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Financial Experts: 12 Tips for a Successful Retirement


Playing Against the Years: Gray Wolves Senior Hockey in Cicero

PLUS Issue 67 February / March 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area


HE: Van Robinson, president of the Syracuse Common Council. SHE: Linda Robinson, president of the Onondaga County NAACP. Also inside: Meet Rhea and Rabbi Daniel Jezer

Dean David Rubin Former dean at Newhouse at S.U. (and TV show host at WCNY) talks about why he moved to South Carolina, his career, Trump and what we can do to improve Syracuse


Laura Hand: TV Personality Still Going Strong After 40 Years

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February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS



Financial Experts: 12 Tips for a Successful Retirement


Playing Against the Years: Gray Wolves Senior Hockey in Cicero


February / March 2017

PLUS Issue 67 February / March 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area


HE: Van Robinson, president of the Syracuse Common Council. SHE: Linda Robinson, president of the Onondaga County NAACP. Also inside: Meet Rhea and Rabbi Daniel Jezer

Dean David Rubin Former dean at Newhouse at S.U. (and TV show host at WCNY) talks about why he moved to South Carolina, his career, Trump and what we can do to improve Syracuse


Laura Hand: TV Personality Still Going Strong After 40 Years

14 Savvy Senior 6 Financial Health 8 Gardening 10 Dining Out 12 My Turn 30 Golden Years 42 Consumers’ Health 43 Life After 55 44 Druger’s Zoo 46 Last Page 50


LAST PAGE Oscar Vergara, soccer coach at Bishop Ludden, chosen as one of coaches of the year by the national association. 55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017


• Laura Hand: TV personality still going strong strong


• Three experts weigh in on what you should do before you retire


• Members of the Gray Wolves Senior Hockey in Cicero play with passion


• Educator, TV show host David Rubin moves to South Carolina


• Marvin Druger reveals his creative side after career of teaching science

36 32 COVER

• Two political and civicminded couples are making a big impact in Central New York


• Queen of butter sculpture, Sharon BuMann, writing a book


• Shipwreck hunters uncovering ships from bottom of Lake Ontario


• 10 reasons people love to visit Ann Arbor


February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


savvy senior By Jim Miller


Locating Lost Life Insurance Policies

ost or forgotten life insurance policies are very common in the U.S. It’s estimated that more than $7 billion in benefits from unclaimed life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed by their rightful beneficiaries. While unfortunately there isn’t a national database for tracking down these policies, there are a number of strategies and a few new resources that can help your search. Here are several to get you started. Search the records Check your mom’s or dad’s financial records or storage areas where they kept important papers for a policy, records of premium payments or bills from an insurer. Also contact their employers or former employer benefits administrators, insurance agents, financial planner, accountant, attorney or other advisers and ask if they know about a life insurance policy. Also check safe-deposit boxes, monitor the mail for premium invoices or whole-life dividend notices and review old income tax returns, looking for interest income from, and interest expenses paid, to life insurance companies. Contact the insurer: If you suspect that a particular insurer underwrote the policy, contact that carrier’s claim office and ask. The more information you have, like your mom’s and dad’s date of birth and death, Social Security number and address, the easier it will be to track down. Contact information of some big insurers include: Prudential 800-778-2255; MetLife; AIG 800-888-2452; Nationwide 800848-6331; John Hancock JohnHancock. com — click on “Contact Us” then on “Account Search Request.” Get state help Nineteen state insurance departments have a policy locator service


55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017

program that can help you locate lost life insurance, and many other states offer resources that can help you with your search. To find direct access to these resources visit the American Council of Life Insurers website at — click on the “Consumer Info” tab at the top of the page, followed by “Missing Policy Tips.” Search unclaimed property If your mom or dad died more than a few years ago, benefits may have already been turned over to the unclaimed property office of the state where the policy was purchased. Go to, a website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, to search records from 40 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The pulldown menu under “Links” connects you to a map and addresses for unclaimed property agencies. Or to find links to each state’s unclaimed property division, use If your mom’s name or a potential benefactor ’s name produces a hit, you’ll need to prove your claim. Required documentation, which can vary by state, is detailed in claim forms, and a death certificate might be necessary. If you need a copy of the death certificate, contact the vital records office in the state where your mom or dad died, or go to VitalChek. com. Search fee-based services There are several businesses that offer policy locator services for a fee. The MIB Group, for example, which is a data-sharing service for life and health insurance companies, offers a policy locator service at for $75. But it only tracks applications for individual policies made since 1996. You can also get assistance at Policy Inspector ( for $99, and L-LIFE ( for $108.50, who will do the searching for you.

55PLUS Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Aaron Gifford, Sandra Scott Matthew Liptak, Jacob Pucci Mary Beth Roach


Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Mike Costanza, John Addyman .


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $15 a year; $25 for two years © 2017 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 Email:

Social Security


Q: I’m trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Any help? A: Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at www. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can help you with the basics of financial education: www. Finally, you’ll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at Q: I’m planning to retire next year. I served in the Navy back in the 1960s and need to make sure I get credit for my military service. What do I need to do? A: You don’t need to do anything to apply for the special credit for your military service — it is added automatically. For service between 1957 and 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record at the time you apply for Social Security benefits. For service between 1968 and 2001, those extra military service credits have already been added to your record. So you can rest assured that we have you covered. Q: How do I report a change of address if I’m getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? A: A person receiving SSI must report any change of address by calling our toll-free number, 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or by visiting a local office within 10 days after the month the change occurs. Learn more about SSI at

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February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


Cheaper Hearing Aids Coming Onto the Market


in good January 2017 •

Run for Life Maryann Roefaro, CEO of Hematology Oncology Associates, tests her endurance at NYC marathon while supporting Hospice of CNY


Issue 205

CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

SMOKING ‘How I Quit After 40 Years’ ‘Trying to quit as a senior citizen turned out to be quite different from all those attempts in my younger years’. page 11

Top 10 ways women can improve their health

OB-GYN ISSUES Five things you need to know to about

The ‘Angelina Jolie’ Effect

Tests for the breast cancer BRCA gene shot up by 64 percent following Jolie’s 2013 decision to have preventive mastectomy

Cheaper Hearing Aids Coming onto the Market

Fighting Blindness page 14 Caused by Glaucoma Robert Fechtner, M.D.: A life working to make sure people don’t lose their vision to glaucoma


‘My family’s go-to fish in January is haddock. Mildtasting and reasonably priced, this flaky white fish teems with good things. It’s a great choice after the end of the eating season’

Excellus: Telemedicine to Surge This Year page 7

Upstate New Yorkers will embrace telemedicine this year, expects Excellus BlueCross BlueShield page 11

Pizza Trends Pizzas are trending toward thinner crusts and half of consumers prefer to go thin. Find out the top 10 habits Americans have when it comes to pizza page XX

All About Your Health In Good Health — CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper brings a wealth of information about healthy living in Central New York. Subscribe today. Only $15 a year or $25 for two years. 12 issues a year.

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55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017

$15 — 1 year $25 — 2 years

etting a hearing aid should be less of a hassle — and eventually less expensive — under new rules introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said early in December it will no longer enforce a requirement that people aged 18 and older receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver before buying most hearing aids. The agency said it will also consider creating a category of overthe-counter hearing aids that could provide innovative and lower-cost devices to millions of Americans. Currently, a pair of hearing aids typically costs $4,000 or more, putting them out of reach for the majority of older Americans who need them. “Today’s actions are an example of the FDA considering flexible approaches to regulation that encourage innovation in areas of rapid scientific progress,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in an agency news release. Critics had argued that existing FDA rules were a potential barrier to people getting hearing aids, and provided little to no benefit to patients. Changes to the FDA rules, which take effect immediately, could lead to technological breakthroughs that result in less-expensive hearing-aid options, according to the council. Although some 30 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss, only about one-fifth who could benefit from a hearing aid seek help. The FDA said it will continue to enforce the medical evaluation requirement for prospective hearing aid users younger than 18. The agency will also continue to require that hearing aid labels include information about medical conditions that should be evaluated by a doctor. Also, licensed hearing aid dispensers must still give consumers information and instructions about hearing aids before purchase.

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gardening By Jim Sollecito

Memories Become Inspiration We built this fire pit because we like roasting marshmallows. Then it became a gathering place, nourishing the soul


ome images are burned into our memory. I have always been curious about different things, different places. As a boy in Sunday school I learned the story of Jesus curing the lepers. It rolled around in my brain — would that ever be possible? A number of years later I found myself in the middle of a leper colony in North India. It wasn’t intentional. A stroll with two friends in Delhi happened to take us there. I didn’t have a lot of experience relating to such surroundings. Probably 100 people, some family groups, all enduring the same fate. Maybe all awaiting their own savior, but stuck as they were for the moment. I knew I should probably leave but was too fascinated. Watching them cook food over open charcoal fire pits, I wondered where they got their ingredients. They gently begged. We gave some rupees as we tried to look them in their obscured eyes. That was a life lesson to stand the test of time. Everything changes, including ourselves. Some changes we don’t like, particularly as we age. Can you imagine the morning one of these people woke, recognized permanent disfigurement and accepted banishment to communities within a city? How this would affect… everything. I guess we have to be comfortable in our own skin. But how could they possibly? Then I saw that they were. That single event infused a bit of humble realism into the raging optimist I was mere moments before. Life does that to us. We get up every morning. Because life is what you make it. This is the view of a pond I dug a number of years ago. Our daughters learned to fly fish here. We enjoyed swimming and kayaking. Wildlife took 10

55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017

turns when we were not present. We built this fire pit, initially because we like roasting marshmallows. Then it became a gathering place, nourishing the soul. A place for reflection as wood turned to smoke and rose to the sky. I love our farm and the thousands of shrubs and trees I planted because it encourages stillness, essential for balance. Sitting quietly, nature untangling our thoughts, is perhaps an underappreciated form of therapy. Year 2016 was environmentally challenging. We experienced a springlike winter. Then a winter-ish spring followed by no rain, then too much at once. Leaves turned color, but refused to let go. We professional landscapers have never seen such

tenacity. Honestly, it was inspirational. Some people think that life gets better by chance. I believe it gets better through change. Some of it is out of our control. And some we can implement. We’ll feel the change this winter as lake effect slows us down. Then, as the snow melts, our anticipation for spring will increase and revitalize us. Nature sets an inspiring example, moving forward with gusto. And so do we.

Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or

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Protect the ones you love February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



Rosalie’s Cucina


Skaneateles restaurant, destination for celebrities, Italian food lovers

ometimes white tablecloth food is served on sheets of butcher paper. At Rosalie’s Cucina, the names of celebrities and politicians — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jim Boeheim, to name a few — grace the white walls, a reminder of the Skaneateles restaurant’s widespread acclaim. Phil Romano, an Auburn native whose Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Fuddruckers restaurant chains blossomed into international successes, built the restaurant for his sister, Rosalie, in 1995. Tragically, Rosalie died in 1996, but the Romano family recipes, demarcated on the menu with asterisks, live on. My dining companion and I both opted for family recipes, but first 12

55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017

came appetizers. Beef carpaccio is a favorite of mine and Rosalie’s version ($11.50) is right up there with the best. Thin slices of raw beef are laid out and topped with red onion, tomato, capers, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, caper aioli, fresh greens and two well-seasoned crostini. The acidic kick of the whole capers and caper aioli played well with the savory beef, but it was the generous rub of black pepper on the beef that heightened all the flavors. In addition to the full dinner menu, the restaurant offers a threecourse prix fixe “Tuscan” menu ($28) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from November to April. Dinner from the Tuscan menu started with a Caesar salad, which despite the smaller portions of the Tuscan menu offerings versus their

a la carte counterparts, was sizeable. The chopped romaine was crisp and the dressing was tasty, even though it lacked a bit of the anchovy funk I enjoy, but the garlic croutons — crunchy, but not brittle with just the right amount of chew — were perhaps the finest croutons I’ve eaten. Cappa Santa al Prosciutto e Basilico ($33.95), a dish of seared sea scallops with tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach and angel hair pasta, finished with a lemon butter sauce, is among the family recipes on the menu. Despite there being no more than two dozen diners in the restaurant this Thursday night, I spotted the scallops come out of the kitchen several times, including the couple at the next table, who both ordered the same dish. And as it turned out, for good reason. Think of it as a dressed-up,

Italian version of the classic bacon-wrapped scallop, with the bonus of a velvety butter sauce with enough lemon to keep the whole dish light. All five scallops were plump, properly browned and tender and the angel hair pasta, which all too often ends up as a congealed, sticky mess, held up well to the tomatoes and spinach served on top. Beef braciole, a dish of thinly-sliced sirloin stuffed with garlic bread crumbs (made from the same bread as the delicious croutons, perhaps?) and basil, topped with puttanesca tomato sauce and served with broccolini and parmigiano-reggiano gnocchi, is available both a la carte and as part of the prix fixe menu. The beef isn’t lost under the puttanesca sauce, which with its olives and capers, can certainly stand on its own. Broccolini — broccoli’s sleeker, trimmer cousin — had a hint of smoke, as if it were grilled. A scattering of gnocchi were melt-in-your-mouth tender. We ended our meal with Rosalie’s Cioccolato Torta, a generous slice (slab?) of chocolate cake topped with a warm Belgian chocolate sauce and roasted pecans. Drenching a piece of rich chocolate cake with warm chocolate sauce is always a recipe for success in my book and this was no exception. Yes, there are several celebrity signatures on the wall, but most of the signatures are those of locals who’ve been eating there for two decades. Rosalie’s is the kind of restaurant that’s good enough to serve top-notch beef braciole, but comfortable and authentic enough to call it “beef brazool,” like a proper Italian grandmother. In fact, if executive chef Marc Albino put on a gray wig and disguise, I reckon it’d be hard to tell the difference.

