Octogenarian Travels the World as a Backpacker
Issue 32 April / May 2011
For Active Adults in Central New York
Joe Whiting, 63, and others still devoted to music, more than 40 years after they started their careers
Still Passionate About Music Natural Remedies: Is it Time to Ditch Viagra?
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55 PLUS - April / May 2011
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Health Watch 6-7 Gardening 8 Financial Health 9 Golden Years 16 Aging 34 My Turn 37 Druger’s Zoo 38 Consumer’s Corner 49 Last Page 50 SUBSCRIBE TO 55PLUS Only $15. Check to 55PLUS P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126
April / May 2011
• Octogenarian travels the world as a backpacker
• Terry Bish: North Syracuse business owner writes a book about his adventurous life
22 COVER STORY
• True love for music: Local musicians stick to their passion for music after more than 40 years in the business
• Joel Delmonico: Keeping radio waves alive in Central New York
• Branson, Mo.: An AllAmerican City worth visiting
• Natural remedies: Is it time to ditch Viagra? • How to prevent any health risk
• Martial arts pro, Greg Tearney still kicking at 70
April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
Moderate alcohol consumption linked to healthy hearts Moderate defined as one drink for women a day, and two for men
wo reports have been recently published linking moderate alcohol consumption with significantly lower risks of developing heart disease. The two reports from the University of Calgary, both published in the British Medical Journal, concluded that people who drink in moderation are 14 to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink at all. One of the studies says the reason is likely because alcohol raises a person’s high density lipoprotein
cholesterol, or so-called “good cholesterol.” This has a protective effect on the heart. The researchers acknowledged that previous research linked moderate drinking with reduced heart disease risk, but they said in a statement that those studies were out-of-date and needed updating. The researchers also stressed moderation. This means about one glass of wine, beer or other alcoholic beverage a day for women and about two for men.
High blood pressure, cholesterol linked to memory problems later in life Risk goes beyond developing heart disease
iddle-aged men and women with high blood pressure and high cholesterol may not only be putting themselves at risk of heart disease later in life, but also cognitive and memory problems, according to a recent report. Researchers with the French National Institute of Health & Medical Research studied 3,486 men and 1,341 women with an average age of 55. The participants underwent cognitive tests three times over 10 years. The tests measured reasoning, memory, ﬂuency and vocabulary. 6
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The participants also received a score that assessed their risk of a cardiovascular event based on age, sex, HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and whether they smoked or had diabetes. The researchers said participants with higher cardiovascular risk were more likely to have lower cognitive function and a faster rate of overall cognitive decline than those with the lowest risk of heart disease. The study results are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii in April.
Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto
Associate Editor Lou Sorendo
Sandra Scott, Aaron Gifford Mary Beth Roach Ken Little Concetta (Connie) Tuori
Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, David J. Zumpano Marvin Druger
Donna J. Kimbrell Marlene Raite Tracy DeCann
Laura J. Beckwith
Layout and Design Chris Crocker
Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper.
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Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $15 a year © 2011 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.
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How to Reach Us P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: (315) 342-1182 Fax: (315) 342-7776 E-mail: Editor@cnyhealth.com
HEALTH WATCH Zinc may shorten duration, severity of common cold More research needed to recommend dosage
aking zinc supplements may reduce the length and severity of the common cold, according to a new study. The health research group the Cochrane Collaboration found zinc inhibits the replication of the rhinovirus, the virus responsible for colds. The researchers said that taking zinc within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the illness in healthy
people. People taking zinc are also less likely to have persistent cold symptoms beyond seven days of treatment. The researchers also said taking zinc on a regular basis reduces the incidence of colds, school absences and prescription of antibiotics in children. Taking zinc in lozenge form is most likely to result in side effects, including bad taste and nausea, the researchers said.
Surrogate grandma produces baby grandson for daughter
61-year-old grandmother from Illinois gave birth to her own grandson after serving as surrogate for her infertile daughter. Kristine Casey gave birth to grandson Finnean Lee Connell by Caesarean section in February at the Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. The baby was produced via
in vitro fertilization using an embryo created from Sara Connell’s egg and her husband’s sperm. Casey, a retiree living in Virginia, decided to serve as her daughter’s surrogate in 2009 calling it a spiritual act. Casey is already at her post menopausal stage but was physically and psychologically healthy to
carry the baby to full term. Her last pregnancy was 30 years ago; she has three daughters. The last known post menopausal woman to give birth was in 2008 when 56-year-old Jaci Dalenberg of Wooster, Ohio, serving as surrogate for her daughter Kim Coseno, gave birth to triplets.
Report: People in the South most inactive in U.S. Almost 30 percent report getting no exercise.
mericans who live in the South and parts of Appalachia are the least likely to by physically active, according to newly-released government statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that in many counties in those regions, more than 29 percent of adults reported getting no physical activity or exercise other than at their
regular job. States with the highest physical inactivity during leisure time include Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The CDC report said more than 25 percent of U.S. adults did not spend any of their free time being physically active. This includes activities like walking, gardening,
golﬁng or running. Areas where residents reported getting the most exercise are on the West Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast. The CDC encourages Americans to be more physically active to help control weight, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles and improve mental health. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
Gardening NURSING HOME COSTS DON’T HAVE TO WIPE OUT YOUR HOME AND LIFE SAVINGS… • Protecting your assets from Nursing Home Costs • Medicaid Qualiﬁcation • Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills • The use of Revocable Trusts to avoid probate and Irrevocable trusts to protect assets from nursing home costs • The use of wills and trusts to reduce estate taxes and income taxes • Estate planning for adults and children with special needs • Supplemental Needs Trusts • Guardianships • Avoiding Probate • Protecting Your Children’s & Grandchildren’s inheritance even if they get divorced • Why the nursing home should NOT ﬁle your Medicaid application • Every meeting will always be with Attorney Pellegrino, who has 35 years of experience helping seniors and their families protect their assets
55 PLUS - April / May 2011
By Jim Sollecito
When You Stop Trying to Get Better, You Cease Being Good
y wife Megan does the crossword puzzle every day. I am not a crossword kind of guy. I like things to read left to right. Trees and shrubs are meant to be vertical, not words. But invariably, by the end of the week, as the puzzles increase in their degree of difﬁculty, she’ll ask me a couple of questions, usually related to some sports figure that she is unfamiliar with. I have asked her why she just doesn’t skip those tough ones, and wait until Monday when she usually completes them in 15 minutes. She likes keeping her mind sharp, and doesn’t back away from challenges. Even if it involves her interrupting my plant readings. I guess that’s one of the reasons why we’ll celebrate 30 years of marriage this September. She asks, I answer, and we make it better together. Following that model, this winter I took training and passed a test to become the first garden center owner in New York state to be DEC Be Green licensee. That means I have the knowledge and product for you to have a 100 percent organic landscape. That sounds great, but when you consider that many of the products commonly sold are not considered the best practices, that will raise some eyebrows. Case in point: There are trees and shrubs that are considered widespread and invasive, and should not be sold, nor planted. Norway maple, burning bush, barberry and forget-me-not, among many others. These plants tend to make many viable seeds that birds eat; the birds ﬂy away, deposit their droppings onto your neighbor’s yard, and spread unwanted plants. A bird dropping is the perfect seed packet. The seed jacket has been removed (eaten) and the seed itself
is cleaned and ready to grow, the pellet has a strong shot of fertilizer, and because it is wet, it tends to stick, and sprout. Just add water. Now if we could only train these birds to eat and deposit tomatoes in our gardens, we’d have enough produce to open a roadside stand. Other practices involve not using synthetically synthesized fertilizers, no weed barrier fabrics beneath organic mulches (organic matter on top of the fabric will clog the pore system of the fabric and prevent air and water from penetrating into the soil below), and my favorite: no dyed mulch, which may contain demolition debris contamination. Paint something up; you just never know what is underneath. Give me 100 percent bark mulch or give me death! I love it, I just never understood why people would spend a ton of money on fake, dyed mulches to dress up their yards, when the real answer to the question was to put in plants that don’t require sprays and are far more compact than what was available even 10 years ago. Life is about changes, and improvements. I was glad that I challenged myself to gain this prized certiﬁcation; I learned a few things that will help me be better at what I do. Maybe looking at things on the horizontal and vertical might give some fresh thinking for all of us this spring. Jim Sollecito is the ﬁrst lifetime senior certiﬁed landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 4681142 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
financial health By David J. Zumpano
How to Leave Assets To Loved Ones
harles came into the ofﬁce to start his estate planning. He was a widower and had no children. The bulk of his estate was going to three nieces. Charles had in excess of $750,000, and he wanted to ensure that when he died, his money went to his nieces quickly and avoided probate. He heard a living trust was the way to do that. When he came in to the ofﬁce he discovered issues and options he had not previously thought about. Specifically, he liked the option to ensure that when he passed, rather than leaving his assets to his nieces outright, he could give it to them in a protected trust that permits them to have access to it for the rest of their lives, but not their creditors, spouses in divorce, nursing homes, the government or lawsuits. Charles engaged the attorney and set up his estate plan so that when he passed, each of his nieces would receive their $250,000 in a trust for their beneﬁt. The trust allowed each beneﬁciary to serve as trustee but also provided for a co-trustee, who could be appointed by each beneﬁciary. When Charles died, his brother Frank came into the ofﬁce to administer Charles’ trust. Frank was confused, as were his children, as to why Charles left the money in trust, instead of outright. They were a little disappointed. After some explanation by the attorney, they said that they understood and proceeded with the trust administration. Each of them received their separate share of uncle Charley’s estate in a trust, in which they were named trustee. About a year later, Sue Ellen, one of Frank’s children, contacted the attorney. She was concerned about a
recent garnishment that had been put on her account at the bank. Evidently, she had been sued and a judgment was awarded to the party suing her. The creditor executed a judgment against all of Ellen’s assets. Since Ellen was a trustee of the trust left by Uncle Charles, they also put a lock on the trust account in hopes that they could empty it to satisfy their judgment. The attorney quickly explained to Ellen that this is exactly why Uncle Charles had done what he did, to ensure that if any predators ever attempted to take the money from Ellen, they would be prohibited. The attorney sent a letter to the law ﬁrm for the creditor and to the bank’s attorney advising them any attachment to the account was unauthorized and illegal. After a quick review of the trust, both the judgment holder and the bank acknowledged the account was not subject to levy and released it. The funds remained available for Ellen’s use without the risk of any further attachment by the judgment creditor or anyone else. With proper planning, you can protect your loved ones when you die to ensure when they inherit what you have worked your lifetime for, it stays with them without the risk of being lost to their divorce, lawsuits, nursing homes, the government, or other creditors. David J. Zumpano is an attorney and a certified public accountant (CPA). He operates Estate Planning Law Center. He can be reached at 793-3622.
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April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
At China’s Great Wall last year.
Octogenarian Travels the World as a Backpacker 83-year-old experiences journey into Asian cultures By Concetta (Connie) Tuori
usually travel abroad in September every year for six weeks. This year I decided to travel in China and Japan. I had not been in China since 1999 and wanted to see the many changes that had occurred, and also the Shanghai Expo that had opened in May. I had not seen Japan since 1982, except for Tokyo for ﬁve days last year. My plan was to spend four weeks in China and then take the weekly ferry from Shanghai to Osaka and spend the last two weeks in Japan. Some of the places where I 12
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stayed were recommended in Lonely Planets guidebooks on China and Japan. However, this time I found the Internet had cheaper options and more up-to-date suggestions. Also, it was possible to make reservations at various places such as hostels and teahouses using Internet and “Travel World.” In China, I found there were many hostels afﬁliated with International Hostelling and most gave 5 percent reduction with my hostel card. In past trips to China when I stayed in hostels and other backpacker places, other
travelers were always Americans or Europeans. However, on this trip, I found myself sharing a four-bed room with mostly Chinese travelers. They now have more disposable income to travel. Most spoke some English, and I was able to talk to them about changes in China. In Japan, I used a Japan Rail Pass that I had bought in the United States before leaving. I found it to have good value. I checked the fares between places and found I had surpassed the 28,300 yen ($332 plus $10 for Fed Ex) I had paid for it by 17,000 yen. I had a one-week
55+ “In China, I was often asked, “How old are you?” When I answered 83, they smiled and said their grandmother or mother would not venture on a trip alone as I was.”
