Have Enough Money for Retirement? Think Again Hal Miller: Inadequate parenting: Root of social and financial inequality
Issue 83 â€“ October-November 2019
For Active Adults in the Central New York Area
The New Chairwoman Melanie Littlejohn, a top National Grid executive, in lead role at CenterState CEO, CNYâ€™s largest economic development group
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Inside: Is love in the air or are you just being catfished?
Had a Stroke. Back on Stage.
Musician Todd Hobin KNOW THE SIGNS • CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
Central New York music legend Todd Hobin knew nothing about stroke — but he does now. That’s why he’s raising awareness about stroke risk factors and its signs and symptoms.
Fact: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Important to know: Stroke can happen to both men and women — at any age. Good news: Stroke is preventable by managing medical risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices. What to do: Time lost is brain lost. So it’s vital to know the signs of a stroke — F.A.S.T. Four words to live by: Call 911 and say, “Take me to Crouse.“ When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State tohave earned Comprehensive Stroke Center status, and with the region’s newest ER and hybrid ORs, Crouse offers the most advanced technology for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment
Read Todd’s story and learn more: crouse.org/toddhobin.
TIME TO CALL 911
October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
October / November 2019
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30 OUTDOORS Savvy Senior 6 12 MUSIC • Educator leads Salt City New Horizons • Fall fun with the grandchildren Gardening 8 Orchestra, which provides adults with 34 COVER Dining Out 10 the opportunity to take music lessons • Melanie Littlejohn now in lead role Aging 20 17 RETIREMENT at CenterState CEO, CNY’s largest • Have enough money for retirement? economic development group My Turn 22 Think again Golden Years 32 40 DOWNSIZING • Selling your large house? It may not be Consumers Corner 42 18 HOBBY • Carl Hoffner of Fayetteville spends as as easy as you think Life After 55 44 much as six hours a day caring for his 46 DRUGER’S ZOO bonsai trees LAST PAGE
George DeMass, 74, talks about the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum and the 75th anniversary of the arrival of Jewish refugees in Oswego 4
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24 DATING • Is love in the air — or are you just being catfished?
28 HEALTH • CBD is going mainstream. Should you try it?
• Donations — Almost all the mail delivered to my house consists of requests for donations. My name must be on a worldwide network of potential donors for all causes.
48 VISITS • Wandering around Wayne County: 10 things to do in the area
Do you have questions about Medicare? Are you: • Turning 65? • Currently enrolled in a Medicare Plan, but want to be sure it’s the right plan for you? • Retired or considering retirement and want to understand all of your health plan options? • Concerned about health coverage solutions for your spouse if you enroll in Medicare?
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savvy senior By Jim Miller
How to Find a Good Financial Planner
good place to start your search for a financial planner is by asking friends or relatives. If you don’t know anyone who can give you a referral, and you’re looking for broadbased financial advice, hire a certified financial planner, or CFP, who are considered the “gold standard” in the industry. CFPs must act as fiduciaries, putting their client’s best interest above their own. To get the CFP credential, they must have a college degree and be educated in a wide range of personal finance subjects, pass a rigorous certification exam, have three years professional experience, meet continuing-education requirements and abide by a code of ethics. CFPs are taught to look at the big picture view of your finances, talking you through your goals, as well as advising you on the details of your financial life. You’re also probably better off hiring a CFP that’s a fee-only planner, versus one who earns a commission by selling you financial products. Fee-only planners charge only for their services — for example you might pay $150 to $350 an hour for a financial tune-up, a flat fee per project or an asset-based fee. To find a fee-only planner in your area, use the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA. org), which carefully vets all members and offers an online directory. Or see the Garrett Planning Network (GarrettPlanningNetwork.com), a network of fee-only advisers. Or the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACplanners.org), a community of fee-only advisors that charge annual retainers. If your needs are more specific, some other financial professionals to consider are a registered investment adviser (RIA) who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commis-
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sion or a state securities regulator to manage investment portfolios; a chartered financial consultant (ChFC), who specialize in insurance and estate planning; and a certified public accountant (CPA), who can help with tax planning. Be leery of many other financial advising titles, designations and certifications that are out there like the certified financial consultant (CFC) or the wealth management specialist (WMS). Many of these require no more than a few courses at a seminar or online, which means they’re not worth much. How to Choose — After you find a few candidates, call them up and schedule an appointment to meet and interview them. Find out about their experience, expertise and the types of services they provide; if they’re a fiduciary; how they charge and how much; what is their investment philosophy; and how will they handle your ongoing questions or financial needs. Look for someone whose clients are in situations similar to yours and who’s available as often as you need them. It’s also wise to do a background check on your potential adviser. At LetsMakeaPlan.org, you can verify a planner’s certification as CFP (click on “Verify CFP Professional Status”). You’ll also see any information on the planner’s disciplinary history. To vet a registered investment adviser, go to Investor.gov where you can search an individual’s name and click on “Detailed Report” to see information on qualifications, employment history, disciplinary actions, criminal convictions and more. To check out a broker, visit BrokerCheck.finra.org where you can search an individual or firm’s name to get details like years of experience, licensing, exams passed and regulatory actions.
55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto
Associate Editor Lou Sorendo
Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach Christopher Malone, Margaret McCormick, Kimberly Blaker Laura McLoughlin, Maggie Moraldo
Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott Eva Briggs, M.D. .
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Office Manager Nancy Nitz
Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21 a year; $35 for two years © 2019 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.
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October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
gardening By Jim Sollecito
The Ballad of an Easy Rider
here was a time in my life that I rode motorcycles. Lots of them. For about 15 years. I had watched the movie “Easy Rider” and was hooked. The music, the roar of the bikes, the apparent freedom of the open road were all alluring. I felt like it was part of the fabric of American life. I drank in the fresh air — and sometimes a few bugs. It seemed to be my path as I started with motocross bikes and transitioned up the ladder. As a college student I lived in denim, rode a bike, never even owned a car until after I graduated. That did not impress the parents of some of the girls I dated. In fact, it was a negative most of the time. I rode in Italy, in California and a lot of states between our shining seas. My favorite was a black and gold British Triumph 650 Bonneville. A good friend and I rebuilt it, so it became a balanced fast-moving terrestrial rocket. All great except when it rained. Plus, it didn’t provide a clear route to legally paying the bills. Hard to balance shrubs or a few tools on the seat. You get the idea. In a profession based on pickups and larger-sized trucks my days of twowheel travel diminished. I needed the right transportation for my work and that was indisputable. So I transitioned into vehicles with four wheels and a dump box. I hung up my jacket and helmet permanently. My career took off. Life is all about choices and the growth that accompanies them. When I tell you we will do landscaping for a certain price by a certain date, I hold that to be a sacred bond. Despite bumps in the road, we still find a way to get it done. I hold accountable the people who work with me. And the world will hold them accountable as they move on. I find it troubling that many millennials seem so quick to quit their jobs, walk away with no notice, and no concern about the trail they leave
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behind. Many of my fellow small business owners, in fact each and every one I have personally interviewed, also observe this trend. The pervasive lack of work ethic is concerning. It’s a winding road to positive experience and it includes mistakes. We learn from them. Insight and perspective can be expensive but are necessary components to growth. A person might have to try out a few jobs before finding the right career match. The experiments might be challenging but are a vital part of the trip. So we complete the experiment, see it through to the end. And when it’s time for a job change, it’s important to communicate professionally and give
notice. If you are reading this article, chances are you have persevered through a long string of difficult events that life threw at you. You didn’t quit. You found a way through it. Keep setting that example. We are the road signs and street lights that show those that will inherit our earth how to keep on trucking. Because, really, through life is the only way to go. Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or email@example.com.
Sign at Sollecito Landscaping Nursery. Courtesy of Michael Davis.
Q&A Q: I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help? A: Deciding
when to retire is a personal choice and you should consider a number of factors, but we can certainly help. First, take a few minutes and open a My Social Security account at www. socialsecurity.gov/myaccount With a My Social Security account, you can access your Social Security Statement and estimate your retirement benefits at age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. Also, there are several online calculators that can help you decide when to retire. The retirement estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can use the retirement estimator if: • You currently have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits; and • You are not: – Currently receiving monthly benefits on your own Social Security record; – Age 62 or older and receiving monthly benefits on another Social Security record; or – Eligible for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security. You can find the retirement estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Also available at www.socialsecurity. gov/planners/benefitcalculators. htm are several other calculators that will show your retirement benefits as well as estimates of your disability and survivors benefit if you become disabled or die. You may want to read or listen to the publication, “When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits”, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
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October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
DiningOut By Christopher Malone
Oh My Darling is one of the new eateries in downtown Syracuse.
When Life Gives You Clementines... Giving Syracuse’s latest eatery a good squeeze
ne of Downtown Syracuse’s newest eateries is more than meets the eye. Large distinct black letters of Oh My Darling signal to drivers and walkers passing by its 321 S. Salina St. location. It’s a noteworthy location next to the aesthetically unique Syracuse Trust Building and across the street from the Landmark Theatre. The classy looking joint, which, according to an article in The PostStandard and syracuse.com, was a former two-story McDonalds, boasts intriguing fare.
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Although burgers and fries can be found on the menu, the typical eatery staples aren’t typical. Typical is boring anyway, and Oh My Darling is far from it. Clementine, a grab-and-go eatery, and a speakeasy-style bar called The Fitz adjoins the main eatery that is Oh My Darling. It’s a large restaurant, and, needless to say, the place has cravings covered from brunch to late night refreshments. The two beverages of the experience were the signature Clementine whiskey smash ($10) and the Corpse Reviver #2 ($13), which
was enjoyed at The Fitz as an aprèsdinner treat. The High West whiskey, orange, and mint flavors of the smash pair very well for a refreshing cocktail. Looks are deceiving as it’s not overly sweet. The Corpse Reviver is concocted with Thomas Dakin gin, Lillet Blanc (dessert wine), Cointreau (orangeflavored liqueur), Mephisto Absinthe, and lemon juice. It made my lips pucker and the absinthe is notable, but I found it surprisingly enjoyable. The décor of Oh My Darling is minimal. It’s heavy on the industrial aesthetics with pipes, lighting, and
The lamb sliders: Mini lamb burgers topped with pickled red onions, mint and cumin mayo ($13).
Eggplant involtini: Thin-sliced eggplant with ricotta cheese in a small skillet with tomato sauce and asparagus ($17). exposed brick walls. The tables are spaced out well throughout the open floor plan. The dining area extends around for a second room, and there’s outdoor seating available. The one-page menu and food presentations also take the minimal approach. The menu and dishes are to the point. There are even options for kids. There are familiar options, but with the restaurant’s special take. The costs are moderate to high. For example, what we did not choose is the pan-seared scallops with corn risotto and roasted asparagus. The $28 price tag was intimidating for items I’ve had elsewhere and can easily make at home. The lamb sliders ($13) kicked off the meal. Mini lamb burgers are topped with pickled red onions, mint and cumin mayo. Overall, the flavors were harmonious and part of me didn’t want to share. The cumin mayo and pickled onions were the standout aspects. It’s not that the lamb wasn’t good, but the kitchen guaranteed the adorable farm animal wasn’t baa -baaing. Our server didn’t ask how I wanted the lamb cooked, and the meat was a bit overdone. The fish tacos ($16) came out next. The three tacos were filled with nice cuts of mahi-mahi, cabbage and pickled red onions. A wonderful portion of truffle fries came on the side. Overall, the soft tacos were not the typical taco size, but the fish and ingredients weren’t dry. There was a slight fishiness to the mahi-mahi. The
Fish tacos: Three tacos filled with nice cuts of mahi-mahi, cabbage and pickled red onions ($16).
