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11 Things You Should Do Before the Summer is Over


Bruce Frassinelli: What to Recommend When Your Grandkids Turn 18


Issue 446 6 August / September 2013

For Active Adults in Central New York

How Popular Are E-Readers? Just Ask Local Libraries Duo Can’t Get Enough of Boilermaker Road Race

BOB NATOLI Entrepreneur, author holds eight Guinness World Records Two of them earned at age 57

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FOR SENIORS! Monday, August 26 & Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Join us for one or both of our Senior Days at The Great New York State Fair, when everyone 60 and over gets in FREE! Enjoy music from Lynyrd Skynyrd with Hinder, the Cab Calloway Orchestra and Chubby Checker.

Quick, cashless parking! E-Z Pass Plus accepted in the Brown and Orange lots. Learn more at


55 PLUS - August / September 2013



August / September 2013


12 14 Savvy Senior 6 Financial Health 8 Gardening 10 Aging 22 My Turn 28 Golden Years 34 Consumers Corner 47 Druger’s Zoo 48 Last Page 50





• 11 things you should do before the end of the summer

• “I just love my e-reader”


• Fads: gone but not forgotten


• Programs help low income seniors get a job


• An IT guy lauches his fifth CD


• A new museum in Homer spotlights truck industry

• Duo can’t get enough of the Boilermaker Road race in Utica


• Is Upstate a good place to retire? No, according to national media


• Octogerarian from Syracuse revists Afghanistan


• 10 things to do in Genesee County

• Bob Natoli: Breaking eight records August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS


savvy senior By Jim Miller

How to Choose the Executor for Your Will


hoosing an executor — the person or institution you put in charge of administering your estate and carrying out your final wishes — is one of the most important decisions in preparing a will. Picking the right executor can help ensure the prompt, accurate distribution of your possessions with a minimum of family friction. Some of the duties required include: • Filing court papers to start the probate process (this is generally required by law to determine the will’s validity). • Taking an inventory of everything in the estate. • Using your estate’s funds to pay bills, including taxes, funeral costs, etc. • Handling details like terminating credit cards, and notifying banks and government agencies like Social Security and the post office of the death. • Preparing and filing final income tax returns. • Distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. Given all the responsibility, the ideal candidate should be someone who is honest, dependable, well organized, good with paperwork and vigilant about meeting deadlines.

Who to Choose Most people think first of naming a family member, especially a spouse or child, as executor. If, however, you don’t have an obvious family member to choose, you may want to ask a trusted friend, but be sure to choose someone in good health or younger than you who will likely be around after you’re gone. Also, if your executor of choice happens to live in another state, you’ll need to check your state’s law to see if it imposes any special requirements. Some states require an out-of-state executor to be a family member or a beneficiary, some 6

55 PLUS - August / September 2013

require a bond to protect your heirs in case of mismanagement, and some require the appointment of an instate agent. Also keep in mind that if the person you choose needs help settling your estate they can always call on an expert like an attorney or tax account to guide them through the process, with your estate picking up the cost. If, however, you don’t have a friend or relative you feel comfortable with, you could name a third party executor like a bank, trust company or a professional who has experience dealing with estates. If you need help locating a pro, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils ( and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys ( are great resources that provide directories on their websites to help you find someone.

Executor Fees Most family members and close friends (especially if they are a beneficiary) serve for free, but if you opt for a third party executor it will cost your estate. Executor fees are set by each state and typically run anywhere from 1 to 5 percent depending on the size of the estate.

Get Approval Whoever you choose to serve as your executor, be sure you get their approval first before naming him or her in your will. And once you’ve made your choice, go over your financial details in your will with that person, and let him or her know where you keep all your important documents and financial information. This will make it easier on them after you’re gone. For more information on the duties of an executor, get a copy of the book “The American Bar Association Guide to Wills and Estates” fourth edition for $17 at or call 800-285-2221.

55PLUS Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Melissa Stefanec, Sandra Scott Mary Beth Roach, Matthew Liptak Ken Little, Jacob Pucci Richard Palmer, Patricia J. Malin


Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, David J. Zumpano Marvin Druger


Jasmine Maldonado Marlene Raite Marsha Preston

Office Manager

Laura J. Beckwith

Layout and Design Chris Crocker

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.

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Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $15 a year © 2013 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:



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Estate Planning. Are You All Set?

hosted another workshop recently and I began as I always do by asking the audience, “What do you want to know?” A wide range of questions came, including how to protect assets from nursing homes, what is a trust, the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts, how a power of attorney works, and what is the difference between a healthcare proxy and a living will. The most asked question was, “How do I qualify for Medicaid if I need a nursing home?” These are all great questions, but by the time we finished the workshop, the biggest realization of the participants was that they are not all set. Most of the thousands of people I have seen over the years believe estate planning is as simple as having the right will, healthcare proxy, power of attorney and, if you have enough money, a trust. This is far from true. The reality is, the documents themselves only grant authority; they rarely provide the necessary instructions to yield the results actually intended. The key to an effective estate plan is to grant authority to the people you trust but, more importantly, to ensure your documents provide sufficient instructions to become your “voice” when you are unable to speak for yourself. Too often, individuals are caught up in a quick fix after sitting with a lawyer and then feel better and think they are all set. Let’s take a healthcare proxy for example. I ask attendees “Where do people typically get healthcare proxies?” The overwhelming response is “the doctor,” or “the hospital.” I quickly respond, “Right, after the workshop, hang around, tell me your ailments, and I will write you a prescription.” The audience laughs

because they know it would be crazy (not to mention, illegal) for me, the lawyer, to write a prescription. Then I ask, “Why would you go to a doctor or hospital for a legal document?” And reality hits them, especially when I spend the next 15 minutes explaining what a healthcare proxy is and, more importantly, why many fail when actually used. Unfortunately, by the time my workshop is over, rarely do people feel all set. In fact, they usually feel frustrated because the true essence of estate planning was never really explained to them and they discover the documents they have are not their voice. Another frustrating discovery for participants is learning the rules the state has in place that can significantly hamper their goals. Even when they have documents in place meant to avoid the government rules (legally), they rarely work because the “documents” are not integrated into the other areas of their lives. For example, they learn having a trust is not enough even if you put your “voice” in it, it’s still not enough without integrating the legal plan with their financial assets and their appropriate family members. All is required or none of it works! The good news is, when the participants finally understand how estate planning actually works, they are empowered to stay in control rather than have to rely on misinformation. So, are you all set? To ensure you are, you need the correct legal documents, with your voice, and integration of the legal documents into the other areas of your life so your estate plan actually works.

David J. Zumpano is an attorney and a certified public accountant (CPA). He operates Estate Planning Law Center. He can be reached at 793-3622.

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August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS


Gardening By Jim Sollecito

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55 PLUS - August / September 2013


Second planting upon gardeners as late summer approaches

t’s intriguing that the children of our clients come to our store asking for the same landscape design service they watched their parents get a couple of decades ago. I am not sure if this speaks to the realization that parents really do have good ideas or maybe we are simply “The Last Garden Center Standing.” Over the years, I have watched most of the old garden centers fade. I remember visiting Nedrow Nursery and Gravina’s on South Salina Street as clearly as I can visualize watching “Spartacus” at the Kallet Genesee Theater. Back in the day, they were part of the fabric of our community. I miss those old businesses. But the next generation grows up with its own dreams. Why not? So did we. I am just not convinced that all of our worldly needs can be met by a Big Box store. Although I admit the thought of loading up at Costco’s before heading into one of the proposed 12 movie theaters in Camillus has me curious. Who can’t use giant boxes of Junior Mints? If I eat them, shouldn’t they be called Senior Mints? As we age, we tend to forget more than we retain. Constant bombardment of readily accessible information (however no longer offered daily in the local Daily Planet) leaves us trying to sift through facts versus hype. I just don’t want to make a purchase based on something being “huge.” I need other incentives.

Timeless tips One reason I keep files of articles and information is so that I can go back and refresh myself with tips that were excellent 40 years ago.

They are probably still relevant now. I just shelved them and forgot for a while. One old theory was that if we attracted birds to our landscapes, they would take care of a lot of insect problems. That seems like a good idea to continue today. I really enjoy watching more birds and butterflies come to the landscapes I design and those I own. These “flying flowers” are just so interesting to observe. They add motion, color and freshness to landscapes. Life is good when one can wake up excited about what the new day will bring. This is the time of year we reflect on things we should have done and what we still can do. There is plenty of growing season left. The warm soil readily accepts new plantings. If something is in flower right now, it probably is beneficial to hummingbirds and butterflies. If you don’t have anything in flower, then what are you waiting for? Late summer is a second planting season. But it is only a benefit if you take advantage of it. If you aren’t sure how to attract birds and butterflies, stop in and pick up a free guide at Sollecito Landscaping Nursery, 4094 Howlett Hill Road, Syracuse. I took copious notes over a long time and condensed them onto one 8½-by-11-inch piece of paper. I am happy to share this information with you. No hype, just facts. 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 at

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August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS





Things to Do

By Melissa Stefanec


While it’s still warm outside

ife happens in the summer. Upstate New Yorkers should save repose for the cold, unwelcoming winter months. Warm weather is a great time to get out and enjoy life. There are lots of great things people can do on their own, but many business and organizations offer seniors a lot of perks. Most businesses describe seniors as age 55 and older, but let their mislabeling become your ticket to cheap summer fun. Here are some ideas for the remainder of the summer.

Senior Day at the New York State Fair There are few better ways to see the summer through than to go The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. Seniors 60 and older will receive free admittance Aug. 26-27. There will also be senior buses running to and from the fair. Seniors can call the Art & Home Center office at 315-487-7711 ext. 1264 to register for transportation and receive information. Seniors can also use the fair’s internal tram for free on those two days. The tram runs the perimeter and makes 11 scheduled stops.

Explore Destiny USA Being a tourist close to home can be surprisingly rewarding. There are a lot of active options within this developing mall in Syracuse. 12

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There is the Amazing Mirror Maze, Canyon Climb Adventure, Funny Bone Comedy Club, Glow Golf, Lazer Tag, OptiGolf, Pole Position Raceway and the WonderWorks museum. All of these activities have people of all ages in mind, so unleashing the inner child has never been so easy.

Golden Parks Program Seniors 62 and older can gain free, weekday access to state parks, boat launch sites and arboretums through the NYS Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Golden Parks Program. They also receive a discount Lakeside dining at Rainbow Shores Restaurant, Pulaski

at state historic sites and state-operated golf courses. The only requirement is that a senior has a valid New York state driver’s license or New York state nondriver identification card. Call 518-4740456 for more information.

Fishing with the grandkids Taking the grandkids fishing is always an interesting and enjoying time. First worm-hooking jitters are quickly replaced by panfish-induced smiles. For those that love fun combined with education, New York state offers free sport fishing clinics throughout

the summer. The clinics do not require a license, and they are a great way for young and old to try out a new sport and learn. Clinics cover topics such as fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics and aquatic ecology. Visit o u t d o o r / 2 7 1 2 3 . h t m l f o r m o re information on the clinics.

Dining at an openair restaurant A Central New Yorker ’s warm and sunny days are true treasures. After enjoying some outdoor activities, open-air dining is a great way to unwind. Eating an outdoor fish fry can make everything feel right. For fancier occasions, Central New York has a number of bistros and fine-dining eateries with outdoor seating. Eating outdoors just makes the night a little more special.

CNY Regional Market Every Saturday, Central New York is lucky enough to have a huge farmers market. The CNY Regional Market is more than your average farmers market. Alongside fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods, people can find numerous plants, furniture, oils, lotions, homemade pasta, local meat and cheese, and other artisan goods. Come for the fresh plums and leave with an up-cycled hall bench. The regional market is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at 2100 Park St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13208, near the train station.