Cappa Santa: One of six Romano family recipes on the menu, this dish paired plump seared scallops with a lemon butter sauce speckled with prosciutto, providing the perfect salty kick.

Beef braciole: Tender braised beef braciole is one of four entrees on the $28 prix fixe threecourse menu available from November to April on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Rosalie’s Cucina


841 W. Genesee Street Road, Skaneateles.




Sunday: 5 to 8:30 p.m Tues. to Thursday: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday: 5 to 9 p.m.


Dessert: Left to right: Rosalie’s Cioccolato Torta, Banana Budino, Cannoli Siciliani and Tiramisu. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




TV personality Laura Hand next to a pony during an event last year. She rides horses on a regular basis, nearly every day — even in the winter.

Laura Hand By embracing social media and working non-stop, TV personality remains relevant after more than four decades on the air By Aaron Gifford


t’s about 10:30 a.m. on a frigid Sunday December morning. Inside the CNY Central television news studio on James Street in Syracuse, Laura Hand finished her work for the weekend edition of Today in Central New York, which she anchors and produces. She’s been on the job since about 3 a.m. with no plans to rest until it well after it gets dark outside again. After work, she heads home for an afternoon of horseback riding in the snow. “It’s more fun,” she says, to stay busy. That’s been the key to 14

55 PLUS - February 2017 / March 2017

this legendary local newswoman’s longevity. While many others her age in the broadcast journalism industry have been slow to accept technological and social changes in their field, Hand has continually embraced those changes. She would not disclose her age but was proud to note her career at the WSTM station is going on 45 years. Hand took some time recently to talk about her upbringing as an “Army brat,” the events that brought her to Syracuse, her career success,

and her continuing quest to make Central New York a better place. Hand was born in Virginia. Her father, Clifton Hand, was a soldier. The family lived in England, Germany, Thailand and Italy, changing schools almost every year. Hand spent ample time in her mother’s home town of Trieste, Italy, and still visits there regularly. She calls it “a very Italian city with a very Austrian flavor.” She speaks Italian, French, German and Spanish. While watching television news

coverage of political party conventions during presidential election years, Hand became fascinated with both politics and journalism. That inspired her to apply to Syracuse University, which was one of the few schools at the time that offered political science and journalism as majors. Hand signed up for both. “I thought it was interesting, and I thought I could do it,” she recalled. “Many schools did not accept women.” Hand enjoyed a great deal of success at SU, becoming the first woman to direct the campus radio station, WAER, and graduating a semester early. There was a great deal of political unrest and student protests during that era, so Hand elected to get her coursework done as soon as possible and get started on a career, as opposed to remaining on campus and getting caught up in the times. “It was during the Vietnam War,” she said. “Those were interesting times on campus, but I just wanted to get out and work.” Hand was hired as a reporter for the WFBL station in Syracuse. She learned the art of broadcasting there but quickly decided that she would prefer to do television news. Eighteen months later, she began working at WSTM. She was assigned to provide stories for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts, typically working the 3 p.m. until midnight shift. Usually, she came up with her own story ideas. Early in her career, Hand interviewed New York Gov. Rockefeller. The governor was attending an event in which he had no intention of addressing the media. But Hand and her cameraman stretched a microphone cable in front of Rockefeller, causing him to pause long enough for them to initiate an interview. “His people told us he’s not going to do any interviews,” Hand recalled. “But we found a way. Sometimes, you have to push a little bit.” Hand also interviewed former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the Syracuse airport. The coverage was not planned ahead of time. Hand simply approached her, and Reagan was happy to talk. Another memorable story for

Laura Hand next to meteorologist Wayne Mahar, behind an ice set by carver Stan Koloko in 2015, just before Syracuse Winterfest. Hand was covering the Tully mud slide in the early 1990s. She arrived at the scene quickly enough to provide an eyewitness account of the state police transporting the victims off of their roofs by helicopter. “You can have a pleasant interview or cover a pretty sad story,” she said. “There’s no cookie cutter approach here.” Hand has worn many hats at WSTM, and found a way to spend time with her family while advancing her career. While her two children were growing up, Hand took on the role of morning anchor, going into work early and getting home in time to have dinner with the family. “There are long hours in this business,” she said, “but you can make it work.” In Syracuse, the television news market was very competitive and unpredictable. Hand survived layoffs by making herself more valuable. She was her own producer, even in an era where TV news stations had much larger staffs. She also took on additional tasks as the station’s community relations director, which involved giving tours and organizing outreach programs with schools. In addition, Hand is responsible for updating CNY Central’s daily events calendar, and making sure the station is compliant with FCC regulations. “I just keep doing my

job,” she says, “and my job is more than just the news.” As a producer, Hand has a say on which national or international stories her station will run. Hand also writes stories that appear on the CNY Central website, and creates her own graphics. She is also expected to engage with viewers via social media. Hand did not sign up for these tasks when she went to journalism school in a much different era of television news, but she has never resisted any of the changes. “Social media is part of the job,” she said. “If you want to reach people, you’ve got to go where they are. These are different tools than we used 30 years ago, but it’s still a process that involves critical thinking. And the best part about broadcasting still hasn’t changed: It’s never the same two days in a row.” Hand has taught journalism courses at Onondaga Community College, Le Moyne College and Syracuse University, and has also found time over the years to take on charity work, including the Toys for Tots program and a local Tour de Cure event to benefit the American Diabetes Association. In her spare time, Hand enjoys gardening during the warmer months and horseback riding year round. She is also a fan of Pomeranian dogs, a breed that was once February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


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large enough to pull coal carts but, during the Victorian era, was cross-bred with smaller dogs. “Within four generations,” she said, “they were made smaller. I just find that stuff fascinating. I just want to learn how things happen. I tell kids, if you want to be in this business, you need to learn how to play ‘Jeopardy.’” Cooking is another passion. Hand is especially proud of her grandmother’s Italian cookbook, written in 1931. Over the years she has modified some of the recipes to cut down on the calories or accommodate her children’s tastes. When her son became a vegetarian, for example, she came up with a broccoli lasagna. Hand also did cooking demonstrations at the Great New York State Fair, showing audiences how to make quick meals. While Hand loves Italian recipes, she eats her favorite foods in moderation and enjoys healthy energy snacks, like trail mix, when working. To stay fit, Hand, rides her horse just about every day and works in her garden. She enjoys traveling, especially to Italy, but has no plans to retire any time soon and settle down in a warmer climate. “There is still a lot going on here, like the buy local movement. It may not be the hot bed it was in the early 1900s, but there’s still a lot of creativity here,” Hand said of Central New York. “I’ve enjoyed what I do here and I’ll keep at it. Yes, I will retire someday, but it won’t be tomorrow.”



12 Tips for a Successful Retirement Loftus

Three experts weigh in on what you should do before you retire By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Sonnet Loftus, certified financial planner professional with Michael, Roberts Associates, Inc. in East Syracuse.


Take an active role in the retirement planning process. “You work hard for every dollar you earn and you should know where it goes and why. Talk to your adviser, see if you are on track and see if there is anything that needs to be addressed that has not already been considered. The goal should be to live comfortably in retirement; while entirely possible, it does take work to get there.”


Know and exercise your investment risk tolerance. “No matter what age, investment portfolios should match risk tolerance. With advances in medicine, people are living longer and retiring later. An investor in their early 50s may still have at least 15 years of saving and investing before they start thinking about distributions. Retirements can last well over 30 years. This has caused us to change how we think and plan for retirement. In

this low interest rate environment, I believe it is important for investors to keep some growth on the table in order to continue to grow their assets.


Get out of debt. “It is important to really focus on paying down debt while one is still receiving a salary. Look at any outstanding, high-interest credit card debt and put a plan in place to aggressively pay it down — especially if there are sufficient funds in low interest savings vehicles. While paying a mortgage in retirement is not ideal for most people — financially and psychologically — mortgage rates are at historic lows and the interest paid can be a tax deduction.


Know your retirement budget. “We all have different cash flow needs depending on our living expenses and spending habits. The first thing one will need to do is decide what percentage of what they spend today they plan on spending in retirement. Is it 75 percent? Is it 80 percent? Something else? From there, we have to make some assumptions regarding inflation rate and life expectancy. A present value of a future sum calculation will tell us how much money is needed to maintain



anticipated annual distributions. Take the sum of any investment and retirement account balances, factor in social security estimates and any pension estimates and one can see how well they have prepared.” Mary Ann Pierce, financial adviser, chartered life underwriter. Marathon Financial Advisors, Inc., East Syracuse.


“Review your current cash flow (money in/money out). How much does it cost to run your household? How much do you anticipate needing to spend in retirement?


“Identify sources of recurring income such as Social Security, pensions or annuities. Will this meet your anticipated cash flow needs? If not, what can you do now to change your future situation? For example, you may have a plan to pay off debt or to save more in your retirement and investment plans.


“Have a discussion about your ideal lifestyle in retirement. Many people have not considered this. Where do you plan to live, what activities will you participate in, do you wish to travel? What will this cost, and is it within your anticipated budget?

February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS



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“People often underestimate the cost of health care in retirement. It is important to include this in any discussion about retirement. “Many people have not addressed the possibility of a long-term health care expense, whether in a facility/nursing home or in-home. It is important to keep this in mind not only when talking about retirement income and spending, but also as part of a comprehensive estate plan.” Randy Zeigler, certified financial planner and financial adviser with Ameriprise in Oswego.


Prioritize retirement savings. “Plan wisely for how to manage your college student children’s expenses and student loan obligations, so as not to carry a large pile of education debt into the early retirement period.



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Think about where you’ll live. “Decide how much mortgage debt should be carried into retirement or if the parties wish to have it all paid off prior to retiring.”


Save more than you think you’ll need. “In general, I think too many people retire early these days and do not adequately plan for how they will support their retirement lifestyle, especially with quickly rising health care costs as many employers no longer provide free or even low-cost major medical insurance for retirees. They should they live many years into retirement. Current longevity estimates suggest that many people will need to support themselves for 20 or 30 years in retirement and that will necessitate a large capital base for most, unless they have a large monthly pension benefit to fall back on. Pre-retirement years are often the time when children are grown and independent and then there is enough free cash flow to maximize retirement savings efforts. I definitely encourage my clients to save and invest as aggressively as they can afford in order to build their retirement capital base.”

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If you are considering making a gift to Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association, you may wish to consider a variety of assets. You also have a number of alternative ways for providing those gifts near and dear to you. Because we are a nonprofit organization, gifts you make generally qualify for an income tax deduction and/or gift or estate tax deduction, depending on how and when you make the gift. To receive a complete information packet further detailing how you can support our efforts through planned giving, please see this link or call (315) 697-2796. The animals thank you for your generosity! HTTP://WANDERERSREST.ORG/DONATE/PLANNED-GIVING/

February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




Members of the Gray Wolves Senior Hockey club waiting to play at Cicero Twin Rinks in Cicero. Shown on the left is Dick “D.D.” Lynch, an 89-year-old player.

Playing Against the Years

Members of the Gray Wolves Senior Hockey in Cicero — some in their 80s and 90s — play with passion, testing each other’s skills By Mike Costanza


hack! A member of the G r a y Wo l v e s S e n i o r Hockey club scores a goal as his compatriots soar around the ice at Cicero Twin Rinks. Not bad for a bunch of retirees. “We’re just a group of guys that enjoy the game,” says Mike McFadden, the 68-year-old president of the Gray Wolves. “It’s a young man’s game, but we still keep trying to keep up with it.”


