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SECURE Act: Retirement Planning Opportunities, Pitfalls 5 Clever Ways to Supplement Your Retirement Income Moving Away in Retirement? Things You Need to Consider 1040-SR: New IRS Form for Those Over 65


Issue 85 – February – March 2020

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

The Athletic Director John Wildhack ,Syracuse University athletic director, leads the daily operations of a 20-sport athletics department with more than 600 student-athletes. He talks about what keeps him moving

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Business: So You Want To Be a Landlord?

Had a Stroke. Back on Stage.


Central New York music legend Todd Hobin knew nothing about stroke — but he does now. That’s why he’s raising awareness about stroke risk factors and its signs and symptoms.



A. S.



Fact: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Important to know: Stroke can happen to both men and women — at any age. Good news: Stroke is preventable by managing medical risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices. What to do: Time lost is brain lost. So it’s vital to know the signs of a stroke — F.A.S.T. Four words to live by: Call 911 and say, “Take me to Crouse.“ When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State tohave earned Comprehensive Stroke Center status, and with the region’s newest ER and hybrid ORs, Crouse offers the most advanced technology for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment

Read Todd’s story and learn more: crouse.org/toddhobin.



For decades, the attorneys at Hancock Estabrook have helped our clients plan for the future. We provide options for wealth management and estate planning to both individuals and small businesses.

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www.hancocklaw.com 315.565.4500 SYRACUSE • ITHACA

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Savvy Senior 6 12 MONEY Gardening 8 • Five ways to supplement your retirement income Dining Out 10 Financial Health 18 14 FITNESS • Peaking at 58. Pacific Health Club My Turn 22 fitness trainer Gregorio Juliano focuses Aging 36 on holistic training Consumers Corner 43 20 MOVING Life After 55 44 • Considering relocating away from Druger’s Zoo 46 family in retirement? Find out the pros and cons


Carol Yerdon, a North Redfield resident, has been measuring snow and rain for the local media for 25 years 4

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24 PASSION • Whether it’s gardening or building his model railroad display, Ed Bernat has found his creative outlets.

26 BUSINESS • So you want to be a landlord? Find out the pros and cons of managing a property

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28 COVER • Meet John Wildhack, Syracuse University’s athletic director.

34 MUSIC • Donald Miller, retired music professor, leaves legacy of a lasting tribute

38 SERVICE • Syracuse police captain reflects back on five decades fighting crime on streets

40 PHOTOGRAPHY • Syracuse’s legendary photographer, Michael Davis, blends photography with music

48 VISITS • Portland, Oregon’s largest city, is known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, as well as for its eco-friendliness, microbreweries, gardens and variety of restaurants.

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savvy senior By Jim Miller


IRS Has New Tax Form for Older Taxpayers

he Internal Revenue Service has created a new federal incometax form specifically designed for senior taxpayers, aged 65 and older, that should make filing a little easier this year, particularly those who don’t file electronically. Here’s what you should know.

Form 1040-SR Created by the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, the new two-page simplified federal income tax form is called the 1040-SR. Similar in style to the old 1040-EZ form that the IRS discontinued last year, the new 1040-SR has larger print and better color contrast that makes it easier to read. In addition, it also includes a chart to help older taxpayers calculate their standard deduction, which may help ensure that fewer seniors neglect to take the additional standard deduction that they are entitled to. For 2019, the additional deduction for those 65 or older or the blind is $1,300. The 1040-SR form also has specific lines for retirement income streams such as Social Security benefits, IRA distributions, pensions and annuities, along with earned income from work wages and tips. It allows a child tax credit for seniors who are still taking care of a dependent child or grandchild. You can also report capital gains and losses, as well as interest and dividends on this new form. Any of the tax schedules available to those using the standard form 1040 may also be used with the 1040-SR. You should also know that the 1040-SR doesn’t put a limit on interest, dividends or capital gains, nor does it cap overall income like the old 1040-EZ form did. But, if you have to itemize because of state and local taxes or charitable giving, then you will 6

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not be able to use the new Form 1040SR.

Paper Filing Advantage Seniors who use tax-preparation software to file their taxes will be able to generate a 1040-SR, but the new form will provide the most significant benefit to taxpayers who still fill out and file their returns on paper. Last year, about 88% of the 153 million individual federal tax returns filed to the IRS were filed electronically. About 5% were prepared using tax software, then printed out and mailed to the agency, while about 7% were prepared on paper. To use the new 1040-SR tax form for the 2019 filing year, taxpayers, including both spouses if filing jointly, must be at least age 65 before Jan. 1, 2020. You also don’t have to be retired to use the form — older workers can use it too. But early retirees (younger than 65) cannot use 1040-SR. To see the 2019 new 1040-SR form, go to  IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/ f1040s.pdf.   

Tax Preparation Help If you need help filing your tax returns this year, consider contacting the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (or TCE) program. Sponsored by the IRS, TEC provides free tax preparation and counseling to middle and low-income taxpayers, age 60 and older. Call 800-906-9887 or visit  IRS. treasury.gov/freetaxprep  to locate a service near you. Also check with AARP, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at more than 4,800 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP tax-aide site call 888-2277669 or visitAARP.org/findtaxhelp. You don’t have to be an AARP member to use this service.

55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach Christopher Malone, Aaron Gifford Payne Horning, Kimberly Blaker Carol Radin


Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott Eva Briggs (M.D.), Susan L. King .


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Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21 a year; $35 for two years © 2020 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.

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


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A company philosophy that speaks to a continual process of individual and collective development to improve our well-being, quality of life and personal relationships.

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To provide people in our community with healthcare, customer services, support & employment to achieve their individual best quality of life.

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To redefine skilled nursing care through successful team development, use of technology, progressive service and being a strong community partner.

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gardening By Jim Sollecito

The Cutting Edge


believe if you stop trying to get better, then you cease being good. What I am about to share might cause you to rethink everything you knew about planting. My wife and I recently met with my former classmate, Cornell University’s Nina Bassuk. We always exchange solid information. Every so often the information we share is earth shattering. Literally. Fact: most nursery stock is now grown in containers instead of the ground. This lessens transplant shock, allows for crop uniformity and makes a nursery operation feasible no matter the earthly soil. So, these roots are now entirely housed in the container, as opposed to the in-ground method where most roots were cut off when dug from the earth. But since the roots cannot grow laterally beyond the container, they start to circle the pot, eventually become “pot-bound” and need special attention. This happens to nearly every plant that you take home. Conventional planting requires ensuring the plant is placed at the same height in the ground as it was in the container. But first the roots would be “scored” or cut with a shovel in a few places to disrupt the circling. Additionally, we would physically tease and spread the roots to encourage them to adapt to their new homes. This worked pretty well. Except it didn’t. Because misdirected roots would still grow in the wrong direction. This can cause problems. They can’t collect as much water and nutrients as roots that spread out. They may cause plants to never securely anchor themselves into the new soil. Not a good thing, as they may tip with the wind. In severe cases, roots can even grow tightly around the base of the plant and strangle it. New research has shown that shaving the sides of the root system with a saw is far more effective for


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a new plant to become established. Healthy roots grow healthy shoots. And stronger plants are not as enticing to insects as stressed plants. If you cut circling roots before planting, new roots will grow outward from the cut roots, breaking the habit of growing in a circle. As they grow, they’ll also branch, widening the root network. Bassuk recommends shaving the entire root ball of a pot-bound tree or shrub before you plant it. Research has shown this helps trees get better established and grow again more quickly after transplant. The technique is to shave one inch from the sides and bottom of the root system, which eliminates encircling roots. You can use a hand saw or a serrated knife. All the exterior roots

should be shaved. Then quickly (before they dry out) pop them into their new home and water thoroughly. As Bassuk stresses (to the point of insisting) “Watering is crucial. Once planted, roots need to grow beyond the lightweight container mix into surrounding earth.” To promote root growth, surround the shaved roots with backfill that is 1/3 compost, mixing in a couple of handfuls of crab and lobster shell. Water thoroughly again. Top off with two to three inches real bark mulch, taking care to keep mulch away from trunks and stems. Well-planted, this new member of your landscape will probably need little more than routine watering. Yes, it is that simple. And this year when you see our professional crews working in your neighborhood, look closely. Each member will have their very own root shaving handsaw. Science is beautiful. And we like to be on the cutting edge. Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.

Shaving the sides of the root system is the most effective way to establish a landscape plant.

Impacting patient care, education, research, and community health and well-being through charitable giving.

That is why Dr. Frederick “Fritz” Parker and his wife Ginny have included the Upstate Foundation in their estate plans. Fritz retired from Upstate Medical University in 2001 as chair of the Department of Surgery. In his 30-year career, Fritz pioneered the cardiac surgery department, earning a reputation as the region’s preeminent cardiac surgeon.

“ We’ve been blessed. There’s no question.”

Ginny impacted the lives of countless young people through a long career in education, as co-founder and former co-director of the Kynda Montessori School.

“We want to leave a legacy that reflects our love for our community,” Ginny explained. “Our hope is that our gift will continue to strengthen Upstate and serve as an inspiration to others who are considering their own legacies.” Creating a legacy is easier than you think! Contact our planned giving professionals at 315-464-6490 or Hamiltol@upstate.edu.

To learn more about the Parkers, visit www.UpstateFoundation.org/legacy. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Bourbon pork ($18) at Scenic Root in Manlius comes with mashed potatoes and top-notch cherry glaze on top.