Hangzhou, and two small cities called Tunxi and Wuyuan. With the exception of Nanjing and the latter two, I had been in all the other cities in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Beijing had a new subway system that had been built for the 2008 Olympics, and it was quicker and easier to get around. Stores and businesses were bustling and thriving. Gone were the
adventure “friendship” stores run by the government where foreigners could ﬁnd all kinds of Chinese goods and electronics. The silk market that had been an open street with little stalls offering bargains in wearing apparel and other Chinese goods was now a ﬁve-story building with sales people who heckled and harassed tourists. There were no longer ﬁxed prices as in the friendship stores
pass but planned my trip so I did not activate the pass until I began traveling after leaving Kyoto. This way I was able to travel to Nara for a day, then Hiroshima and Miyajima, then Takayama, and reached Tokyo the last day before my pass expired.
The language barrier The biggest difﬁculty was language because my knowledge of Chinese and Japanese is limited to a few greeting words. Chinese is a tonal language and if you don’t pronounce a word correctly, you will not be understood. I asked the English-speaking staff to write in Chinese where I wanted to go on a piece of paper. Then I would show it on a bus to a driver, or in the street to someone who helped me ﬁnd the place. In Japan, the language is phonetical and the Latin alphabet is widely used so I pronounced or showed the place name in Latin letters and got around fairly well. English is more widely spoken in Japan. It seemed easier to make myself understood. I have been in China six times since 1982 and traveled all over the country. I decided to limit my travel to the east coast. China is no longer cheap to travel as it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Airfare within the country is quite expensive so I traveled mainly by bus and train and once by hard-sleeper train from Beijing to Shanghai. I also visited Suzhou, Nanjing,
The author traveling in Mahabalipuram south India in 2010. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
as interpreters and tour guides and were able to afford this. Suzhou and Hangzhou, which I had also visited in 1988, were also different from the laid-back, quiet spots of 22 years before. Now there were busloads of Chinese and Western tourists to visit the lovely gardens and to travel the canals and waterways of Suzhou. Hangzhou, one of the most beautiful cities in China renown for its beautiful West Lake and scenic beauty and temples, was a quiet place in 1988 where I had a large dorm with 20 beds in a hostel Popular destinations all by myself. Not anymore. The three- or four-hour wait My last night in Hangzhou, and lines to get into some pavilions a mixed group of young people made it a challenge. Two Chinese arrived late and came in my girls from Guanzhou who shared eight-bed dorm at 11 p.m. the room with me in the hostel Nanjing, one of the places went to visit the Expo and stayed I had never visited before, had four days paying 140 yuan ($21) a star attraction, the famous each day to enter. They worked museum, “The Rape of Nanjing”, an enormous museum ﬁlled with pictures blown-up of the Japanese invasion of 1937, and the rape and killing of 300,000 Chinese people. It was ﬁlled with young people on a rainy day I visited. The second attraction was the memorial to Sun Yat-Sen, the leader of the 1911 overthrow of the Chinese Emperor and the ﬁrst president of the Chinese Republic. Everywhere the crowds were overwhelming. I went to Tunxi and Wuyuan because my guidebook suggested these scenic old villages to see what Chinese village life was like. They were a welcome change after big cities but still the narrow streets were ﬁlled with tourists. Walking in the narrow streets with whitewashed buildings, I found a An elefant trip in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 1977. and the easy-going dealers in the silk market. I had to bargain hard because they started with outrageously high prices and I had to bring them down. The greatest change was Shanghai that I had not seen since 1988. It was a world city now with skyscrapers, new hotels, fancy restaurants, boutiques, and tourists making records to see the Shanghai Exposition that opened May 1 and ran until Oct. 31. The theme of the expo was to create a better city and better life.
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similarity to ones I had seen in Italy and Greece years ago. In Japan I wanted to revisit Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, which I had not seen since 1982. The gardens and temples were still there, but the entrance fees were high ($6.80 or $7.60) and there no reductions for seniors as there were in Chinese temples and museums. I was surprised that such a rich country like Japan cannot lower its entrance fees for older people, and even charges its schoolchildren (although they offer reductions to them). They are constantly on school trips. A new spot in Kyoto I had not seen in my previous trips was Nishiki Market. It is in the center of town. The variety of foods on display is staggering. I saw the wonderful foods that go into Kyoto cuisine.
Solemn reminder In Hiroshima, I saw the Peace Memorial Park that had not yet been built in 1956, the ﬁrst time I visited. The Atomic Bomb Dome was still there as I had seen it in 1956. It was the only building left to stand after the A-bomb attack in 1945. Nearby in the Inland Sea is Miyajima, the most photographed scenic spot with its famous vermillion torri. I went to Takayama, a charming little city in the Japanese Alps in the central Honshu Island in the Hida district. My ﬁnal destination was Tokyo where I spent the last two days. My favorite spot is Asakusa because it has a compact neighborhood and its temple Senso-ji is in the heart of the main market. In the evening, it was all lit up and presented a beautiful sight. In China, I was often asked, “How old are you?” When I answered 83, they smiled and said their grandmother or mother would not venture on a trip alone as I was. In my Beijing hostel, a lady from Venezuela remarked, “You come to China alone at your age?” A young German traveler in Japan was very interested that an
80-something person would stay in a hostel and sleep on the ﬂoor on tatami mats Japanese style. In Japan, I was not asked how old I was very often mainly because there are so many old people walking about, and I was not so conspicuous. Under Confucianism, in China an older person is treated with special respect, and people go out of their way to help them. In China and Japan, many older and younger people tried to help me ﬁnd a place when I was lost, which was often. “Apple”, the lady at the Backpacker hostel in Beijing, sent me in a van to the train station the night I left for Shanghai and said it was on the house. In Nanjing, I couldn’t ﬁnd my hotel even though I had the address written in Chinese. The taxi driver just left me in the street. A middleaged man who was nearby took the paper and kept asking people until he found it across the street. The Japanese are probably the most polite people in the world. They would bow and smile and
“In my Beijing hostel, a lady from Venezuela remarked, ‘You come to China alone at your age?’” even if they had limited English, they tried to help me. In Hiroshima, I had to climb a hill when I got off the bus to go to the hostel. A nice old man grabbed my suitcase and rolled it up the hill to the hostel for me.
Country on the move My trip gave me insight into the phenomenal changes in China in the past few years. China is very wealthy and very changed from 1982, my ﬁrst trip, when people were dressed in Mao suits that were grey and blue, and bicycles were the main transport. In Japan, I saw a different country from 1956 and 1982,
my last trips. In 1956, Japan was still poor after the war. In 1982, it had developed miraculously and was booming. This time, I saw an aging society and felt it had reached its peak, and China would surpass it in a few years. Japan is a fascinating country to travel in because it has blended their Japanese culture with Western culture, and it is the ﬁrst Eastern culture to become completely westernized. However, the exchange rate for the dollar today makes it extremely expensive. The dollar dropped from 83 yen to 78 yen during the two weeks I was there. Some of the prices, such as $2 for one apple, are prohibitively expensive. Gone are the days of 1956 and even 1982 when the rate of exchange was 325 and 275 yen respectively and I could shop carefree. Concetta (Connie) Tuori is a resident of Syracuse. A Syracuse University graduate and a former teacher, she has traveled extensively since 1948.
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golden years By Harold Miller E-mail: HMillerMOD@aol.com.
Retirement: A Whole New Ball Game Long life expectancy has skewed every pension plan, every retirement program, social security benefits and even Medicare
n my generation, it was not uncommon to join a company right out of school and retire from that company. We were taught that if you applied yourself and excelled at your job, you would be rewarded with pay raises, promotions and a pension for the “golden years.” All of this has gone away — on the winds of corporate greed, merger mania and simple ﬁnancial survival. Fifty years down the line, it is a completely different picture for the potential retiree. According to data compiled by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for the Wall Street Journal, the median household headed by a person 60-62 years old with a 401(K) account has less than one-quarter of what is needed for that person, or persons, to maintain their standard of living in retirement. This discouraging situation has been caused to a great degree by the collapse of the housing and stock markets, but there are other factors such as demographics that play into the picture. According to Michael Hurd, director of the Rand Corporation’s Center for the Study of Aging, almost 40 percent of Americans have foreclosures or are upside down on their mortgages or behind in payments. They are also unemployed or underemployed. Financial planners estimate that today’s retiree needs about 85 percent of their pre-retirement 16
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income to maintain their standard of living and only 8 percent of Americans now reaching retirement age qualify. The retirement condominium market in Florida has crashed, taking Florida’s economy down with it. Some realtors predict it will take 20 years to absorb the present inventory. Of course the local politicians aided and abetted the situation by tripling property taxes for snowbirds starting in 2003 (nothing exceeds like excess). The good news is that there are some excellent housing bargains to be had. The bad news is that it’s mostly a cash market. Banks are reluctant to
Another option in retirement is to sell your house and rent. Our government has seen fit to burden homeowners with carrying virtually all of its operating expenses. If you no longer have children in school, why should you have to support the schools?
take mortgages on condos because it’s too risky. Effectually, Florida has killed off the retirement condo market. Many retirees living on ﬁxed incomes have abandoned their winter getaway and moved back home. The banks don’t want to foreclose because they will have to take over the maintenance fees and property tax payments, so thousands upon thousands of condo units just sit there as a testament to our increasingly dysfunctional governments. The retirement crisis is further exacerbated by the fact that we are living much longer. The life expectancy for my generation in 1933, the year that I was born, was about 65. However, advances in medicine and better living habits have signiﬁcantly extended everyone’s lifeline. Consider this amazing statistic: My actuarial life expectancy, for the purpose of IRA distribution, is now 95. This factor has skewed every pension plan, every retirement program, social security beneﬁts and even Medicare. Now the chickens are coming home to roost, and most of these programs are severely underfunded. The simple fact of the matter is that too few workers are supporting too many retirees and other nonworkers. The die may be cast for many 55-plusers reading this, but for many others who have not yet reached retirement age, and for the younger generations, here are some tips from the experts on how to head off the retirement crisis. I have added a few tips based on
my personal experience (you know the saying, “Good judgment is the result of experience — which is the result of bad judgment.”) • Money managers now urge their clients to contribute 12 to 15 percent of income to their proﬁt sharing or 401(k) programs. This is due to the stock markets weak returns (likely to stay that way) and uncertainty about Social Security and Medicare. • Many potential retirees are going to have to work longer or take a part-time job in retirement. • One alternative to the stock market is the bond market. Most brokers do not push bonds but the fact is that the bond market is four times bigger than the stock market. The heavy hitters among investors will tell you that at age 50, 50 percent of your portfolio should be in bonds, and at age 70, that ﬁgure jumps to 70 percent. • Another alternative is taxfree municipal bonds. Some are yielding up to 6 percent, which is the before-tax equivalent of a 9 percent return for those in the upper tax brackets. This is particularly important for New York state residents who are nailed with one of the highest state personal income tax rates in the nation. • Many New York residents are moving out of the state upon retirement. This is a sad situation, but it must be considered as an option. • Another option in retirement is to sell your house and rent. Our government has seen ﬁt to burden homeowners with carrying virtually all of its operating expenses. If you no longer have children in school, why should you have to support the schools? Perhaps a little callous, but charity begins at home. Sadly, the days of upper middle class retirees enjoying a second home in the sunshine belt appear to be over for the foreseeable future. This luxury is now reserved only for the well-to-do. The only silver lining is the fact that American retirees are living longer, healthier and more active lives, and no one can take that away from us.