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Formed in 1990, the club gives older ice hockey players the chance to skate past the advancing years and enjoy the sport they love. The average member is at least 65 years old, and one who is still taking slap shots was born in 1923, just five years after the end of World War I. The Gray Wolves club even has its own “ringer.” Brian Elwell, a Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer and former member of the

Eastern Hockey League’s Syracuse Blazers, still takes to the ice for the club at the age of 73. Despite all those years, the desire for competition has stayed sharp in the club. The Gray Wolves regularly takes on other hockey clubs for seniors with names like “Gerihatricks” and “Olde Crabs.” Competitions pit teams head to head in three classes — those for players who are 50, 60 or 70 years old or older. In October, one of the club’s 50-and-older teams won their division at the Olde Crabs Senior Invitational Ice Hockey Tournament in Danbury, Conn. In addition to heading out of town to tournaments, the club hosts its own. This past April, the Gray Wolves Senior Hockey Invitational drew 22 teams, some of them from as far away as Pennsylvania, New England and Montreal. Club members gather to practice their moves and socialize at Cicero Twin Rinks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Players shout encouragement or lighthearted trash-talk to their compatriots from the benches while awaiting their chance to practice. The gate to the ice slams open and closed as they head out to play for a few minutes, come in for a break, and then charge onto the ice again. Some in the club have long histories in the game. Marshall Webster, one of the original Gray Wolves, began skating at about the age of 10, in the midst of the Depression. In the depths of winter, he would head out onto what he calls “Onondaga Crick.” “You skate about a half a mile up the crick, and it widened out at one point big enough so you could play a little game,” the 93-year-

Some of the players at Gray Wolves include Stephanie Frost, top left, and Dick “D.D.” Lynch. Second row from left are Bob Mieuttunen and Mike McFadden. Marshall Webster, one of the original Gray Wolves, began skating at about the age of 10, in the midst of the Depression. At 93, the Syracuse resident still enjoys playing hockey. His team practices every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Cicero Twin Rinks in Cicero.

old Syracuse resident says. After a stint in the Army during WWII, Webster returned to spend a year coaching ice hockey for a Syracuse high school. There, he met Dick “D.D.” Lynch. “Marsh was my coach my senior year,” says Lynch, who calls Jack’s Reef, a hamlet in the town of Van Buren, home. The pair went on to play for the Syracuse Rockets, a local amateur hockey club. In 1990, they joined other hockey-loving seniors to form the Gray Wolves. Though Lynch has had two knees and one hip replaced, the 89-year-old retired carpenter still picks up his hockey stick when others his age drop into their rocking chairs. “A lot of people say, ‘You’re going to get hurt,’” Lynch explains. “I say, ‘I can get hurt walking off the curb.’” One Gray Wolf indirectly gained her love of the game. About 20 years ago, Stephanie Frost set out to help her son learn ice hockey. Though she knew little about it, she soon warmed to the sport. “I started playing pickup with

some younger guys — that allowed me to come in and make a fool of myself,” the 62-year-old Pennellville resident says. “I’d skate and I’d fall and skate and fall.” Frost joined the Gray Wolves one year later. Though she seems at home on the ice, it took a lot of work to get that way. “It’s a hard sport,” she explains. “You have to be able to play and skate and handle the puck, which can be rather difficult,” she says, laughing. Moreover, the sport has the added benefit of being low-impact, unlike running and the other activities in which she used to participate. Even after undergoing a knee replacement, Frost has been able to continue playing defense on her team. “It’s something that gets in your blood,” she says. Frost and the other Gray Wolves play with passion, testing each others’ skills, but it’s all in the spirit of camaraderie. “Some of these guys take it seriously,” Lynch says. “I used to, but not now.”

Though Bob Mieuttunen drives all the way to Cicero from Avon, 30 minutes south of Rochester, to practice, he doesn’t need to send one into the net to make the trip worthwhile. “I like to make a good pass,” says the 75-year-old defenseman. “I don’t care whether I’m scoring or not.” After practice is over, the Gray Wolves gather in the rink’s coffee shop for conversation and steaming cups of java. While the players — particularly the older ones — savor that time, they recognize that the years are taking their toll. When the weather turns cold, Webster heads to a little rink in the Valley. “I’ll go down there just to put skates on — just to see how it feels to skate around,” he says. “If I feel right, then I’ll come out here and start playing.” Lynch, who was born the year the Ziegfeld Theater opened in New York City — he is 89 — is asked when he plans to give up the sport. He jokes that he’s not in charge of such decisions. “My doctor’s the one,” Lynch says. “He says to me, ‘Don’t quit.’” February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




Q&A with

David Rubin By Mary Beth Roach

Former dean at S.I. Newhouse of Public Communications and TV show host recently moved to South Carolina. He talks about his career, how to improve Syracuse, the role of the media during the Trump administration and what he plans for retirement


s 2016 came to an end, Dean Emeritus David Rubin, 71, concluded his career in education that spanned more than four decades. He and his wife, Tina Press, have relocated to Summerville, S.C. Rubin has been known to the Syracuse community as dean of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse of Public Communications from 1990 to 2008; a faculty member at Newhouse after his tenure as dean, the host of a local public affairs television program — The Ivory Tower — which he began in 2002, and a columnist with The Post-Standard. Prior to his arrival in Syracuse, Rubin had been on the faculty at New York University since 1971. Shortly after his move in December, Rubin took the time to share his thoughts on his tenure as dean and television host, the Syracuse community, and the future of the media, especially in covering the Trump administration. Q: You were dean of Newhouse from July 1990 to June 2008. What do you think is your greatest


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accomplishment? A: I think what I’m happiest about is having taken the Newhouse School at a point in 1990, when it lacked a strong infrastructure and was not focused as much as we would have liked on the students, and I left the school with a very, very strong infrastructure and a faculty and staff wholly committed to student welfare and the classroom experience. As a result, our students have been very successful in the job market. And I believe they know that the staff and the faculty care very much about their welfare. And we give them a good education. That, to me, is what a university should do. It’s what very few universities do. And the fact that I was able to build that culture between 1990 and 2008 and then hand it off to Lorraine Branham, who’s continued that culture. That’s really the strength of the Newhouse School. In addition to that, we’ve made it a first-rate physical plant, with Newhouse 3, changes to Newhouse 1, Dean Branham added on major changes to Newhouse 2, so that now the students are learning in a physical plant which is far better than anything else in the United States.

I’m proud of that too. Putting the two together is what really produces students’ success and helps us recruit good students and good faculty. Q: What prompted you in 2008 to step down as dean? A: I’d been dean for 18 years. At that point, I think I was tied with the dean of the University of Missouri for the longest-serving communications dean in the United States. I had served far longer than any of the other current deans then at SU and it’s highly unusual for deans to go on so long. Number 1, I was getting tired of the paperwork and the demands from central administration. But mainly, I felt that 18 years was long enough. I waited until we finished and dedicated Newhouse 3 and we were in it for a year which was 2007-2008. Then I thought that was the right time to step down and get some new leadership. And then I took a year off and then I came back to the faculty and taught full time. Q: Is that uncommon — for deans to rejoin the faculty?

Yes and no. I taught every semester — 36 semesters that I had taught as a dean, and I had taught well over 100 students each semester, so I hadn’t lost at all my ability to teach, so therefore, in rejoining the faculty, that was not really a problem. Second, you have to have a good relationship with the rest of the faculty if you’re going to join the faculty. Deans who don’t teach, deans who are basically full-time administrators, they often don’t have that relationship with the faculty. That was not a problem for me because since day 1 I’ve viewed myself as first, a teaching member of the faculty and, second, the person who had been chosen to lead the faculty for a period of time. So, I don’t believe that the faculty, not only were they not surprised that I stayed and joined the faculty, I believe they were very happy that I did because I’m a pretty good teacher. Q: What was it about Syracuse and Newhouse that appealed to you to make you leave the faculty at NYU? A: I had been at NYU for 19 years. When we were being recruited in 19891990 by the then-provost Gershon Vincow to come and be the dean, New York City was not a very nice place to live. The city was dangerous, the city was dirty, the city was in financial trouble. We lived in an NYU apartment, but we had a small house Upstate — in Highland — and we were spending a lot of time at that house, and so we weren’t using New York and its cultural treasures as much as we should have been. If you’re going to put up with New York, you might as well use it. So, when Syracuse came knocking, my wife and I said to each other, ‘you know we’re not really very happy here in New York anymore. The city is not in good shape. And there’s another way to live. We’ve done our New York thing for 19 years. Let’s see what it’s like to live in a much different environment.’ And so we came. Q: When did you start Ivory Tower television program? A: Ivory Tower went on the air in September of 2002, so it’s now been on the air for about 14 years and three months. Q: What made you start, in the

‘I got involved in the cultural community as a member of boards, giving money, advice, writing about the arts because I love the arts and because I believe Syracuse needs the arts in order to survive.’

midst of running Newhouse, what was the impetus for creating that show? A: The impetus came from Michael Fields, who, at the time, was the general manager of the station. Michael had been recruited by the board to replace Dick Russell. Michael discovered that WCNY was doing almost no local programming and that surprised him. And he wanted to do it. I met Michael at a brunch. We got to talking. We both had New York City ties. We got along. We’re the same sort Type A person. Michael asked me whether I had ever done television, and I said no. I had helped to produce television in New York City and I had done radio, but I’d never been on the air for television. And he said would you be interested in giving it a try because. He wanted to start a number of local shows pretty much on the cheap and see what might work. There was going to be a show focusing on religion in the community, arts issues in the community and I think racial issues. And he wanted a show dealing with public affairs. So he asked me if I’d be interested in doing it and I said I thought I’d give it a try because one, I thought it’d be good for the visibility of the Newhouse School, and two, because Syracuse needs all of the public affairs programming and general public affairs discussion in the media it can get because it’s a community that does not talk well to itself, which is one of the reasons I left. Michael said great, and I went out with one of my assistants at Newhouse, Lynn Vanderhoek, we auditioned and recruited a number of panelists.

Goodbye Syracuse, hello South Carolina We’ve asked former S.U. Newhouse School dean why he moved to South Carolina. His reply: “We had spent parts of eight winters on the Isle of Palms outside Charleston. I think it is obvious why we chose to get away for part of a Syracuse winter. We liked the beach on the Isle of Palms and we liked Charleston, which is about 30 minutes away. Charleston has a lively cultural scene. All of that appealed to us, which is why we moved within a 40-minute drive of Charleston. We never cared for Florida, and North Carolina is not far south enough. The taxes [In South Carolina] are low.” February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


We came up with the idea of having a regular panel of Central New York academicians. I came up with the name, I came up the idea of giving A’s and F’s at the end of each show. I came up with the theme song, which is the “Boys from Syracuse.” And we went on the air, debuted at 11 p.m. on Friday night. Not your best time slot, but it caught on pretty quickly, and Michael moved the show to 8 p.m. Fridays, which is a good time slot, right before McLaughlin. The other shows that he started rather soon went away because for those shows to work you have to have both a moderator and a panel and understand television that create that atmosphere that people let you into their home via the television set. We had to understand this is not an academic show aimed at an academic audience. I got lucky. I got a panel of people who get that and have become television stars in the community. They are all well-recognized as the Ivory Tower group. I continued doing it for the past 14 ½ years. I did it because it was a. a lot of fun; b. because we got to say some very blunt things on television, which you simply do not hear on the commercial stations, and we had a chance to move the needle in town on local issues and statewide issues. But it was a lot of fun, and I’m going to miss it. Q: Back to your tenure as dean. You were dean from 1990 to 2008 — years that saw a lot of changes in the media. What do you see as some of the major changes in media? What are you most optimistic about with these changes? What concerns you most about these changes as we head into the future? A: I’m highly pessimistic. I’m frightened. You can trace it all to two things. One is the disruption created by the digital environment, and how this has affected the business model for newspapers, for serious public affairs magazines, and for the way in which television news goes about its business, and the impact of its business model also in relation to the economic collapse in 2008 tied to the mortgage crisis. This was a perfect storm. The two of them coming together and they decimated the business models for serious journalism. It’s had an effect in Syracuse and all around the 24