NYS Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua For those whose adventures are best kept to their taste buds, this business offers people the chance to learn about wine, cooking and craft brews. They host numerous events throughout the year. If you ever wanted to take a class on how to combine hot peppers and chocolate, visit nywcc. com/ClassesAndHappenings. You can also just show up during business hours and enjoy an outdoor pavilion and the taste of locally produced food and beverages.

Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay

Climb a mini mountain Scaling high peaks may be mostly for the young, but there are a number of smaller mountains in the Adirondacks. Climbing a smaller mountain offers the chance to rediscover nature and inner youth. The website www.adk. org is a great place to find information on hiking. There are also a number of chapters of the Adirondack Mountain Club that host outings. Don’t make excuses, get out and try it. Just be prepared, safe and look down on the world from a summit. Your mind and body will be elevated.

Boating There are guided boat tours such as Uncle Sam’s in the Thousand Islands and Gems Along the Mohawk on the Create memories

Erie Canal in Mohawk, but boating during a CNY summer is limitless. For those who want a tour, try one of the above. For those who have an outdoor itch to scratch, plenty of local and state parks offer boat rentals. Try a paddleboat, kayak or canoe. Boating is liberating. Make sure you have the proper safety gear and enjoy. For a list of state parks with boat rentals, visit parks/park-results.

Go camping (in a tent) Don’t laugh this one off. Modern science has brought the lovely inventions of an air mattress and travel pump. These two novelties renew camping as an option for the 55-plus set. Tenting is beautifully primal, and the added cushion of a mattress will minimize muscle pain. S’mores and hotdogs on a stick are only semioptional.

Community concerts There are plenty of community concerts during Central New York’s summer months. Seniors can get nostalgic as they hear local bands play their favorite classics (we won’t call them oldies), as well as take in a local orchestra or civic band. Local tourism and recreation departments often maintain events calendars and are a wealth of information. There will be bonus points for taking the grandkids so they can dance the night away. So don’t be a wallflower, especially in the summer. Get out and make 2013 a year to remember. August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS



high tech By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Mary Kilmer an RSVP volunteer uses an iPad 2 at the Oswego Public Library Learning Center.

I Just Love My E-Reader

More people are choosing to read books on devices such as Kindle, Nook and others. And they love it 14

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l Fasoldt is no Luddite. As a technology instructor at OASIS and technology writer for the Post-Standard, he loves gadgets. But he thought ebooks were impractical. The iPad changed everything for Fasoldt. He liked the clear display, the well-designed iBook app, and great selection of titles. He currently owns an iPad Retina, an Acer Iconia 10-inch Android tablet, and an Acer 7-inch tablet from Coby. “I like having dozens — or, in most cases, hundreds — of books just a screen away,” Fasoldt said. “I also like having them with me simply by taking my tablet along. And tapping the side of the screen is a lot easier, for my 70-year-old hands than swiping a physical page.” He’s not even sure how many e-books he owns at this point. He likes non-fiction books that relate to technology, science, biographies and history. He also reads news online. He’s not alone. “The 50-plus age group is the fastest growing part of the population,” he said. “Students at my OASIS classes are often as savvy as much younger people and sometimes much more aware of technology and technological change than the younger group. They have more time to learn, for one thing. And they have more at stake.” He advises retirees to go for a tablet instead of an e-reader because of the tablet’s many other functions online, comparing them to a Swiss army knife vs. a pocket knife. “Tablets are e-readers that do so much more,” he said. “Any tablet, whether iPad or Android, can use the Kindle book store and Kindle reader software. iPad users get the iBook Store, too, but buying into Apple’s closed ecosystem — in which you pay Apple extra for things you could do more cheaply on Android — is just crazy. The Kindle store and Google’s new book store and accompanying e-reader software are both very, very good,” Fasoldt said. Edward Elsner, librarian at Oswego Public Library, said that e-books are becoming very popular among the 55-plus set, “especially

with all the cheap e-books out there in recent months.” With the cost of the technology plummeting, it may be time to consider a tablet or e-reader. If you buy many books, the initial investment in equipment may help you save big, both for the cost of purchasing books and in the space that standard books require. Of course, checking out books from the library is free for either format, but e-books offer additional convenience for borrowers, too. “The ability to get something anytime without having to go out is a big draw,” librarian Elsner said. “[Patrons] can download it to their computer and instantly have a book of any kind they want.” You may also adjust the print size if you need to, from easy-to-read large print to tiny print that crams more content on each page. Electronic books lack the traditional look, feel and smell of paper books, which some purists may miss. Though the layout of e-books often mimics printed ones, the tactile experience is different. Paper books are harder to damage, too. A little moisture or being dropped can spell disaster for an e-reader or tablet, unlike their paper counterparts. Paper books require no charging or technology upgrades, which can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with electronics. The Oswego library started offering e-books in April, 2011. So far, the response has been enthusiastic as patrons who recently purchased ereaders want more material on them. “Every few weeks or so, we have people who get library cards just to get e-books,” Elsner said. “Most of

Al Fasoldt stands in front of an earlier picture of himself. “I like having dozens — or, in most cases, hundreds — of books just a screen away,” said the technology writer for the Post-Standard. them are 55-plus. They maybe last had a library card when they were studying or had children and haven’t

How Popular Have Ebooks Become? Onondaga County Public Library 2007: 1,628 patrons downloaded 9,345 items 2012: 10,347 patrons downloaded 118,240 items

used the library in the intervening years.” The North Country Library System, serving Oswego, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties, currently offers 1,500 e-books. Onondaga County Public Library has offered e-books since 2006, according to librarian Peg Elliott. It now boasts more than 6,000 electronic titles, including books, audiobooks, reference books, and study guides. In the first full year of the service, 2007, 1,618 unique patrons used it, checking out 9,345 items including downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and music. Just five years later, 10,347 unique patrons were using the service with 118,240 checkouts including downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, and music, plus videos. August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS




They Come and Go Fads: Gone but not forgotten By Ken Little


emember drive-in theaters, letter sweaters and flat tops? If so, it’s likely you were around in the 1950s. Those were just a few of the fads popular during the decade when Ike was president and cars had massive fins and plenty of chrome. Other popular fads of the 1950s, according to, included colored streamers for bicycle handlebars, TV dinners, diners, sock hops, Tupperware, Hula Hoops and baseball cards in the spokes of bicycles, to make that distinctive “fwap-fwap” sound. Carhops and waiters and waitresses on roller skates were popular. So were beehive and poodle cut hairdos and skirts. Remember Silly Putty, boomer-

angs, Mr. Potato Head and Whiffle Ball? Fast food was beginning to make a big dent in the diet of American teenagers, for better or worse. Kids were armed with Hopalong Cassidy guns, wore coonskin caps and looked forward to weekly TV shows like Davy Crockett. Baseball was still the great American pastime. Of course, few people need to be reminded of icons like James Dean and Elvis. “American Bandstand” was a staple of teens across the country, as was “The Mickey Mouse

Club” for their younger siblings and shows like “Gunsmoke,” “Wagon Train” and “The Twilight Zone” for their parents. And let’s not forget 3-D movies, Studebakers and telephone booth stuffing.

The 1960s The 1960s turned out to be a very different decade, both in tone and style. One popular TV show, which spanned both decades, was American Bandstand, hosted by the everyouthful Dick Clark. As the decade progressed, 1960s fads took on a flavor of their own. Remember The Twist, lava lamps, Twister, surfing music and the Motown sound? Not everyone who was young in the 1960s will admit to wearing bell bottom pants, Nehru jackets, granny glasses, mood rings and tall platform shoes. And what about Flower Power, the “Counter Culture” and TV shows like Laugh-In and The Smothers 16

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Brothers? The Woodstock Festival was a defining moment for many members of the 1960s generation, paving the way for the 1970s. The Beatles continue to resonate in popular culture today, even though they broke up more than 40 years ago. Many “British invasion” bands, including The Beatles, made their U.S. debut on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” a must-watch for the family on Sunday nights. There was the Summer of Love, Women’s Lib and the Hell’s Angels. Pop art, bubble chairs, peasant skirts, black lights, hippies, miniskirts, sit-ins, superballs and the “mod” look. James Bond and spy movies and TV shows were all the rage, including

comedy spoofs like “Get Smart.” Spooky comedies like the “Addams Family,” “The Munsters” and “Bewitched” were also popular, as were TV shows with country themes like “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres” and “Hee Haw,” which premiered in 1969 — the same year as Woodstock. Remember wide belts, hip-hugger pants and bouffant hairdos? How about the Boogaloo, the space program and go-go boots? Kids rode bicycles with banana seats. Teens and adults wore turtle-

Your Home Field


neck sweaters and paisley shirts. Army/Navy surplus clothing was popular, along with the Jackie Kennedy look. There were Ouija boards, troll dolls and STP stickers. Tie-dye clothing came into being. There was the ubiquitous peace symbol, Barbie dolls, love beads and women with Twiggy haircuts. And the term “baby boomer” made its debut to describe a generation that never thought it would age. Maybe those optimistic youths of the 1960s were on to something.

Ready to hear better?

Craig G. Fitzpatrick, Financial Consultant Athletics have always played an important role in my life. As a three-sport athlete in high school, and running back in college, sports provided me with an early understanding of leadership, management and teamwork. As a lifelong resident of Fulton, New York, my home field has always been the Central New York community. And today, as a financial consultant at Pathfinder Investment Services, I am proud to combine the qualities I learned on the field, with my years of investment experience, to provide this community with investment strategies and a new game plan. Stop in and learn more about your home field advantage today…Investment solutions from a teammate you already know.

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1001 Vine St. • Liverpool 451-7221 • August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS



jobs Bruce Wilcox, 62, of East Syracuse used to work at the Westcott Community Center thanks to the help of a service employment program in Onondaga County known as SCSEP. He now works at Café 407 in Liverpool as part of the same program.

Unemployed? Try SCSEP. By Matthew Liptak


elp is available to those 55 and over who are looking for work and meet income eligibility requirements through the state and federally funded Senior Community Service Employment Program. In Onondaga County the program is administered through the department of aging and youth and the national organization named Experience Works. Experience Works is available in 30 states and impacts more than 50,000 people each year. Its mission is to 18