Cacio e pepe, a thicker bucatini pasta coated in a parmesan and cracked black pepper sauce ($17).
fries were stupendous. The grilled eggplant involtini ($18) and cacio e pepe ($17) were our entrees. The thin-sliced eggplant with ricotta cheese came out in a small skillet with tomato sauce and asparagus. The red gravy was delightful and not overly seasoned. The asparagus, which tasted like asparagus, was roasted very well. The cacio e pepe was not a typical white-sauce pasta dish. The long, thicker bucatini pasta was coated in a parmesan and cracked black pepper sauce. The pepper added slight, welcomed heat to the creamy sauce. For a $3 upcharge, chicken was added to the dish. The bits of chicken were cooked a smidge too long, and the pieces had chewy and dry qualities. The sauce hid this the best it could. Pork belly and salmon can also be added. Total before tip (minus the Corpse Driver), the bill came to $83.16. I’m convinced that Oh My Darling has the potential to be one of the hottest places in Downtown Syracuse. It’s clear the place is still ripening as the doors opened just months ago. It has the location. It has the look. The Clementine and The Fitz are so damn cool. (You can’t get cell service down there either, which really encourages person-to-person
engagement.) It has the professional, cordial, and knowledgeable staff — our server was one of the best. It’s sure to brighten up Salina Street and the rest of the city.
Oh My Darling | Clementine | The Fitz Address:
321 S. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13202 Phone: 315-290-3330
Website/Social: http:// darlingsyr.com www.facebook.com/ OhMyDarlingSyr www.instagram.com/ OhMyDarlingSyr
Oh My Darling Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat/ Sun: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 4-10 p.m.
Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat/Sun: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tue – Thur: 4:30 p.m. - midnight Fri/Sat: 4:30 to 2 a.m. Sun/Mon: Closed October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
Music for All Music educator leads Salt City New Horizons Orchestra, a nonprofit organization that provides adults with the opportunity to take music lessons By Laura McLoughlin
or adults, learning music has its benefits. “Many studies have concluded that learning a musical instrument uses the brain in a very unique way,” Edie Shillitoe said. “It keeps us intellectually stimulated, and the constant fine motor skills needed are fabulous to stave off aging.” Knowing this, along with a desire to have an impact on the community, the decision to retire in 2014 was both easy and exciting for Shillitoe. The year before, while attending a conference, she had learned about the New Horizons International
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Music Association, a nonprofit organization that provides adults with the opportunity to take music lessons. Knowing there was a lack of opportunities in the Syracuse area for adults to learn and practice string instruments as a group, she wasted no time after retiring to start a local branch of New Horizons — the Salt City New Horizons Orchestra. With this group, Shillitoe, 62, is able to pass her love of music on to adults who range in age and ability. “I have a 75-year-old former engineer sitting next to a 32-year-old teacher, and an active local veterinarian
playing cello next to a retired chef,” she said in an email. “This makes for a very dynamic group, and one that is unique and different from other New Horizon groups.” As a child, Shillitoe said she wanted to play the clarinet. However, growing up in a family of seven, she said she didn’t have much of a choice. “When the time came to choose an instrument in the fifth-grade, a neighbor had an old violin in a closet, which was offered to my parents, so that was that.” She started playing and never stopped.
Members of the Salt City New Horizons Orchestra at a recent rehearsal in the United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. During the summer, there are roughly 25 to 30 participants. In the fall, the group typically grows to about 60. Shillitoe has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education and spent her career teaching coast to coast. She is skilled in violin, viola, cello and bass. From San Francisco, to Houston to New York, she taught students from kindergarten to high school, and has also “been lucky enough to teach string methods to music education students at Syracuse University.” Now, she’s finding a new purpose working with adults. Salt City New Horizons Orchestra is a group made up of adults who maybe once played a string instrument but fell out of practice for one reason or another. There are also beginners, the people who were just interested in picking up a new hobby, or always wanted to learn. Everyone is welcome. “And more importantly,” Shillitoe said, “there is a huge social benefit to meeting weekly with a group of
Edie Shillitoe, right, leads students during a recent rehearsal of Salt City New Horizons Orchestra
friends to make music.” For adults, Shillitoe knows how important this can be. She knows that as you get older, it’s hard to find places to meet new people and socialize. So, as much as the weekly Salt City New Horizons Orchestra is a learning environment, it is also kept light-hearted and serves as a social gathering of sorts. E v e r y re h e a r s a l i n c l u d e s a 15-minute break that Shillitoe called “sacred.” This is the time she said members get to know each other and become friends. “I want this to be a fun night out for the members, and I think I achieve this,” she said. “Many say it is their favorite night of the week.” At a recent rehearsal, Shillitoe stood at the front of the room in the United Methodist Church, in Fayetteville, with the class seated in a half circle, grouped by instrument and skill level. She commanded attention, but also gave her own attention to those in attendance. Members of the group play what Shillitoe knows: violin, viola, cello or bass. As the class progressed through the first hour, it played a variety of musical pieces. Some, Shillitoe told the class, they might recognize, others, she said, she found and thought were pretty. She also wrote the music for some in the group who are at lower skill levels. During rehearsal, she counted and snapped to keep the group on tempo, constantly offering encouragement. When she introduced a piece of music titled “Country Wedding,” the class struggled through a difficult section. Shillitoe coached them until they hit all the notes. “Ah!” She was excited. “Now that we are all so much better than we were — let’s go a little faster.” The class laughed, but trusting her, followed as Shillitoe picked up her violin and led the students in the faster pace. Occasionally, she would stop and direct someone where to place their fingers or have just one section of the orchestra play a part it was stumbling over. As she led them into the “Great Gate of Kiev,” Shillitoe told the class that it “seems nice and easy until you hit that middle section … You’ll know it when you hear it.” She said she wanted to get a feel October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
during this five-week mini summer session for the pieces she plans to do with the orchestra in the fall. During the summer, there are roughly 25 to 30 participants. In the fall, the group typically grows to about 60, she said. As the class came upon the difficult middle section of the piece, Shillitoe stopped them. “It’s going to start
Performing The Salt City New Horizons Orchestra performs locally for community members who could use some happiness. In the past year it has performed at the VA hospital, the Nottingham, Francis House, Center Court Senior Living and Upstate Medical Center. The group has also joined the Onondaga Civic Symphony, t h e P l y m o u t h C o n g re g a t i o n a l Church, and combined with the LeMoyne College Orchestra for its 10th anniversary celebration. “I love the community service that a music group can provide, and my musicians all enjoy performing in public,” said coordinator Edie Shillitoe. Despite some nervousness, Shillitoe said there is safety in
getting ugly,” she said, and showed each section — first, second and third violins, and the violas, cellos and bass — one at a time how to do the next notes. “And, if you weren’t delighted by that,” implying that each section doesn’t sound all that great alone, she said, “let’s put it all together!”
The orchestra played as one, and upon finishing, a member of the group commented, “That doesn’t sound bad all together.” To which another member replied, “it doesn’t sound that bad.” And everyone laughed.
numbers. “The weaker musicians are encouraged by the stronger musicians. … Also, no one is forced to perform if they are uncomfortable.” Although, every member participated last year.
said. Becky Dodd, who conducts the younger string youth orchestra associated with Symphoria in Syracuse, works with the beginning musicians. “Both Becky and I write music appropriate for their skill level, and we adapt and simplify the music so they can join in the performances quickly,” Shillitoe said.
Beginners Interested adults who have never played a stringed instrument are offered private lessons and group class lessons. Salt City New Horizons Orchestra also offers information about instrument rental. The goal of the beginner classes is to get students playing with the orchestra group as soon as possible. “The past year I have been blessed to have another retired teacher and great personal friend join me,” Shillitoe
More Information New members will be accepted in September. Anyone interested in joining the Salt City New Horizons Orchestra should contact Edie Shillitoe at saltcitynho@gmail. com. For more information, visit saltcitynho.weebly.com.
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55 PLUS - October / November 2019
55+retirement Retirement Is Not for Sissies Have enough money for retirement? Think again By Maggie Moraldo
hile it’s possible to be thoroughly enjoying the retirement lifestyle, it is, however, accompanied by financial fears, especially if the investments you are counting on don’t continue to grow. Or, as in past markets, they drop sharply. As a sooner-than-expected retiree, I had concerns about my financial future. After sharpening pencil after pencil myself, then talking to financial experts, my anxiety began to decrease. I assumed that cautious spending, early Social Security benefits and a monthly draw from my IRA would be adequate for my living expenses. I also hoped for occasional employment for additional rainy-day costs. Well, three years later I have learned that being frugal and cautious are not easy to practice. Recently, for example, I felt obligated to go to an out-of-town wedding for my nephew’s stepson. The cost for the weekend was approximately $1,500. I will be going out of town again soon for another family celebration – a new baby. I’m sure I’ll have to spend more money. Here’s a list of some unforeseen expenses, things I neglected to include on my retirement “miscellaneous” expenses: • Our children are buying homes. Even if we don’t assist in the down payment, we feel the need, and the desire, to help with related purchases such as furniture, decorative accessories or landscaping, for example. • They may be moving out of town, just as many of our friends
“Three years later I have learned that being frugality and cautiousness [during retirement] are not easy to practice.” have, and this means high travel costs and the related expenses there. • The grandchildren are arriving now, both ours and those of our friends and family members. This means gifts for the showers and arrivals. Also, there are still weddings taking place of our own family members or those close to us. We know how expensive this becomes when we add up the gift, nice clothing and, perhaps, transportation. • There is more free time now in our lives and it leaves room for entertainment that has been long desired. There are lunches and dinners with previous coworkers, neglected old school chums and other old and new friends. We are buying subscriptions for season tickets for the theater or sporting events, or other venues. Here again are also the incidental expenses such as dining out, gasoline, souvenirs. • A sad part of aging is illness and death. We are all going to be dealing with this, especially now, and I, for one, did not even think to have to include this as an incidental expense, but the related costs are heavy. They include medical and hospital visits for us or our loved ones, co-pays for doctors and prescriptions, gasoline
Maggie Moraldo, 75, is a retiree who lives in Rochester. She has raised three children while working in many capacities: sales, teaching and, most recently, real estate. She holds mastership in bridge and has hosted a poker game in her home for more than 40 years. and parking fees. The funerals have the possible cost of travel, and there are the gifts and memorials as well. Anticipating all this new, associated costs, is near impossible. It’s probably best to pad the “miscellaneous” category in your budget a little more. College degree notwithstanding, I’m going to take any employment I’m offered to cushion my retirement expenses. I’ve also warned my children that I may need to move in with them someday. The looks on their blood-drained faces were hilarious. You must try it. That aging process, I mentioned, is worse than expected: dental implants, cataract surgery, replacement parts … and I am actually very healthy for my age. Dipping into savings, remortgaging, cutting back on entertainment, are now the way of life. My children think I’m “cheap” because of the cutbacks I employ. They should actually applaud me for not becoming their burden! Wait! I’ll do it myself. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
Hooked on Bonsai Carl Hoffner of Fayetteville spends as much as six hours in his current ‘studio’ caring for his bonsai trees By Laura McLoughlin
hirty-some years ago, Carl Hoffner was inspired when he visited Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia. He bought a book about bonsai in the gift shop and returned to his home in Fayetteville. “I bought the ficus [tree], did some trimming, right in the middle of the living room,” Hoffner said. “That was the worst place for it. It died in two weeks.” He’s been hooked ever since. Bonsai trees —pronounced “bone-sai” — need to be outside in the sun, and these days he has more than 100 in his yard. “You start with one or two and, suddenly, you have 50 or more,” he said. Each tree in his collection has been cared for hours on end, sometimes for decades. Hoffner, 68, has trees older than he is. They have been passed down from others who, like him, have cared
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Bonsai trees grown by Carl Hoffner. Bonsai is the art of trimming and manipulating a tree so that it resembles an old, mature tree while keeping it small enough to keep in a pot.
