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How to Get ‘Senior Discounts’ on Just About Everything Buffet at del Lago Resort & Casino. We Review the New Restaurant

55 PLUS Issue 68 April / May 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Meet the ‘Ladies’ on Dinglehole Road Group of female alpacas live harmoniously on an alpaca farm in Phoenix. Meet their caretakers

CNY’s Top Pediatrician Tom Welch, the top pediatrician at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, talks about career, growing up in Herkimer, and why he is also known as ‘Adiron Doc’

The Marathon Lady Former SU student and one of the first females to run the Boston Marathon is back in the competition — at age 70


Family & Cosmetic


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eceiving the area’s fastest stroke diagnosis and treatment starts even before you arrive at Crouse Hospital. That’s because our EMS

partners start communicating with our team the moment they arrive on the scene. Once here, our stroke specialists immediately assess your condition. And if more advanced care is needed, our boardcertified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons use the most progressive stroke-rescue therapies and technology available. When it’s about time, say “Take me to Crouse.”









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How to Get ‘Senior Discounts’ on Just About Everything


Buffet at del Lago Resort & Casino. We review the new restaurant


April / May 2017

PLUS Issue 68 April / May 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Meet the ‘Ladies’ on Dinglehole Road


Group of female alpacas live harmoniously in an alpaca farm in Phoenix.. Meet their caretakes

The Marathon Lady Former SU student and one of the first female to run the Boston Marathon is back at the competition — at age 70

CNY’s Top Pediatrician Tom Welch, the top pediatrician at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, talks about career, growing up in Herkimer, and why he is also known as ‘Adiron Doc’


14 Savvy Senior 6 Gardening 10 Dining Out 12 My Turn 24 Aging 28 Golden Years 42 Consumers’ Health 43 Life After 55 44 Druger’s Zoo 46 Last Page 50 LAST PAGE Annette Guisbond, 91, enjoys teaching, organizing some of the most popular classes at Oasis Syracuse 4

55 PLUS - April / May 2017


• Meet the alpacas on Dinglehole Road, Phoemix


• One of the first females to run the Boston Marathon is competing again


• At 89, DJ Leo Rayhill guiding WCNY listeners though jazz and classical music


• Andrianos family carries on rich sweet tradition at Hercules Candy


• Second act for cardiologist turned basketball coach


30 30 COVER

• Pediatrician Tom Welch: Still at the helm


• SUNY Oswego professor: It’s hard to leave a career you love


• Paul Lear reigns at Fort Ontario and he has done it for more than 20 years


• 10 things to explore in Schuyler County


For me it’s personal! Upstate legacies: lifesaving and life-changing

Full Page

In 1993, my son David was on top of the world! He had graduated from a prestigious institution and was building his reputation as an executive chef. Then David suffered a career-ending and life-altering spinal injury in a skiing accident. After months of outstanding care and physical therapy David is able to live an independent and productive life, BUT that’s not all! today, groundbreaking research is taking place at Upstate Medical University that we hope will one day restore all of David’s functions and reverse spinal cord injuries for thousands of others in Central New York and beyond. Through The Upstate Foundation, I have established A New Beginning Fund for spinal cord research, and I have remembered Upstate with an estate gift to fund this research and benefit many in our community for years to come.

I invite you to join me in creating a legacy gift through your will or financial plans. Together we can do great things for Central New York. Ruth Schwartz Charitable Giving Planner, The Upstate Foundation

it’s also personal for you since every Upstate legacy dollar stays right here in Central New York to help assure happy, healthy and longer lives for your loved ones, friends and neighbors.

For free and confidential information on how to make a low cost, high impact legacy gift contact, or have your professional advisor contact, John Gleason at 315-464-4416 or email us today at FDN@Upstate.edu Our legal name is THE UPSTATE FOUNDATION INC.



April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


savvy senior By Jim Miller


Getting Old Pays: How to Get Discounts

ne of the great perks of growing older in America is the many discounts that are available to boomers and seniors. There are literally thousands of discounts on a wide variety of products and services including restaurants, grocery stores, travel and lodging. These discounts — typically ranging between 5 and 25 percent off — can result in big savings. So, if you don’t mind admitting your age, here are some tips for you. Always Ask — The first thing to know is that most businesses don’t advertise them, but many give senior discounts just for the asking, so don’t be shy. You also need to know that while some discounts are available as soon as you turn 50, many others may not kick in until you turn 55 or older. Search Online — Because senior discounts frequently change and can vary depending on where you live and the time of the year, the Internet is the easiest way to help you. To do a search, start by visiting SeniorDiscounts.com, which lists thousands of discounts that you can search for by city and state, and by the category you’re interested in, for free. You can also look for discounts at TheSeniorList.com, which provides a large list of national and regional business chains that offer them, or you can Google them individually. Just go to Google.com and type in the business or organization you’re curious about, followed by “senior discount” or “senior discount tickets.” If you use a smartphone, another tool is the Sciddy app (see Sciddy. com) that lets you search for senior discounts and can send you alerts. Join a Club — Another good avenue to senior discounts is through membership organizations like AARP, which offers its 50 and older members a wide variety of discounts


55 PLUS - April / May 2017

through affiliate businesses (see AARPdiscounts.com). If, however, you’re not the AARP type, there are other alternative organizations you can join that also provide discounts such as The Seniors Coalition or the American Seniors Association. Or, for federal workers, there’s the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. Types of Discounts — Here’s an abbreviated rundown of some of the different types of discounts you can expect to find. Restaurants — Senior discounts are common at restaurants and fast food establishments — like Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, Applebee’s and Golden Corral — ranging from free/discounted drinks, to discounts off your total order. Retailers — Many thrift stores like Goodwill, and retailers like Banana Republic, Kohl’s, Michaels offer a break on certain days of the week. Supermarkets — Many locally owned grocery stores offer senior discount programs, as do some chain supermarkets, which offer some discounts on certain days of the week. Travel — Southwest Airlines provides the best senior fares in the U.S. to passengers 65 and older, while Amtrak offers a 15 percent discount and Greyhound offers 5 percent off to travelers over 62. Most car rental companies provide discounts to customers who belong to organizations like AARP. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines offer discount rates to cruisers 55 and over. And, most hotels offer senior discounts, from 10 to 30 percent. Entertainment — Most movie theaters, museums, golf courses, ski slopes and other public entertainment venues provide reduced admission to seniors over 60 or 65. And the National Park Service offers a lifetime pass for those 62 and up for $10 (see nps. gov/findapark/passes.htm).

55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Aaron Gifford, Patricia Malin Matthew Liptak, Josh Cradduck Mary Beth Roach John Kares Smith, Richard Palmer


Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott Jacob Pucci .


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.

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

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

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Smart Giving for Others

Mary Mathews sits with her yellow labrador, Bob, on the patio of her home in Fayetteville, NY.

My parents were always great role models to me. They provided support to the community in so many ways, and I felt it was important to do the same. I’ve found that supporting local organizations is especially meaningful when I can be involved in several ways. Over the years I have spent time engaging in the community and have created many meaningful connections with a number of local nonprofit organizations. My broad community interests led me to the Community Foundation as a home for my legacy giving. The organizations that I support in Central New York routinely apply to the Community Foundation for funding, so I knew a gift to them would always be used to help those in the most need at that time. I opened the Harry and Helen Barnes Jewell Fund as a field-of-interest fund to honor the memory of my parents. The fund supports two broad areas: the welfare of children and the protection of animals. The benefit of leaving my legacy to the Community Foundation is that after I am gone, this fund will still be giving in my parents’ names to support the current needs of our community. I feel happy to know that the Community Foundation will continue to support my favorite causes and the hardworking nonprofits of Central New York in perpetuity.

Read more of Mary’s story at Mathews.5forCNY.org

CNY Philanthropy Center 431 East Fayette Street, Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 422-9538 www.cnycf.org 8

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gardening By Jim Sollecito


Creativity Inspired

l o v e b e i n g c re a t i v e . I s e e k opportunities to live life full of new ideas. When our daughters were young I would ask them to name three things. Then I’d make up a bedtime story including all three. This really held their interest. Every night for years, new ideas generated more than a thousand different stories. I enjoyed the challenge and those 15-20 minutes together as our little ones listened to my mind working. Perhaps it stretched their imaginations, too. Certainly, combining elements is exactly what landscape design is, too. Those stories were never the same and neither are two landscape situations. Which is why I have never chosen to use an automated computer design system. To my way of thinking, that would limit the creative process. Our designs are created by experienced professionals with a trained eye and drawn by hand. Yes, it takes more effort. But the rewards are greater. I often don’t provide my first idea. Instead you get my best one. There is a difference. Every situation has a story just waiting to be told. Factor in the ever-evolving, improved palette of available plants and this spring’s story line is even more exciting. Take a look at the “Early Bird Sherbet” Dianthus (photo). Wow! Double cherry-colored fragrant flowers …now that is what happy looks like. This plant was not available three years ago, and we carry six other Dianthus selections that are just as cheerful! I gleefully spend my downtime researching the new varieties, sorting to identify the best, making these improvements available in our garden center. Of course I don’t even bother with annuals. It only makes sense to put that effort into one of the better named varieties of improved sustainable flowering perennials. We make a point 10

55 PLUS - April / May 2017

Double cherry-colored fragrant flowers. This plant was not available three years ago. That is what happy looks like. to include multi-faceted plants with multiple features. Improvements in shrubs, trees and perennials include brighter colors, sturdier stems, longer bloom time, more compact growth and lower maintenance. Dianthus will be in full flower before most folks have even begun to plant annual bedding plants. Honestly, why spend valuable time and money on flowers that start late, finish early and land on the compost heap at the end of one growing season? Friends don’t let friends plant annuals. And planting success is easier than ever. Most trees and shrubs are now available as containergrown specimens. Even shade trees and flowering ornamentals are in convenient, manageable containers. Plus they are easier to fit into your vehicle and weigh less. It’s not only easier for the homeowner but the trees are more likely to thrive. Field-grown trees and shrubs lose a significant portion of

root as they’re dug out of the earth for transplant. It will take that plant a while to recover, sometimes years, and that’s old technology. A containerized shrub or tree keeps all of the roots as it moves from container to earth. Which is why container-grown plants not only survive but flourish when planted. Our experience and vast inventory has allowed us to use our creativity and be more agile in managing the process. Start with the best possible plants grown and handled in optimum conditions. If you haven’t visited to explore the possibilities for your own home, maybe you owe it to yourself to do so. Let our experience enhance your experience. Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.

Social Security


Q: Someone stole my Social Security number, and it’s being used repeatedly. Does Social Security issue new Social Security numbers to victims of repeated identity theft?

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A: Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, so you aren’t alone. If you’ve done all you can to identify and fix the problem, including contacting the Federal Trade Commission, but someone is still using your number, Social Security may assign you a new number. If you decide to apply for a new number, you’ll need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You’ll also need to provide evidence you’re having ongoing problems because of the misuse of your current Social Security number. You can read more about identity theft at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Q: I’m trying to figure out the best time to retire based on my future earnings. How can I calculate my own retirement benefit estimate? A : We s u g g e s t y o u u s e our Retirement Estimator at www. socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Our Retirement Estimator produces estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record, so it’s a personalized, instant picture of your future estimated benefit. Also, you can use it to test different retirement scenarios based on what age you decide to start benefits. For example, you can find out your estimated monthly payments if you retire at age 62, 70, or any age in between. Try it out now at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator.