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improve the lives of older people through training, community service and employment. Those applying through the department of aging and youth are placed in slots, when available, with several local nonprofit agencies. The positions are part-time, up to 20 hours a week, and pay minimum wage. The program is designed to give older people who want to work an opportunity to get some work experience and a chance to learn new skills or keep up with old ones. Partici-

pants look for more permanent work while they’re working. They can be enrolled in the program for up to four years. Bruce Wilcox, 62, of East Syracuse is enrolled in SCSEP and works at Café 407 in Liverpool. He was formally employed with Sutherland Global Services in telephone reception before his job went to the Philippines and he was laid off. He came to the department of aging and youth after searching for work elsewhere and coming up

empty. “I started looking around,” Wilcox said. “I filled out the applications, but nobody would call you. I finally remembered that the department of aging and youth existed so I went in and I talked to them and they said ‘This is a good time for you to apply.’” Two weeks later Wilcox was employed at the Westcott Community Center in the computer room where he worked for several months until his transfer to Cafe 407 in Livepool. Several nonprofits employ older workers through funding supplied by the program. The Salvation Army is one. “While seniors who were placed with us got the opportunity to learn job skills that would make them more appealing in the job market we were able to have the additional support that made us run our program more efficiently,” said Linda McNally, director of adult day services at the Syracuse Salvation Army. “It was a win-win all the way around.” Wilcox said the program has not only helped him by providing an income but also by increasing his sense of value in giving back to the community. He advises others to explore the opportunity for the same reason. “I work a maximum of 20 hours a week for minimum wage and that’s sometimes enough to keep somebody’s dignity up and to help them continue what they’re doing and to feel positive,” he said. “It’s also a way of getting out and interacting with people.” McNally believes the experience that the work provides can be invaluable in securing a new, more permanent position, whether the

older person has worked before or not. Often someone may be entering the workforce again after their children have grown and moved away or after their spouse has died. Older people may find themselves going Alford through all kinds of transitions and may be in need of a new start. SCSEP can help provide it. “What I see is it gives them an opportunity for them to learn some skills that would be marketable so if it’s receptionist skills, or secretarial skills, or computer skills it gives them some real-time experience so that they get to learn a skill that may be more marketable so that they can get a job,” McNally said. “For the seniors that have had some experiences in other parts of their life but not recently, it’s a way for them to practice their skills. It’s a way for them to learn a new skill.” SCSEP can act as a bridge to a more permanent position. Wilcox has been employed through the program since the summer of last year. He expects to be rotated out of his current Westcott Community Center position soon and placed with a new nonprofit. Those enrolled in SCSEP stay with a nonprofit for about six months before being rotated out to a new one. In the mean time Wilcox continues to use his moments of free time at the center to look for more permanent work. “I work in the computer room so I’m able to get on the computer every day and look for

the positions that I can apply for,” he said. “Unfortunately every time I’ve been on, the jobs aren’t there. It’s something you have to do constantly. Looking for work is the hardest job you’ll ever have.” Lisa Alford, the commissioner of Onondaga County’s Department of Aging and Youth agreed older workers are a valuable resource who should be considered more by employers. “Every employer is looking for the same three things,” she said. “Will this person be honest and dependable? Can this person learn on the job? Will this person fit into my organization? Overwhelmingly, seniors meet these requirements and have a lifetime of skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.” Like Alford and Wilcox, McNally believes older workers shouldn’t be ignored as contributors to their community and as valuable employees. She said she would like to be able to permanently employ members pf SCSEP once their time with her organization ended but , unfortunately, funds often wouldn’t allow for it. The jobs the SCEP employees did have during their rotation didn’t take jobs away from other permanent employees and they were a welcome addition to her staff. “I’m grateful for programs like this because I really believe just because your older you shouldn’t [not] have the opportunity to still contribute to the community that you live in and having a job makes not only the senior feel better but as a community older people are a resource that we need to acknowledge and embrace,” she said.

Need a Job?

The organizations listed below may be able to help.


Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth 315-435-2362

• SCSEP through Experience Works

New York State Experience Works Office 607-756-2211

• Onondaga and Cayuga Counties Experience Works Rosanne Cappa, Employment and Training Coordinator 315-380-7779

• Oswego and Madison Counties Experience Works Joey Giardini, Employment and Training Coordinator 315-761-5684

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An IT Guy With Passion for Music Wayne Glaser, 61, is now working on his fifth CD By Mary Beth Roach “I never planned on still playing music at this age,” said Wayne Glaser. Glaser, 61, lives in the HenriettaRush area near Rochester. He has been able to continue his passion for performing, writing and recording music while working at the payroll company Paychex. Glaser’s musical journey has spanned decades and crossed many genres. It has included performing live gigs and recording CDs; it has involved playing cover music and writing his own songs, even a theme for a television program; and it has embraced the technological age. He continues to keep in tune with the times. Beginning with hard rock in the 1970s, he has been playing on and off with various bands for about 45 years. They have played a variety of music, but they “skipped the whole disco thing,” he admitted with a laugh. He took drum lessons for four 20

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years in school, but prefers guitar, bass and keyboards over percussion. He refers to his musical style as folk rock, along the lines of Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and Dan Fogelberg. He likens it to southern California rock, but “I do wander off from that,” he chuckled. Several years ago, Glaser wandered into writing music, something he had always wanted to do. The desire came to fruition when his daughter, Tanya, had asked him to do a CD of children’s music for his grandson, Wyatt. He recalled wondering, at that time, if he could do a whole CD of music. He accomplished that goal, releasing “How Long is the Road,” in 2005, and that disc’s “Steel to a Magnet” was written for Wyatt. Since that time, Glaser has released three more CDs—“The Adirondack Air” in 2007, “Moments in Time” in 2009, and “The Beach and Beyond,” earlier this year. This last CD features his son,

Greg, performing back-up vocals on the tune “Ampersand Bay.” Two of Glaser’s favorite travel destinations, the Caribbean and Adirondacks, inspired various tracks on these CDs.

Outdoors feel He also wrote the theme song to “Adirondack Trails—Inside The Blue Line,” an outdoor adventure program that ran for several seasons in the Rochester area, first on CW Network Time Warner and then the CBS affiliate there, WROC. Glaser had worked in the real estate business, during which time he met a gentleman named John Fik. The two kept in touch, and when Fik and his wife, Susan, began working on the television program, they asked Glaser if he would be interested in working on the project. It was a perfect fit for this hiking and kayaking enthusiast. When asked if he writes both the lyrics and the music, he said that

he did, but he joked that it wasn’t always in that order—sometimes it’s the music first and then the lyrics. “It’s fun taking absolutely nothing and turning it into something,” he said. However, critiquing his work is one of the most difficult aspects of the process, he said. “After you hear it so many times,” he said, “I’m not sure what I’m listening to. I do have other people listen to the tracks too, just to see what they think. They judge it from a different perspective.” Through his work in IT support at Paychex and by being self-taught on computers, the expertise he gained has served him well in this age of the Internet and YouTube. It’s a long way from when recordings were done reel-to-reel, Glaser pointed out. “The Internet is the best thing that happened to music in a long time,” he said.

Conduit for music sales It provides websites in which he can sell his CDs, such as Amazon, Reverbnation and cdbaby, and his own website, www.callofthewildstu- There is recording software available with short pieces of instrumentation that he can put together to create the music at his Call of the Wild Studios. Moreover, he can meet other musicians through the Internet, share tracks they’ve done, and collaborate with one another. “It opens up the world,” he said. The future seems wide open with possibilities too. He said he has decided to retire from Paychex to devote more time to being in the outdoors and to writing and recording new music. He is putting materials together for another CD, which he might title “Hodge Podge Lodge,” since it will be a collection of several types of musical styles, from mellow to a little more contemporary guitar rock. He also continues to play in a duo with long-time friend Steve Spring at various spots around the Rochester area, including The Lima Country Club, where the two perform every other Friday from May to September. For more information on Glaser, visit

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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

My Adventurous Trip to Southeast Asia Part II


chose this particular tour because I wanted to get an overview of a number of Southeast Asian countries, rather than going in depth in just one country. But when we got to Vietnam and only saw Saigon, now called Ho Chi Min City, and traveled to just a few surrounding areas, I was sorry I hadn’t planned more time to see Hanoi, Da Nang and the beautiful countryside. And I hadn’t prepared myself to be hit so emotionally by the trip. In Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, we met with people who had lived through what we in the US call the “Vietnam War” and they call the “American War.” It was very difficult discussing such recent history with what we have always thought of as “the enemy.” We learned who the Viet Cong were and why a country as small as Vietnam was successful in defeating us, a huge country with superior military strength. We crawled in the Cu Chi tunnels (or at least in the few parts where we could fit) of this 125 mile-long underground maze, where thousands of fighters and villagers hid and fought, cooked, slept, held meetings in conference rooms, and essentially carried on every day life — below ground and out of sight. Crossing a street in Ho Chi Minh City is not for the faint of heart. There were very few traffic lights and the way you cross, is to confidently step into the steady stream of mostly motorbikes and some cars, keeping your head down and not looking anyone in the eye. Somehow the traffic manages to swerve around and miss you by an inch. I was only brave enough to try it with five others, huddled around our guide, who got us safely to the other side. One night we also became part of the unreal traffic swarm as we rode 22

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as passengers in cyclo-rickshaws. It really was amazing to be in the middle of thousands of motorbikes, literally cheek to jowl with the bikers and their passengers, sometime groups of four or five people on one motorbike, most wearing masks because of the pollution. Some people were even transporting TVs and refrigerators on the backs of their bikes! Though I was petrified as we changed lanes or crossed in front of the swarm to reach another street, the other bikers were friendly and we smiled at each other when traffic slowed for a minute. It was a fantastic experience. The trip between Vietnam and Cambodia by bus and speedboat was beautiful and the individual cultures are reflected in architecture, food and religion, all with wonderful combinations of the ancient and the modern, from thatch-roofed villages with dirt floors to modern homes hidden behind high walls. Life is lived in the open in these hot climates, providing the chance to walk through villages and speak with people who were warm and welcoming, as they cooked and visited with friends outside their homes.

The Killing Fields of Cambodia It is impossible to get one’s head around man’s inhumanity to man. In Cambodia, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million people between 1975-79, essentially targeting and eliminating large segments of the educated class. We met an 83 year-old man who was in his mid-40s during the killings. I bought his book and had a chance to talk with him for a short time. Though an educated man, he lived by his wits and survived by pretending to be an uneducated peasant, and therefore was allowed to live as he was presumed not to be a threat to the regime. An elegant guide at the Cambodian National Museum told us

how her cousin was forced to kill his aunt’s whole family, our guide’s family, because he was ordered to or he would be killed. She and he are still alive and I cannot imagine how they face each other, but the fact that they do is testament to life having to go on. As we walked through the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, and then the prison, it felt sacrilegious to take pictures of the mass graves and the photos of the people who had been horribly tortured and killed. The choice was to return to the bus or leave and go shopping, but to turn away from horror is, in a sense, to deny reality and to assume these things could not have really happened. I won’t go into the details of the torture and killings that we learned about, but I hope that my children and grandchildren will have the intellectual curiosity to ask the question, “how could these things happen (and still be happening) in our time?”

Siem Reap and Angkor Wat During an all day drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in Northern Cambodia, we stopped at a small village that was having a housewarming. The house was filled with Buddhist nuns and monks chanting blessings that went on for hours and could be heard on loudspeakers throughout the village. We were invited to join in the prayers, as well as stay for lunch. But it was the invitation to partake in the hunting and preparation of the special appetizer that gave me pause. Tarantula is a delicacy in this village, so a few of us accompanied a woman and three young boys who went hunting for them in the fields with small spears. The tarantulas were then washed, prepared like tempura with spices and flour, and fried in a wok. Tarantulas weren’t on my diet that day, so

I passed on the tasting portion.

Angkor A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hindu and Buddhist temples that comprise Angkor, including Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, is breathtaking. An ancient holy city that took centuries to build, between AD 800-1200, it is a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. To give a sense of the size, we were there and walked around for most of a day and saw only a small part of the 96-square mile site. The bas reliefs carved into the walls of the buildings told the story of their way of life and it was a story of a very sophisticated civilization.

The River Kwai Our bus trip from Bangkok to the River Kwai started with a visit to a floating market. Floating markets are fascinating, as commerce takes place both between boats and with people on land, mostly fruits and vegetables, but also other essential household items and clothing. As this particular market had live cobras on display, I could have missed it, but I really wanted the banana fritters that were being sold just beyond the cobra display, so I walked with my head down past them. The fritters were worth it. I never knew much about the Asian front of World War II, but

as we walked and rode the rickety railroad over the bridge on the River Kwai, that so many POWs died building, and then hiked through Hellfire Pass, it was hard to imagine how anyone survived fighting in the awful heat and humidity, let alone the torturous forced labor conditions. Our guide arranged meals at the most unusual restaurants. One night we ate at the home of the elected Mayor of a village, walking there from our tents in the jungle, and accompanied by two sheep. The whole family cooked, including a sister who was in the military, and toddlers ran around the tables as we ate in their front yard. As is usual in small villages, three generations of that family slept in one room, separated only by a curtain.