Scenic Root


Manlius restaurant is worth a stop with friends or with family

t’s safe to say Scenic Root, located at 301 Fayette St. in Manlius, is confidently rooted into the eastside community after almost three and a half years in business. The place that formerly housed Bella Cigna and Saucy Swan had flown away from the ugly duckling of nomenclature redundancy for a name that’s, well, more grounded. Let the aptly named pond and wildlife do the talking themselves. Having a swan pond next to the restaurant really works the release-thedeer moment from the movie “Funny


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Farm” to add more warm-and-fuzzies to an already attractive Manlius. On a cold December evening, the rustic orangey glow and a wood-heavy aesthetic really warms the mind and body. It preps and eases the creeping anxiety of trying a restaurant for the first time. As I waited for my eating buddy to arrive, I ordered a Cooperstown-born Ommegang Rare Vos. The beer tasted good and not just for the sake of being good beer, but it’s comforting to know the restaurant cleans its tap lines. The tap lines aren’t the only clean

aspect to Scenic Root. The restaurant as a whole, from the silverware to the dining area and to the bathroom, is very tidy. Alex and I could eat our appetizers consisting of calamari ($13), goat cheese bruschetta ($10), and Utica greens ($11) without worry. For the amount of food and pricetags of the appetizers, it’s a great deal. There is a good amount of food to enjoy and comfortably share among four people. The calamari, both rings and tentacled, were lightly battered and not overly chewy. The addition of cherry

peppers and Romano cheese was great. The black pepper aioli dipping sauce was deliciously simple. The Utica greens were very good with enough heat and very little of that residual water known to puddle around the Upstate New York dish. I was also a fan of the noticeable garlic with each crunchy bite. No sogginess nor sadness. The bruschetta was one of the two big steps for me this evening. The loaded ingredients sat incredibly well on the crispy, toasted ciabatta slices. It’s not that I dislike bruschetta — I don’t, and this bruschetta could do no wrong — but I do dislike olives. Cut up kalamatas sat with the tomatoes, crumbly goat cheese, red onion tapenade and balsamic. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed my bruschetta with olives. In the big picture, it’s not so much a big step for me, but Scenic Root proved this popular appetizer has a well-balanced flavor. The olives and other ingredients danced in a circle and never tripped. Alex and I also shared entrees: the center cut filet ($30), which was the most expensive item on the menu, and the bourbon pork ($18). Since I’m on the topic: the center cut filet was the second milestone I overcame that evening. The biggest turn off for me other than olives are bleu or gorgonzola cheese. Spoiler: I enjoyed the jalepeño gorgonzola compound butter that topped the perfectly cooked medium rare filet. It was a great piece of meat, for one, and the house rub also helped balance out the flavor. Otherwise, I would have dramatically scraped off the gorgonzola. Frankly, the worst part of that was the plating. Along with the soft and delightful mashed potatoes, the filet was simply plopped on the plate. That’s all, folks. Despite the massive flavor of the entrée, the boring presentation was a bit sad. The swans would turn grey if they saw it. The bourbon pork made up for its head-scratching cohort. The sliced-up tenderloin, which was also joined by a side of the same mashed potatoes, was doused with a dried cherry glaze. Of course, the bourbon flavor isn’t overly present, but the semi-thick and slightly sweet glaze was top notch. For the $18 price, there is a fair amount of food. The total, including tip, came to $117.74 for a beer and soft drink, three

The bruschetta ($10) comes loaded with ingredients, which sat incredibly well on the crispy, toasted ciabatta slices.

The calamari ($13) both rings and tentacled, are lightly battered and not overly chewy. The addition of cherry peppers and Romano cheese was great.

appetizers and two entrees. Whether you take the highway or the scenic — hmm, wait, I won’t go there — back roads, Scenic Root in Manlius is worth a stop with friends or with family. It’s a great and clean atmosphere, plus the staff works as a cohesive team to ensure your dining experience is worth talking about and photographing.

Scenic Root Address 301 Fayette St, Manlius, NY 13104 Phone 315-682-3000 Website/Social https://scenicrootmanlius.com/ facebook.com/thescenicroot instagram.com/scenicrootmanlius Hours Sun.: 4-9 p.m. Mon. – Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri.: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sat.: 3-10 p.m. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS



5 I

Ways to Supplement Your Retirement Income

f your career is winding down, you can plan now to supplement your retirement income. Thanks to the “gig economy,” many people work for themselves. Nation1099.com estimates that about 11% of U.S. adults work full time as freelancers. But many work part-time as a freelancer or in addition to a regular job. One of the many perks about gig work is that you choose how much or how little you care to work. The flexibility offers true freedom while still bringing in some money and keeping you as active as you’d like. Instead of the hassle of starting your own business, try one of these easy ways to get a gig.


Sign up for ride sharing apps like Uber (www.uber.com) or Lyft (www. lyft.com) or delivery services like Grub Hub (www.grubhub.com) or Door Dash (www.doordash.com). If you have a smartphone, good driving record and a late-model vehicle in good condition, just add a friendly demeanor and you’re ready. The app allows you to choose when and where you want to drive. By maintaining good ratings with top-notch service, more business comes your way any time you’re available.

2.Mystery shopping

Also known as secret shopping, this gig involves working as a contractor for a third party hired by a business that wants an honest opinion about its goods and services. For example, a fast food restaurant wants to know if its employees are keeping the place


By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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clean, using the approved signs and uniforms, recommending additional items and overall presenting the right image. If you have a PayPal account (most pay this way), can observe and remember many details and can follow the many rules of the shop, you can get free goods and services (from oil changes to clothing to meals out) and a small stipend for your time. You can stack up several evaluations in a single day or snap them up whenever

you’d like. Sign up at Sinclair (www. sinclaircustomermetrics.com), Best Mark (https://apply.bestmark.com), Market Force (www.marketforce. com/become-a-mystery-shopper) and Intelli-shop (www.intelli-shop.com/ shoppers). Avoid scamming entities that ask for money upfront.

3.Selling your skills

By now, you are really good at what you do. Many websites offer an easy way to sell your knowledge as a contract worker. As with mystery shopping, don’t sign up for a site that requires money upfront. Although some provide premium membership, they at least allow participation for free. Try Guru (www.guru.com), Elance (www.elanc.com) or Upwork (www.

Financial Planners: How Gig Work Affects Your Taxes Consider how gig work affects your financial status if you’re drawing on Social Security. Leyla Z. Morgillo is a certified financial planner and associate adviser with Madison Financial Planning Group in Syracuse. She said that if you’re not at full retirement age and you draw on Social Security, the Social Security benefit will be reduced by $1 for each $2 you earn in excess of $19,240. “That can pretty quickly erase any Social Security benefits being received,” Morgillo said. Starting with the month you attain your full retirement age status, your benefits will no longer be reduced, she said. “If retirees find themselves working in a gig where they are treated as an independent contractor, one of the ways that they can help reduce their associated tax bill is to contribute to a SEP IRA,” Morgillo said. “The simplified employee pension plan (SEP) allows 1099 workers to contribute up to 20% of their net earnings from selfemployment or $56,000, whichever is less, in 2019.

“One of the key features is that there is no age limit for contributing to a SEP, as long as the eligibility criteria is met, so contributions can be made even after age 70 ½.” Once retirees are 65 and drawing on Medicare, they must make sure that their income falls below the thresholds for the surcharges for Medicare B and D premiums, as a result of the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). “Each person’s situation is unique and one provision does not generally apply to all,” said Lee M. Gatta, a chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant, accredited estate planner with Prudential Financial in DeWitt. “Working in retirement even part time can change the taxation of income from all sources and possibly increase the rate at which their Social Security income is taxed,” Gatta added. “Gather as much information about your own benefits and ask a trusted adviser to help you determine how much additional income can be made without causing your tax bracket to creep up.”

Nation 1099 The freelance workforce is growing at four times the rate of the workforce overall. Experienced independent professionals who can find and communicate with serious clients are the future of work.


Bringing comfort, peace and hope to thousands of families for over 30 years. (315) 634-1100 www.hospicecny.org Proudly serving Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego and Madison Counties.

of U.S. workers are fulltime freelance

7 million U.S. workers will enter this group in the next 3 years

$100,000 earners are the fastest growing segment of freelancers Source: https://nation1099.com/

upwork.com) for selling business, artistic, legal, writing, secretarial, sales, engineering, architectural, programming and other skills. While the people seeking workers aren’t necessarily all rock solid and paying top rates, they’re generally vetted and you can safeguard your payment by opting for secured funds paid to the site and held by them until you complete the project.

4.Selling your expertise

If you enjoy mentoring and teaching, then instructing online through Udemy (www.udemy.com) or Varsity Tutors (www.varsitytutors. com) to share your knowledge with the world.

A better place to remember For more than 130 years, we’ve provided guests comfort among our acres of beautiful gardens, grand monuments and timeless mausoleums. Get your free pre-planning guide at woodlawnsyracuse.org

5.Doing errands

You’re likely your family’s go-to for help because you know how to do a lot and you have the time. Why not get paid to help others? Tasks such as childcare, tutoring, personal care, cleaning, home repairs and dog walking are available at sites like Care (www.care.com) and Takl (www.takl. com).

800 Grant Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13203 315-479-5826 February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS




Peaking at 58 Pacific Health Club fitness trainer Gregorio Juliano is all about holistic training By Payne Horning


n his time working in the personal fitness industry, Gregorio Juliano, the fitness trainer at Pacific Health Club in Liverpool,  has been called a lot of nicknames by the roughly 3,000 people he has taken on as clients: coach, J Tank, G Money. But the title that seems to be the most fitting is guru. Juliano  is  not only wise; he’s


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a wealth of knowledge, and his approach to training clients is holistic. It focuses not only on helping people lose weight or gain muscle, but also on their overall health with an emphasis on maintaining balance. This winning formula is something that Juliano has perfected over time  through  what has been  a long and diverse career. Although at

58 he is older than the typical personal fitness trainer, Juliano says he is now at the peak of his career because of his age, not in spite of it. The first time I trained with Juliano, I was  nervous. I had never worked with a personal fitness trainer, nor been to the gym on a consistent basis. The only working out I did was working out excuses not to go to the gym! But

“Too many people leave their health care in their doctor’s hands and by that time, usually the damage is done. So, focus on prevention, focus on general heath and take responsibility for it.”