April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



Farmers Market Buffet Safe bet: Buffet at del Lago Resort & Casino offers flavorful food for less money


uffets and casinos have been a one-two punch of excess in America since the 1940s, when the first all-you-can-eat spreads popped up in casinos on the Las Vegas strip. Thankfully, the days of the $1 midnight buffet of cold cuts and Jell-O mold salads are over and in its place is a modern version where quality and quantity are equally important. Farmers Market Buffet, located only a few steps away from the flashing lights of the slot machines, is one of several dining options at del Lago Resort & Casino, which opened to the public on Feb. 1. The 285-seat buffet was full when we arrived for a late lunch around 2:30


55 PLUS - April / May 2017

p.m. on the casino’s first Saturday in business. Based on the out-the-door lines we encountered when we left the buffet, dining during the midafternoon was the right call. The buffet is organized as a series of stations around the perimeter — pizza and Italian, American comfort food, carving station, Asian and international — with salads and desserts occupying the large center island. With only so much stomach space, I zeroed in on the proteins. So I blew past the green salad and went for the Thai chicken and spicy roast beef salads. In both cases, the meats were tender and the vegetables, notably the colorful bell peppers and herbs, were

fresh and crisp. Italy was the next stop on my world tour, where pasta and woodfired pizza are the names of the game. The pizza was good, but lacked the charred, blistered crust I look for in a top-notch pie. However, the rich, earthy mushroom ravioli and shrimp and vegetable pasta, with pieces of squash that still retained just a bit of snap, were highlights of the meal. Spring rolls, dumplings and stirfries, offered both on the buffet line and at a made-to-order station, are among the offerings at the “Stir Crazy” Asian food station. Diners are instructed to fill a bowl with vegetables, sauces and noodles and hand it to the chef, who adds chicken, beef or shrimp to the

mix. But unless you only want a few bites, forget the small bowl and use a plate instead. Having to balance a mountain of ingredients in a small bowl was among the opening week hiccups we encountered. Aside from the salad bar, none of the food was labeled, leaving the staff to repeatedly explain the offerings to diners. Without any signage, each dish was a bit of a guessing game. Fortunately, I’m an adventurous eater. The stations were spaced close together and with direction or guide, cutting in to grab an item can be awkward. Installing some sort of queue would help eliminate the bottlenecking and waits. Regardless of when you dine, there will be a line at the “Center Cut” carving station, but every second is worth it for the grilled steak alone. The beef, cooked on an open pit grill to a perfect rare, was smoky and tender enough to cut with a butter knife. Seriously, buffet steak is not supposed to be this good. Farmers Market Buffet also nailed it with the comfort food, which included the likes of fried chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and pot roast. The greens were tender with the right amount of vinegar zip, the pot roast was tender and beefy and the chicken was crisp and tender, which is no small feat for something sitting under a heat lamp. Saving room for dessert at a buffet is often a tough task, but it would be a shame to miss out on the selection of cheesecakes, crème brulee and other cookies, cakes and sweets. Tip: Skip the soft serve and head to the gelato counter, where scoops of pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, salted caramel and other types of gelato are served. The buffet also has not one, but two chocolate fondue fountains, perfect for coating whatever your heart desires with milk chocolate. Despite its opening week jitters, the Farmers Market Buffet offers a wide range of flavorful food for less money than I blew playing video poker for 15 minutes. In a place where winning or losing your money comes down to the press of a button or the deal of a card, the Farmers Market Buffet is a safe bet.

Asian food: Pork potstickers, shrimp dumplings, a spring roll and a made-to-order stir-fry with snow peas, mushrooms, bok choy, rice noodles and shrimp.

Pot roast, fried chicken, mac and cheese, pasta, bread and pizza

Gelato: A bowl of pistachio gelato with a pair of marshmallows dipped into one of the two milk chocolate fountains.


Farmers Market Buffet

Del Lago Resort & Casino, 1133 State Route 414, Waterloo.


Saturday and Sunday, from 9 to 11 a.m. • Price: $13.99 ($11.99 with Players Club Card) • Lunch: Daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. • Price: $17.99 ($15.99 with Players Club Card)


Monday to Saturday, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. • Price: $22.99 ($20.99 with Players Club Card)






The casino and all restaurants are only open to those 21 years or older. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




Some of the alpacas at Seven Acres Alpaca Farm in Phoenix.

The Ladies on Dinglehole Road ‘Alpaca-holics’ not parting soon from their furry addictions By Matthew Liptak


here is a sorority in Phoenix, N.Y. It is a sorority of 16 sets of four legs with furry bodies and faces that are too adorable to fully appreciate unless you see them in person. On Seven Acres Alpaca Farm at 9457 Dinglehole Road, partners Bill Bundy and Paul McKinney have carefully built an alpaca herd that produces daily smiles as well as wool. “It’s interesting because there’s a real attraction to these animals,” 14

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McKinney, 70, said. “When we started talking to other alpaca owners, their stories were very similar. Your initial reaction is you’re captivated just by the physicality of the animal. The eyes. There’s a real calming spirit about the animal.” “We have yet to see a group of people, small or large, that didn’t have this true love and respect for the animal,” Bundy said. “I think that’s why we’re enjoying it so much.” The pair first encountered the

unique species on Sept. 21, 2014 at the Harvest Fest in Sharon Springs. They were at a pivotal point in their lives. They had been spending their lives for the past 15 years as snowbirds, living in a home in Fulton for five months and then seven months in Fort Meyers, Fla. But Bill’s mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and they decided to come back to the place they considered home permanently to help with her care. The encounter with the alpacas



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at an outing to the festival proved life changing. “We started down this aisle,” Bill recalled. “I looked and at the end of the aisle there were these two animals. I asked, ‘What is that?’ That’s when I saw my first live alpaca.” Bill, 62, ruminated about the unexpected encounter on the ride home. It had planted a seed that has turned into a passion. Today, he often wears a cap around the farm while taking care of the girls. Embroidered on his cap is the word “Alpaca-holic.” The 16 female animals are all individuals with unique personalities, their owners said. The species is indigenous to South America and they are cousins of the camel and llama. They come in a smaller package though, just 100 to 200 pounds, and at a height of only three feet at the shoulders. They can live around 20 years. The prized possession of the alpaca, other than their charming personalities, is its fleece. “They’re more and more of a commercial interest in the fleece because the fleece itself is almost water repellent,” Bundy said. “It wicks water away. It’s very, very warm. Knitters like to use it because it doesn’t have the lanolin that wool does in the yarn.” It is also hypoallergenic.

Money making avenues There are basically four different avenues of making money as an alpaca farmer: breeding the animals and selling the offspring; selling its fleece wholesale; selling fleece products or selling the meat. The couple refuses to slaughter any of their girls because they are bonded with the animals, but are aware some farmers choose to work that way. The meat is considered a delicacy, McKinney said. The way Seven Acres Alpaca Farm goes to market with its fleece is rather unique. They engage their fleece resources with a cooperative. “They give it a dollar value and they bank that amount into a banking account,” McKinney said. “Then they send the fleece out to be produced into product — all kinds of things. They have a catalog. We can purchase back that particular product that we want — gloves or hats or sweaters or whatever. 16

55 PLUS - April / May 2017

Bill Bundy, left, and Paul McKinney feeding the “girls.” “We have yet to see a group of people, small or large, that didn’t have this true love and respect for the animal,” Bundy said. “I think that’s why we’re enjoying it so much.” Then they deduct that from our bank. Then we sell it retail.” McKinney did four major arts and crafts festivals with their products last fall. The farm was able to pay for the girls’ feed expenses with the proceeds. But more resources are needed for the farm to make ends meet. Bundy wants to base the business on a boutique model, selling only the best and breeding only the best. Right now, each of the adult girls is valued at between $2,000-$5,000. But he has resigned himself to the fact that he needs to sell some of the youngest in order to keep the farm running properly and breed the best possible herd. It won’t be easy to let go of the little ones. “There’s always going to be one that you have a hard time parting with,” Bundy said. “There’s somebody interested in my little lighter-colored girl by the name of Summer Dawn. I’m thinking that would be my first one and that would be so hard to do. I would want to know where it goes and all that.”

Cozy community Bill and Paul learned the ins and outs of Alpaca farming from Jodi and Chris Hatch of Salmon River Alpaca Farm, where they bought their first five girls. The Hatches have mentored the newbies, giving advice whenever

needed. That’s the way of things in alpaca farming. It is a close-knit, friendly community that pays it forward. When some new farmer is getting on his or her feet with the animal, the old pro is there to help. The relationship doesn’t end with the sale of the alpaca. They chose females because they learned that female Alpacas alone would be a better choice for their herd because the animals have no specific breeding season and adding males to the mix would have definitely complicated matters. So the sorority on Dinglehole Road was born. The girls have other admirers too. The couple’s neighbors, Lisa and Ed Hetko, often pitch in to offer a helping hand with the herd. There is something about alpacas that just draws people. “They’re not just great neighbors and friends but they help us out,” McKinney said. The composition of this sisterhood may change over time, but McKinney and Bundy are looking forward to developing the best herd they can. Both men are happy they came back to Central New York for good. Bundy said it is the best decision they ever made. “We’ve been together 33 years,” McKinney said. “I’ve never seen him so happy.” For more information on Seven Acres Alpaca Farm, email sevenacresalpaca@aol.com.

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April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




The Marathon Lady Kathrine Switzer, a former SU student, was one of the first females to run the Boston Marathon. Now at 70, she will run in Boston again— and she will celebrate 50 years since her first run By Patricia J. Malin

Kathrine Switzer in a 2011 photo. Courtesy of Joan Barker Images. 18

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or Kathrine Switzer, aging gracefully means never giving up her commitment to running. She ran her last marathon in Berlin, Germany, about six years ago at age 64 and that seemed remarkable at the time. Now she’s out to top that feat — make that “feet.” When the 121st Boston Marathon rolls around this April 17, Switzer will don running shoes again and will be honored on the 50th anniversary of her groundbreaking run there. The 70-year-old doesn’t shy away from running, though she is usually on the sidelines as an inspirational speakerconsultant, broadcaster or race organizer. Switzer has been active her entire life and now the history books are finally catching up to her. Syracuse University had a hand in developing her iconic image. Even before she entered SU in the fall of 1966, her unconventional reputation as a runner had preceded her. While attending Lynchburg College in Virginia, she and another woman were allowed to compete in three races with the men’s track team. Her first competition in the mile run garnered a mention in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd,” plus in the New York Times and the Associated Press. Some five months later, when she requested permission from the SU athletic director to train with the men’s cross country team, he was skeptical, but did not discourage her. Little did he know his acceptance would revolutionize Switzer’s life and the history of women’s sports. In April 1967, her fame exploded onto the national scene when she ran the then male-only Boston Marathon as a member of the Syracuse Harriers club. She registered as K. Switzer, her usual byline when she wrote for her high school and college newspapers, even though the Boston Athletic Association did not explicitly ban women. Two miles into the race, her identity was exposed. Jock Semple, a key member of the Boston Athletic Association marathon committee, suddenly attacked Switzer and attempted to tear off her race bib in full view of members of the press truck. Switzer’s boyfriend, Tom Miller, a burly SU assistant track coach accompanying her, rose to her defense and tackled Semple. Shaken up by the furor, Switzer was nevertheless more determined to finish. Crossing the finish line in a time of

four hours and 20 minutes in front of a stunned press corps, she drew worldwide media attention, both scorn and praise. Switzer recollected her Boston and Syracuse adventures in her 2007 book, “Marathon Woman,” and during an interview at the Boilermaker Expo in Utica last year. Born in Germany, where her father was a major in the U.S. Army in post-World War II, Switzer enjoyed a boisterous childhood keeping up with her older brother. After her family moved to the United States, her parents encouraged her to excel in the classroom and on the playing field. “I was always athletic, from the time I was 12,” she said. “When I was in high school, I tried out for the field hockey team and my father suggested I begin running a mile a day to get in shape. At first, I was intimidated. I was not one of the best players in skill, but I had good conditioning. I felt empowered and I got a good sense of myself.” At Lynchburg College in 1965, she was delighted to find varsity teams for women in field hockey and lacrosse, but shocked that few of her teammates took sports as seriously as she did. Though much larger and seemingly more cosmopolitan than Lynchburg, SU was a different world. “I went to Syracuse to be a writer,” she said, but she was upset to find zero athletic opportunities for women. She then forged her own path. She found an unlikely ally in the SU athletic department in Arnie Briggs, a part-time track coach who became her mentor. “He was 50 at the time and he had run in 15 Boston Marathons,” she said. “He said women weren’t capable of running marathons...but he took me under his wing and trained me,” she added. “I had to prove him wrong and it didn’t come until the day I ran 31 miles with him.” For many months, winter to spring, they were an odd couple marking the miles from the SU campus to the suburbs of Manlius and hills of Pompey to train for Switzer ’s auspicious debut. Switzer wasn’t the first woman to run Boston, just the first to get a bib number. Robin “Bobbi” Gibb ran the Boston Marathon in 1966, but she registered as a male. She hid

