55+CNY #77 October/November 18

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Special: Retirement Planning Tips for Single Women

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55 PLUS Issue 77 October-November 2018

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area


Former columnist hitchhikes from New York to California

ADVENTURE The challenges of salmon fishing in remote Canadian waters


New sport has found avid advocates in CNY


Loretto’s CEO setting the pace for senior care in Central New York

What Is a 79-Year-Old Supposed to Look Like?

Nationally Recognized Stroke Care. Say “Take Me to Crouse.” As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State to have earned Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, Crouse Health is proud to provide the full range of stroke care services.

Minutes Matter Comprehensive stroke centers are the best-equipped medical centers in a geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication. At Crouse, receiving fast stroke diagnosis and treatment starts even before patients arrive at the Emergency Room. Once on the scene, our Emergency Medical Services partners start communicating with our ER and stroke teams, providing information vital for immediate treatment. Working together, we’re consistently meeting — and exceeding — aggressive door-totreatment times that surpass the U.S. average. Crouse provides options for post-stroke rehabilitation, as well as continuing education to patients, our EMS partners and the community about the risks factors and signs of stroke.

Advanced Stroke Rescue Crouse is the only hospital in the region equipped with two hybrid operating room suites, allowing our multidisciplinary stroke team to provide the most advanced endovascular stroke rescue capabilities 24/7.

Exceeding Stroke Treatment Standards Median Time (minutes)




2017 2018



Source: AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines

If tPA is given within three hours of symptoms, the effects of stroke decrease significantly. Crouse has earned the American Heart/Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus recognition for meeting — and exceeding — AHA guidelines for giving tPA within 45 minutes.


F. A. S. T.





S T R O K E ? C A L L 911. crouse.org/stroke

As a New York State-designated Primary Stroke Center since 2007, we’ve worked to raise awareness in our community about the warning signs of stroke. With our designation as a DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center and home to the region’s newest ER, Crouse Health continues to deliver superior stroke care to Central New York patients.


The Hilarious Celebration of Women and The Change!®


Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more! This joyful musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles.



BroadwayinSyracuse.com GROUPS OF 10+ CALL FAMOUS ARTISTS 315-424-8210

October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS




October / November 2018




Savvy Senior 6 12 ON THE ROAD Gardening 8 Dining Out 10

• Former columnist hitchhikes from New York to California this summer – 40 years after he first did it

VOLUNTEERING My Turn 20 16 • North Syracuse couple fills needs

Aging 37

by featuring community food pantry

Life After 55 42 22 EDUCATION Druger’s Zoo 44

• Is it worth trying to you earn a degree at this point?

Golden Years 46 24 ADVENTURE LAST PAGE Sarah S. Wiles, co-owner of MidLakes Navigation, which turns 50 this year, linked to legenday Stickley family 4


55 PLUS - October/November 2018

Taking on the challenges of salmon fishing in remote Canandian waters


• Pickleball has found some avid advocates in CNY




• Loretto CEO setting the pace for senior care in CNY


• Former TV anchor George Kilpatrick on mission to right wrongs


• Candace Edwards: Teacher, entrepreneur devoted to education


•Physician Eva Briggs shows 13 reasons why you should do yoga


• Jefferson County: Home to Fort Drum, region includes Thousand Islands, Sackets Harbor, Alex Bay, Wellesley Island and more

Visit us online at CNY55.COM

LIFE S AVING SYNERGY Experience the cutting edge of medicine at the St. Joseph’s Health Cardiovascular Institute, as we bring together nationally acclaimed specialists from all facets of cardiovascular medicine to provide the widest range of treatment options in the region. Our commitment to constant self-improvement is strong, and with our ever-growing list of world-class services including our Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Program, patients recover faster and more safely, because to us...


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9/12/18 1:42 PM

savvy senior


Retirement Planning Tips for Single Women

t’s an unfortunate reality, but most single women — whether they’re divorced, widowed or never married — face much greater financial challenges in retirement than men. Why? Because women earn less money — about 80 cents for every dollar that men make, on average, and they have shorter working careers than men due to raising children or caring for aging parents. And less money earned usually translates into less money saved and a lower Social Security benefit when you retire. In addition, women live an average of five years longer than men, which requires their retirement income to stretch farther for living expenses and healthcare costs. And, according to some studies, women tend to be less knowledgeable and more intimidated about financial issues than men, which means they don’t always handle their money as well as they should. Because of these issues, it’s very important that women educate themselves on financial matters. Listed below are some tips and resources that may help you.

Start Saving —If your employer offers a retirement plan, such as a 401K, you should contribute enough to at least capitalize on a company match, if available. And if you can swing it, contribute even more. By law, you can save as much as $18,500 in a 401(k) in 2018, or $24,500 to those 50 and older, due to the catch-up rule.

If you don’t have a workplace plan, consider opening a Traditional or Roth IRA. Both are powerful tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts that let you contribute up to $5,500 annually, or $6,500 when you’re over 50. And if you’re self-employed, consider a SEP-IRA, SIMPLE-IRA and/or a solo 401(k), all of which can help reduce your taxable income while putting money away for retirement. 6

By Jim Miller

55 PLUS - October/November 2018

Also, if you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, you should consider opening a health savings account (see HSAsearch.com). This is an excellent tool that can be used to sock away funds pre-tax and use them before or after retirement to pay for medical expenses.

Find Your Number — It’s also im-

55PLUS cny55.com

Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach Christopher Malone Margaret McCormick, Carol Radin Jim Sollecito


portant to get a handle on how much you need to save for a comfortable retirement. You can do this through a number of free online calculators like ChooseToSave.org or FinancialMentor.com/calculator.

Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott .

Pay Off Debt — If you have debt, you need to get it under control. If you need some help with this, consider a nonprofit credit-counseling agency that provides free or low cost advice and solutions. To locate an agency, use the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website at NFCC.org or call 800-388-2227.

Office Assistant

Find Help — To help you educate yourself on financial matters like retirement planning, saving and investing, health care, annuities and more, a top resource is the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement at WiserWomen.org. And to help you get up to speed on Social Security, visit SSA. gov/people/women. This web page, dedicated to women, provides helpful publications like “What Every Women Should Know,” along with links to benefit calculators and your personal Social Security account to help you figure out your future earnings at different retirement ages. You should also consider getting a financial assessment with a fee-only financial adviser. Costs for these services will vary from around $150 to $300 per hour, but this can be very beneficial to help you set up a retirement plan you can follow. See NAPFA.org or GarrettPlanningNetwork.com to locate an advisor in your area.


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson Kimberley Tyler


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

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: $15 a year; $25 for two years © 2018 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.

No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 3071

How to Reach Us P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-1182 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: editor@CNY55.com Editor@cnyhealth.com

To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors. Since 1974 the Loretto Foundation has helped support individuals served by the Loretto family of care. Through fundraising initiatives and a variety of giving opportunities, the Loretto Foundation provides additional funding to help enhance safe and secure facilities and deliver enriched programming for over 9,000 individuals in Central New York each year. Help us continue to support our community by giving a gift or volunteering.

Show you care by giving a gift today. • Give a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one • Give a gift to the Loretto Foundation’s Founders Endowment Fund • Give a restricted gift to any of the 19 affiliated Loretto sites and programs • Give a gift of appreciation toward the 2,500 amazing caregivers of Loretto • Give a the gift of your time and volunteer

For more information, visit us at lorettocny.org/foundation or contact Katie Mondrick at 315.413.3909. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS Loretto Foundation Ad_7.25x10_FullPage.indd 1


3/14/18 3:08 PM


By Jim Sollecito

A Bright and Beautiful Plan B


ust when you think you’ve earned some peace and predictability, the unexpected happens and you have to go to plan B. Then you realize you don’t have a plan B. You hardly had time to learn the rules to plan A. I had triplet great aunts who lived in Amsterdam, NY. Mary and Minnie developed Alzheimer’s, dying before their time. Nellie was the sharpest tack in the family until she died at age 93. The last time I saw her she still knew my birthdate. From a young age, those three made a lasting impression on me. How could there possibly be such a disconnect? I knew then that life held

more questions than answers. I have friends going through life’s physical motions while their minds definitely drift. One of these friends, Ed Balian of DeWitt, gave me permission to photograph him with his loving daughter, Barb Rinella, who cares for him 24/7. Ed and I have a Cornell University connection. He graduated long before I entered but I’m still able to coax some of his memories out of him. Back in early January I landed on the front page of the Post Standard with an impressively sized photograph of my garden center flooded by melting snow that overtaxed the Howlett Hill

Ed Balian with his daughter Barb Rinella from DeWitt enjoy some tea in the Sensory and Healing Garden at Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. 8

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Road drainage system. The damage was well over $10,000 and gave me the opportunity for a plan B. What if I devoted the area to a garden for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia? What if elements of this garden could trigger long-term memory? When they visit maybe they’ll reconnect to some morsel of their lives currently buried inside their brain. I’d include heirloom plants, wind chimes ringing familiar notes, brightly painted bicycles like one they might have ridden, and even clothes poles they hung on when their mothers were drying their dungarees and blouses. I would provide ample seating, shade and something colorful so, no matter when they visit, there would be something to talk about. And for caregivers, who need to keep reminding themselves that they’ll do better by focusing more on what exists than what’s missing. Everyone loves masses of bright hydrangeas, free-flowering weigelas, hosts of hostas, happy hardy hibiscus, bundles of black-eyed susans, and a myriad of other marvelous plants. Our talented drafter and resident artist Elise Robinson re-purposed cast offs, created wind chimes from wine bottles and old kitchenware. She painted old garden tools in brilliant hues to rival a rainbow of Crayolas. The Sensory and Healing Garden is complete — a bright and beautiful plan B. You’re invited. Visit anytime we are open. Bring someone. Bring a lunch if you like. Leave with some new memories. Life is a series of moments, some so special they are impossible to forget — and worth repeating. Perhaps we can help you grow a memory or two this year. The unexpected plan B. 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 jim@sollecito.com.

Social Security

Q&A Q: I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring early next year. When is the best time of year to apply for Social Security benefits? A: You can apply as early as four months before when you want your monthly benefits to begin. To apply, just go to www.socialsecurity. gov/applytoretire. Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy. Q: Does Social Security offer tools for retirement planning? A: Yes. Social Security offers several retirement planning tools to help you better understand your Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/planners to get started. Then choose a benefit calculator to estimate your monthly benefit amounts. Q: I am 57 years old and I currently receive Social Security disability benefits. Can I still get my regular Social Security retirement benefits when I reach full retirement age? A: If you are still receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, we will automatically switch you from disability benefits to retirement benefits at that point. The money amount will remain the same. For more information, visit our website on disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability. Q: I want to sign up for a Medicare Part C and D plan, but I’m not sure which plan I want. Is there a resource to help me find a plan? A: Yes. Medicare.gov has a plan finder available on their website as well as instructions on how to use the plan finder. To access the Medicare Plan Finder, please visit www.medicare.gov/finda-plan/questions/home.aspx

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October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Spring Pea Torch: The spring pea and parmesan plate gets special treatment before being served.

The Chef & The Cook Team Up

New Baldwisville restaurant is a new culinary destination


he Chef & The Cook at 7 Syracuse St., which opened in the beginning of June in the heart of Baldwinsville, is stirring the culinary and local culture pot. Chef trio and co-owners DeAnna Germano, Mark Germano and Jason Jessmore’s promise is to step up the culinary game with shareable plates and entrees. The Central New York suburb commonly known as B’ville should be a prime location for foodies. It sometimes feels stagnant. No news may be good news, but not for culinary culture. Indecisiveness regarding switching places, names or themes of restaurants do not count. The village has potential to be a go-to Central New York destination, and it’s 20 minutes from Syracuse. 10

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The village is incredibly scenic and boasts historical aspects, including an Erie Canal lock; plus, it has an amphitheater, which existed before amphitheaters were “a thing” in Onondaga County. Baldwinsville has many private and family-owned businesses with longtime staples such as the notable B’ville Diner. There are sandwich shops and cafes. Several places are within walking distance. Cue The Chef & The Cook. The restaurant, which inhabits the brickwalled space where pub Lake Effect once occupied, has already prided itself on taking risks. There is a fair amount of patio space for rustic alfresco dining, plus an outdoor raw bar. The one-sided menu halved, The Chef menu offers more unique food

options. The Cook’s side of the menu features more familiar fare, but all items have a twist. There are menu tasting options as well. Try a few courses for $125 a person, a pairing option for $165 a head and an “in the weeds” option, which, for over $200, a patron can try everything on the menu over the course of a few hours. While the menu boasts an upscale attitude, the atmosphere is far from it. While this isn’t a T-shirt and shorts restaurant, it welcomes patrons looking for a comfortable, laid-back evening of conversation with craft cocktails, great wine and local craft beer. We started off with the spring pea and parmesan (Chef’s Menu, $9) and the nacho plate (Cook’s Menu, $12). The first vegetarian dish boasts con-

Chicken and potato skewers with corn on the cob present a classic and flavorful option. fit potato, roasted garlic, spring peas and homemade croutons. The plate is aesthetically bright and very well presented, and it was torched after the plate hit the table. The flavor wasn’t as vibrant as anticipated. Potatoes are potatoes, but adding more salt to coax out flavor wouldn’t have been a good thing. Regardless, the ingredients were fresh, the cloves of garlic were perfectly roasted, and the crouton crunches were delightful. The nacho plate also proved to be a great starter option. The nachos come deconstructed for a hands-on, build-a-plate experience; the ingredients are placed in piles on the square plate, which looks like a floor tile, except for the chips in a bag. Our party of three had to be conservative with the ingredients aside the chips (in a brown bag) and the cup of incredibly delicious cheddar fondue. Toppings include tomatoes, scallions, avocado and black bean hummus. The hummus is simply, albeit artistically, smeared across the plate, but it’s barely enough for one person to enjoy. The main courses arrived at an appropriate time after our starters were finished. As entrees, we opted for Cook’s Menu items upstate skewers ($16) and the ribs and chips ($17), plus Chef’s Menu item lobster margarita ($19). The lobster margarita is exactly what it sounds like. Our server presented the meal in a margarita glass. The lobster meat, which basks in a pouch of butter and rosemary sous vide, was dumped into the glass. It’s

The lobster margarita offers a fine portion of seafood wading in a pool of rosemary and butter sous vide.

that simple, but was so delicious. For a fancier food option, there is a fair amount of lobster. The cilantro, lime and onion accentuate the sous vide. The chicken and potato upstate skewers come out on a metallic server that is frequently seen holding tacos. Two skewers are cradled in the outside beds, and a half-ear of grilled corn sits in the middle. The Cornell marinade chicken was very flavorful and grilled perfectly to charred crispiness, not burnt to the point where I was brushing char dust off my tongue. The ribs are served with a scoop of pickled onions and hot peppers, plus a side of chips — the same bagged presentation seen with the nachos. The tactic is questionable — it’s obtrusive on a plate and a waste of a brown bag (which is stained with oil from the chips, so it’s not recyclable). The ribs, however, were not affected. The dry rub ribs blanketed with a Carolina mopping sauce proved definitely finger licking delicious. The meat is very tender and literally fell off the bone. Surprisingly, it wasn’t very messy. Since the meal wasn’t overly filling, dessert was on our minds. We opted for the lavender and espresso crème brûlée ($7) and the chocolate cake ($7). The crème brûlée came out in a tea cup, and the top was torched to the point of bubbling. The lavender was very subtle, and the espresso didn’t steal the show. The dessert is one of the local best. The dark and rich chocolate cake was topped with a thick, homemade

dollop of whipped cream and sat in a small puddle of blackberry sauce. The sauce was also artfully splattered across the plate in almost Jackson Pollack fashion. For three people, the bill came to $93.96 before gratuity. The experience at The Chef and The Cook was a great reminder that eating locally and eating great food is important. Our time spent also reminded us that slowing down and savoring food is absolutely important. Food brings people together and it serves as a conversation piece. The new restaurant is worth a visit and a return.