it wasn’t anything like what I expected. With Juliano, fitness training is not just a profession, but a science. Watching him work is a spectacle. He moves through the gym like  a  master  chef  in a kitchen, pulling  a variety of ingredients that you wouldn’t think to use, but that pair together exceptionally well when done right.  During my session, I found myself  skipping with ankle weights  and doing sit-ups on a large tractor tire. I was skeptical  at first, yet by the end of the workout, I felt invigorated. In the 10 years that Arel Moodie, an entrepreneur and author, has been training with Juliano, their workouts have incorporated everything from  rock climbing to yoga to

chains. Moodie says these creative exercises are not just about keeping you on your toes — there’s a method to the madness. “He studies you, learning exactly what you need to do in the gym and what you need from him. I think that’s really unique,” Moodie said.  “With other people, it’s almost like a template with the workouts. It was like, ‘Here’s what I do so here’s what you will do.’ I never get that sense with Greg. I always feel like everything I’m doing is built for me.” Juliano says there are many ways to put on muscle or shed pounds at the gym, but they are often just short-term fixes for a long-term problem. That’s why his approach goes beyond the basic workout routines and weightloss goals. “I do it holistically,” Juliano said. “If someone’s overweight, there may be dietary reasons or hereditary reasons or emotional reasons. Maybe they’re using food as a substitute for something missing in their life  or  food  as  an emotional outlet. So,  you approach the  whole person, not just the symptoms.” Juliano also works with his clients on what he calls keeping things in balance. That means doing more than showing up to the gym; it’s about tending to your health as well — eating unprocessed meals, taking healthy supplements and vitamins, and maintaining an appropriate worklife balance. John-Michael Emmons, who for the first time in his life has defined muscle mass after training with Juliano, says that’s why he keeps coming back. “He won’t necessarily tell me what I can’t have, he will tell me what I can have and still achieve my goals,” Emmons said. “It’s more than just the workout. It’s your day-to-day life and how you find that balance. He is invested in me and cares about me as a person.” It’s not just the fact that Juliano takes a holistic approach that his clients appreciate; he can also back it up. Juliano has an encyclopedic

knowledge of health, wellness and exercise. Training with him is as much a lesson as it is a workout. Every time you start a new exercise, Juliano discusses the methodology and science  behind  it, revealing just how much research he conducted prior to each training session. Mary Pagan, a professor in the health promotion and wellness management department at SUNY Oswego, has worked with Juliano and c o l l a b o r a t e d   w i t h him  on  various  community wellness p ro j e c t s . S h e s a y s i n t h e t i m e the two have known each other, Juliano is constantly seeking out new information, reading the latest books on healthy living, and even sending current and former clients reading material as well. “A lot of trainers form a way of training clients that becomes old school and they stick with it even though we’ve learned so much,” Pagan said. “Greg is not a settler.” Juliano  studied at the University of Hawaii and later got a bachelor’s degree in public health from Syracuse U n i v e r s i t y.   H o w e v e r,   m u c h o f what  Juliano  has learned came  not from a formal education but from the rich variety of experiences he gained long before he  started  working at Pacific Health Club.

Hawaiian time Even from a young age, Juliano has always been in a gym. He was an active athlete as a child. While at Syracuse Minoa High School, he competed in four sports: baseball, football, wrestling and boxing. He also boxed at Ring 56 in downtown Syracuse during those same years. After graduation, Juliano enlisted in the U.S. Army where the foundations of his health care education took root. He was sent to paramedic school at a base in San Antonio, Texas and then transferred to Germany to work as a paramedic for the Army at a time when the country was still split into east and west. He was able to continue with his February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


“Taking charge of your health is a personal responsibility, not the doctor’s responsibility. That would be the biggest thing I could say for the 65-to-75-age group. A lot of them say, ‘Oh, you know, if something happens I’ll let my doctor worry about it.’ Well, it’s probably too late then.” love for athletics there, serving as a team trainer for the Army’s European football team. Juliano would later return to the U.S. to serve a couple of years at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was at the end of that first tour of service that Juliano’s life would take a major and fateful change. He was asked if he wanted to renew his contract with the Army. Jokingly, he replied, “Yes, but only if you send me to Hawaii!” The joke didn’t land, but the request did. Two days later, he had orders to go to the Aloha State. “At the time I was 21 and I could go back to Syracuse or go live in Hawaii  and  get paid  for it,” Juliano said. “So, I signed.” Although his contract with the Army lasted for only four years, his time in Hawaii extended far beyond that. Juliano lived the next 25 years of his life in Waipahu, a city of nearly 40,000 about 20 minutes north of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. They were formative years for Juliano, who says he became enthralled with the Hawaiian culture and way of life. “From the first week when I 16

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moved there, I felt at home,” he said. “I just felt so comfortable.  I thought the people were so nice. They’re very family oriented, laid back, less materialistic, and very insightful. I felt like I could connect with these people.” Juliano also appreciated the focus on health in Hawaii. He says during the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was a major “fitness scene” in the state. Many professional football players were coming from Hawaii at the time and ESPN used to broadcast workout programs based in the state. It was in that fertile climate for fitness that the seeds of Juliano’s career were laid. He opened his own gym: Juliano’s Fitness Center in Waipahu. Most of the competing gyms in the area were designed only for people interested in bodybuilding. Juliano’s gym — much like the philosophy that guides his training in present day — catered to people of all body types and focused on general conditioning, offering a range of classes from weightlifting to Pilates and yoga. A few years later, a group of doctors bought the gym and turned it into a counseling center. Juliano

then took a job with a holistic health company on a federally funded grant initiative. He says the program was aimed at preventing diabetes and heart disease in Native Hawaiians. After that, Juliano returned to his entrepreneurial roots by opening another business. Extreme Power Models was a modeling agency that provided in-shape extras for television shows filmed in Hawaii. Juliano says the company regularly worked with “Baywatch” and provided extras for big-name talents, like Steven Seagal. That wasn’t the only celebrity Juliano rubbed elbows with during his years in the Aloha State. He met Marvin Hagler, a former professional boxer, actor Tony Danza, and music artist Bruno Mars, whose name at the time was Peter Hernandez. “He performed on the same stage as one of my classmates at [Hawaii] University,” Juliano said. “I spoke with him many times and he was just an energetic little kid. He then moved to California and blew up big time.” Juliano also ran into Tom Selleck on several occasions at the restaurant the actor owned. The Black Orchid was a fine dining restaurant with live entertainment where Juliano celebrated several of his birthdays.

Home sweet home Juliano decided to move back to Syracuse in 2007 after making several roundtrip flights from Hawaii to take care of his father, who was diagnosed with cancer. He took a job with Wellness Enterprises, a company that worked on health and wellness programs for corporations like Carrier. While there, Juliano designed a gym for Anheuser Busch’s plant and ran some of the fitness programs in that space. Juliano would go on to work at Gold’s Gym of Syracuse and Trillium Fitness Center in Syracuse before taking a job at Pacific Health Club in 2014. Bob Natoli, owner of Pacific Health Club, said he instantly wanted to hire him. “When you are a personal trainer, you have to have a certain dynamic aspect to your personality because it’s not just about training, it’s about convincing people that they need it,” Natoli said. “The health industry should be loaded with very friendly, dynamic people. That’s how it grows.

That’s how it prospers. Greg had all of Juliano possesses. In the last decade, those abilities.” he competed in two Upstate New York Natoli says he didn’t think twice “Dancing with the Stars” competitions, about Juliano’s age when he was taking home the gold in one of them. interviewing him. If anything, it Juliano credits his success at this stage might have helped. Natoli said Juliano of life to the culmination of everything brought far more experience to the that he has learned. It’s why he says table than many of the candidates he’s he’s stronger and faster at 58 than he hired in the past. was at 27. Even today, though, Natoli says “Over time you just learn more and Juliano’s age isn’t a factor. more efficient ways to do things, more “I look at him and he is at his efficient ways to eat, more efficient peak,” Natoli said. “He’s in fabulous ways to meal plan, more efficient ways condition.” to supplement,” Juliano said. Moodie learned that the hard way. Passing that lifetime of knowledge During one of their workouts, Moodie onto others is part of the motivation to wanted to joke around by trying to keep working for Juliano, even though tackle Juliano to the ground, but he he sometimes dreams of returning to was the only one who actually made Hawaii for retirement. And while he it there. could pursue a career as a teacher or “It felt like I had grabbed a granite college professor, Juliano enjoys the statue. I was like holy crap, this dude one-on-one connection that personal is a rock,” Moodie said. “It made me training offers. Through his work, he realize that even though he’s older has met a lot of interesting people and than me, he’s stronger than me in many built lifelong friendships — he was ways. He’s very inspirational in the even a member of Moodie’s wedding way he’s holding his fitness at his age. party. It shows what’s possible at any point But perhaps the most rewarding as long as you stay focused, and that’s aspect, Juliano says, is the impact this what I admire.” type of work can have. In one case, he And it’s not just strength that helped a college football player build 3.5 x 4.75” 55+ - St. Luke - Christ.Comm.

Black & White

enough muscle to win a pro football contract in Europe. And in another, Juliano aided a college track star in her recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury; she would later go on to set new record speeds. And then there was one of his newer clients, Madeline Rosado, who came to Juliano at Pacific Health Club in 2016 while facing a slew of health issues. She was on several medications at the time and as result, fighting bouts of depression. “I was just interested in losing the weight I had gained due to so many personal problems,” Rosado said. “Now, I’m a different person.” Not only does Rosado no longer need those medications, but she has also become an award-winning power lifter. She credits Juliano, who helped her learn balance, focus, and how to combat stress. Juliano says it’s stories like these that make it all worth it. “When you change somebody’s life, they’re usually grateful to you for a long time,” Juliano said. “It’s not about making the most money or having the most clients — the reward is changing lives for the better.”


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financial health By Susan L. King

SECURE Act: Retirement Planning Opportunities and Pitfalls


n Dec. 20, Congress passed the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019). Buried in the appropriations bill Congress needed to pass to keep the government running, the SECURE Act follows through on a threat looming for years. In a nutshell, the SECURE Act eliminates the ability to stretch IRA and other retirement account payments over the life expectancy of non-spousal beneficiaries, with a few exceptions. The SECURE Act provides that the proceeds of the account of any person who dies on or after Jan. 1, 2020 must be completely paid out within 10 years. The only persons not bound by this 10-year rule are those who are considered to be “eligible designated beneficiaries.” Eligible designated beneficiaries include: 1. A spousal beneficiary; 2. A beneficiary who is disabled, as defined in Internal Revenue code (“IRC”) section 72(m)(7); 3. A beneficiary deemed to be chronically ill, as defined in IRC section 7702B(c)(2) (with exceptions); 4. A beneficiary who is not more than 10 years younger than the deceased account owner; and 5. Minor children of the deceased account owner until the child attains the age of majority, at

which point the 10-year rule kicks in. While the 10-year rule requires the account to be emptied by the completion of the 10-year period, it does not require payments to be made in equal installments over those years. This feature of the act provides an opportunity to plan the timing of account payments. For example, if an IRA beneficiary expects to see a reduction in his or her income at a later point during the 10-year period, he or she may choose to defer taking payments from the inherited IRA until that later time in order to assure a level income. The new rules under the SECURE Act necessitate careful consideration of how and when trusts should be designated as beneficiaries of retirement accounts. In addition, existing plans that include trusts as designated beneficiaries must be reviewed. Revisions may be needed to accomplish optimum results under these new and significantly different laws. The SECURE Act contains other provisions, however, that are favorable to account owners. Previously, an account owner was required to begin taking distributions upon attaining the age of 70 ½. That age has now been raised to 72. Also, under the old law, contributions to an IRA were

disallowed once the account owner attained the age of 70 ½. Under the SECURE Act, an account owner may continue to make contributions to an IRA beyond the age of 70 ½, provided the owner still has earned income to contribute. For clients taking advantage of the qualified charitable distributions (“QCDs”) rule, which allows a taxpayer over 70 ½ to pay his or her required minimum distribution directly to charity while still satisfying the required minimum distribution rules, the new law brings both changes and opportunities. For example, while the SECURE Act has extended the start date for required minimum distributions by a year and a half, from 70 ½ to 72, it did not change the eligibility date of 70 ½ for making QCDs. This creates new planning opportunities for charitable donations during that year and a half. Susan L. King is the chairwoman of Hancock Estabrook’s trusts and estate department. She has extensive experience advising clients with estate and wealth transfer planning, estate administration and taxation, corporation formation and business succession planning, elder law and special needs planning. She can be reached at 315-565-4519 or sking@hancocklaw.com. For more information, visit www.hancock.com

Reach more than 60,000 active boomers in Central New York. Advertise in 55 PLUS. Please call 315-342-1182 for information on readership and ad rates 18

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Linda Dickerson Hartsock and her son, Peter.