Kathrine Switzer making the news during the Boston Marathon April 19, 1967. The original caption in the Boston Herald read, “Who says chivalry is dead? When a girl listed as ‘K. Switzer from Syracuse’ found herself about to be thrown out of normally all-male Boston Marathon today, husky companion Thomas Miller of Syracuse threw a block that tossed the race official out of the running instead. The photo of this confrontation flashed around the globe and became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.” Photos courtesy of the Boston Herald. in the bushes near the starting line, then jumped in. Unofficially, she finished 125th out of approximately 500 entrants with a time of 3:21:25. Gibb never got an official race number during the three years (196668) that she ran, according to the Boston Marathon website. Switzer received all the notoriety following her escapade in Boston. “I think 50 percent of the people in the world hated me and 50 percent loved me,” she recalled, “but Syracuse was wonderful to me. They thought I was unfairly treated and my classmates thought it was fantastic.” She went on to complete her undergraduate degree in journalism and English at the Newhouse School. By 1971, she had married Miller (although it was brief), worked on her master’s at SU and got a job at BristolMeyer pharmaceuticals. She also became a tireless advocate for women runners. Sensing a growing interest in the sport, she and Briggs organized road races in Syracuse and Buffalo. “Sometimes we would get 200 or 400 runners, but almost no women,” she said. But she wasn’t deterred. She teamed up with race director Fred Lebow to get women into the New York City Marathon in 1970 (she won the race in 1974). She flaunted convention again in Boston in 1969 and 1970 and battled the AAU for

acceptance. Even Semple caved in to the growing women’s movement, and in 1972, Switzer was among nine women to run with official sanction in Boston. In 1975, her 2:51 marathon win in Boston was ranked sixth in the world and third in the USA in women’s marathon. Switzer has worked as a broadcaster during the Boston Marathon for the last 36 years. In 2013, the Boston Marathon was rocked by two explosions near the finish line that killed three people and injured hundreds, but she had left the area just minutes earlier. Switzer returns to Syracuse from time to time. Ten years ago, she helped found their department of sports management and sits on its board of directors. She splits her time between homes in New Paltz, N.Y. and Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband, Roger Robinson, a New Zealand runner, emeritus professor and author. S h e s e r v e s a s p re s i d e n t o f Marathon Woman magazine and Atlanta Sports Promotions, Inc. She is the founder of 261 Fearless Movement, a nonprofit that organizes non-competitive running clubs to provide networking, running support and education to women all over the world. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


All That Jazz Legendary WCNY-FM DJ really knows how to jazz it up By Josh Cradduck


t’s 12 degrees outside on a sunny mid-December morning. It’s one of those days that would keep the hardiest inside if they could help it. Don’t tell that to Leo Rayhill, who at age 89 is up and at ‘em at WCNY studios on West Fayette Street, Syracuse. He is used to the routine. After all, he’s got a radio show to do. 2016 marked 55 years on the air professionally for Rayhill, and to this day, he’s still guiding listeners through “The Sounds of Jazz” and “Classic Sinatra” on WCNY-FM. When he got his start in radio as a student at Hamilton College, Harry Truman was president. The United Nations was in its infancy. “Rum and Coca Cola” by the Andrews Sisters was the song of the moment. If you turned the radio dial to the college’s 88.7 in 1945, you’d hear Rayhill introduce the latest swinging record on his show “Just Jazz.” Hepcats were the hipsters then. If you’d go just up the dial to 91.3 FM 20

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in Syracuse today, you’d hear Rayhill again introduce the classics. His interviews in the past read like a who’s who of 20th century jazz. Louis Armstrong. Eddie Condon. Rosemary Clooney. Stan Kenton. Count Basie. The list goes on. He cites Armstrong as his favorite interview. “He came and apologized very nicely that he could only stay for a minute because they had him booked here and there,” he says. “And two hours later he is still talking! Everyone said it was the best interview I ever did and he did all of the talking!” he says. “He knew so much about everything. He was very well educated.” His career as jazz aficionado extends far beyond the confines of a small radio station booth.

Jazz with a splash of vodka Rayhill was in charge of promoting a Syracuse gig featuring the legendary jazz artist Condon. It was the night of

the concert and Condon asked Rayhill how many tickets were sold. “We only sold 10!” he exclaimed. Rayhill seemed not to worry: “We’ll work it out.” When Rayhill pulled up to the concert hall, he saw a mob scene. “Police were out. Firemen were out,” he said. “Fans stood around the stage and it was a wonderful concert!” Rayhill’s wife, Joan, offered to have Condon and his band come back to their house after the show. “Well, Eddie came back and after it all, we had six bottles of vodka that somehow disappeared!” he said. Rayhill made sure to know his main subject well, too. Along with this wife, he saw Frank Sinatra plenty of times. He heard one night at the last minute that Sinatra was performing at Saratoga. They hopped in their car at the drop of a fedora hat and got back home after the concert: at three in the morning. “He was great, a marvelous guy. So professional,” he said. In a career marked by long nights,

smoky nightclubs and missing vodka bottles, he still has no plans to slow down. He treks from Fayetteville every Tuesday to tape the shows at 8 a.m. The shows air every Sunday. Rayhill remains a maestro in the studio, spreading out on the console a vast personal collection of CDs like he is standing at the conductor’s podium of a great orchestra. He selects the songs he wants in rapid pace, as if he were cueing with Leonard Bernstein’s baton.

Every tune has a story He uses no script, has no notes and is ready with a story for each song. However, he can no longer do the show alone. With him at the audio board is Jim Aroune, the vice president of radio and television at WCNY and former long-time television news anchor in Rochester. Aroune jokes that he is the one to set Rayhill’s alarm to get him there every Tuesday. The two work like a well-oiled machine. An Abbott and Costello. A Rooney and Garland. A Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. “Every week we work to create a show that hasn’t been heard before,” Aroune says. “And with his knowledge, experience and passion for it, we have an easy time. We throw the discs out and start laughing at each other.” Unlike most modern radio shows that utilize digital files to play songs, Rayhill enters the studio solely with bags of compact discs. “As you walk through his home, on every wall in every room, at least waist high, if not higher, there are rows and rows of CDs and albums,” Aroune says. “The only room that doesn’t have that music is his art room, his living room. It’s full of amazing art. When he gets ready for the show, he’ll take his walk to the back of his house, fills up his bags with CDs and that’s what we do.” Aroune inserts the CDs, works the buttons and keeps the show’s time. But it’s Rayhill who remains the star. He hands the discs to Aroune and suggests which songs to play. When Aroune errs on a segment and has to start over, Rayhill cracks, “We’ve fired him six times but he always finds his way back.” Both erupt in laughter, which fills the hour.

You’ll see Aroune gaze from time to time at the Internet for a fact or two about an obscure recording. Rayhill simply funnels through 60 years of jazz broadcasting to insert a bit of trivia. When you’re Rayhill, who needs Wikipedia? “Do you want to talk this Vince Guaraldi piece up?” Aroune asks, increasing the volume in his voice to make sure Rayhill can hear him clearly. “Sure,” Rayhill exclaims. And with Aroune’s cue, the two casually launch into the next segment. Nary a script or Post-It Note in the area. “When you get a chance, see if you can get this in next,” Rayhill insists, with Aroune gladly obliging. “That’s a great one. That’s outta print!”

Hammering away He brought a long resume to WCNY long before he decided to dedicate the rest of his life there beginning in the early 1970s. Rayhill got his professional start working at WQSR and continued on to WPAW and the legendary radio station WHEN. He spent nights taking in gigs at the old Dinkler Inn on James Street. The former hotel, owned by Jim McCartney, Mac Cadaret and Mary Lou Glover, showcased the top jazz stars of the era. He wasn’t always quite ready to leave when the show was over. Not only because he’d miss the music. “I was afraid to walk down on James Street at night,” he jokes. Rayhill’s life has not always been about jazz. It was the steady pounding of a jackhammer that provided his daytime soundtrack. For many years, Rayhill and his wife Joan owned a construction firm. What started out as a small operation between the two ended with a business with over 100 employees at the year-end Christmas party. “I was very lucky. I retired with enough money to continue doing the jazz show,” he said. OK, maybe most of his life has been about jazz. He continued, “My wife says the only reason I was in business was to buy records,” he said. Believe it or not, he’s actually not that musical himself. He dabbled on the piano growing up but was no Vladimir Horowitz. For the nexus of his career, look no further than his father, Leo Rayhill Sr. He fondly

remembers his father playing piano to near perfection. Rayhill Sr. sold them, too, and always demonstrated his merchandise for customers. He’s not stuck in the era of his idol Glenn Miller, though. He loves Lady Gaga and the Canadian pianist Diana Krall. He’ll even play the young, upand-coming artists on his show. “You oughta work this in too,” he says to Aroune. Rayhill encourages young people to continue to sing quality music, mainly because he’s ready to hear it. “He’s a young guy. This is his first Christmas album and it’s great!” he tells Aroune. Now in a wheelchair, Rayhill exhibits no true signs of slowing down, even outside of his radio show. He remains an usher at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. “I got the job because no one else wanted it,” he cracks. “But I’ve enjoyed it and I’m still doing it. I came back from an illness last year and I was told the job was still mine.” He has missed very little time on the air, save for that illness last year. “I enjoy this. It’s such a joy,” he says. Aroune jumps in: “Yeah, he’s not stopping.” It’s time for the “Classic Sinatra” taping to end on this frigid December morning. Frank has crooned for the past hour on this special Christmas program. Aroune signals it’s time to go and signs off as Rayhill takes off his headphones and leans back in his wheelchair. Moments later, the trumpet opening on Lionel Hampton’s “Gin for Christmas” can be heard through the studio. Rayhill hands over the next CD to play on the “Sounds of Jazz,” which begins its taping for the next hour. His day isn’t over. Not by a long shot. After all, he’s got a radio show to do. Rayhill’s “Classic Sinatra” can be heard on WCNY-FM 91.3 Syracuse, WUNY-FM 89.5 Utica, and WJNY-FM 90.9 Watertown at 11 a.m. Sundays and “Sounds of Jazz” can be heard at 3 p.m. Sundays.

Josh Cradduck, the assignment supervisor at TWC News, originally wrote this story for the online newsletter published by the Syracuse Press Club. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




Steve Andrianos and his wife, Terry, operate Hercules Candy in East Syracuse.


Andrianos family carries on rich sweet tradition at Hercules Candy By Mary Beth Roach


teve Andrianos and his wife, Terry, are carrying on a sweet tradition from the same home that has been in his family for decades. Situated on West Heman Street in the village of East Syracuse is the home of Hercules Candy, where the couple makes and markets their candy, and also where they live. As one enters the main floor, the smell is intoxicating. Every nook is stocked with hard candies and chocolates — bags and boxes of chocolate-covered animal crackers, potato chips, and nuts, just to name


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a few, and then individual chocolate candy cast from various molds, including fire trucks, smiley faces, roses, motorcycles and even cows and pigs. Displayed atop the shelves are molds that are no longer usable, many of which have worn thin over the years. “This is the place people come in, look around, and you can hear them laughing,” Steve Andrianos said. In the basement is where all the confections are created and where Andrianos spends hours producing candy. He often uses the same

stoves, counters and equipment his grandfather and father used a generation before. His grandfather, Robert, from Greece, immigrated to Boston. There, as a teenager, he learned how to make candy at the Boston Candy Company. Eventually he left there and set up a soda, ice cream and candy shop in Fulton. When the Depression hit, Robert brought the business to the house, and it’s been here ever since, Andrianos said. According to the candy company’s website, Robert renamed the shop in 1945 as the Hercules Candy Company,

in honor of his father, Hercules. Andrianos father had closed the shop in 1972, but Andrianos reopened it in 1977. He started making candy with his father at the age of 12 and always dreamt of running the show. In 1977, when he was 21, he saved up $500 and bought some ingredients and reopened Hercules Candies using the same equipment and utensils that had been idle for five years. “It took me a long time to master the art of making ribbon candy — to get it thin enough and get the flavors just right. Growing up, I learned how to make many different kinds of candy from my family and our customers were so happy to see Hercules Candies operating once more,” he said. Over the years, various relatives have lent a hand in the candy making to keep Hercules Candies an Andrianos family tradition.