The Chef and The Cook ADDRESS: 7 Syracuse St., Baldwinsville NY PHONE: 315-303-4159 WEBSITE/SOCIAL: www.cheffourrent.wixsite.com/ thechefthecook www.facebook.com/ thechefandthecookbaldwinsville www.instagram.com/ thechefandthecook HOURS: Tuesday – Thursday: 4 – 10 p.m. Friday: 4 – 11 p.m. Saturday: Noon – 11 p.m. Sunday Brunch: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS



on the road

In May, Ed GriffinNolan packed his backpack, walked to Route 20, a couple miles from his home in Pompey, and put his thumb out. He spent three weeks to reach his destination in San Francisco. Photo by Sean Kirst.

Hitchhiking Again Ed Griffin-Nolan, a former Syracuse New Times columnist, hitchhiked from New York to California this summer – 40 years after he first did it By Margaret McCormick


he first time Ed Griffin-Nolan hitchhiked from New York to California, he was 21 years old. He hit the road with a friend and carried a 40-pound backpack. There was no such thing as smartphones and no Facebook and Instagram to document the trip. When he set out to recreate that trip this summer, 40 years later, friends and family generally had the same response: “Nobody hitchhikes anymore,’’ they said. That response didn’t stop him. In May, Griffin-Nolan packed his backpack, walked to Route 20, a couple miles from his home in Pompey, and put his thumb out. Before doing so, he started a blog (NobodyHitchhikesAnymore.com), which he also used as a hashtag on social media (#NobodyHitchhikesAnymore). He made a sign with the 12

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hashtag, which some of his drivers posed with. Griffin-Nolan’s journey took just under three weeks. In late June, back in Syracuse and catching up with work and life, he said the road had been good to him. “It was amazing,’’ he says. “The people I met were great. I set out to find out if this thing I remember called the road is still there.’’ It’s there, he says, but at times he didn’t recognize it. Suburban sprawl has made it difficult to tell where you are, at times, and one metropolitan area looks the same as the next. “Interstates have killed a lot of towns,’’ he says. Secondary roads, like Route 20 or Route 66, are preferable and often take you through places where you would like to spend some time. But the rides tend to be shorter on those roads, he says, so he stuck with the highways.

“I just followed the rides,’’ he says. “I went where the rides took me.’’ Griffin-Nolan, 61, is a licensed massage therapist and an entrepreneur. He owns the Art of Massage and the Spa at 500, on West Onondaga Street, in Syracuse. In a past life, he served as a columnist and senior writer for the Syracuse New Times. Griffin-Nolan grew up on Staten Island and studied journalism at New York University and economics at SUNY Albany. He spent much of the 1980s in Central America and in his younger years hitchhiked extensively. He and his wife, Ellen Haffar, an artist and art teacher, moved to Central New York in 1990 and have raised three children here. No one was really surprised when Griffin-Nolan made his hitchhiking plans known, least of all his wife.

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“She’s cool,’’ Griffin-Nolan says. “Her idea of love is to let me or anyone be free to be who they are. That’s what she does. We travel apart sometimes. And we travel together sometimes.’’ For this trip, Griffin-Nolan endeavored to travel as light as possible. In his backpack, he carried a sleeping bag, a hammock, several changes of clothing, a smartphone, his laptop, a 1.5-liter water bottle, snacks (including raisins and summer sausage), wild cherry Lifesavers and maps. “I love paper maps,’’ he says. He didn’t use the hammock or the sleeping bag and says he probably won’t bring those items with him on his next trip. Griffin-Nolan runs marathons and eats healthily, usually. He says one of the biggest challenges of his journey was simply getting used to the weight and awkwardness of the backpack. He walked a lot, at most about eight miles in a day, and kept himself hydrated and fed. He retreated to McDonald’s across the land frequently to cool off, rest, charge his phone and have something to eat. “I like a Big Mac,’’ he says. “Probably more than I should.’’ Dozens of memorable people gave him a lift and lifted his spirits: a mom with a carload of kids; a young man returning home from a job interview; a woman who hitchhiked to Texas as a teenager to get out of a bad situation; a waiter who had battled cancer; a ski board instructor; a truck driver making his way from Ohio to Miami, and many more. The toughest places to land rides, he recalls, were Peoria, Ill; Craig, Colo., and Omaha, Neb. In Craig, he noted on his blog, it was so hard to connect with a driver that it felt like someone was standing behind him holding a sign that read “axe murderer.’’ In Omaha, he says, the sun was intense and it was 105 degrees on the asphalt. He stayed out for two hours at a time, max. He met his future ride out of Omaha at a McDonald’s. “More than half of the drivers that picked me up took me further than they had planned to,’’ Griffin-Nolan notes. His final driver, headed to Oregon with his Pomeranian Teddy Bear, went more than 200 miles out of his way to deliver Griffin-Nolan to San Francisco, where he spent a few days with his niece before flying home. It’s not the thumb stuck out that gets you the rides, Griffin-Nolan says. 14

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Photo taken outside Fort Collins, Colorado May 30. “That day I hitched from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs, getting rides from four men (one of them a Colorado State Trooper) and two women, including a park ranger and a teacher one day away from retirement,” says Griffin-Nolan. Photo provided.

More on Ed’s Adventures? To learn more about Ed Griffin-Nolan and his hitchhiking experience, visit https://nobodyhitchhikesanymore.com. It’s your smile, your attitude, your demeanor, the image you project — and maybe even the fact you’ve got some miles on you. “You’re almost constantly making decisions,’’ he says. “You’re constantly on. You’re presenting yourself to strangers.’’ Drivers would pull over and he’d get psyched for a minute — only to realize they had pulled over to check their phones or send a text. “That didn’t happen in 1978,’’ he says. “Rejection is hard to take.’’ Never on his journey did he feel afraid or threatened. “I don’t really get scared,’’ Griffin-Nolan says. But both passenger and driver do feel vulnerable sharing the close confines of a car with a stranger. “Vulnerability creates openness,’’ Griffin-Nolan says. “The result is there is no BS.

People told me their stories and their stories of loss.’’ Griffin-Nolan is working on a book about his hitchhiking experience, the people he met and the stories they shared. He plans another hitchhiking adventure in November. “Could be Florida, could be Arizona, Mexico. On each trip the route varies depending on who picks me up,” he said. In July, while driving near Otisco Lake, Griffin-Nolan met a young man from North Dakota hitchhiking and making his way east on Route 20. He picked him up and drove him to LaFayette, where they shared Sausage McMuffins at McDonald’s before parting with hugs. It’s not entirely true that nobody hitchhikes anymore.

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October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS




Sue and Ernie Wass at Temple Concord’s food pantry. In their 16 years with the organization, the North Syracuse couple has been able to grow the pantry to a larger, more comprehensive operation.

Partners with a Passion North Syracuse couple fills needs by featuring community food pantry, supplying clothing to less-fortunate By Carol Radin


n Friday mornings, Sue and Ernie Wass stand at the door of a food distribution room at Temple Society of Concord welcoming a line of people waiting for food. They are people from the surrounding Syracuse University neighborhood who need to supplement their public assistance food allowances. Sue and her husband Ernie, along with other volunteers, busy themselves with preparations. They package Panera-donated breads and bagels, restock the table of canned meats and stews, arrange rows of Cheerios and Wheaties, and bag the fresh zucchini and tomatoes from a local farm. The volunteers pitch a steady


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flow of questions to Sue, who knows all the answers. “When are the canned peaches and plums coming in?” “Do we want to put eight oranges in each bag instead of six since they’re small?” “Does this can of ravioli meet protein guidelines?” Sue, 83, responds to each question and moves on to another room set aside for signing in applicants. She takes out the card file and loose-leaf binder of peoples’ records and lines up the week’s nutrition pamphlets. Meanwhile, Ernie, 84, makes sure pitchers of juice and baskets of graham crackers are filled on a nearby table for snacks for the children who accompany their parents. Another volunteer rearranges the

shoes and shirts on the clothing donation table, stacks toilet paper and shampoo on the “miscellaneous” shelf, and unloads a carton of donated children’s books. Finally, Sue goes back to the hallway where everyone waits and gives the signal in her soft voice: “You can come in now.” Quickly and quietly, they form a line at the table in the intake room. As Sue pulls out the index cards for each person who is there, she calls out their names one by one. That’s when big grins erupt in the line. “Hey, you remembered my name!” a young man says. “High five!” The Wasses, residents of North Syracuse, have been putting a name

and face to people who come to Temple Concord’s food pantry for over 16 years. “We started volunteering when we retired,“ Sue explained. Not long after, the temple found itself seeking a new volunteer coordinator. “It was ours. Just like that, we had a new “job,” Sue said. In her former professional life, Sue was a Section 8 program administrator for the village of North Syracuse Housing Authority. So she was able to translate her problem-solving and organizational skills immediately into the pantry operations. Ernie was an engineer at Bristol-Myers whose attention to detail, combined with his inherent empathy and people skills, keeps him in sleeves-rolled-up mode for whatever needs to be done hour by hour.

Collaborative effort Under the Wasses’ conscientious oversight, the pantry evolved from a small room filled with assorted canned goods collected from Temple Concord’s congregants to a larger, more comprehensive operation that adheres to guidelines from the Food Bank of CNY. The pantry is able to buy much of its food from the food bank, in addition to donations from temple congregants and local groups, businesses and farms. Where once the food pantry was housed in a small stock room, with cartons of canned goods that patrons would reach into for their canned fish, beans, rice and cereal for the week, the pantry site occupies two large re-purposed classrooms at Temple Concord. They are the intake room where patrons sign in and browse through the clothing and book donations, and a second room where food items are arranged on tables that are “stations” for each food group. Featured are fresh produce, canned vegetables, canned protein items like tuna, peanut butter and beef stew, frozen fresh meat, cereal and breads. A month in the life of the food pantry entails a multitude of details: the Friday distributions; review of applications; food bank deliveries that must be unloaded, catalogued and shelved; written reports and data collection for the food bank; and the oc-

Ernie Wass (left) at the bread and cereal tables with fellow volunteers Debbie Goldman and Chet Machlin. Wass was an engineer at Bristol-Myers before he retired. casional meeting or conference with other area food providers. Sue, in particular, knows every detail of running the pantry, from communication with food providers to regulations governing eligibility for food assistance to guidelines for nutritional requirements. She and Ernie also know the personal side. They know which of the “regulars” needs gluten-free food, which families need disposable diapers, and who is picking up food for the friend next door recovering from hip surgery. The couple also relies on other regular volunteers as well as Syracuse University students and teens from temple youth groups. “We couldn’t keep the pantry going without the volunteers who help us with all aspects of the pantry,” Sue said. The community needs have always been great. In Sue and Ernie’s first fall and winter as coordinators, as word got around, the food pantry served an average of 100 families or individuals per week and relied on congregants’ donations alone. It was after that winter that Sue and Ernie adopted the food bank’s guidelines for neighborhood territories, each of which is served by a particular house of worship or community center. Now serving the southeast area bordered by Syracuse University to

the south and Erie Boulevard to the north, Temple Concord’s pantry provides for an average of 65 families or individuals per week.