Attorney Anne Mac

Many people believe that they must choose between providing for their family and giving back to the charities they love. I learned that you can do both. The perfect solution for me, and many others, was to establish a fund at the Community Foundation that will receive a portion of my assets through my will. Setting my fund up this way has enabled me to provide an inheritance for my children while leaving a legacy to the community that has so greatly enriched our lives. It makes me feel good knowing that my fund will provide resources to the next generation of community leaders to make a difference. After I’m gone, my fund will be extremely well managed in the hands of people who care about the community as much as I do.


Read more of Linda’s story at Hartsock.5forCNY.org

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55+moving Moving Away in Retirement Considering relocating away from family in retirement? Find out the pros and cons and how to manage life if you do By Kimberly Blaker


hen you’re finally able to retire, a new and exciting chapter in life begins. You no longer have to dedicate your time and energy to a job or raising kids. For many retirees, this means a return to focusing on their own wants and needs. One of the most significant changes new retirees often consider is moving to a new city or state. The idea of relocating is an exciting way to embrace your new life. But it’s also a big decision you may want to consider carefully, especially if it means leaving family behind.

Living in a place you want During earlier adulthood, people often relocate based on their jobs or the best location to raise a family. Retirement provides you the opportunity to choose where you want to live just because that’s what you want, therefore, eliminating many factors to consider. There are many reasons retirees choose to relocate. Most often, they want to live in a place that offers them a better way of life. A significant factor retirees consider is choosing an area where they’d love to live. Maybe you live in a suburban area but really enjoy nature and hiking. Or perhaps you’ve lived and worked in a crowded city for years, but would rather spend your time relaxing by the beach. After you retire, you’re better able to prioritize your personal preferences when deciding where to live. Think about what things you enjoy and the type of environment that makes you feel your best to help narrow down your options. 20

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Another important factor to consider is affordability. If you’re thinking about moving after retirement, you may want to consider downsizing. If all your kids are grown and gone, you probably don’t need as much space. Plus, you may have different needs that are better served with a smaller home. Retirement means you likely have less income than you did before. So having a smaller mortgage or rent

payments, lower property taxes and insurance, and less maintenance and repairs can save you a bundle. If you’ve got equity in your home or home values in your area have risen since you purchased your home, you might even make a profit from selling it. Do you currently live in an area with a high cost of living? If so, you may be able to find an area you’d enjoy with a much lower cost of living,

Moving away from family and friends is easier than ever before because of all the technology now available for keeping your relationships close through virtual connection. thereby offering you multiple benefits.

The pros and cons of relocating Deciding to move away from family and friends after retirement is a big decision. Creating a list of personal pros and cons is a helpful tool to help you process all the factors. Everyone has their own unique pros and cons based on various aspects. The ones below can help you get started. But don’t forget to add your own.

The pros • Leaving behind obligations, old drama or bad memories • Getting a fresh start • Finding a more appropriate place for your stage of life • Finding a new community with whom you have more in common • Leaving an area that has a younger population and a family focus • Saving money by downsizing or living in a less expensive area

The cons • Being away from familiar and special places • Having to develop new routines • Not getting to see family and friends regularly • Starting over anew takes a lot of effort • Needing to make new friends and find new social outlets • Moving can be difficult and stressful

How about the kids, grandkids? One of the biggest hesitations retirees have about relocating is that it’ll take them away from their kids and grandchildren. If you’re used to living close to them and enjoy the benefits of living

nearby and spending lots of time together, leaving family behind can be difficult. You may feel relocating is right for you, yet you’re still worried about living so far away from your loved ones. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your relationships strong, even from a distance. Moving away from family and friends is easier than ever before because of all the technology now available for keeping your relationships close through virtual connection. Gone are the days of delayed communication through limited means. You can now easily see your kids or grandchildren at the push of a button. Through social media, you can follow them to see regular updates, pictures and videos of important things happening in their lives. It’s just as easy to have direct communication at any time using text messaging and phone or video calls. Video calls can give you the feeling you’re right there with your family. At the pace technology is advancing, long-distance communication will only continue to get better. In some ways, living away from your family can make seeing each other even better. When you live near family, you may not put as much effort into seeing each other or the quality of your time together because everyone’s lives are so busy. If you live further away, the times you get to spend together will be more focused, special and memorable. You can travel to each other’s locations or meet for vacations together for a fun change of pace. The time leading up to visits can be fun too with countdowns or sending messages to each other as the visit gets closer and your excitement builds.

If you do move away If you do decide to relocate, the best thing you can do is go into it

prepared, so it’s a great experience from the start. You’ll want to begin by figuring out precisely what you want out of your new home, town and life to narrow down the places that make the most sense for you to move to. Even if you already have a dream location in mind, know the reasons why you want to live there and that it’ll actually meets your expectations for retired life. It’s a good idea to visit any new places you’re seriously considering relocating to and spend time there. You’ll want to be familiar with the area you choose to relocate to. Check out the city or town, including the more mundane aspects of it, like places where you’ll run errands. Talk to locals, also, particularly those at a similar stage of life, and get their perspective. Realtors and librarians are both excellent resources for getting more information about what your potential new hometown has to offer. Once you’ve relocated, look for ways to get involved and become a part of your new community. Leaving your old home also means losing the relationships and routines you were used to. At the same time, as a new retiree, you have a lot more time on your hands than you’re accustomed to. So find healthy and fun ways to fill that time to ensure you’re taking advantage of your new opportunities. Look for group classes that align with your interests or offer the opportunity to try something new. There are often classes specifically for senior populations where you can meet other people to build new relationships and enjoy retired life together. Both the local library and city recreation department are helpful resources for finding these classes and groups. You can also go online to Meetup. com to find various social groups with a broad array of activities and interests. It’s a great way to do the things you love and make new friends who have something in common. Retirement is a time of change that can be both wonderful and daunting. So whatever path you’re considering, weigh your options carefully to find the best situation best suited for enjoying your new life. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bfrassinelli@ptd.net


Radio Soap Operas: Genre Lasted Several Decades

hen I was growing up in a small coal-mining community in Eastern Pennsylvania, I was fascinated with soap operas on radio. For about seven years, until I was 12 years old, I would hurry home from school, throw myself on our living room couch with a snack in hand and listened to the lineup of soap operas from about 3:30 until 6 p.m. Each ran about 15 minutes. Each had a distinctive theme song. Each had recognizable sponsors, most of them soap or laundry products. Along with Procter & Gamble, major sponsors were Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. As such, this is where the term “soap opera” was coined. The marketing gurus at P&G seized on the concept that their company’s products would appeal to stay-at-home housewives. Just as their TV counterparts would a generation later, the radio soaps hooked listeners with the serialtype format, so it was imperative to tune in the next day to find out what happened in kindly Ma Perkins home or whether Mary and Larry Noble on “Backstage Wife” would be able to weather the buffeting forces contributing to their marital issues. Stories centered on wealth, glamour, infidelity and intrigue. By today’s standards, the radio soap opera would be considered sexist and classist, although analysts insist that a certain amount of sophistication was needed on the part of the audience to follow some of the intricate story lines and plots. Frank and Ann Hummert are credited with coming up with the soap opera formula that would prove to be such an endearing part of Americana. The Hummerts created four of the blockbuster soaps — “Stella Dallas,” “Backstage Wife,” “Just Plain Bill” and “Ma Perkins.” (Talk about a work ethic:


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“Ma Perkins” was one of the most popular radio soap operas of its era. The main actress, Virginia Payne, played Ma Perkins in all 7,065 episodes over 27 years, never missing even one of them. Virginia Payne played Ma Perkins in all 7,065 episodes over 27 years, never missing even one of them.) “Stella Dallas” is an excellent example of the genre. It ran for 28 years and starred Anne Elstner in the title role. The New York Times described the title character as “the beautiful daughter of an impoverished farmhand who had married above her station in life.” The Hummerts based their radio adaptation on the 1923 novel “Stella Dallas” by Olive Higgins Prouty. It was one of the most popular films of 1937 featuring Barbara Stanwyck in the starring role. The program’s prologue gave the premise of the drama: “We give you now Stella Dallas, a continuation on the air of the true-to-life story of mother love and sacrifice in which Stella Dallas saw her own beloved daughter, Laurel,

marry into wealth and society and, realizing the differences in their tastes and worlds, went out of Laurel’s life.” Other favorites to which I also listened avidly were “Pepper Young’s Family” “Lorenzo Jones” and his wife Belle, and and “Young Widder Brown.” Some of the devices that became very popular are attributed to the Hummerts and Irna Phillips. It was Phillips who introduced

organ music to segue from one scene to the other. She also developed the cliffhanger ending, which would compel audiences into returning the next day to find out what happened to their beloved characters. Some say, however, that her true genius emerged when she devised a deliberately slow pacing of the action and dialogue so that busy housewives could continue to do their housework without missing crucial plot twists on the program. For their part, the Hummerts created some of the story lines that are used until this very day: blackmail, amnesia, infidelity, class tension and reappearing long lost loves. It is amusing to me that today we try to avoid ads on TV programs either by heading to the kitchen or recording programs and fast-forwarding through the commercials and network promos. When I listened to the radio soaps, I would pay rapt attention and would often say or sing along with the jingles for Oxydol, Camay (“the soap of beautiful women”), Rinso (“Rinso white and Rinso bright”), Lava Soap

‘[Soap opera] stories centered on wealth, glamour, infidelity and intrigue. By today’s standards, the radio soap opera would be considered sexist and classist.’ (“L-A-V-A”), Pepsodent tooth paste (“You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent”) and Ivory Soap (“99 and 44/100% pure; it floats)”. Some of the theme songs were well-known to listeners and included “Funiculi-Funicula” on the “Lorenzo Jones” program, “Rose of Tralee” on “Back Stage” Wife, Darling Nellie Gray on Just Plain Bill, Au Matin on Pepper

“Young’s Family” and “How Can I Leave Thee on Stella Dallas”. The first commercial radio station — KDKA in Pittsburgh — went on the air in 1920. Clara, Lu and Em, the first soap opera, was presented on WGN in Chicago 10 years later. Three friends originally presented the sketch on the campus of Northwestern University where they were students. Friends loved it so much that they persuaded the trio to try to get it aired on WGN. The friends suggested to radio management that they would perform their routine free of charge. Interest grew so much that Colgate-Palmolive soon took over the sponsorship of the program after which it was moved to daytime. With the growing popularity of television, interest in the radio soap operas waned in the late 1950s, and by 1960 most were either gone or had transitioned to TV. The best known soaps which made the move to TV were The Guiding Light, Young Doctor Malone and The Brighter Day.