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country with daily newspapers and cutbacks in the newsroom, cutbacks in investigative reporting, cutbacks in staffing in the beat system. It’s had an effect even up to the New York Times, which has had cuts. Everybody is still struggling with how to deal with the movement of information off the printed page and online and how to pay for that, and how to get advertising to support, how to get people to subscribe to it online. So we’re in the middle of this revolution. The industry is economically shaky, and this comes at a time when we have a president-elect who cares little and knows nothing about First Amendment freedom and the importance of media in a democracy. If ever there was an administration that’s going to require very close reportage it is the Trump Administration, and he’s coming in at a time when the press doesn’t have the resources I wish it had to do that. So I’m very worried about what he means for the future of the free press of the United States, and therefore the future of democracy, since there is no such thing as democracy without a free and vigorous press. Q: You’re a Cleveland, Ohio, native, but you immersed yourself in the Syracuse community over the past 25 years or so. You were involved in the local arts community. What motivated you to become so involved in the local community? A: I really had two levels of involvement. One was in the arts community because I think if Syracuse is ever going to pull itself out of the doldrums, it has to attract more people. We don’t have enough people in Syracuse. And we don’t have enough people because people don’t want to move there. There’s a lot of reasons they don’t want to move there and one of them is that there isn’t enough to do. If you don’t have a strong cultural presence, and by that I mean, museums, music and dance and everything else, you’re not going to get people moving there. And if that happens, businesses are not going to want to set up there, there isn’t a good pool of people to hire and the whole area will remain stagnant. And what we will become — and this is a phrase I’ve used before — Amsterdam, New York with the Carrier Dome. And

there’s no future in that for Syracuse University. The university itself has to have a vibrant community around it, or students won’t want to come there. To her credit, [former S.U. president] Nancy Cantor recognized this, and her major achievement was town-gown relationships, attempting to use the university’s resources to promote the city. She went about it in a way I would not have gone about it, but I think her instinct there was right. So I got involved in the cultural community as a member of boards, giving money, advice, writing about the arts because I love the arts and because I believe Syracuse needs the arts in order to survive. On the political front, I used my column at The Post-Standard for lots of different things, but one of them was writing about a lot of local issues because the community doesn’t talk to itself very well and it doesn’t want to face the reality of why things don’t get done in Syracuse. And they don’t. The city changed remarkably little in the 26 years that I lived there. And I felt that the platform that The Post-Standard graciously gave me as a community columnist, I was going to try to, quote the phrase, “print the news and raise hell” and point out where I thought local leaders, Albany leaders were holding the city back, in hopes of sparking a community conversation and creating change. And I did that for two reasons: I live in Syracuse; I wanted to live in a city that was a better city than it is, and I recognized that the Newhouse school won’t be strong if the city around it is crumbling, so I got involved. That’s what citizens should do. Q: With the past election being what it was, what do you think the media’s responsibilities are for the future? A: I don’t think the responsibilities are any different than for any other administration. And that is to hold them accountable; to provide a marketplace of ideas about what the administration is achieving and not achieving; follow up on the promises that have been made; to make sure that what Trump says are his accomplishments are, in fact, accomplishments or whether he’s bending the truth as he wont to do; to follow very closely what’s

happening in the various cabinet departments, where there will be a lot of changes. I think it’s probably wise to not pour your resources into covering the White House. I think that’s going to be a complete waste of time given the people that Trump has appointed to speak to the media. I think it would be much wiser to just let him communicate as he prefers to on Twitter and really put your resources into what’s actually happening in the Defense, in Health and Human Services, in Housing and Urban Development and so on. So we see what he really is doing on the health care front, on the military front and so on. If I were an editor, that’s where I would put my scarce resources, rather than having 30-40-50-60 people or more all covering the White House because I don’t think you’re going to get squat out of this White House. Q: What are your retirement plans? A: Well, I’m thinking of a number of things. One possibility would be to go back to doing something I did at NYU. I volunteered to work with the American Civil Liberties Union in New York and I was quite involved on their communications media committee that helped set policy for the union on First Amendment issues. I may look into helping the South Carolina chapter of the ACLU, particularly if the Trump Administration makes any kinds of moves that would diminish the civil liberties that our Founding Fathers created for us. There is a weekly paper that serves Summerville, and if there’s a possibility of writing for them, I might do that. I’m going to check and see if there’s an equivalent here to OASIS in Syracuse. I would like to teach my First Amendment law course, freedom of speech and press, to an adult audience. And then finally, WCNY has a new chief operating officer, Chris Geiger. Chris and have talked about an expansion of the WCNY website to become a much more important news and commentary portal in Syracuse. If that happens, I said to Chris that I would be happy to continue contributing in some way, so, that while I have physically left the area, I won’t have mentally or journalistically left the area. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


memories The Professor of Prose 55+

Marvin Druger reveals his creative side after career of teaching science By Lou Sorendo


arvin Druger simply can’t squeeze enough out of life. Druger is a professor emeritus of biology and science education at Syracuse University. To say he is a highly recognizable face on campus is an understatement being that he taught well over 40,000 students in his colorful career. He mostly taught introductory biology courses at SU. Now retired, Druger will turn 83 on Feb. 21, but you wouldn’t know it by his sharp mental acuity and quick wit. The Brooklyn native resides on Ramsey Avenue in Syracuse. Despite undergoing triple bypass surgery five years ago and breaking an ankle last year, Druger keeps on moving forward at age-defying speed. Over the last several years, he has written seven books. The majority of them are illustrated children’s books, although many of his writings and poems have universal appeal. His newest work, “Climbing the Hill Until You Are Over the Hill,” is a collection of “Druger’s Zoo” articles featured in 55 Plus magazine. “People seem to like reading my articles, so I decided that a compilation of the articles would make a book that readers would enjoy,” he said. There are 51 articles, including 11 yet-to-be published columns. The often humorous columns are based upon true, personal experiences. John Norton, a former student in Druger’s general biology course many years ago and now professional 26

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cartoonist, created the cover. Druger once approached Norton in class and asked why he wasn’t taking notes. “I’m drawing pictures of you,” he replied. I said, “That’s great. Can I use the caricature as my logo?” Norton granted permission, and the caricature appears on the cover of his new book as a stick figure vigorously climbing the hill of life. Then, the figure reaches the summit before going downhill. The stick figure descending the hill of life is bent over and has a cane, but remains smiling. “The cover reflects what life is all about. Each of us climbs the hill of life, reaches a summit, and then goes downhill, but can still maintain a smile,” he said. “Life is teaching, learning, love and laughter,” he said. Druger said it is difficult to say which is his favorite book. “I like them all. They all are unique and present perspectives on life and have positive messages to convey to readers,” he said. If pressed to choose, however, Druger said he would choose “The Diary of Love.” The diary was written when he was a graduate student at Columbia University. “It reflects my love for my late wife Pat, who died in 2014. It is about intense love that everyone can experience,” he said. “The book will bring tears to reader’s eyes.” The book conveys the depth of

human feelings, and Druger views it as a memorial to his late wife. Pat’s legacy remains intact at the Patricia Meyers Druger Astronomy Learning Center in the Holden Observatory at SU. ‘Talking on paper’ “I usually do a lot of talking, and writing is just another way of expressing myself,” Druger said. “It’s like talking on paper.” He regularly writes radio scripts for his radio program — “Science on the Radio” — on WAER-FM88.3. As a columnist for 55 Plus magazine for many years, Druger is in the habit of writing as a regular part of his life. “When an idea comes to mind, I am fortunate enough to be able to

to reflect on their own life experiences and recognize the importance of living a full life and appreciating the humor in life situations.” He said. “There is humor in everything, even death.” Druger, known for his gift of gab, said the last words his wife spoke to him were, “Marvin, shut up.” After his wife died, Druger told many people about all she did for him that he now had to do for himself. “I complained about the difficulty of taking care of myself and I lamented, ‘It’s the first time my wife ever died.’ I want people to read my books and laugh, or at least smile. If we didn’t laugh at things in life, we’d spend all of our time crying,” he said. When his wife died, Druger had to learn a lot. “It was very difficult. I always came up with the ideas and Pat would do the work, but I would get the credit.”

write about it fairly quickly. The various books are simply my way of expressing my thoughts on paper,” he said. “It’s like writing a letter to the world.” Druger said he has a lifetime of “rich and varied” experiences that he uses as themes, and has traveled extensively around the world gathering valuable memories and lessons. “My underlying motivation for writing is to express perspectives on life that can enrich the lives of readers and make them reflect on their own

life experiences,” he said. “I guess my genre is to reach out to people with humorous, moral teachings.” Druger said motivations for each book are different. “For example, I was reading a children’s book to my granddaughter. It was terrible,” he said. “I told myself, ‘I can do better than this.’ So, that episode provided me with the motivation to write children’s books.” Druger and his wife have three children and seven grandchildren. “I want readers to be stimulated

Setting goals the key Druger said he keeps in mind a lesson taught to him by Story Musgrave, a former astronaut who fixed the Hubble telescope on a spacewalk. He did six space missions, and earned six academic degrees, including a degree in mathematics from SU. “I asked him, ‘How can you get so much accomplished?’ He replied, ‘I set my goals and I get the job done.’ That’s the motto I’ve adopted that helps me write the books. I try to ‘get the job done’.” Druger sells his books through the SU Bookstore, his son Robert’s ophthalmology office (Druger Eye Care in Camillus) and out of the trunk of his car. Druger said he has no idea what book he will write next. “I’ll let life flow and see what ideas happen to come along. Since I’m not writing books to make a living, I have no pressure to write another book immediately,” he said. Druger plans to continue writing his column for 55 Plus magazine and presenting his radio program. He also directs a Saturday science enrichment program for high school students, and organizes a lecture series — “Frontiers of Medical Sciences” — with his son for students interested in a medical career. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


Druger also conducts SU campus tours for staff and students. Druger also works out at Metro Fitness in DeWitt, where he participates in an active older adults class. He characterizes himself as the “loud mouth” at the club and is quite vocal. “One day, I said I had a bad cold today and can’t talk, and that’s bad. Some guy in the back yells, ‘That’s not bad for the rest of us’.” “Another time I said, ‘Boy, this exercise is tough. You have to put your head on the floor and your rear on the floor. Someone yells out, ‘Do

you know the difference?’” “Once there was a lady sitting with her head in her hands and I asked, do you have a headache? She said, ‘I didn’t until I saw you coming’.” Druger said he does have a number of non-book writing activities in mind. He is thinking of developing a self-guided tour of the SU campus, and developing a radio series on relationships for WAER. “Someone suggested that I produce a book with all of the radio scripts that I’ve presented over

many years on WAER,” Druger said. “Someone also suggested that I consider writing a novel. So, there’s plenty still left to do. I’m not sure what’s next.” He graduated as a valedictorian at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn in 1951. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and science education at Brooklyn College in 1955. Druger earned his master’s degree in zoology (genetics) at Columbia University in 1957. He went on to earn his doctorate in zoology (genetics) at Columbia University in 1961.

The Books of Marvin Druger: • “Strange Creatures and Other Poems” (2004) – self-published; Druger’s look at everyday experiences in a new way • Teaching Tips: Innovations in Undergraduate Science Instruction) (co-editor) (2004) – NSTA Press • Practical Perspectives on Science Education (2010) – American Society of Agronomy • “The Misadventures of Marvin” (2010) – Syracuse University Press; in his many years of teaching biology and marriage to his wife Pat, Professor Marvin Druger’s experiences have been shaped by his energy, quick wit, and tireless sense of adventure.

• “Even Stranger Creatures and Other Poems” (2013) – self-published; this book is the sequel to “Strange Creatures and Other Poems.” This book also contains poems about various aspects of life. • “Mr. Moocho and the Lucky Chicken” (2013) – self-published; this is a children’s story with illustrations by Roberta L. Wackett. • “Mr. Money and the Lucky Chicken” (2016) - self-published; this is an illustrated tale about a wealthy, greedy old man who is transformed into a philanthropist by his new wife and a lucky chicken.

• “Marvin, Enough Already” (2016) - self-published • Diary of Love (2016) – self-published; the book conveys the depth of human feelings, and Druger views it as a memorial to his late wife Pat. • “Climbing the Hill Until You Are Over the Hill” (2016) – self-published; a collection of “Druger’s Zoo” articles from 55 Plus magazine.