No one goes hungry Even as they adhere to Food Bank of CNY guidelines, Sue and Ernie never turn anyone away. If a new applicant resides in a neighborhood covered by a different food pantry and didn’t realize it, Sue will say, “Get your food here today. But next week, here is the place you need to go,” and she’ll hand that person a pre-printed card with the appropriate food pantry and address. If someone forgets personal identification for the initial application, she’ll request that they bring an ID with birthdate and address next time. If the person forgets a second time, she says, “You have one more chance. You can have your food today, but you’ll bring your ID next time, right?” Fortunately, people do, she said. Although Sue projects a business-like demeanor, and everyone respects that, both she and the regular patrons have settled into a comfortable rapport. Conversations break out weekly about one person’s upcoming surgery, another’s long stay in the October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


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hospital, another’s trip down south to see family, or an upcoming job interview. A woman once pulled out her phone to show pictures of her wedding at city hall two days before. Depending on the season, many are eager to offer up critiques of S.U. football, basketball, the New York State Fair, the recipe they tried last week, and, as always, the weather. Above all, the one constant in conversation is the weekly greeting. When Sue asks, “How are you?” many respond, “I am blessed, thank you.” The remark opens Sue’s usually serious face into a smile. She closes her eyes and nods mindfully, as if to say, yes, she too knows the blessings she has. As individuals move on to the food distribution room, the other volunteers extend the same good will, engaging each patron with friendliness and respect. Side by side, Sue and Ernie share this endeavor as they have shared their life-long partnership in marriage and parenting. Recently celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary, they have raised five daughters and now boast 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Though most of the “kids” live in other cities, like Cleveland, Ohio, and Charlotte, N.C., Sue and Ernie hop in their car for frequent visits. They never miss a graduation, a bar or bat mitzvah, or a milestone birthday. They even make long trips to Toronto to see cousins and attend reunions. Both are also accomplished musicians who are active in community bands. Ernie played the tuba for the Baldwinsville Community Band, and both of them perform in Syracuse’s Keyna Hora Klezmer Band, with Ernie on violin and Sue on keyboard. Their lives are truly rich with family, music, and good health and energy to facilitate what the pantry requires. Asked why they volunteer to carry on the pantry, Sue simply shrugs and says, “I’m not sure how I can say it. It’s just our way of giving back to the community.” For Sue and Ernie, it is not something that requires a lot of thought. Their actions tell the story, as they reach out every week to people who reach back and say, “High five! You remembered me!”

Richard Levy stands in the living room of his home in Syracuse.

My life changed forever when I was forced to flee Nazi Germany as a young, Jewish boy. I was rescued through the extraordinary kindness of a British family in 1939. My life was saved. Over time, I developed the notion that I was set out to better the world through moral and ethical action. I decided to open a fund at the Community Foundation to provide for the causes that resonate with my own life experiences such as refugee resettlement, civil rights and healthcare.

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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

What Is a 79-Year-Old Supposed to Look Like?

‘I may be a senior, but, so what? I’m still hot.’


s I approach my 80th birthday (next June 2), I tend to over-analyze comments made to me about aging and my appearance. Yes, and I must admit to some ageism annoyances, as well. Too many customer service representatives have this opening line, “And what can I do for you, young man?” I actually feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention when I hear this. Here is where the over-analysis comes in: “What is this person implying — that I really look old so let’s soften the blow by calling him `young man’”? Over a recent holiday weekend, I returned to my hometown to visit my brother and his family. I ran into several acquaintances whom I had not seen for a number of years. Some asked my age, which did not bother me in the least. When I told them that I was 79, several said, “Wow! You look great for 79.” It left me wondering: What is a 79-year-old supposed to look like? I checked out photos of 79-yearold celebrities, such as “Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola, Six-Million-Dollar Man star Lee Majors, talk-show host Maury Povich, actor Jon Voight and singer Kenny Rogers. I lamented to a friend that they looked great for 79; I, by comparison, not so much. “Yeah, but some of those guys probably had plastic surgery and did other stuff to their faces,” my friend said. “You have a natural look.” I was startled. Natural look? By this, I guess he means bald, wrinkles, jowls and other manifestations of the aging pro-


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cess. After I had had lunch with a friend just after my 79th birthday, he told me that I “look different. You have a glow.” Me? A glow? What the heck does that mean? I tried to press him on what he saw that I didn’t see. He said it was a certain something that he could not describe. Mystery not solved. Sir Isaac Newton would be happy to learn that I know a thing or two about gravity. I have the face and body to confirm that gravity has done its thing with me. I have tried to over-compensate for having the perfect face for radio by being funny, witty, interesting and exhibit a sparkling personality. Success in these areas has been spotty, to say the least. Stereotypes of aging include how people over a certain age should look, feel and act, rather than take into account individual differences and circumstances. These stereotypes are primarily negative, because they depict not the desired “golden years” but a time for loneliness, dependency, poor physical and mental conditions and illness. We all probably have a goal to “grow old gracefully” — whatever that means. Too often, the description of us older folks is not a particularly pleasant one, especially since these aforementioned stereotypes abound. We’ve all heard it: As we age, we tend to get more demanding, grumpier, more opinionated and meddlesome. We’re described as sour-pusses, disagreeable and out-of-touch. Our children and younger acquaintances show us a rolling-of-the-eyes deference when we misspeak or commit a social faux-pas.

Betty White, 96,

That whispering that you can’t make out because your hearing isn’t what it used to be involves you and your “senior moments.” Not to overplay the negativity of growing old, there are positives, too. Many of us are still active, even well into our 80s, sometimes into our 90s. We’re alert, concerned about what’s happening in our communities and the world, enjoy eating out, going to movies, plays and concerts and engaging in leisure-time activities and traveling. But we need to be honest with ourselves. As we have aged, we have diminishing abilities. We can’t do what we did when we were 30 and 40, even 50. Each year now takes a much greater toll on our physical abilities compared to a year when we were younger. Once in a while, I conjure up this image in my mind’s eye of my hanging on to the minute hand of a clock as it tick-tocks its way toward midnight. Try as I might to pull the minute hand the other way, it continues its methodical march toward the hour of reckoning. Pretty grim stuff, huh? Advice columnist Ann Landers once said, “At age 20, we worried about what others thought of us; at 40, we didn’t care what they thought of us. At 60, we discovered they hadn’t been thinking of us at all.” Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld. I especially like the attitude of actress Betty White, 96, who said, “I may be a senior, but, so what? I’m still hot.”

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Should You Earn Your Degree? Experts weigh in on whether 55-plus workers should go for a higher level of education By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ou’ve made it this far in your working life without achieving a higher level of education. Is it worth it to gain more? That depends upon many factors. Some people gain personal fulfillment from continuing their education. If that’s all you want, and you have the money to pay for it without compromising your retirement, go for it. If you’re thinking of further studies to increase your earning potential, you have many more considerations. Jennifer B. Bernstein, Ph.D., president of Get Yourself Into College based in Syracuse, said she isn’t sure additional education will financially pay off with so few years left in the workforce, unless that education would segue into an additional revenue stream upon retirement. “For instance, if you are a guidance counselor and get certified in the


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Strong Interest Inventory or MBTI, when you retire you could possibly capitalize on all those years as a counselor to get some clients for those assessments,” Bernstein said. “Such additional credentials might not amount to a lot of additional money, but it could be a nice form of supplemental income.” For some people who hit a career plateau, more education can help them continue on their earning trajectory or shift to a different, better-earning career. Bernstein encourages mid-career and older workers to consider both the cost of the education and the number of years they’ll still be able to work. Their hiring potential also matters. The time and money needed to obtain the education also matters. For example, becoming licensed to work as a massage therapist is much less of an investment than deciding to be-

come a medical doctor. If the jump is too big, workers should consider a small shift instead. Would-be scholars should weigh the disruption caused by obtaining more schooling. Earning a degree will take lots of time that could be spent elsewhere, such as with the spouse, children, grandchildren or friends. Look into the demand for the type of position you hope to get after completing your additional education, especially as it relates to where you live. Would you want to move to a different state to pursue your dream job? For some career changes, a bachelor’s or associate degree may not be necessary. Certificate programs cost less and combined with experience, may provide a better return on investment. Leslie Rose McDonald, founder and president of Pathfinders, CTS, Inc. in Liverpool, pointed out that many more people remain healthier into their older years. If you plan to keep working past retirement age, then additional education may be worthwhile. “If you feel you might be at risk for downsizing or right sizing, more education can help you keep up with colleagues,” she said. “It could help sharpen skills to stay relevant.” She added that to keep experienced employees onboard, some employers will reimburse educational expenses. For out-of-pocket education, McDonald recommends community college, certificate programs or online leaning, all which tends to cost less than traditional college classes. The non-traditional route may also fit your life better now, especially if you still have children at home or help care for your elderly parents. “Some schools, depending if you’ve been in school before, may accept previously earned credit or work experience and accomplishments,” McDonald said. She likes www.Petersons.com as a one stop shop to look at the different types of educational institutions available. “You or I could get hit by a bus tomorrow,” McDonald said. “I believe in going for what you want to. Don’t get into debt to endanger your retirement; do it to bring value to yourself or your career.”

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We Do The Same Walk Every Day. So Why Do I Keep Forgetting The Way? If you have just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or think you might have early signs of the condition, it may be difficult to think about what comes next. But thinking about your future is exactly what researchers around the world are doing-right at this moment. For example, we’re currently looking for people to join a new clinical study called GRADUATE II. The study will assess how safe and effective an investigational drug is at slowing the progression of early (also known as ‘prodromal’) or mild Alzheimer’s disease. And we are looking for people like you to take part.

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Canada, Eh? Not your typical Disney vacation: Taking on the challenges of salmon fishing in remote waters can be exhilarating By Jim Sollecito


aving recently returned from a bush plane adventure with two similar-minded friends to the far reaches of Quebec, Canada, I can tell you for certain: Travel affords learning opportunities not found staying at home. For Canadian pilot Keith Richardson, fishing buddy and fellow garden center operator Dennis Ouellette and me, adventure is in our nature. As we headed north and east, the last stops would be just before the ocean, on the Kegashka and Natashquan Rivers in the First Nations reserve of Nutashkuan. Flying through fog, we literally tasted the fresh boreal forest air before landing on choppy waters. Planning began months ago. We had to figure where we would make camp and where fuel would be available. Take-offs and landings were calculated based on the weather. Richardson has been flying to this area for decades. He knows the local Innu (meaning “the people”). He’s fluent in a variety of languages and is an excellent cook. As the pilot, he had to be on top of his game every minute before, during and after flight, since nothing is guaranteed. There are no control towers on the rivers that became our landing strips; one single miscalculation could prove to be our last. Additionally, we had to coordinate our timing with the Atlantic salmon who would be leaving their ocean home to begin spawning runs up the rivers. This year was a late run. The fishers who plied these waters in June fished for 10 days and didn’t catch one salmon in water five feet above


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flood stage, which is not a good thing. Richardson’s bush plane allowed us flexibility that commercial planes and schedules do not. All water is connected and rivers have connected everyone on this planet since the beginning of time. But the world is undergoing climate changes that may not be understood in our lifetime. Above the Arctic Circle in Finland this summer, it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so it was hard to plan what to pack in our duffle bags: long underwear or light shirts? Since our Cessna 185 bush plane on floats could accommodate just 1,000 pounds of people, gear, food and drink, we had to be judicious. Richardson literally weighed every item with his eyes. He made me leave behind luxuries such as extra underwear. “Three pair should last 11 days,” he said. Also shelved was an extra pair of waders. “If yours springs a leak, then you’ll be freshly washed every day,” he said. And he allowed only one pair of boots. The outdoor gods must have chuckled when Richardson unpacked at camp to discover his brand new purchase was two right-footed boots. Suddenly, my well-worn muck boots were highly prized as Richardson and I have the same-sized feet.

Erasing mental clutter Once on the water, mental clutter melted away as we focused on the task at hand. That usually involved a

fly rod, a swift current, and timing the fishing based on the tide. When the tide comes in to an inlet blocking the outflow, the peat-stained river crawls. As the Coca Cola-colored water slows, the sun has a greater effect on the surface temperature, the same surface where we worked our dry flies called bombers on eight weight fly rods. When the water temperature warms to 66 F., the fishing really quiets down. Keep in mind it takes an average of more than 1,000 casts to land a single wild Atlantic salmon, and when the fishing slows, the mental clutter resumes. One thousand is a pretty big number to do anything. A fair amount of our idle time was occupied swatting bugs. The black flies and mosquitoes can be fierce, so we tried to wear only blue, black or green to avoid attracting the constant swarm of bugs. In addition to netting, I use Picaridin repellent instead of DEET, as DEET will melt fishing line and damage tackle. I also wear highly effective Permethrin-treated clothing. Life was not meant to be lived by merely going through the motions. Invigorating evening air punctuated by the crackle of fire re-charged us for the challenges of the coming day. Waking up at dawn, our appetites were quenched with a breakfast of maple syrup-laced coffee, pork and beans, eggs, and “Newfoundland steak,” also known as fried bologna. I passed on that last staple after day one. Despite evidence of climate change, we still caught fish and I did set a new International Game Fish Association World Record on my fly rod. I carefully measured the fish at 76 centimeters before gently releasing it back into the water to spawn again. There are always new life lessons to learn on any trip. I learned how to fix broken glasses with Crazy Glue sprinkled with baking soda. The copier repair tech said this has been his go-to option for years. Who knew? Not all adventures follow a path; breaking away from our usual habits creates new layers in our lives. I think many people fish their whole lives not realizing that it was not the fish they were truly after.

What is Estate Planning and How Do I Know I’ve Done it Properly? By Dave Zumpano


xual and transgender adults in CNY roper estate planning comes

down to three things. 1) you have to have legal documents in place that authorize others to act for you; 2) you have to ensure those legal documents provide instructions of whom you want to get your stuff, when and how. 3) all of this, when done properly, should happen without unnecessary costs or delays. Then there are wills, health care proxies, powers of attorneys, revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. The bad news? It doesn’t really matter which documents you have, because most of them don’t work when expected, the way you thought. Why? A Washington State University study shows that only 4 percent of Americans have an estate plan that actually does what they thought ms, Socials, it Support was going to do. The reason this happens is because the estate planning and, Oswego & U�ca legal documents typically don’t have 315-478-1923 or the your instructions. They have sageupstate.org government’s instructions or they have your attorney’s instructions. This is an important xual and insuring transgender adults in CNY factor in that your plan accomplishes what you want it to. When you put these all together, by having the documents with your instructions, it avoids any unnecessary costs or delays, including family fights and government interference. To ensure your estate plan works, you need to know what you want to have happen at each event in your life, and who you want to be there to control those situations. You also need to understand the different legal documents and determine the best ones to accomplish your goals. And finally, you need to be clear how your personal instructions are integrated into the legal documents and other areas of your life to ensure that your plan actually works.