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55+ passion

Nearly half Ed Bernat’s basement in Westvale is home to a model train display that he lovingly calls “Silly City.” The layout is anything but silly. It’s is a testament to Bernat’s imagination, sense of humor and patience.

On the Right Track Green-thumbed couple cultivates joy in retirement By Mary Beth Roach


hether it’s gardening or building his model railroa d display, Ed Bernat has found his creative outlets. The neatly trimmed greenery and red geraniums in the front of Ed and Angela Bernat’s home in Westvale just hints at the oasis the couple has created in their back yard. Entering this space is like walking into a small, magical garden awash in color, from the geraniums to the crimson coleus to the pink-and-white hydrangea tree to bright planters. A gazebo anchors the corner of the yard, which features miniature, perfectly manicured trees and meandering


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walkways. There are little surprises at every bend, whether it’s one of the many birdhouses that Ed built or a quirky metal chicken figurine. He constructed the little shed in the back from leftover siding on their house. The crane figures in the yard have been christened George, Kramer and Elaine, in honor of one of the couple’s favorite TV shows, “Seinfeld.” When it was first designed, Ed said that he wasn’t fond of the curving walkways. The computer programmer in him wanted straight lines, he said, but he deferred to the designer. But Ed has since taken over and it’s become his design. He takes care of all of the

maintenance and upgrading these days, especially since his retirement in 1992. “I just fell in love with it,” he said. To say that Ed is immersed in gardening would be an understatement. The 83-year-old still climbs the ladders so he can do precision trimming, even utilizing a gauge he built for himself. “If there’s more than one of the same species, I’d like them to be all the same,” Ed said. And he still gets on his knees to do the lawn trimming by hand — there is no electric trimmer for him. “I do everything by hand to stay in condition,” Ed said. Their work in the yard has paid off as the Bernats’ yard was included on this past summer’s Westvale Garden Tour, and it was featured on the cover of some of the tour ’s promotional materials. But yet, the space is a continual work in progress for Ed. “He’s never happy,” Angela joked. “He’s always looking for one leaf that might be dying so he can have an excuse to pull it out and plant

Ed Bernat’s passion for collecting model trains has been going on for about a half-century. It all started when he went to an auction in his hometown of Fulton in the early 1970s.

something in its place.” And every year, something will die, triggering them to look into planting something else the following season. Ed does his horticultural homework, always researching the perennials and annuals, his wife said. They find inspiration wandering the aisles of some of their favorite gardening shops, like Chuck Hafner’s Farmers Market & Garden Center, or simply by strolling through their neighborhood. “We’re big walkers, so we notice shrubs and plantings wherever we are,” Angela said.

All aboard While gardening has been an avocation for Ed for nearly 30 years, his passion for collecting model trains has been going on for about a halfcentury. It all started when he went to an auction in his hometown of Fulton in the early 1970s. The interest has taken the couple all over the east coast to various train shows, and even the day after their wedding in 1975, they were in Rochester for another train exhibit. A wall in their den has shelves of model locomotives and cars on display, even a rare pink one. Pink locomotives, the couple explained, were introduced into the marketplace in the 1950s to interest girls, but when sales hadn’t gone as hoped, many storekeepers painted them black, leaving only a few of the original ones in circulation today. Nearly half their basement is home to a model train display that Ed lovingly calls “Silly City.” While Ed might refer to it as Silly City, the layout is anything but silly.

It’s is a testament to Ed’s imagination, sense of humor and patience. One could easily spend hours looking at it from various angles and always see something different. Being that Ed hails from Fulton, the display, while not laid out like the actual city, has replicas of buildings from his boyhood that conjure up fond memories for him. In his younger years, for example, he recalled waiting anxiously for the trucks to deliver goods that his mother had ordered from Spiegel’s, Montgomery Ward and Sears, so there’s a railway express truck in this “city,” with folks waiting nearby for their packages. And he fondly remembers hanging with friends at the Texaco gas station, so there’s a gas station. Ed worked at Sealright [now Huhtamaki] in Fulton for a while, so he’s made room in one of the corners for a Sealright plant, and adjacent to the plant is the Victory Grill, one of Ed’s hangouts back in the day. There’s also a chocolate plant, which had once bore the name Nestle. But when the company pulled out of Fulton, down

came the sign on the building in “Silly City.” Ed, of course, has taken some liberties in constructing his Silly City. While there might not be a Talbot’s shop in the actual city of Fulton, there is one in Ed’s town. It’s actually a nod to Angela, since Talbot’s is one of her favorite shops. And because his wife enjoys reading, there is, of course, a library. She also likes ice cream, so there’s a scene with a couple buying a small girl an ice cream cone. And like any bustling city, there has to be some utility work going on. While driving near the Palace Theater in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood one day, Ed noticed a guy coming out of a manhole, having completed his task underground. This was enough of an inspiration for Ed. He went home, and out front of his “city’s” movie house, he drilled a hole in the wood, and placed a guy just coming out of the hole, with another one standing overhead, and a telephone company truck nearby. The town is fully electrified, and he’s even fashioned his own streetlights and many of the signs on the various buildings. Unlike his garden, the Silly City is a finished project, one reason being there’s little room left in the basement for any expansion. “Now it’s a matter of dusting without breaking something,” he said.

The neatly trimmed greenery and red geraniums in the front of Ed and Angela Bernat’s home in Westvale just hints at the oasis the couple has created in their back yard. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ business So You Want to Be a Landlord Rental business can be profitable but it can require a great deal of work By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ou have residential property or could buy some. People need to rent houses and apartments. What could be a simpler way to make money? While investing in real estate can represent a sound financial move, it’s vital to understand what it takes to be a landlord. For one thing, it’s not a hands-off investment. Would-be landlords need to understand the market in the area where they hope to rent out a property to ensure they will receive enough rent to cover the purchase. If the going rate for a rental is less than what you need to cover the mortgage, taxes, repairs upkeep and occasional vacancy periods, it’s not a sound investment. Landlords are also responsible for getting properties up to code and seeking and dealing with tenants legally. Rental laws include federal, state and municipality laws — saying, “I didn’t know” is no excuse. Carlotta Brown, president of Onondaga County Real Estate Investors Club in North Syracuse, advises potential landlords to get in touch with a real estate attorney to ensure they have a legally binding lease that corresponds with their municipality as well as state and federal laws. Starting with a solid lease can prevent issues and help when problems arise. Brown said that evictions that in the past took 21 days may now take two to three months, thanks to the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, a state provision. “Tenants are protected more,” Brown said. “New York feels they have to protect everyone, but they’re protecting the one who’s breaking everything. If I borrowed a car and tore the seats, you could sue me and get it back. With the new law, I can


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only sue for damages to the rental property in small claims court, not add the damages to the lease.” Winning in small claims court doesn’t guarantee payment. Brown also stated that screening applicants is absolutely vital. Of course, landlords cannot discriminate based upon protected statuses and are responsible for understanding what they may or may not ask when screening applicants. Landlords can charge up to a $20 fee for an applicant’s background check, but nothing else. Gut reaction also matters to Brown. “If you don’t feel comfortable with that person, you won’t be comfortable as their landlord,” she said. Inside the house, extra items like garbage disposals and new carpeting are likely to become damaged. Brown said it’s better to keep any renovations basic and to avoid laying carpeting. Landlords should also plan how they’ll maintain their properties: hire a pro, contract with a property

management company or do it themselves. Of course, DIY is the least expensive; however, it’s very time consuming and the landlord must have a wide array of skills. Hiring professionals as needed will cost more, but not as much as a property management company. That option takes care of most of the headaches, but also nabs a good share of the property’s income. Consulting with the local code enforcement office and building inspector about what it takes to get a certificate of occupancy can help landlords better understand the process. For example, stipulations include requirements on fire escapes, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. The office should have a checklist available to help landlords get their property in compliance. Curt Miller, director of code enforcement and plumbing coordinator for the city of Oswego, said that landlords need to apply for a rental permit to make sure it’s allowed in their zone, have a water meter on their property and make sure that all the basic life items are in place. Landlords should also make sure they have adequate parking for the families living in their rentals. Winging it without the rental permit in Oswego is borrowing trouble. “We would start by asking for rental permit and if they didn’t have it, the next step is we would ask them to get one and then an order to remedy which gives them 30 days,” Miller said. “If they still don’t have it, we issue an appearance ticket.” Code differs for rentals from private residences because the onus is on landlords to make their properties safe for renters. “Seek your local code office and see what they do require,” Miller said.

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February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS




Meet John Wildhack Syracuse University athletic director leads the daily operations of a 20-sport athletics department with more than 600 student athletes By Lou Sorendo


SPN, Inc. recently changed its slogan from “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” to “ESPN: Serving Fans. Anytime. Anywhere.” John Wildhack, a former ESPN executive who now serves as Syracuse University’s director of athletics, can easily adopt that new phrase for his own use with a bit of tweaking: “John Wildhack: Serving Syracuse University fans. Anytime. Anywhere.” At SU, Wildhack leads the daily operations of a 20-sport athletics department with more than 600 student-athletes, a role he has held since July of 2016. ESPN is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment entity featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities. It is based in Bristol, Connecticut. Wildhack, 62, said his more than 30 years of experience at ESPN proved extremely helpful in transitioning to his role at SU.