Northern Thailand In the airport cafe waiting to fly to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, I shared a table with a Brit who had been living in Chiang Mai for a few years. He said there were a number of retired ex-pats from around the world living there, that it was a wonderful part of the world to retire to and that he got along well, even without speaking the language. After a week exploring that part of Thailand, I could almost envision living there, too. The countryside is beautiful, the people friendly and the food wonderful.

Floating markets are fascinating, as commerce takes place both between boats and with people on land, mostly fruits and vegetables, but also other essential household items and clothing.

5 Tips In The Live and Learn Category Travel is meant to be an adventure and a learning experience. So here are the lessons learned on this trip. 1. Never, ever leave your hotel without taking a card that has the name, address and phone number of the hotel; you will need this to show a cab driver when you want to go back. It is a very panicky feeling when you don’t speak the language and have no one to call for help, and I will never, ever, ever make that mistake again. 2. Always check if there are metered cabs in the city, and if there are, never take one that is not metered. A person who looked to be in charge of the taxi area outside a restaurant I was leaving, put me in what turned out to be a car service, that charged three times what it cost to return to my hotel than it took to get there. I now know to be firm and say “no thanks” and ask for one with a meter. 3. If possible, try not to travel out of season. If it’s been 90-100 degrees with high humidity every March for a few hundred years in the part of the world where you are going, chances are it will be 90-100 degrees with high humidity when you’re there in March too. 4. Never order spring roll to bring on the plane to eat later. The doughy wrapper sticks to the cardboard box it’s in and when you give it a little, I swear, just a tiny tug, the filling flies out all over you, and your now not-sofriendly seatmate. And check that they don’t put the dipping sauce in a Baggie; that didn’t work out too well either. 5. If you stick your hat in the waistband of your pants while walking in the jungle, or anywhere else for that matter, remember to take it out before going to the bathroom. The good news is most hats float, the bad news is, well, what it’s floating on. August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS




Breaking World Records Bob Natoli, a businessman, author and fitness coach holds eight Guinness World Records, two of them earned at age 57 By Jacob Pucci


hen Bob Natoli was a young boy growing up in Oswego, he asked his father Sam for a new

bicycle. Rather than simply buying his son the bike, his father took him to their garden and told him they would plant a pumpkin patch. After Natoli planted the pumpkins, weeded the garden and lifted the grown pumpkins onto a trailer, the 8-year-old Natoli stood on a stool, too short to see outside the window, watching as passers-by came up to the makeshift stand outside his house to purchase a pumpkin. Armed with his grandfather’s old cigar box, the young Natoli collected money and soon, he had enough money to buy the bicycle he wanted. It is this entrepreneurial spirit instilled in Natoli at an early age that he brings not only to his business ventures, such as Timebuyer, Inc., but to his personal ventures as well. That includes writing a self-help book and holding eight Guinness World Records in weightlifting and fitness. Though he wears multiple hats as an author, businessman and fitness coach, Natoli credits his level of commitment and dedication for his successes. “What I may lack in ability I will 24

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always make up for in my will to never give up,” Natoli said. Prior to opening Timebuyer, Inc. in 2005, Natoli owned Rentavision, a rent-to-own business that quickly grew to 250 stores in 17 states and employed roughly 1,200 people. In 1999, after 15 years of operation, Natoli sold the company to Rent-Way, which was later acquired by Rent-A-Center, for nearly $100 million. After finding success again in the financing industry, Natoli turned his attention to Timebuyer. Unlike other car dealerships, Timebuyer does not take credit scores into account and instead offers an interest rate dependant solely on the down payment. It is a system Natoli developed to allow customers who have been turned down by banks and other lending institutions to obtain a car loan. Since opening the first location in Oswego in 2005, the dealership has expanded throughout Central New York and other areas.

Defying age It is this same success Natoli brings not only to his business ventures but to his personal and fitness life as well. In April, Natoli broke two Guinness World Records: the most step-ups with a 40-pound pack in one minute and the most step-ups with a 60-pound pack in one minute.

With these two most recent records, Natoli claims ownership to eight fitness world records, ranging from chin-ups and squat thrusts, to arm curls and dumbbell and barbell raises. Natoli began his quest for world records largely out of making the best of a bad situation. He had purchased a new treadmill and was eager to test its limits, as well as his own. With much of the same go-getter attitude that made him an entrepreneurial success, Natoli put the treadmill on full-speed, which according to Natoli was 18 mph. After only a brief sprint, his knee began to swell with pain. After several minutes of running, Natoli spent the next 18 months unable to put a significant amount of weight on his knee. Refusing to give up on his passion for fitness, Natoli turned his attention to upper-body workouts, in particular, chin-ups and pull-ups, which required little lower-body stress. “Everything is difficult before it becomes easy,” Natoli said. And eventually, they began to come easy. At the New York State Fair, a booth held a contest that anyone able to do 20 chin-ups won a free hat. He did 20 and got his hat, but he wanted more.

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Bob Natoli with his wife Peg (left) recently donated $9,900 to the family of Julian Ross, a 7-year-old from Oswego, who is battling cancer. With the couple is Julian’s mother, Kristi Thompson-Ross. The following year, he came back and did 30. Natoli, who said he always sets goals for himself in every facet of life, set a lofty goal for himself: break the world record. Following his second impressive showing at the state fair, Natoli looked up the record for most chinups in one minute. It was 37, only seven more than he did at the fair. With this goal in mind, Natoli bested the record and did 40 chin-ups in one minute in 2006, setting the first of his many records. “I like to have a goal to strive toward,” Natoli said.

“It [the barbell row record] was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Natoli said. Natoli’s determination and motivation is felt throughout the community. He took to heart the story of Julian Ross, a 7-year-old from Oswego, who is battling cancer, and pledged $100 per step-up for Julian’s cause. He performed 52 steps ups with a 40-pound back pack and only 40 minutes later performed 47 with

Keeping the chin up After that, he was hooked. After his record was broken, Natoli responded by putting up 44 chin-ups in one minute in 2007. That record was eventually broken by his son Bobby who performed 53 chin-ups in one minute. Later the same morning, Natoli claimed another record, performing 56 squat-thrusts in one minute. From 2011-2012, Natoli turned his attention to hour-long records, as opposed to minute-long records. Natoli said the hour-long record attempts were much more difficult, especially his record-setting 51,640 pounds lifted by upright barbell rows in one hour, which he set in 2012. 26

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“True Vision 4 Success,” an inspirational book written by Natoli was released in 2010.

a 60lb back pack. He presented the family with a check for $9,900. Along with the money donated from the step-up records, Natoli estimates his world record attempts have garnered nearly $20,000 for area charities. “Donating and raising money for such causes makes breaking a world record that much more meaningful,” Natoli said. With the title of successful businessman and entrepreneur and now world record holder under his belt, Natoli took on the role of author. His book “True Vision 4 Success” was released in 2010 as Natoli broadened his focus from his own business and personal success to helping others find success. Through his many years of experience both as a businessman and a success coach, Natoli said the No. 1 reason people are not getting what they want out of life does not have to do with education or ability. It is the fear of failure and giving up far too soon because they don’t believe they will succeed, he said. “People need to own their failure,” Natoli said. “They must make sure that their failure doesn’t own them.”

Never too late to change Natoli, who broke two world records recently at age 57, said it is never too late to make a radical change in one’s life. Natoli stresses that before anyone begins a fitness regimen, they should go to their doctor and get a physical exam to make sure they are healthy enough to start a program. He also advocates that a slow start is best. “Start slowly, like it’s almost too easy,” Natoli said. Combined with diet, Natoli said even a 30-minute workout three or four times a week—focusing on lower-stress workouts such as push-ups instead of bench presses—is enough to show a change. “More movement, less empty calories, equals health,” he said. These steps for fitness and personal goals are laid out in his book, “True Vision 4 Success.” In the book, which is available through many retail outlets, Natoli

55+ outlines his process for gaining personal success and happiness. He said Peggy, his wife of 27 years; his two children, Marianne and Bobby, and the rest of his family represent the one thing he is most proud of. Even though he has found financial success and worldwide recognition in his record breaking, it is his personal and family life that he holds dearest. “Many have great fame and wealth, yet their personal lives are in shambles for various reasons. Are they successful human beings?” Natoli asked. Despite eight world records, a strong family life and successful business ventures, Natoli is looking for more. Later this year, Natoli will blend

two of his passions, entrepreneurship and fitness, into a health club he is opening in Syracuse. The new club will be located at the former Bresee Chevrolet building on Old Liverpool Road in Salina. It will feature weight lifting and cardio machines, group fitness classes, indoor track, two salt-water pools, rock climbing, mixed martial arts with world-renowned teachers, a baby- sitting service, a health food store and even a sports psychologist on staff. Natoli said salt water is better for the body than traditional chlorine. “There is nothing like this in Syracuse or anywhere else that I am aware of,” Natoli said. “Putting this all together has been a real challenge.” With this venture, the first Natoli


has made in the fitness industry, he hopes to implement the same tactics he used to turn Rentavision and Timebuyer into successful business ventures. He may make more money than he can fit in his grandfather’s cigar box, but his attitude and approach to doing business has not changed since he was selling pumpkins from a roadside stand. Citing his parents Sam and Ella as the source of his strong work ethic and determination, Natoli hopes to share their influence on him to every dimension of his life, whether it is business, fitness, or his own family, the source of his own happiness. “They [his family] all bring me great happiness,” Natoli said. “And to me that is great success.”

Father Knows Best

Wife, children shed praise on role model husband, dad By Lou Sorendo


or Peggy Natoli, separating her husband Bob’s personal and professional attributes are next to impossible. “They are the exact same whether he is conducting himself in his professional life or his personal life,” she said. “Bob is an honest, sincere man with a great sense of humor.” Natoli, a successful entrepreneur, strongman record-breaker and author, owns Timebuyer in Oswego. “He treats everyone he meets like they are special. If he gets the chance to chat with them, he will make them see how unique they are and how much potential they possess,” she noted. “When you meet Bob, you remember Bob!” she exclaimed. Bob, who holds eight strongman Guinness World Records in weightlifting and fitness, has “incredible people skills,” his wife said. “He knows insincerity or de-

ceit just by looking into someone’s eyes or listening to their voice,” she said. “Or, if someone asks for advice, maybe with weight loss or smoking let’s say, he usually knows their problem before they say it. “He can focus in on people and really understand them and their situation. He really connects with them. That’s why a person he has just met will say they feel like they have known him forever.” Peggy said her husband not only enjoys empowering people and being uplifting, “but also giving people a reason to smile.” For Bob’s son Bobby, who has set his own Guinness World Record for the most chin-ups in a minute, said there are many options to choose from when thinking of what makes him most proud of his father. “Probably the most impressive and inspirational quality is the persistence and dedication

that he demonstrates in every aspect of his life,” he said. “He’s a great example of how much you can achieve by being dedicated to all areas of importance,” Bobby said. “Even with everything going on in his businesses and training, he’s always been a committed father and role model and he’ll be the first to say how much of a priority that is to him. That’s really something to be proud of.” Marianne Natoli, Bob’s daughter, said among the things she is most proud of concerning her dad is “the way he uses negativity in the world to fuel his goals and visions. “It seems that every time there is an obstacle in the way of his success, he uses it as motivation to succeed,” she said. “Whereas most people would get discouraged by unfortunate circumstances or negative people, my dad seems to channel it and uses it to propel him onto what he wants to achieve.” August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS


my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email:

What You Should Recommend When Your Grandkids Turn 18


y wife, Marie, and I have three grandchildren who have reached the magic age of 18 or will later this

year. We of the mature generation freely offer our advice — solicited or otherwise — so I have been pondering what pearls of wisdom I can offer. As best I can remember, no one gave me any advice when I turned 18, which was not such a milestone age, because, back then, 56 years ago, I could not vote for another three years. Living in Pennsylvania, though, I could drive to Port Jervis, N.Y., and have a beer legally, something my grandkids can’t do today. (Thank goodness!!!!) I recommend to my grandchildren that one of the first things they should do is register to vote. If they prefer alliance with one of the major parties, fine, but if they want to be like their grandfather and register as an independent, that is OK, too. One drawback, though, is not being able to vote in primary elections. I proudly told them, however, that I have voted in 52 consecutive general elections, never failing to cast a ballot since I turned 21 in 1960. I gave my first presidential vote that year to John F. Kennedy, but I have voted for Democrats and Republicans since then, depending on the qualifications of the candidate. Realizing that many 18-year-olds are wise beyond their years, I know that my advice may be met with rolled eyes and impatient shuffling of the feet. That’s why I am trotting out an Alexander Pope couplet to set the scene. This 18th century English poet hit a home run when he said: “We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; “Our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.” 28

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With Pope’s wisdom as a cornerstone, here is my grandfatherly advice — note there are 10 “pearls,” but any comparison to another document with 10 planks is purely coincidental: • Learning is a life-long process. Embrace and respect the diversity of our society, and learn from what those of all races, nationalities and religions can teach us. Rejoice in the excitement of learning, but don’t be a know-it-all. • Avoid extreme criticism of others; make suggestions with caution and gentleness. • Just about all successful people set up new goals for themselves, so when they reach a goal, they move to the next one and rarely get caught up with their previous success. Don’t get too full of yourself. • Certainly your success is important, but celebrate the success of others in your life, too. Don’t be jealous or vindictive because of the accomplishments of family members and friends. • Don’t get so caught up in the treadmill of life that you forget family and friends. (This includes your grandparents. Come visit us and chat with us as you did when you were younger. And, oh, by the way, if we repeat a story you’ve heard about 10 times, pretend you are hearing it for the first time.)