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EDITOR@CNY55.COM October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS




Sweet on Pickleball New sport has found some avid advocates in CNY — with no shortage of places to play. By Mary Beth Roach


ickleball is a paddle sport that is a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis, according to Wikipedia. But according to a group of players gathered at the Lysander Town Park one recent Friday morning, it’s just fun. Steven and Karen Pfanenstiel, aged 63 and 62 respectively, have been playing for about three years. But up until then, they really had no idea what the game was. The Baldwinsville couple had traveled to North Carolina several 26

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years ago and stopped at a YMCA there. “They were playing pickleball,” Steven said. “Pickleball. What the heck is that? They invited us to play. When we came back up here and the [Northwest] Y opened, they advertised they had pickleball. So we went on a whim, and the rest is history,” he said. They became so taken with the sport, the Pfanenstiels approached the Northwest YMCA in Baldwinsville several years ago about running Pickleball 101 training sessions

during the winter and spring months. The attendance at those sessions over the past two years underscores the sport’s popularity. In their first year, 2017, they had 16 participants; last winter, that number more than tripled, with 52 people. They are planning another round of training at the Y in 2019 on the first and third Friday of the month, from January through April, but it is limited to Y members only. According to the USA Pickleball Association, there were 2.5 million people playing pickleball in 2015, and the organization expected that number to climb to 8 million by this year. It’s very popular among the senior set due in part to its easy-to-play nature. The sport is a little bit less impact than tennis, Karen said, and the players don’t move around as much. Also, the court is much smaller than a tennis court. “But you can make it as intense as you want. Or as laid back as you want it,” she said. While the equipment is different from the one used in tennis — the courts are smaller, the nets at the center are lower and the serves in pickleball are underhand — there are some similarities between this sport and tennis. It can be played by either two or four players, and scoring is like tennis, in that the serving side wins a point whenever the opposing side fails to return the shot. Elton Garvin, 61, of Baldwinsville, said his wife, Kate, got him interested about a year ago. Like the Pfanenstiels, he finds the game fun and challenging, but one in which anyone can take part in. “It’s a question of eye-hand coordination. That’s something that can be taught. It’s like playing an instrument. You don’t get better unless you practice,” he said. Facing off on the court against the Garvins that morning in Lysander was Jan Cary, 58, who’s been playing for 22 years, starting during a visit to his brother’s in Seattle. He didn’t know that pickleball had taken hold here in Central New York until about five years ago.

Geared for everyone Cary enjoys the friendship of his

fellow pickleballers and the exercise. “A lot of different people can do it, you don’t have to be in athletic shape and there are different levels of competition. If you’re playing at the same level, it’s really a lot of fun,” Cary said. The game started not too far from where Cary first started playing the game — Bainbridge Island, Wash. — about an hour’s ferry ride from Seattle. It was 1965, and then-Washington State congressman Joel Pritchard and businessman Bill Bell were returning to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island following a game of golf. They found their families sitting around with nothing to do. With an old badminton court on the property, but no full sets of badminton rackets, the two improvised, using ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. Once they learned the ball bounced well off the asphalt surface, they lowered the net on the old court to 36 inches. The following weekend, they introduced friend Barney MacCallum to the game, and soon afterward the three came up with rules, relying a lot on badminton. There are two different stories as to how the name came about. Pritchard’s wife, Joan, said she started calling the game “pickleball” because, as she put it, “’the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.’” According to the second story, it was named after the Pritchards’ dog, Pickles, but Joan has said their dog didn’t come along until about two years after they started the game. Regardless of how it got its name, the sport has found some avid advocates in CNY and no shortage of places to play. There are a number of facilities in the CNY area with pickleball courts both indoors and out, so there are opportunities to play year-round. For example, Lysander Town Park has two dedicated pickleball courts, and has lined its outdoor tennis courts with yellow markings to delineate the pickleball court’s boundaries. The Syracuse Parks and Recreation’s Magnarelli Center has courts and an active group of players. The Cicero Family Sports Center, the Northwest Y and the East Side Y in

From left, Steven Pfanenstiel and Kate Garvin face Karen Pfanenstiel (red short) and an identified player on the right.

Elton Garvin and his wife Kate Garvin against (left) playing pickleball recently at Lysander Town Park against Jan Cary (orange shirt) and Greg O’Neill. “It’s like playing an instrument. You don’t get better unless you practice,” says Elton Garvin about pickleball. Fayetteville have courts as well. For those interested in getting started, visit the USA Pickleball Association’s website at usapa.org. There is a tab labeled “Ambassadors” that will locate nearby players with a link to their email, and they can help new players. Steven Pfanenstiel is one of those

ambassadors. For those looking for courts, click on the “Places 2 Play” tab at usapa. org and type in the state name. This feature will also enable those players who might be traveling to take their game on the road.

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Setting the Pace for Senior Care By Lou Sorendo


xceptional people really do make every day extraordinary. Kimberly Townsend, president and CEO of Loretto in Syracuse, is a prime example of that. The 55-year-old mom who had previously quit college so she could take care of her children now holds a law degree and a doctorate, and leads one of the most impactful and innovative health care organizations in Central New York. Many advancements and upgrades have occurred at Loretto since her arrival in 2014, and now she is ready to unveil her first book. “Life Circle Leadership: How Exceptional People Make Every Day Extraordinary,” is being released in October.

“It’s built on the premise of our leadership principles here at Loretto. One of them is not only to try to be family with the people we care for, but also try to create family with each other,” she said. “We provide care for employees because we believe health care is a point of service business,” she said. “Happy and satisfied employees deliver better care to our residents.” Townsend said Loretto makes strategic investments in the community based on a principle known as 28

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pragmatic altruism. “If we make strategic investments in our community, not only will it help people, but it also helps our business. We’ve really seen that in action,” said Townsend, noting that is a key premise to the book. The book is being published by Forbes Advantage Press and will be available at 35,000 outlets. Townsend said she tried to make it broadly applicable to anyone and to challenge those who are aspiring to be leaders.

“I really believe strongly there are leaders everywhere, such as here at Loretto at every level of the organization. I think this is a great book for anyone who really wants to make a positive impact on other people’s lives and their community,” she added. The book was a byproduct of work Townsend did on her dissertation in May of 2017. “I defended my dissertation, which was on leadership principles, within St. John Fisher College School of Education’s executive leadership

Kim Townsend at her Loretto office in Syracuse. Photo of Chuck Wainwright.

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program,” Townsend said. “I took some principles from my dissertation and applied them in this book,” she said. “It was a multi-year process, and part of that was talking to exceptional leaders and seeing the principles they applied in their own lives and organizations. That gets reflected in the book.” Townsend noted she has a detailed launch plan that is built out over a year that will involve speaking engagements and book signings. “We will be rolling it out in different venues,” said Townsend, noting a website will be launched that is tied to her book. Townsend is a frequent speaker on topics such as leadership principles and health care. The book will serve to “help sharpen the pencil” on some of her speaking points, said Townsend, noting she enjoys being able to distill what the leadership team at Loretto does and share it with others. The Syracuse resident has been published before, but not in book format. “It’s a great way to express ideas and stimulate discussion, which is really what I enjoy doing,” she said.

Spiraling upward Townsend, born and raised in New Hampshire, went to Boston University for two years after graduating from high school, but then opted to stay home and raise children. In 1984 she moved to Syracuse where she remarried. She has six children and three grandchildren. “I consider myself a transplanted native to Syracuse,” she said. “It’s a great place to raise a family and geographically, it’s just so diverse with its mountains and lakes. It’s affordable for families and convenient being you can get really anywhere in 20 minutes. There are so many options and things to do,” she said. She went back to school in her mid-30s as a non-traditional student. “I worked, managed children and had school,” she said. “Having the perspective of a non-traditional student helps me to understand the challenges our own employees face and ensure we have good work-life balance.” Townsend describes herself as the “Super SU alum.” She received her bachelor’s degree, her Master of Business Administration, her Master of Public Administration, and her Juris Doctor degree, all from 30

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Syracuse University. Most recently, she earned her doctorate at St. John Fisher College in Rochester during her tenure as Loretto CEO. After she earned her first master’s degree, Ernst & Young hired her as a certified public accountant. “They were a very supportive employer. After my first year of law school, I was hired by Welch Allyn and worked there for 14 years,” said Townsend, noting she explored several roles and left as assistant general counsel and senior director of government affairs. She had been on the board at Loretto for 14 years, and was chairwoman for two and half years. “When the CEO seat opened, that opportunity became available to me,” she said. Townsend characterizes her leadership style as “very inclusive.” “I believe in setting a big table and getting everyone to the table where every voice is heard and valued,” she said. “I believe solutions to problems reside where they occur — on the front

Lifelines: Age: 55 Birthplace: Nashua, N.H. Current residence: Syracuse Education: Bachelor of Science degree, accounting, Syracuse University- Martin J. Whitman School of Management (1998); Master of Business Administration, accounting and finance, Syracuse University-Martin J. Whitman School of Management (1999); Juris Doctorate, corporate, Syracuse University College of Law (2001); Master of Public Education, health economics and policy (2009); Doctor of Education, executive leadership, St. John Fisher College (2017) Affiliations: HealtheConnections; WISE advisory board; the Manlius Pebble Hill School; CenterState CEO; Central New York Care Collaborative; Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, finance council; LeadingAge New York; Business Council of New York State; SEIU 1199; State Workforce Investment Board; Women’s Presidents’ Organization; United Way; American Heart Association Personal: Husband John Gruninger, six children, three grandchildren Hobbies: Spending time with family; Fit Body Boot Camp; outdoor activities including paddle boarding, hiking

line. That’s made me a very good fit here. I’m also a strategic thinker. Even the most complex problem from my perspective can be distilled down to two or three key drivers. I focus on those,” she said. “I think I have a good understanding of where the puck is going next and I have a great team here at every level,” she said. “I think I’ve been a good listener to them and rely on them to bring forth innovations that have led to the success of the organization and have distinguished it from others.” Townsend noted her parents are hard workers and were Depression-era people who grew up quite poor. “They always worked hard and valued education, and encouraged that in their children,” she said. “Even though neither of my parents were college-educated, all three of their kids were,” she said. “Drive is something that is an inner-motivating, animating force and something that has always been important. I’m always very curious and like to learn new things, and that has helped as well,” she said.

Passion for service “I love community and board service, and it is something I have always had a passion for,” she said. Townsend commits herself to several local, regional and national board positions, serving locally on the board of HealtheConnections, the WISE advisory board, the Manlius Pebble Hill School board, CenterState CEO board, the board of Central New York Care Collaborative and sits on the finance council of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. She also supports LeadingAge New York board — Loretto’s trade association, is on the board of the Business Council of New York State, participates at a national level with the SEIU 1199, the State Workforce Investment Board, and participates on the local and national level with the Women’s Presidents’ Organization. She has also been recognized for her leadership on the board of the United Way for several years and the executive leadership board for the American Heart Association, as chairwoman of the “Go Red for Women” campaign in 2016. While she enjoys spending time with family, her community service “inspires me and renews my energy,” she said.

Cover of the book written by Townsend. It’s being released in October and will be available at 35,000 outlets. “I’m organized and always work ahead, because there is not a lot of margin for error in terms of my schedule,” she said. “I’m not a procrastinator, but rather a person that tends to be very prepared well in advance, and that allows me to do more.” On the topic of fitness, Townsend said she has a “love-hate” relationship with Fit Body Boot Camp. “On one hand, I dread going because it’s so hard, but on the other hand, I love it when it’s done and love the results.” She tries to work out six days a week as a stress reliever, and is usually successful in doing that. She is working out at 5:50 a.m. six days a week when possible. “I do it whenever I can. If I have early morning meetings, it’s not 5:50 but might be 4:30 in the afternoon. I try to get myself there and it’s a great stress reliever,” she said. It is becoming increasingly important to take care of one’s physical and mental well being, as studies show that 25 percent of the time, one or both members of a couple will live to 100 years of age. “You have to take care of yourself, eat healthy and plan for the long haul,” she said. Townsend also enjoys outdoor activities, particularly paddle boarding and hiking.

Lest We Forget… Loretto, led by president and CEO Kimberly Townsend, implementing new initiatives By Lou Sorendo


imberly Townsend, president a n d C E O o f L o re t t o i n Syracuse, is leading the nonprofit organization that specializes in elder care during a time of intense transition. A major initiative Loretto plans involves launching a major expansion to meet the increasing demand for memory care services in the area. This project involves renovations at two facilities — Loretto’s skilled nursing facility, known as the Cunningham building, and the Heritage, the area’s first assisted living facility dedicated to memory care. Its signature will be a new memory care addition at The Nottingham Senior Living community in DeWitt, with state-of-the-art residential space, as well as a dedicated area for advanced

training and research needs. “Not only are we trying to meet the needs of today and plan for the future, but we are also really driving toward finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” Townsend said. A public announcement concerning the new memory care unit was expected on Oct. 18, followed by a groundbreaking on Oct. 19. “It’s a broad initiative that also includes a workforce training component,” Townsend said. “Every individual who will be interacting with someone who is living with Alzheimer’s and their family will have an appropriate level of Alzheimer’s Association-certified training,” she said. The ability to provide space to October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


support research toward a cure is important to those at Loretto, which has already been involved in some significant projects — one with Clarity Research and another with physician Sharon Brangman, professor of medicine and division chief of geriatric medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “Part of this work will be continuing those projects as we search for the cure,” Townsend said. Townsend said causes of dementia are traced to plaques, tangles and tau proteins. Studies have shown vascular health is tied intricately to brain health. “If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, that’s going to impact your brain health and contribute to that,” Townsend said. “There are some diagnostic studies that we participate in that will be able to identify those markers 10 to 15 years before the onset of symptoms,” she said. Townsend added there are also drugs being studied designed to stop the progression of the disease. “We are involved in both those clinical research projects. We are trying to continue our commitment to being a national leader in delivering high-quality memory care services,” he said. Over the next 10 to 15 years, Townsend said to expect about a 20 percent increase in demand for Alzheimer’s and related dementia care services. That will be caused by a number of different factors, including the aging of the demographic and the fact that people are living longer. “In my view, there is an inability to meet demand today for all the people who could be receiving services,” she said. “This is why we are undertaking this initiative. But I am really anticipating in the future that we are going to need to continue to expand that portfolio to keep up with increased demand. “We have to continue to invest in training, research and facilities in order to meet the needs of the future.”

