility for them is concerned. Yet, you're probably still prepared to do anything to help them – but are they ready to take care of you if the need arises?
 
Consider this: Almost half of retirees say that the ideal role in retirement is providing support to family and other loved ones, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave study titled Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes – and a slightly earlier version of the same study found that 72 percent of retirees say one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their family members.
 
So, if you are recently retired or plan to retire in the next few years, you may need to reconcile your desire to help your adult children or other close relatives with your concern that you could become dependent on them. You'll need to consider whether your loved ones can handle caregiving responsibilities, which frequently include financial assistance. If they did have to provide some caregiving services for you, could they afford it? About 80 percent of caregivers now pay for some caregiving costs out of their own pockets – and one in five caregivers experience significant financial strain because of caregiving, according to a recent AARP report.
 
One way to help your family members is to protect yourself from the enormous expense of long-term care. The average cost for a private room in a nursing home is now over $100,000 a year, according to the insurance company Genworth. Medicare won't pay much, if any, of these costs, so you may want to consult with a financial advisor, who can suggest possible ways of addressing long-term care expenses.
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