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April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
Life in the Fast Lane Owner of Terry’s Transmission in North Syracuse and co-host of WSYR’s Car Care Clinic recalls adventurous life in new book By Suzanne M. Ellis
aving heard Terry Bish on WSYR radio’s “The Car Care Clinic,” it wouldn’t be difﬁcult for listeners to formulate an image in their minds similar to the one on the back cover of his new book, “My Life: Zero to Sixty.” Some might picture Bish, the authors note, as “a laid-back, bald old guy in blue overalls spouting homespun wisdom about cars and how to ﬁx them.” Nothing, as they say, could be farther from the truth. Bish, a ﬁt and young looking 58 with a full head of hair, has a passion for excitement and adventure that 18
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could rival that of a man half his age. He’s the ﬁrst to admit he’s lived life in the fast lane, both literally and ﬁguratively, but says now that he’s approaching 60, he is planning to slow down. At least, that is, in the Terry Bish deﬁnition of “slowing down.” The book, a collaborative effort by Bish and his friend, Tim Bennett, was so named because speed has deﬁned much of Bish’s life and, to some extent, it probably always will. It is the true story of a life filled with adventurous risks, some commendable; some not so commendable. It is also the story of a spiritual journey that has brought Bish inner peace and new attitudes
about his family, his business, his community and his life. Even as a youngster, Bish, the owner of Terry’s Transmission in North Syracuse, loved going fast and taking dangerous chances. At the age of 12, he had his ﬁrst “major” bicycle accident while coasting rapidly — with his eyes closed — down a steep hill. Another time on his bicycle, he ran into a bridge abutment; the next time, he went completely over the side of the bridge. “When you love speed, accidents come with the territory,” Bish said. He was hunting and ﬁshing at a young age and earned spending
55+ money, “10 or 11 cents a quart,” he said, by picking berries with his grandmother. Boy Scouts, baseball, riding motorcycles and snowmobiles occupied the rest of his free time. Things changed when his parents gave him money to buy his ﬁrst car, a black TR3 Triumph. What he wanted was a Corvette, he said, but he settled for the less expensive Triumph. In his teens, he also bought his first snowmobile: a red Scorpion. “Once I got the car, I skipped school all the time,” Bish said. “And I outran the local police four or ﬁve times and the state police twice.” He managed more than once to get out of speeding tickets, including once when he was clocked at 135 mph. Bish wasn’t a good student and failed fifth grade, he said, preferring “hunting and ﬁshing to sitting cooped up in a classroom.” By the time he was 18, he had a part-time job at the Treadway Inn in Owego, earning more than his high school teachers. That’s when he slid into the fast lane of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. “I started drinking heavily and smoking a lot of marijuana,” Bish said. “I took on a real rough look, wearing cutoff jean vests. I never considered myself a hippie though I did live that lifestyle. I knew some Hell’s Angels and played in a rock band.” His hair was down to his shoulders; he experimented with harder drugs, including LSD and speed, even though heroin overdoses claimed three of his friends. Still a high school student at the age of 19, Bish was driving a new car, wearing expensive clothes, sleeping with a lot of different women and loving every minute of his self-indulgent lifestyle. “It was a wild and crazy youth with a lot of drugs, parties and sex,” he said, recalling, vaguely, that he was once “wasted for an entire summer.” Then, in the fall of 1971, came the hunting trip to the Adirondacks that would change everything. He and a friend stayed in Boonville with his Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Mike,
Terry Bish, 58, the owner and founder of Terry’s Transmission on East Taft Road in North Syracuse and co-host of Saturday morning’s “Car Care Clinic” on WSYR radio, enjoys a wealth of hobbies including riding motorcycles. He recently published “My Life: Zero to Sixty.” Top photo shows Bish atop his BMW K-1200 RS motorcycle at Sunshine Bridge in Tampa, Fla., in April of 2005. though between bear hunting and boozing, he didn’t see much of them. “We spent most of our time closing the bars in Boonville,” Bish said. Bish recalls the ﬁnal day of that trip with crystalline detail, the way one remembers a moment that alters the direction of their life forever. When he was leaving for home, his aunt hugged him goodbye and tucked a small booklet into his pocket. She said, “Terry, I just want you to have this.” So hungover that he had to let a friend drive his precious Camaro, Bish began pondering what he was doing with his life. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the booklet his aunt had given him. “It was the story of a man, from life until death, who never accepted Jesus or the notion of eternal life,” Bish said. “It talked about all the good things that would happen if you chose to live for Christ. It stirred something deep within me, and when we got back that Sunday afternoon, I called
a friend who had been inviting me to go to church.” He went to a service that very night, and when the minister asked who wanted to accept Jesus Christ, Bish said, “I couldn’t get to that altar fast enough. I knew I hadn’t been living right with all the drinking, the drugs, the selfishness, the womanizing. I knew my life was going nowhere. From that day on, everything felt different. The grass was greener; the sky was bluer.” Over the years, there have been plenty more bumps in the road and Bish still loves speed — the accelerating kind — but his faith has seen him through. Today, life revolves around his wife, Charlene, their children and grandchildren, his church, Abundant Life Christian Center in North Syracuse, and the transmission business. He said he’s “trying to slow down by backing off from the fast life of motorcycles.” He owns three and often rides at high speeds. He April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
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announced, proudly, that he’d gotten rid of “the fastest production bike on the market,” a motorcycle that could reach speeds of 200 mph. He has a pilot’s license and is currently shopping for a six-passenger, singleengine plane. “I know I need to mature a little bit in the ‘speed’ aspect of my life and I don’t want to take advantage of God’s grace. I have to face the fact that I’m almost 60. I’m not invincible, I’m not immortal, and enough is enough.” Bish said. “Many things have happened throughout my life and there have been many times when I could have lost my life, but through God’s grace and glory, I’ve been spared,” he said. “God has been gracious to me in spite of myself, and He has always intervened on my stupidity.” “My Life: Zero to Sixty,” he said, is “dedicated to all those who think life has passed them by. We all make mistakes, but we can learn from those mistakes and move on because by doing so, I believe we can better ourselves and have a positive inﬂuence on those around us.”
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Date of birth: May 1, 1952 B i r t h p l a ce: J oh n s on C it y ( n e ar Binghamton) Current residence: Brewerton Education: 1972 graduate, Owego Free Academy Family: Married to Charlene Bish for 38 years; son, Jonathon Bish; daughter, Kimberly Bish Williams; granddaughter, Kadence Williams, 3, and grandson, Gaige Williams, 1 Hobbies: Hunting, ﬁshing, motorcycling, boating Afﬁliations/ honors: Member, board of directors, and volunteer at Mercy Works, an organization in Syracuse that helps young people learn technology and life skills; member, advisory committee for Morrisville State College’s technical/ automotive division; named a 2000 Republican of the Year and a 2003 Businessman of the Year by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Business Advisory Council, respectively; helps acquire and repair vehicles for Teen Challenge, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
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True Love for Music Local musicians still passionate about music after more than 40 years in the business
By Mary Beth Roach
A Joe Whiting
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fter 40 or 50 years in an industry, most people are planning their retirements. Not so for Joe Whiting, 63, Todd Hobin, who turns 62 this year, Gary Frenay and Bob Halligan Jr., both 58, and Terry Mulhauser, who will turn 58 this spring. They’re all musicians in Central New York, each with more than 40 years in the business, and they’re a long way from singing their “swan
in Shoppingtown Mall, and through for The Police on their ﬁrst tour in song.” Like so many of their colleagues, that store and one at Fairmount Fair, Syracuse at the former Firebarn on they are going strong, many claiming he met Lenin, Paul Armstrong and Montgomery Street. They have also opened for Pat they are better than ever and all looking Tommy Allen, and they created The Benatar and Joe Jackson, and, as a forward to creatively challenging Flashcubes in 1977. Personnel changes forced the soloist, Frenay opened for Steven years ahead. creation of new bands through the Stills. All but Hobin hail from the “You get to rub shoulders with Syracuse area, and while their careers years, but with the 1990s and 2000s, have taken them around the world, came a reunion for The Flashcubes some pretty cool people over the they all maintain home bases in and a “second life” for the band when years,” he said. In 2004, as part of the Fab Five, Central New York. Hobin, a Rochester “we least expected it,” Frenay said. They were playing at a festival in they played in the Beatlefest in native, graduated from the Crane School of Music at the State University California when a group of Japanese Liverpool, England, and also at the College at Potsdam and he and his kids, familiar with The Flashcubes Cavern Club, where The Beatles got wife, Joann, live in Upstate New York. from sampler discs, heard them. their start. “For guys [who] played music in His band’s studio is in the northern Frenay gave the youth a business card, which eventually found its way to the beginning because of the Beatles, suburbs of Syracuse. Their motivation, although stated someone in Japan who was reissuing a that was a pretty big thrill too,” he in different ways, comes down to one lot of American music in the Japanese said. Mulhauser got his first guitar market. The band ended up doing a theme: true love for what they do. “It has a lot to do with the passion Japanese tour in 2002, and it yielded as a present when he was 12, and he has been playing ever since. He about what we do,” said Hobin. He a “Live in Japan” CD. has teamed up with Pete McMahon, The Flashcubes got their break at marks his 50th year in 2012, playing with various groups since 1962 and the Jabberwocky Café on the Syracuse Dusty Pascal and Bob Perry, for University campus. Their New Wave example, and played in larger groups, forming his own in 1974. “I can only think that you Punk sound was big in New York City including The Sandy Bigtree Band and eventually do what you’re supposed at the time, and the SU students from The Kingsnakes, a popular blues band that toured extensively from Montreal to be doing,” said Whiting, who downstate loved the band. Described by Frenay as the “token to Miami. has spent about 45 years on stage Their reunion in 2004 at the New Wave band” locally, promoter throughout this area and the world. Rhythm and Blues Festival in Chuck Chao booked them to open “I never even thought of it as a career,” he said. “I think it’s because I really love what I do and, believe it or not, love it more now than when I started.” “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Frenay, 58. Since the late 1970s, Frenay and buddy Arty Lenin, 53, have been the core of numerous groups, including The Flashcubes, Screen Test, Neverly Brothers, The Fab Five and The FabCats. F re n a y h a s b e e n able to make a living over the years from his music, noting that he hasn’t had a paycheck from anything other than his musical gigs since 1982 when Gerber Music closed. Frenay had worked Tod Hobin will mark his 50th year in music in 2012. He has played with various groups since at the former music store 1962. “It has a lot to do with the passion about what we do,” he says. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
downtown Syracuse drew thousands of fans to Clinton Square. Mulhauser’s career has had him playing with what he called the “royalty” of the Blues, including John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Bonnie Raitt. “I got to play with our heroes,” he said. Passion for his craft, and an association with someone once linked to former Beatle John Lennon,
led Halligan to great heights as a songwriter and singer. He began singing at the age of 4 or 5 and started writing music in his sophomore year at Christian Brothers Academy. While attending Hamilton College, he formed the band Steak Nite, named for their favorite meal at the dining hall. “Saturday in the dining hall was steak night, and it was the one dinner
Gary Frenay: “I never even thought of it as a career,” he says. “I think it’s because I really love what I do and, believe it or not, love it more now than when I started.” 24
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that everyone looked forward to, and we wanted to be looked forward to” as a band, he explained. After graduating from Hamilton in 1975 and spending several years playing in the Syracuse area, the Westvale native and the band changed their name to Pictures and relocated to New York City in 1981. Pictures was signed by United Artists Music, he said, but “once we moved to New York City, and I saw I had access to these professional song pluggers who could try to get my songs to other artists, I thought, ‘I gotta explore this.’ ” One of those “song pluggers” was May Pang, a former girlfriend of exBeatle John Lennon in the early 1970s. Pang was familiar with Pictures but not overly impressed with their music, Halligan admitted, yet he knew that through her association with Lennon, she had met virtually everyone in the music industry. “I wanted to impress May Pang with what I could do because I wanted her to pitch my songs,” he said. He called her and asked what she needed songs for. She gave him some ideas and by 3:30 p.m. that same day, Halligan knocked on her door and played for her, note for note, word for word, “Take These Chains.” Pang began pitching it and John Waite, lead singer for The Babys, liked the tune but wanted to change the lyrics. Halligan refused. “I was just naïve and idealistic enough to say no,” he said. A couple of weeks later, Pang called Halligan to inform him that Judas Priest wanted to record it and the song ended up on the band’s “Screaming for Vengeance” album. Throughout his career, he has become acquainted with Joan Jett, Michael McDonald, Paul Stanley of KISS and Darlene Love, an inductee this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All in one day – which happened to be his birthday – in the late 1980s, he sang backup for a Billy Joel recording, chatted with Joel and performed with Michael Bolton. He said he experienced a spiritual
55+ awakening that would lead to the formation of Ceili Rain, a band whose music is infused with a Celtic rhythm and his Christian-Catholic faith. “From Judas Priest to Jesus Christ,” he said with a chuckle. Quite a leap, to be sure. “There was a spiritual journey and growth that took place,” he said, that was brought about by a number of incidents over a period of time. By 1994, he said, the “calling became clear to me.” He claimed he was “torn down and remade, and it happened in a God way, not so much through my own brilliant maneuvers, but through the blessing of a lot of distractions going away.” He and his wife, Linda, moved to Nashville in 1995 and met up with former Syracuse musician Rick Cua, the original bass player in Ceili Rain. Cua was instrumental in allowing the band to become “ﬂesh and bone,“ as Halligan put it, in 1995. “It was a step-by-step kind of thing. I didn’t set out necessarily to become a troubadour for the Lord, but it happened and it’s been very exciting. It’s what wakes me up in the morning,” he said. “That’s really the idea ... to create something that makes people feel better once they’ve heard it, and once they’ve seen us, than before they met us.” According to their website, Ceili is a Gaelic word meaning “a party with live music and dancing.” There’s also a Latin word, “Coeli” that means Heaven, and Rain symbolizes that “all of this good stuff comes down to us from the Heavens above.” The band is comprised of Halligan, local Syracusan Joe Davoli on violin; three members in Nashville and one in Roanoke, Va.