• Live an ethical life. Since I teach a college course in communication ethics and have my students develop their own codes of ethics, I am recommending that you commit to writing a personal code by which you will conduct your life. This will be, by definition, a work in progress that will need tweaking, editing and modification as you go through life. • Love is a many-splendored thing, but don’t get so caught up in the excitement of love that you forget the important components of a relationship. To have a great relationship with someone you love requires you to have a great relationship with yourself first. • Be safe. If you want to be considered an adult, act responsibly. Don’t drink and drive; don’t use your smart phone while driving, and, don’t drive recklessly by showing off. Remember, the persons in the other car may be someone’s grandchildren whose grandparents would be devastated to get that dreaded phone call that they were in an accident and seriously injured or worse. Just imagine our getting such a call about you, too. • Be a role model to your children. Setting an example for them will pay rich dividends when it’s their turn to be parents. • Money is important, true, but it is not life’s be-all and end-all. Finding and loving your life’s work will mean more to you throughout your career than you can ever imagine now. I knew from the fifth grade that I wanted to be in the communications or education fields. I was in both, simultaneously, most of my entire adult life, even now well into retirement. How cool is that? I wish the very same incredible satisfaction for you when you pursue your chosen calling.

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memory Tractors of Yesteryear is also a rotating exhibit at the Living History Center.

Living History Center. Three Museums in One Museum captures the heritage of local history in a way that’s never been done before By Richard Palmer


ne of the newest and most unique museums in this area is the Central New York Living History Center on Route 11, half way between Homer and Cortland. It is actually a collection of museums that captures the heritage of local history in a way that’s never been done before. The umbrella organization is the Homer Cortland Community Agency which, according to Executive Director Doreen Bates, has a four-fold mission: to develop a museum complex for the preservation of historical artifacts of local, national and international significance, to educate students from the intermediate grades through 30

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Centerpiece of the Living History Museum is a rotating display of Brockway trucks . college, to contribute to the economic revitalization of Cortland County by creating a museum that will enhance tourism in the Central New York area, and to provide opportunities for volunteers to become involved in community-building activities. Bates said to fulfill this mission, HCCA oversees a museum complex that houses several collections. The centerpiece is an outstanding collection of Brockway trucks, maintained by the Brockway Truck Preservation Association, Inc. Until the late 1970s Brockway, headquartered in Cortland, was a nationally recognized truck and industrial vehicle

manufacturer. A few years after its demise, the association was formed by collectors of Brockway vehicles. After the fifth annual National Truck Show in 2004, the working committee incorporated to become the Brockway Truck Show, Inc., a nonprofit organization that manages the annual event in downtown Cortland. This show has been a great success by all possible standards, with people coming from around the world for the parade and the festivities. For some time, the working committee had also been intent on creating a Brockway Museum where Brockway products could be on display all year round,

along with the wealth of memorabilia and historical documents pertaining to the manufacture of the trucks. Another component is the Homeville Museum that focuses on local history as well as military and railroad history. The collection was created by the late Ken Eaton, who originally had the museum at his home. The entire collection contains more than 10,000 items. Eaton, who died in 2006 at the age of 80, was a World War II veteran. He spent more than 35 years assembling this collection, which has been pronounced by many visiting museum curators as “wondrous,” “unique” and “irreplaceable.” In the collection are rare items of local and national political and economic significance, a massive collection of model trains including a huge panoramic display, and a military collection that is second to none. This collection has direct connections to local history and veterans, from the Civil War to the Gulf War and includes several military vehicles. In 2005, a group of volunteers interested in preserving Ken Eaton’s lifetime of work formed the Homeville

Shown with Executive Director Diane Bates, at left, are Diane McGee and Chuck Eaton. They are among the many docents at the Living History Museum. Photos by Richard Palmer Museum, Inc., a state-chartered museum nonprofit corporation with the provisions for operating a historical museum. “Homeville Museum, Inc. seeks to purchase and house the collection, intact, to preserve the memory of Ken Eaton’s life’s work and

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to add to its immeasurable value to the community,” Bates said. Close by in an appropriate farm building setting is Tractors of Yesteryear. This too is a rotating collection of antique tractors and farm equipment collected and maintained by members of the Central New York Tractor Club. This organization, which covers southern New York and northern Pennsylvania, was formed in 1990 and has more than 350 members. The Living History Center is also a membership organization. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and visitors should allow two hours. Interpretive movies and videos are shown in the theater. The center was created in a building formerly occupied by A.B. Brown & Son, which was at one time a leading department and farm implement store.

More on the New Museum Those interested in more information about Central New York Living History Center may visit www.

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When Running is in the Blood Duo has competed in every Boilermaker Road Race since its inception in 1977 By Patricia J. Malin


nly if the sky were falling! There was no other way to prevent Paul Ohlbaum and Wayne Decker from participating in the 36th annual Boilermaker Road Race in Utica on July 14. Call it an addiction, stubbornness, foolishness, a proud history, tradition or whatever term comes to mind, but Ohlbaum, 79, of New Hartford, and Decker, 77, of Whitesboro, have maintained a perfect streak of competing in every Boilermaker since 32

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its inception in 1977. Ohlbaum, a retired opthamologist, describes himself simply as one of several “perennials,” which specifically refers to 13 runners (12 men and one woman) who have run every single Boilermaker. Compare these hardy oldtimers, then, to roses blooming in a field of weeds. Ohlbaum has suffered a number of calamities in the past that could have derailed his running career, but thus far he’s proven indestructible. “I had bladder cancer [years ago],”

Paul Ohlbaum, 79, left, and Wayne Decker, 77, have run every Boilermaker Road Race in Utica since the inception of the event in 1977.

he said. “I had surgery and treatment and it slowed me down, but I think running increases your resistance to disease. Last winter, I broke my ankle, but I was back running six weeks later.” The Boilermaker is the largest and one of the most competitive 15kilometer races in the world. It is so popular that the race committee has capped the entries at 14,000 to avoid overcrowding. The 5K is limited to 4,000 participants. Decker finished sixth in the men’s 75-79 division last year in one hour, 53 minutes, 45 seconds. Ohlbaum was 12th in the division at 2:24:12. Ohlbaum couldn’t remember

when he was treated for cancer, but he said it didn’t interfere with his plans to run the Boilermaker. “That was the year I placed dead last [clock time], and the ‘meat wagon’ was behind me. But I was surprised when I saw my name in the paper, I was next-to-last [chip time].” Ohlbaum, who turned 79 two weeks after the Boilermaker, intends to keep going. He has competed in the Utica Roadrunner Club’s Falling Leaves 14K races for 38 consecutive years and this September he will move into the highest age group. Nor is retirement on Decker ’s mind. He credits his longevity to his career as a fulltime referee. He has refereed soccer for 23 years and boys’ varsity basketball for 36 years. He also keeps in shape by swimming weekly at the Utica College pool. There is no secret to his persistence to run the Boilermaker. “First, I have to get out of bed,” Decker quipped. “One year I didn’t want to go, but my wife pushed me out the door.” He said he has noticed the expression on the faces of his much younger rivals as he steps to the starting line. “Their eyes pop out when I tell them how old I am.”

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81-year-old is the oldest runner at Boilermaker Road Race Not even a medical operation could deter 81-year-old Ted Sullivan of Williamsville. Sullivan is the oldest 15K runner to return. In 2012, he finished second (2:04:37) to his 84-year-old brother, Richard (2:00:57) of Buffalo in the 80-plus group. June Vyse Gravener of Mount Upton was the third finisher in this division and the oldest woman (2:18:36). The fourth and last runner in this group was Sheldon G. Kall of Manlius (2:22:19), but neither of them participated in this year’s race. Another “perennial” is Sheila Burth, a physical therapist from New Hartford. She has crossed the Boilermaker finish line 34 times, starting when she was 13. Now 49, she was eight months pregnant when she completed the 1990 Boilermaker.

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golden years By Harold Miller Email:

Martin Point: Jewel of the Finger Lakes


ational Geographic in 1985 called the Finger Lakes “Unparalleled in all the World.” Shermans Travel LLC, a widely respected NYC review and rating agency, rates the Finger Lakes region as the “Number One Lakeside Retreat in the World.” Setting as a jewel in the crown of these glacial-formed waters is Martin Point at the head of Owasco Lake, an area that is enjoying its 25th anniversary this year. This 30-acre development, planned and built by local landed gentry, encompasses lakeside townhouses combined with private homes — all of which cluster around a pavilion, marina, lakeside pool (with a spectacular view of the lake), an expansive swimming beach, and


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adjacent tennis courts. Long before the turn of the 20th century the site of Martin Point was a bustle of activity. It was the summer escape for presidents and potentates, pundits and poets, and many other of young America’s rich and famous. It is the most romantic and historic site in the entire Finger Lakes region. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was a frequent visitor to this land called Willowbrook (so named for the sleepy brook which meanders through) as was Captain Miles Keogh who fought bravely at his side in the battle of Little Big Horn. Custer, who had an eye for the ladies, remarked that “Sweet Auburn contains more than her proportion of pretty females.” Myles Keogh had

been a close friend of General Andrew Alexander of Auburn. During one of his visits he met Alexander’s sister-in-law Nellie Martin who resided at Willowbrook. Legend has it that a love affair developed between them. The romance never grew to fruition because Keogh and his colorful commander George Custer met their fate on a grubby barren ridge of land at the junction of the Big Horn and Little Big Horn rivers in the Minnesota Territory. Keogh’s and Custer’s body were not mutilated, as were the other 300 soldiers, because of their bravery during the massacre. Keogh’s body is buried in Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery along with Nellie Martin, who never married and religiously visited Keogh’s grave during all of the 50

years that separated their deaths. State Secretary William H. Seward (responsible for our government’s purchase of Alaska) was a frequent visitor to Willowbrook — as were other notables such as Martin Van Buren, Washington Irving, General Ulysses S. Grant, and Admiral David Farragut. Jenny Lind, the ‘Swedish Nightingale’ sang her sweet songs by a grove at the lakefront. At one gathering during the Civil War representatives of 11 nations gathered at Willowbrook (the Camp David of its day) at the invitation of Secretary William Seward who was trying to decide whether they would side with the north or the south during our nation’s epic conflict. Willowbrook is probably best known as the residence of Enos Throop — a colorful character who moved to Auburn in 1807 and became active in politics. Throop was elected to Congress in 1814. In 1828 his old friend Martin Van Buren, who was seeking the governorship of New York state, persuaded Throop to become his candidate for lieutenant governor. When Van Buren was made Secretary of State by President Andrew Jackson, Throop became acting governor. The next year he was elected governor. Had Throop continued to follow in the footsteps of his mentor Van Buren he might have been president of the United States. Beyond all of its rich history, beautiful architecture, manicured landscaping, and luxurious facilities — Martin Point is a delightful place to live. Convenient to Syracuse and Rochester, but far from the madding crowd, this lakeside paradise is as good as it gets. As a resident of Martin Point, my wife Janet and I specially enjoy the autumn when the lake quiets after a busy season of swimming, and boating, and family gatherings. Then Mother Nature takes over and paints the trees with brilliant color that no pallet could ever duplicate. Then Janet and I just sit on the deck and watch the colors of autumn reflected in the blue-green water, and contemplate on how fortunate we are. One of the most satisfying accomplishments of my life was being a part of the team that dreamed and planned and built this place, wrapped in the splendor of the Finger Lakes.

