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Is Connecticut one of the next Blue Zones? | Moffly Media

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Is Connecticut one of the next Blue Zones? | Moffly Media


If drinking an elixir of bone broth, dehydrated pig blood, and celery juice while cold plunging in 39-degree spring and sea water could potentially extend your life, would you try it?

Chances are, you would, because the pursuit of longevity has become mainstream, with the global market expected to reach $183 billion by 2028.

But what if it was as easy as, say, living in Connecticut?

That’s what NowPatient’s newest index—inspired by the 2023 Netflix series “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”—suggests, as
it aims to predict the next ten states to become Blue Zones.

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Blue Zones are where some of the world’s oldest people live, characterized by lower chronic disease and significantly longer life expectancies. Currently, there are five Blue Zones globally, located in Italy, Greece, Japan, Costa Rica and Loma Linda, California.

According to the index, Connecticut is the eighth most likely state to become the next Blue Zone. So we asked an expert for his take.

“We have to remember that Blue Zones are something researchers have been looking at for years, but the man who popularized it wasn’t a researcher, but a journalist,” says Andrew Garritson, vice president of education at the Nutritional Coaching Institute and founder of Argentum, a quality information control organization.

“By nature, his job is to capture attention. So when we see one of the Power 9 criteria for a Blue Zone being ‘Wine at 5’, we should be skeptical,” he says.

Research is pretty well established around alcohol consumption being associated with all-cause mortality, he adds, so to claim that ‘moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers’ is misleading.

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“It’s correlation, not causation,” he says. “That said, everything is a trade-off. Moderate alcohol consumption can be the mechanism indicating that a community is more socially fulfilled—and social fulfillment and belonging has been shown to increase longevity.”

“So the physical trade-off of alcohol consumption can be offset by the social benefits that come from the environment it’s consumed in,” says Garritson.

In the new index citing Connecticut as a promising Blue Zone candidate, researchers looked at mental health, diet, exercise, religion, plant-based diets, sleep and life expectancy.

When asked for his take, Garritson largely agreed with the criteria observed to increase longevity. “It’s not necessarily about religion … per se,” says Garritson. “Religion might be the mechanism that shows you’re plugged into a social community.”

He adds that recent research showed that there was decreased all-cause mortality with a plant-based diet, but notes that people who follow plant-based diets can be at higher risk of nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to sickness.

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“The key is to eat complete sources of protein in a plant-based diet, which requires a more mindful food selection,” he says.

So, does Connecticut have a shot at becoming the next Blue Zone? Yes, but the criteria for getting there might need a bit of a deeper dive.

WHEN IT COMES TO DIRECT, NO-NONSENSE, SCIENCE-BASED FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO LONGER, HEALTHIER LIVES, ANDREW GARRITSON DRILLS IT DOWN TO THESE FIVE HABITS:

    • Having a strong sense of purpose
    • Strength training 3 to 5 times per week
    • Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep
    • Drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day
    • Managing obesity

Image: Julija – stock.adobe.com


Andrew Garritson has helped more than 2,000 people lose 40,000+ pounds of fat, gain 4,600+ pounds of lean body mass, and eliminate 100+ medications You can connect with him on LinkedIn.



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Connecticut

Connecticut Senate Passes AI Bias Bill Despite Tech Lobbying

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Connecticut Senate Passes AI Bias Bill Despite Tech Lobbying


Connecticut is closer to becoming the first state to make private companies consider the risks of the artificial intelligence products they sell to customers.

Legislation that would place guardrails on the emerging technology (SB 2) passed the state Senate on Wednesday. The bill heads to the state House of Representatives as legislators attempt to clear the measure before the May 8 end of the session.

The sweeping bill targets algorithmic bias when the technology enables discrimination including in housing and social services. It also aims to restrict AI-made deepfakes and the technology’s impact on the state’s labor pool. …



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Connecticut

Man accused of using Uber to bring girls from CT group home faces decades in prison for sex crimes

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Man accused of using Uber to bring girls from CT group home faces decades in prison for sex crimes


A 28-year old man has been accused of hiring a ride share service to pick up teenage girls living at a state-run group home in West Hartford and deliver them to hotels and shopping malls in Connecticut and New York where he filmed himself sexually abusing them.

Nicolas “Breezy” Brown, who is believed to live in New York City, faces decades in prison after being indicted this week on two child pornography charges by a federal grand jury in New Haven.

The FBI learned in mid-March from the state Department of Children and Families, the group home operator, that someone calling himself Breezy was hiring Uber drivers to pick up girls and deliver them “to different hotels throughout the state,” according to an FBI affidavit. Two of the girls, aged 15 and 16, are minors and one recently turned 18.

Fast rise in AI nudes of teens has unprepared schools, legal system scrambling for solutions

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Subsequent investigation developed evidence that Brown had been arranging, since March 5, to have the girls delivered to hotels and shopping malls where he filmed himself abusing them, according to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

At one point early in March, the 15- and 16-year old girls stayed with Brown at Travelodge in South Hackensack, N.J. for four days. He had promised them a short term home rental in Manhattan, but diverted to New Jersey when that didn’t work out, according to the affidavit

The first interaction with the minor girls apparently took place at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford, where they remained with Brown for seven hours before West Hartford police interceded. The police learned the girls were at the hotel after questioning the Uber driver, but Brown escaped after the 18-year-old girl spotted police in the hotel lobby and tipped him off, according to the affidavit.