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Grateful for his lengthy tenure at ESPN, the Jamesville resident said it proved to be an “unbelievable experience.” He had the opportunity to relate and negotiate with all of the Power 5 Conferences, which includes the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences, as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. “I got to know the Power 5 commissioners and several athletic directors in each conference,” he said. “That gave me a very broad overview.” When he arrived on the SU campus, he told his new colleagues at his first staff meeting that he had more to learn than anyone in the room, and would commit to doing exactly that. Wildhack is returning to his roots in many ways. He is a 1980 alumnus of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at SU with a degree in telecommunications. Prior to taking over the AD’s p o s i t i o n , Wi l d h a c k s e r v e d a s

the executive vice president of programming and production for ESPN, and had oversight of all domestic and international production at ESPN as well as acquisitions, audio and the talent office. He had oversight of all ESPN and ABC game, event and studio production work for domestic and international television and radio, as well as programming acquisitions, rights-holder relationship management and scheduling. He managed all league and conference relationships, negotiated all live sports television rights and was responsible for 50,000 hours of on-air content annually. He oversaw more than 2,000 employees, or about half the ESPN workforce in the U.S. How busy is ESPN? In 2019, ESPN presented 24,749 live events and 83,340 total live hours of studio and event programming — TV and digital combined. “That experience coupled with my

John Wildhack on the S.U. campus. Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


earlier years at ESPN really helped me develop my leadership philosophy and hopefully my ability to be an effective leader,” he said.

Focus on collaboration Wildhack, a native of Buffalo, said it is essential to be collaborative as a leader. “I encourage and demand collaboration between individual units and divisions,” he said. “I welcome good, healthy and respectful debate, and don’t like to be surrounded by a bunch of ‘yes’ people.” “At the same time, once a decision is made, everyone owns it and is responsible to execute it,” he added. Wildhack said it is vital to “surround yourself with people that are smarter and have greater knowledge in the area that they oversee than you do. “That’s what you want. They are the experts.” “A leader also needs to set an example in terms of how to conduct oneself and it is paramount to treat everyone with respect and dignity, he added. “It’s OK to have fun, just do so responsibly,” he noted. A leader is also charged with creating a culture where everyone is valued and where people can grow and develop, not just from a career standpoint, but as individuals. Wildhack succeeded Mark Coyle, who abruptly left SU in 2016 after less than a year at the school to pursue a job at Minnesota University. Two close friends and fellow alums approached Wildhack about the opening. However, he matter-of-factly said he was not interested and had no

Lifelines Birth date: Oct. 23, 1958 Birthplace: Buffalo Current residence: Jamesville Education: Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1980 Current affiliations: Advisory board member, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics Family: Wife, Amy; sons Michael, Tommy, and James Hobbies: Golf, boating, summers at the family home on Lake Ontario (Sodus Bay) 30

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John Wildhack with S U Chancellor Kent Syverud in 2016 after Wildhack joined S.U. Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics. intent on uprooting his family from their home and lives in Connecticut. “The kids were doing great in their schools and my wife and her family are from Connecticut,” he said. “We were fortunate to be in the position we were in.” Nonetheless, Wildhack did agree to meet with a headhunter, and a onehour lunch turned into three hours in the Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters of ESPN. His interest piqued, Wildhack then delved into research and met with SU Chancellor Kent Syverud. “What sealed the deal for me is when I met with the chancellor oneon-one. You always want to respect the individual you are reporting to,” he said. “Just his vision for the university was something that really enthused me and piqued my interest.” Wildhack told the chancellor it had to be a unanimous decision at home with his wife Amy and their two sons, Tommy and James.

“ We h a d a g r e a t f a m i l y conversation and ultimately, it turned out to be a 4-0 vote. We told our sons these are really good conversations to have, and there are no wrong answers. We were very fortunate and told them they should not feel pressured. Everybody said yes, let’s do it, so here we are,” he said. Wildhack is also the father of a son, M.J.

Full circle For Wildhack, coming back to SU is indeed returning home. His brother and sister-in-law reside in the area, as well as a sister. His family also has a summer residence on Sodus Bay, a retreat family members have enjoyed for generations. “To be close to that was very appealing,” he said. “I’ve always had affection for the university. Most of my family went

John Wildhack talking to the press in 2016 during his introduction as athletics director at Syracuse University. Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics. here, and I stayed connected after graduation through my work at ESPN being on the advisory board for the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, which I am still on,” he noted. He’s always has had a connectivity with the university. “I’m very thankful because Syracuse gave me the foundation and helped me build the foundation that when I left here and went to ESPN, I was prepared to compete and have success,” he noted. Wildhack and his staff have experienced competitive success across a number of sports since he became AD. In Wildhack’s first three years, 39 teams have represented SU at national championship events, including 36 NCAA competitions. In 2018-19, a total of 14 programs qualified for their national championship. In addition, the football team returned to the postseason and captured its 16th bowl victory by defeating West Virginia in the 2018 Camping World Bowl. The Orange has won 22 conference championships (three team, 19 individual) in that span and two national championships. “ O b v i o u s l y, t h a t i s a l w a y s rewarding for everyone,” he said.

Equally important is academic performance among the 600 student engaged in sports. “Our graduation success rate and our academic progress rates among student-athletes are both at all-time highs,” he said. “We are also proud of our coaches for their commitment and support of academics.” The Orange had a record seven teams post perfect four year scores in the 2019 release of the Academic Progress Rate, and the university’s four year average of 987 is the highest since APR tracking began in 2006. As a group, the Orange student athlete body achieved better than a 3.0 cumulative GPA in 2018-19, the third year in a row they surpassed that benchmark. “We can compete at a very high level, which one does in the ACC, but we can also have great success in the classroom. I think one of the things I am most proud of is just seeing some of those who graduated since I’ve been here go on and begin to really build their careers and have professional success in a variety of different fields,” he noted. “I think it’s motivational for all of us.” “At the end of the day, when people ask ‘What do you really do?’ I say we’re in the business of developing young people to their fullest potential,

both academically and athletically,” Wildhack said. Just as valuable as great performances on the playing fields is excellence in the classroom, he added. “If our kids are not doing well in the classroom, that is not going to serve them well down the road,” said Wildhack, noting that only 2% of college athletes go on to compete professionally. For the majority, when their college career ends, so does their competitive athletic career. “We have to prepare them for life after Syracuse,” he said. Wildhack said many who graduate and enter into professional careers serve as an inspiration to their former teammates. “When they come back to campus and interact with their former teammates and share stories about life in the professional world, that is invaluable to our current student athletes,” he said.

Only as strong as team Wildhack addressed the keys to successfully managing the athletic department. “You’d better have really good head coaches and coaching staffs, February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


which we do. Again, they want to compete at the very highest level. We recruit very aggressively, but we do it the right way,” he said. He also relies heavily on his individual unit heads within the department, whether it involves academic support, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, compliance or marketing and financing. “I’m fortunate we have a terrific staff. They are absolutely instrumental in our success,” he noted. Wildhack said there are challenges inherent in any job. “You have to identify what the challenge is, confront it and try to solve it to the best you possibly can,” he said. H e s a i d t h e re a re o b v i o u s challenges on the field of play, where the quality of competition is at its highest level. The ACC is not only noted for its superior men’s basketball and football programs, but also women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer. “It’s a challenge to compete against schools that at times are going to have more resources than you do,” he said. “That means we need to be a little more creative, entrepreneurial and innovative in the things that we do.”

Developing own content Wi l d h a c k h a s a l s o b e e n instrumental in helping to develop the Syracuse Athletics Production team, formed in the fall of 2017. In its first two years, the in-house production unit broadcast 205 live events and was responsible for more than 700 hours of content for the ACC’s digital platform — ACC Network Extra. “It’s really been critical for us, and it’s not just tied to the launch of the ACC Network, which occurred in August of 2019,” he said. ACC Network Extra is a streaming-only option and is offered exclusively through WatchESPN and the ESPN  app. It airs many of the games not shown on the ACC Network. “The Syracuse Athletics Production team and our creative services group are producing so much more content now, and that content promotes our student athletes, teams and coaches. In a lot of cases, we distribute that content 32

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across our platforms,” Wildhack said. “It’s a way to build our brand and engage our fans, community, alumni and donor base,” he said. The Syracuse Athletics Production and creative services teams are important because “we can’t just rely on traditional media coverage. We’ve got to be in the content creation business ourselves, and we are now,” Wildhack said. The Syracuse AD said the use of social media in general is beneficial. He said it’s important from both a fan engagement and recruiting perspective. “It’s all part of our overall content strategy. We look to be very aggressive across all digital media platforms,”

Workout Helps Clear Mind Syracuse University Director of Athletics John Wildhack is an advocate of getting a jump on physical activity early in the day. “I want to be as well prepared he said. as possible. My workouts are first thing in the morning, and it helps me clear my head before the day starts,” he said. He works out nearly every day of the week, and his regimen consists of a variety of cardio, light free weights, core exercises and stretching. Wildhack watches his diet carefully. He eats very little red meat and fried foods, but enjoys a lot of salmon, chicken, fruits and vegetables. “I’ve been told I’m a ‘boring’ eater,” he said. A recreational golfer, Wildhack will occasionally play in club tournaments. “My philosophy regarding golf is I’m outside at someplace nice, with people who are friends or family and the weather is good. If I play well, that’s a bonus,” he said. “I do enjoy friendly competition.” He added golf is a sport that if healthy, one can play for a long time. Wildhack noted he has never thought about the “ideal” retirement scenario. “When I’m done working, the one thing I know is I’ll be active in a variety of ways,” he said.

Carrier Dome to Feature New Look By Lou Sorendo


ome sweet dome. Significant changes are occurring at the Carrier Dome on the Syracuse University campus, where a $118 million project is transforming what SU Athletic Director John Wildhack refers to as one of the most iconic venues in all of American sports. “This is a really important venue for this community and region,” he said. “We want to improve the entertainment and fan experience, which is something we focus on constantly,” he said. Wildhack said construction is happening in a top-down approach, and when complete, the dome will feature a new fixed roof, much needed state-of-theart sound and lighting systems, a four-sided vertically hung scoreboard designed to create a “wow” factor, improved accessibility and added Wi-Fi capabilities. “We want to make the experience of our guests and patrons who come to the dome the best it can possibly be,” he said. While the ticket sales staff was relocated from the dome to the Ensley Athletic Center as a result of construction, it is business as usual at the dome despite the construction project. “I give tremendous credit to our facilities staff, led by Pete Sala. The dome is a construction site, yet we are still competing in it,” said Wildhack, noting it does impact the men’s and women’s basketball teams in terms of access at certain times. However, Wildhack said the most exciting aspect of the project is it’s under way after having been on the drawing board for a long period of time.