Carl Hoffner has more than 100 bonsai trees in his home’s backyeard. “You start with one or two and, suddenly, you have 50 or more,” he said. for them for years. Bonsai is the art of trimming and manipulating a tree so that it resembles an old, mature tree while keeping it small enough to keep in a pot. After 30 years of practice, Hoffner knows exactly where to trim a branch to make it grow a certain way. Branches can also be wired to bring them down like a mature tree’s branches might hang. In the end, a 35-year-old tree might only stand 6 inches tall but, from its exposed roots to its tapered trunk and shape, creates a tiny replica of a fully grown tree. “You are trying to miniaturize a mature tree,” Hoffner said. And, sometimes, some of the smallest trees are the oldest. Hoffner said any species of tree can be made into a bonsai. And while the general population probably associates bonsai mostly as an art form from Japan, it is becoming increasingly popular in America. Hoffner said the internet has a lot to do with that. People’s growing interest and ability to learn the craft and techniques for different styles has gained interest because of YouTube videos and the abundance of information now available. “I learned from books. There are
a lot of good books. But, there’s a lot of bad books, too,” he said. “The last 10 years have been great. There’s so much on the internet now for people. I wish I had started now. I could have been lightyears ahead of where I am.” He wasn’t always able to dedicate the time he has now to his bonsai. As a retired artist, he spent his working years pouring himself into studio work creating and selling original art through traditional lithography. He traveled often to gain inspiration — mostly from park settings anywhere from CNY region to around the country and around the world. What’s funny, he said, is much of his art from those days is and was actually sold in Japan, where bonsai is most popular. After he retired, his bonsai collection really multiplied, and he saw it as a nice transition. “What do you do if you’re an artist already? I can transfer my creativity into the plants. In a way it’s still a studio,” Hoffner said. He can spend upwards of six hours a day in his current “studio” taking care of each bonsai. Because they are planted in a granular soil, water runs through quickly. As a result, in the summer, each plant might need to be watered two to three times per day. “Having bonsai is like having puppies,” Hoffner said. “And like puppies, the problem is finding someone to water them while you’re away.”
Always Learning Hoffner is thrilled with the surge of interest in bonsai that he sees. And, believe it or not, being located in Central New York, also has its benefits for bonsai enthusiasts, he said. He regularly attends world-class bonsai shows in both Rochester and Albany. “In Rochester, one of the most famous bonsai artists in the world lives there,” he said. To have someone like William Valavanis so close to home, in a place like Central New York, is a huge benefit. Hoffner has had the opportunity to attend class hosted by Valavanis, but stresses that there are resources available for anyone who is interested. Hoffner is a member of bonsai
Carl Hoffner in front of one of his bonsai trees. He said some trees are decades old. clubs in Syracuse, Utica and Rochester. “It’s a bunch of like-minded people,” he said about the groups. And while books and the internet can offer a wealth of tips and resources, “there’s nothing like raw knowledge.” Locally, he is a long-time member of the Bonsai Club of Central New York. The club of about 25 members meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Pitcher Hill Community Church near the corner of Buckley Road and Bailey Road in North Syracuse. There’s a lot of beginners, but also more seasoned bonsai hobbyists. Members can find out where to buy things, share tips and talk about technique. And Hoffner is always surprised by what he learns from the tree itself. After shaping a tree for sometimes 10 years or more, one wrong cut and it can all be undone. “For every 100 trees I have, I’ve probably killed 200.” And that’s just
something you have to go in knowing.” But, when it goes really right, he ends up with a 3-D piece of art, possibly with a defining branch, a secondary branch and the apex at the top. It leans forward with what look like arms outstretched, welcoming you in.
What about the CNY winters? Central New York winters can be rough, but Hoffner said the trees go dormant in the winter. He moves the trees into his garage in winter months, and only needs to water them once every few weeks.
Bonsai Club of Central New York Learn more about the Bonsai Club of Central New York at www. cnybonsai.com The club’s annual show is open to the public Sept. 7-8 at the DeWitt Library. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky
Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?
ou know how when you find a recipe that you just feel is going to be great, you want to run right out and get the ingredients to make it? That’s what talking to Joy Loverde about her latest book on ‘planning to get older’ feels like. Her rationale for specific steps to do sooner rather than later seemed so logical that I immediately started my own planning. Loverde is the author of “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age.” “You can look at this book cover and say, wow — what an in-your-face title this is! I didn’t beat around the bush,” said Loverde, “I want people to know what they’re getting into. The reactions that I’ve gotten have been very different, all the way from ‘oh yes, I ask myself this question every day and am so glad to see this being addressed’ to ‘leave me alone. I will deal with whatever pops up when I need to.’” Loverde want us to look at aging as we would any major endeavor in our lives. To do it successfully takes planning and requires staying organized. “Do we really want to leave our future up to chance or do we want to control what we can?” she asks. “The magic word is control. Don’t we want to make decisions for ourselves now when we’re mentally capable?” Loverde explains why we need a game plan and then she provides us with the tools to construct one. “Death is easy, it’s incapacity that is complicated. Many people fail to plan for incapacity and that’s when the money flies out the window. Incapacity means everything is up for
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grabs as we may no longer be able to communicate our wishes.”
Crank up the time machine This is an example of a Loverde planning strategy that introduces us to what old age could be like. “Observing people who are at least 30 years older and a l re a d y living
Author Joy Loverde.
our future gives us a better idea of what to plan for.” Loverde says using the time machine as a research tool never fails to surprise her. “I have seen people having fun and living full out. I have also seen people the same age whose lives are just the opposite. Then it’s my responsibility to find out why one person is like this and the other like that. This is a planning strategy you can start doing immediately.” Loverde gave me an example of finding a research subject. She had finished up as the keynote speaker at an event and was trying to get to the airport to fly to her next engagement. Unfortunately, she was in the middle of Kansas in the epicenter of a snowstorm and could not find a cab willing to take her to the airport. Finally, the sponsor of the event where she was speaking found someone who was willing to brave the storm. “I came outside of the hotel and there was a red, beat-up old Chevy driven by a 90-year-old farmer. He rolls down the window and yells ‘get in’ while cars are sliding all over the street. He was not at all phased by the storm and was driving and talking like it’s a spring day as he drove me to the airport. ‘So you’re married,’ he asked, and the conversation about life went from there.” Next article: why we need to develop a support network and how to do it. In the meantime, if you want to get started on your plan, Loverde’s book is available in all bookstores and online. H e r w e b s i t e : www:elderindustry.com has more information about the book and you can also download some relevant forms.
Left: Judge McCurn, Above: Neal’s widow, Nancy, and their children. Erik six Osborne sits in the library of his home.
Our dad, U.S. District Court Judge Neal P. McCurn, was a person of character, integrity and generosity. And as the father of six children, he was also an example of patience, understanding and compassion. While approaching retirement, he established the McCurn Family Fund at the Community Foundation to be funded by his estate. He wanted us to use it to help organizations that mirrored the values that he and mom taught us growing up.
Passing Giving on: Honorable Neal McCurn
By establishing this fund and letting us administer his legacy, he was really giving a gift to us; he taught us the joy of giving to others and inspired us to do the same in our own lives. One of the most pleasant gatherings we have every year is getting together to discuss and decide about our annual giving through our dad’s fund. We are proud to carry on his generous legacy.
Read more of Neal’s story at McCurn.5forCNY.org
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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Best Advice I Ever Received
s the calendar clicks off a new school year, a new group of high school seniors have begun their final journey toward graduation. They will receive all sorts of advice — solicited and unsolicited — from well-meaning parents, teachers, friends and others. Next June they might reflect on some of the most important advice they had been given in their short 17 or 18 years on this earth. It got me thinking about some of the best advice I have been given over my 80 years of existence. My high school mathematics teacher, Mary Liebensberger, was a great source of important advice. To this day, I quote her to my children, grandchildren and friends. I didn’t have a study hall built into my senior year schedule in 195657. (Yes, as quaint as it may seem, we were expected to study in study hall back in the day.) One day, my physics teacher, Robert “Biffo” King, called in sick, so we had a study period with Mrs. Liebensberger. At one point, instead of studying, I was daydreaming about an event I would be attending during the coming weekend when I was snapped back to the present. “Nothing to do, Bruce, and all day to do it?” said Mrs. Liebensberger, who was now standing next to me. My classmates giggled at her clever reprimand. After the study hall, I apologized. She smiled and told me that I had a bright future. Then she stretched out her right hand and looked off into the distance. “Shoot for the stars, Bruce, because even if you fail to reach your destination, you are sure to pick up some stardust along the way.” Whenever I have come up short in life’s pursuits, this is one of the first things that I recall, and it has helped ease the pain.
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Mrs. Liebensberger also told me: “Each day is a little life; live it well.” My high school French teacher, Blodwyn Llewellyn, who inspired me to major in this beautiful language in college, was a stickler for punctuality. “Ne soyez jamais en retard (Never be late),” she advised. Ironically, as a journalist, I was ruled much of my life by deadlines where being late was right up there with committing life’s deadly sins. I had a long conversation one day with the former mayor of my hometown, who went on to become the county sheriff. Louie Lisella, who lived a few doors away from my brother and sister-in-law in my hometown, and I were in his backyard on a Saturday afternoon enjoying some liquid refreshments. I asked him how he was able to put up with all of the public criticism that office-holders encounter. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” he advised. “Wasting energy on unimportant crap will make you go crazy. Concentrate on really important s---.” My roommate at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University for two years was Bob Marouchoc, who was a member of the borough council of his hometown at the time of his death. Bob was a terrific darts player and tried to teach me the finer points of the game — without much success, regrettably. Despite downing a half-dozen draft beers, his accuracy never diminished. “How do you do that?” I asked in wonderment. “Be good at something, even if it’s throwing darts,” he advised. One of my favorite instructors at my alma mater was Dr. Alfred Sumberg with whom I became close friends after graduation. This man was highly regarded nationally in his field (history) and had impeccable credentials. I was honored to sponsor him for membership into a service club
I had joined a few years earlier. I was absolutely floored when the membership committee informed me that his application was rejected, but I could not get a straight answer about why he was turned down. Finally, I learned that one member of the committee blackballed him because he is Jewish. I immediately submitted my resignation, because I wanted no part of an exclusionary community service organization. Dr. Sumberg told me that he was not surprised, that he had experienced similar discrimination much of his life. He gave me this advice: “When someone tells you that another person is of the `wrong’ race, just remind them that there is really only one race — the human race.” Dr. Kurt Wimer, head of the political science department at ESU and internationally known expert on Woodrow Wilson, served as my adviser while I was pursuing my master’s degree. “Find mentors who know what they are doing, then hitch your star to their fiery tails,” he advised. An activist priest I have known for all of my adult life explained why he is impervious to insults and condemnation for his views. “It’s better to be hated for something you are than loved for something you are not,” he told me. I’ve saved the best for last: My immigrant mother, Frieda, who was on the receiving end of much anti-Italian verbal abuse when she and my father first operated our family’s grocery store in my hometown in the 1920’s. Despite this, she never retaliated either physically or verbally. Her advice: “If people attack you because of your heritage, just smile. The best way to prove them wrong is through success and giving back to society.”