Brown is accused of abusing and filming girls at shopping malls or hotels on four more occasions before he was apprehended on March 20 by the FBI and police, who were tipped off by Uber that he was at a Quality Inn in Danbury waiting for girls to be dropped off. Brown tried but failed to escape by jumping out a second floor window, according to the affidavit.

Three spokesmen for the Department of Children and Families were not immediately available to discuss the case. Brown has been denied bail and is in custody.

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He is charged with production of child pornography, an offense that, if convicted, carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, and with possessing and accessing with intent to view child pornography, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.



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New Jersey is pushing local telecommuters who work for New York companies to appeal their Empire State tax bills

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New Jersey is pushing local telecommuters who work for New York companies to appeal their Empire State tax bills


Telecommuting, a pandemic-era novelty that has become a permanent alternative for many people, has some Connecticut and New Jersey employees of New York-based companies questioning why they still have to pay personal income tax to the Empire State.

Their home states are wondering as well.

Fed up with losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, New Jersey is now offering a state tax credit to residents who work from home and successfully appeal their New York tax assessment. Connecticut is considering a similar measure.

The Garden State’s bounty — a rebate worth roughly half a person’s refund of income taxes they paid to New York for the 2020-2023 period — has been claimed so far by one winning litigant since the state made the offer in July, according to the state’s Division of Taxation. That taxpayer received a $7,797.02 refund for their efforts. Officials hope that person’s windfall will encourage others to follow suit.

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Another New Jersey resident who is taking up the state’s offer is Open Weaver Banks, a tax attorney who prefers working from home to braving an “awful” commute into the Big Apple. She’s also filed one of a growing number of similar challenges.

“The process of doing the refund and the appeal isn’t all that intimidating to me,” said Banks, a tax partner at Hodgson Russ LLP. “I’m on New Jersey’s team here. I would like to see more residents doing this. I think they have a really fair point.”

New York requires out-of-state commuters who work for New York-based companies to pay New York income taxes, even if they’ve stopped physically going in to the office most days a week, unless they can satisfy very strict requirements for what constitutes a bona fide home office.

A home office near a specialized track to test new cars, for example, might qualify if it couldn’t be replicated in New York. But a worker with specialized scientific equipment set up in their home that could be duplicated over the border would still have to pay, according to a memorandum from the New York State Department of Taxation.

When the nature of work was upended in 2020, New York should have “softened” these requirements, Banks said. “And they didn’t. They are just standing by and fighting the claims.”

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Both neighboring states have implemented “retaliatory” tax rules that affect New Yorkers who work remotely for Connecticut or New Jersey-based companies, but these workforces are far smaller and their overall tax payments don’t make up the difference.

Out-of-state taxpayers paid New York nearly $8.8 billion in 2021 in taxes, roughly 15% of the state’s total income tax revenues, according to the Citizens Budget Commission in New York. Of that, $4.3 billion came from New Jersey taxpayers and $1.5 billion from Connecticut taxpayers.

It’s unclear how much of that was earned at home. But out-of-state employees of New York-based companies who work remotely are increasingly appealing their tax bills, Amanda Hiller, the acting commissioner and general counsel for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, told state legislators recently.

Hiller acknowledged that New York’s decades-old policy, known as a “convenience of the employer rule,” has created a financial burden for New Jersey and Connecticut, which provide tax credits to their residents for the income taxes they’ve paid New York so they are not double-taxed.

New Jersey’s Division of Taxation said the state’s long-term goal is to have New York’s rule overturned entirely, something that will likely require a taxpayer’s legal challenge to succeed before the U.S. Supreme Court. That could be a tall order: New Hampshire tried to sue Massachusetts for temporarily collecting income tax from roughly 80,000 of its residents who worked from home during the pandemic, and the Supreme Court rejected the complaint without comment.

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Officials in New Jersey estimate it could reap as much as $1.2 billion annually if residents working from home for New York companies are taxed at home. Connecticut could recoup about $200 million, its officials say.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed an initiative similar to New Jersey’s that needs final legislative approval. It’s unclear, however, whether it can pass before the session ends May 8.

“We think it’s an unconstitutional overreach by the state of New York,” Jeffrey Beckham, secretary of Connecticut’s state budget office, said recently. “We think our residents should paying tax to us and they’d be paying at a lower rate.”

Indeed, the top marginal state income tax rate, as of Jan. 1, for individuals in New York is 10.90%. Connecticut’s top rate is 6.99% and New Jersey’s is 10.75%, according to the Tax Foundation.

“An awful lot of people are hurt by these laws,” said Edward Zelinsky, a Connecticut resident, tax law expert and professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law in New York City. “While New York and other states like to pretend that these are wealthy people, the people who are most hurt by this rule are often people of modest income, middle income, people who can’t afford lawyers.”

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Zelinksy has been trying, so far without success, to challenge New York’s tax rule for about 20 years, including a pending case over the income he earned working from home while his school was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A small number of states, including Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, have tax rules similar to New York’s. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a reciprocal income tax agreement.

Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, who is in the unique position of being the former New Jersey state treasurer and a former New York commissioner of taxation and finance, believes eventually the right litigant will “get it before the right court to challenge it.”

But former New Jersey state Sen. Steven Oroho, an accountant who commuted for nearly two decades into New York City and who pushed as a legislator to address the inequity, said he’s skeptical of New Jersey’s commitment to the effort, which puts the financial onus of a potentially lengthy and expensive legal challenge on the individual taxpayer.

“New York is very, very aggressive and unfortunately, in my view,” said Oroho, “New Jersey has been extremely passive.”

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