All the books are available directly from the author, who can be contacted by Email: ( Telephone (315-446-4543) or at Syracuse University bookstore on the S.U. campus or 315-443-9900. 28

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my turn

By Bruce Frassinelli Email:

Growing Up in a Small Town ‘Along with my parents, the caring people of my hometown helped form me into who I am today’ By Bruce Frassinelli


e seniors are constantly admonished not to live in the past. I agree, but I also believe it is fine to visit there from time to time. I was reminded of that again when I recently was guest speaker at my hometown’s historical society where I recounted some of my antics as a boy and teenager. What struck me were the smiles on the faces of many of my contemporaries in the audience who were vicariously living their childhoods through my experiences. I grew up in a small, coal-mining community in northeastern Pennsylvania. When I was a kid, the coal mines were petering out, and most of the miners had to find other jobs outside of the area or move to communities with more robust economies. It was pretty much of a foregone conclusion that unless I took over our family’s mom-andpop grocery store that I was going to make a career somewhere else. I wanted to be a French teacher and enrolled at a state teachers college about 40 miles away. When I graduated, I taught high school for a little more than two years, then went into radio and, finally, newspaper work. Although my jobs took me to a number of localities, I never forgot my hometown. What emerged as a final product had its molding origins there. First, I was blessed with parents who taught me the important values of life. They were immigrant Italians and came to the United States with virtually nothing 30

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Although my jobs took me to a number of localities, I never forgot my hometown. to find a new life where they could raise their children and succeed through hard work and enterprise. They taught me the value of being polite, kind, courteous, grateful and to repay my community for the opportunity it had given me to be successful. These were also the hallmarks of working in a small grocery store where the customer was always right. My friends’ parents taught me the graciousness of hospitality, something we were keen on, too. Anyone coming to our home was greeted with enthusiasm and given food and drink practically before they had their coats off. This was the reception we received when we visited friends’ homes, too. When I walked the streets of my hometown, I greeted everyone with an enthusiastic “Hiya,” and they returned the greeting. If I encountered more than a passing acquaintance, it is likely I would stop to chat. When I went to the local bank to make deposits for my parents, a two-block trip, it would sometimes take me an hour because of the number of conversations I had on the street or on someone’s front stoop. My mother always said she had thousands of eyes around the

community, meaning that other parents had my back just as she was looking out for my friends. God forbid, though, if I did something unacceptable, she would sometimes know about it and confront me with the grim details of the infraction as I walked in the door. At the time, this seemed oh-so-smalltownish, but as I look back on it today, I realize it was done in the name of love and caring. There were so many kind people who crisscrossed my life and had an impact on me. Several of my teachers were major influences. One appointed me to be the editor of the Junior High Chat, a monthly newspaper. This was the beginning of a lifelong fascination and love affair with journalism. My high school French teacher inspired me to major in French and to become a high school teacher, just like her. I was devastated when her tour bus crashed, and she was killed while on vacation in Switzerland. Along with my parents, the caring people of my hometown helped form me into who I am today. They gave me the grounding on the important things of life; they were there to knock me down a peg or two when I got a little too full of myself, but, above all, they formed a valuable support system. If I stumbled, they were there to help me get to my feet and encourage me to try again. I always remember the words of encouragement from my algebra teacher; “Reach for the stars, Bruce,” she would say. “Even if you miss, you are sure to pick up some star dust along the way.” I will be eternally grateful that I lived in such a community during my formative years, and I have always looked upon my hometown with the utmost respect and affection. My brother and his family and my niece and her family still live in my hometown, so I visit regularly. Regardless of how many times I do, when I reach the town limits I get a smile on my face and a lump in my throat, because I feel as if I am home again, just for a little while.

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February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




Power Couples Two political and civic-minded couples are making a big impact in Central New York By Marilyn Pinsky


Two Presidents, One House

t seems as if Linda BrownRobinson, president of the NAACP, and Van Robinson, president of the Syracuse Common Council, have been here forever. But it was in 1968 when they were both working in New York City, that Van was asked by his employer, a healthcare company now known as EmblemHealth, to open a Syracuse office serving much of Upstate New York. They figured it would be a short stint and then back to the city, but Central New York got into their blood. Van’s community involvement started when the local chapter of the NAACP re-chartered and he joined the organization. His participation on the political action committee and his work with the city and county on issues of diversity led Mayor Lee Alexander to appoint him to the Board of Zoning Appeals. In 2000 Matt Driscoll, then president of the council, asked him to 32

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apply for a vacant common council seat, a body where he has now served for 18 years. Van is a life-long champion of civil rights, worker’s rights, gender rights and education in safe, modern schools and a vocal advocate for socially and environmentally correct economic development. A Navy veteran, he is a member of the American Legion and is currently on the board of advisers to the Elmcrest Children’s Center, a former board member of Hope for the Bereaved, Kidney Foundation, Southeast Gateway Corp. and American Red Cross. Professionally he has served as chief shop steward and member of OPEIU (Office and Professional Employees International Union) Local 150, and as the Upstate Director for NYS NAACP and the local president. It has been16 years since Van

began advocating for taking down I-81 through the city. “My hope is that 50 years from now people will say ‘this time they got it right.’” His position is to have a community grid on the street level and reconfigure streets so that there will be more through traffic and a less intrusive means of accessing the north side. Linda’s career took her from General Motors, to the city of Syracuse, working in both the city clerk’s office and the purchasing department. “My parents taught me the meaning of hard work, core values and the importance of always voting,” she said. “My parents worked hard and saved their money to move out of a housing project in the Bronx and purchase a home in Westchester. I voted at age 21 and, proudly, at age 70, I can say that I’ve never missed a vote.” For 40 years Linda has been a dedicated volunteer, working on political campaigns and working with myriad community groups. However,

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her real passion is young people. She directed the NAACP’s ACT-SO youth academic program for 20 years, a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. “After 40 years of planning events for the community, I took those skills and started a business that I named ‘In the Event Of ….’ providing services to political, social, corporate, not-forprofits and academia. I’ve just added a concierge service for shopping, cooking, pickup and delivery.” And, of course, this year she is the new president of the Onondaga County NAACP. Both Linda and Van read to school children on a regular basis. They are also city ward committee people and members of COBED, the Council of Black Elected Democrats. Another shared passion is pets. They have always had dogs and cats and continue to take in stray cats. When the Robinsons can coordinate their calendars, they enjoy a variety of things. “We enjoy cooking, traveling — both domestically and abroad — or just spending time doing ‘nothing,’” said Linda. Their travels have taken them to five continents, with only Africa and Antarctica left to see. They recently visited Turkey and there are only three or four states in the U.S. they haven’t seen. They have motored across the country by car, camped out in tents, “and we didn’t kill each other.” They have been on 14 cruises, and love keeping in touch with the people they meet. On a personal note, as a prostate cancer survivor, Van has spoken to many men about the importance of regular examinations for early detection. In Linda’s spare time, she enjoys dining, shopping and spa sessions with her lady friends. And she is not shy about sharing the fact she is a “shoe person.” Linda own more than 300 pairs of shoes. She also models part-time for AMS Models and Talent, Inc., a local modeling agency.


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Local and Global Issues Drive This Couple

hea and Rabbi Daniel Jezer’s work stems from a strong Judaic background that teaches the importance to preserve and improve the world. Though involved in very different spheres, global, state and local, they are each other’s sounding board and nothing of consequence is written without passing each other for review. Their core interest is in improving community and they see politics as one way to make that happen. As a team, they support each other’s work that includes the environment, religion, unions and education. As a professional musician, harpsichordist and choral conductor, how did Rhea become the head of a major energy conference and have a picture taken that went viral around the world? Soon after arriving in Syracuse, Rhea got involved in politics. “I was a committee person and then became chair of the town of Dewitt Democratic Party. When my youngest child left for college, I went to S.U. for my Ph.D. and then to Washington for a year on a congressional fellowship. When I returned to Syracuse, the Democratic Party asked me to run for Congress and I almost won.” She ran a second time and lost again having gotten caught in the Gingrich sweep. She was elected chairwoman of the 42,000 member Atlantic Region Sierra Club and to the board of the NY League of Conservation Voters. She was appointed to several major committees by Gov. Pataki, including chairing the CNY effort to pass the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and legislation dealing with superfund and brownfields. Rhea was environmental adviser to then Sen. Hillary Clinton for nine years and was on her advisory committee for president. She works closely with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as well as with Gov. Cuomo on environmental issues. Both Jezers were invited to join Hillary at the Javitz Center on election night in the VIP section to await the results. A picture of Rhea, taken that

night when it became clear that Hillary Clinton had lost, went viral and has appeared in newspapers around the world. “I first met Hillary in 1991. We both had long hair and bonded over teenage daughter talk. This was the start of a long friendship and Hilary even came to Danny’s retirement party. We were invited to the last dinner at the White House before the president left and we had VIP tickets to the convention in which Hilary was nominated.” Rhea was a senior lecturer of environmental politics and policy at Cazenovia College when, in 2004, she was asked to present the Symposium on Energy in the 21st Century. The event was so successful that now, in its 13th year, it is considered the most important energy conference in the Northeast, attracting national speakers and 400 attendees. She has also been an adjunct associate professor at SUNY ESF for several years. Rabbi Daniel Jezer has spent the majority of his career as a rabbi in Syracuse. “I had a strong concern that each individual congregant, no matter where they were on the religious spectrum, be made to feel included and that I was there to help them find their own growth.” He has long been engaged in interfaith work and also in politics. “I was involved with the Riverside Reform Democrats as well as interfaith work at the Jewish Theological Seminary and with Union Theological Seminary students. I have always felt that legislators are the practical theologians in our society, as it is in the budget where our values are seen. For instance, is your world view that people are basically good or evil? That view is reflected in the programs funded; do you vote to spend money for prisons or on rehabilitation?” “I feel strongly that interfaith efforts are all part of this. Jewish values need to be integrated into society. I have close relationships with clergy of different religions and we are all attempting to find the best way for

Rhea and Rabbi Daniel Jezer with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The couple is very close to Hillary.

humanity to live in this world. We may have different specifics as to how we go about it but the underlying value is the same for most.” Rabbi Jezer is one of the founding members of the local Labor-Religion Coalition whose major issues are a living wage, worker rights and healthcare. He was president of Interfaith Works, is an emeritus member of the Roundtable of Faith Leaders and past president of Onondaga Pastoral Counseling. For 27 years he has been on the

faculty of LeMoyne College. He was involved in the formation of the adjunct union and was its president for eight years. “Union activities are reforming how adjunct professors at colleges are treated. Schools look at adjuncts as ‘profit centers’ and it is awful that someone with a Ph.D. has to teach six courses to put food on the table.” Each of the Jezers has been recognized in CNY by many awards including the Post-Standard Person

of Achievement and Interfaith Works Award. Daniel received the Bebe Merenti Award from LeMoyne College, and Rhea, the Greening USA Advocacy Award, NAACP Humanitarian and NOW “Women of Power” Award. T h e y a re a l s o a d v e n t u ro u s travelers and chroniclers of the world around us, their most recent trip being to SE Asia.

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Queen of Butter Sculpture

Sharon BuMann had many of her butter sculptures on display at the NYS Fair. She is now writing a book about her work with butter By Matthew Liptak


haron BuMann’s work life is worthy of a sculpture itself. The 63-year-old Pennellville resident has created iconic local sculptures like the bas-relief “Jerry Rescue” in Syracuse’s Clinton Square. She also took to the national stage when she did a butter sculpture of talk show host “Dr. Oz” for one of his programs. Last year, she was honored by WCNY, the public broadcasting station, with its “Women who Make America” award. The prolific artist got her start with visual arts at a young age. “At age 12, I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a professional artist,” she said. “They sort of patted me on the head and 36

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said ‘Oh, that’s nice honey.’ I told my paternal grandmother that’s what I wanted to do, and she said ‘Well, honey do you have a sketchbook and pencils?’ and I said ‘No.’ She said, ‘We’ll get you one. Come with me.’” She went to her little private stash of cash. We walked up to the drug store. I came home with a sketchpad and a Mead eraser and two pencils. That’s the closest thing I can relate of a beginning.” BuMann enjoyed sketching and painting, but she always felt like there was something missing. She wanted to see her creations from the other side. Then she discovered sculpture. It was like love at first sight, she said. “I could pick it up and turn it

around and look at it from the top and bottom and lay on the floor and all those wonderful things that you can’t do in two dimensions,” she said. “Three-dimension became my passion.” She took a sculpture class run by Jill Webber at The Old School House in North Syracuse. Bumann said discovering sculpting was like finding her Mecca. Within a year, she was doing a one-man show of her own. BuMann has sculpted professionally since 1976. She has preferred working large — either in bronze or butter. She likes bronze, she said, because of its longevity. And for the last two decades, before finally retiring from them, butter sculptures

had kept her employed at state fairs around the country, including the New York State Fair. She did the New York State Fair’s butter sculpture from 1996 to 2002. She also has done a butter sculpture of “Big Tex,” the legendary cowboy statue that greets state fair-goers in Texas. BuMann has done over 70 butter sculptures in her career. That work includes many adventures along the way that she plans to document in an upcoming book. She has documented every significant sculpture she’s done through photographs. Butter sculptures are ephemeral, being reprocessed after viewed by the public. The sculptor said she usually took between a week to 10 days to do each butter sculpture. That’s up to 150 hours of work. They’re there for a while and then they’re gone. Sharing her talent Although BuMann has done many wonderful sculptures over the years, she has few she calls her own. The business of sculpting requires her to give up her treasures to those she has contracted with. She said contracts for butter sculptures alone have usually gone into the thousands of dollars. “I take a lot of photographs,” she said. “Strangely I have very few of my own pieces left. I keep selling them or giving them away.” An artist’s life can be a struggle, but Bumann’s has been successful. She raised a son and daughter, George and Amy, around her studio. Her husband George died in 2005. To honor his father, her son made a sculpture and presented it to him in the hospital. “All the doctors thought it was marvelous,” she recalled. The older George had a lasting legacy on his children. His daughter Amy went into nursing when her father fell ill. Today, the younger George is a talented sculptor in his own right near Yellowstone National Park. He showed moxie getting into the business, his mother recalled. “He said to me, ‘You know mom, I went to the local foundry and said, ‘I’m a new sculptor in town,’” Sharon BuMann said. “Can you walk me through and show me what you have?’