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February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ music Hymn of Remembrance Retired professor, talented musician leaves legacy of a lasting tribute By Aaron Gifford


ike so many Americans, Donald Miller never got over the Vietnam War. He was eligible for the military draft in the 1960s but was not called to serve. He felt unsettled about that during his time in college and, after embarking upon a successful career as a teacher, musician and composer, came up with something in 1986 that would give him some peace of mind and, more importantly, honor military veterans. Hence, “Here Rests in Honored Glory” was born. Decades later, the arrangement was named the Official Hymn of Remembrance for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America. It has been played at funerals and remembrance ceremonies all over the nation. “I always felt guilty that I didn’t serve,” he said. “That stayed with me, and I felt like I needed to do something. We have a national anthem, but we don’t have an anthem of remembrance for veterans.” Not bad for a guy from the Midwest who grew up picking hillbilly mandolin and Gypsy jazz guitar. Miller, 82, is a retired professor and former chairman of Onondaga Community College’s music department. The Jamestown, Ohio, native was raised in a musical environment where his mother played the piano and his uncle played guitar. Miller took up the mandolin at a young age, idolizing Django Reinhardt, a guitarist and composer who is said to be the first jazz talent to emerge from Europe. During high school, Miller was invited to play tuba in a community band. Although he could not read music, Miller was able to blow out the correct notes by memory.


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During his audition for admission into the music program at the University of Cincinnati, Miller ’s instructor initially showed him the door after quickly determining that he could not decipher the pages in front of him. Miller then demonstrated that he could sing back a song played on the piano note by note, and he was offered admission to the school on conditions that he completed a remedial program where he would quickly learn to read music. “I started to walk out after that and I remember him yelling, ‘get back here!’” Miller recalled. Miller began his college career majoring in music, with a stint as a pre-med student before completing a degree in music education. All the while, he played guitar in progressive jazz combos four to five nights a week. His favorite gig was Jazz Bohemia in downtown Cincinnati on Friday nights. “They didn’t have a college major in guitar, which was a blessing in disguise,” he said. Miller continued on to complete a doctorate program in church and sacred music. He credits his composition teacher, Halsey Stevens, with inspiring his creativity. He landed a job as a church choir director before he got into teaching music. His career later brought him to Central New York, where he taught at Onondaga Community College and Le Moyne College. Miller was a big fan of contemporary jazz artists like the Dave Brubeck Quartet, George Benson and Barney Kessel, but he still enjoyed teaching classical guitar.

Giving back to craft Reflecting on his own experiences, he invented a methodology for teaching self-taught guitarists how to read music through a group setting where each musician played a different part in a composition. Miller ’s curriculum included several themed books, including Christian hymns, Hispanic songs and Renaissance music. He also hosted more than 30 workshops across the country to promote the curriculum. The workshop at the Guitar Foundation of America in San Antonio, Texas, sold out in 20 minutes, noted his wife, Mary

A musical arrangement by Donald Miller has been named the Official Hymn of Remembrance for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America. It has been played at funerals and remembrance ceremonies all over the nation. Miller. “I didn’t expect them to be that popular,” Donald Miller said. “I wrote them with the idea of trying to bring guitarists up to the standards of a violinist. But it was easy to learn because each person had their own part, so in a group setting they were forced to learn it.” In 1986, Miller, while still teaching at OCC, set out to create an original work that was inspired by the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The composition is scored for a chorus, three trumpets, two trombones, and a tuba, timpani and organ. He carefully chose the lyrics to be all-inclusive since the religious beliefs of the Unknown Soldier, if in fact they had religious beliefs, were unknown. Hal Leonard, Inc. published the piece and donated all of his composer royalties from the sheet music to the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “It has long been my hope that this piece might have a wider distribution and in so doing brings comfort and healing to all who have had a loved one die in service to our country,” Miller says. “My wish for our veterans is that they may hear in the words and music of the piece a message of gratitude for all the sacrifices they have made.”

Miler recalled that the melody just came to him. “I wrote it on a brown paper bag,” he said. In 2006, the North Carolina Master Chorale in Raleigh, North Carolina recorded it as a CD. Three years later, the composition won the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge George Washington Medal of Honor. Word of this special song spread over the Atlantic Ocean, and on June 6, 2015, the Normandy Museum in France began playing the song annually in commemoration of D-Day. On June 14, 2018, New York State Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli sponsored a legislative bill to name “Here Rests in Honored Glory” the official state hymn of remembrance in honor of all American veterans. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law six months later. “I had no idea it would get to this point,” Miller said. He credits his colleagues at OCC, David Rudari and Sue Tormey for leading efforts to get the composition recognized at the state level. After his retirement from OCC, Miller continued to compose. His body of work includes arrangements that have been performed by the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He and Mary spent time travelling across the country to visit their five grown children, three of whom had served in the military. The couple also flew overseas to attend live performances and learn more about music. Russian violinists particularly impressed the pair. These days, Donald and Mary Miller spend their summers in Sylvan Beach and the colder months in Arizona. Donald plays guitar regularly with an 18-piece jazz band based out of Mesa, Arizona. He also volunteers as the chorale director with an interdenominational church. When he does get back to Central New York, Miller sporadically sits in for jam sessions at Funk ‘N Waffles in Syracuse. Even at his age, Miller never gets tired of plucking his guitar, belting out a tune and writing melodies down as soon as they pop into his head. “My professors told me, just because something comes easy, doesn’t mean it’s not good,” he said. “And nothing helps you stay sharp like music.” February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

Getting to Know Yourself: Five Things to Consider


uthor Joy Loverde feels it is essential in making good decisions to get to know yourself better. I chose five examples of what to consider giving thought to immediately, regardless of present circumstances.

1.Loverde explains that “failure to

Do You Justify Bad Decisions?

prevent a crisis that causes hardship on others has serious consequences. You will be held 100% responsible for your decisions and outcomes. • Do you envision refusing to relocate out of your current residence when personal safety dictates otherwise? • Might you insist on driving long past when it is safe to do so? • Do you have a habit of refusing to listen to others’ ideas and observations? • Do you have difficulty owning up to mistakes?” Giving thought to these questions now will save you a lot of heartache down the road.

2.“Even if you are presently Social Life…or not

partnered, chances are that at some point you won’t be, and you need to prepare for that eventuality,” says Loverde. “The first step is taking the time to know yourself better and then deciding how you stand on living, … and dying, alone. That will help you decide where and how you want to live.” “If you were partnered, you might have had an active social life, but often one partner created that life. Now you have to figure out who you are, or will be, as a single person and that starts with knowing if you are outgoing and social or quiet and content.” “Not everyone wants a group of people around them all the time,”


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Author’s note: This is the third-part interview with Joy Loverde, author of “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age.” says Loverde. “This process is not about changing your lifestyle; if you live alone and you love it, make your wishes known. Own who you are. By our age, we know what we like and what we don’t and we deserve to take a stand on that. To take it a step further, if you choose to live alone, then it’s your responsibility to let family and friends know.” Even if you’re a loner, that doesn’t mean you should be alone all the time. We’ve all heard about the studies on how social isolation in older people has a major negative effect on their health. That alone is reason enough to figure out how to create some level of a social life. But even if you’ve always been a social person, life changes. Family members and longtime friends die, move away and suddenly you find yourself friendless.

3.“If you are someone who likes Living options

having people around, start looking at living options where you’d feel comfortable. Explore places where you would like to move that 1- fit in your budget, 2- are near good medical care, and 3- provide a social network. There is a limited supply of affordable housing so you need to start early and get on a few lists for places that meet your criteria. Finding the right place takes time and effort and starting

before the situation becomes a crisis means you maintain control of where you live.”

4.Loverde gives great ideas for a Recreating a Life

fulfilling life. “Consider getting a job, it can even be one you can do from home but where you’ll have social contact on the phone or computer.” “Serving others is a wonderful way to meet people who are also fortunate enough to be in a position to volunteer and to be part of a solution for people who don’t have what we have.” “Take the initiative to invite people to your home for just a simple dinner or start a tradition of pot luck meals once a week with other people in the

same situation. Look around your neighborhood or building and see how many people are also living alone and reach out to them with this idea.” “Take a cooking class and invite your fellow students and friends home to cook with you.” “Enjoy dining at a senior center.” “At food courts in a mall, museum, zoo, baseball stadium, you can enjoy a meal surrounded by others.” “Take your food to a park, the beach, an outdoor concert or another pleasing sight and eat there.”

5.“It is important to know the

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difference between a friend and an acquaintance so we are not disappointed when transitions in We pick up 6 days our lives happen and the people we a week. 11-6:30pm thought would be there for us are not.” “We also need to get good at One Touch Ultra & knowing when a relationship has By Shepard Enterprise Freestyle Lite. Other run its course. It might have been a Brands Considered. relationship through work and that Up to $50. Golf Course Advertising Since 1982 common bond is not there anymore or recognizing that sometimes people just grow apart.” Empire DM, Inc. Reliability vs. trustworthiness. “There are Venture friends you can rely on STE 800 6500 New Gear Drive When calling, emailing or faxin for going out to dinner and having a East Sycamore, NY 13057 great time but not so much for keeping confidences. If you know that in advance, you’ll know what you should and shouldn’t say and then you won’t be upset with them.” “Friends and family require ongoing love and attention. Consider throwing parties for no reason, but celebrate life.not Make it a habit If just thistoproof does reflect thetoartwork you submitted, it is possible we did not receive the artwork and an schedule walks, binge-watch favorite information regarding your company online. However, changes can still be made. Please contact us TV shows or take a fitness class together.” 5633 West Genesee St., Camillus In conclusion, I cannot tell you how much I have personally gotten from this book. It is a huge understatement to say that I chose just a few of the hundreds of Loverde’s wonderful ideas for planning for a successful aging. “Readers should open the book to the table of contents and choose one pressing topic at a time,” says Loverde. “This is not meant to be read cover-tocover and then shelved away, rather it is a guide to use again and again, as that is how life is. Transitions happen throughout our lives — they never end. This book can be used both to plan with and as a guide in the moment, when you need some direction.”