Steve Andrianos in the basement of his candy shop. “Candy making is a form of art, and in some places, a lost art.”

‘Lost art’ “Candy making is a form of art, and in some places, a lost art,” Andrianos said. “We make candy the way it was made in the early 1900s — all by hand without any machines. We roast our own nuts on the premises and purchase our ingredients directly from the source from which they originate — not through a middleman. This way, the freshness and quality of our candy speak for itself.” “After high school, I worked at Carrier Corporation,” Andrianos said. “I remember looking down at the guy retiring and I thought, ‘I can’t do that.’ I realized how good it was working here. I couldn’t see myself doing that. This is what I like to do.” It’s a good thing he does since his work days during peak time — from the few weeks leading up to Christmas through Easter — Adrianos figures he works 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. “There’s no snow days,” Adrianos said, chuckling. During slower times, he works about eight hours a day, giving him time to enjoy one of his hobbies — home beer brewing. His favorite candy to make, he said, is ribbon candy, a hard candy popular during Christmas. It took years for Adrianos to master the technique, pulling and twisting the

candy, getting it the proper thickness, cutting at the right length, and shaping it into just the right size. “My father and uncles would make it on the counters. I’d step in and probably mess it up and step back. You have to practice a little bit at a time. My wife learned how to twist with two fingers to make the ribbon candy. That took some time. It’s not that easy. You only have between 4 to 5 seconds to twist it, otherwise it stays in that position,” he explained. The popularity of ribbon candy had been on the decrease, Andrianos admitted, but then his son, Craig, posted a video on YouTube showing his parents making the candy from start to finish. The video has already had tens of thousands of views. “Now people realize how we make it and all of a sudden they’re flocking in,” Andrianos said. Several years ago, they added a new flavor of ribbon candy to their

selections — peanut butter. Andrianos said a candy maker in Cortland was retiring and had called him about making this version. He passed along his tips for how to make the new version. Coincidentally, Terry, 53, who grew up in Preble, said this is the same candy maker who owned the shop where her mother used to get her Easter candy. While the ribbon candy might be his favorite to make, his favorite to eat is the chocolate truffles. “They’re awesome,” Andrianos said. The assorted chocolates are probably their signature candy, since they are all hand-dipped and handdecorated, Terry said. At 61, Andrianos plans to continue the tradition, saying that he has no intention of retiring. “I like doing it. After all these years, I’m finally good at it,” he said. “There’s pride in that.” April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


my turn

By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

Medical ‘Cures’ Our Moms Used


VapoRub, castor oil, Carter’s Little Liver pills were always on the menu of cure-all medicines

hile visiting my 85-yearold brother recently, we began reminiscing about some of the bizarre medical “cures” my mother used when we were sick. I swear she had stock in the Vicks company, now owned by Procter & Gamble. Her favorite was VapoRub. You know, the foul-smelling menthol stuff you’re supposed to rub on your chest and throat when you have a cold. Oh, mom would rub it on all right, but then she insisted that I swallow a gob of it, too, for good measure. Yuk! Many years later, a doctor friend, unnerved by my revelation, said VapoRub is not intended to be taken internally and could have caused serious internal damage. “Look,” he said, showing me the little blue jar. “Warning,” the label sternly proclaimed, “for external use only; do not take by mouth or place in nostrils.” Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: She stuck some of it up my nose, too, usually when I had a head cold. About a year before she died in 1997, when I recounted my encounter with my doctor friend, my then 91-year-old mother poohed this medical no-no. “How many days of work have you missed in your adult life?” she asked. I thought about it and could remember only two. “See what I mean: Two days in 35 years of work — you’re as healthy as a horse,” mom observed in vindication. “And you mean I owe it all to eating gobs of VapoRub when I had a cold?” I asked with more than a little skepticism. She smiled that motherly smile and changed the subject. My brothers and I had to wear camphor squares around our necks, too. Mom believed it kept the germs away — maybe vampires, too.


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When I had a cold, my mother’s objective was to have me “sweat it out.” To that end, she would lather me in VapoRub, put on the camphor squares, have me wear two layers of clothing over my pajamas and drink a shot of whiskey. In the morning, I awoke in a pool of sweat, and, remarkably, my cold would seem so much better. When I was born, I was really small. Back in the day, if babies weren’t two-ton-Tony Galentos, they were deemed sickly. When I was in first grade, my family doctor decreed that I needed to be “built up,” so he prescribed that when I came home from school each day my mother would see to it that I would drink two raw eggs into which a shot of Four Roses whiskey was poured. I was also instructed to eat two pieces of toast with “lots of butter.” I swear I am not making this up. I put on about 50 pounds in a one-year period between first and second grades. Dr. James

Forrest, my family doc, said he was not surprised, because he believed that the egg/whiskey concoction stimulated my appetite. He must have been right, because by the time I was a senior I weighed more than anyone in my class at 204 pounds. When my brothers or I complained about having a headache, my mom would wrap our head with a bandage that included a potato. I don’t know if it was just coincidence or whether the potato had some curative powers, but the headache would be gone within minutes. I was cursed with frequent earaches. Mom would heat some olive oil and put it into my ear, along with a plug of cotton. It worked wonders. When we had constipation, mom

Age is No Excuse

would feed us two Carter ’s Little Liver pills. The first time I had them I liked the sweet taste of the coating, so instead of swallowing them when mom put them into my mouth, I started sucking on them. When I had sucked off the coating, the vile taste of the pills made me throw up in the bathroom sink. Mom was not pleased. From time to time, most kids would fake illness to get a day off from school. We never did that, because if we admitted to being sick, mom would bring out the castor oil. We weren’t aware of it years ago, but castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, inks, polishes and some plastics. Despite this, the Federal Drug Administration still lists castor oil as an acceptable product for medicinal purposes. Mom would generally mix the castor oil in orange juice to mask its unpleasant taste. I rarely tolerated castor oil well and usually threw up shortly after ingesting it. So, unless I was unable to walk, I made it to school, because I knew the dreaded castor oil would be on the menu, and school was a much more palatable alternative. Mom was a firm believer that carrots would improve our eyesight. She insisted that along with an apple a day (to keep the doctor away), I also should have a daily carrot. When I started chomping on it, I would go, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” in a poor Bugs Bunny imitation. My mother was not amused. My mom constantly reminded me not to sit too close to the TV for fear of ruining my eyes. Because I was an avid reader, my mother also warned me not to read in a dim light because I might go blind. I had a bad habit of cracking my knuckles, but each time I did this my mother scolded me, warning me that this would lead to arthritis in my later years. So far, so good. Although my mother did not use this remedy, my friend’s mother did. She would hang a clove of garlic around his neck, not to ward off vampires, but to ward off colds. Most gave my friend wide berth because of the pungent odor, which no doubt caused him to have fewer colds because of less human contact.

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April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


sports Second Act for Cardiologist 55+

Physician Michael Bowser devoted many years to practicing medicine at Crouse and St. Joseph’s hospitals. Now he finds satisfaction coaching college basketball By Aaron Gifford


ichael Bowser’s friends and colleagues describe him as one of the smartest, most focused and hardest-working men they have ever known. But if you really want to understand the way Bowser thinks, they say, watch a basketball game with him. Instead of cheering for either team, Bowser watches the entire court intently, grimacing as if trying to make mental notes above the noise of the crowd. When the game is over, he’s unlikely to talk about a star performance by a single player, a buzzer-beating shot or how the losing team fell apart. He’s more interested in the unusual variation of a pick and roll that was run once or twice, or the unorthodox spacing of a successful double team play that shouldn’t have worked. He’s really that freakishly geeky about the game. “He’s a workaholic,” says Chris Comino, who played for Bowser at Cazenovia College before joining him as the assistant coach. “It’s always more than just watching a game for enjoyment. He also works harder than most college players do on his own jump shot, and he’s not the one playing. He’s always learning, he taught us how to be like that, and not with just basketball. He develops the whole person.” The 72-year-old coach now retired from a rewarding career as a cardiologist, Bowser is free to continue his true passion — coaching high-level hoops — full time. The LaFayette resident took some time recently to talk about experience growing up in Central New York, his career, family, and his love of round ball. “You know what they say,” he quipped. “When you’re through trying to improve, you’re through. I’m still trying to learn to be better.”  The Buffalo native moved to DeWitt at the age of 13. His father, Aaron, worked for an electronics component


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company. The oldest of six siblings, Bowser attended Christian Brothers Academy. He always aspired to become a doctor, though at times some of his classmates doubted he could get into medical school. Upon graduation he enrolled at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., studying the classics and pre-med. By this time Bowser had played in youth basketball leagues and stuck with the game at the intramural level, but it was long before he showed any promise as a competitor or teacher. Still, his wedding day some 47 years ago was a sign of things to come. Bowser recalls playing a game of hoops with the group of friends that were to be his groomsmen that day. The church bells were scheduled to ring at 4 p.m. In the thrill of the game, they had forgotten this until just a few minutes before they were supposed to be at the altar, and after showering and getting dressed they were all more than a half-hour late. “She [wife Melanie, to whom he is still married] knew what she was getting into, I guess,” Bowser said with a laugh. Bowser did well at Holy Cross and continued onto medical school at the University of Maryland. Two years later he elected to transfer to Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He desired to become a family doctor, and upon graduation opened a general internal medicine practice in Fulton. He enjoyed his short time there immensely. “You got to know the patients closely and people really appreciate what you did for them,” he said. The young doctor quickly developed an affection for the heart. There were few cardiology services available in Oswego County, so Bowser had to do some pacemaker procedures for local patients and then refer them to specialists in Syracuse. He also wanted to practice something more sophisticated. Bowser pursued a cardiology fellowship at Upstate Medical University and upon completion of that program was hired to join a multi-disciplinary practice that was affiliated with Crouse Hospital and headed by doctors John Duggan and William Schiess.  Bowser played a key role

in establishing Crouse as a premier facility for cardiac catheterization and invasive cardiac procedures. As Bowser became a mid-career professional, he wanted basketball to be more than just a hobby. He had really enjoyed teaching the game to his three children — Aaron, Ryan and Lindsey. He was also playing much better, and much harder, than he did when he was in his 20s or 30s. He evolved from the scrappy guy who played harder than most at defense, to a solid playmaker and a formidable outside shooter.  But it was his experience as a fan watching Syracuse University games that inspired him to coach beyond the recreational level. “I liked to watch it and think about what I’d do if I was the coach. Who would I sub in? What plays would I run? The more I did that, the more determined I was to be one of those guys pacing the sidelines someday.” Bowser attended a coaching clinic headed by Indiana University’s Bobby Knight. Because of his age, profession and determination, Bowser left quite an impression on Knight and was even invited to use the Hoosier legend as a reference. “I’ll never forget when he put me on the spot in front of the team’s medical staff,” Bowser said. “He said, ‘what the heck is wrong with you guys?’ He’s a doctor and a coach, and you guys, well, you guys are just doctors.’”  Years later, at an intensive point guard clinic in Florida, nationallyacclaimed trainer Ganon Baker told Bowser that he was the oldest person he had ever trained. That program was attended by former college players and pros in their 20s and 30s who made the move to coaching. “Doc” loved the attention and needling from his much younger peers and never got discouraged. At the age of 55, the doctor obtained a New York state coaching certification for high school basketball and started his career as an assistant coach at Liverpool Middle School. The following year he coached the junior varsity at Fabius-Pompey high school and also served as the assistant varsity coach. “I thought that would be it,” he said. But an unusual set of

circumstances later on cleared the way for his collegiate career. The son of a heart attack patient Bowser had treated was the head coach at Cazenovia College, and that coach just happened to be looking for an assistant. Bowser, though already busy with his medical practice and coaching in Fabius, was happy to sign on for the additional job. A few years later, the head coach decided to return to coaching high school hoops, so Bowser was promoted. By this time Bowser was employed at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, where he scaled back his schedule to office visits only and no longer performed surgeries. In 2008, he retired from medicine to concentrate on coaching full-time. At the end of that season, the 63-year-old was honored as the NEAC division coach of the year. He loved the level of skill and dedication of college hoopsters, and he didn’t miss dealing with meddling high school parents. But there were also unique challenges, including the Division III NCAA regulation that prohibited coaches from working with the players during the off season. And in Division III, which cannot provide athletic scholarships, it’s difficult to recruit players based on who you think would fit best in your system, Bowser added. At Cazenovia, the hallmark of Bowser’s program was fundamentals. Kids were required to learn and drill the correct techniques — things like aiming for the square on the backboard with shots as opposed to the flashier “nothing but net” approach. He reminded them of what is important — a solid first step, getting your body low to protect the ball, and other techniques that give you an extra second to better execute a drive, pass or shot. “Nowadays,” he growled, “kids want to automatically chuck it from the three-point line.” Bowser took a coaching position at Well College in 2012, but has remained close with many former players and the athletic staff at Cazenovia College. Wells also plays in the NEAC, so Bowser has returned to his old court annually. During Bowser’s first trip back as an opposing coach, all of the players in continued on p. 41 April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky


My visit to this complex, fascinating country


henever I tell people I have recently been to India, the response is, “why India?” Though it’s a place I had always wanted to visit, my experience was nothing like what I expected it would be. In my brief three-week visit, this extremely complex, fascinating country, left me with more questions than any other country I have visited. Given that I’m still searching for answers, one article will not suffice and even so, this series will be strictly about my superficial impressions and experiences. My tour arrived in India at a particularly historic time — the week after the government voided the large denomination 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, causing a shortage of paper bills. Despite a booming economy, a large percentage of business in India is conducted on the black market. The recall was to get at the so-called “black money,” meaning both money for which taxes had not been paid and the large amount of counterfeit bills in circulation. In order to get the counterfeit bills out of the system and get taxes paid on money that was squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts, the government issued new money. People who didn’t do business electronically or who didn’t even have bank accounts, waited days on endless lines at banks to exchange their life savings into the new money. The banks and ATMs were overwhelmed and ran out of money faster than the new bills were coming in.