“The funny thing was he knew all the lingo. He knew everything like he’d been doing it his whole life, but he’d been involved with it. I laughed. I asked, ‘Did you tell them you’re a new sculptor period?’ He said ‘No.’” BuMann practically bursts with pride when she speaks of her nowgrown kids and five grandchildren. She has another legacy that is continuing to grow — her sculptures. Along with her book, BuMann is planning more sculptures for the future. Ever the life-long learner, the sculptor says she is going to try to go small with some of her future work. She hopes to make porcelain miniatures of all the larger-than-life butter sculptures she has created over the past 20 years. It’s is just the latest avenue in a journey that has taken BuMann through the creation of a unique body of work. Looking back, the sculptor has some simple advice for anyone who wants to take up the artist’s life. “I would say follow your dreams and the rest will take care of itself,” she said.

Sculptor Sharon BuMann shows a clay model of a lacrosse sculpture she was doing at her studio in Pennellville a few months ago. She is the sculptor of the bas-relief “Jerry Rescue” in Syracuse’s Clinton Square. For many years, she also did the butter sculpture that was displayed at NYS Fair.

BuMann is hoping to make a larger than life version of this model of Harriet Tubman she has created. The sculptor said whenever she undertakes a project she becomes intimately acquainted with its subject through the background research she does. Book: Twenty Years of Butter Sharon BuMann is going from sculpting statues to crafting stories. She hopes to have her book — “Twenty Years of Butter” — on shelves by this summer. BuMann has currently completed 13 chapters of the book and is investigating possible publishers. If she can’t find one, she will likely self-publish, she said. “I guess I was inspired by the fact I had so many unique adventures in creating butter sculptures,” she said. “The butter sculpture is not even the biggest part of what I do. It’s just getting there and getting home.” BuMann has travelled around the United States to do the butter sculptures over the course of 20 years. She plans to include photos of the sculptures in her book and expects the book to run over 100 pages. “I’m learning a lot,” she said. “I’m finding it is more difficult than sculpting. It’s a whole different thought process and it takes a long time. It’s a challenge. It’s creating the visual with the right word instead of grabbing it with your hands and making it.” She hopes to write a memoir too, once this book is completed. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




Sunken Treasures Shipwreck hunters make maritime news after uncovering ships from bottom of Lake Ontario

By John Addyman


n the heart of the depths of Lake Ontario, they sleep. Some rest on the bottom, intact, sudden victims. Others are broken, on their side, in pieces, torn asunder by more violent acts of nature. Where they lie, the quiet and cold envelop. But they’re not forgotten. On the surface and off the lake, three retired men are searching, with


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careful, exhaustive forensic skill to find shipwrecks — and there are many — that lie on the bottom of Lake Ontario. And they have been remarkably successful. The three are Jim Kennard of Fairport, Roland “Chip” Stevens of Williamson, and Roger Pawlowski of Rochester. They have been together as a team for about seven years.

Kennard, 73, an electrical engineer at General Dynamics, Harris and Eastman Kodak, decided more than 30 years ago he’d like to look for shipwrecks after learning how to scuba dive. The tool he needed was a sidescan sonar system, which in 1972 cost three times the price of his home. Two years later, he’d built his own, and still uses it. Once equipped, Kennard went

shipwreck hunting in the shallower waters of Lake Champlain, and was contracted to find sunken barges and river craft in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Pawlowski, 68, also an electrical engineer with a career at Harris, is a retired Air Force Reserve pilot who flew missions in Desert Storm. He has been scuba diving for many years, all over the world. He has a boat, an underwater remotely operated vehicle, and the skills to pilot his boat in delicate, precise search patterns in the waters of the Great Lakes. An architect and former county planner, Stevens, 76, is a nationally recognized watercolorist. He synthesizes the precise measurements from the sonar that have been corrected and verified by Kennard and Pawlowski, and blends in the videos of the mussel-encrusted wreck. He then comes up with a painstakingly accurate drawing of what the boat looks like on the bottom of the very deep Lake Ontario. Then, he adds sails and all the other accoutrements the ship would have had when afloat, and brings the boat back to life again. “Each painting is a whole story,” Stevens said. “A picture is worth a thousand words; the picture is my story of the ship.” Kennard and Pawlowski had worked together at Harris, knew each other, and their similar interests brought them together. A third partner, Dan Scoville, who helped find the HMS Ontario British warship in 2008, has since moved to Texas. Kennard and Pawlowski welcomed Stevens — a sailor, architect and watercolorist. “With his artistic abilities, we thought he’d be a good partner,” said Kennard. Last August, the trio announced that it discovered the sloop Washington, which sank after foundering in a gale in 1803, en route to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, from Niagara, Ontario, Canada. It is the oldest commercial ship found intact in the Great Lakes, a boat that hauled furs and household goods to settlements. There were no survivors. The explorers had found the Canadian schooner Royal Albert last June. The ship was carrying railroad rails when it ran into rough waters in 1868 off Fair Haven. The heavy cargo shifted and burst the seams of the

The sloop Washington as it would have looked under full sail in 1803, the year it went down in Lake Ontario (Copyright Chip Stevens).

This is the side-scan sonar image of the sloop Washington (or Lady Washington) that sank in 1803. (Copyright Jim Kennard).

The sloop Washington at the bottom of Lake Ontario, illuminated by natural light filtered green from many fathoms of water. (Copyright Roger Pawlowski). February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


wooden craft. The crew escaped in a small boat. Although we live close to the lake, we don’t appreciate the level of maritime trade these waters have carried. It is estimated that somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 ships wrecked in the Great Lakes, 600 in Lake Ontario. Many burned to a shell or crashed into a dock or shore. But many others lie in the deep, waiting. Kennard, Pawlowski and Stevens do their searching as a hobby — a very forensically challenging and carefully crafted hobby. “Everybody brings something to this,” said Kennard. “Everybody has to be a contributor.” The work starts with research — that’s Kennard’s strength. “A lot of what I do is based on research in old newspapers,” he said. “Not just one. I go to the best source of information you can find.” He has created his own database, pulling information from other databases and adding his own touches. He’s looking for details. “Where did the debris come in? Where were the winds coming from? Did people get off? Where did they come in? Are there any life-saving reports that give information? You distill it down to where you think the boat would be — that gets you in the ballpark,” he said. “When the research is done, you make your best guess where you think a ship might be, then you go out and ‘mow the lawn,’” he added. Stevens explained what “mowing the lawn” looks like. “We plot a course and we run a grid, based on GPS coordinates, and use the side-scan sonar (Kennard operating), which can cover 100 feet of the bottom in one pass,” Stevens said. “We run the sonar back and forth across the grid. Once we see a target, we get the GPS coordinates, go back, put the anchor down, and drop the ROV on the wreck — and record an hour of video of the wreck.”

‘Mowing the lawn’ Pawlowski is very busy while all this is going on. “I put an autopilot in my boat. That’s very important so you can have very precise tracks, then you can cover an area of the bottom faster 40

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Three Rochester-area explorers who spend their spare time searching for wrecks in Lake Ontario hit the jackpot this summer. They discovered two sunken ships. In June they found the Canadian schooner Royal Albert, which sank in 1868 off Fair Haven. Then in August they found the sloop Washington, which sank in 1803 en route to Kingston, Ontario, from Niagara, Ontario, Canada. (mowing the lawn),” Pawlowski said. “You let the computer drive the boat. That makes a big difference. “When using the ROV, the boat is standing still. When I drive the boat while we’re using sonar, I’m sitting there monitoring and adjusting to make sure we accurately follow our route. “The ROV goes to 1,000 feet. We use it in deep water. Recreational diving goes down to 130 feet, anything beyond that starts to get dangerous. Typically, you don’t go beyond 350 or 400 at the most. Ontario is 806 feet deep. Some wrecks are down 500 feet, way beyond dive-able range.” What the electronic equipment does is provide images, which then have to be checked and verified with what’s known about a certain boat’s dimensions and purpose — even its load the day it went down. Is this the boat the team is looking for or something else? “Our measurements are very precise,” Pawlowki said. “We take into consideration the temperature of the water, the speed of sound changes, so measurement could change. We do it quite thoroughly to show it’s actually the wreck we think it is.” “You want to understand what’s down there, what’s hanging off the wreck, other pieces around the wreck, so when you send the ROV down you have a plan,” said Kennard. “We try to minimize the amount of time we’re on these wrecks. We’re just sitting out there. That’s part of keeping things confidential. People see us and ask, ‘There’s a boat sitting out there a cou-

ple of hours and they’re not fishing? I wonder what that’s all about?’ “So, we don’t go out on weekends.” “We don’t want scuba divers to go down and rip off a wreck,” said Pawlowski. “We don’t do that, but there are some pretty unscrupulous people, and it’s against the law.” Kennard explained that the shipwreck-hunting teams he’s been part of are small for a purpose, and confidentiality is key. The cold fresh water will keep these priceless artifacts intact for many years to come, if they’re left alone. The team does not reveal the sites of any of their finds. “Something we learned a long time ago is that the treasure in the lakes is the maritime history we’re discovering,” Kennard said. But at depth, in the murk, some wrecks are just that — wrecks. And the images from radar and sonar are ghostly and other worldly.

Putting puzzle together Here Stevens steps in with his architect’s training and begins assembling pieces of a boat onto a trace-paper drawing. As more of the boat is measured and clarified on passes with the sonar and ROV, a rendering of the complete wreck is put on paper, and then he assembles a watercolor drawing of it. And, in the case of Washington, provides a lovely depiction of what it looked like under full sail — 214 years ago. The group then takes its time to announce the find, with Kennard

writing the press release and providing lots of detail about the ship. It’s based on all the research that got the trio started on the path to find that ship, which now comes back to life. But the story isn’t over yet. “We get feedback,” said Kennard. “Several times the great-great grandson of one of the captains of a ship we discovered has contacted me. The ninth generation great-granddaughter of Captain [James] Andrews of the 1780 British warship HMS Ontario contacted me — she lives in Toronto.” And sometimes the contacts are amusing. “We found a C-45 aircraft that sank in 1952,” Kennard explained. “The captain ordered the crew to jump out, but the plane kept flying for an hour and 10 minutes and ended up just a few miles off Oswego, out in the lake. I heard from his nephew, who told me, ‘It was a joke in our family that Uncle Charlie probably crashed more airplanes in the Air Force than anybody else. This was not his first.’” Pawlowski said part of the maritime history they’ve learned holds a lesson for today. “Most of the boats that sank in the Great Lakes did so for one primary reason — greed. They would sail the boat way into wintertime when they shouldn’t be sailing, and the storms would take them. They would overload the heck out of them — three-masted schooners with freeboard of a foot or so,” Pawlowski said. “And they used boats way beyond their useful life. Wooden boats should last 30 years and they were still sailing for 40 years — they just got old and rotten and just sprung apart.” Stevens, Pawlowski and Kennard are connected to the boats they seek. They spend enough time on the lake to know its dangers and its mysteries. They talk about the lives lived on those boats, the lives lost, the terror and the lifesaving successes and failures. They have a bespoken respect for the mariners and how they met — or evaded — fate so many years ago. Interested in learning more about the maritime history of the Great Lakes and the ships that have been found in their depths? Check out

Roland Stevens

Jim Kennard

Roger Pawlowski

This is how Chip Stevens uses his architectural skills to put together his painting of a ship, based on the information and measurements derived from sonar images and video scans of the wreck. This is the HMS Ontario, a British warship that sank in 1780.

Chip Stevens (left) and Jim Kennard discuss the details involved in piecing together the scattered remains of a shipwreck into a plausible story about how the ship went down — in this case, how the HMS Ontario sank in 1780. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


golden years By Harold Miller

Positive Mental Attitude: The Prime Factor for Success Book by Syracuse native Tom Markert unveils it all


y nephew, Thomas Markert, was born and raised in Syracuse, and educated at St. Lawrence University, where he received a basketball scholarship. Today his workshop is the worldwide arena of business where he has quarterbacked some of the most successful company’s in the world. Tom is a highly accomplished businessman, entrepreneur, and public board director. He has held senior positions with some of the world’s top corporations including Proctor & Gamble, Citi, Ipsos, ACNeilson and Office Depot. He is currently the CEO of ORC International, a large global research agency that is in the business of solving


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complicated questions for some of the world’s largest corporations. Tom is also a former owner and board director of the Sidney Kings, which competes in the National Basketball League of Australia. He also served as the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sidney, Australia. In his spare time my welltraveled nephew has written three business books published globally by HarperCollins. The thread of wisdom that runs through all three books (the latest is yet to be published) is “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” I have dipped into the manuscript of his new book to generate some pointers. Here they are: • Business, sports and life are all about people and successfully dealing with them. Being a positive person makes this much easier. • Positive people always see a glass of water as half full. Negative people see the glass as half empty. • Negative people and whiners seem to drain the energy out of everyone and everything. In business you cannot afford to be around these people. If you are a manager, you have to remove them from your team. • Of course, people are not always naturally

positive or negative. Most people are in the middle. If you are naturally positive, thank your lucky stars. If you are in the middle, work for being positive and “up.” Look for the good in things and people. Do not participate in conversations about how bad things are. Support new things and changes. • Every day we have on this earth is a gift. It can be easy to let a day turn negative. Don’t let that happen. Tom even offers some positive thoughts in his book for those of us who sometimes have negative thoughts before we arise for the day: • Today I can grumble about my health or I can be happy that I am alive. • Today I can lament about all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born. • Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job. • Today stretches ahead of me waiting to be shaped and I am the sculptor who gets to do the shaping. For most of my career I have been both a student and the teacher of positive mental attitude (PMA). The philosophical secret of success (PMA) has appeared many times in this column. Therefore I wholeheartedly put a stamp of approval on Tom’s good works and his enlightening words. He stands as an admired and integral part of our close-knit family. We are all proud of his accomplishments.

consumers’ corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.