The Three F’s It all comes down to the three F’s, Hobin said, “Family, Friends and Fans.”And it’s another theme that resonates with all the musicians with whom we spoke. Family is at the core of the Todd Hobin Band, which includes Todd’s brother, Shawn, his son, Brett, Doug Moncrief and Bruce Fowler, the latter two having been part of the group
Bob Halligan Jr. began singing at the age of 4 or 5 and started writing music in his sophomore year at Christian Brothers Academy. He and his group, Ceili Rain, are launching their seventh albun this spring. from the start and part of what Todd refers to as his extended family. Another one of Todd’s sons, Corey, is the sound technician. Hobin’s family boasts six grown children and two grandchildren. His father, Giles, was a professional opera singer. Whiting said that his father, Donald, was one of his earliest inﬂuences. The elder Whiting played trumpet in an Army band. The Big Band songs on his dad’s 78s, along
with the music of Ray Charles and Chuck Berry, were all inﬂuences for Whiting and helped to create what he called his eclectic musical taste. And while Whiting might travel the world from time to time, he remains ﬁrmly planted in his native Skaneateles. He and his wife, Diana, have been together for 35 years and still live in the village. Their daughter, Heather, and granddaughter, Ella, are not too far away in Syracuse. Whiting’s April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
parents also live in Skaneateles. Mulhauser acknowledged that a musician’s family can sometimes be called on to make sacrifices, and his wife, Kathryn, has been a constant source of encouragement. He added, with a chuckle, that his young grandsons, Max and Sam, keep him laughing and busy. Frenay’s wife, Jackie, whom he met while playing gigs at the Jabberwocky, and his two sons, Rob and Nick, have been supportive of his musical career. But moreover, he said, they were the reason he returned to school and earned his college degree. “It’s good to have a partner who encourages what you really love in life,” he said. Because of Jackie’s employment at Syracuse University, he was able to take classes there. It took him five years of going parttime, every semester. He would study between sets, ﬁnishing gigs in the wee hours of the morning only to be up a few hours later to get to class and
take a test. And while most older students take classes at night, because he played at night, he attended classes during the day with students in their late teens and early 20s. Invariably, the first day of every semester, he said, a student would ask if he was the professor. But he persevered and graduated with honors two years ago, earning a degree in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He thought then of switching to journalism and playing less music, but then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and didn’t have the energy to pursue a journalism career. But he doesn’t regret getting the degree. “I feel really good about that,” he said, “and I feel it was a good example for my kids to see. You don’t give up in life.” He also didn’t give up his fight against cancer and is now in remission. Halligan’s wife, Linda, was instrumental in his career, and he
cited two examples. Following up on his success with “Take These Chains,” she suggested he write another song for Judas Priest, ﬁguring that the band would at least listen to it. He wrote “Some Heads are Gonna Roll,” the lead track from Judas Priest’s “Defenders of the Faith” album, which became a bigger hit than the earlier one. Being at the Nassau Coliseum and watching 10,000 kids chant “Some Heads are Gonna Roll,” was pretty cool, he said. The music of Halligan’s Ceili Rain is heavily inﬂuenced with the Celtic sound, and although Halligan boasts of being 200 percent Irish (since his biological and adoptive parents are 100 percent Irish) the inspiration came from his wife, Linda, who had been playing a lot of music by The Chieftains around the house. “I gradually fell in love with it, and she said ‘Why don’t you mix it in with your rock and roll?’ ” he said. “And I tried it because she’s pretty much always right.”
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55+ Ceili Rain is planning to release its seventh album, “Manuka Honey,” this spring. The musicians concur that with age and experience comes a comfort level within themselves that enhances the rapport with their audiences. Hobin recounted his band’s recent gig at the successful “First Night” event on New Year’s Eve at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool, which drew an estimated 5,000 people. The band opened for hip-hop star Sean Kingston, whose fan base is young people, Hobin said. The only audience members he could see near the stage were teenagers; the band’s friends and fans were farther back in the crowd. But the teens were into it, he said, noting that the music “transcends generations.” “You have to care about your audience. You have to respect your audience,” Hobin said. Although the band sells albums and downloads around the world, “our favorite is the face-to-face,” Hobin said, and
he claims that so much of his stage energy is fueled by his audience. “I’m pretty comfortable,” Whiting said. “I’m comfortable with who I am and what I do, and I really appreciate the gift of music and the gift of communication because that’s what it is ﬁrst and foremost, communication. The people part of it? That’s the best of it.” When Whiting started out in the 1960s, he said, “Who knew it was anything more than having some fun, meeting some people?” He was part of a ﬁve-piece band, and their ﬁrst gig was a house party in his native Skaneateles, but the hosts could only come up with $16, Whiting recalled. Since it’s mathematically difﬁcult to divide 16 by 5, he negotiated for $20 and got it. It was his very ﬁrst “negotiation,” he said, laughing. Forty-five years later, Whiting still has his own band and plays with Savoy Brown, the internationallyknown British blues band he joined within the last two years. Several
years ago, Whiting said, all of a sudden he saw the glass as full and was looking for other challenges and along came the opportunity to play with Savoy Brown. “I get the best of both worlds,” he said. “I have my own band and the things I love to do with my band are special events, the summer things, so I get the best of both worlds.” “You learn how to do it,” Frenay said, “You learn what not to do. You learn what you do best.”
Better Than Ever If they have stayed true to their craft, as a result, they get better, said David Rezak, who ran the DMR Booking Agency in Syracuse from 1973 to 2003. He knows ﬁrst-hand the talent and the wealth of experience these musicians bring to the stage. “The vocal range may cap out,” Rezak said, but “where they may lose, they gain so much in technique,” embracing and bringing nuances to their music. Rezak is currently the
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director of the Bandier Program for Music and The Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. That these musicians are getting better translates into busier schedules and the interest in taking on more projects. Whiting said he is looking forward to a creative year in 2011. Since his own band consists of longtime friends, he commented, Joe Whiting he is able “to do songs I want to do with people I want to work with. He predicted a year with Savoy Brown. “With Savoy Brown, it’s going to be a fun, productive year. It gives me a chance to literally go out in the world at this stage of my life to people
who don’t know me from Adam. On a dual level, I have to prove myself as a singer, saxophone player and performer, but also as a member of an established band. It’s a great challenge to be accepted. I look forward to that. Where that leads, what it leads to, I don’t know.” Two songs he cowrote are on Savoy Brown’s “Voodoo Moon” CD which is due out in March. Mulhauser started the new year with a new gig, playing with Carolyn Kelly and the Roosevelt Dean Blues Band. He said he is very excited about Kelly’s offer to play with this band. To do justice to Dean, who passed away in 2009, he
plans on becoming well-versed in the group’s songbook. In addition to his new CD, Halligan continues as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University, teaching music and songwriting courses. He plays Paul McCartney in a touring “Beatlemania” stage show and, if the phone rings, he said, he’s “off to the races.” Hobin is teaching a course in the history of rock and roll at LeMoyne College and will continue his songwriting and artwork, a talent that he developed thanks to his artist mother, Patricia. He said he started drawing a lot while on road trips, working in charcoal, pen and ink, and graphite. Some of his art graces the cover of the band’s “The Early Years” album. And, of course, he will continue to look for great gigs for the band. “The plan was to kick back, but that ain’t happening,” he said. The smile on his face implies that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Still Kicking at 70. Literally Greg Tearney taught karate to a host of Syracuse notables that includes Tim Green, Mike Hopkins, Donovan McNabb and countless future doctors, lawyers, journalists and business owners — and at 70 he’s still at his dojo every day By Aaron Gifford
r e g Te a r n e y t o o k u p martial arts for all of the wrong reasons. And yet, a half century later, his contributions to karate and the Central New York community are immeasurable. Growing up in inner-city Syracuse, Tearney had to ﬁght for his survival. Other African-American boys made fun of him because he was a doo-wop singer and had a light complexion. Tearney had been trained in boxing and judo and held his own in street ﬁghts, but he was often outnumbered. In 1964, he visited a karate studio owned by Peter Musacchio. It was the only dojo in Syracuse at the time. He was blown away by what he saw, and signed up immediately. But he quit two weeks later. “I was a good athlete — basketball, gymnastics, track,” said Tearney, who was offered a basketball scholarship to Northwestern University. “I was used to being good at everything. I wanted karate to come easy. But it didn’t.” Shortly after, Tearney was attacked by ﬁve young men. He was cut by a box cutter, and considered himself lucky to escape with his life. Seeking vengeance, he returned to Musacchio’s dojo for more training. But this time, Tearney learned about the elements of respect,
confidence and honor. He embraced the idea of using karate for defensive reasons. He lost interest in street fighting, dedicating himself to the philosophies of karate instead. He recalls watching a black belt student practicing hard and fast kicks and punches with a certain ferocity before graciously walking over to the visitor ’s foyer and shaking hands with spectators as if they were the most important people in the room. “That’s how I wanted to be,” Tearney recalled, noting that the black belt, Gary Hall, went on to become an attorney for the National Basketball Association. “Powerful and strong, but respectful.” Tearney was married his senior year at Nottingham High School and had to decline the basketball scholarship. But a few years after his high school graduation, he found himself training like a toplevel athlete. He worked an early morning shift as a city sanitation worker, spending his afternoons and evenings at the dojo
Greg Tearney reached 10thdegree black belt and is among the very few masters in the world who can wear the coveted red belt. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
en route to earning his black belt in two years. “I spent all my time there,” said Tearney, who turned 70 Jan. 27. “I felt that martial arts gave me a chance to redeem myself. I totally dedicated myself.” Tearney taught at Musacchio’s dojo for a while but left because the master would not promote him to second-degree black belt. He taught classes inside the old Catholic Charities building and the YMCA before opening his own school. An onslaught of blockbuster martial arts movies in the mid-70’s prompted millions of Americans across the country to take up karate or kung-fu, and Tearney soon realized that he could make a living doing what he loved. He opened a school in Mattydale and continued to excel in his own training and competitions, winning world championships for forms (kata), fighting and weapons. He reached 10th-degree black belt and is among the very few masters in the world who can wear the coveted red belt. Along the way he met martial arts megastars like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, and taught karate to a host of Syracuse notables that includes Tim Green, Mike Hopkins, Donovan McNabb and countless future doctors, lawyers, journalists and business owners. Several of his students became ranking black belt masters as well, including his current wife, Judy Modafferi-Tearney. “He’s so strong — inside and out,” said Modafferi-Tearney, 57, an eighthdegree black belt who began her karate training in 1974. “He motivates everyone to go to the top.” She said many women her age take up karate to lose weight, guard against bone loss and maintain a balance between mind, body and spirit. “You have to ﬁnd things that are fun and appeal to you,” she said. “And if it is something you do like, you have to start out slow with any activity.” The Mattydale studio was open from 1976 to 1987. Today Tearney operates in two locations, Camillus 30
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At his Camillus dojo with white belt students. In Tearney’s early days, karate classes were mostly comprised of young men between the ages of 18 and 24, “like the Marine corps,” he said. Not anymore.