Major player on eldercare scene Loretto employs 2,500 workers and is the sixth-largest employer in Onondaga County. It has 19 sites in Onondaga and Cayuga counties. It is the fourth-largest health system in Onondaga County as well. It generates about $190 million in revenues annually. “It is a very busy and dynamic 32

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system. We are a growing system. In the nearly five years that I have been here, we’ve grown dramatically. It’s fun, interesting and exciting to see the growth of the system in terms of meeting community needs,” she noted. Not only does Loretto employ many people, it recruits and hires in economically depressed regions of the area. “Syracuse is a sanctuary city, and it also has pockets of poverty. Part of our philosophy through our partnership with Work Train, an initiative of CenterState CEO, is to go out in the community and actively recruit and hire individuals who might have systemic barriers to employment,” she said. Townsend said Loretto has been highly successful in doing that. Of the 400 employees it has hired over the last four years of the program, the retention rate has been 80 percent. “It’s really improving the economic development within the area,” she said. “People with good jobs and benefits go out and spend money in the community. We support our local vendors and try to buy local whenever we can. Of course, we’ve had quite a bit of expansion, and we’ve done a great job in supporting our local building trades through all the projects we’ve done in the past five years.” While no hard numbers are attached to the economic impact that Loretto has on the region, it is obvious that it makes a significant difference. “We offer very competitive wages and benefits to 2,500 employees who reside in this area and care for close to 10,000 people annually,” Townsend said. “We also make investments and partner with other organizations on projects that will increase their viability and impact on the community,” she said. When Loretto was founded in 1926, it was built on three foundational principles. It was founded on meeting a social need, partnerships and innovation. One of those partnerships was the Sisters of St. Francis in the Syracuse diocese, and it was the first diocesan home for the aged in North America. At that time the social need was prevalent. People who were aging in the community and didn’t have families wound up in the county poor farm at the end of their lives. “If you fast-forward to today, those are still our three core foundational principles,” Townsend said. “We develop high-value partnerships with hospitals, payers and

organizations in the the community to deliver care,” Townsend said. “We also recently opened a restorative care unit in partnership with our hospitals to significantly lower readmission rates and remain innovative. We are always trying to meet community needs, which are always evolving.”

Rapid growth trend During her tenure, Townsend has overseen several key capital projects as the system continues to evolve. Since she began in 2014, Loretto has completed construction of The Cottages at Garden Grove in Cicero, now managed by Crouse Health and St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse. Loretto renovated and built an expansion on the former Mercy Health and Rehabilitation skilled nursing facility in Auburn, which is now The Commons on St. Anthony. Loretto has also built a new PACE CNY site on Creek Circle Drive in East Syracuse for a program that is approaching 600 participants. This program of all-inclusive care for the elderly provides comprehensive health services for individuals aged 55 and over who are nursing home eligible by the state’s Medicaid program. Loretto has also constructed the O’Brien Road Apartments in Radisson for low-income seniors, a U.S. Housing and Urban Development 202 project. HUD provides capital advances to private, nonprofit sponsors to finance the development of housing for elderly residents. Loretto has also done extensive renovations across its system, including its Cunningham building. As baby boomers age, they are going to be looking for services, Townsend explained. “That’s one thing we know about baby boomers, and I’m on the tail end of that line, is they want options.” Townsend, 55, said Loretto is the only system in the region that provides a comprehensive continuum of care in a post-acute setting. It features short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and housing of every variety, including assisted, independent and affordable. It also offers the PACE program and has adult medical day programs. “We really try to provide a person with what they really want based on where they are as they age. We feel that is going to be helpful to us in the future,” she said.

About 70 percent of the people served by the Loretto system are Medicaid eligible. “We are a safety net provider for the community,” she noted. However, Medicaid reimbursement on the skilled nursing side hasn’t seen a trend factor increase — or cost of living increase — in eight years, Townsend noted. “It’s challenging, but we are a very efficient system and effective in how we help people stay in their homes and maintain their health,” she said. “We are able to continue to provide that as part of our mission.” “We’re dealing with Medicare and Medicaid primarily, and any downward pressure on reimbursements associated with the entitlement programs is going to be extremely challenging,” she said. Townsend said Loretto has people it cares for, particularly in its skilled nursing facility and short-term rehabilitation that have complex medical needs. “We have several people across our system who are over 100,” Townsend said. “These are people who require a lot of care. It’s going to be really important that the government keeps its social contract with these people in providing adequate resources for people to provide care for them.” Townsend said now that tax reform has occurred, “some people are saying we really need to look at entitlement programs, and what can be done to cut payments associated with entitlements.” “I’m not anticipating positive movement in entitlement programs. I’m anticipating increased scrutiny. Reimbursements have been declining through the years,” she said. “What we’ve done that is going to be extremely helpful is creating a niche in caring for very medically complex people,” she said. “That’s going to help us because Medicare has now shifted money particularly from hips and knees — which is was what they paid for 10 years ago — to now providing better reimbursement for people with very complex medical needs, and that’s something we do well.”

Confronting the shortage Townsend said one of her greatest challenges at Loretto, and one that “keeps her up a night,” is the clinical workforce shortage being felt by all health care providers, particularly for certain types of nursing staff.

“Kimberly’s passion for making Central New York a compelling place to live and work is exceeded only by her compassion for those who have already given a lifetime of service to this community and are now in need of our returned service to them. She has put her substantial intellect and expertise in the health care field toward making Loretto a premier provider of elder care in Central New York. Furthermore, she’s also been an important partner and an innovator helping to develop and deliver leading-edge for workforce solutions for the health care industry.” - Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “The shortages are really across the board,” she said. “We know that the nursing workforce — whether that’s certified nursing assistants, home health aides, LPNs, RNs or nurse practitioners — is aging and exiting.” Townsend said there are not a sufficient number of people coming in to fill the void, and that is not considering growing demand for services. “We’ve tried to do some unique things here at Loretto in terms of growing our own,” she said. When Townsend meets with employees at new employee training sessions, she makes it clear to them that while they may be going into such services as dining or housekeeping, their dream of perhaps becoming an RN can become a reality. “At Loretto, we will help them get there. We have a very robust LPN pipeline program to support people who are CNAs, HHAs or other staff to become LPNs,” she said. “There are really not enough people out in the marketplace to care for the people who are aging and in general for everyone.” Several things need to happen in order for that trend to reverse, Townsend said. “We need to provide some sort of incentive for schools to offer more programs or to open up more seats

for programs,” said Townsend, noting there is only one LPN program in the area, and that is BOCES. The City of Syracuse School District did feature a program, but closed it and the void has yet to be filled. “Something we’ve had great success with is we really reach into the community and make people aware of what a great opportunity health care is,” she said. This past summer, Loretto hosted a MASH camp for 9th and 10th graders in Syracuse. Students were brought in for a two-day camp to view various jobs in health care. “It’s not just about becoming a nurse; there are other career paths such as recreational and physical therapy,” she said. “We’re finding good success in starting with students who are in high school and just encouraging them to consider health care professions. A lot of times, those might require two-year degrees and not four-year degrees. For those students who would be willing to consider earning a two-year degree, we would really help them understand all the opportunities within health care,” she said. “If you are a nurse, an RN or LPN in Syracuse, you have more opportunities than you can possibly consider,” she said. “Anytime you have a lack of supply and great demand, it creates a positive impact on wages. These are great-paying jobs with great benefits.” “It’s a great retention strategy. In my experience, people want to grow; they want to grow in their jobs; they want to grow in their ability to provide for their families,” Townsend said. “By underwriting and assisting that, it really builds strong loyalty.” Townsend said a shortage of primary care providers in the region is also a challenge for every community. “If you look at the people who go into primary care versus demand for those services, there is a real shortfall. I think the government is trying to make efforts to improve the number of primary care slots that are open in residency programs,” she noted. “I think they are also trying to help reimbursement to primary care physicians, so there are some ongoing efforts, but it’s going to take a while to catch up,” she said. This is crucial, she said, particularly with the aging demographic and a shift away from delivering care in hospitals and delivering care in lower-acuity settings while keeping people healthy and in their homes, she added. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS




George Kilpatrick at the booth at IHeartRadio in Syracuse during a recent broadcast of his radio program.

Providing a Voice George Kilpatrick on mission to right wrongs


eorge Kilpatrick Jr.’s career path has gone in several different directions since he graduated from Syracuse University in 1981. But regardless of the direction, Kilpatrick has strived to remain true to his message and his mission — to raise community awareness about issues, to motivate individuals, and to be as he puts it, a voice for the underrepresented. For more than 30 years, Kilpatrick Jr., 59, has worked to bring attention to issues of importance to the Syracuse area and the nation and to inspire people, whether on his various radio and television programs or through his jobs in banking, with the city of Syracuse or the former Rural Metro ambulance company. He has hosted and produced shows on stations owned by the former Clear Channel Communications,


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By Mary Beth Roach now iHeartMedia, and on cable TV, the former WTVH, and WCNY. Kilpatrick has a radio program that, while broadcast here in Syracuse, can be heard in several markets throughout the country, and he works fulltime as the men’s outreach coordinator with Vera House. His “George Kilpatrick Inspiration for the Nation” has been on the air since 2004, broadcasting live on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. on Power620, an iHeartMedia station. The African-American Public Radio Consortium has picked up the show and makes it available for download to content providers. “When we created that show, the message was that our success, especially from the African- American community perspective, is not a fluke, that success runs in our race; it runs in our DNA,” Kilpatrick said. “We celebrate people we feel

good about, and recognize positive achievements of African-Americans from all walks of life, or people of color, bringing you a message of uplift, inspiration, hope, success, and achievement,” he said. He recalled sitting with a friend in Barnes & Noble during the early days of the radio program. His friend asked Kilpatrick if he thought he would be able to do this kind of program week after week. Being on the air for 14 years is proof that he has been able to do exactly this kind of program. “The people you’re going to meet on this show are successful, doing amazing things and we’re here to tell you their story. We amplify those voices that often don’t get heard or seen,” he said. “My goal is after you’ve finished hearing that show you feel like you’re ready to do something or you’ve

heard something that’s going to fuel you. That’s what my aim has been,” he said. His interviewees have included such celebrities as singer Patti LaBelle and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and others who might be considered to be more motivational speakers, including Mel Tiller, Dr. Willie Jolley, motivational speaker and author of several books including “A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback; and entrepreneur George Fraser. But the person he most wants to interview that he has been unable to interview yet is [American media proprietor] Oprah Winfrey. “I always wanted to talk to Oprah. I feel like there would be a nice connection there,” he said. While he has had the opportunity to meet the famous talk show host several years ago when she visited Syracuse, and had a “selfie” taken with her, Kilpatrick has been unable to line her up for his radio program. However, the look in his eye and that trademarke Kilpatrick smile he flashed while telling this story indicates he will succeed in getting Winfrey on his show. But sometimes, Kilpatrick finds himself inspired as being the one inspired. Some remarks made recently by athlete Colin Kaepernick “stirred my soul,” Kilpatrick said. “‘Love is at the root of our resistance,’” he said, quoting Kaepernick, who had included this statement in receiving an Amnesty International award recently. “It gave me the inspiration and a way to do the work that I am doing in my role to uplift the community,” Kilpatrick said. “I don’t like the idea that whenever we talk about communities of color, it’s always from the deficit.”

House of refuge Although Kilpatrick is on the Vera House staff, his affiliation with the local agency goes back quite a few years. While hosting and producing some programs at WCNY, he would often have guests on his programs from Vera House to discuss domestic abuse and sexual assault. “I always felt like this was an issue I care about,” he said. “Whatever

Kilpatrick poses outside the offices of Vera House on James Street in Syracuse. He works fulltime at the nonprofit as the men’s outreach coordinator. I could do to amplify the mission and the voice of Vera House around domestic violence and sexual assault in the community, I would do it.” A chance meeting in Wegmans one day in 2009 between Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman and Kilpatrick presented an opportunity for him to become even more involved. Bregman asked Kilpatrick if he would be the honorary chairman of its white ribbon campaign. After questioning whether he was worthy of this and some discussion with his family, he stepped in and took on the project. Then in 2012, Kilpatrick became Vera House’s men’s outreach coordinator. One of the initiatives he’s been involved with in that position is the development of Men of Strength Clubs in five city schools — Clary, Danforth, and Grant middle schools, Corcoran High School, and the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler. “We’re teaching young men to have healthy relationships, end domestic violence and sexual assault,” Kilpatrick said in explaining the work of these clubs. “If we want the boys to have healthy relationships, then they have to have relationships with us as mentors and coaches.” Kilpatrick has been involved in the training of club facilitators and in mentoring one of the clubs himself.