WH EN I T C O M E S TO YO U R H E AR T, T H E R I G H T PE O PL E C AN CH AN G E E V ER Y T H I N G . Having a heart condition reminds us how precious life is and how much we cherish those we share it with. Which is why we have assembled the first and only Structural Heart Team in CNY. Our nationally acclaimed surgeons, cardiologists, technologists and nurses work in sync to evaluate your condition, tailor your treatment plan, coordinate your procedures and keep you informed along the way. It’s a more fluid, effective approach that results in the best possible outcomes for our patients. Because, when your heart’s at stake, EVERY BEAT MATTERS.
A H I G H E R L E V E L O F C A R E | visit everybeatmatterssjh.org © 2019 St. Joseph’s Health. © 2019 Trinity Health. All rights reserved.
October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
Is Love in the Air — Or Are You Just Being Catfished? Number of 55- to 64-year-old people trying online dating continues to grow — so is the number of catfishers, scammers who prey on them By Kimberly Blaker
he number of couples who meet online, in all age groups, continues to grow. A whopping 39% of heterosexual couples and 65% of same-sex couples who met in 2017 met online. This was reported in a new study, “Disintermediating Your Friends,” by Michael Rosenfeld, department of sociology at Stanford University. Eighty-five percent of those who’ve tried online dating are under the age of 55, according to Pew Research Center. Two age categories, however, have seen the most growth. The 18- to 24-year-old group tripled to 27% in 2015 over a two-year period. Also, the 55- to 64-year-old group that’s tried online dating doubled to
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12%. Men make up more than half of those in online dating sites and apps. Online dating has led to numerous committed relationships and marriages. But as too many can attest, it’s not all fun — and there are plenty of games. In fact, according to studies, more than half of users lie on their online dating profiles. It’s often fairly innocent (though frustrating to those who uncover the deceptions) in regards to their age, weight or height. But catfishers (scammers who lure people into a sham relationship) are a whole different breed. They lie about nearly everything, including posting stolen photos to beguile and lure victims. In 2016 alone, the FBI’s Internet
Crime Complaint Center received 15,000 complaints under the category of romance scams and confidence fraud. Most, however, likely don’t get reported. We’ve all heard a well-publicized story of someone losing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to an online catfisher. But the truth is, it’s far more common than most people realize. Financial gain, however, is just one of the motives of catfishers. While many are out to scam people of their hard-earned cash, others have different sinister intentions. Some are seeking sexually explicit videos or photos for either personal use or to post online. Some catfishers find it an effective method for identity theft.
Tragically, pedophiles also catfish to groom and lure children. Even adults are sometimes catfished for the purpose of causing physical harm. There are also those who do it for revenge, to catch an untrustworthy spouse, or to live an alternate reality. In the end, regardless of the catfishers’ motives, victims often experience emotional trauma as well. Here are some particularly eye-opening facts: • Women make up 64% of catfishers. • Fifty-one percent of online daters are married (though most lie and say they’re not). • At least 10% of dating profiles are catfishers.
More than half of users lie on their online dating profiles. It’s often about age, weight or height. Catfishers, however, are a whole different breed
World Wide Web provides catfishers an endless supply of prey while making it easier to conceal their identity. So, whether you’re in an online dating site or app and even in social media, keep your fisheye peeled and follow these precautions. First, know the red flags to look for before you begin communicating with someone you don’t know. Some catfishers provide detailed, elaborate (but deceptive) profiles. Often, though, their profiles are incomplete and vague. By providing such limited detail (other than, perhaps, a very 2016, 21% fall between the ages of 30- attractive photograph), they’re able to 39. Those in their 40s and 50s are a capture the interest of more potential victims. It also gives them the advanclose runner up. Catfishers also look for those tage to make things up as they go that who are desperate for love, gullible, best fits their victim’s wants, needs and desires. How do catfishers choose their or sympathetic. Such people are easy Photos are another big clue. If to woo, guilt, or manipulate in a vatargets? riety of ways and feed right into the they have no photo, this can be a red flag. Also, does their only photo look One thing about catfishers is catfisher’s hand. extremely dated? You know, the ones they’re pretty slick when it comes to with that orangish hue that date back choosing their victims. Senior citizens How to protect yourself from to the ‘70s. Or does the photo look like are frequent targets. But catfishers the get-go it came straight from GQ or Glamour? scam people of all ages. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission found Catfishing has been around since Of course, many are smarter than that. that of all fraud victims surveyed in long before the internet. But the Even when the photos look kosher, 7.25 x 4.75” 55+ - Aub/Skan - Christ.Comm.
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Village Landing Apartments 55 Jordan St Skaneateles, NY 13152 315-685-5632 VillageLanding @christopher-community.org
www.Christopher-community.org October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
they might be stolen from someone else’s social media profile. So always do a reverse image search. Just right click on the photo, and select ‘save image as’. Then go to Google images (www.google.com/images). Drag and drop the photo into the search bar. If Google shows identical results for the image, do some investigative work. Also, watch for broken English in their messages. If you notice odd language such as ‘I will like to get to know you’, be wary. It might indicate they’re from a foreign country commonly known for catfishers. On the same token, some scammers use broken English intentionally. They do this to weed out those intelligent enough to easily catch on to them. Catfishers want to invest their time in
those who seem to be gullible. Another reason they may intentionally use broken English is to create the illusion they lack sophistication. This gives them the advantage that you won’t suspect they’re crafty enough to be a catfisher. On the other hand, beware that many, and perhaps most catfishers don’t show broken English. Plenty of catfishers are American, or English is their native language. Good English doesn’t necessarily deem them legitimate. When you begin communicating with someone online, ask for their full name, and beware if they won’t tell you. Then do an online search for their social media profiles, job information, places they’ve lived, and anything else you can learn. If you can’t
find the person online or something doesn’t seem right, cut your ties. If someone you haven’t met starts getting romantic quickly or comes out with the “L” word before you’ve ever met, be suspicious. It’s true, some legitimate relationships have started out this way, but it isn’t the norm. It’s fairly common, though, with catfishers who quickly try lure you into a phony whirlwind romance. They often move quickly and begin talking about a relationship, being in love, or a future together before you’ve met. Most important, regardless of how perfect or real someone seems, don’t allow yourself to get emotionally involved before you’ve met in person. In fact, once you’ve done the investigative work above, try to meet for coffee as soon as possible. That
Looking for Love Online More Popular Than Ever
2018 survey conducted by Medicare Advantage revealed that 29% of adults aged 55 and older dated someone they met online through a dating service in the past year. According to the survey, looking for love online ranks more popular than every other category of ways to meet — bar/night club, church, gym, out and about, social clubs, speed dating, work and school — except for mutual friends introducing them. While some people can find a date and maybe a long-term relationship online, it’s important to approach online dating cautiously. Lori DiCaprio-Lee, elder advocate, trainer and project coordinator for the Onondaga County Elder Identity Theft Coalition at Vera House, Inc. in Syracuse, cautions those using online dating to watch out for scammers “They prey upon feelings of love, goodwill and fear,” she said. “It may start as befriending the victim. Some older adults have increased vulnerability because of loneliness and isolation,” DiCaprio-Lee said. Some scammers choose to target older adults because they want victims whom they perceive as having accumulated significant assets, feel more desperate for a relationship, and are less likely to report a scam.
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By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant “One of the fears older adults may have about reporting a scam is if someone finds out they’ve been exploited, they may lose independence,” DiCaprio-Lee said. She urges people using online dating to stop communication with anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable or who raises other red flags like rushing into a serious relationship, inconsistent information or asking about financial information. Scammers are likely much different people than their online persona. Rita Worlock, licensed clinical social worker in Liverpool, knows a lot of people who have successfully met someone online, “but there is a safety component,” she said. “It’s not like it used to be. Your account can get hacked. There is a ton of catfishing.” Catfishing describes people who post favorable photos and information that isn’t real, usually with an intent to defraud the person who falls for it. The photos usually depict someone very attractive and not the person posting — or maybe not even the perceived gender or age. The catfish appears too good to be true and takes an instant and intense interest in the target. It can feel really great to have a loving beau; however, eventually the catfish purports some kind of financial crisis or needs money for a plane
ticket for their first real-life meeting. As you can guess, the catfish has no crisis and pockets the money. “You have to be honest and smart,” Worlock said. “If it acts, walks and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. If your gut tells you to not trust it, don’t trust it. Plus, it depends upon the site. Some require a paid membership to send or leave a message. If they’re paying for it, they’re probably not playing a game.” Nonetheless, it’s important to protect yourself even on reputable, paid sites. Never post your full name, phone number, address, workplace, or email address, Worlock said. Don’t let yourself become a sort of catfish. Not only is it right to present yourself honestly, but showing a few chinks in the armor makes you appear approachable, not a perfect “goody-goody” to whom no one can relate. Use a little humor. You don’t have to be Jimmy Fallon-level funny. But some humor can help highlight your personality. “If you’re going on blind dates, be very careful about what you tell a person in person,” Worlock said. It takes time to build trust. Never feel pressured into talking about personal matters like finances.
Stoneleigh Apartments 400 Lamb Ave, Canastota • 697-2847
Residence Amenities: • Beautifully-designed apartment layout including wood cabinets and flooring • Eat-in kitchens with full-size, stainless steel appliances
Where your neighbors are like family!
• Laundry rooms with full-size washers and dryers • Private porch
Inviting one bedroom apartments close to essential services and stores, as well as emergency and health services for Seniors (over 62) or receiving SS with a permanent mobility impairment within income guidelines
way you don’t waste time or risk getting emotionally entangled with a fraud. Some people have found themselves reeled into years-long sham relationships without ever having met their predator. They only learn after wasting years of their life and sometimes all of their savings. Be wary if: • they’re often difficult or impossible to catch on the phone. • they’re unwilling to video chat. • they always have an excuse for why they can’t meet you in person. They may claim to be out-of-state or the country. Also, they often claim, repeatedly, to be dealing with a major crisis or set back. This is to gain your sympathy, so you’ll accept it without question. • they won’t provide their exact address, especially even after professing their love, an extended courtship, or asking to borrow money. (It should be noted for women’s safety, however, never give your address to someone you haven’t met and gotten to know well in person.) • they try to manipulate you by shaming you, playing on your sympathy, or being overly charming, complimentary, or empathetic.
• Walk-in closets • All utilities and WiFi included • Pocket doors to maximize overall square footage
Now Reserving— The Glens at The Nottingham Located on the Nottingham campus, The Glens is Syracuse’s newest upscale retirement living community. This quiet, tree-lined neighborhood is the perfect fit for those looking for luxurious living with all the comforts of home. Residents can customize their independent lifestyle while taking advantage of as many of the services The Nottingham has to offer. Our attentive, friendly staff can be responsive to your needs so you can spend your time doing the things you love. The Glens features exclusive, comfortable living rich in upgraded amenities and more. We offer options to meet your lifestyle, in a smaller neighborhood reserved just for you.