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Is Upstate a Good Place to Retire? No, according to the many surveys published by the media By Ken Little


ost locals will agree there are many things that make Upstate New York a great place to live. Good-natured neighbors, family and friends, four seasons, beautiful summers and ample outdoor activities — all could be cited as reasons for living here. But when it comes to the Upstate region as a place to retire, other factors must be considered. High tax rates, challenging winters and the lack of nearby medical services in some rural areas come to mind. The above reasons may be why the region is largely ignored by numerous magazines and others who publish lists of the best places to retire. But other reasons, including the desire to remain in their homes when retirement age comes, keep many people from leaving. “Invariably, what retirees are looking for right now given dwindling home values, disappearing pensions and cracked nest eggs, are places 36

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where their dollars will go as far as possible,” AARP New York spokesman David Irwin said.

Notable Exception One exception is the college town of Ithaca, in the rolling hills of Tompkins County. It’s listed by AARP as a Top 10 affordable city for retirement. Ithaca also makes several other lists, including AARP’s list of Top 10 “Quirky Places” to retire. Beyond that, Upstate, including Central New York and Western New York, comes up blank. New York state is among those that have initiatives to encourage property owners to remain at home in retirement. “People are looking for communities that will allow them to age in place,” Irwin said. Moving to a new home in Florida or Arizona may not be realistic. “These days, retirees are finding themselves in a bit of a pinch. The 400Ks are still recovering and home

values have dwindled significantly,” Irwin said. “They are looking for communities that are affordable and supportive.” For many, that description best describes their current home.

Outdoor Attractions Few can question the beauty of Upstate New York’s rural areas. Attractions like Lake Ontario and other waterways, state parks and 5 million public acres are ideal for the outdoor-minded, said Jola Szubielski, spokeswoman for Empire State Development. “While mainly focused on the tourism aspect, we also see these as great draws for our residents who enjoy New York state’s excellent quality of life. Health care is another strength for New York state with its many teaching hospitals and premier, major medical facilities,” Szubielski said. Some rural counties are wanting when it comes to specialized medical

treatment, but most areas of Upstate New York are relatively close to a major medical facility. Syracuse is a medical services hub for Central New York, and Rochester serves a similar function for sections of Western New York. Increasingly, adult children of retirees serve as primary caregivers, another reason to remain at home. “Being close to friends and family is always another factor for New York and people across the nation,” Irwin said. “More and more adult children are stepping in to serve as primary caregivers with their aging parents, so more and more that’s something New Yorkers want to be close to.”

What The Lists Say Those factors aside, Upstate New York, and New York in general, takes it on the chin in lists of the best places to retire. In fact, New York state finished tied for sixth with Ohio on an AARP/ list of the “10 Worst Places to Retire.” The reason? “High property taxes and other costs,” the list states. Michigan, with “harsh weather and a poor economic climate,” tops the list. The top five states to retire, according to an AARP/MoneyRates. com list, with accompanying reasons in parenthesis, are Virginia (good economy), Arizona (good economy), Utah (good economy), Idaho (low crime rate and good economy), and Hawaii (great weather and high life expectancy). In addition to Ithaca, Ulster County near New York City made the AARP’s Top 10 list of “Quirky Places” to retire, along with places like Boulder, Colo.; Austin, Texas and Cape Cod, Mass. States like Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota were included in the AARP Top 10 list of places for outdoor lovers to retire, but not New York. There are 25 cities on Forbes Magazine’s list of best places to retire in 2012. None are in New York. But in the end, beauty — and practical reasons — are in the eye of the beholder, Irwin said. “The majority of New Yorkers want to stay in their own home,” he said. For over 25 years, helping thousands of Central New York families.

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Syracuse native and resident at Blue Mosque in Afghanistan during a trip in the fall of last year.

An Octogenarian Revisits Afghanistan Syracuse native: The slow-paced life in Kabul that I had known working at the American embassy is long gone By Concetta (Connie) Tuori


n the fall of 2011, I heard a local peace activist, Ed Kinane, give a talk about a trip he had taken with the Syracuse Peace Council to Afghanistan. After his talk, I asked him how easy was it to get a visa to go to Afghanistan. He said it was very easy. I decided I would try to go in the fall of 2012. I had lived in Kabul for six months in 1956-1957 and had wonderful memories of the country. There is no country in modern times that has endured so much hardship and catastrophe in a period of 30 years. They have had invasion from a foreign 38

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country, assassination of its leaders, desecration of its countryside from mines and bombardments, exiling of millions of its people who became refugees in other countries, civil war for eight years among its mujahedeen (warlords), and brutalization of its women by a fanatical Muslim group. I came upon Afghanistan by accident. In September 1956, I was returning overland from a two-year trip through the Middle East, India as far as Japan and passed through Afghanistan on my way back to Turkey. I liked the people and the country, and when I heard from the manager of

the Hotel du Kabul that they needed clerical help at the American Embassy in Kabul, I went to the embassy. I took a typing test, and they offered me a job as a typist. I worked until March 1957, and had many contacts with both Afghan people and the Americans I worked with. I was very interested in the women’s situation because at that time Afghan women were covered from head to toe in a colored burka called chaderi, which was usually blue or rust in color, and there was a latticed aperture about the eyes that allowed them to see but not to be seen. I knew

most of the Afghan women leaders and had visited some in their homes. Kabul in the 1950s was like a small town, and one could meet people easily. The biggest change was Kabul itself. The old Kabul I had known and loved in the 1950s was gone. It is now a huge metropolis of about five million people. Kabul in the 1950s had about 250,000 to 300,000 people. Many people had fled from the countryside in the 1980s because the Russian invasion had made it difficult to remain in their villages. It was now spread out over a larger area, and had many houses built on hill tops. Traffic especially in the evenings between 5 and 7 was difficult if not impossible to move. The city streets were in terrible condition: some being repaired and some impassable because they had large holes. Everywhere there were ruins of buildings that had been bombed during the civil war between 1988-1996. In the 50s I could go out in the daytime and at night and return by myself and it was safe. Now we had to go by taxi even in the daytime. The Hotel du Kabul where I had

Group with whom the author traveled. Tuori is on the left. lived for six months in the old section for 50 afghani ($1) a day was now a luxury hotel owned by a wealthy Arab. The rooms cost over $300 a day. The slow-paced life that I had known working at the American embassy was idyllic. I walked to work in the morning for the embassy was in the

city. At 5 o’clock I took a ghadi, a horsedrawn carriage, back to my hotel. The driver sat in front and the passengers in the back sitting with their backs to the driver. We had a guide and a driver who appeared every morning in a small van. Each day we visited a different


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Children in classroom. place. The first day we visited a private high school that was co-educational. In the 50s boys and girls went to separate schools. After lunch we went to visit a woman who was the owner of a carpentry company, and we also visited her workshops and classes. She provided vocational training for women in carpentry, embroidery, metal carving, and tailoring. In the back room of her business, she had classes for the children of the community. She provided education because public education is not good. She had 2,000 students in a literacy program. We visited a gym owned by a Pakistani woman. She had started karate classes and athletic programs for Afghan children. We also visited Kabul Stadium and saw some sports for boys and girls. Surprisingly, Kabul had a Kabul Gulf Club, which had been started by an Afghan man. We visited a woman who had started her own clothing business in 2005. She has two businesses — the clothing business and Zarif Design, which manufactures silk scarves. She employed 45 women. We visited Kabul University, which has 20,000 students and 16 departments. The director was a young man who had studied in Kansas. At the university, we visited a class and each one of us introduced ourselves to the students. When I mentioned I had lived in Kabul in 1956-57, one of the students asked what it was like to live in Kabul then. I told him Kabul was very small then, and it was safe to walk everywhere and go out at night. We visited Maranjan Hill to watch the youth flying their kites. We also visited the most beautiful mosque of 40

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Kabul, built with tiles on the outside — the Hazrat Ali Shrine and the Blue Mosque. Our guide took us to Istaliff, a town about 70 kilometers (about 50 miles) from Kabul to see village life. I remembered the place well because a couple of times on Fridays when I worked at the embassy, we Americans had gone there for picnics and outings. The town had been captured by the Taliban in 1996-1999 and was the seat of a great deal of fighting by the different mujahedeens trying to recapture it. It was recaptured by Massoud, the mujahedeen, in 1999 and showed signs of fierce fighting that had taken place here. One day we visited the Street Children Training Center, and the director described the work in several provinces to help children with disabilities, help students finish their education, and provide protection against violence in families. There was a visit to a land mine museum, ICRC Orthocenter, to learn about war mine victims. We saw airplanes, cannons, shells, bombs, guns and mines used in war in the past 30 years. We saw bombs made by the mujahedeen from soap, gasoline, and special chemicals used in guerilla attacks against Russian soldiers in the years 1979-1980. Outside there were rockets, cannons, airplanes and balloons. One of the leading businesses we visited made prosthesis for victims of mines. It was sad to think this was one of the most important plants in the city, but there were so many victims from

Co-ed class in a Kabul school.

unexploded devices the Russians had left behind that this was a business in great demand. We visited the National Museum that I had seen before in the 50s. It is the site of a rich Gandhara school of Buddhist art that during the second to the 13th centuries integrated Eastern art (Persian and Indian) with Hellenic art and had a major influence on Buddhist art in China. It had been the object of wrath of the Taliban although museum authorities were able to hide some of the collection from them. From the director we heard of recent excavations on the Silk Route being done by Afghan archeologists in Mes Aynak, 38 kilometers south of Kabul. One of our last sessions was with a man from the Justice Organization and a judge who had been a Taliban representative to the United Nations in 1996-2001 when the Taliban was in power. He said the Karzai government had to give the Taliban a voice in the government. When someone asked how they would treat Afghan women, he was very effusive and said they would have an important voice in the government. I was skeptical because this had not been true in the past. He did not want foreign countries to leave before peace was established. He said it was the duty of the world community to develop Afghanistan economically. We finished our 10-day stay in Kabul and three women returned to the US. Three of us went by car with our guide to see Massoud’s Memorial in Panjshir province, which was an hour and a half away from Kabul.