and Onondaga. Despite Tearney’s intense training regiment, he still feels the aches and pains of aging. When Tearney was in his late 40s and early 50s, his focus shifted toward the business end of things, and his diet and physical health were negatively affected. In 1995, at the age of 54, Tearney suffered a heart attack. “It changed my whole outlook,” Tearney recalled recently after teaching a class. “I learned that I had to be more aware of things.” He monitored his cholesterol and changed his eating habits. His new cardiovascular training regiment was so intense that it resulted in two natural bypasses where existing blood vessels widened and formed new connections to the heart. He had returned to the same ﬁtness level that he enjoyed 20 years earlier. As the decades passed, Tearney endured the necessary medical procedures that come with age and continued training to the best of his ability. He had a hip replaced in 2006 and had about a foot of colon removed in 2008. These days, he works out at
the gym three or four times a week, hitting each muscle group twice a week and doing abdominal and aerobic exercises every day. That does not include the workouts he gets from teaching three to five classes each week night or working on his forms in between classes. “You can avoid some of the pains of old age by moving a lot,” he said. “The difference is if you’re physically active you’re less likely to be burdened to the point of incapacitation.” During a recent Thursday class for white and yellow belts, Tearney executes perfect form in demonstrating a front snap kick — raising his knee up toward his mid section, snapping the ball of his foot toward the would-be target and chambering the leg back in place completely still before returning to the starting position. Tearney admits after the class that his chamber isn’t always so steady, especially on the days where he does not work his legs at the gym. “Anything you did, I had to do it harder. If you did 50 pushups, I’d do it, too. That’s the kind of person I was. I still have the work ethic, but I also realize that I can’t always go 110
those senior citizens in their 60s, 70s or 80s who reluctantly signed up for karate and eventually earned black belts. The natural athletes, he says, are not always the ones who excel. “There are three secrets passed onto me from the Shaolin monks,” Tearney light-heartedly told a novice class before his Camillus and Onondaga schools closed for a week holiday break. “Practice, practice, practice.” On that day, a handful of white belts between the ages of 6 and 60 were awarded colored belt markings, the first step toward earning their yellow belts. The beaming Tearney bowed and shook hands with each newly promoted student. He later said teaching is easily his favorite part of karate. “Thank you,” he told the Greg Tearney and his Judy Modaffericlass, “for doing what was Tearney, who also teaches karate. expected of you.” Te a r n e y h a s e i g h t percent like I used to.” children, 25 grandchildren and Still, Tearney stressed, karate is eight grandchildren. His wife and an excellent activity for seniors. The daughter, Alexis Tearney-Cuhl, teach movements are good for muscles at his schools, which employ six and joints. There’s a cardiovascular full-time instructors to cover 500 element to the sport and the forms helps participants keep their minds students. Several of his children and grandchildren have also earned black sharp. “You can do it forever,” Tearney belts. As if his children, grandchildren said. “You don’t get to the point where and students have not heard the you can’t do it anymore.” messages often enough, the reminders In Tearney’s early days, karate are painted on Tearney’s dojo walls: classes were mostly comprised of “Indomitable spirit. High moral young men between the ages of 18 and code. Determination. Self-control. 24, “like the Marine corps,” he said. Perseverance. Integrity. Courtesy. Over time, martial arts institutions Honesty. Modesty. Respect.” He have changed to accommodate people believes that any student, regardless of all ages and athletic ability. He said seniors are often reluctant of their rank or long-term commitment to try karate because they don’t to karate, has the potential to make want to spar with younger people. their community better. “That’s why I never want to quit,” Sparring, however, is always optional, he said. “I knew this was something and many seniors later ﬁnd that they I wanted to do. You practice the same want to try the passive-style ﬁghting punches, and kicks and stances so and come to enjoy competing against much but you also set goals. I wanted younger participants. to be the best competitor, to have the Tearney is equally proud of lesser best school, to get the 10th-degree known students who accomplished great things. That list includes at-risk black belt. I still want more 10thyouth who gained enough conﬁdent degree black belts. But the biggest to graduate from high school, and thing is improving people and having a better community because of it.”
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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky
Interesting People Part Two
spoke with three interesting men who are to be found out and about in the community. I wanted to know what got them up and running every day when others their age may be content to sit in front of the television.
Robert O’Connor I’ve known Robert O’Connor from our days working together in the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth. Bob has always been a tireless advocate for seniors and has carried this dedication with him into retirement. “What gets me up in the morning? Often I have appointments scheduled to meet with people or meetings to attend, and sometimes I help my wife with transporting our grandchildren around.” “I like helping people and strongly feel that it is part of my Christian responsibility to be of use to others. I’ve been involved with the InterFaith Works Senior Companion Program advisory committee for 15 year and also assist as needed at the Fayetteville
Robert O’Connor 34
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Senior Center.” “I am still very involved as a Health Insurance Information Counseling Assistance (HIICAP) counselor, a program run by the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth. The program provides unbiased information about Medicare-related and other health care programs, including prescription drug coverage options. The training I get as a counselor keeps my skills current,” O’Connor explained. “There is a lot of satisfaction in helping someone with a problem. I recently counseled a woman who had a very complicated and expensive health insurance and drug coverage plan and had no idea how to get out of it. I advocated on her behalf with the insurance company and prevented her from receiving the penalties associated with her situation.” “But my main energy at this point goes into my role as the president of the local AARP chapter. Though we are an active chapter, we would love to expand our membership to allow us to better serve the community and our
Eddie H. Brown
local members. Many people who are already members of AARP nationally, don’t realize we function at the local level also,” he explained. “We meet at noon in East Syracuse at the American Legion Post on the ﬁrst Tuesday of most months and try to offer several evening meetings during the year for people who are still working. We also publish a newsletter for all members.” “Locally we have three major objectives. One focuses on community service projects such as serving food at the Rescue Mission, collecting food for the Salvation Army, volunteering at the Hancock Airport Military Room and working in the AARP local ofﬁce. We also make lap robes for people in nursing homes and in 2010 provided 200 robes. Some of our members are knitters, while others bring supplies to the knitters and take the ﬁnished products to the people who need them.” “Our second objective is providing education to our members by bringing speakers to monthly meetings. Recent topics included health, hunger, safe
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streets, home safety and financial security. We speak to community groups about our chapter work and provide displays and exhibits for health information fairs. The local office has information on when and where driver safety courses, income tax preparation and other local services are being offered. To contact our ofﬁce, call 454-0104 and leave a message.” “The third focus locally is on legislative advocacy — working on major issues that AARP has identiﬁed as being of concern to their members. The state organization provides training so that when we visit our local, state and national representatives about our position on speciﬁc issues, we are informed on the issues.” Using the timely topic of Social Security, which is of concern for all generations, O’Connor said, “we need more local members willing to become involved in learning the issues so they can impart the information to others.” How does he stay healthy? “I watch my diet carefully, I go to the Y and exercise, I go cross-country skiing and this winter I got a lot of exercise with my snow blower. I use the parks a lot, and play some baseball and basketball with the grandkids. My wife Kathy and I go camping together visiting places around the state and once a year we have a camping experience with the whole family.” “The most fun I have is interacting with the grandkids, especially when the older ones are interested in learning about World War II and Pearl Harbor and what life was like before cell phones.”
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Eddie H. Brown A passion to inform homeowners about programs to keep their houses in good shape, led Eddie H. Brown to become a housing advocate. For the past 11 years he has volunteered with Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN) and was recently elected to serve on their board. SUN is a grassroots community organization dedicated to improving the lives of families living in the neighborhoods on the south, southwest and near-west sides of Syracuse. “I hadn’t bought a house too long ago myself,” explained Brown, “when I found out through SUN what
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aging wonderful programs were out there for ﬁrst-time homebuyers that I hadn’t known about. When I found out, I wanted to let others know, too. Often the homeowners are seniors who don’t get out much and have no way of knowing about these programs.” “It is important to the whole community for people to have this information. If a neighborhood becomes a slum area, it is easier for crime to come in. So keeping houses up, keeps crime down. And if everyone keeps up their own house, then the whole neighborhood beneﬁts,” explained Brown. “Rich Puchalski, the director of SUN, keeps us really busy. As an advocate, I go around to different neighborhoods and knock on doors, though we also send out ﬂyers. I invite people to a SUN meeting and if they are interested, but disabled and can’t get there on their own, we’ll even arrange free rides.” An avid hunter and ﬁsherman, Brown is also very active at the Dunbar Center where I met him. In addition to educating others about housing programs, his other passion is church. “I go to bible study, pastoral teaching and Sunday School. I really enjoy the group sit-downs with Pastor Nebraski Carter of the Living Water Church of God and Christ Church, and the intellectually stimulating discussions about religion, politics, everyday life and ﬁnancial solutions that he leads.” “Mostly I’m blessed. I had a triple bypass 10 years ago and they never thought I’d make it. I had a stroke coming out of surgery, lost my voice, couldn’t walk, spent three months in rehab and was able to walk out on my own. I’ve seen people who have gotten too discouraged and just gave up. I was asked to speak to a friend in a similar situation who had given up and when I told him my story, he gained hope and is now up and walking himself.” What is your secret to staying healthy? “I don’t eat fried foods that much, maybe occasionally some fried chicken. I eat mostly broiled fish and stewed chicken. I exercise every
morning before I get out of bed, doing hand, arm and leg exercises with springs and rope. Then I get up and do 10 squats.” And the most fun in his life? “Sports. I love all sports. Well, maybe not hockey and tennis so much.” Secret indulgence? “I love oxtail stew. It takes a long time to cook, but it is my absolutely favorite food.”
Sam Mercurio A busy, affable senior, Sam Mercurio used to work 14 hours a day. “Up until I was 72, I’m now 77, I had a number of clients that I hustled for, doing things that they didn’t have time to do,” said Mercurio. “For 15 years I brought all of Eastwood the Herald Journal and I think I’ve processed about 35.000 legal documents in my time.” “I went into the delivery business in1985 and am now a part-time vendor for MDR, a medical imaging provider, delivering CDs and interofﬁce mail to their ofﬁces in the East, the West and to Community and St. Joseph’s hospitals.” “Twice a week I play volleyball with a group of co-ed seniors at the McChesney Armand Magnarelli Center. Some of the women played in the nationals and won in the senior games, but I’m not in it for the competition, I just want to have fun.” “All the running around every day combined with volleyball, keeps me in shape,” explained Mercurio. “I eat a healthy diet because I have an Italian wife who cooks for me. Also, my 10 grandchildren keep me busy.” “I’ve never used an alarm clock. I get up at 3, eat breakfast, and am at my ﬁrst stop by 5:30. I’ve just always been this way.” “I played a lot of basketball even when I was in the service and it was always my ﬁrst love. I now have a 10year old grandson who is one of the best basketball players in the area. Just seeing all my grandchildren provides a lot of joy.” And what is Mercurio’s secret indulgence? “I have a sweet tooth and eat a lot of candy.”