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For the most part people understood that the system had to change because of all the cheating on taxes, particularly by some of the extremely wealthy, depriving the government of the ability to provide basic services, let alone improve the country. While the wealthy were able to cope better financially because their transactions were electronic, it seemed like every other person, poor or wealthy, did business in cash and that the people who were hurt the most in the short term were small businesses and their poor customers. Just to give a sense of the trickledown effect of the recall, let’s look at a village wedding. Large weddings are an important family tradition in India and a source of income to those involved in the wedding trade. Often, the whole village is invited and the number of attendees can range into the thousands. Parents start saving for the wedding as soon as their daughter is born. Much of the accumulated money is earned “under the table.” When the large denomination notes became worthless literally overnight, weddings either had to be canceled or drastically scaled down. Deposits were lost. Businesses suffered. Traditionally, the bride has at least three changes of elaborate clothing over a period of three days of celebrating. The groom, beautifully dressed, rides through the streets to the wedding on a decorated horse surrounded by musicians and friends. Now the retail businesses who outfitted the bride, her bridal party and the guests, the tailor

Marilyn Pinsky at a hotel in Udaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthen. who provided the groom’s clothing, the man in the horse-rental business and the musicians, couldn’t be paid. The catering halls and all their vendors, including the small farmers providing the food, the wedding entertainment, the decorations company and the honeymoon hotels were all left holding the bag. And not just for one wedding, but for the foreseeable future of hundreds of canceled or drastically scaled down events. Nevertheless, million dollar weddings are not unusual in certain social circles, and a most recent one cost $40 million. From the tourist’s perspective, we felt awful for the people working in the hotels and restaurants, and for the “untouchable” washroom attendants in the airports, train stations and tourist stops, all of whom depended in varying degrees on tips for their income. For those of us who didn’t think to bring $1 bills to use for tips (I will never make that mistake again!) but instead were intending to break US 20s or 50s and change them into rupees once we were in India, we were in a difficult position, as neither banks, ATMs, hotels nor merchants had money to exchange. Though things are difficult in the short run, the hope is that it will

Outdoor laundry in Mumbai, the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India accomplish the purpose of having appropriate taxes paid and also address the serious concerns about counterfeit money being used to finance terrorism. While we are on the subjects of weddings, something that I found so difficult to understand at first began to sound like a good idea — arranged marriages. This is done in all segments of society. The parents of both the woman and the man are responsible for finding the appropriate marriage partner and for negotiating the terms. After the wedding, the couple moves in with the groom’s parents.  The parents take a lot of factors into consideration when searching for a mate for their child, such as religion, caste, horoscopes, education and

Vegetable market is Mumbai.

professional status. When you think of it, who knows a child better than a parent? And as the communities are fairly small, it is easy to find out information about each other. However, this tradition is beginning to slowly change, particularly in the larger cities, and self-arranged marriages are now an option. In asking a number of people I met on planes or at restaurants about their arranged marriages, all were very open in talking about it and professed to a high level of satisfaction with the tradition. In modern times the couple usually gets to meet each other, spend some time together and each has the

opportunity to consent to the marriage or not. The divorce rate, compared to the US, is very low. I did love the “matrimonial” ads in the newspapers. They often were under the headings of “Grooms Wanted For” or “Brides Wanted For” and included the caste, the education level, the profession and the appearance of the suitor and the desired appearance of the one being searched for.  The government, in a desire to change the caste system in the country (more on this in another article) is offering inducements, such as gold watches, for people to marry someone in a lower caste. So far there hasn’t been a lot of takers.

To be continued….

Kama Sutra Temple in Udaipur. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




Still at the Helm

Pediatrician Tom Welch was one of the founders of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. He remains the top pediatrician at the hospital. He talks about career, growing up in Herkimer, and why he is also known as ‘Adiron Doc’ By Aaron Gifford


o r To m We l c h , c l i m b i n g mountains and practicing medicine have much in common. When your ascent is high enough to observe breathtaking views of what’s below and appreciate what one has accomplished to get to that point, it takes a great deal of focus and endurance to look up instead of down and continue climbing with no guarantee of reaching the summit. The key to success is to enjoy yourself, to believe that what you’re doing is important, and to work well with others who are also pushing onward. Welch, medical director and a founding father of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse who still practices pediatric nephrology, has always managed to balance his lifelong love of the outdoors with his medical career. The two elements, he says, complement each other well. “Both of them give you the ability to be disconnected from everything else when you are focused on a task,” said Welch, 70, who also is a licensed wilderness guide. “That’s a nice place


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to be sometimes.” Welch took some time recently to discuss his upbringing in the rural Mohawk Valley, a rewarding medical and academic career that brought him back home to Central New York, the quest to bring a children’s hospital here, and how he came to be known as the “Adiron Doc.” Welch, an only child, grew up in Herkimer, a village in the Adirondack foothills. His father worked as a county administrator and his mother was a schoolteacher. Back then Herkimer was a small but thriving community that boasted a vibrant wood furniture industry. The forest meant everything to the Welches, and young Thomas gravitated to the outdoors right away. He excelled in Boy Scouts and took a strong interest in biology. An outstanding student, Welch chose Princeton University for his undergraduate degree. Welch was torn between a career in wilderness biology and a career in medicine, but before completing his undergraduate degree he decided that if he worked hard as a physician, he would eventually have the flexibility

to maintain his dedication to the outdoors as a lifelong hobby. He spent two weeks of a college break roughing it in the Adirondacks without a television, radio or newspapers. When he left the woods, Welch asked the first person he saw who had won the California primary election. He was informed that candidate Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. “Sad news, yes,” he said. “Yet there is something special about getting away to a place where you can be removed from all current events. I always enjoyed getting out and being out on my own. The best part about the outdoors is the ability to be disconnected.” He chose to attend medical school in Montreal at McGill University. He had relatives in northern New York who did well after graduating from there; he loved the city of Montreal and wanted to experience a change of pace. Of course, Montreal was a reasonable drive to some fantastic wilderness areas in Quebec. At McGill, Welch’s best mentors specialized in pediatric medicine.

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He found that specialty fascinating, determined that he could excel in it and followed in their footsteps. He continued his training at the University of Colorado, conveniently located near the Rockies, and established his subspecialty in pediatric nephrology. “I spent most of my free time climbing the Rockies out there,” he said. “I was lucky to pursue both endeavors.”

Leader in pediatric nephrology Wi t h m e d i c a l d e g r e e a n d credentials in hand, Welch returned home to serve his community, becoming the first pediatrician to set up shop in Herkimer. One day a week, he continued his work in pediatric nephology in Syracuse, completing the required training in the area of childhood kidney disease to become board-certified. Welch loved practicing in his hometown, but he also desired career growth at an academic center, so he took a job at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to establish himself as a leader in the field. “I wanted to come home,” he said, but at that time Syracuse did not have its own children’s hospital. Welch then decided to take on what could be the toughest climb in his career. By nature, pediatric nephrologists must be strong collaborators and excellent communicators. Kidney disease can affect other organs, so specialists in that field often have no choice but to work with other specialists and primary care physicians. Welch was a successful practitioner during his time at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in an era that saw major breakthroughs in nephrology — from a new standard of success in kidney transplants to the onset of home-based dialysis care. In his quest to come home, Welch took a look at the numbers. In a vast region of about 2 million people that spans from the Canadian border to the Southern Tier, existing hospitals could not accommodate the demand for surgery on the youngest of patients, whether minor or major, and smaller hospitals outside of the Syracuse metro region had only modest pediatric departments that could not provide advanced levels of care. On top of that, Welch discovered 32

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60 to 70 new cases of childhood cancers were being diagnosed in the region annually. “There was no way it could be divided through the hospitals in our area,” he said.

Herculean effort In 2001, Welch returned home to practice pediatric nephrology at Upstate University Hospital and spearhead effort to build a children’s hospital. His dream was realized in September 2009. The hospital was named after its major benefactor, Rochester billionaire Thomas Golisano. Welch and Eileen Pezzi worked to raise $22 million from 8,000 donors, and their work continued well after the facility opened. “He gave over 150 tours for donors,” said Pezzi, Upstate University Hospital vice president for development. “He put his heart and soul into it. His advocacy for kids is unparalleled. It’s easy to be part of a team with someone that has so much passion for the care of sick and injured children.” More than 4,000 children receive care at that hospital annually. It has more than 70 beds, a pediatric trauma center and employs 90 specialists, including two other pediatric nephrologists. Welch treats young patients there as well, in addition to overseeing the hospital’s quality assurance, safety, fund raising and recruitment efforts. Welch lives in Jamesville with his wife, Carolyn. They have two grown children. Son Tim is a pediatric anesthesiologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Daughter Beth is a graduate student at Harvard. Despite tremendous time c o m m i t m e n t s f o r w o r k , We l c h maintains a healthy lifestyle. He has competed in 21 marathons and still runs shorter distances. He has been a vegetarian since the mid-1980s. He gave up meat and fish for health and ethical reasons. “At first I missed veal and fish the most,” he said. “But it has been so long that I don’t even miss those things.” A blender is a vegetarian’s best friend, Welch says, and homemade soups are the best-kept secret. “Carrots, parsnips, turnips, root vegetables and lots of spices,” Welch

said. “The canned soups have so much sodium. But if you make it yourself, soup is healthy and unique. There’s so much you can create.” Welch usually brings a variety of beans and spices to make his own soup during wilderness trips. He is a licensed guide in New York, Alaska and Montana and teaches survival training, but he does not fish or hunt.