He was the best-known mujahedeen fighter against the Russians in the 1980s, and was assassinated by alQaida the day before 9/11. The site was very impressive with a monument and his tomb, and all the Russian tanks and armaments he had captured from them. Everywhere on the road and in public places, there were pictures of Massoud. It seemed the Afghans are looking for a leader. Then two of us went to Bamiyan for three days to see the place where the two largest Buddhas had been blown up by the Taliban on 2001. I had seen them in 1956 when I went with a journalist and an art historian for four days. From the first century, Bamiyan had been an important Buddhist holy center. It was on the Silk Route and caravans passed on their way from Rome to China and India. The small Buddha was older and was built from 550-600 A.D; the bigger Buddha was from 590-640 A.D. They were 55 and 37 meters high. They were carved out of the sedimentary rock on the site of the Bamiyan Gorge. In the 7th century, Muslims conquered Afghanistan, but they were tolerant of the Buddhists. Genghis Khan conquered Bamiyan

in 1222, but he did not destroy the Buddhas. The faces of the Budddhas were defaced in the 17th century by Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor. In the 19th century the legs of the large Buddha were cut off by Nadir Shah. For centuries Buddhism and the Islan coexisted peacefully. The Muslims do not believe on depicting human images and believe it is blasphemous. Finally after 1400 years, the Taliban had insisted on an extreme interpretation of Islam. The Afghan government would like to restore at least one Buddha, but UNESCO thinks they should be left as they are and a museum should be built showing pictures of the Buddhas. I think I agree with this viewpoint. Now the niches where the Buddhas had once stood are empty. Next to the director’s office is a large shed that contains the remains of the large Buddha. What remains of the large Buddha is a ghostly silhouette on the wall of the niche and his two big feet, where the small Buddha stood is a ghostly shape of the statue. The niches where the Buddhas were still evoke a lot of feelings on the viewer. I think they should be left as a reminder of

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the destruction Afghanistan endured during the iconoclastic intolerance of the Taliban. Nearby is the incredible blue lake of Band-i-Amir, which is now a national park. There are several other sites that would be interesting to tourists in this area, but they will never replace the Buddhas that were here for 1400 years. We had no problems going to Bamiyan, which is 150 miles from Kabul, but three days later when we returned, a vice president in the Afghan government was returning to Kabul also. Some insurgents shot at his entourage and the military vehicles accompanying him. We were forced to wait a half hour until the soldiers got control of the road. When it was safe, we returned to Kabul, but all along the road every 15 meters, there was an armed soldier guarding against any insurgents. We arrived in Kabul safely in late afternoon. Connie Tuori, 86, is a native of Syracuse who graduated from Syracuse University. She has traveled the world since 1948.


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Buying a House in Retirement By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ith interest rates low and plenty of available homes in the Central New York area, it’s a good time to shop for new digs. If you’re retired or about to retire, moving to a smaller home with less property can help you really enjoy your free time with travel, hobbies and volunteering. With a smaller house, you can reduce the time and money maintaining more rooms and land than what you need. But many other considerations should be part of the decision. John FitzGibbons, owner of FitzGibbons Real Estate & Insurance in Oswego, urges retirees to consider the tried-and-true real estate adage “location, location, location.” “It isn’t just about the house, but the community,” he said. “I give very guarded counsel to people who say they want to relocate to a different community.” By moving away from points of reference such as your doctor, dentist, and other supports, you lose easy access to service providers with

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which you’re familiar. Trying to find a new hairdresser or barber you like may be inconvenient; however, selecting a different doctor can impact your health. Moving out of the community may create more distance between yourself and friends and family — supports that enrich life —which are especially important once you have retired and lose the daily social interaction with coworkers. Consider how close you are now to church, social clubs and other venues you often visit. Some downsizing retirees have no problem paring down the size of their furnishings and thinning out possessions to reduce their living space from several bedrooms to two. But parting with a formal dining room and large kitchen can be difficult because they envision entertaining their adult children and grandchildren for special occasions. Others may want extra guest rooms for when guests visit from out of town.

Instead of buying a home with a large dining area, one with a big living room can suffice if a folding table can serve up family meals. Consider how often you entertain big groups. If it’s only a few times per year, you probably don’t need a dining room. Guest rooms add more square feet that need cleaning and maintenance. Instead, a fold-out sofa in the living room or inflatable mattress can work in a pinch. Sandra Halliday, licensed associate real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties in Liverpool, said that sticking with a one-story house can make a retirement-age house practical for many years ahead. “Many [retirees] want two bedrooms, one floor living, a kitchen and living room that’s close-by and an eat-in kitchen,” she said. “If the home isn’t handicapped accessible, it’s a good idea to have grab bars in the bathroom. You’ll never know when the need for it will hit, even if you don’t need it now.” If you find a home you like that is not handicapped accessible, have a contractor check the home over to see if you can retrofit accessibility and estimate what the costs would be. She said that a small yard or patio home are popular options, too, since they keep yard maintenance minimal.

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visits Darien Lake is New York’s largest theme park with six roller coasters.

10 Things to Do in Genesee County By Sandra Scott


enesee County is conveniently located between Rochester and Buffalo. Before the arrival of the first settlers it was the homeland of the Seneca Indians who are one of the members of the Iroquois Confederation. Before this vast territory could be opened for pioneer settlement, it was necessary to obtain the land from the Native Americans. The SullivanClinton Expedition, followed by the Big Tree Treaty of 1797 forced the Senecas to live on reservations and opened the area to settlement. The first land sales to settlers took place in 1801 and the county was founded in 1802. “Genesee” is the Seneca word for “beautiful valley.” Today it is still a beautiful valley with rolling hills and a plethora of attractions that draw people with a variety of interests. 44

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Historical: Learn about the history of the area at the Holland Land Office Museum, called “The Birthplace of Western New York.” In 1801 Batavia was the capital of the frontier with the land office selling land to settlers. The current building, built in 1815, was the fourth such office with displays that personify the pioneer spirit. Not far from Batavia, visitors can step into the 19th century at the Stafford Museum of History that features farm implements, household furnishings, a one-room schoolhouse, and a collection of Redware pottery from the Morganville Pottery.


Thrilling: One of the area’s biggest draws is Darien Lake, New York’s largest theme park with six roller coasters, a huge waterpark with cabanas to rent for the day, live shows, and fun activities for the entire family. New additions include the Blast Off thrill ride, the

Anchor Bar Restaurant (Buffalo wings were invented at their Buffalo location), and more accommodations. For yearround water fun, the Clarion Hotel in Batavia is home to Palm Island Indoor Water Park with a 24-foot water slide and a lagoon with beach entry.


Winning: Try your luck at Batavia Downs with over 640 gaming machines, simulcast racing, and live harness racing on the half mile track from the end of July to December. It is the oldest lighted harness racing track in the United States. Or head to Dwyer Stadium to root for the Batavia Muckdogs, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Miami Marlins.


Paranormal: How brave are you? The Rolling Hills Asylum was an asylum in the truest sense in that it served as a poor house and nursing home. Today it hosts a slew of

55+ paranormal experiences that allows people to explore and experience the otherworldly phenomena. Rolling Hills has been declared one of the most haunted locations in the United States and has been featured on the Travel Channel. Private and group ghost hunts are available but there is also a fascinating historical tour.


Parks: The Genesee County Park and Interpretive Center is home to the oldest county forest in New York. The Interpretive center is the place to learn about the natural aspects of Genesee County plus there are over 400 acres to explore. The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the area’s best kept secrets with more than 1000 acres to explore. The varied terrain of Darien Lake State Park includes a beach, campsites and trail. They all offer year round activities.


Alpacas: There is elegance to the stance of an alpaca that might be one of the reasons so many are drawn to raise them. Of course, there is a financial benefit to raising alpacas. Their wool-like fiber can be fashioned into sweaters, blankets and other spun items. Alpaca fiber is soft, durable, and silky. It is similar to wool


but warmer, not itchy and lanolin-free making it hypoallergenic. There are several alpaca farms that offer tours and locally-made goods for sale.


Le Roy: The pretty little town of Le Roy is the birthplace of an American icon — Jell-O. Visitors can learn all about “America’s Most Famous Dessert” at the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy. Downstairs in the same building is a Transportation Museum with vintage vehicles on display. Both are located in a building behind the historic Le Roy House with three floors of period rooms along with an open hearth kitchen. Take note of a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty nearby.


Art and more: Glass artists and students from all over the world come to Oatka School of Glass to teach and learn all aspects of glassmaking. They offer beginners and master classes. GO Art, run by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, has four galleries at the historic Seymour Place exhibiting local artists. Located at Genesee Community College, The Roz Steiner Gallery exhibits works by regional artists, faculty and fine arts majors.

The pretty little town of Le Roy is the birthplace of an American icon — Jell-O.


Golf: Golfers will love Genesee County. There are a several golf courses including Terry Hills ranked as one of the top places to play golf in Western New York and Chestnut Hill a “Golf Digest” 4-star course. The Sweetland Pines Golf Course, a Par 3 course, is perfect for the beginner, golfing with young ones, or those looking for a short round of golf. The Alabama Tee Off Driving Range is the place to practice between outings.


Learn about the history of the area at the Holland Land Office Museum, called “The Birthplace of Western New York.

Driving Trails: Pick up or download the brochure for the Le Roy Barn Quilt Trail with about 100 quilt designs decorating local barns. Designs range from historic to whimsical. Look for The Star of England, Edith’s Star, the new Davis Freedom Star and the one of ice cream cones. Another driving tour visits sites that were part of the area’s Underground Railroad. The 350-foot Batavia Peace Garden is part of a 600mile cross-border trail that came out of the 1812 Bicentennial celebrating 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States. The 23 flags represent the countries where other official Peace Gardens are located. August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS


Weekends are really special on WRVO Public Media. Tune in for The Splendid Table Sundays at 2PM on any one of our ten public radio network stations. Lynne Rosetto Kasper takes you to places you have never been in search of interesting, mouthwatering ideas from remarkable people who prepare the world’s best cuisine. Join the conversation on Sunday and cook up a storm on Monday. Of course, some of the world’s best restaurants are located right here in the central region of upstate New York. The WRVO MemberCard offers discount dining... and great eating... at more than 100 splendid establishments in the WRVO neighborhood. From the Southern Tier to the Thousand Islands, from the Mohawk Valley to the Finger Lakes region, you won’t go hungry with WRVO.

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55 PLUS - August / September 2013

consumers corner By Eva Briggs

All About the Pineal Gland Some philosophers thought this gland, in the middle of our brains, was the point of connection between the mind and the body


here’s a full moon as I write this, and not just any full moon: a “supermoon” that appears exceptionally large because the moon is not only full, but also at its perigee, the closest portion of its orbit to the earth. There’s persistent myth that psychiatric disease flares during the full moon, but that hasn’t been borne out by research. The supermoon got me musing about the effect of light on biological functions. Some part of me remembered that the pineal gland has been called “the third eye,” so I decided to look up some information about this tiny endocrine gland, the size of a grain of rice, that resides in the middle of our brains. If you wonder whether the name pineal has anything to do with pine trees, your hunch is correct. The name arose because the gland is shaped like a tiny pine cone. Most structures in the brain are paired, but the pineal gland is located in the midline. This unique property led the ancients — and some not so ancients — to hypothesize that the pineal gland had mystical significance. Even with a bona fide philosopher in the family, I never knew that some famous philosophers had tried to guess the purpose of the pineal gland. For example, René Descartes thought it was the point of connection between the mind and the body.

We now know that one function of the pineal gland is to produce melatonin. This hormone is derived from the neurotransmitter serotonin, and is involved in regulation sleep/ wake cycles. Almost all verte-

brates have pineal glands. One of the cell types in t h e g l a n d , called pinealocytes, resemble cells found in the retina of the eye, and may have evolved from similar precursors. That’s how the gland earned “the third eye” nickname. The pineal gland may be important in the sexual maturation of humans. When the gland is damaged in young children, there is accelerated development of the reproductive glands and the skeleton. This causes precocious (exceptionally early) puberty. In animals the pineal gland is also involved in regulation of hibernation, metabolism, and seasonal breeding.