What to do if you’ve been catfished or suspect it If you suspect you’re communicating with a catfisher but are uncertain, gather everything you know about the person, print their profile, communications and photos. Then share it with trusted family and friends for objective opinions. Also, report catfishers to the dating or social media website where you met. Then file a report with the FBI at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Find out what has made The Nottingham the place to be in Central New York for more than 30 years. Call Marcy Cole at 315.413.3104 to schedule a tour and to reserve your apartment.
A Nottingham Residence
October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
Going mainstream: Shelving at Wegmans in DeWitt featuring hemp/CBD products.
CBD Going Mainstream CBD, one of the main compounds found in cannabis plants, is becoming one of the hottest alternative medicines used for pain and other conditions By Margaret McCormick
ike many older Americans, Maureen Doyle accepts that life comes with its aches and pains. But she doesn’t let them slow her down or get her down. For some time now, Doyle has lived with sciatica (pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve) and peripheral neuropathy, a chronic condition that can cause recurring pins-and-needles sensations in the feet and hands. Doyle, who lives in the town of Elbridge, sees doctors regularly and has taken some prescription medications over the years. Recently, she has joined the legions of people who are
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adding CBD oil to their regimen for overall wellbeing and for what ails them. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the main compounds, along with THC, found in cannabis plants, including marijuana and hemp. But CBD, unlike THC, does not have psychoactive effects on those who use it. Doyle takes a dropperful of the brownish, herbaceous tincture each morning, holding it under her tongue for a minute or two before swallowing it. She credits CBD with giving her relief from the pain of sciatica and the sometimes “horrific attacks’’ that can come with peripheral neuropathy.
“Who is pain-free at 69 years old?,’’ Doyle says. “I feel that the CBD is instrumental. I take the oil every day and carry the salve with me all the time. It does the trick for me.’’ CBD, which is legal in all 50 states, is derived from the hemp plant and is considered to be a natural alternative to traditional medicine. In the last several years, hemp products have gained popularity and have exploded in the health and wellness marketplace. CBD is available in edible products, lotions, creams, salves, vape cartridges and gummies. At some bakeries, you can purchase CBD cupcakes and at some coffee shops you can add a dose of CBD oil to your coffee. Central New York apple grower (and hard cider and spirits producer) Beak and Skiff, based in LaFayette, recently introduced CBD-infused cold brew coffee to the retail marketplace. Doyle is the co-owner of Hey Rose, a local business with a focus on dried herbs, spices, rubs, blends and other culinary products, as well as homemade treats for dogs and cats. She and her partner, Barbara Janice, set up shop each Saturday in the E Shed at the Central New York Regional Market in Syracuse. At the market, Doyle was introduced to Head + Heal, a company formed by Cortland-based organic vegetable grower Main Street Farms. The company offers several CBD oils, including one for pets, as well as lotions and salves. Doyle did some research and called on Head + Heal at the market. She says it’s important to her to know where the CBD she is taking is grown and processed -—and to be able to ask questions at the market. Scientific studies are ongoing, but CBD has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and inflammation, improving heart health and sleep quality, reducing anxiety, depression and stress, alleviating symptoms related to cancer and possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. For those reasons, CBD holds appeal for people over 55. Despite some misconceptions about it — including the stigma that it gets people high — CBD has gone mainstream. Many Wegmans stores have added hemp/CBD product sections and CBD has a presence in shopping centers and malls. Our Remedies, a store
We are accepting new patients We continue our commitment of providing convenient suburban locations.
We’re excited to announce our 2 new office locations! Effective September 1, 2019
carrying a variety of tinctures, salves and other CBD products made from U.S.-sourced hemp, opened at Destiny USA in Syracuse in June. The store is owned and operated by Sam Viscome. It’s on the second floor of the Canyon area, near Dick’s Sporting Goods and Michaels. Our Remedies sales associate Joseph Cali says many of the store’s visitors are seniors, who come in to inquire about CBD products — and if CBD can help, specifically, with nerve and foot pain, leg cramps, anxiety, sleep issues and “the general aches and pains that come with aging.’’ He’s happy to explain the various CBD “delivery methods’’ — including tinctures, salves, gummies and vape cartridges — and share his own knowledge of and experience with CBD. Frequent questions include: “Is this going to make me tired?’’ And: “Is this going to get me high?’’ “It’s natural and super safe,’’ Cali says of CBD. “The important things are to know the source and to give it time to work. It’s not like, ‘take two and call me in the morning.’ “ Maureen Doyle agrees. She says she researched CBD and its potential benefits and made a list of questions before having a conversation with the Head + Heal reps at the Regional Market. She started out with the lower dose tincture (600 mg) and the unscented topical, both of which she continues to use daily. Her advice to anyone considering giving CBD a try: “Do your research. It’s not an overnight fix. I don’t think anyone ever said it would be.’’
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Fall Fun with the Grandchildren
Adirondack Scenic Railroad gives you a chance to enjoy the season’s foliage. Round-trip rides include stops at restaurants and points of interest.
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
njoy sunny days with your grandchildren before snow flies. Consider trying these outdoorsy adventures with your young ones. Take a walk at Enchanted Beaver Lake hosted by Beaver Lake Nature Center Oct. 17 through 20. The park showcases hundreds of different carved jack-o-lanterns and luminaries that light two trails. Suitable for younger children, the event includes face painting, fortune telling and snacks. Reservations required. Purchase tickets in advance in person or by phone. www.beaverlakenaturecenter.org/enchanted-beaver-lake, Baldwinsville In addition to its tasting room, Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette hosts a number of child-friendly fall activities each weekend. They include apple picking all season, the Kids’ Treehouse play area and pony rides. It also features a very large gift shop, cider mill and a bakery with fresh doughnuts. It’s self-described “apple campus” isn’t an exaggeration — it’s a large facility that in 2015 won USA Today’s readers designation as the top orchard nationwide. http://beakandskiff.com
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Beginning weekends in October, plus Columbus Day, Our Farm in Manlius offers traditional family fun with a corn maze, pumpkin trebuchet, hay ride and petting zoo. The mix of activities can entertain a wide age range of children, so bring along all the grandchildren. http://our-farm.squarespace.com Weekends, plus Columbus Day through the end of October, Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville hosts a fall festival with you-pick apples, gift shop, corn maze wagon rides, play areas, farm animals, cider press, fish pond and an apple cannon. Check the website for group discounts. www.abbottfarms.com Critz Farms in Cazenovia hosts weekend activities through October, featuring live music, gift shop, you-pick apples and pumpkins, corn maze, cow train, farm animal area, playground and giant hay bale climbing tower. www.critzfarms.com If straight-up apple picking is what you want, go to Burrell’s Navarino Orchard in Syracuse. The orchard welcomes guests to pick their own each
weekend through the end of October. The farm also has a market featuring New York products. www.navarinoorchard.com Ontario Orchards Farm in Oswego also sells a wide variety of New York goods at the market. Through mid-October, you can pick your own apples and pumpkins at the farm in Sterling. https://ontarioorchards.com Go leaf peeping aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica. A big hit for your little train buffs, this outing also gives you a chance to enjoy the season’s foliage without hiking or risking driving while distracted. Some of the round-trip rides include stops at restaurants and points of interest in the destination town before heading back to Utica. Review the various packages available on the railroad’s website, including the Family Halloween Train. www.adirondackrr.com If you and your older grandchildren (maybe 7 or 8 and older) love a good scare, consider Frightmare Farms Haunted Scream Park in the Oswego County town of Palermo Fridays and
Saturdays all October. Its spooky features include a haunted house, labyrinth, and trail, all populated by creepy costumed actors in various scary scenarios. You can also host a party by reserving a private pad with shelter and your own campfire for groups of eight or more. www.frightmarefarms.net As most of these venues and events are weather permitting, before heading out check their websites for hours and any cancellation notices. Some venues may include more up-to-date information on their social media pages. Also make sure that your footwear and clothing are appropriate for where you’re headed.
Candy apple and caramel apple kits are among the fun finds at Beak & Skiff’s market. The“apple campus” isn’t an exaggeration — it’s a large facility that in 2015 won USA Today’s readers designation as the top orchard nationwide.
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette hosts a number of child-friendly fall activities each weekend. They include apple picking all season, the Kids’ Treehouse play area and pony rides. It also features a very large gift shop, cider mill and a bakery with fresh doughnuts. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
By Harold Miller
Root of Social and Financial Inequality Problem is mostly due to inadequate parenting
ournalist Bill O’Reilly recently wrote a scathing editorial on the breakdown of the American family. “Bad parenting is the main cause of ‘income inequality’ in America,” he wrote. “If a young child is not exposed to learning by age 2, that innocent helpless person is already at risk in a competitive society. We begin with education. If there are no books in the home, no awareness-building games, no fun dialogue with the parents, the child will not develop a curiosity about life. As the child gets older, parents must participate in the learning process — emphasizing the tremendous importance of academic discipline — and they should monitor school work on a daily basis. Then there is the work ethic. If a child does not understand that accomplishment is based on performance — doom is nearby. Hard work must be taught, it is not inherited or casually acquired. Many parents are irresponsible, lazy, apathetic and self-absorbed. And then there are parents who abandon their children — surely reserving a prime spot for themselves in hell. And then there is the social aspect. Parents failing to teach their kids proper grammar, table manners and polite behavior. Permissive mothers and fathers allow their children to be tattooed and pay for skin piercing. Does anyone really think that those things will lead to more economic opportunity? Leonard Pitts Jr., columnist for The Miami Herald, weighed in on this red-hot topic more than a decade ago. His column was titled: “Kids Need Fathers – Period!” 32
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The share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017, according to an April 2018 Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
“This issue is not political — principally it is not racial, nor is it economical (although poor children suffer the most harm),” Pitts Jr. wrote in his column. “The family is the core of civilization in all societies. No matter how strong militarily, how wealthy or how well governed, a country cannot survive for long without moral, honest, well-behaved and well-educated children and most of what a child learns is caught, not taught. “Today, half of our children are
born into single parent households. I believe our slide toward a fatherless society, a society where the male parent is considered optional, irrelevant or interchangeable, is toxic for our children. This concern is buttressed by a growing body of research which tells us that a child raised without his or her biological father is significantly more likely to live in poverty, do poorly in school, drop out of school altogether, become a teen parent, exhibit behavioral problems, smoke, drink, use drugs, or wind up in jail”. A recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal in conjunction with NBC News shows that values that Americans say define the national character are changing, as younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children less important to them as young people two decades ago. As a personal footnote: I was born in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression and remember how my parents struggled to put clothes on our back and food on the table. Friends and family all lived through WWII in fear of losing our way of life (as humble as it was) and trembled as members of the family went to war to save our great country. Sadly, this generation has no concept of the sacrifices that were made so that most of today’s children can live a good life. As a matter of fact, schools are downplaying this nation’s history in classrooms today. The mighty Roman Empire collapsed from within because of corrupt politicians, greed, laziness, abandonment of religion and proper upbringing of their children. Is it foolish to believe that history might not repeat itself?
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The Chairwoman Melanie Littlejohn, a top National Grid executive, in lead role at CenterState CEO, CNY’s largest economic development group By Lou Sorendo
elanie Littlejohn did not experience what one would term a “routine” upbringing as a child in Jamaica, a neighborhood of Queens. “I have two amazing parents, an amazing brother, and my parents also fostered 24 girls,” she said. “So I have 24 amazing sisters and am the oldest of my sisters.”