my turn By Bruce Frassinelli
If Your PINs Are Driving You Nuts, You’re Not Alone
don’t know about you, but the never-ending number of passwords and PINs (personal identiﬁcation numbers) we need to operate our computers, do our banking and perform other vital functions of life is driving me nuts. I live in mortal fear of forgetting some key password, and, of course, you are warned ad nauseum not to carry the password or PIN for your bank and credit cards in your wallet or on your person for fear that some nefarious individual will steal them. Just for fun, I counted all of the passwords and PINs I have to operate the various accounts associated with them. I was dumbfounded as I stared at the number – 65. How am I supposed to keep 65 codes squared away and brought to mind instantaneously when needed? Well, the sad truth is, I can’t, so I have to cheat. I write them down. Wait! I know what you are saying, but here’s the genius of my solution: I write them in code, so only I can decipher a long string of numbers that probably looks innocuous to someone who might ﬁnd my list. To make matters worse, my online bank requires me to change my password every six months, so it seems that just as I succeed in memorizing the existing combination, I get a message that it’s time for a change. Several other online providers do the same, so, invariably, for the ﬁrst
couple of attempts after a password change, I absent-mindedly type in the former password and get scolded by the computer. Now, I have tried to memorize my ATM PINs so I don’t have to carry them in my wallet. (I am a customer at three banks.) For awhile I was carrying them in my shoe, ﬁguring it would be the last place a thief would look, but it was kind of awkward to take off my shoe and fish around for the little slip of paper I had squirreled away into a side compartment. I also got strange looks from other ATM patrons behind me when I performed this little caper. Since I am not always the steadiest guy on one foot on the planet, I usually need to prop myself up by holding on to a post at the ATM machine. Once I asked the guy behind me if I could lean on his shoulder. He was nice enough to say “yes,” but I can only imagine what he was thinking. After three times, I scrapped the shoe “solution” and just memorized the PIN. Once or twice, I have gotten the PINs of the various banks confused, and, on one occasion when I entered the wrong number three times in a row without realizing what I was doing wrong, the ATM ate my card and wouldn’t give it back. I was told I needed to contact the bank to reset my number. Imagine my joy when I heard the other day that the U.S. Commerce
Department is proposing a new online security system that will eliminate the password maze. This would require a single sign-in using something like a digital token, smartcard or ﬁngerprint reader. Once I am logged in, I would have access to any website that has signed up for the program. John Clippinger, co-director of the Law Lab at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a supporter of the proposal, says passwords don’t provide good security because most people choose character combinations that are easily hacked. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the most frequently used passwords are: 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty and abc123. I was stunned to find out that it would take just 10 minutes for a hacker’s computer to randomly guess your all-lower-case six-character password. It would take four hours to solve a seven-character password, four days for one of eight characters and four months for one of nine characters. If you had a combination of six lower- and upper-case characters, it would take 10 hours and as long as 178 years for a nine character lowerand-upper-case password. Better yet is a password of upper and lower case characters and a symbol, which would take a hacker anywhere from 18 days to 44,530 years to randomly crack, depending on whether there were six or nine characters. And, oh, yes, all of this doesn’t take into consideration the varying usernames I have. There are 29 unique usernames by which I am known, and, sometimes, these are even more difﬁcult to remember than passwords or PINs. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
druger’s zoo By Marvin Druger
Bargaining! Learning the Basics From a Pro Having bargained on the purchase of many items in my lifetime, I have a few tips to offer
n most countries in the world, bargaining is a way of life. Indeed, shop owners expect you to bargain and you lose their respect if you don’t try to do so. In the U.S. bargaining is more limited. We don’t go into the supermarket and say: “The sign says that the package of toilet paper costs $7, but I’ll give you $4 for it.” On the other hand, we do traditionally bargain for some items in the U.S., such as cars. Even after bargaining for a car purchase, I leave the store feeling that, somehow, I have overpaid. Bargaining is an art and a skill, and it takes practice and, sometimes, painful experiences to learn how to do it best. Having bargained on the purchase of many items in my lifetime, I have a few tips to offer: 1) “I don’t even like it.” This is my usual start to a bargaining session. “If I liked it, I’d pay the price you ask…but I don’t even like it.” This approach usually works well. My wife, Pat, and I were in a store to purchase a large Oriental rug. We saw one that we liked, and asked, “How much is it?” “$6000,” replied the storekeeper. I said, “But I don’t even like it.” He immediately responded, “O.K. $4,000.” 2) Never reveal your assets out loud. Pat really liked the rug, so I whispered to her, “Can we afford to pay $4,000?” In a loud voice, she announced, “Oh, yes, we can afford to pay $4,000.” “Shut up,” I said. 38
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3) Leave the store. “I’m sorry, but that’s too expensive, I said, “C’mon, Pat, let’s go.” “But I really like that rug,” she whispered. “Don’t worry,” I said, “He’ll come after us.” So, we walked out of the store. As we were getting into the car, a young boy ran to us from the store, “Mister, my uncle wants to talk to you again.” We went back into the store, and bought the rug for $2,000. It was a bargain, as rug prices go. 4) Show money in your wallet. We wanted a small rug for in front of the ﬁreplace at home. We entered a store and, at the entrance to the store, there it was: a rug that we liked. “How much?” I asked. “$600,” was the reply. “But I don’t even like it. Besides, it’s being stepped on when people enter the store. It’s used.” I then displayed my wallet with money in it. The storekeeper ’s eyes opened wider. “OK, $400” he said. “I’ll give you $200 for it,” I said. “OK,” he quickly responded. We then had another new rug, at a bargain price. 5) Be persistent in your negotiations. Pat and I were in South Africa with our 14-year-old granddaughter, Lindsey, as part of an Elderhostel Intergenerational tour. Her mother had given her $250 to purchase souvenirs. We shopped for an African mask. She ﬁnally saw one that she liked in a little shop. “How much is it?” I asked. “$25” was the reply. “That’s too much. I’d pay that price but I don’t even like it,” I said. Lindsey became angry and screamed loudly at me, “My mother said I could
buy anything I want.” “Shut up,” I said, “Let’s go.” After a few other interactions with the storekeeper, we bought the mask for $12 and Lindsey had a good lesson in bargaining. 6) Don’t over-bargain. I was in a ﬂea market in Morocco, looking for a pair of beach sandals. A poor lady was sitting on the ground and had a nice assortment. I picked out a pair, asked the price, told her that I didn’t even like them, and ended up bargaining her down from the equivalent of 16 cents to 10 cents. I triumphantly returned to my hotel room. That night, I was ashamed of myself. The poor woman was dependent on a few meager sales to survive, and I had deprived her of her due. I felt so badly that I gave a young boy the equivalent of 10 cents for a banana. He was thrilled, and I felt a little better. 7) If you like it, buy it. You may never get that chance again. I was in Quebec City, Canada. As I strolled down a street, I encountered a young artist who was selling his watercolor paintings. I stopped, and saw a painting that I really liked. It was a beautiful painting of a street in Quebec City. “How much is this painting,” I asked. “$5,” he replied. I said, “That’s too much, and I don’t even like it.” I walked on and didn’t buy the painting. I regret my mistake to this day. I often visualize that lovely painting in my mind, i.e., the one that I was too cheap to buy. If you like something, and you can afford it, don’t over-bargain. You may never pass that way again.
8) Be friendly, firm, and show humor. Everyone is human, and I have found that a few jokes and a friendly manner can sometimes bring the price down. The dealers know what their base price is and, if they like you, they may take pity and get closer to that price. I usually tell a few jokes and ask for a senior discount. This approach sometimes fails. I jokingly said to one storekeeper,” Don’t you give senior discounts?” “No,” he replied, “I usually charge seniors more.” I kept my mouth closed after that. 9) Show Confidence. I asked a teacher about how he can manage to keep very disruptive students under control in the classroom. He told me about his need for displaying conﬁdence in handling them. He said, “The lions know when the lion-tamer is afraid.” I once interviewed Famous Amos, the cookie man, on my radio show in the 1970s (Druger’s Zoo). I asked him, “How did you become so rich and famous, Famous?” He replied, “Confidence, man, confidence.” Famous Amos exuded conﬁdence. He was not going to fail. This is the kind of confidence you need to display when bargaining, and the outcome will likely be favorable for you. There is great satisfaction in getting a bargain, even if you can afford the price. I get a thrill out of selling my poetry book, “Strange Creatures and Other Poems,” to anyone that I meet. I convince people that my book is a real bargain, a great, cheap book. Pat sees the gleam in my eye when I encounter a potential sale, and she says, “Don’t,” and then I don’t make the effort (Sometimes, I do anyhow). Some lady made the mistake of asking me where the baggage claim area was at the airport. “I’ll show you,” I said, By the way, do you have any kids?” I ended up selling her a book. These are some of my tips about how to succeed at bargaining. I’m sure that there are many other tips that you can offer that are not included here. In fact, I just re-read this article and, “I don’t even like it.” Marvin Druger is a professor emeritus at Syracuse University. He can be reached at email@example.com or 443-9150.
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Turn it up! Joel Delmonico keeping radio waves alive in CNY By Mary Beth Roach
n his 30 years in the local radio business, Joel Delmonico has seen — and has been at the forefront of — many of the changes in the industry in Central New York. As Clear Channel Syracuse’s vice president and market manager, Delmonico, 65, oversees ﬁve radio stations that run the gamut of formats and are driving forces in the local business and notfor-proﬁt communities in the area. He admits that he had never intended to go into the radio business, and when he started at WSYR in 1981 as an account manager, his intention was to stay maybe a year. He became general manager in 1994, and today, Clear Channel’s Syracuse stations hit a far-ranging variety of formats—from talk radio to urban contemporary to top 40 to country. The country station, B104.7, and its morning show co-hosts Tom Owens and Becky Palmer have garnered nominations from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The stations recently underwent some lineup changes. Its one-time news and talk station is now FM NewsRadio 106.9 and WPHR Power is now Power AM 620 The Voice of the Community; Y94FM; B104.7; and Hot 107.9 have not changed. Delmonico said changing the lineup has met with some opposition among some of the stations’ ardent listeners, but research among listeners has driven the changes. Keeping up with trends and making adjustments due to economic 40
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climates have marked Delmonico’s career from the start.
Syracuse roots A hometown boy through and through, Delmonico grew up in the Eastwood section of Syracuse and attended Blessed Sacrament School, St. John the Evangelist, and Le Moyne College. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1969. Upon graduating from SU, he began work with the Syracuse City School District in a program aimed at improving students’ reading, math and behavioral skills. He loved everything about the job and found it to be rewarding. They were able to raise the students’ reading levels by “leaps and bounds,” he said, and the vast majority of the students reached a point where they loved being in school, sometimes even calling him at home asking him to come in and open the school for them on snow days. He was also teaching two diverse classes at Syracuse University—racism in American education and science ﬁction. “I loved doing that,” he said, “ﬁgured I’d do that for the rest of my life. I thought that’s what I was going
to do.” But the economy had other plans. When the funding for the program was pulled, he decided to pursue another one of his loves—working with his hands—and he opened up a construction business, building homes and doing some commercial renovations. His love for building might have been in his DNA. His grandfather and great-grandfather had run the local Delmonico Construction. But the economy of the early 1980s changed Delmonico’s plans again. The recession of the 1980s and a growing family forced Delmonico to leave the construction business and find new work. His father, James, encouraged him to enter broadcasting, telling him he’d be good at it. The elder Delmonico had, at one time, been the general manager of labor relations during the height of the local GE plant. He went on to a top-level position in GE Broadcasting. So Joel Delmonico decided to give it a year, but soon found he began to love the business, watching and learning from other people in the industry.
55+ Discovers passion That was 30 years ago, but one can easily tell through his demeanor and his enthusiasm that the love for the job is still there. He makes guests to the station’s studios in Bridgewater Place feel immediately comfortable. He greets them personally in the lobby and ushers them back to his ofﬁce. Upon entering his ofﬁce, he doesn’t take a seat behind his desk, with his guests sitting in chairs on the other side. Instead, he invites them to sit at a big round table in his ofﬁce, pulling up a chair next to them to make conversation easier. Talking with Delmonico and looking around his ofﬁce, it is easy to hear and see the pride he has in his family—past, present and future generations. A copy of a handbill from the Delmonico Construction Company hangs on one wall, showing a picture of the Carnegie Building in downtown Syracuse, which formerly housed the Onondaga County Public Library. And next to that, as a tribute to his dad, is a vintage poster of GE Broadcasting’s coverage in New York state, in its heyday. And when he speaks of his family—his wife Chris of more than 30 years, their four children, Josh, Meaghan, Sean and Kate; his step-grandchildren, Kye and Addison; and a third grandchild, who was due around the time this piece went in print—he just beams. As he walks through the maze of studios and offices, he calls out greetings to staff, everyone on a ﬁrstname basis. Over the past three decades, the radio stations’ ownership has changed at least four times. They have gained and lost a couple of stations, and technology has changed the radio business immeasurably.
Competitive environment “Who you compete with has changed signiﬁcantly,“ he noted. To stay current, Delmonico said, “it’s a big challenge. That’s part of what makes the job fun. You have to stay on top of it.” Delmonico embraces the changes, loves the challenges they
present, and credits Clear Channel’s corporate business model with its emphasis on branding and talentfocus management for enabling them to maintain a competitive edge. A good half of the radio stations’ staff has been there for at least 10 years, blending them with the new talent that comes in. Yet, from time to time, the radio group has had to downsize, and good people had to be let go, a low point for Delmonico. With all the technology at people’s disposal, one can hear music anywhere these days, Delmonico pointed out, but it’s what he calls the “overthe-fence” stuff that their listeners want—the appetite for local news and views and weather, for example, that his radio stations feed up and down the radio dial. Delmonico’s influence goes well beyond the airwaves. He strongly advocates partnering with organizations and individuals to affect change in the Central New York corporate and not-for-profit communities. “He makes things happen,” said Frank Lazarski, president of the United Way, who has been involved with Delmonico on various community projects since the mid- 1980s. “He is willing to roll up his sleeves and get things done, and that’s what sets him apart.” His enthusiasm and his can-do attitude are contagious, and he can really rally the community, Lazarski said.