Wilderness via the web In the late 1990s, Welch created his “AdironDoc” website to share his love and knowledge of the outdoors with the rest of the world. On the blog section of the site, Welch provides helpful information on a variety of topics, from the use of sport drinks, to “the silly science of drinking urine,” to the basics of dealing with brown bears. “Regardless of species,” Welch wrote, “the most common result of an encounter with a bear, in the Adirondacks or in Alaska, is the ultimate death of the bear. When bear have an encounter with a human that results in a food reward, they are on the pathway to becoming a problem bear. “This most often results in their death, either at the hand of regulatory authorities or hunters.” Despite his experience on higher mountains and denser wilderness in Alaska and Montana, Welch still considers the Adirondacks his special place. He has property there, and still finds plenty of spots where he can go into the woods for days on ends with no access to cell phone service or current events. At the Five Ponds Wilderness Area near Cranberry Lake, for example, “I have been there for days without seeing anyone.” He applauds the state of New York for continually expanding the Adirondack Park. As the park gets bigger and more people are discovering it, Welch continues teaching survival skills. He advocates the use of maps and compasses, and discourages would-be wilderness campers from relying on a GPS device. He also implores students to forget anything they think they learned on outdoor reality television shows like “Survivor.” “Those shows,” he said, “drive me absolutely crazy.” That’s not to say outdoor adventures cannot be trying and

dramatic. During a winter break from college, Welch and a group of his hiking buddies ran into whiteout conditions at the top of Mount Colden in the Adirondacks. They took an unfamiliar path back to their campsite in the dark. They made it back safe, thanks to their skills and preparation. Welch draws on his own experiences to provide his students the appropriate tools for success. One of those students is Mike Parker, an ear, nose and throat specialist who practices in the Syracuse area. He met Welch at the age of 11 when he was in Boy Scouts. Welch was 22 years old at the time and a conservation area director who worked with scout troops. “He was one of the guys that all of the younger kids looked up to,” Parker recalled. “He was cool without knowing that he’s cool. He was the role model for outdoors appreciation.” Parker and his three children were all Eagle Scouts. He still frequents the Adirondacks and climbed a frozen Algonquin mountain this past January. One of his most memorable times in the national park was climbing Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York state, on the 100th anniversary of the first ascent up that mountain. He also fondly recalls that time he consulted Welch when he was unsure of pursuing a career in medicine versus a career in wilderness biology or environmental science. “I was worried about sacrificing so much time in medical school that I couldn’t be outdoors,” Parker said. “He offered me some clarity on that topic. With his guidance, I was able to decide on the importance of providing a service to others. He provided enough wisdom, but from a friend’s perspective.” Joe Stern, a licensed wilderness guide in Utah, was in scouts with Welch’s son, Tim. When Welch became their troop leader, Stern was totally impressed with “how a guy in his 50s could be so super fit, so active and know so much about the outdoors while also working as a doctor.” “He went well beyond just hot dogs around the fire,” Stern said. “That level of expertise of the outdoors, even in scouts, is rare. He was at the next level. That’s who inspired me for this career. I’m still learning from him, and I’m a pro!”

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“Motown The Musical” is one of the two Broadway plays to be presented at Landmark Theatre in Syracuse. The show is scheduled for May 16-22.

Landmark to Present Broadway Shows


wo award-winning Broadway shows will be presented a t L a n d m a r k T h e a t re i n downtown Syracuse in April and May. • “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” — Producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have announced that the Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway hit “Beautiful—The Carole King Musical,” about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, will make its Syracuse premiere at the Landmark

Theatre for one week, April 18 – 23. Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, a Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her 20s, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. • “Motown The Musical” — Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug

Morris and Motown Founder Berry Gordy, and Famous Artists have announced that single tickets for “Motown The Musical” are on sale now. “Motown The Musical” will play the Landmark Theatre May 16-22. Directed by Charles RandolphWright, “Motown The Musical” is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more. Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Motown The Musical” tells the story behind the hits as Ross, Robinson, Gordy and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. “Motown The Musical” is produced by Tony Award winning producer Kevin McCollum (“Rent”, “In the Heights”, “Avenue Q”), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy, in association with Work Light Productions. To p u r c h a s e t i c k e t s , v i s i t B ro a d w a y I n S y r a c u s e . c o m , c a l l Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visit the Landmark Theatre Box Office or Famous Artists. For group information, call Famous Artists at 315-424-8210.

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Final Farewell

Parting is such sweet sorrow, particularly from a career you love By John Kares Smith


merica is consumed with worry that few older Americans have enough money to last them through their retirement. In fact, few Americans of any age seem to have salted away many resources. No one wants Grandpa sleeping on a park bench or Grandma taking in laundry to pay her electric bill. Yes, that is a problem, but it isn’t the only problem and it isn’t my problem. My problem I believe is significant if for no other reason than it has been largely ignored and seldom addressed. With apologies to Shakespeare, parting is often unsweetened sorrow. Let me explain. In her chapter on interpersonal communication, Pamela Cooper observes in “Communication for the Classroom Teacher” that we usually think of terminating a relationship, even a work relationship, as negative. She writes: “In the studentteacher relationship, the termination stages of deterioration and dissolution are a natural phenomenon. Classes end and students leave.” Cooper quotes Patrick Walsh about termination relationships: “Nowadays,” Walsh explains, “I make my June farewells by writing them notes on the blackboard. A couple of years ago I was checking the roll call for the last time when I suddenly got choked up. Another time I was collecting the last set of tests when it hit me that this would be the last time these kids would come together as ‘my’ students. I could feel the tears starting. I grabbed some chalk and scribbled a note on the blackboard: ‘You’ve been one of the most talented, wild and fun classes I’ve ever taught. Thanks for a great year.” I am grateful for my many years at SUNY Oswego. But, inevitably, classes end, students leave and professors depart their classrooms, sometimes for good.

My title reflects a work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross called “To Live Until We Say Goodbye.” In that book, KublerRoss explains that at the end of our days — or maybe in my case, the end of my career — we reflect on what we are most proud of, of what we did and who we have become. Kubler-Ross argues that we are never more alive than when we learn our time is running out so that we make our final times meaningful. I am, of course, reminded of the observation of Rilke: The greatest tragedy is to die of an unlived life.

Defined by profession

long. For it is not for the money or the administrative recognition that any of us get that keeps us here. Rather, it is because professors play a unique role in the development of the community and the country. We each become part of the mosaic of each others’ lives, for, like most of you, I give a piece of me to every student I have ever had and, in his or her own way, each student gives me a piece of himself or herself. Many students ignore the piece I give them; many throw it away without a moment’s thought. That’s OK. I always have more pieces. But some — our best students — know that they have something that is rare and nurturing. Like the old saying: to

But retiring and saying goodbye will not be easy for me for lots of long, entrenched ideas, behaviors and cultural values. For example, many of us in professions we love are at least partially defined by those professions; it is not easy to move out of them. In December 2014, Dr. Marcia Reynolds in “Wander Woman” observed that one of the most difficult parts of making transitions is “letting go of who you were and what once made you successful. When I coach people who have been forced to do something they didn’t choose, they always ask, ‘How do you let go? People say to let go but it’s hard to do.’” Reynolds quotes Joseph Campbell who said, “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Further, students are often the reason why many of us became SUNY Oswego academics in the first Professor John place and why we Kares Smith have stayed in this profession for so

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magine your buisness in a serene environment without the hectic city “hubbub” but still only a few minutes from downtown if necessary. As you look out your office window there is a view of a lake instead of traffic and high-rise buildings. Now there is a new contempoary office building that offers you, your employees and your clients this Class A atmosphere from which to conduct business. Lakeland Professional Building.

Dental Office for rent: Previously a general practitioner office, 2000 square feet, all set up for 4 operatory office’s, large waiting room, private doctor’s office, staff lounge with private bathroom and shower, lab and sterilization area, private office manager’s office, suitable for specialist’s, handicapped accessible, available immediately at the Lakeland Professional Building, 812 State Fair Blvd, Contact Skip DeLorenzo at 315-727-7547 April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




Paul Lear Reigns at Fort Ontario

Manager of historic site embodies significance of past By Richard Palmer


aul Lear, site manager of Fort Ontario in Oswego, often wishes someone would invent a time machine so he could travel back and forth between 1755 and the present. Frequently, he finds himself in that predicament, especially here where the time span is more than 250 years. But that’s not possible and he makes the best of it. He proudly points out that Fort Ontario, in one way or another, has had representation in all wars and conflicts dating back to the French and Indian War. Lear, 58, has had a full-time job tracking and recording the fort’s history back to the time when the British first built it in 1755. Then, the fort was no more than an eight-pointed wooden stockade. “I think Fort Ontario is one of the greatest historic military sites in the nation,” Lear said. “It needs to be recognized.” That it will if the efforts of him and others result in it becoming a national historic site of the National Park Service. He said he’s encouraged by 40

55 PLUS - April / May 2017

Paul Lear, 58, is site manager of Fort Ontario in Oswego. He has been on the job for more than 20 years.

U.S. Congressman John Katko’s (R-Camillus) efforts to make Fort Ontario a national monument. But that’s all. And as they say, “it’s still in the works.” It could take several years before this occurs, Lear said. Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for Lear. He continues, as he has for more than 20 years, the daily routine of operating the site and directing a corps of dedicated volunteers. He’s been creating new and revamping older exhibits that represent military life through the ages. He speaks to groups and does everything seemingly possible to create and maintain an awareness of the historical significance to Fort Ontario. Over the past several years, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has made numerous and long-needed infrastructure improvements at the fort. The site has been a state property since 1949. Since high school, Lear has always been interested in military history. The fort annually hosts numerous events, especially featuring groups of re-enactors who reflect military life over the past 250 years. These include the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War and succeeding conflicts. Lear is working on some new programs in conjunction with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. One of the programs will be the 10th Annual Fort Ontario History & Archeology Conference April 21-23, which will focus on the French and Indian War (1754-1763) and World War II. Hundreds are expected to attend, he said. Lear said he is especially proud of a new orientation exhibit that opened last May that interprets the entire gamut of Fort Ontario’s contribution to American history. Lear said the fort also served as a recruiting center during the Civil War and many men recruited locally courageously served in its major battles, including Gettysburg.

Advocate for history D u r i n g t h e Wa r o f 1 8 1 2 bicentennial, Lear helped organize a series of annual symposiums held in Oswego that brought in noted expert historians who spoke on various

topics, both from the U.S. and Canada, to give it perspective. Lear has been at the helm of Fort Ontario since 1999. A native of the Albany area, he previously held interpretive positions at New Windsor Cantonment and Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. Lear served as programs assistant prior to becoming site manager. He earned his Master of Science degree in public archaeology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology in history at SUNYAlbany. Believing in community involvement, Lear has served on the board of the Greater OswegoFulton Chamber of Commerce and the advisory board of the Oswego County Tourism Advisory Committee. He also has been involved with the Oswego County Historical Society and the board of Safe Haven, a museum adjacent to Fort Ontario. Frequently short-staffed, Lear said he sometimes finds himself working seven days a week. He said he enjoys working with young volunteers who show an interest. “Their enthusiasm is encouraging and it demonstrates young people are interested in the past,” he said. He said they learn surprisingly quickly such things as military codes, drill practice and how to properly wear a military uniform of the post-Civil War period. “They want to do it right,” Lear said, adding, “they are returning to their roots.” Lear said he is also thankful for the Friends of Fort Ontario “who give us great support” doing such tasks as manning the gift shop and fundraising. Lear said he also enjoys doing historical research and always finding something new.” The fort has a library. Though not formally open to the public, it may be used by researchers. It contains many old and new books, journals, manuscripts and other historical materials. An encyclopedia of information himself, Lear is always ready and willing to answer questions. He has written numerous articles himself and is frequently consulted to share his knowledge.

From Cardiology to Basketball Coaching continued from p. 27 the Cazenovia starting lineup — his recruits — gave him a hug as they were announced onto the floor. “The best part is staying in touch with the kids as they become adults,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade my years at Caz for anything.” In addition to spending time with his wife, three children and five grandchildren, Bowser enjoys reading books about American history. He’s also an avid gardener, spending up to 30 hours a week during the warmer months in his yard. The heart doctor has always been very conscious of what he puts into his body and the importance of exercise. Bowser said he developed arthritis, which he says is hereditary, and also had a hip replaced in 2001. And yet, he works harder now on his game and physical fitness than he ever has before. Bowser’s regimen includes weight training and several hours a week on a treadmill and stationary bike. He also practices his shot four times a week, with the most intensive session on Saturdays. When Boswer began his shooting practice routine five years ago, he shot about 25 for 45 from the threepoint line. But around the time of this interview, he had shot 25 for 28. “If an old man can get better at shooting,” he says, “then I’m sure any college kid can.” Bowser still practices and competes in pickup games at an indoor court owned by longtime friend and fellow LaFayette resident Rich Purcell. Purcell recalled the days when the cardiologist would rush to the court immediately after his weekend on-call days. Decades later, Bowser is still the guy who wants to guard the best offensive player. He says “Doc” is an outstanding role model for everyone, young or old. “He always had basketball in his heart,” Purcell said. “There’s never been anyone who worked harder at his game or in life.” April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


golden years By Harold Miller hal@cny55.com

Awakening the American Dream One door closes, leaving a world of opportunity


ou can sense it in the mood of the people — the conversations that take place at the dining room tables, boardrooms, offices and restaurants. America is regaining its mojo after a decade of being squashed down by those who preach, “the leveling of the playing field,” a force that has never worked and never will work. Those who tell us that we are still the greatest country in the world electrify us. America should take pride in a successful past, but more important, our strong traditions, institutions, industries and work ethic provide the foundation for future achievement. No longer will our politicians travel the globe with hat in hand, apologizing to our allies and enemies about our capitalistic, democratic and empirical ways. No longer will we be defensible about being the leader and the

wealthiest country on this planet. This is where every other country wants to be. It all has to do with renewed freedom — freedom of speech, religion, and opportunity — and mostly freedom from government intervention in business with punitive taxation and choking regulations. America is the greatest force for freedom that the world has ever known. In spite of our decade of dalliance with socialism, 84 percent of the working population earns more than their parents did. Admittedly, there is room for improvement for the middle class and among those in poverty whose children do not escape that condition. However, unemployed workers and single-parent families cause most of the poverty today. Our economy is already improving and will provide jobs for anyone who wishes to work.