“I learned about service and commitment to others up close and personal,” she said. “I had two amazing human beings show me how to give unselfishly.” She was brought up in a three-bedroom home in Queens and attended both Catholic and public schools as a youth. “So, I understand service and a deep commitment to it, and that is how you also learn the art of negotiation and collaboration,” she said. 34
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Today, Littlejohn is vice president at National Grid — NYS jurisdiction. Recently, she was elected as the new chairwoman of CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity’s board of directors in Syracuse.
Lessons from parents, grandparents While not realizing the gravity of lessons she was learning as a child,
Littlejohn now refers to her parents as her “co-CEOs.” “They showed me what leadership was supposed to look like,” she said. “I grew up in an environment where I saw what service looks like and I also grew up in a time and space where there were lots of changes going on.” Littlejohn’s maternal grandparents also lived by the mantra, “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
Melanie Littlejohn photographed Sept. 3 at her National Grid office. Photo by Chuck Wainwright. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
“They didn’t think they had much, but they thought they had more than many,” she said. “It was always about opening and extending your home. My grandparents were that way, and that is what we do. “I cant even begin to tell you how unselfish [my parents] were, and they didn’t realize it,” she said. “They were raising children that they didn’t give birth to, but they helped them learn to see what love looked like.” “My sisters would tell you to this day that the lessons they learned from my parents have helped guide them to be great parents and better human beings,” she added. Littlejohn went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from SUNY Stony Brook and her Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. “When I think about influences, I’m always going to start with family first,” she said. “I have three other men in my life that inspire me to get up and give my best every day. I have two sons and a husband that really keep me lifted to do the work that I do.” Being in the utility business, when Mother Nature rears her head in the form of emergencies, Littlejohn is there to respond. She was away from home for several months during the power restoration initiative following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “My family loves and supports me through each of those moments,” she said. Littlejohn said she has been fortunate to work with business leaders who have served as powerful inspirations to her. “There have been so many people who are part of my own personal board of directors,” she said. Prominent on that list is the late Leon Modeste, long-time president and CEO of the Onondaga County Urban League in Syracuse. Littlejohn worked for the Urban League for several years in the early 1990s. Another major influence has been SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley. “She understands the art of collaboration and in order to get things done, you need to bring a full group of people around the table and count on your talents to deliver. She has done that exceptionally well,” Little36
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“I feel very fortunate to be at the table now in this moment. For me, it is important and impactful.” john said. She said numerous leaders have drawn her admiration, and she takes pieces from each to create her own style. “I’m not bashful about asking for advice. You have to ask for advice, and ask people to pull your coattails and hold you accountable.”
‘Power behind the switch’ Littlejohn has been with National Grid for 25 years, and what she has learned during that time is the power behind the switch. “What I mean about the power behind the switch is what the men and women who work here every single day do to help improve the lives of every last person, home and business in this region,” she said. “And they do it quietly.” Littlejohn said if there is an emergency or weather-related issue, National Grid is “running to it to really be there for our customers. “Our objective is to keep the lights on and heat going, because we owe it to our customers,” she said. “The power of the switch is what makes me come in every single day.” In 2017, a National Grid team spent eight months in Hurricane Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico helping to restore power. “That was tough for our folks. They worked around the clock to make sure when they left the island, areas that they were responsible for were 100% restored,” she said. Littlejohn commended the mutual aid that utilities across the country provide to each other during times of great need. “For 25 years, I’ve gotten a chance to see the power behind the switch,” she said. “It’s listening, coordination, com-
munication and more importantly, doing what you say you’re going to do,” she said. While Littlejohn oversees her team of 53 in Syracuse, she is responsible for more than 4 million customers and stakeholders in a matrix-based company that has synergies across the entire state.
Center of activity Littlejohn has been heavily involved in CenterState CEO, serving as a member of its executive committee and board of directors and, most recently as first vice chairwoman. “CenterState CEO is a tremendous organization that is really moving and shaping lots of important things in Central New York, both from an economic development and inclusion perspective,” she said. Littlejohn sees her new role as an opportunity to leverage her 35-year plus career history to help an organization, region and community grow stronger. “From a career perspective, it’s a nice culmination of the last three decades and it’s just a wonderful way to utilize my previous experience to do good,” she said. “I certainly think being part of a global organization and to have the responsibility for National Grid’s New York state jurisdiction from a customer, business development, stakeholder and public affairs perspective really puts me in a good space to utilize my experience here in a global-based company,” she said. Littlejohn said the utility industry, much like Central New York, is in a significant transformation. “CenterState CEO and the region can benefit from some of the lessons we’ve learned to help in the transformation that we see right here in Central New York,” she said. “It’s just utilizing that collective experience.” Littlejohn said one of her biggest skill sets is the art of collaboration and being a convener. “I am a firm believer that we all know what the answers are. The question is how do we bring folks around a table to make good and thoughtful decisions about strategy and what we need to do going forward,” she said.
‘Eve of transformation’ Littlejohn will act as chairwoman and facilitator for the executive committee as well as CenterState CEO’s board of directors, which is made up of some of the largest critical key stakeholders in the region. “I also get a chance to work alongside good folks like Robert Simpson [president of CenterState CEO] and the wonderful team at CenterState to figure out how I can support them to drive objectives,” she said. Littlejohn said the region is “on the eve of transformation,” as evidenced by initiatives such as the city’s Syracuse Surge, a development plan for the south end of downtown that is encompassing more than $200 million in public and private investment. Growth and development continues as the region finds its niches, whether it involves the emerging unmanned aerial systems industry or traditional strongholds in the education and health care sectors. She said transformative issues also involve the rebuild of the I-81 viaduct into a community grid design. “One of the most stunning and large issues that we still have to grapple with as a region involves econom-
ic inclusion and how poverty levels here in the region must and need to shift if we want to sustain and grow to really come into our full capabilities as a region,” she added. Whether it’s rampant poverty in the city of Syracuse or rural poverty plaguing rural areas of CNY, “we’ve got to deal with it,” she said. “I feel there no greater time than to step up and be part of the change,” she said.
Being at ‘the table’ “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” said Littlejohn, meaning that if you are not represented at the decision-making table, you are in a financially vulnerable position, you get left out or, worse yet, you are on the menu. “We are in the moment of creating seats at the table, and if we don’t, things that will stay on the menu aren’t good,” she said. “So what we need to do as a region is begin to change that.” The key is creating a path to allow everyone to have a voice. Littlejohn said there are many initiatives that are addressing key regional issues.
“I feel very fortunate to be at the table now in this moment. For me, it is important and impactful,” she added. Littlejohn said in terms of poverty, the mission is to not create vulnerabilities within the community and in homes. “You got to peel the layer of the onion back around poverty and discover what causes it and what do we need to do to shift and change it, and what are its ramifications,” she said. On the educational front, Littlejohn said it is imperative to continue to partner with the Syracuse City School District, the fifth-largest district in the state, to help students thrive and be successful. “I believe that is a responsibility and is directly tied to what happens later on in the students’ lives,” she noted. “If we can create great educational opportunities and experience, that’s fantastic.” On the housing front, Littlejohn said residents need to have access to sustainable housing. “When talking about a green economy, I think that some of our most vulnerable in our region deserve solar roofs just like anyone else who can pay for it,” she said. In terms of jobs, “people don’t wake up saying, ‘I don’t want good October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
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and meaningful employment.’ Contrary to what some might think, people don’t do that. That’s not what they want,” she said. She said it is vital to create jobs that will continue to provide a livable and sustainable wage so that everyone can actively play a part in the growth and vitality of the region. “Education, housing, employment and then just a good environment — that creates a good recipe for a strong region,” she said. “You have to be passionate and care about the region, and I live here, so I am proud to be part of an organization that is at the forefront of helping with some of these huge transformative efforts,” she said. The city of Syracuse resident is on the board of trustees for Onondaga Community College. She is also on the Pathfinder Bank board of directors, the Upstate New York and Regional Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and The Business Council of New York State. “I’ve been blessed and honored to sit on many boards around this region, and I’m proud to have served,” she said. Her husband David works for Fiat Chrysler, and the couple has two sons. Cameron is a substitute teacher in the Syracuse City School District while Jared works in the finance industry in Baltimore, Maryland. Littlejohn said she is a “foodie,” and takes advantage during her frequent travels to enjoy foods from different cultures. She also refers to herself as a “frustrated artist” who formerly designed jewelry. “I have not done that in many years, but one of these days I think I’ll get back into it,” she said.
Help Wanted 55 PLUS magazine is expanding its advertising sales team and is looking for an outisde sales rep. This is a part-time job with salary and commission. The ideal candidate would have strong sales or customer services experience, be professional, reliable and have a dependable vehicle. Please email resume to email@example.com
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55+ downsizing Selling Your Large House
Even in this ‘selller’s market’ it may be a bit harder to sell your big home By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
f you want to downsize during the current seller’s market, you may find it’s harder than you think to sell your spacious home. The people who are most interested in your house — those between 35 and 45 — have already lived in their small, starter home as young adults. Buying a larger home like yours is usually a subsequent home purchase, an upgrade from their starter home. Frank Procopio, broker and owner of Procopio Real Estate in Syracuse, advises selecting the right real estate agent, someone who can manage marketing and social media. “Your realtor is your key to success,” Procopio said. “With larger homes, larger families are who you want to sell to. Some want the extra space to entertain. A real estate agent can identify that buyer pool, their likes, needs and wants. Interview multiple agents and look at their past sales. Look for agents who have been selling homes your size in your area. They will guide you to success.” Those shopping for larger homes tend to be at the peak of their career. While their extra income primes them to make a large home purchase, it also makes some of them not interested in fixer-uppers. Others are looking for value and like the idea of putting their own stamp on their home. Procopio said the kitchen and the bathrooms should be updated before it goes on the market. These areas are the most costly and vital aspects of a home, and also the most inconvenient to upgrade while living in the house. Also, things like wall-to-wall carpeting should go. Instead, 3/4-
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inch tongue-and-groove oak flooring appeals to most buyers. For the bedrooms, new carpeting could work and tile or more waterproof flooring for the bathroom. Curb appeal is also important “especially in summer and fall,” Procopio said. “Landscaping is always a plus. Make sure the lawn is groomed and the property is weeded. If I show up at an open house and there’s a foot of leaves in the yard, that doesn’t make a very good impression. “ Although it’s likely your home will sell eventually, making needed repairs will help you get the most for your home. “If you want to maximize the return on your investment, you need to address certain things,” said Faye Beckwith, real estate agent, senior residential specialist and co-owner of Freedom Real Estate in Hannibal. “A seasoned real estate agent can help.” That second pair of expert eyes can help you look for the little — and not-so-little — things that could be offputting to buyers, from a wonky faucet up to an ancient water heater. “Sometimes you meet with a senior and they say, ‘We have a new roof, furnace, central air, and water heater,’ but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it was new when they got the house 30 years ago. The older we get, the faster time flies,” Beckwith said. Once the home repairs and updates
are done, the home should be deep cleaned beyond normal maintenance, including power washing the siding, deck and sidewalk, and sprucing up the interior with “spring cleaning” regardless of the time of year. “If the senior can afford it and they’re unable to do it themselves, they should go with a professional cleaning service,” Beckwith said. She knows of homes that have sold for thousands more simply because they were impeccably clean when buyers came. Staging is the next step in the process. This means that the home’s furnishings should be arranged in an eye-pleasing way, instead of completely removing all furnishings. “Staging is the preferred route, but that depends upon the price range,” Beckwith said. “If it’s the upper price range, that is critical to take place.” Potential buyers can readily tell if a queen bed will fit in the spare room or how much room surrounds a table for six in the dining room if a seller stages a home. Staging also helps buyers perceive the home as spacious, since part of staging is thinning out the furnishings present. Personal photos should be taken down, as it’s more difficult for buyers to picture themselves living there with others’ photos on the walls. Going with one large accent piece on a shelf or table is oftentimes better than many small ones.