Virtually all the melatonin found in the human body is produced by the pineal gland. The levels in the bloodstream vary widely in a circadian rhythm, with 10 times as much produced at night as during the day. Melatonin helps initiate and maintain sleep. In mammals, signals from the retina of the eye traverse a complicated path to communicate the amount of environmental light to the pineal gland. The human pineal therefore is not really a “third eye.” However, the pineal glands of certain mammals, reptiles, and fish do contain true photoreceptors that react to light. Melatonin is used as a dietary supplement to treat insomnia and jet lag. Because of variation in the drug’s absorption, the correct dose may need to be found by starting at a low dose and adjusting as needed. The drug should be avoided by those with seizure disorders or those taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin). Rarely tumors form in the pineal gland. That’s a tough problem, because the location deep within the brain makes surgical treatment difficult, and causes symptoms due to compression of nearby structures. Pineal tumors can cause headache, vision disturbances, and mental deterioration. It’s clouding over now and perhaps I won’t see the supermoon tonight. But I will get another natural light show — I have a great view through my window of an approaching electrical storm. Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health. August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo By Marvin Druger

Our Noon Exercise Group A sense of family is created when a diverse group of 55-plus gets together to exercise


egular exercise is good for everyone at any age. The health benefits of exercise are not only physical, they are psychological and social. As a member of Aspen Athletic Club (formerly Fitness Forum), I have met many interesting people. My wife and I participate in an exercise class for active older adults, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon. (I call it a class for aging older adults). We do light stretching with weights and some aerobics. (I do my more vigorous exercise after the class). The members of the class have become a friendly family. Everyone is different and has an interesting background. I provide jokes and verbal entertainment. I once yelled: “Today I have a cold. I can’t talk too much. That’s bad.” The response from a member of the class was, “That’s not bad for the rest of us.” After an exercise we did while lying on a mat on the floor, the instructor commanded, “OK. Everyone hop up!” It was interesting to watch the older individuals slowly stagger to their feet with moans and groans. The commonality is that everyone appears regularly to exercise at the club at about noon, regardless of age or infirmities. I thought it would be inspirational for readers to get to know something about a few of these older noon exercisers, all of whom are 55-plus. I will use only first names to protect the innocent. Patrick is a regular attendee at the exercise class. Patrick is 87 years old. He is retired and 40 percent disabled from two shrapnel wounds during World War II. His wife, Alfreda, also attends the class. She is 48

55 PLUS - August / September 2013

84 and is in good health. Diane is 75. She has a few health issues, such as COPD, a previous heart attack, arthritis and she needs a knee replacement. Diane is a former microbiologist and environmental educator for New York State Parks. Ronnie is 73. She has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but is otherwise healthy. Ronnie was an elementary school teacher. Cindy is 64. She has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a previous heart attack, and the beginnings of COPD. She is a retired nurse who smoked for 45 years. Rita is 67. She has asthma and type II diabetes. She is a retired reading specialist for schools. Louise is 71. She is partially deaf and has arthritis in her knees and ankles. Last year, Louise and her husband biked across the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. She belongs to a walking/hiking/snowshoeing group. Joel is 72. He is retired from being manager of a photography company for 40 years. Joel has Parkinson’s disease and does yoga, as well as other exercises at the club. Irene is another participant in the older age exercise class. She is 87 and a lung cancer survivor. Nancy is 70. She is a former elementary/middle school teacher and a former real estate agent. Nancy has osteoarthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome, high blood pressure, and a problem with her carotid artery. Sally is 68. She told me her age reluctantly and said that I could mention her age only if I said, “She’s beautiful for her age.” (She is.) Sally worked for the United Nations for eight years. She has asthma, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Marlene is 67. She has a hearing impairment and a bad knee. She didn’t exercise for 30 years, but now she is

an avid noon exerciser at the club. Terri is the instructor for the olderage exercise class. She is 50. Terri has degenerative disc disease and has had one hip replaced. She has scoliosis in her neck and lower back, a herniated disc and bone spurs. My wife, Pat, is 74 and is a victim of lung cancer (a nonsmoker). I am 79 and I am a prostate cancer survivor. There are many other older adults who exercise at the club at noon. Sam is the most senior noon exerciser. He is 94. Sam is always complaining about losing his libido. (I resisted looking up the word in the dictionary). He smoked for more than 30 years, but then gave it up because it was too expensive. Sam told me, “When I found out that smoking would shorten my life, I almost went back to it.” He has macular degeneration and had cataract surgery on one eye. (The surgery was done by my son, Dr. Robert Druger). Marion is 91. She has arthritis of the knee and spine and has had her left knee replaced. Marion is a registered nurse and she served in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II. Phil is 90 years old. He is there almost every day and has a positive outlook on everything. He is retired from a job where he reconditioned 55-gallon drums. He had a stroke a number of years ago and he is a regular noon exerciser. He is everyone’s friend and a positive model for how to manage old age. Whenever he is asked, “How is everything today?” his response is always, “Excellent!! Excellent!” Other notable seniors who exercise regularly at noon at the club include Ed. He is 88. He is a former dean of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and is a healthy exerciser. Bobby is 73. He had his

a major sports event. The bus was crowded and I was standing next to a man who was sitting. Without any preamble, I remarked, “Well, what do you think?” He immediately responded with his thorough analysis of the sports event. This kind of conversation is common in the men’s locker room at the club. I don’t know about the conversations in the women’s locker room, since I usually don’t go into the women’s locker room. My wife says that the women generally talk about their family or their health problems. Conversations in the men’s locker room are not private. It’s common for strangers to loudly add their input to any personal conversation. When people exercise on weight machines, there is little talking (except by me). Nobody is smiling. There is usually a grim expression on everyone’s face and the strain of lifting weights is evident. I sometimes get a laugh when I comment, “It’s not the exercise that’s important for health, it’s the shower.” Sometimes, the response is just a grunt. I decided to participate in a yoga class at the club. I like vigorous, aerobic sports activities, and didn’t think I’d enjoy yoga. I soon became an avid fan of “Warrior One,” “Warrior Two,” “Bridge,” “Pyramid, ” “Downward Facing Dog,” and other poses and stretching. Kelly is a very creative yoga teacher and we never know in advance what pose we will do. Once, I was on one knee with my opposite hip against the wall and my arm outstretched. I simply laughed and collapsed on the spot. Kelly shows

right hip and left knee replaced. He was the regional personnel director for the Washington Redskins football team. He played football in college and coached football at different schools for 24 years. He rides a stationary bicycle at the club about 20 miles every day and watching him tires me, but he persists daily and is better off for it. He says, “My knees and hips feel perfect.” Fran is 75 years old. She has heart problems. Fran is a regular noon exerciser. After reading a draft of this article, Louise commented, “You make us seem so old and decrepit.” The purpose of this article is exactly the opposite. These older, exercising adults may have numerous health problems, yet, they persist and exercise with enthusiasm and vigor. Their youthful, positive attitude is a joy to behold. All of these individuals serve as models for older age. They are all young in spirit. Mike is a runner. He is younger than other noon exercisers (only 50), but he is a regular runner around the track at the club. I sometimes run a short distance with him on the track. Occasionally, I gather all my strength and pass him for half a lap. When I go past him, I arrogantly yell, “Pardon my breeze.” Then after half a lap, I fade to a brisk walk and heavy breathing. Locker room talk often focuses on “the game.” It doesn’t matter what the sport is, “the game” is what is of interest. There always seems to be a special interest in sports among men. I once climbed aboard a bus in another city. It was the day after free EE FR

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great concern for her students, and I get personal attention in class. “Marvin, can you stretch your leg out a bit further? Marvin, can you lift your arm higher? Marvin, stop trembling in the pose,” etc. I found out that yoga has beneficial physical and mental effects but, unlike the exercise class for older adults, I don’t dare yell out my joking remarks, for fear of disrupting the meditative atmosphere of the session. My favorite part of the class is the end activity (called Savasana or Corpse Pose) when you lie completely still, under a blanket, and relax for a few minutes, to the point of almost falling asleep. I even wrote a poem about yoga: Tranquility We seek tranquility But the mind is in turmoil, Thoughts compete To gain consciousness, We never know which thoughts Will emerge and be recognized, Yoga bends and flexes the body, Yoga calms the mind And brings inner peace, This enables us to live our lives well. Why do so many older adults exercise? There are physical, social and psychological benefits. Also, it’s an attempt to feel well as we age. For the older noon exercisers, inevitable infirmities do not stand in the way of regular exercise. Exercise may not guarantee living a longer life, but it makes life more pleasant and interesting. As our senior friend, Phil, always advises the noon exercisers, “Have a happy day!”

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80 Years with Diabetcees and his




Why NYS Ranks So Low?

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August / September 2013 - 55 PLUS




By Lou Sorendo

Martha Ryan, 62 Child abuse advocate reflects on career, new challenges Q. What prompts you to be so involved in the community? A. I think we’re all given a purpose in this life. I have a very strong faith, and I have been blessed with skills where I am able to bring people together for a common cause. I am very goal- and outcome-oriented, and I strongly believe that if you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. I am challenged and energized with special projects. When the children were growing up, I was involved with what they were doing, sports, scouts, school activities. I was on the steering committee for the development of Sarah House, a hospital hospitality house, the only one in Onondaga County that services adults who are from outside the area who need to receive local health services. In my professional nursing career, I have always been an advocate for individuals to be knowledgeable about their own health. Q. What was the impetus for the development of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center? A. I firmly believe that was divine Intervention. The thought came to me one day that the building that my husband’s grandfather had his dental practice in should be used for a “special” project. In talking and meeting with many professionals over many months, the focus of child abuse came to the forefront. It is important to note that I had family backing; I am part of a huge Irish, Catholic family who is very committed to family and children. Back in 1998, no one would even acknowledge that child abuse was a social problem. As I started to investigate what was being done on a national level to address child abuse, a child advocacy center was best practice, I met Dr. Ann Botash, 50

55 PLUS - August / September 2013

who is a medical child abuse expert, and the rest is history. There was a great deal of collaborating, but we were able to accomplish that and so much more. We live in a very generous community. The number of volunteers that have been involved since 1998 is overwhelming. Q. What are some of the services provided at the center? A. When a child discloses that there has been abuse, the investigation begins. Initial interviews, medical evaluation, advocacy, intervention, and counseling are offered in a child friendly, safe atmosphere. In addition, prevention strategies are key in reducing abuse. Q. What is your current role at the center? A. I went off the board a couple of years ago to pursue some other interests. I am a volunteer with Prevent Child Abuse NY, and am working with them to implement the Enough Abuse Campaign in several counties in New York state. This campaign focuses on adult education to prevent abuse. I am also on the board of the local Boys and Girls Club, which is a great fit for me as I can promote health, wellness and child abuse prevention programming, and education. Q. You survived breast cancer and now works for the American Cancer Society. What do you do there? A. I recently accepted a new position as senior director, community engagement, Western New York, responsible for relationship management and engagement of health systems, corporations, communitybased organizations and volunteers; to reduce the burden of cancer through

prevention and detection strategies; and to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Q. To be involved requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. A . When there are positive outcomes, when goals are reached, when there is competition, I am energized. I thrive where there is a lot going on, but I occasionally do appreciate some down time just to get organized. Basically, I am healthy. I am fortunate to never have used tobacco products, I like to cook and try new recipes, especially that focus on fruits and vegetables. I like to walk, but do not do it nearly as often as I should. I like to garden and refinish furniture. I also love to entertain. Q. What other goals do you have? A. I’d like to see a drastic reduction in child abuse and a reduction in the cancer burden, especially in disparate populations. A world where no child will be abused; a world where no one will have to hear those devastating words, ‘You have cancer.’ Personally, to have happy, healthy, God loving, fun filled children and grandchildren, and world peace.


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