Avoid Falling on Ice


Wearing the right boots is crucial to avoiding falling on icy surfaces

don’t like falling on ice. Especially after breaking my ankle in an icy fall 20 years ago. When it’s icy, I try to remember to add Yak Trax, Katoohla spikes, or Neos overshoes to my boots. But what if someone could design a less slippery boot in the first place? In Canada, researchers are thinking along that line. Every year the Toronto Rehabilitation Center sees a lot of patients with hip and other fractures caused by icy falls. Their mission is not just to aid those people to recover, but to prevent injuries in the first place. Researchers designed a test to uncover the best ice-gripping boots. They investigated 98 models of boots on ice and wet ice. Sadly, only nine boots passed muster. You can read about the test and see the ratings at There’s a video, too, on YouTube com/watch?v=lOFgl9WzAcs Testers are strapped into a full body harness inside a room whose floor is a solid, tiltable sheet of ice. The floor starts out level and the subject walks back and forth. Gradually the floor tilts at an angle. Eventually the subject starts to slip and slide. The harness prevents them from falling. From the video it appears they’ve strapped a mattress to the wall to ensure a gentle landing for the testers. The floor tilt angle just before the subject starts slipping is called the MAA — maximum achievable angle. The passing grade, which earns a one snowflake rating, is 7 percent. That’s the angle used for curb ramps in Ontario, and you’d want at least to be able to negotiate those ramps safely. To earn two snowflakes requires a MAA of 11 percent, and for three snowflakes the passing grade is 15 percent.

None of the tested boots made it to two snowflakes. And only new boots were tested, so the effects of wear aren’t known. Two kinds of technology were used in the most slip resistant boots. Green Diamond is a rubber sole with aluminum oxide grit (often used in sandpaper) embedded in the material. Arctic Grip looks smooth but has microscopic crampons formed from glassimbedded rubber microgrooves. There’s still more work to be done. Are the boots effective in snow or snow-covered ice? And how long will the ice gripping soles remain effective with use? If you plan to spend time outdoors this winter, staying outside longer than moving from building to car and back indoors, you’ll also want to make sure your jacket is

warm. The most warmth for weight is goose down. But it’s expensive, it’s an animal based product, and it won’t insulate when wet. There are several synthetic insulating materials that come close to down in performance, cost less, are machine washable, and insulate when wet. Some examples are PrimaLoft, first developed in the 1980s for military use, and Climashield. A pair of Climashield booties kept my feet warm when camping on the Appalachian Trail last spring in temperatures well below freezing. Only a few more months left until spring! Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed


Losing Our Heads Over French History

arie Antoinette isn’t the only famous French person to lose her head. In Beziers, the city nearest to our French home, a bishop of the early Christian church lost his, too. One weekend this fall we got to discover a legendary church dedicated to him, exploring it literally from top to bottom. It was the “Journees Europeenes de Patrimoine” or European Heritage Days. This annual event, the third weekend of every September, is the one weekend a year when cultural, historic and civic buildings, many normally closed to the public, give up their secrets. French people in cities, towns and even small villages come out in droves to learn about their heritage. The French invented this wonderful weekend in 1984 as “La Journée Portes Ouvertes” — literally the day of the open doors — sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. It was later ex-

panded to a whole weekend and adopted by the entire European Union so now you see Heritage Days in England, Germany, Netherlands and other countries. We pored for days over the brochure of openings in Beziers. There were public gardens, churches, museums and theatres, all open to the public free of charge. There was even a working archeological site, but it was beyond our range without a car. We planned an ambitious list, and then reality set in. How much walking could we reasonably expect to do in a day or part of one? We crossed off sites we had already seen, and the museums, since we could visit them on our own. Finally Bill and I settled on the one that fascinated us the most: the basilica church of St. Aphrodise, the first bishop of Beziers. Medieval legends can be strange. Local lore has it that Aphrodise came from Egypt by camel to live in a cave as a holy man and preach to the peo-

Photos by Bill Reed

This sign so intrigued the Reeds, they braved an underground passage lit only by their cellphones. The sign reads: Entrance of the crypt. Cradle of faith in Beziers. 44

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St. Aphrodise, the patron saint of Beziers, was beheaded but carried his head back to his cave. The Reeds explored the church built on the site of his cave. ple of Beziers, eventually becoming bishop. He was beheaded by a pagan mob. So the saint picked up his head and carried it, walking back to his cave, which is now the crypt of the basilica, housing his relics. The highlight of this trip was venturing down into that crypt, our phones as the only lighting source, to see the replica of the saint’s head and the reliquary containing his remains. But I get ahead of myself. (Bad pun intended.) The church of St. Aphrodise is closed to the public because it is in disrepair and only opens this one weekend a year. Approaching the main door we were already impressed — you could see the original outline of a huge Roman-era archway dwarfing the newer door, and carvings dating

back nearly 2,000 years. The interior is a renovation in progress. We had to step around ladders, tarps and electrical cords as we made our way around the church, but that only added to the sense of adventure. Some altars and pictures were already restored. Others were not. We could see frescoes peeling because of water damage; stained glass windows had pieces missing; the entire place smelled musty. And to us, it was awesome! Both Bill and I studied history at university and my period was medieval, so I was in heaven. There were meters-high stained glass windows, carved reliquaries, a gilded Virgin and Child. There was a paleo-Christian stone tablet with the head of a woman alongside an ornate golden reliquary from the high Middle Ages, alongside Baroque carvings and a 20th-century crucifix sculpted by Beziers native Injalbert. In true French “open door day” fashion, we could wander anywhere we wanted, and we did. A member of the Friends of St. Aphrodise was leading small tours, but in French, so we kept to ourselves. Often it’s more fun that way. Bill found his way behind the main altar, where an earlier altar, decorated in bronze reliefs, stood against the original Roman wall,

Some of the treasures the Reeds explored in the ancient church.

Bill found an earlier altar hidden behind the modern one. It is flanked by lists of local boys killed in World War I. flanked by plaques listing the local boys killed in World War I. A narrow staircase of a half dozen steps led downward, and an engraved plaque told us this was the ancient “crypte” of the church. The gate was open, and although there was no electricity, the mysteries of the crypt beckoned. We turned on the flashlight function on our phones and headed down. It was a tiny stone basement, with an aisleway about a foot and half wide, curving in a small circle around the reliquary of the saint’s bones. One side of the passageway featured a niche with a replica of his head, the other side, part of an ancient cross and other items. It was a tiny space to hold such an outsized legend. After we had wandered around to our hearts’ content, I conceived the brilliant idea of exploring the organ. Some ladies were selling souvenirs in front of the organ loft. When I asked if we could go up to the organ, they referred me to the guide. With a mischievous look, he seemed to really consider and then gave us a Gallic shrug and said the French equivalent of “why not?” The steps were so steep, and the ceiling so low, that we had to bend far enough down that our noses fairly touched the steps in front of us while the ceiling of the stairwell brushed

our backs. Soon we were standing at the front of the huge pipes and our guide revealed the keyboard, stops and pedals. We took some pictures, enjoyed a view of the church from our lofty vantage point and then headed back down. Our guide pointed out the bellows under the stairs where two people were employed to pump to keep the organ functioning in the days before electricity. When we stepped back out into the autumn sunshine, we were astonished to see that it was already well after noon. We had spent nearly two hours exploring the ancient church, for the most part unguided and certainly unsupervised. It’s the kind of adventure we came to France to experience and we still can’t get it out of our heads.

Michele Reed retired after a career spanning four decades in public relations, advertising, journalism and higher education. She now writes travel articles, book reviews, haiku poetry and fiction. Bill Reed retired after four decades in social services with the county of Oswego, and now works at travel photography and photojournalism, along with writing book reviews. February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger

Guidelines for Living Well


ach of us develops guidelines for living that govern our lives. We adapt to these guidelines and try not to violate them. In this article, I will discuss some of the guidelines that have evolved in my life that may be relevant to others. Everyone is unique and has special talents. This is a biological fact. Even identical twins who have the same genes have different environments and each twin is different. This is true for all living things. This means that each of us has special talents and weaknesses. Uniqueness means that someone can be taller, smarter, richer, etc. than others, but nobody is “better” than anyone else. So, every individual deserves respect and admiration for his or her unique traits. We should try to identify our unique abilities and nurture them. Schooling, including college, should be an exploration of a student’s unique talents and interests. The goal is to discover where you fit in life.



We learn from everything that we do and everything that we do becomes part of who we are. We forget information, but we do not readily forget experiences. We never know when an apparently insignificant experience will have a major influence on our lives. In my many years of teaching, I always required students to attend all of my classes, or suffer grade consequences. Indeed, my policy was that you received an F in the course if you did not attend class and participate fully, regardless of your grades on exams. As I grew older, I relaxed this policy a bit and would simply lower the student’s grade if he or she didn’t show up in class. This policy was controversial. Many professors doubtless believe that learning the course information is what’s most important, regardless of class attendance. But, if students 46

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do not attend class, they miss that experience, and they might have had a brilliant epiphany as a result of some comment during the lecture. In my view, students are in class for the experience and not so much for the information. They can get the information by reading a text. One student remarked, “But, if I’m experiencing your class, then I’m missing another experience.” I replied, “If the other experience is doing the laundry, that can wait. You have to choose which experiences you think would be most worthwhile.” One day, when I was an undergraduate at Brooklyn College, I noticed a poster advertising that Theodosius Dobzhansky, a professor at Columbia University, was giving a talk about Drosophila (fruit flies) in South America. I was free that afternoon and I was intrigued by the professor’s name and that he was giving a talk on flies in South America. I thought there were people in South America, not flies? I went to the talk and was fascinated by it. When I attended Columbia University as a graduate student, I remembered the talk and sought

out Dobzhansky and became his Ph.D. student. So, my entire scientific career pathway traces back to Dobzhansky’s talk at Brooklyn College that I attended by chance. A young lady in my class came up to me at the end of my lecture class on photosynthesis. “That was fascinating,” she said, “I’m going to write my term paper for English class on that topic.” I never saw her again, but I fantasized that she wrote the paper on photosynthesis, earned an A in the English course, majored in journalism and went on to win a Pulitzer prize. It may not have happened, but who knows which experience may have a profound effect on our lives? Be there, or you will never know what you missed.


Know yourself and like yourself. People often say, “I have big problems. I need to escape for a vacation.” But they forget that you take yourself with you wherever you go. So, you really can’t get away from yourself. The solution is to get to know yourself and to recognize your special traits. Learn to respect and admire those things that you do best and try to improve on what you don’t like about yourself.


Persevere to accomplish your goals. Do your best and don’t give up. It is indeed true that “the squeaky wheel gets oiled.” If you have an important cause, don’t let obstacles stand in your way. If you can’t overcome obstacles one way, try another way. Persist.


Get the job done. Story Musgrave is a former astronaut. He flew six space missions (including one to fix the Hubble telescope), and he earned six academic degrees (including a degree in mathematics and statistics from Syracuse Univer-

sity and a medical degree). When he visited Syracuse University to speak at the dedication of the “Patricia Meyers Astronomy Learning Center in Holden Observatory,” I asked him how it was possible to accomplish so much. His reply was, “I set my goals and I get the job done!”


Be a motivated self-learner. You can learn anything, if you really want to learn it. Mostly, our inability to learn something comes from lack of true motivation to learn it. When students told me, “biology is too difficult for me to learn,” I interpreted that statement as, ”I’m really not that interested in learning biology.” Instead of depending on a teacher for learning, depend upon yourself. I’ve often thought that it might be best for the teacher to give exams, but deliberately do a terrible job of teaching. This would encourage students to learn by themselves.


“Get it!” I used to get upset when I encountered students who were goofing around and were not very interested in academic learning. I expressed my feelings to my course assistant. Her response was, “They just don’t get it… yet.” This comment changed my approach to such students. From then on, when I met such students, I thought to myself, “This student just doesn’t “get it… yet.” This student will “get it” eventually, but just doesn’t “get it …yet.” This is so true for all of us. We may not “get it” now, but, hopefully, we will eventually “get it.”