He noted, with some surprise, that he has learned some life lessons from his work with the young men and other mentors. “One of the things I learned in that process, if we want them to have healthy relationships, then we have to model that for them,” he said. “Instead of, ‘What do I need you to do?’ it is, ‘What do you need from me?’ What a way to think! We go into situations where we’re working with individuals and we’re trying to give them something that we hope will carry with them for the rest of their lives, or even next week, or even in the next hour. “What do they need from me to make that happen? How do we encourage the leadership that we know is inside of them to unfold? That’s part of what this work is,” he noted. Last January, as preparations were being made for Vera House’s annual white ribbon campaign, Kilpatrick went on his webpage, georgekilpatrick.com, and asked 1,000 men to give $10 each and come to the walk. “We didn’t come close,” he said, but they got the word out and he was excited about that. With the #metoo movement and today’s headlines, Kilpatrick shared his thoughts on its impact on the work at Vera House. “From our perspective, it’s what October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


we’ve always known. We see it as an opportunity to allow other survivors to come forward and feel that their truth will be honored, and they’re not going to be told that their voices don’t matter and that their truth isn’t valued. That’s the starting point,” he said. “We’re ready to support and help all survivors who are ready to share when they’re ready. It’s when you’re ready,” he said. “When someone shares their truth and bears their soul in a public way, to say this is what happened to me and I’m still standing here, there’s something so powerful and moving about that that I cannot describe. For those that do it, I’m in awe,” he said.

Early career Upon graduating from S.U., Kilpatrick stayed in Syracuse and went into banking. He eventually worked for the city of Syracuse as the director of minority affairs. He left in 1994 and went to graduate school at the Maxwell School of Public Administration at S.U. From there he became the new market development manager for the former Rural Metro, and then went full-time at WCNY to host and produce a number of its shows. By the time he got to WCNY, he was no stranger to local media. He had programs on several of the former Clear Channel stations and WOLF. He had substituted on a program

called “Insight” and had a show on cable that he produced called “Syracuse Soul.” At the former WTVH, he was the host of “Straight to the Source,” which was produced by the Human Rights Commission. He hosted a cable show with former Mayor Tom Young called “City Hall Update,” and he had also done some work at WCNY on a part-time basis. One of the producers at WCNY was leaving, and management there asked if he would be interested. After some discussion with his wife, Gloria, and their four children, he took the job. He would go on to host and produce “Our CNY,” “Central Issues,” and “Access with George Kilpatrick.” When Kilpatrick started in media, it was as a hobby. His freshman roommate at S.U. was very involved in broadcasting and knew Kilpatrick had a little bit of an interest in it too. Before long, Kilpatrick was doing a number of programs on WAER, a radio station at S.U., including “Black Expressions Week,” “Third World News,” and a public affairs show titled, “Head East.” “I would work with people like Butch Charles and Kenny Dees and others who had been in broadcasting. That’s how I got the bug,” he recalled. “That was sort of my entrance into public affairs. It was our way of giving information to people of color on campus,” he said. Charles and Dees are well-known personalities in local media.

What does the future hold? He attributes his passion and community involvement in part to his parents. His mother, Ada Kilpatrick, still lives in The Bronx, where Kilpatrick was raised, and he likens her to Mother Teresa. Of his father, George Sr., his son said, “I think my activism is from his side. If he saw something wrong, he was writing a letter.” George Sr. passed away about 19 years ago. In addition to his radio program and responsibilities with Vera House, Kilpatrick is active in his church, Bethany Baptist. He has worked on projects with the Gifford Foundation and the Central New York Community Foundation that assist nonprofits, and he is frequently called upon to emcee and host various events. Aside from trying to get an interview with OprahWinfrey, what’s ahead for Kilpatrick? “Whatever I’m doing and no matter where I’m at, I want to help shine the light on people and the work that they’re doing that empowers and encourages others,” he said. “I’m not putting any limits on what’s going to happen for me. I’m going to keep my eyes open, and I’m going to keep working for justice, working using the power I have through my voice in media to tell the stories because I believe that our nation right now needs stories, truth-tellers. More than ever we need truth-tellers,” he noted.

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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

Life’s Gotten a Lot More Complicated So you think you have your “golden years” all figured out? Guess again!


remember when bottled water first came on the market. It seemed like such a joke, like bottling air and selling it. It is just water, right? You turn on the tap and there it is. Why would you pay for it? Obviously, I’m not someone you want to get investment advice from. Everywhere you look, someone is carrying bottled water around. I think I’m probably late on getting in on the air thing too. This led me to think how just existing is now so much more difficult than it used to be. Take eating. When I contemplated retirement, one of the things I looked forward to was having the time to enjoy leisurely meals and not always be gulping down food and rushing off to something. I thought a typical day would be exercising at a reasonable hour, not 6:30 in the morning, coming home and having a late, relaxing breakfast while reading the newspaper. Sitting around and reading books in the afternoon would be next on the

itinerary, and then maybe a little tea, or sherry, around 5:30-ish. That plan has not worked out well at all. Let me explain why. Though the exercising part is mostly going OK, I really have to force myself out the door to get to a class because I don’t have anything urgent, like getting to work on time, to motivate me to move fast. But breakfast! How could breakfast have gotten so screwed up? First, the “chewing issue” has supplanted the relaxing part. What’s to think about chewing? Food goes in the mouth, you enjoy the taste, you chew, and you swallow, right? Wrong. Now we’re told you have to chew up to 30 times a bite! Why? Digestion actually starts in the mouth when the food mixes with saliva; otherwise you’re not getting the nutrients from the food. Who thinks about saliva? Like it’s there, until it’s not, then you worry about it. But now I have to work at making enough saliva to chew my grass-fed meat (another issue altogether), which is what I thought the cow had actually done already.

It was sort of like a partnership with the cow. They chew the cud, etc., though in retrospect I can see it’s not that great of a deal for the cow either way. So, now that nice 20 minute leisurely breakfast has turned into another aerobic workout, except this time for the mouth, which if you have temporomandibular joint disorders, is another problem. It’s hard to just enjoy the food if you’re counting your bites through the whole meal. By the time I’m done chewing everything, it’s time for the next meal.

The obsolete newspaper Then there’s the newspaper part. For me, it doesn’t exist any more on paper. I read it on my iPad and flipping the electronic pages with sticky fingers does not make for a relaxing meal either. I’m sure there are lots of constipated people out there on the days the newspaper isn’t delivered; the fix is to go digital. OK, one way or another, we’re through breakfast and it’s time to just lie on the sofa and read. The problem with that is I can’t get over the guilty feeling I have about reading anything except news before 5 p.m. I feel I have to be doing something meaningful, like vacuuming or dusting. I can’t remember the last time I actually dusted, but the intention is there. In any event, by the time I get to 5 p.m., somehow sherry just doesn’t seem to cut it any more. I mean, how

October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


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many people do you see at bars ordering a glass of sherry? It’s just not cool. But anyway, drinking isn’t good for balance and when you get older, staying upright is important. Even breathing has become a big deal. In looking at my health options in retirement, breathing I figured was something I was good at; I’ve been doing it for quite a while. Suddenly, it’s not enough to just breathe; you have to breathe correctly through your nose and not your mouth. Meanwhile, chest breathing is so 1990s. It should be abdominal or deep breathing — X counts in, Y counts out. Sometimes I get so focused on doing it right that I forget to actually breathe. Now we’re up to dinner. My alltime favorite meal was spaghetti and meatballs. Also, I enjoyed pizza with everything on it. When we were in college and would go out to dinner with my then-fiancé’s parents, they couldn’t get over the fact that I could eat a whole pizza by myself. Now I’m gluten-and dairy-free and a cauliflower pizza with dairyfree cheese just doesn’t do the trick. A favorite treat to eat with my father was raw onion sandwiches. It consisted of two slices of white bread, onions, salt, pepper and ketchup. (OK, so I didn’t date a lot in those days.) I can’t even imagine what that sandwich would do to me now. Now, we’re up to bedtime. Forget just lying down and going to sleep. You need “quality sleep” or you might as well stay up and watch TV, which of course would disturb your quality sleep. That is because it has blue light and that’s bad for your biorhythms as blue wavelengths suppress delta brainwaves that induce sleep. So, between trying to breathe through my nose, having the right light, and trying not to interrupt my “deep-sleep” mode by answering nature’s call at 2 a.m. (and 4 and 6, but who’s counting?) I’m not sleeping well at all. Then there’s the pillow between the knees to keep my back in alignment. So I have to check my breathing, try not to lose the pillow when tossing and turning, try not to wet the bed — oh wait, I forgot the leg cramps. I know, I sound whiney. Well, I told you it was trivial.



Shaping the Future Teacher, entrepreneur devoted to education


andace Edwards has combined her enthusiasm for education and entrepreneurship to forge a career that has spanned nearly four decades. That includes work as a teacher, school administrator, franchise owner of a local Huntington Learning Center, and founder and co-founder of two childcare programs. While she refers to herself as an educator and an entrepreneur, one might also consider her a juggler, since at times she has to balance the responsibilities of more than one of these jobs at a time. The 66-year-old mother of two and grandmother of six is the executive director of Before and After School Child Care on Location, Inc., —known as BASCOL, an organization that she helped to found 26 years ago. “I am very fortunate in my lifetime to always have had a position that I’m passionate about, and education is my definite passion,” she said. BASCOL got its start, Edwards said, at a time when she was overseeing the Little Learners, another childcare program she started in 1979. She said a family from Liverpool had

By Mary Beth Roach been bringing their children to the Little Learners Center on Kasson Road, Syracuse, and the mother had asked her if a similar program could be established in the Liverpool area. So, they assembled some key stakeholders and families from the Liverpool area and a formed a task force. Out of that, Edwards said, came BASCOL. According to BASCOL’s website, it was incorporated in 1992 and started a pilot program in September of that year with 13 children. In December of that same year, two more sites opened in the Liverpool district. With its corporate offices in Liverpool, BASCOL has approximately 600 students at its 19 locations in eight different school districts throughout Onondaga and Oswego counties. Edwards has remained on the BASCOL board since the organization’s inception. Before starting Little Learners and BASCOL, however, Edwards was already in the education field. Graduating from SUNY Geneseo in 1974, she earned her master’s degree in education from SUNY Oswego in 1979. She would go on to work as a teacher or administrator in various

school districts in the Central New York area, including Central Square, Baldwinsville, Mexico, and Cincinnatus. She and some family members created the Little Learners program to fill a need that Edwards saw for childcare. It was when she began teaching that she saw a need for more day care programs, and Little Learners was born in 1979. At that time, she said there were only six childcare centers in Onondaga County. At the time, she was a single, working parent. Her oldest, Elizabeth, was 1, and Jennifer was about to be born.

Set standards high

“As a new mom, you don’t want to put your kid with just anybody. I’m an educator and I wanted to develop the best program out there for young children. So Little Learners came about,” she said. Members of her family, including her mother and sister-in-law, helped to run the program. “Back in the early years, it was a family affair and it was so much fun,” she said. Word soon spread to other disOctober/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


tricts, and Edwards would design six freestanding buildings to house the growing program before selling the business in 1994 to Childtime. After selling Little Learners and retiring from school administration, the educator in her was still looking to stay involved in the field. As a result, she became the franchise owner of the Huntington Learning Center in Clay in 2005. A few years later, BASCOL’s board, of which Edwards was still a member, was looking for a new executive director, and its members asked her if she would be interested. Edwards, who admitted to never being able to say no, agreed to take on the job as director at BASCOL while still at Huntington. She had several years left on her contract with Huntington. She would work at BASCOL from about 6:30 a.m. to noon and then at Huntington from 12:30-8:30 p.m. “I’m a workaholic in a good way,” she said. She is in her eighth year running BASCOL, and over those years, the program has grown, adding a couple more sites to its roster. She’s brought some of her entrepreneurial marketing skills in as well. The BASCOL sites are located in existing school buildings and it was important, Edwards thought, to be able to differentiate BASCOL staff from the school staff. She then instituted uniforms — polo shirts with the BASCOL logo and khaki pants for the directors, and T-shirts with the logo and khaki pants for the teaching staff. Edwards also believed in the need for name badges. She found that staff would often forget to take the badges off when they left work, and if running errands after work, people would see that they worked for BASCOL and inquire about it. “You want your employees proud enough to be able to say, ‘Yes, I work for BASCOL, and it’s a fantastic program. We might not be the biggest, but we have a long-standing reputation,’” she noted.

Community at heart

Edwards does like to stay busy, that’s for sure. She is actively involved in Zonta International and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, both of which help her to put into action her belief 40

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in community service. Recently, she was installed as the GFWC-NY president for 2018-2020. Through Zonta, she serves as the International chairperson for the Z and Golden Z clubs. The Z clubs are for high-school-aged students; the Golden Z clubs are for those in college. “We’re mentoring these young women,” she said. “It starts at a young age as we get them to realize how it’s important to give back to your community and continue on when you get older.” “If you instill an idea in a younger person and they take hold of that idea, it will change their perspective on things for the rest of their life,” she added. Giving back is not just some words for Edwards. To take from an old adage, she practices what she preaches. Working with BASCOL and her various civic organizations, she collects 8,000 boxes of Jell-O that go into the food baskets distributed through the Salvation Army, Rescue Mission, and Food Bank of CNY at holiday time. When former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner initiated a summer swimsuit drive, she dove right in, with BASCOL families, Syracuse Federation of Women’s Clubs and Zonta, helping to gather several hundred new and gently used suits.

‘Crazy Christmas tree lady’

During the holiday season of 2017, there was a story on a local television station about a Central New York woman named Candace Edwards who had turned her entire home into a Christmas fantasy land with more than 100 trees that she decorated herself. When asked if she was the Christmas tree lady, Edwards laughed and said, “I’m the crazy Christmas Tree lady.” Maybe not crazy, but she is definitely the Christmas tree lady. She featured 113 trees in her Baldwinsville home in 2017, a home she designed about 20 years ago. She admits when she was making plans for the house, she took into consideration having enough room for her trees. However, at that time, she hadn’t really planned on doing over 100 of them. “I started out with maybe 15 trees,

then 25, then 35 then 50, and people kept saying you got to beat what you did the year before,” she said. Over the years, her grandchildren inspired ideas for the trees, such as featuring beloved Disney characters and the Abominable Snowman. Then in 2016, she said, there was a story on a local television station about a different family that had 100 trees. “Didn’t all my friends start calling me asking, ‘You’re going to let somebody else get 100 trees?’” she said. In 2017, she was determined to do more than 100 trees, and because 13 is her lucky number, she settled on doing 113. Because last year marked the 20th anniversary of her home, she did an open house. The Syracuse Federation of Women’s Club used it as a fundraiser, with the monies going to benefit the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. Several years ago, in 2012, she was asked to decorate the 16½-foot tree that stood in the National General Women’s Club in Washington, D.C.