America is still the world’s greatest force of technology. Silicon Valley is still the innovation capital of the world. If you want to know the answer to any question, learn about any new technology or medical procedure, find your way to anyplace on the globe, or just find a local specialist in anything — it’s right up there in the cloud. Just Google it. America is the seat of entrepreneurship. Almost every major development from electricity to computers to wireless networks began here. Beyond that, our people have the freedom to dream and freedom to make their dreams happen. Now that we can see the shackles of bureaucracy being loosened, you will witness the revival of the American Dream. You can measure the success of our country by the number of people who want to get in versus the number who want to get out. According to State Department data, a 2010 survey conducted by the European Commission asked residents of the European Union: “In which other countries would you like to work.” The winner by a wide margin was the United States with 21 percent of the people saying they would like to work here. America gets the cream of the world’s workers who are willing to break the bonds that hold them in yesterday’s societies, and are willing to withstand temporary hardships so that their children can live a better life. That’s what the American Dream is all about.


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55 PLUS - April / May 2017

consumers’ corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.

Pets Can Share More Than Their Love With You Cats, dogs, chickens, snakes, can transmit all sorts of bacteria to humans. Children and older adults are more susceptible to complications


ast summer I attended a canine carnival event at Jamesville Beach. One of the exhibits was a snake. To the dismay of the snake handler, I declined to pet her beautiful beast. Not because I am afraid of snakes, but because I’m aware that reptiles can carry the bacteria salmonella. Salmonella infections aren’t fun. At best, it causes abdominal cramps, severe diarrhea, fever and sometimes vomiting. The acute illness lasts for several days but infected people can spread the germs for months afterward. People — especially kids under 5 and adults over 65 — can wind up dehydrated and hospitalized. At worst, the infection can invade the bloodstream, bones, joints, brain or nervous system. More than 1 million people in the U.S. develop salmonella every year and 450 die of complications related to it. To be fair, most of those cases arise from contaminated food. And you can also catch salmonella, as well as the diarrheal illness campylobacter, from your pet chicken. As much as I love pets, there are a few diseases you can catch from your companion animals. Two common illnesses transmitted by cats are toxoplasmosis and cat-scratch disease. Toxoplasmosis is a single-celled parasite. Infected cats secrete oocysts that contaminate cat litter. A person who inadvertently gets the cysts on her hands, touches her mouth and swallows can be infected. Other ways to catch toxoplasmosis are eating contaminated food or undercooked meat. Most people never develop

“The most important ways to keep from catching an illness from your pets is to keep your animals current on veterinary care.” symptoms, or develop a flu-like illness with muscle aches and swollen glands lasting up to a month. A few people, often but not always patients who are immunocompromised, can develop infections of the brain or eyes. The unborn can be infected though the placenta by an infected mother. These fetuses may die, or develop permanent damage to the brain, or eyes. Cat-scratch disease is caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. This bacterium is spread by cat claws contaminated with flea feces. Symptoms include fever and enlarged lymph nodes days to weeks after a cat scratch. Dogs, my personal favorite pet, can spread infections too. Ringworm, a fungal infection, can be spread by direct contact with infected pets. Affected animals usually have patches of hair loss with redness, itchiness, scaling or scabs. People develop ringlike red scaly spots. Dogs can also have mange caused by the mite Sarcopties scabiei var canis. This is the dog form of scabies, and the mites can cause human scabies.

Fortunately, dog scabies mites prefer to live on dogs, and treating the dog will cure humans infected with the canine version of the scabies mite. Your dog or cat can bring home ticks. There is the small chance that a tick harboring a disease will crawl from your pet onto you, or fall off your pet onto the floor where you will pick it up. But most ticks are acquired from the outdoor environment. Even if your pet becomes infected with a tick-borne disease, he or she probably won’t spread the disease to you. And there are products available to reduce your pet’s chances of acquiring fleas and ticks. Leptospirosis, a bacterial illness spread through urine, can infect individuals exposed to the urine of infected dogs and wildlife (especially rodents), or from contaminated water. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Fortunately, infected dogs usually don’t spread the illness to household human contacts. If your dog’s leptospirosis vaccination is upto-date, he’ll be less likely to shed the bacteria in his urine if infected. The most important ways to keep from catching an illness from your pets is to keep your animals current on veterinary care, to keep your animals and their environment clean, and to wash your hands with soap and water.

Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed michele@cny55.com


Wine, Anyone?

en Franklin, one of the first Americans to embrace life as an ex-pat in France, famously said, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

I couldn’t agree more. While we didn’t move to the sunny south of France for the wine alone, the abundance and quality of the wine here surely does make us happy. We live, quite simply, in a wine-lover’s paradise. Wine is a way of life here. Our village is a wine-growers’ community with a long history of producing the fruit of the vine. We sit perched on a high hill and everywhere you look, the village is surrounded by vineyards. As we ride the bus home from the nearby city of Beziers, nothing breaks up the view of vines; they stretch as far as the eye can see. That’s because our vineyards are both the largest and oldest in the world. Vines were here in pre-historic times, before homo-sapiens. The Greeks brought viticulture to our shores in 600 BC and winemaking flourished in Roman times. It continued its healthy growth despite many crises over the centuries, from Emperor Domitian tearing up our vines and forbidding new plantings because of our challenge to Italian growers, to the vine-killing epidemics of mildew and phylloxera in the 19th century to an influx of fake wine made with beet sugar in the early 20th century. That set off the famous “Vignerons’ Revolt” in 1907 and led to strict French purity laws. Occitanie, the new region including our own Languedoc-Roussillion and the Midi-Pyrenees, stretches from the Pyrenees Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and has nearly 500,000 acres of vineyards. A good 173,000 of those are AOC — or Appellation d’Origine Controllee — the strict designation the French government bestows on agricultural products based on location and method of production. Faugeres and Saint-Chinian are nearby AOCs. Our village wine is non-AOC 44

55 PLUS - April / May 2017

A walk through the vineyards in August, just before harvest, with our village, Corneilhan, from its vantage point on a hill.

Coteaux de Beziers, but they are working on an AOC to be called Terraces of Beziers. You can find wines from all over our region branded with the logo Sud de France, marking all agricultural and artisanal products made in the South of France, and even book oenotourisme, or wine tourism, vacations here. Not only are the vistas of vineyards proof that our village is a historic wine-making hub, we are surrounded by the evidence every day. Our neighbor Gilles across the street works in the wine business, and enjoys making his own wine and sharing it with us. Another neighbor owns a vineyard. Daily, he drives his tractor up our street and parks it in a huge garage he has across from his house. The street is so narrow, it’s a 10-minute production of backing and inching forward to get the tractor in. At the foot of our street are vignerons, or the homes of the rich winemakers of the 19th century. They are marked by huge doors so the growers could drive carts of

grapes into their homes, where they had winepresses. Now the families opt for villas on the outskirts of town and the vignerons are sought-after purchases for expats, with many converting the spacious properties into bed and breakfasts. Our village lives by the rhythm of the vines. Winter is the slow time, with only some pruning to be done. As spring warms up, the workers are out planting new vines, pruning old ones, and putting down sulphur and copper to deter mold. Our many organic vineyards are marked by flowers blooming underneath the vines. Summer means careful tending of the vines in the hot sun. August and September are the vendange or wine harvest. Last August the village was abuzz: it was first mechanical harvesting. While in past years volunteers and lately itinerant workers would harvest the grapes by hand, we had acquired a huge mechanical harvester, which reduced the time and labor considerably. Thoughts were divided, with some local people excited

by the prospect and others longing for the more traditional approach. For weeks every autumn, we see tractor after tractor hauling open carts of purple and green grapes down the road to the Cave Cooperative. There the grapes are crushed and the wine fermented in huge stainless steel vats. The process of wine making and bottling fills the autumn months. All growers provide a portion of their grapes to the village wine, which is sold under the names Cornelianum and Terroirs en Garrigues. The excitement last year was when one of our wines won a regional gold medal. They didn’t raise the price a penny for the bottle that now boasts a prominent gold seal. Every so often, Bill will walk down to the Cave and purchase a box of the local red. Five liters, or the equivalent of six and a half bottles, costs 9 euros, or $1.46 a bottle. And it tastes wonderful! We can buy bottles of the Faugeres or Saint-Chinian at the local butcher shop and the grocery store, and they range from $3.50 to $6. We splurge on a bottle every so often, or when the Cave is closed for harvest.

Gilles is not the only one making his own wine; “tout le monde” — everyone does it. In the summer, I like to buy my vegetables at the “garage,” literally a garage that the growers open up and stock with their produce every morning and late afternoon. The garage lady’s 85-year-old mom (who is our neighbor, two doors down) makes wonderful confiture, or jam, out of the fruits of their farm, and her husband makes a muscat from the grapes he grows. This white wine is naturally sweet and strong, a little spicy, and absolutely delicious. They’re not open in the winter, so just before leaving in September, we cellar a couple of bottles of the muscat in our own “cave,” a cold, stone alcove under the stairs off the kitchen, and stock up on jars of confiture to greet us on our return.

Equipment for processing grapes at the Cave Cooperative.

Local wine growers bring their grapes to the Cave Cooperative to be made into wine.

That way, when we arrive from snowy Oswego, we can toast the enduring wisdom of Ben Franklin’s observation.