Do it now! We all tend to procrastinate and delay what could be done now. A colleague told me, “Never let a piece of paper pass your desk twice.” I adopted that guideline. Students used to ask me for a letter of recommendation. If I knew the student well enough, I would say, “Sure. When is it due?” … and put the task aside to be done later on. Then, I adopted the “do it now” approach. When a student would ask for a letter, I would say, “Sure. Do you have a few minutes?” I would then interview the student and write the letter in the student’s presence. I would put the letter in an envelope, seal it and sign it on the seam, and give the letter to the student. Fait accompli. The “do it now” approach requires determination, but it provides peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment.

‘If you have an important cause, don’t let obstacles stand in your way. If you can’t overcome obstacles one way, try another way. Persist.’


Think about what you are doing. Don’t just “do.” Oftentimes, we are so busy doing things that we don’t pause to think about what we are doing or why. I learned this guideline from my mentor when I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) at the University of Sydney in Australia. I was working on my research around the clock. I discovered something interesting that I wanted to tell my mentor about. I found my mentor lying very still on a sofa in the tea room. I was concerned about him. I asked, “Jimmy, are you OK?” Jimmy didn’t move a muscle and replied, “I’m pondering the definition of fitness.” This remark made me realize the importance of, sometimes, stopping what you are doing to think about what you are doing. We rush through life too quickly and should take time to think about what we are doing and why.


. Be a good listener. Everyone likes an active, good listener, not a talker. We all tend to talk about ourselves, since our personal experiences are those we know best. I am a talker and not a good listener. I attended a workshop on listening. I was assigned a partner. We talked to each other. In one exercise, we were supposed to display inattentive behavior, and see how it felt. In another exercise, we were supposed to show active interest in what the other person was saying, and see what that felt like. It was clear that warm and friendly feelings were the result of a person actively listening to what you were saying. Despite the workshop, I still tended to talk too much, especially about myself. I confessed this flaw to a student and said, “I talk too much.” the student replied, “But you have a lot to say.” This student earned an A in my course.


Be kind, thoughtful and caring about others. Imagine yourself in the other person’s place. Do kind deeds whenever you can.


Laugh a lot. There is humor in every situation, even tragedies. When my dear wife was on the verge of her death, her last words to me were, “Marvin, shut up!” Humor heals and is a blessing for those who can view the world in a humorous way.


This, too, shall pass. This guideline was adopted by me as a result of a memorable incident. As newly elected president of the National Sciences Teachers Association (NSTA), I was giving a pep talk to the board of directors. The person who had been executive director of the organization for 14 years was in the room. I enthusiastically talked about all the great things we would accomplish. The executive director had a slight smile on his face. I stopped in the middle of my remarks and said to him, “I know what you’re thinking. This, too, shall pass.” He started laughing. That was exactly what he was thinking. He had seen many presidents come and go, and each one was going to change the world for the better. But he knew that this, too, shall pass. So, whenever incidents happen, keep this guideline in mind. There are many more guidelines for life that can be listed. These guidelines grow out of personal experiences. They govern our behavior. Living by these guidelines requires sensitivity, thought, and determination. I know that you can add your own guidelines and I encourage you to do so. They will make you who you are.

February 2017 / March 2017 - 55 PLUS




Hill Auditorium is celebrated for its perfect acoustics with the acoustically best seats in the middle of the mezzanine.

10 Reasons People Love to Visit Ann Arbor By Sandra Scott


nn Arbor, Mich., makes the short list in many categories: the happiest city in America, best place for singles, retirees, college students and foodies; plus, according to Frommer’s, it is one of the best vacation spots in the United States. Ann Arbor, with a population of about 110,000, has an amazing diversity of activities. There is something to tickle the fancy of any and all travelers be it sports, the arts, shopping or dining. Sports: The University of Michigan is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, which dates back to 1895. Best known is its football team which plays in the “Big House” that was built in 1927 and is now the largest

1. 48

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stadium in the U.S. It could hold nearly the entire population of Ann Arbor. There is more for sport enthusiasts besides cheering as a Wolverine for the university’s many male and female sport’s teams. There is golf, biking, kayaking and skating. Museums: The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology houses a collection of 100,000 objects from the ancient cultures of Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East. The Museum of Natural History has exhibits on geology, the evolution of life, dinosaurs, and artifacts from human cultures around the world. They are justly proud of their newest acquisition — a recently unearthed mammoth. Check out President Ford’s baby book at the


Gerald Ford Library. The hands-on science museum may be designed for the younger set but adults will also enjoy it. A r t : A r t i s e v e r y w h e re — indoors and outdoors. Wander the University of Michigan campus stopping to ponder Maya Lin’s unique grassy “Wave Field.” Maya Lin is the artist who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. It is just one of many installations scattered around the campus. Upon entering the University of Michigan’s Art Museum make a point to see “Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii’ who led friends through the ash-covered city. It is just one of the pieces in their 19,000 collection. There are many small


“Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii’ is one of many pieces at the University of Michigan. galleries in the city center. Performing Arts: The classic-looking Hill Auditorium is celebrated for its perfect acoustics with the acoustically best seats in the middle of the mezzanine. Professional theatrical productions take place at The Purple Rose, founded by Jeff Daniels, a native who is an acclaimed actor, director and playwright. Daniels wanted to give back to the community by offering professional debuts. Enjoy live music at The Ark featuring a different artist each night. Artisans: The city is home to many world class artisans. Feng Jiang is just one of the violin and viola makers, a craft he learned from his father who was trained in China. Every Thursday there is a free tour of the Motawi Tileworks. The beautifully handcrafted works of art draw their inspiration from early 20th century decorative artists like Frank Lloyd Wright and Tiffany. Visiting fabric artist Mary Underwood is more than learning about her craft and appreciating her work; she often shares stories of her visits to Mongolia and other unique places in search of the best wools. Yankee Air Museum: World War II buffs and airplane lovers will literally take to the air at this museum. Wannabe aviators will be in seventh heaven with a flight on one of the museum’s vintage planes such as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. The C-47 was the principal transport aircraft used by the Allies in World War II. In the Battle of the Bulge, the C-47s airlifted supplies to American troops trapped in Bastogne and was vital to campaigns




World War II buffs and airplane lovers will literally take to the air at Yankee Air Museum. One of the planes on display — Yankee Lady — is a B-17, a transport aircraft used by the Allies in World War II. in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Burma and flying “The Hump” from India to China. Culinary: Take a culinary trip around the world without leaving Ann Arbor. At Ayse’s Turkish Café it is difficult to choose between Sultan’s Moussaka, Pepper Lamb Dolmas or Yogurt Kebab with Spicy Lamb. A similar problem exists at the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant where it is said that people who eat from the same plate and break bread together will create a bond of lasting friendship. Select several items which will be served on a large platter along with typical bread called injera that is used to pick up the food. Get a taste of Far Eastern dining at the Slurping Turtle. Amadeus features Hungarian and other Central European dishes. Don’t miss the biannual “Taste of Ann Arbor” events. Nature: Ann Arbor is nicknamed the “Tree Town,” stemming from the dense forestation of its residential and park areas. Nature lovers should visit the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where the conservatory has plants from three major climate zones including a bonsai collection in the Temperate House, plus outdoor seasonal gardens. The Nichols Arboretum has peony and lilac gardens along with an extensive collection of native and exotic trees and shrubs. Seasonal: Any time of the year is a good time to visit Ann Arbor. There is always something special going on from the Ark’s Annual Folk Festival in January to FestiFools (Ann




Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant offers authentic Ethopian food and is one of many ethnic restaurants in Ann Harbor. Arbor’s spin on Mardi Gras) in the spring, to a multitude of events during the summer months that include art and music, to KindleFest, the annual, free, outdoor holiday market in December. Uniquely Ann Arbor: Look down to discover the Fairy Doors, miniature replicas of the doors to some of the businesses in Ann Arbor. Not only are the doors reproduced but with some it is possible to peek inside to see the miniature interior. Fairy doors began to appear unannounced in 2005. Like all fairies, the ones in Ann Arbor are surrounded in mystery. There is one by the Ark Theater and another at the Peaceable Kingdom. Take note of the historic sign in front of the Art Museum detailing the speech given by John F. Kennedy that led to the formation of the Peace Corp. The oldest observatory of its type in the nation with the third largest telescope in the world is at the University of Michigan.


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By Mary Beth Roach

Oscar Vergara, 65 It’s all about the kids for soccer coach and director of Big Brother/Big Sister Q. You moved to Syracuse from Colombia. How old were you? A. Seventeen. I walked through those doors at Bishop Ludden High School knowing two words of English — hello and goodbye —and scared as heck. Q. What prompted the move to Syracuse? A. My mom was a victim of a hit-andrun. I was just 16. It was something difficult for me to deal with. So I took the wrong turn and started doing the things I wasn’t supposed to. I dropped out of school. I quit playing soccer, which is my passion, my life. And one Wednesday evening, I was standing at the corner with the guys, feeling really cool. Here come my coach. He approached me. He said, ‘Just got a question, tell me, do you think for a second that your mom would be proud of you right now?’ That Saturday, I went to find the coach. He became my mentor. About six months later, he went to my dad, and said, “he’s doing much better, but we have to get him out of here. We have to find him a place away from peer pressure and drugs.” So I came to America. Q. Did you have family here? A. My sisters went to see Monsignor Costello [now Auxiliary Bishop Costello]. I was given a scholarship to come to Bishop Ludden. My first day, I didn’t like it at all because I fell three times. I’ve never seen snow, never walked on it before. But here I am 40-some-odd years later, made Syracuse my home. I have my wife — and my four girls went to Ludden. Q. You’ve been at Ludden for decades as a coach. What keeps you coming back year and year? A. If it wasn’t because of Bishop Ludden High School, I could be either a very rich man the wrong way or I could be buried six feet under. So I will 50

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forever and ever be grateful to Bishop Ludden. Q. You recently won a statewide award? A. Our team won the Onondaga league. I was voted the coach of the year for the league. Then I was also recently named the New York State Private/Parochial High School Coach of the Year. Q. To what do you attribute your success? A. Part of it had to with the fact that I’m one of 14 coaches that has over 400 wins. Don’t ask me how many exactly. I don’t keep track. I know it’s in the neighborhood of 470. It’s nice when you’re around for this long, you have continuity; people know your system. Parents know what they’re going to get from me. And what they’re going to get from me is someone who is going to give their kids a little bit of knowledge; someone who will treat them with respect; someone who will not ever use foul language. And I have surrounded myself with a good coaching staff. Q. You’ve been involved with the Big Brother Big Sister. What’s your title there? A. Director of Big Brother Big Sister. I owe a lot to my old soccer coach, Carlos Paz. I always said, ‘When I grow up I want to be like him. I want to work with kids.’ A friend told me about Big Brother Big Sister. I have been a Big Brother for 27 years. About 18 years ago, I happened to be on the board of Peace Inc., and at one of the board meetings, it was mentioned there was an opening for director for Big Brother Big Sister. I’ve been director since October of 1988. Q. What are some of the other programs that you do? A. I run a project called Project Smiles.

Oscar Vergara coaches at Bishop Ludden. He won a prestigous state award recently. Several years ago, I was going to go back to my hometown to visit. And my wife, Elba, said, ‘Why don’t you take Andrea [their daughter] with you?’ On Dec. 25 that year, I was going to church that morning. I went through the park, and I saw a group of little girls and one was crying non-stop. I said to the Sister, ‘What is wrong ?’ She said, ‘We belong to this particular orphanage. We bring the kids out, so they can spend the money they got for Christmas.’ They each got 2000 pesos — about 87 cents. And this little girl wanted to buy a bracelet that represented the local soccer team that she loves. That Saturday, I brought my daughter, we went to visit the home, we brought two bags of lollipops and I brought a jersey for the little girl. And she asked me ‘why are you doing this for me?’ She was 8 years old. And I said, ‘Because you remind me so much of my daughter.” She said, ‘No, she’s a beautiful girl. I’m an ugly child.’ No child should talk about herself or himself that way. We started giving out the lollipops — the grins on their faces, the smiles. My daughter said, ‘Pops, I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but you’ve got to help all these kids.’ Looks at the smiles on the faces. Thus Project Smiles. It grew from that one home to four. My soccer team every year they adopt one of the schools, and they do care packages for the kids. I try to get them all involved in community service.




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OVER 50?


OASIS Stay healthy and engaged through OASIS, a community learning center for those aged 50+. OASIS offers classes in the arts, history, technology, fitness, science, travel and more. Start anytime. Enjoy learning and being connected with others. Session class prices range from free to reasonable. Easy access and free parking. OASIS is located at 6333 State Rte 298 in East Syracuse, next to the DoubleTree Hotel, off Carrier Circle.



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