Power of radio Being able to use the power of each of the radio stations to affect positive change has always been key for Delmonico. The stations were honored in 2000 by the National Association of Broadcasters’ Service to America award, along with former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter and Marie Osmond. And in 2007, the stations partnered with the National Eating Disorders Association to produce public service announcements with such celebrities as Paula Abdul, Wynonna Judd, and model Emme. Delmonico and others from NEDA were invited to ring the
bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2007. Yet, it’s his involvement in educational initiatives that remains especially important to this former teacher, including “Say Yes to Education” and the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County. “Say Yes” is a multi-faceted program that goes beyond helping students prepare to get into college. It also provides opportunities for younger students through afterschool, mentoring and summer programs in the arts, and it helps families to overcome some obstacles, with legal clinics and health care, for example. “The goal is to level the playing field, to give the kids in the city, many of whom are living in poverty, the same kind of support that a kid from a middle class or upper middle class family would have living in the suburbs,” he said. About a year ago, Delmonico became chair of the Literacy Coalition, and one of the projects he has become involved with is bringing the Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library, founded by superstar Dolly Parton, to various neighborhoods in Syracuse. Delmonico was at one of the kick-offs on the city’s north side, and was taken aback at the positive response, both in terms of the numbers that attended and the feedback received. So what’s next for Delmonico? Returning to the classroom isn’t out of the question. But sooner than that, the avid outdoorsman is anxious to get back to kayaking on Skaneateles Lake, near his home, fly-fishing, and hiking—all activities he had to suspend after being sidelined due to an injury last fall while hiking one of the Adirondacks’ High Peaks with his wife, Chris. The two have already done 14 or 15 of the peaks, and hope to hike them all. And he’s doesn’t appear to be done achieving new heights in the radio industry either. “I intend on working forever,” he said, with a wink. “I love it here. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
An All-America City
The spectacular choreographed display of water, ﬁre, light and music on Branson Landing Fountains starts at noon daily. With more than 2,000 attractions it is easy to understand why people return to Branson again and again.
More than 50 live performance theaters give this city in Missouri the title of the ‘Live Music Show Capital of the World’ By Sandra Scott
ranson in Missouri may well be the most wholesome destination in the United States. The area is full of allAmerican charm with a wide variety of world-class entertainment and attractions. All of the live performances end with a tribute to the American way of life. Besides the music for which Branson is best known, there are museums, nature activities, and other great things to do. It is truly an excellent destination for people of all ages.
In the beginning The Branson phenomena began in the 1860s when visitors came to
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see Marvel Cave. Then in 1907 the best selling book by Harold Bell Wright, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” told the story of the self-reliant, stoic hill people which attracted more people to the area and led to the ﬁrst show, “The Shepherd of the Hills.” In 1959 the Mabe brothers began performing popular country songs along with Ozark Mountain music with a little comedy thrown in for good measure. Meanwhile, outside Branson, Hugo and Mary Herschend opened a small, old-time Ozark village atop of the Marvel Cave called Silver Dollar City. They started with a steam
train ride, demonstrating craftsmen, themed shops and music. It has continued to grow and ﬂourish and now visitors can enjoy theme rides, dining facilities, and festivals. The company also operates a white water park and the Showboat Branson Belle. Over the years the number and variety of attractions has continued to grow with new events and attractions opening each year.
Music and museums Today there are more than 50 live performance theaters earning Branson the title of the “Live Music Show Capital of the World.” Dedicated music lovers can attend three presentations
55+ a day. The Baldknobbers started the phenomena in 1959 with their “Baldknobbers Jamboree Show.” They continue to thrill audiences with favorite country classics, new country hits and their own brand of down-home comedy. Today the music spans all genres. Andy Williams was the ﬁrst non-country artist to come to Branson in 1992. The Haygood family of seven brothers and one sister has been performing at Branson since they were youngsters. They continue to amaze with their harmonies, energetic choreography and amazing performances on more than 20 different instruments. There are tribute shows featuring music of Patsy Cline, Alabama, The Platters, The Beatles, The Eagles, and many others. Branson has gone international with its Acrobats of China featuring the Shanghai Magic Troop, Yakov’s Moscow Circus, and the Legends of Kung Fu. The 12 Irish Tenors thrill the audience with music from opera to pop and from jazz to classical. Between the musical presentations, visit a museum. Car lovers will enjoy the more that 100 vehicles on display at the Branson Auto Museum. Pretend to be one of the paparazzi while visiting the Hollywood Wax Museum, the only wax museum devoted entirely to celebrity ﬁgures. The spirit of the Titanic lives on at the Titanic Museum with over 400 artifacts on display. The World’s Largest Toy Museum features toys from the 1800s to today. A short distance from Branson, visit Bonniebrook, the home of Rose O’Neil, creator of the Kewpie doll.
A small, old-time Ozark village sits atop of the Marvel Cave. It’s called called Silver Dollar City.
For nature lovers Tucked in the wooded hills just a few miles from the center of Branson, there is a beautiful full-service resort. The luxurious Big Cedar Lodge, located on Table Rock Lake, is the perfect retreat offering boating, ﬁshing and swimming in a natural setting. In Dogwood Canyon fall in love with the beauty of the Ozarks — go hiking, biking or horseback riding. Located just south of Branson, the 2,200acre nature park sprawls across the Missouri-Arkansas border. Fly ﬁshing
The luxurious Big Cedar Lodge, located on Table Rock Lake, is the perfect retreat offering boating, ﬁshing and swimming in a natural setting. In Dogwood Canyon fall in love with the beauty of the Ozarks — go hiking, biking or horseback riding. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
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lessons and guided ﬁshing trips are available. The Branson Lakes area has three pristine lakes with hundreds of miles of shoreline as well as more than 100,000 acres of city, state, federal and privately-owned wilderness areas open to visitors featuring more than 200 miles of trails. At the Branson waterfront enjoy a scenic boat ride on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen paddleboat. Also, the high-tech sport of geocaching is alive and well in the Ozarks, with dozens of caches hidden throughout the Branson Lakes area — a treasure hunt for the entire tech-savvy family.
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Get acquainted with Branson on the free Historic Downtown Branson’s Discovery Trolley. Dining options are many and varied. Enjoy Andy Williams’ favorite family recipes at his Moon River Grill or head to Mel’s Hard Luck Diner with the singing waiters. Not to miss is the Chuck Wagon Dinner at Big Cedar Lodge. At Silver Dollar City try the local version of succotash, which is a meal in itself. Branson is a shopper’s delight. Explore Branson Mill where local craftsmen demonstrate their skills.
The new Branson Landing at the waterfront includes more than 100 shops. Don’t miss Dick’s 5 & 10 where there is an eclectic mix of merchandise plus the owner’s collection of sports and aviation memorabilia. Take a scenic ride on the Ozark Zephyr, a vintage train, through the foothills of the Ozarks. Travel over trestles, through tunnels, and past small communities while listening to local stories. Enjoy the thrill of the Vigilante ZipRider, parasail high above Table Rock Lake, visit a winery, dine while enjoying a great show on the Branson Belle or relax with a spa treatment. With a name like Murder Rock Golf & Country Club golﬁng has to be exciting. The name comes not from golfers but from a legend about a gang who ambushed travelers during the mid-1800s. Today it is a place of beauty with lush fairways, pristine greens, and expansive views. Not to miss is the spectacular choreographed display of water, ﬁre, light and music on Branson Landing Fountains starting at noon daily. With more than 2000 attractions it is easy to understand why people return to Branson again and again. For a free vacation guide log on to www.explorebranson.com.
Natural Remedies: Is It Time to Ditch Viagra? A number of supplements, natural products and lifestyle changes can help treat the causes of erectile dysfunction, say experts By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
rectile dysfunction (ED) is a complicated yet common health problem that inhibits men from achieving and maintaining an erection sufﬁcient for intercourse. Men with ED may feel their problem is extremely rare; however, National Institutes of Health reports that approximately 5 percent of 40-year-old men and between 15 and 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience prolonged ED. Most men experience occasional problem; however, ED indicates an ongoing issue with erections and could impact libido as well. “I think sometimes the issue for patients is seeking medical attention, and overcoming that barrier can make a very big difference,” said Angelo DeRosalia, urologist with AMP Urology in Syracuse. “It’s important to feel comfortable with the healthcare provider. It’s not necessarily something you have to live with. It is something you should bring up with your doctor.” The primary care doctor can often diagnose and guide in treatment. Many men consider non-prescription ED treatment that can include lifestyle changes, natural supplements, prescription drugs and other therapies. Some primary care doctors may recommend their ED patients see a urologist, who specializes in male genital issues or an endocrinologist, who focuses on hormonal problems, depending upon the reason for the patient’s
ED. Other times, the primary care doctor is able to provide all the help that’s needed. After diagnosis, understanding the cause of ED is the next step in treating it. Older men are more commonly afﬂicted with ED than younger ones because of their greater likelihood of many of the health conditions associated with ED. The Mayo Clinic lists a number of causes behind ED, including heart disease, clogged blood vessels, (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, low testosterone, Peyronie’s disease (development of scar tissue inside the penis) and tobacco use and alcoholism. Sometimes, a few changes can make a big difference. “I highly recommend looking at lifestyle and habits that may need to change to improve overall health and well being as the ﬁrst place to start,” said George Franchell, a naturopath in Syracuse. “Looking for a magic bullet is not the answer. “Eating healthy, stopping unhealthy habits like smoking and heavy drinking, checking your meds to see if side effects may contributing to ED, regular exercise, improving communication with your partner, and stress reduction get to the underlying cause of the problem. [Do these] before even considering other natural remedies.” Taking an inexpensive, nonprescription supplement may seem an ideal solution to a problem than can be expensive and embarrassing
Horny goat weed (epimedium) hails from traditional Chinese medicine. Mostly anecdotal reports link it to helping erectile dysfunction because it can support better blood flow. And this is only one of several options people who suffer from ED have. for many men to correct; however, supplements aren’t miracle cures. Urologist DeRosalia says she tries to educate patients with ED on lifestyle modiﬁcation with the healthy habits Franchell listed before considering anything else. “It can make a big difference. You can do all that without a prescription. It’s important to look at each patient as a whole, not just at the sexual function.” It’s important for men to talk with their doctors before trying any supplement because it may have a negative interaction with a drug, April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
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supplement or existing health condition. It’s also key to take only the amount speciﬁed on the bottle. More isn’t better. Although hucksters peddle plenty of useless and even some harmful products, there are some natural remedies that can help. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a component of hormones related to sexual function, among other hormones, and taking a DHEA supplement could help men with low testosterone. Horny goat weed (epimedium) hails from traditional Chinese medicine. Mostly anecdotal reports link it to helping erectile dysfunction because it can support better blood ﬂow. Some men taking sildenaﬁl (brand name Viagra) have found that adding folic acid and vitamin E to their regimen increases the effectiveness of the prescription. “Trials have looked into antioxidants like zinc, arginine and carnitine,” DeRosalia said. “These are the focus of more recent studies which hopefully will have some promising results.” Some men’s erectile dysfunction is caused by zinc deﬁciency. Taking zinc supplements can help. It has also been identiﬁed as helpful for supporting prostate gland function and boosting testosterone levels. Many of the health issues concerning ED involve blood ﬂow, such as diseases involving the heart, blood vessels and smoking, which decreases blood ﬂow. Addressing blood ﬂow issues can only improve health and increase blood ﬂow to the penis. Ginkgo biloba “appears to relax smooth muscle and enhance blood ﬂow in the penis,” Franchell said. L-arginine, an amino acid the body uses to produce nitric oxide, “can signal smooth muscle surrounding blood vessels to relax, which dilates the blood vessels
and increases blood ﬂow,” Franchell said. “Relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis allows for enhanced blood ﬂow, leading to an erection. L-arginine is found naturally in foods such as meat, dairy, poultry and ﬁsh. It is also available as oral Larginine supplements.” Yohimbe, which ﬁnds its source from the bark of an African tree, may help men whose ED is caused by psychological issues. “Yohimbe is said to expand blood vessels in the penis and increase blood ﬂow,” said Laurel Sterling Prisco, registered dietician and wellness educator with Natur-Tyme in East Syracuse. “It may increase nitrous oxide which important for producing an erection. Take caution with high blood pressure, heart disease, stomach ulcers, depression or other psychiatric disorders.” Muira puama, also known as marapuama, marapama, potency wood and potenzholz, is primarily used to treat the psychological factors inﬂuencing ED. The Mayo Clinic also listed psychological factors that can exacerbate existing physical factors or impact the man’s physical function to a degree that his ED is entirely psychologicallybased. These factors include depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, stress, fatigue, and relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns. Seeking counsel from a trained therapist can help men work their way through depression, stress and relationship issues. In addition to lifestyle changes, natural treatments, and prescription drug, physical interventions such as a penile prosthesis that can be implanted surgically may help. With all of the products and therapies available, men do not need resign themselves to lifelong ED.
How to Prevent Any Health Risk Physician: ‘Little changes’ can add up to big health rewards By Gina Robert-Grey
magine finding the secret to a long, healthy life. Scores of new studies say you can do just that. In fact, scientists say they’ve unlocked the key to cut your chances of developing just about everything from cancer and canker sores, to Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and chronic fatigue. “You don’t have to completely overhaul your life,” says internist Wayne Andersen, medical director of Take Shape for Life in Owings Mills, Md., and author of “Dr. A’s Habits of Health.” “You simply need to know what ‘little changes’ to make that can add up to big health rewards.” These easy-to-implement tricks will help you tap into those big beneﬁts and tack years onto your — and your family’s — life. They’ll also leave you feeling great, too.