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. April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo Observations on Driving By Marvin Druger

Roads can be a dangerous place, thanks to weavers, huggers, slowpokes and other types


ost adults in the U.S. routinely drive a car. My first car was a 1951 Chevrolet sedan. It had amazing durability and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was still driving it today. I went through a progression of ownerships, including a Honda Civic and my current car, a 2015 Subaru Legacy sedan. Driving my Subaru is like driving a computer. I start the car by simply pressing on the brake and pushing a button on the dashboard. I push the same button to turn off the engine. This feature sometimes posed a problem when I went into a store and forgot to turn the engine off. There is a light on the outside mirrors that goes on when a car is in the blind spot. There is a back-up camera and I can see where I’m going when I back up. A little cross on the backup picture screen indicates how close I am to an object when I back up (but I don’t trust it). Also, the car makes a beeping noise if there is some moving object behind me, like another car or a pedestrian. A sun roof adds luxury and air. The CD player and radio are deluxe. Playing the radio involves a touch screen. I can even heat up the rear ends of myself and a passenger next to me at the touch of a button. If the tires are low, a warning light on the dashboard goes on. There are many other modern features that I haven’t bothered to learn how to use. In short, cars have come a long way since 1951. While driving my computerized car one day, I began to think about the phenomenon of driving. Everyone is supposed to follow rules of the road and, because such a diversity of people drive, and there are so many different vehicles, I’m surprised that there are 46

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not more accidents. I also began to think about the many close calls I’ve had and how such a great diversity of drivers manage to survive on the road. First, I’ll mention the condition of many cars on the road. There is a tremendous variety of car types and ages in varying condition. Every day, I drive by at least two cars that have no taillight or headlight. In most cars, there is no indicator for this defect, except another driver. I wrote to the American Automobile Association (AAA) and suggested that blinking headlights twice could tell an oncoming driver that one of the car’s headlights is out. They rejected this suggestion and said, “We are more concerned about seatbelts. People should regularly inspect the lights on their car,” (which rarely happens). I sometimes follow cars into a gas station or other stopping place to inform the driver that a headlight or taillight is defective. This is a bit difficult to do when the cars are on the move. One of the main menaces on the road is the “Weaver.” This individual recklessly weaves in and out of traffic lanes, often without signaling, to get ahead of the crowd. I have a satisfying feeling when the “Weaver” is eventually stuck in the left lane behind some cars, and I slowly cruise by in the right lane. Another road menace is the “Hugger.” Even though I am driving

at a reasonable speed, the “Hugger” stays close behind me — too close. The “Hugger” refuses to pass me, but remains glued to my rear end, whether I speed up or slow down. There’s not much I can do, except to watch the “Hugger” through my rear-view mirror — and pray that I don’t have to make a sudden stop. The “Slowpoke” is also a potential road hazard. Driving 40 mph in a 65 mph zone is not safe. The “Slowpoke” drives too slowly, often holding up a line of cars with impatient drivers. To pass or not to pass becomes a lifethreatening decision. Many factors have to be considered, such as the speed of both cars, whether there is another car in front of the “Slowpoke”, whether there is a hill ahead, the distance and speed of an oncoming car and whether or not there is a double line on the road restricting passing. Considering how all of the factors require an instantaneous evaluation, I wonder why we would even try to pass a “Slowpoke” on the road. Then there is the “Challenger” who refuses to wear a seat belt. “I dare

you to restrict my freedom in this way. Catch me, if you can. I’d rather be dead than wear a seat belt” — and the Challenger often gets this wish granted. When driving, we have to trust our car to do what it’s supposed to do. For example, I am fearful whenever I drive down Seeley Road to Erie Boulevard in Syracuse. The hill is extremely steep, and I always envision myself not being able to stop and crashing into a car at the base of the hill. So far, so good. I find that driving at night is disorienting. I rely on my GPS (named Carla) for directions anywhere. The “Headlighter” is a major menace at night. Many oncoming cars do not turn down their bright headlights, and this causes momentary blindness, especially if the oncoming car is coming toward you over a hill. At night, I try not to be the lead driver on a country road. Usually, I like to be a leader. When it comes to driving at night, I want to be a follower. The drawback is that, if the lead car went off the road over a cliff, I’d probably follow it. When road conditions are icy or perilous, most drivers slow down to a reasonable speed. But, there is always the ”Suicider” who doesn’t slow down, but surges ahead at high speed, passing all cars in sight, regardless of road conditions. I’ve noticed that older drivers tend to drive more slowly and cautiously. The “Suicider” is often a younger man who drives with a grim expression on his face. When such a driver zooms by me on the road, I often wonder, ”Where the hell is he going? What’s the rush? Doesn’t he know that speed kills?” My highest speed was 94 miles per hour. I was in a hurry to get my late wife home after a visit to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts. She didn’t feel well, and I wanted to get her home as soon as possible. As I approached Albany on I-90, I saw the dreaded flashing lights in the car behind me. The state trooper and I had a nice conversation while he wrote out the ticket. I was actually pleased to see that the officer was doing his job and preventing me from having a potentially serious accident. I vowed never to speed again, but it was too late. My family branded me with the nickname “Old Leadfoot.”

April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




10 Things to Explore in Schuyler County County has 44 waterfalls, 20 wineries, hiking trails, art shops and great places to stay, and, of course, world-class racing By Sandra Scott


chuyler County is gorge-ous. The distinguishing feature of the place is Watkins Glen State Park but there are other great things to see and do. Within the county there are 44 waterfalls, 20 wineries, hiking trails, art shops and great places to stay; and, of course, worldclass racing. There are a variety of accommodations from campgrounds to B&Bs to motels to the waterfront Harbor Hotel right in the center of the village. The Glen: Watkins Glen State Park is a two-mile gorge that descends

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400 feet past 200-foot cliffs and 19 waterfalls. The park placed third on the USA Today Reader’s Choice Poll for best state parks in the US. There are informative storyboards along the Gorge Trail. The Gorge Trail opens in late spring and visitors can walk the Rim Trail. At the top is a campground with an Olympic-size pool. There is an entry/parking fee. An Empire Passport ($65) allows access to most state parks for the season. The Lake: The village of Watkins Glen is located at the south end of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger


Lakes and the deepest lake in the state. For those without a water craft there are kayaks, canoes and pontoon rentals. The fishing is great, especially for trout. Take a romantic sailing trip on the Schooner “True Love,” the sailboat that was featured in the 1940 “Philadelphia Story” and “High Society.” Captain Bill’s has sightseeing cruises as well as a do-not-miss dinner cruise. The Race: The original open-road circuit of the Watkins Glen race is on the National Register of Historical Places, and anyone can drive – not


Quintus Gallery is part of an active arts scene in Watken Glens. It features innovative artworks and offers workshops. race the circuit using the self-guided brochure. Today the purpose-built Watkins Glen International is a Mecca for racing enthusiasts hosting a variety of events from Can-Am, Trans-Am, Formula 5000, and even concerts. “Drive The Glen” allows people to drive their personal vehicle two laps around the 3.4-mile Grand Prix circuit behind a pace vehicle. The International Motor Racing Research Center in the village is basically for research but their video “25 Years of Speed” is worth watching. There is always a racing car on exhibit. On village sidewalks there are plaques honoring notable racers called the Walk of Fame. History: The historic Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls is home of the Historical Society and has many exhibits relating to Schuyler County’s history. The 1828 Brick Tavern is on the National Register of Historical Places. There are exhibits dealing with Native Americans, the Victorian Era, musical instruments and textiles. Check out the place beside the door where tavern-goers had to store their guns while in the tavern. Called the Glorious T is a National Historic District in Montour Falls with many 19th century structures. It is a part of the Points of Inspiration Architecture Driving Trail in the Southern Finger Lakes. Arts: The arts are alive and well. There are several galleries i n c l u d i n g t h e F r a n k l i n S t re e t Gallery and Quintus Gallery which features innovative artworks and offers workshops. The Old Havana Courthouse Theater in Montour Falls



The Glen at Watkins Glen State Park is a two-mile gorge that descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs.

offers several original plays each season. During the summer LaFayette Park hosts Tuesday Night Concerts. Nature: Other than Watkins Glen there are many other falls including 449-foot Montour Falls which is right in the village. Havana Glen Park is home to Eagle Falls accessed by a short hiking trail. The 9085-acre Sugar Hill State Forest is home to the 40-mile Six Nations Recreational Trail System is primarily designed for horses and snowmobiles but hiking is allowed. Hiking is popular on the 7.5-mile Queen Catherine Marsh Loop Trail; it is part of the Finger Lakes Trail System. Queen Catherine Montour was an influential prominent leader during the 1700s. There is a one-mile Willow Walk Trail near Montour Falls. Imbibing: Schuyler County is part of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. Check out Castel Grisch Winery, Silver Spring Winery and Lakewood Vineyards. Finger Lakes Distilling is a NYS Farm Distillery, which means that it is a small operation making a handcrafted whiskey, gin and other spirits. They have viewing windows detailing the distillation process. Grist Iron Brewing Company makes a variety of craft beers. Shopping: O’Shaughnessy Antiques has estate jewelry and does appraisals. T.J Antiques also has handcrafted furniture. Every piece of colonial pottery is unique and stamped by the artist. Skyland Art Barn in Burdett displays an amazing variety of unique items created by 300 different artists. They have Qi Gong classes in the morning and a zen labyrinth.




A must for the fishermen is a stop in Moutour Falls at the Rod & Reel where they custom make fishing rods. Don’t forget your pet. Shop for your four-legged friends at Wags to Riches operated by the Humane Society and located in the heart of Watkins Glen. Events: Don’t miss the Cheese Festival with a stop at the family-owned and operated Sunset View Creamery where you can buy artisan cheese year-round and tour its working farm. Many of the wineries host musical groups and other events, including Deck the Halls in November. The Watkins Glen Waterfront is the place for a variety of festivals yearround, including the Cardboard Boat Regatta. There are farm tours, craft shows, and First Fridays. Watkins Glen International hosts a variety of races and concerts. Unique: Farm Sanctuary is the only Farm Sanctuary on the East Coast whereby injured farm animals are taken care of. The mission of Farm Sanctuary is to protect farm animals from what they consider to be cruelty and to promote vegan living. The visitor center has displays of enclosures used in the farming of animals along with a lot of free printed material to peruse. There is a short video explaining their point of view some of which is quite graphic. According to Farm Sanctuary, an ideal world would be one where there were no factory farms or stockyards. They offer guided tours and have reasonable accommodations for two or four people.



April / May 2017 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Annette Guisbond, 91 Former teacher enjoys teaching, organizing one of the most popular classes at Oasis Q. The program that you do at Oasis Syracuse — tell us a little bit about that? It’s called State of the Union, and I’ve been doing it for nine years. I invite speakers, usually academics, and they talk for about an hour, and then there’s a break, and then there’s questions. And over the years, it has turned out to be a well-received program. Last year we had 150 people attending it. That motivates me.

Lauren Feiglin, and she said, ’Sounds interesting if you’re willing to do it.’

Q. How does the State of the Union program run? To me, I’m very enthusiastic about it, and there’s so many issues out there, even particularly now in this new political climate. I really feel people need information, so I’m working on next fall’s program, I’m trying to keep it to 10. Each week it’s a different issue. I call it multi-issued, mostly politics and public policy. In the past, the program focused on topics such as new tax system for America, the portrayal of race in early movies, the economic effects of climate change, and the history of conspiracy theories in America.

Q. Last year, you won the WCNY Women Who Make America Award. Were you surprised? That was a big surprise, and it’s because of the program. It’s interesting how those things come about. Some of the people come year after year, and one of the people is a retired teacher, and she’s pretty savvy politically. She, herself, has gotten herself involved in politics. She decided to submit my name. I was one of 10 people.

Q. What prompted its creation? I discovered Oasis, and my husband and I both decided that this was something that we wanted to do. We started out taking classes. There was a very popular teacher there who did a political program. I observed him, I observed the audience. He was the only lecturer. He became sort of a guru to the group. He was good with connecting to that population. But I began to see people hanging on to this one person’s ideas. And that didn’t sit right with me. I wanted to hear more than one idea. So I went to the administration, and I said I had an idea for a program. I’d like it to be multi-issued. It was an election year. I went to the administrator at that time, 50

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Q. How do you prepare for the program? It requires a lot of emails, phone calls, and I call myself a talent scout because I’m doing this, and I read a lot, and I do stuff I get alerted to people I knew nothing of, and I love it. Syracuse I call a cornucopia of talent, as far as educators.

Q. What have you learned? I learned that I had to be more accepting to different points of view. I have strong beliefs and values, but in doing this, I have to be more evenhanded. I learned that people who have a different opinion, a different point of view, just want to be listened to. I thought that was a good lesson to listen. Q. You’re 91. What keeps you still motivated to do this program? I’m passionate about education, and my value system I think there are two things that are valuable when you get up in those high numbers. It’s to keep your body moving — that’s why I go to yoga — and to keep your brain moving. So this keeps my brain moving. Q. In the past nine years of doing this, what has surprised you the most?

Annette Guisbond, a retired teacher from the Syracuse City School District, has organized and taught civic minded courses at Oasis Syracuse for nine years. The next session will start in the fall.

I am fascinated by the people who come and I’ve met all kinds of people. I enjoy these people so much. Q. How do you decide what topics to cover? I think about the issues that seem so much part of what’s going on right now. I don’t have any trouble with that. There’s so much going on. Q. What do you hope the people will take away from the program? I hear people say things that I have been thinking, and one of them is citizenship used to be more valued. In the last couple of decades, one man said — I didn’t know and I was startled — that when people vote in the primaries, 10 percent voted; 90 percent did not. The number of people who voted in the regular election is under 50 percent — it has been that for years. In Europe, it’s much, much higher. It’s like citizenship has been devalued. And that’s one thing I hope to arouse — what does it mean to be a citizen, and there’s a responsibility to being a citizen.


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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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