Perseverance and positivity

She said perseverance, positivity, and passion drive her work. In a career that’s been as varied as hers, she undoubtedly has encountered some challenges. But she takes a positive approach and regards them as opportunities. “I have always looked at challenges as opportunities to grow and learn something new or from a new angle,” she noted. “With a positive attitude you can achieve anything. Perseverance is my middle name.” In talking with Edwards, it’s difficult to determine whether it’s passion for teaching that fuels her work or the work that fuels her passion. “I have always loved what I’ve done. I’m an educator by trade. This to me is an extension of education,” she said. “Everything I do is an extension of education, whether I’m educating women in the women’s clubs to working with kids on a daily basis and getting them to see we have the same passion for giving back to their community. “It’s made me grow and just become more passionate about everything I do.”

consumers corner 6. By Eva Briggs, M.D.

sion scores after 12 sessions of Hatha yoga. Reduce inflammation. Several studies demonstrate decreased inflammation and lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) after initiating a regular yoga program. Promote heart health. According to the American Heart Association, some benefits of yoga include lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and better circulation. Yoga helps not only people with existing cardiac problems, but also reduces the risk of developing heart disease. Improve quality of life. Preliminary studies of cancer patients show decreased stress and anxiety leading to a better sense of well-being. Reduce chronic pain. At least one researcher asserts that long-term yoga builds gray matter in certain brain structures. This increases the threshold at which a sensation is perceived as pain and increases pain tolerance. Also, the anticipation of pain in non-yoga trained individuals triggers the “fight-or-flight” sympathetic nervous system. This ratchets up stress hormones and pain. Yogis have learned instead to activate the “rest-and-digest” parasympathetic nervous system when expecting pain. This actually reduces perceived pain. . Promote sleep quality. The National Sleep Foundation states that people who practice yoga sleep longer, fall asleep faster and return to sleep more quickly if they wake up in the middle of the night. This includes older adults, people with cancer, and pregnant women. . Improve breathing. The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques of yoga appear to actually improve lung function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). . Relieve migraines. One study showed that adding yoga to conventional migraine care improved outcomes: less pain and less disability. . Promote healthy eating habits. Apparently the mindfulness aspect of yoga encourages healthy dietary habits. Young adults who practice yoga tend to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables, consume fewer servings of sugar-sweetened beverages and snack foods, and eat less fast food.

13 Reasons Why 7. You Should Do Yoga If you are looking for a new fitness program, consider yoga


ecently I visited my daughter who teaches yoga. I attended one of her classes. I can attest that it is a major strength and flexibility workout. Not to mention this class was hot yoga in Denver where it was already 100 degrees outside — definitely a great way to work up a sweat. What is yoga, anyway? Wikipedia defines it as is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India. There are many types of yoga, and I don’t pretend to be able to describe them. But there are a variety of health benefits to yoga. Flexibility. To learn and perform various poses requires stretching in ways I didn’t even realize existed. But you don’t need to be flexible to start yoga; some styles require less contortion than others. And you can


work up to the stretches gradually. Balance. It takes practice to be able to balance in some of the yoga poses. The improved balance from yoga translates into fewer falls. That’s important because falls are a leading cause of injury as people age. Strength. You don’t need barbells or weight machines to strengthen with yoga. Using your body’s own weight, various yoga poses build your muscles. For example, the plank in all its variations is a great way to strengthen your core. In addition to the above obvious exercise benefits, there appear to be some other health pluses. Alleviate stress. It happens through controlled breathing and meditation or relaxation. Reduce anxiety and fight depression. One recent study showed significant decreases in anxiety and depres-



4. 5.

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October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 Photos by Bill Reed

By Michele Reed michele@cny55.com

Learn French ... by Shopping


hen we retired and began our French adventure, one of the first things friends and family in Central New York would ask us was, “Do you speak French?” Our honest answer at the time was always a simple “No.” Now, after five years of part-time living in France, we are by no means fluent. But each year our answers to that question would progress: “We know a few words.” “Enough to get by.” “Better and better each time.” Probably most telling has been the reaction of our French friends. Rosa, our next-door neighbor, used to introduce me with a laugh: “This is my American neighbor. She speaks NO French and I don’t understand English.” Now we have conversations about the weather, our families, local happenings. Gilles, our neighbor across the street, with whom we used to communicate with gestures and smiles, accorded us one of the highest compliments on our return this time. “Your French is getting much better!” he told us with two thumbs up. He and Bill talk about the jazz and blues they both love. When we were unable to return for the winter, even though we had told them to expect us in January, we took a big step in our road to learning French. We wrote our neighbors a letter — in French. To our great surprise and happiness, an envelope came in the return mail about two weeks later. A Happy New Year card, with a description of the winter weather there from Gilles and greetings from Rosa. They say learning new languages gets harder as you age. We can attest to that! Certainly it is more difficult in our 60s than it was when we took high school Spanish and German. So how are we able to progress with just


55 PLUS - October/November 2018

When you visit the boulangerie for your daily bread, you get to practice your French with the baker and fellow customers.

part-time residence in France? We started in Central New York to prepare ourselves. Bill has amassed a 1,000-day-plus perfect record in the free language-learning app Duolingo. In 10 minutes a day, he gets vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation practice — all before breakfast. I’m a fan of the website Comme Une Francaise (Like a French Girl) — but it’s for guys, too. You can get free videos once a week, direct to your inbox, covering topics like how to talk about sports, shop the farmer’s market and eat out. Many more websites and apps are available, too. But more than anything, living in France has taught us much. Those high school teachers knew what they were doing with immersion trips and foreign-exchange programs. There’s nothing like living somewhere to improve your language skills day by day. We came up with a few tips to help fellow seniors pick up a new language in a foreign land or here at home. Watch local TV. When in France, we watch only French TV. The French news gives us a new Eurocentric understanding of current affairs.

House-hunting shows, cooking competitions and geographic specials teach us vocabulary and pronunciation. Plus, they expose us to accents that are different from our Southern French one. In the States, you can easily download an app for France 24 and other foreign news channels. Some cable companies have packages to buy channels in other languages. Embrace the local culture. French cinema is among the best in the world, and they are proud of it. So there’s plenty of language practice to be had watching old black and white classics, comedies from the ’40s and ’50s, and even cartoons like Asterix the Gaul and Tintin. I love the old French cabaret songs. The repetition of words and careful diction help in remembering phrases. At the bouquin (boo – kan) fair, we pick up used books on local history and tall tales. Children’s books are especially good when you’re just starting out in a language. Thanks to YouTube, you can find at least snippets of old movies, cartoons and songs in foreign languages. Learn about the land. The French love their heritage, and knowing about French history and geography

is a mark of a cultured person. So here TV specials abound, providing ample language practice while learning about everything from Charlemagne to Charles de Gaulle, and French geography from Paris to Nice. Books, magazines and tourism pamphlets help us learn about the different regions of France. At home, reading travel books, histories or memoirs about the country you’re interested in will give you helpful knowledge of history, customs and culture. Read the local newspapers. “Le journal,” or the newspaper, is another great language learning tool. We buy Midi Libre, our local paper, every day and in addition to keeping up with the news, we’re always strengthening our language skills, even from the horoscope, weather forecast, cartoons and games. You can find an online presence for newspapers in countries all over the world. Our own Midi Libre has an app, and we use it to keep up on the French “local” news when we are in Oswego. Go shopping. This is our biggest and best tip, one dear to my heart. When you live in another country, you can’t just eat out at restaurants all the time. You have to shop for bread, meat, vegetables, and even such mundane things as toilet paper and soap. To get what you need requires a daily influx of new vocabulary. The words for some things look and sound the same in either language. At the farmers market, it’s easy to know what celeri and tomate are, but courgette (zucchini), champignon (mushroom) and ail (garlic) take a little learning. And you can’t just ask for or worse yet point at or pick up what you want. Every transaction helps with learning the language and its subtleties. When you visit a shop often, you develop a relationship with the shopkeeper or clerk, and often they are happy to help you practice the language. Science tells us that exercising our brain by learning new things is a great way to keep it sharp as we age. Learning a new language after 55 might not be the easiest thing to do, but with a little creativity and persistence, it can be done. It won’t just exercise your mind, it’ll expand your world.

The farmer’s market is a great place to practice language skills as you shop for aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini) and ail (garlic) for your ratatouille. Don’t forget the huile d’olive (olive oil)!

Whether you’re looking for vegetables at the marchand de legumes, newspapers and sundries at the tabac or fish at the poissonerie, a shopping trip is great opportunity to practice language skills. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger

Cruising the Rhine

Boat cruise along legendary river proves exciting, educational


ow about a river cruise vacation? Why not? Older people should be seeking new adventures and this was one I had never experienced. So, I gathered my girlfriend, Victoria, and off we went on a river cruise of the Rhine River. We set off flying from Syracuse to Philadelphia and on to Amsterdam. We decided to spend two days in Amsterdam before embarking on the river cruise. As usual, I over-packed and brought a large suitcase and a gym bag stuffed with clothing and books, most of which I never used on the trip. I checked my large bag at the Syracuse airport and intended to carry my gym bag aboard the flight.


55 PLUS - October/November 2018

An agent stopped me at the gate and said, “I can check that bag for you.” So, I checked my gym bag, not realizing that my passport was in the bag. When we got to Philadelphia, the agent told me that I couldn’t board the plane to Amsterdam without a passport. The head of airport security showed up and decided that the staff should look for my bag aboard the plane. This was a difficult task, since the agent who took my bag failed to give me the baggage receipt. Meanwhile, the plane was fully boarded with passengers. Amazingly, they eventually found the bag, delaying the plane’s departure for almost an hour. When we finally got on the plane, grim faces and ominous silence greeted us. The flight was uneventful, but we were faced with the problem of how to sleep and endure seven hours in cramped conditions. This is a common complaint of experienced air travelers. Where do you put your head and your feet? Can you sleep at all? After seven hours of intermittent dozing, we arrived in Amsterdam and spent two days exploring the city. We visited the Rijsmuseum and Van Gogh museum and took a boat ride on the canals. Many years ago, I taught a history of biology course in Amsterdam and I lived on Valeriusstraat. We found the street where I lived and spent a lovely afternoon sitting on a bench on the street. We walked through Vondelpark, the largest city park in Amsterdam, and old memories were revived. We had dinner at an outdoor restaurant near the corner of Valeriusstraat. Everyone we encountered in Amsterdam spoke English. One memorable feature in Amsterdam were the Dutch fries. We saw

a long line waiting to buy something. We joined the line and bought two paper cones full of thick, delicious Dutch fries. A variety of toppings were available. After devouring a cone-full of these fries, it was impossible to have any dinner. Roaming the infamous Red Light district was another memorable experience. Sparsely dressed, voluptuous women stood inside the large windows, beckoning to passersby. I wondered what kind of exercise these women did to keep their bodies in such good shape. The area was seedy and was packed with tourists, so we didn’t stay very long. Of course, the Anne Frank house is a major tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Since both of us had been there before, we did not visit this site where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in World War II. The most conspicuous feature of Amsterdam was the large number of people riding bicycles. We sat on a bench in Vondelpark and watched bicyclists with babies lashed to their backs, one-handed riders, cell phone cyclists and even riders with no hands on the steering bar. They made bicycling look very easy. In Amsterdam, we also visited the Museum of Bags and Purses. There, visitors are treated to a collection of thousands of handbags and purses that date back to the 16th century. We boarded the ship after two days of exploring Amsterdam. It was late afternoon and passengers were drinking cocktails. I bought a drink for Victoria and was surprised at the high price.

Dodging a bullet Wine and beer were available free at lunch and dinner, but the cruise

offered a drink package that enabled you to have a drink at any time. On impulse, I decided to buy the unlimited drink package for almost $400 per couple, even though I rarely drink alcohol. That night, I thought about it and decided to try to cancel the drink package. Since wine and beer were free at meals, there was no way Victoria could consume many drinks in between without becoming an alcoholic. The agent at the service desk said that I couldn’t cancel the package. Meanwhile, Victoria had befriended the ship’s program director. She told him about my plight and he said, “I’ll see what I can do.” He arranged cancelation of the drink package. Whew! The ship was modern and luxurious. The meals were fantastic. Each day, a tour left the ship and explored the sights. Cathedrals and castles were high on the agenda. As interesting and beautiful as they are, my view is that if you’ve seen one castle or cathedral, you’ve seen them all. The most unusual tour was in Kinderdijk-Elshout in the Netherlands. This small village has a network of old wooden windmills, used for pumping water and water management. Someone had the brilliant idea of making the windmills a major tourist attraction. We found out all about windmills, and it was fascinating. In Cologne, Germany, we visited a building that was Gestapo headquarters during World War II — the National Socialism Documentation Center. This building was turned into a comprehensive museum about World War II and the rise of Hitler’s regime. Prison cells were still intact in the basement and there is a courtyard where prisoners were executed. The last shore excursion was the Black Forest in southwest Germany. Optional tours included a cuckoo clock-making presentation and a session on how to make Black Forest cake. Instead of these options, we chose to go on a brief hike of the area. Although the Black Forest is picturesque, I think the scenery in Central New York is far more beautiful. There was a lot of tipping requested. There were suggested gratuities for the ship staff, the program director, the bus drivers and the tour guides. I don’t mind giving tips for good service, but I prefer all-inclu-

Ward W. O’Hara

Agricultural & Country Living Museum Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr. Educational Center 6880 East Lake Road Rt. 38 A Auburn, New York 13021 Sixth Annual Festival of Trees Nov. 3 thru December 30, 2018 Weekdays 2 P.M. till 8 P.M. Saturday 10 A.M. till 8 P.M. Sunday 11 A.M. till 8 P.M. Over 100 Trees of all sizes and themes decorated in the Museum Phone 315-252-7644 tquill@cayugacounty.us Museum Decorated Holidays Free Admission and Parking Dress warm parts of Museum not heated Come vote for your favorite tree December 9, 2018 10 A.M. till 4 P.M. Christmas Open House Entertainment, Refreshments and Santa Arrives at 1 P.M.