Steam your veggies Getting all steamed up about cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliﬂower just might be the best way to eat a crunchy veggie. Italian researchers found steaming broccoli, vs. eating it raw, or roasting and boiling, increased its content of glucosinolates, a compound identiﬁed for its cancer-ﬁghting abilities. “Glucosinolates are protective chemicals that regulate certain white blood cells involved in immunity. They are naturally produced in vegetables and are very important in helping the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances,” says Andersen. “Research is showing they may help reduce
breast, liver, colon, lung, stomach, and esophageal cancer tumors.” Whether you’re preparing fresh or frozen veggies, the study says steaming is your best bet to retain a vegetable’s glucosinolates. Andersen says to maximize the beneﬁt eat at least a half cup of steamed broccoli, cauliﬂower, mustard greens or Brussel sprouts a day.
Don’t skip breakfast After examining the diets of people prone to canker or “cold” sores, researchers at the University of Connecticut found low levels of vitamin B12 and folate, better known as folic acid, are to blame for those painful, unsightly ulcers showing up on your face. “These deﬁciencies can cause inﬂammation of the tongue and mouth and that leads to a canker sore,” Andersen says. As we age, he says it’s easy to develop a B12 deﬁciency because you naturally produce fewer stomach acids and pepsin, two things needed to separate B12 from food during digestion. And if you take medications to block stomach acid production, that also ups the odds a canker sore popping up since the reduced acid can lead to low levels of B12. To keep your lip clear, or cut down on the duration of a canker sore, aim for 400 mcg per day of folate and 100 mcg per day of B12, about the amount found in one cup of a fortiﬁed whole-grain breakfast cereal.
Stock up on ibuprofen
Parkinson’s disease, doctors say, is associated with increased inﬂammation in the central nervous system. But a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs) like ibuprofen aren’t just good for easing a headache or soothing sores muscles; they’ve demonstrated the ability to inhibit the neuro-inﬂammatory process involved in developing Parkinson’s disease. According to the study, popping one 200 mg tablet a day can cut your chance of developing the disease by 39 percent. Ibuprofen was the only NSAID April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
Q: Is it true I can save about $4,000 per year if I qualify for Social Security’s Extra Help with the Medicare prescription drug program? A: Yes if your income and resources meet the requirements, you can save nearly $4,000 in prescription costs each year. Income limits for 2011 are $12,640 (or $25,260 if you are married and living with your spouse), Resource limits are limited to $16,335 (or $22,065 if you are married and living with your spouse). If your income and/or resources are just a bit higher, you might be eligible for some help with prescription drug costs. Q: It’s hard for me to get around because of my disability. Do I have to go to a Social Security office to apply for benefits? A: Not anymore. You can prepare and submit your Social Security disability application and all the needed forms right over the Internet. Our online disability application is convenient and secure. Get started by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability. Q: My brother has been completely disabled from birth. He gets Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Our grandfather died recently and left him a little money. Will this extra money stop his SSI benefits? A: It all depends on the amount of the inheritance. Inheritance money is considered income for the month he received it. You will have to report the income and we will adjust his benefit for the month accordingly. If he keeps the money into the next month, it then becomes a part of his resources. To get SSI benefits, he is limited to $2,000 in total resources although there are exceptions. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-3250778) and report the inheritance. We will tell you how your brother’s eligibility will be affected. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov. 48
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health linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s so don’t waste your time on aspirin or acetaminophen. According to the research, they don’t appear to have any effect on lowering a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s. “Women with a family history of the disease should discuss incorporating daily ibuprofen with their doctor,” says Dr. Kent Holtorf, founder of The Holtorf Medical Group in California and The National Academy of Hypothyroidism.
Soak up just a little sun
You shouldn’t bake in the sun without SPF sunscreen, but 15 minutes soaking up rays without SPF, three times a week can cut your chances of developing inﬂammatory bowel (IBS), Crohn’s disease and other digestive illnesses. Scientists at The University of Rochester Medical Center found vitamin D is a key player in the health of your gut because it helps balance the naturally occurring bacteria in your digestive track. “As much as 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut and if you have low vitamin D (less than 80 ng/ml in a blood test) you’re prone to infections of the GI track,” says Holtorf. The scientists say popping a vitamin D supplement isn’t the same as your body producing the vitamin naturally from exposure to sunlight. To rev up your body’s natural
production of vitamin D, take a walk, pluck some weeds or read a magazine outside before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. “During those times, the sun isn’t at its peak so you’re less likely to burn,” says dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, president emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.
Fill ‘er up
Who knew your kitchen sink was the fountain of youth. Or at least the key to beating fatigue. A recent study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center says drinking plain old unﬂavored tap water has some unexpected, physiological effects. “Water increases the activity of the sympathetic — ﬁght or ﬂight — nervous system, which raises alertness and energy expenditure,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. David Robertson. “Water increases sympathetic nervous system activity and constricts blood vessels, which prevents pooling of blood in the extremities. And that can boost your energy levels.” There’s another added beneﬁt to drinking water: weight loss. Robertson says because water raises sympathetic nervous system activity — and consequently energy expenditure — it promotes weight loss, Robertson says. “It might be as much as ﬁve pounds a year if you drank three 16 ounce glasses of water a day,” he says.
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consumers corner By Eva Briggs
Fingers: 14 Finger Bones, Assorted Tendons and 25,000 Nerve Endings per Square Centimeter
he amazing complexity and versatility of the human ﬁnger places it at risk for a variety of injuries. There are a total of 14 finger bones, assorted tendons, and 25,000 nerve endings per square centimeter. In this column I’ll take a look at some common ﬁnger injuries and how they are treated. Car doors, firewood and machinery often catch and crush fingertips. Bleeding and bruising beneath the fingernail, called a subungual hematoma, appears dark red to purple or black. Most subungual hematomas can be drained to relieve the pressure and resulting pain. A few intrepid people try this at home using a heated paper clip, but that technique is a setup for infection. Instead of doing it yourself, see a doctor for pain severe enough to require drainage of the hematoma. You may need an X-ray to determine whether the bone underneath is broken. S u b u n g u a l h e m a t o m a s a re drained under sterile conditions. Many doctors use a small electrocautery unit. Another technique is to drill through the nail by gently twirling a pointed “number 11” scalpel blade. Neither technique is painful unless the doctor accidentally brieﬂy touches the sensitive nail bed beneath the fingernail. Depending on the size, severity and circumstances of the injury, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. Fingertip crush injuries often break the distal phalanx, the bone at the tip of the ﬁnger. Even when the bone breaks into several small pieces, these injuries usually heal well with only a simple protective splint. Fingertip avulsions, or tearing away of tissues at the tip of the ﬁnger, are also common. If only soft tissues are involved, the fingertip usually regenerates skin and tissue to cover
the injured area, though full healing may take weeks. Your doctor will clean and examine the area, X-ray if needed, and bandage. When necessary for thorough examination and treatment, the doctor will numb your finger using a digital block. That’s anesthesia injected into the nerves at the base of the ﬁnger to numb the entire ﬁnger. There are special materials available that can be applied if needed to control bleeding. If the wound involves the bone, you’ll need to see an orthopedic surgeon. Sometimes the fingernail is torn fully or partially off. These injuries can be fairly complex because nail bed injuries may cause deformities when the ﬁngernail grows back. Fingernails regenerate at the rate of about 0.1 mm per day, taking six to seven months to grow an entire new nail. A set of tendons controls the movements of the small joints in your ﬁngers. These tendons, too, are easily injured. One such injury is the mallet ﬁnger, a tear of the extensor tendon that straightens the ﬁngertip. The ﬁngertip droops, resembling a mallet, or small hammer. Sometimes it’s called a baseball ﬁnger because blows to the ﬁngertip from a ball are a common cause. Many cases can be treated with a splint that keeps the last ﬁnger joint straight so that the tendon ends can grow back together. Sometimes the injured tendon pulls off a chunk of adjacent bone; in those cases surgery may be required to prevent permanent deformity. Lacerations or trauma can injure the flexor tendons. Flexor tendon injuries make it impossible to bend one or more ﬁnger joints. When this
happens, surgery and special splinting is often required to allow the ends of the tendons to reunite. Finger fractures that are in good alignment usually heal with splinting. When the bones can’t be splinted in good alignment, or when there is serious involvement of a joint, a
hand surgeon might need to fix things. Animals often bite fingers. Fingers are convenient targets for pets that don’t want to be petted or handled. They’re also just the right size to ﬁt into a cat’s mouth. The very ﬁrst step for bite injuries is to wash copiously with soap and water. Yes, plain old soap: it’s readily available, inexpensive, and less damaging to tissue than hydrogen peroxide or most other things that people tell me they use. And running water helps ﬂush away bacteria. A doctor should evaluate as soon as possible because of the high incidence of infection. Fifty percent of all cat bites become infected, and it usually happens fast, within 24 hours. All those tendons in the hands and ﬁngers provide ease paths for infections to spread rapidly. An ounce of prevention is deﬁnitely worth a pound of cure for animal bite infections. Your doctor will also notify the health department to determine whether rabies shots are needed. April / May 2011 - 55 PLUS
By Pat Malin
Therese Schoeneck, 78 Founder of Hope for Bereaved Q. Mary, your oldest daughter, was the inspiration for creating Hope for Bereaved, Inc. A. She was. She died in a car accident on Aug. 21, 1977 [at the age 21]. You just don’t expect to outlive your children. It’s just not in your game plan at all. I worked at Family Life Education at the time [a program that is part of the Catholic Diocese in Syracuse]. That ﬁrst Christmas, the best word I can use is we survived it. We had wonderful family and friends. But the one that we were missing — it just kind of colored everything. So the following year, I went to my boss, Father Joe Phillips, and I said, ‘Could we have a program, “Coping with the Holidays?”’ And that’s what we did. It was Dec. 4, 1978, and the people that attended said, ‘Can we meet next month?’ So that’s how Hope was born. Q. Do you have any idea how many people, families you might have served over the years? A. We estimate, looking at the different things we do, about 10,000 people a year. Sometimes that’s direct counseling, support groups, telephone support. Our newsletter goes all over. And then our book, our “Hope for Bereaved” book has been sold all over the United States and Canada, and a little bit in Ireland and a place I think is amazing, Australia. We had an email last year from a hospice worker in Australia, and he said he’s been ordering our Hope book for 20 years. And he said there is no equivalent to it. I thought that was high praise. Q. What does the book cover? A. The name of it is “Hope for Bereaved — Understanding, Coping and Growing Through Grief.” [On the cover] it’s a multi-colored rainbow 50
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to be kind of hopeful; article on the holidays, or guilt or whatever, a background piece and then a page of suggestions and then there are many chapters on death of a spouse, death of a child, death by suicide, a chapter on grieving children. You don’t have to read the whole book, just read about whatever is bothering you at the time. Q. You’ve been doing this for 30 years — how do you keep going with such a positive attitude? A. It certainly isn’t just me. I think it’s all of us that are there. It’s a passion for what we do. And I think what keeps us going, it is those comments we get from people saying that we saved their lives. I said to my husband [David] one time, ‘It kind of amazes me that we saved their lives.’ But I can also appreciate it. You are so devastated and what we do at Hope — we do a lot of listening and we validate their feelings. We might have suggestions for coping, which we’ve all learned. And I’ve learned a lot in the meetings. I think to know that maybe it saved their life or at least it helped them get to a better place in their life — that’s what keeps us going. Q. Have you been surprised over the years in how it’s grown and the reaction that you have gotten and the number of people that have taken advantage of the programs? A. There’s more need than we’re even addressing. I just know there’s more and more we can do. I also think there really is a difference in the community and society in general in understanding and dealing with it. That’s why I started Hope — to be with other bereaved parents. I thought
there’s got to be a formula. There’s got to be a way to get through this and I don’t know how. There wasn’t anything in the state. I did it to help other people, but, oh, I was so helped. Q. Do you plan to be active in the organization? A. I will do this for the rest of my life. I’m very dedicated to it. So are the support group facilitators. So are the staff. It’s a passion to help others. It’s knowing the territory. And how painful it was but also knowing we make a difference — that’s what helps us. I plan to always help the bereaved. For more information about Hope for Bereaved, visit www.hopeforbereaved. com.
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Published on May 11, 2011