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437-4864 “We accumulate things and it’s helpful if you have family to pitch in and help or have them come and get their things stored at your house,” Beckwith said. Ask family members if they want items that you can’t keep, but don’t feel surprised if your great-niece “repurposes” your dresser drawers into box shelves and the dresser into a bookshelf. Many younger people don’t want grandma’s china, as these dishes can’t go in the dishwasher or microwave. Large, heavy furniture isn’t readily movable, unlike modern furniture. If you need the money and have some valuable furnishings, consult with an antique dealer to learn their value and an effective way to sell items. Consider consignment shops or groups seeking donations for fundraising sales for less valuable items, but call ahead first and ask what items they want. A few local organizations include Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.
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consumers corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.
Are Psychopaths Born or Made?
s a y o u n g t e e n a g e r, I remember being terrified after watching a scary movie late at night while babysitting. The movie was the 1956 version of “The Bad Seed.” It’s the story of an 8-year-old child who murders a classmate on a school picnic because she covets a medal he had won. It turns out that she was an adopted child, the biological daughter of a notorious serial killer. The theme of the movie is that she inherited an inborn destiny to be evil and without a conscience. Now fast-forward to 2019. I’ve been married for over 40 years, and my husband is a kind, honest, upright citizen. But my genealogical research on his family revealed a deep dark secret. Over 100 years ago, his second great uncle, committed some truly heinous crimes. He started with theft as a teenager, and progressed to sexual assault of a 7-year-old neighbor girl by the time he was 19. At 26 he abducted and raped a young woman, shooting and killing three of her relatives plus a physician making a house call. Yes, he was a mass murderer. And his older brother also had a criminal history, although not nearly to that level. So is there a “bad seed?” If there is, at least my husband (and children) didn’t inherit it. The answer to the question is complex. Researchers do know that characteristics of mental health and mental illness can be passed through family trees. But there’s no single gene or genes yet identified that indicate someone is bound to become a criminal. Even if there is a genetic tendency for psychopathology, how much is due to genetics and how much is due to environmental influences? If your parents learned bad parenting skills from their parents, and they treat you badly, is that genetics or
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DNA code structure with glow. By Getty Images environment? What is a psychopath, anyway? It’s felt to be a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, lack of empathy and remorse, and disinhibited and egotistical traits. Psychopathy is not actually an official diagnosis in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official document published by the American Psychiatric Association. There are official definitions for antisocial personality disorder and dissocial personality disorder. Whatever the label, parent psychopathy or personality disorder affects children’s environmental experiences by exposing them to marital conflict, parental stress, and harsh discipline. Children differ in temperament and genetic inheritance, and so some will be more or less
affected by environmental influences. There is no one left among my husband’s living relatives who even knew this dark history, much less is able to tell us whether the criminal ancestors’ childhood household was disruptive, disorganized, or otherwise created criminal behavior. Or did this evil behavior arise from some inherited tendency despite good parenting? On the bright side, my husband has genetic ties to the Roosevelts, the Fondas and Martin Van Buren. And also to Celine Dion. But he can’t sing, so if that is inherited, he didn’t get that gene either. Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health.
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life after 55 By Michele Reed email@example.com
Photos by Bill Reed
Going Broke at the Brocante
nyone who knows me, knows that I love a bit of antiques hunting — or junk shopping, as my husband Bill sometimes characterizes it. The Paris flea markets are world famous, and visiting them is a oncein-a-lifetime experience for many Americans. But imagine our surprise when we moved to France and found our city of Béziers is home to not one, but two weekly brocante markets. Every Tuesday and Saturday, we can wander the stalls, in the shade of the plane trees on the Allées Paul Riquet, marveling at Art Deco furniture, comic books of Tintin and Asterix the Gaul and 18th-century
French porcelain. The French have various venues for seeking out old objects. At the bottom of the food chain is the vide grenier, which literally means “empty the attic.” On a given day, the village declares a vide grenier, and everyone drives up to a central plaza or a large parking lot, sets out a table or blanket, and sells all manner of used goods from their homes. You can find used children’s clothes and games, dishware, lawn chairs and books, with the occasional antique treasure thrown in. In our area, each village has the vide grenier on a different weekend in spring and fall. Flyers are posted in
Antiques shopping at the brocante makes for a pleasant afternoon stroll on the Allées Paul Riquet 44
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neighboring villages and people plan their weekends traveling from town to town, taking in the sales. Lucky for our wallets (and the limited square footage of our house), we don’t have a car to travel to the various villages, and so any purchases would be limited by what we can carry on the bus. A step up from the vide grenier is the marché de puce, literally the flea market. Usually these include regular dealers who travel from village to village and set up at flea market day or the weekly farmers’ market, and sell everything from mismatched silverware and used videos to 1970s macramé planters. At the top end are antique dealers, who command top dollar. In addition to their classy shops and galleries, they also sell at several fairs, usually in the larger cities. Nestled between the marché de puce and the high-end antiquing fairs is the brocante, a kind of hybrid of all the other venues. The word refers both to the market and the objects for sale. In Béziers, our Tuesday fair tends to be a little more refined, and there are a few dealers who have quality furniture, including Art Deco and 17thand 18th-century pieces. On Saturday, the offerings are a bit less expensive, with plenty of glassware from bars and cafés, comic books and toy cars, and restoration hardware to choose from. Because our typical three-month sojourn in France gives us plenty of opportunities to shop the brocante, we often just browse the booths waiting for that perfect treasure. We’ve found them more than once. My writing desk now sports an Art Deco leaping deer pen and ink stand from carved wood. A brocante about a year later yielded two matching bookends. Another inkstand we found is made from molded brass and signed
by Louis Navatel Vidal (1831-1892). It has two chickens, a traditional symbol of France. The French were originally the Gauls and the Latin word gallus referred to the Gauls and also meant rooster, hence the moniker. You can see the symbol of the coq used today for France’s sports teams, including the men’s and women’s World Cup Soccer teams, Les Bleues (so called for their blue jerseys). The French take their food seriously and so they have different dishes for specific types of food. When Bill found some plates in one of our favorite Longchamps patterns, we didn’t mind they had a little divider. The brocantiste explained that they were asparagus plates from the 1920s and the smaller section was for sauce to dip the asparagus in. It’s not unusual to find century-old dishware at the brocante! Bill has a great eye for spotting our favorite patterns from 20 feet away, and his negotiating skills mean we get a good bargain. The only downside? A heavy load for him to carry on the bus! Speaking of negotiating, bargaining with brocante dealers is great way to hone our French skills — now that we know our numbers fast enough to think on our feet! There are specific rules: First both sides must say “Bonjour,” and no touching the objects until they’re handed to you. Bill has perfected the dismissive wave accompanied by a “Pah!” sound that French shoppers use when a price is too high. And as with any adventure on Béziers’ Allées, the shopping concludes with a relaxing lunch or drink at the cafés which are only steps away.
This Art Nouveau pen stand and inkwell by N. Vidal was a particular treasure.
Barware from France’s ubiquitous cafés is on offer at every brocante.
Shoppers at the brocante in Béziers can browse through furniture, china and trinkets from various eras. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
By Marvin Druger Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Be as generous as you can be’
lmost all the mail delivered to my house consists of requests for donations. My name must be on a worldwide network of potential donors for all causes. There seems to be no end to the ingenuity and persistence of the fundraisers. Every cause is extremely urgent and the fundraisers try to make me believe that my donation will save humanity and the Earth from total destruction. Sometimes, a check for $2.50 is included with the solicitation, with the request that I return the check with my donation. Sometimes coins are included with a request. A certificate of appreciation and membership is often included with a reminder of how long I have been a donor to that cause. I have a large collection of calculators, notepads, certificates, greeting cards, tote bags, calendars, pens and personalized address labels that have been related to requests for donations. I literally have thousands of mailing labels that I can use in case I decide to send letters instead of text messages or emails to family and friends. The tendency seems to be to offer a range of donation categories that usually range from $10 to leaving a large donation in my will. What is annoying is the repeated request for a donation to a cause without reference to the fact that I have already donated to that cause during the same year. The big dilemma is to choose the causes that seem most worthy of a donation. E v e r y re q u e s t c o m e s w i t h a compelling letter, written by a professional fundraiser. Almost every cause seems worthy of my donation.