Free Admission and Parking

sive trips where all tips are included in the total price of the trip. Otherwise, you are constantly tossing tips to everyone in sight, and it becomes a nuisance. Sometimes, you have only bills when all that is needed are a few coins. After seven days of luxurious living aboard the ship and many land excursions, we set out for home. We were supposed to fly from Basel, Switzerland, to Philadelphia and then to Syracuse. When we reached Philadelphia, we were told that the connecting flight to Syracuse was cancelled because of a storm in Syracuse. It was about 8:30 p.m. I booked the next flight to Syracuse for 5 a.m. Meanwhile, Victoria had a cold, an eye inflammation and an ear infection. Ordinarily, I’d brave it out and sit in the airport seats overnight. But Victoria didn’t feel well, so I tried unsuccessfully to get a hotel room. I told our plight to an information agent at the airport. “I’ll help you out,” he said. He walked us down a long corridor in the airport where about a dozen people were sleeping on cots. An airport worker unfolded two cots, and gave each of us a pillow, blanket, toilet kit and a bottle of water. So, we were able to get some sleep while waiting to board the morning flight to Syracuse. I truly came to believe that Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love. The flight to Syracuse was delayed. A very young pilot finally showed up and we boarded the plane. He zoomed through turbulent air and flew us to Syracuse in what seemed to be record time. I met him at the Syr-

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437-4864 acuse airport and said, “As soon as I saw you, I knew we would have a cowboy ride.” He laughed. Our river cruise adventure was over. It was a bit sad that the trip had ended, as all things eventually do. But we were left with rich memories and a desire for more such adventures in the future. So, if you have never taken a river cruise, do it. You won’t be sorry. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS


golden years By Harold Miller


America’s Exploding Drug Culture

e as a nation have lost the war on illicit drugs. Our government has failed in its primary responsibility to defend us from this criminal activity within and outside our borders. The highest form of criminal activity are the drug dealers who prey on the weak and seem to have a free hand in most of the cities in our country. Now, in the 21st century, we have added failure from within — big Pharma is largely responsible for the opioid crisis that cripples the nation. Chicago, the third largest city in the country, is completely nonfunctional as far as law and order is concerned. The governor of Illinois and Chicago’s mayor appear to be out to lunch, as well as the police force — all standing by while hordes of gangsters take over the streets. Quoting from a recent Wall Street Journal article, “An estimated 3,000 young men in the Windy City are at especially high risk of becoming perpetuators or victims of violence. They are typically high-school dropouts with some sort of prison record who see their future prospects limited to gang members and street corner drug ‘entrepreneurs.’ The percentage of these gangsters ever being caught and prosecuted are in the single digit numbers.” We spend half the year in North Palm Beach, Fla. Just south of us is the city of Rivera Beach on Route 1. We have to drive through it to get to Palm Beach — but never at night. This city is the unofficial dope dealing headquarters of South Florida. Most of the supply comes from Mexico, South America and Cuba through borders that are paper thin. Everyone knows that you can buy drugs on any street corner at any time both day and night and even though the streets are well patrolled by police cars due to the high crime rate, no drug dealers ever seem to be arrested – much less prosecuted. Every once in awhile an article will


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appear in the Palm Beach Post about “Cracking down on the drug dealers in Riviera Beach” but nothing ever seems to happen. The recently published book ‘Dopesick’ by Beth Macy reveals the emotional devastation of opioid addiction, which is staggering. She describes the “perfect storm” that fueled the epidemic: “the collapse of work followed by the rise in disability followed by the flood of painkillers pushed by the rapacious pharmaceutical companies. Macy devotes a large segment of her book to the role of pharmaceutical companies, especially Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, which aggressively market the addictive medications. She also blames doctors, who liberally, even carelessly, prescribe them. She notes the high rates of people on federal disability. For a low co-pay they can use their Medicaid cards to buy physician-prescribed narcotic pain relievers thereby sustaining their addictions or becoming drug dealers themselves. We have experienced the pitiful destruction of a grandchild — first from illegal drug dealers and later from a legal doctor’s prescription of OxyContin. Our grandson is 35 years

old and his doctors have told him that he may have only about six years to live. His once hearty smile is missing because most of his teeth are missing — eaten away by methamphetamine— a deadly byproduct of the drugs that are killing him. He doesn’t have much of a life, spending most of his time laying around watching TV and playing games on his computer. We have offered our help many times but it’s too late. The deadly narcotics have taken over his body and his brain. There are no easy answers to the opioid crisis. Until our government fills the jails with dope dealers and closes our borders to the import of illicit drugs, and if the Feds crack down on Big Pharma the problem won’t be solved. As this article goes to press, President Trump called on his Attorney General to sue opioid makers, the latest move by his administration to combat the highly addictive painkillers linked to tens of thousands of U.S. deaths a year. And last but not least — when parents take the responsibility of supervising their children’s activities beyond the schoolyard and at all times. Only then will our country beat back the greatest threat to our society and our culture.

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By Sandra Scott

Wellesley Island is one of the larger islands and home to a preserved Victorian village

Jefferson County Home to Fort Drum, region includes Thousand Islands, Sackets Harbor, Alex Bay, Wellesley Island and more


efferson County was named for President Jefferson and at one time included the northern part of New York state and all of present-day Vermont. Since there was no western boundary at that time it theoretically extended to the Pacific Ocean. Over the years various other counties were split off until Jefferson County reached its present size in 1805, with the exception of Carlton Island which was captured from the British in the War of 1812 and annexed to the county. Today the county is a wonderful mix of things to see and do. Watertown: Learn about the history of Jefferson County at the architecturally unique Paddock Museum, home of the Jefferson County Historical Society. The museum’s water turbine Kinne Exhibit is believed to be the largest of its kind anywhere and has been designated a National Landmark by the American



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Association of Mechanical Engineers. One exhibit traces the history of the county from 1792 to its golden era in the early 20th century. The outdoor exhibits include an Early American barn, a pioneer cabin, and a one-room schoolhouse. The city is also home to historic Thomson Park with many trails and a zoo. Thousand Islands: There are more than 1,800 islands in the St. Lawrence River between the United States and Canada with more than 1000 things to do. Wellesley Island is one of the larger islands and home to a preserved Victorian village. The historic district has more than 200 buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center with 600 acres has several different ecosystems and a nature center. It is open year round.



. Millionaire’s Row: During the Gilded Age, the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the wealthy people vacationed in the Thousand Islands. A New York Times reporter was on site to report on society’s doings. The moneyed bought islands and built mansions in an area that is now called “Millionaire’s Row.” Some built castles like Singer Castle on Dark Island and Boldt Castle on Heart Island. There are tours to both but Boldt Castle was never completed. Alexandra Bay: Commonly referred to as “A-Bay” it is where the famed Uncle Sam’s Boat tours depart for a tour of the area including the castles. It is also one place to organize a fishing charter to catch pike or muskellunge. There are several quaint shops and waterside resorts. In August the streets and docks are the place to celebrate Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days with performances, parades and a


pirate ship invasion. Yes, the area had pirates including Bill Johnston, the infamous local patriot, fugitive and buccaneer. Clayton: The charming riverside village is home to the famed Antique Boat Museum where visitors can learn about the development of watercraft and view a variety of boats. River rides on vintage boats are available. The restored 1903 Opera House has a summer lineup that includes tribute bands, comedians, along with nationally-known stars. The Thousand Islands Museum and the nearby Arts Center is home to a Handweaving Museum. Don’t miss River Rat Cheese, Coyote Moon Wines, and the Clayton Distillery. Sackets Harbor: Start your visit to this quaint, historic town at the Heritage Area Visitor Center — it has an orientation map for a village walking tour. One of the crucial battles of the War of 1812 took place here. Check out the Sackets Harbor State Historic Battle site and the nearby Pickering-Beach Museum. The Seaway Trail Discovery Center is a museum with exhibits about the culture and heritage of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail and surrounding area. Nearby is Old McDonald’s Farm with over 100 animals. Fort Drum: The 10th Mountain Division makes its home at Fort Drum. It is a city unto itself with a population of about 12,000. The Main Gate (North Gate) is located on Iraqi Freedom Drive off route 781. Visitors need to have a Department of Defense ID or fill out a request form and submit it to a sponsor a couple of days before the planned visit. Those without a sponsor can contact the curator of the Fort Drum museum for permission to visit. Recreation: Jefferson County borders Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River making it a paradise for boaters and bathers. There are many beaches with favorites being Westcott Beach and Southwick State Parks, both of which offer camping. There are many hiking trails including those at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area near Henderson. Check out the white water rafting on the Black River, houseboat rentals, and diving. With the eastern part of the county in the foothills of the Adirondacks visitors can enjoy the groomed snowmobile trails, skiing, golfing, and camping.



Did you know? Thousand Island dressing was created by Sophie Lalonde, the wife of a 1000 Island fishing guide. The village of Adams is called “The Arbor Day Village” in honor of J. Sterling Morton who was Secretary of Agriculture under Grover Cleveland and the founder of Arbor Day. To some people, Watertown’s Thompson Park is an energy producing site possibly due to the high concentration of certain minerals and rock which may affect the surrounding electromagnetic field creating a vortex, ley lines, and other paranormal energy producing phenomena.


Don’t miss: No matter the season there is always something going on, especially in the summer. Jefferson County is on the Seaway Trail, which is a National Scenic Byway and includes a wine driving tour. One of the big summer events is the annual Antique Boat Show and sale. The historic Sackets Harbor Battlefield War of 1812 Weekend is an annual event. The Jefferson County fair is the longest consecutively running fair in the U.S.A. Most communities have their own special events. One of the popular new events is the Fire & Ice Celebration in Clayton.



Uncle Sam’s Boat tours give visitors a great overview of the Thousand Islands.


Fort Drum’s Main Gate (North Gate) is located on Iraqi Freedom Drive off route 781. Visitors can visit the museum inside. October/November 2018 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Sarah S. Wiles, 64 Skaneateles tour boat operator, linked to legendary Stickley family, has celebrated 50 years in business Q.: What is your role with the company? A.: I’m one of the owners here. There are four family members who are owners. I handle the marketing and supervise advertising and public relations. There are four equal partners in all of the entities. I’m the oldest; my brother, Peter is the president; my sister, Hattie, is one of the captains; and she handles the operations for this part of the business. My brother, Dan, is a project person, so he’s everywhere. Q.: Give us a brief description of what Mid-Lakes Navigation does. A.: We have two tour boats on Skaneateles Lake and offer a variety of dinner cruises and sightseeing. We do the mail boat that delivers mail around the lake. We also have a fullservice marina on the Erie Canal out near Rochester in a little town called Macedon. From that location, we also operate a fleet of canal boats that vacationers can rent and live onboard.

Q.: What’s it like to be part of a family business? A.: It’s awesome. I think family businesses are notorious for infighting and things that don’t necessarily go well. But for all this time, and I think I’ll credit Dad with this, we’ve always been able to see our way through to a consensus in just about every single big decision that we ever encounter. We enjoy each other’s company. Q.: How did your father come to start Mid-Lakes? A.: In 1968, he had a successful golf course and restaurant down on the east side of Skaneateles Lake in a little town called Borodino. He grew up around boats and summered out here with his family. At some point, the gentleman that at that time operated the mail contract and the mail boat decided it was time to retire. He buttonholed Dad and said, ‘Pete, this is what you should do’ and created good terms on which to buy the boat. We were able to get the mail contract, and that was the beginning. We had a 25-passenger boat called the Pat II, and she delivered mail for a year. Then, one of our employees got the idea to use the boat more. We had this restaurant, and thought perhaps we could serve people food on the boat. Things just went from there. Q.: There are many family run businesses that don’t last 10 years. You’ve lasted 50. What are the secrets to your success? A.: They’re not secrets. Dad always had a great deal of respect for the people who worked for him. He’s given us all of these insights and gifts, and is part of the

community partnering with other businesses. Tourism is a very cool business. It’s fun, and it relies on the cooperation of everyone involved. All of the stores, galleries and restaurants in our area have an understanding that you’re not by yourself. Q.: What’s the favorite part of your job? A.: I’m a pretty gregarious person, and I like talking to people. There are lots of fires to put out with having a small business, and that’s challenging too. Q.: What’s the least favorite part of your job? A.: I’m not always a good delegator; I’ll just do it. But you really can’t do everything and we have such a great staff. Q.: What do you do during the winter? A.: Design our brochure, upgrade the website, figure out what the marketing moves are going to be next year, design new cruises and take a look at what happened last year to make plans for the following year. Q.: Who was Judge Ben Wiles? A.: He is my paternal grandfather and was a bankruptcy court referee in the 1930s. The “S” in Barbara S. stands for Stickley. Barbara Stickley was a daughter of Gustav Stickley, and she married Ben. Q.: So, you’re a descendent of Gustav Stickley? A.: I’m a great-granddaughter. My middle name is Stickley. Q: How do you honor that legacy? A.: There’s a house on Columbus Avenue in Syracuse where Gustav Stickley lived. He designed the interior to follow his own philosophy. The house has been in disrepair for a long time, but the basic bones and the design elements are there. The University Neighborhood Preservation Association acquired the house. The house has already gone through an initial phase of exterior restoration. I’m vice president of the Gustav Stickley House Foundation. We’re raising funds to complete the next phase.

Sarah S. Wiles and her family have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mid-Lakes Navigation, a company her father, Peter Wiles Sr., bought in 1968. The two tour boats it operates on Skaneateles Lake are the Judge Ben Wiles and Barbara S. Wiles 50

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