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I don’t have endless amounts of money, so I have to ask which causes should I support? My tendency is to make small donations to multiple causes. I tend to favor donating to curing human diseases, as compared to helping non-human causes. This is not to suggest that non-human causes are not worthy of support, but it is a matter of personal preferences and financial limitations. Certainly, I want to help all these causes, but there is a limit to which ones to help. I tend not to support causes that submerge me with unsolicited gifts. I want my full donation to be used directly to help cure a disease, rather than waste the money on unsolicited gifts, such as personalized mailing labels, pens, calculators etc. I think this deluge of donation requests dates back to my dear wife Pat who died in 2014. She was extremely caring and generous. She donated to a large number of causes. Since I have a “depression mentality,” common to people of my age, I don’t readily part with money. I have difficulty living lavishly. This must date back to the d e p re s s i o n d a y s a n d m y p o o r childhood. That’s probably why I enjoy shopping in the Dollar Store and I seek bargains wherever I go. My latest bargain purchase was a Berkley Jenson, wrinkle-free, long-sleeved shirt from the Farmer’s Market for $5. I am proud of that purchase, even though I may never wear that shirt. In fact, I selected a medium shirt but didn’t notice that the sleeves were too long. I tried to exchange the shirt the next week, but the proprietor refused to make the exchange because I had removed the tags. So, I ended up buying an additional shirt for another $5. When the Life Sciences Complex was being built at Syracuse University, my wife wanted to have a laboratory
named after me. She donated a large sum of my money to establish the “Marvin Druger Introductory Biology Laboratory.” I told a student about this donation and I said, “I didn’t know that I had that much money.” His response was, “You don’t anymore.” Occasionally, my wife and I went to a dance theater in New York City. I opened the program and saw our names listed as donors. I complained and said, “Pat, we almost never go to this theater. Why did you give them a donation?” She replied, “We have to support the arts.” I said nothing, but I thought to myself, “We don’t have to support the arts all over the world.” My wife donated money to establish the “Druger Family Community Room” at Jowonio School in Syracuse. This is an excellent school for preschoolers, many of whom have disabilities. I donated funds to purchase a new carpet for this room. As a result of our donations, the Druger name appears in many places on the Syracuse University campus. We have our names on a bench, a tree, the Orange Grove, a chair in Setnor Auditorium and other places. When I give campus tours, I always point out these sites to encourage others to make similar donations. Handling finances is not something that I do well and my wife managed all the finances. Indeed, I was given an allowance of $400 each month. For a while I mostly used the money to pay for gas and miscellaneous meals. Then, I realized that I could put a card called Visa into a slot on the gas pump. Since Pat handled all the bills, she would pay the Visa bill at the end of the month. I put my excess money into a can. One day, I thought I’d better put that money into the bank for interest. It turned out that I had I had $7,000 in the can. My name appeared on all of my wife’s donations. When I complained about the donations, she said, “I’m making you a generous man.” When Pat made endless donations, I said, “Why don’t you leave some money for us?” Her reply was, “What is there that you need that you don’t have?” I couldn’t answer that question. Lesson learned. Holden Observatory was built in 1887. It was the second building on the Syracuse University campus, the Hall of Languages being the first. Erastus Holden donated funds to build Holden Observatory as a memorial to his son,
Charles, an SU graduate who died of a heart ailment. The building houses a large telescope in a dome at the top of the building. For a while, the building was used for research and teaching purposes. Then, that function was abandoned and the building housed several different administrative offices, such as the Soling Program (an undergraduate research program) and the Senate Recorder’s office. The most recent occupant was the university cartographer. A gear was broken in the dome door and the telescope wasn’t used. My wife was a strong advocate of astronomy. As a child, her father often took her to Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. She even completed an astronomy course taught by Gunter Wessel at SU. When she heard that Holden observatory was no longer being used for teaching purposes, she wanted to make a donation to fix the broken gear and restore Holden to its original intentions. Of course, I objected. When Pat died in 2014, I wanted to memorialize her, so I gave a donation to establish the Patricia Meyers Astronomy Learning Center at Holden Observatory. The project was known as the “Pat Project.” The project received loving attention from the workers, the chancellor, his wife, and the entire
university community. The center is now used for teaching purposes. The broken gear was replaced and the telescope can now be used. Indeed, the physics department offers tours of the facility. I conduct such tours with graduate students in the physics department. When you enter the building, you will see a beautiful photo of my wife. There is a plaque that I wrote near one side of the photo. The last sentence on the plaque says, ”Pat was a beautiful, sparkling star who lit up the lives of all those who knew and admired her. She will not be forgotten.” Near the other side of the photo is a poem that I wrote: The Yellow Day Lily The yellow flower was beautiful, It sparkled in the sun, I put it in a vase To be seen by everyone. I told my wife the flower Was as beautiful as she, They both had special features That brought happiness to me. The next day the flower was gone, It lay upon the floor, It now was shrunken orange And its yellow was no more. It was here for just an instant,
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But then it went away, I wish this lovely lily Could have stayed Just one more day. A former student gave a donation to do landscaping outside the observatory. The building is now surrounded by beautiful foliage. There is a large scar on a tree at the southwest corner behind the observatory. Close observation reveals that this is not a scar, but a ceramic heart that looks like the bark of the tree. On the plaque, it says, “Marvin + Pat.” I am proud of my donation to Holden Observatory and consider it to be the most important one in my life. Pat is now a permanent part of the Syracuse University campus. Donating money to any significant cause brings joy and satisfaction. If you are fortunate enough to have funds to donate, I encourage you to do so. Helping others to survive on this planet is what life should be all about. Besides, they say, “You can’t take it with you.” My joking response to this comment is, “Then, I’m not going!” But a generous person is one who is liked and admired by all, so be as generous as you can be. THE GRAYING OF CENTRAL NEW YORK – AND NYS Inside: Mike Samoraj: First Lake Placid Ironman Competition at 60
Issue 82 – August-September 2019
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visits Bluffs of Lake Ontario at Chimney Bluffs State Park. The chimney-like spires were formed from eroded drumlins left at the end of the ice age. Wind, rain, waves and other forces of nature created sharp pinnacles some of which rise 150 feet above the shoreline.
Wandering Around Wayne County Ten ways to enjoy the home of the Chimney Bluffs State Park and homestead of the founder of the Church of Latter-day Saints By Sandra Scott
ayne County hugs the south shore of Lake Ontario and is where visitors can enjoy fun on the lake and along the Erie Canal. The county has many interesting sites, including unique formations along the shore, the homestead of the founder of the Church of Latter-day Saints and a general store frozen in time. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail was one of the first roads in America to be designated as a National Scenic Byway. Part of the scenic drive follows the shore of Lake Ontario in Wayne County.
Parks: Marvel at the massive earthen spires on the bluffs of Lake Ontario at Chimney Bluffs State Park. The chimney-like spires were formed from eroded drumlins left at the end
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of the ice age. Wind, rain, waves and other forces of nature created sharp pinnacles some of which rise 150 feet above the shoreline. The spires have existed for thousands of year, but are constantly changing. The park has approximately four miles of hiking trails, including a mile-long trail along the bluff. The county is also home to Beechwood State Park, home of a former Girl Scout camp, and several town parks including the historic three-acre Palmyra Aqueduct Park.
Sodus Point: Located on Sodus Bay, Sodus Point is surrounded by water on three sides. Summertime is the best time to visit Sodus Point Beach Park to enjoy the wide sandy beach with a playground, snack bar, and changing rooms. There is a
smaller beach on the bayside. Both beaches have lifeguards. Lighthouse aficionados will want to walk out on the pier to the old lighthouse and watch the boats come through the channel.
Sodus Point Lighthouse Museum: Situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario is the Sodus Point Lighthouse Museum. The Sodus Bay Historical Society operates the museum and gift shop. Exhibit rooms depict different eras when coal and lumber were king and when commercial fishing and shipbuilding were ways of life. Visitors can climb up the spiral staircase to the lens room at the top of the lighthouse tower. From this vantage point, about 70 feet above the waters of the lake, the view is
spectacular. The museum offers many events open to the public including summer concerts.
The Historic Erie Canal: Travel in the slow lane. The historic Erie Canal traverses through Wayne County and offers visitors a wide range of activities. Mid-Lakes Erie Macedon Landing in the town of Macedon offers a comfortable stop or convenient base for the canal traveler. Lockmaster canal boats are available for week-long charters as well as canoes, kayaks and paddleboats for rent.
The Montezuma Audubon Center: The center is situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway. It is the resting, feeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds. The center offers year-round environmental education programs, exhibits and presentations. A wall of windows offers a panoramic view of restored grassland and marshes. Two freshwater marshes have been restored, 50 acres of native grasses have been planted, a one-mile hiking trail has been constructed, and an allaccess observation platform has been built. They offer a variety of “handson” activities for the entire family.
Grapes, Apples and More: Wayne County is part of the Lake Ontario Wine Trail comprised of award winning wineries, modern distilleries and cideries. They all feature special events. J D Wine Cellars in Macedon has a five-acre Maze Wine Walk with wine stations hidden along the way. Thorpe Winery in Wolcott offers “starry starry night” stargazing plus winery birdwatching from springtime to fall free of charge. The fertile soil along Lake Ontario produces excellent apples, peaches, and vegetables available from farm stands during the season.
Cobblestone: Architecture of Wayne County is as varied as the people who live there but one type of architecture represents Wayne County better than any other and that is cobblestone masonry. Cobblestones are small rocks that can fit in the palm of your hand. Pioneers to Western New York state found the cobblestones, which had been brought by glaciers, along the shores of Lake Ontario or
in the fields they tried to plow and used them to build their homes and other buildings. The majority of the cobblestone buildings can be found in the towns that border Lake Ontario especially along Ridge Road and Lake Road.
William Phelps General Store: Step back one hundred years into the William Phelps General Store. It is only one of two totally original, authentic general stores anywhere with products that date back to 1860. It is an original Erie Canal General Store built in 1826 specifically to serve the Erie Canal. In 1940 the store closed and nothing has changed. The family occupied the upper two levels until it was taken over by the historical society. Nearby are the Palmyra Historical Museum and Erie Canal Depot.
Joseph Smith Homestead: Joseph Smith was the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Visit the reconstructed log cabin that was the boyhood home of Joseph Smith and his restored frame home. Walk to the Sacred Grove where Smith had his first vision in 1820. There are free guided tours. The Grandin Building in Palmyra is where The Book of Mormon was first printed and sold.
Lake-Stone House was made entirely of cobblestone masonry. The majority of the cobblestone buildings can be found in the towns that border Lake Ontario especially along Ridge Road and Lake Road.
Unique: The Alling Coverlet Museum in Palmyra has the largest collection of hand-woven coverlets in America. The Hoffman Clock Museum, located in the Newark library, displays over 300 timepieces with a special emphasis on the history of New York state clockmakers. There are murals throughout the county that preserve local history through community artwork.
Joseph Smith Welcome Center in Wayne County. He is the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Step back one hundred years into the William Phelps General Store. It is one of only two totally original, authentic general stores anywhere with products that date back to 1860. October / November 2019 - 55 PLUS
last page George DeMass, 74 By Mary Beth Roach
Past board president of Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum talks about the museum and the 75th anniversary of the arrival of Jewish refugees in Oswego Q: This marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of 982 Jewish refugees who had fled Europe — and the Holocaust — and arrived in Oswego in 1944. Fort Ontario had been decommissioned, and then-President Franklin Roosevelt brought them here. Why here? A: The barracks were here so they had a place to stay. President Roosevelt had campaigned in Oswego when he was governor. He liked Oswego, small town America. The fort had just been decommissioned so the barracks were available. Q: Why do you think it’s important to have a museum such as this? A: To make people aware. History does unfortunately repeat itself in some ways. America, in the last decade, has certainly had immigration problems. We need to be constantly aware of people who are being downtrodden, persecuted. Q: What is your role with the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum? A: I’m a past president of the board and I served on the board for quite a few years. Right now, I’m a volunteer, do lectures and I’m doing publicity work. Q: What was the mission of the shelter and the mission of the museum today? A: I think the theme of the 75th reunion says it all. This is when the Holocaust came to America. It’s the only place it happened in the United States. Our aim is to educate more and more people, including our students. The story is being worked into the curriculum in New York state, particularly here locally. To educate the people that this happened in United 50
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States history and world history. And a token number of people were saved from the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. Q: What do you, yourself, get from being part of the museum? A: I’ve always been interested in history. I like to look at historical context. It just gives me great satisfaction that this was such a special place for a few people. Every time I come into the museum — this building was the administration building when the refugees were here — when I walk in the door and see the full photograph statute of Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt, it means a lot to me. Q: You’ve met some of the refugees that stayed here. What was that like for you? A: It was such a satisfying and grateful experience to meet with them and talk with them. I pastored a parish in Baltimore for 33 years. Some of the refugees moved there and are still there. I knew some of them were in Baltimore, so I called one — her name was Rena. I introduced myself, and she said, ‘ Yo u ’ r e f r o m Oswego. We l l , there’s
another refugee visiting. Her name is Esther.’ Esther came to the phone and said ‘You’re from Oswego. That is the best place on earth. They received us when we had nothing and when we were nothing.’ It was something special our paths crossed. Q: You were born in 1945, the same time the refugees were here, and you had come here. A: My grandmother could speak a little German, so she told me she would come down and speak German to some of them. But brought me along. She was a history teacher and loved history. She wanted me to know the story. Q: The museum recently received a state funding from state Sen. Patty Ritchie for $100,000. How will that funding be utilized? A: It’ll be used to update our exhibits, make them state-of-the-art. Q: What do you hope for the future of this museum? A: I hope the museum, Fort Ontario and all of the 75 acres around it become a national park, as well as a UNESCO world site. And those two things are very, very possible, and they’re being worked on now. Q: What does that do for the museum? A: Being a national park will give us visibility not only to the nation, but to the world.
George DeMass, a town of Oswego native, is past president of the board of directors at Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum.
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