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55+ service O Captain! My Captain! Syracuse police captain reflects back on five decades fighting crime on streets By Aaron Gifford


uring his half century of police work, John Brennan never called in sick, no matter how under the weather he felt. “There was something different every day,” he recalled, “and I didn’t want to miss that. You are constantly thinking about the job anyhow, even on your days off.” The Syracuse Police captain was recently honored for his 50 years of service with the department. He retired in January. Brennan, 68, was a teenager when he started his career in law enforcement, and from that point on never imagined himself ever truly walking away from the field. Brennan grew up on a farm in Tully, a rural community near the Cortland County border. His dad worked their land and his mom was a beautician. As a child, Brennan enjoyed playing football and baseball. He never thought about leaving his small town to become a city cop. That changed one afternoon in 1969, when he came home from school and turned on the television. The commercial advertising vacancies in the Syracuse Police Department intrigued him. “I took the test and I guess I did well,” Brennan said of the application process, which involved a civil service exam. “They put my name on the list.” The young cadet was sworn in and given a whistle and a nightstick.


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John Brennan, 68, was a teenager when he started his career in law enforcement. He retired late last year as a captain with the Syracuse Police Department. Photo provided. Back then, police officers were not like a cop,” he said, “and I guess I issued guns until they turned 20, after didn’t act like a cop. But it was pretty which they were promoted to the rank scary. It was a real fast learning curve. I never got ripped off or shot at.” of officer. Brennan continued to serve in Brennan’s first assignment as a the patrol unit on the south side cadet was to help direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic during a bus driver throughout the 1970s. He took an strike. It was a hectic environment, but investigator position in the 1980s. That’s where he developed his true Brennan loved the responsibility. “You were helping people,” he passion for police work. But the job said. “Back in ’69, downtown was could also be heart breaking. His a happening place. It was always worst day on the job came in October 1990, when fellow officer and friend crowded.” At the age of 19, Brennan was Wallie Howard Jr., 31 years old at the assigned to an undercover operation time, was shot and killed during an where he bought drugs from dealers. undercover drug operation. Another case that has stuck with He was assigned to the Syracuse’s south Brennan was the unsolved murder side, a pretty dangerous neighborhood at the time. Heroin was the biggest- of Terry Cornell. Her body was discovered outside near Corcoran selling narcotic. “It worked because I didn’t look High School in September of 1975. She

was well liked by everyone and had no known enemies. DNA evidence collection had not been invented yet, so with no witnesses and no leads, the investigation hit a dead end quickly.

Worthwhile arrest One of Brennan’s most rewarding days on the job was the arrest of Steve Vanderslice, a Syracuse man accused of murdering his own children. Brennan and his partner Dan Boyle obtained a confession from Vanderslice in which the suspect admitted to killing two of his three children for $50,000 in insurance money. The deaths were initially written off to sudden infant death syndrome. Vanderslice is still in prison. Brennan has seen many changes in police work during his five decades of service, including the use of laptops and video cameras, and the ability to collect DNA evidence. Still, he emphasizes, “police work is police work. You’ve still got to get out and knock on doors to get to the bottom of things.” He never got too involved with the police officer’s union beyond attending meetings or voting on contracts. One of the worst parts of what was otherwise a very enjoyable job, Brennan says, was dealing with politics. He didn’t like it if officers were required to change their priorities based on an elected official’s whim, and he also disliked it when local political candidates asked officers for endorsements. Brennan never seriously considered moving from Syracuse or joining another agency. “I kind of found a home here,” he said. He was promoted to captain in 2010. The job provided him more money, more responsibility and more administrative tasks. While it was nice to serve in a leadership role and be a mentor to younger officers, Brennan still enjoyed being a street cop far more than his desk job. And while the new breed of officers is serving the department well, Brennan still notices that the motive for going into police work these days is much different that it was 50 years ago. The new hires are indeed pursuing an exciting field where they are able to help people, but the promise of a strong, steady pay check and a pension is often the main attraction.

Photo of John Brennan from his rookie year in 1969. “I did notice that with Gen Xers, and we definitely see that with millennials,” he said. “When I came on, it was about serving the city. Now, I guess the best way to say it is, it’s just a different type of kid coming on. But that’s a sign of the times.” All told, Brennan worked under seven different Syracuse mayors and 13 different police chiefs. His favorite chiefs were Tim Sardino, who served from 1970 until 1985, and Tim Foody, who served in the early 1990s. “They didn’t bother you as long as you were doing your job,” Brennan said. “They backed you up. They were strict, but they were supportive.” Brennan and Antoinette, his wife of more than 30 years now, have two grown children. Danielle is an attorney in Albany, and Ryan is a certified public accountant in Syracuse. The family has always enjoyed skiing, and to stay in shape Brennan also runs and goes to the gym. After so many years of police work, he does not yet feel worn out. “It’s been a great time,” he said, “I still feel good physically and mentally. But it’s time to go.” Although he is leaving the Syracuse police department, Brennan plans to keep working in some capacity. “I’m not going to completely retire — I’d go crazy. You’ve got to have a reason to put your pants on in the morning.”

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55+ photography Renowned Syracuse photographer Michael Davis in a selfie.

Shutterbug Finds Perfect Rhythm Syracuse’s legendary photographer, Michael Davis, blends photography with music By Carol Radin


ichael G. Davis considers himself lucky. He’s been leading a double life doing what he loves and making a living at it. The award-winning photographer known for years of documenting the local Central New York scene has also been energizing local stages with his guitar rhythms and Hammond organ. After decades of achievement in photo journalism for the now defunct Syracuse New Times, Davis is in demand again, this time as a band mate with local musicians, mostly of his generation, who want to keep on rockin’. “Photography and music — it’s the same to me,” he says. “Music is about hearing, balance, discord and harmony. Photography is visual, color, balance.”


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Although retired from his New Times career, Davis is still active professionally as the production photographer for Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University Drama and for the magazine New York Horse, but he now finds he has more time for music. Photography and music were never far off Davis’ radar as a teen in Syracuse in the ‘60s. Looking back on his student days at St. John the Evangelist High School, Davis recalls the nun who took his class to an Andy Warhol exhibit at the old Everson Museum building at North State and James in 1967. It was the first time he discovered that the ordinary is the subject. At home, he pored over photos in magazines. “I couldn’t wait to get home on ‘Life’ magazine day!” he exclaims. Fascinated though he was

by photography, however, he knew he couldn’t afford a camera and countless rolls of film. That was OK, though, because music was beginning to dominate his artistic life. It was the era of the Beatles. Davis’ mother, who loved rock music, had already encouraged her son to take guitar lessons. As The Beatles ascended the music charts, Mike tuned up his guitar. As a teen, he played in one band after another: the West Winds, The Blues Bags (“a bunch of 16 year olds from parochial school playing Muddy Waters,” he said) and The Soul Runners. Soon Davis was teaching himself to play the organ and, with money from his grandmother, bought a VOX Continental. It was then he joined The Coachmen. It was, he says, “a dream band for a teenage musician because they played in bars, not just schools.” The bars included Red Dog Saloon, Scotch ‘n’ Stein, the Campus Inn at Suburban Park, and The Warehouse in Ithaca. After high school, Davis set music aside and studied business at Onondaga Community College. His classes, though, were in the wing with the drama and art students, and Davis found himself wandering the hallways, soaking up the sounds of keyboard-playing and the different styles of music, particularly jazz. Those hallways of sound, Davis said, “helped me expand my musical landscape.” For the next 10 years, he would play music professionally. Then a job opened up as director of public relations for the old Salt City Playhouse in Syracuse. It was there, while working on the promotional photos, that Davis rekindled his interest in photography. One day at a performance of “Fiorello,” he gave an envelope of his photos to the old Syracuse HeraldJournal’s entertainment and arts critic at the time, Joan Vadeboncoeur. To Davis’ surprise, Vadeboncoeur got one of them in the newspaper the next day. So he took a chance and entered a

Michael Davis playing his organ for a recent club date with band “Ménage A Soul.” photo in the Herald-Journal’s Eastman Kodak contest and won. That was all the validation Davis needed and he left Salt City Playhouse. Right then and there, he knew, “I wanted to work for the Syracuse New Times.” The alternative newspaper had a counter-culture vibe and a photo style that appealed to him. Davis reached his goal in fairly short order, but it was serendipity that got him in the door. While on a freelance assignment to photograph an adult film star, he encountered a New Times reporter doing a story on the film star. The reporter needed photos. Davis had them. Even better, the feature became a cover story. After that, Davis showed up every day at the New Times offices looking for assignments and was eventually hired for the staff.

Making the scene For the next 38 years, Davis led the life of a career photojournalist, witnessing many of Syracuse’s most notable events, rallies, celebrity visits,

Over the years, Michael Davis has been honored with over 50 Syracuse Press Club awards, including the Press Club’s “Professional Standards” award, and was twice selected “Photographer of the Year” by the New York Press Association. and sports contests. “I’ve been at more protests and rallies than I can count,” he exclaims. He’s camped at the Woodstock festivals in Rome and Saugerties, documented the Seneca women’s encampment in 1983, and been booed in the press box at then-Presidential-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign rally at the OnCenter. He’s met many celebrated visitors to the region —activist Rosa Parks, film

director Spike Lee, musicians Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones, and renowned writers Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Jay McInerney and Junot Diaz. On the SU football field and basketball court, Davis was as close to the action as the coaches. He watched as quarterback Donnie McPherson help beat West Virginia in a game that clinched an undefeated football season; basketball player Carmelo Anthony in the triple overtime win against Pittsburgh; and Pearl Washington “making a last-second half-court shot on the run and continuing off the court to the locker room totally confident he made the shot” moment — all frozen in time by Davis’ camera. Although his record of Syracuse’s cultural and socio-political history is impressive, Davis comments, “I’ve always thought of every assignment the same way. I was never in awe of a subject.” When not on assignment, Davis loves photographing the “ordinary” — people on the street, at work, at play; spontaneous moments where human meets environment. “I do a lot of walking. It’s the only February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


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Michael G. Davis (far right) with some former “Coachmen” and some new musicians in their current transformation, “Ménage A Soul.” From left: Dickie Cappotto, Rock Carbone, James Spivey, Kia Worrell, John Saltamach and Dave Fratesci.

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way to find pictures,” he says. And when he does drive, it’s on “as few interstates as possible.” Every vacation is his personal photography jamboree. He’s travelled cross-country on Amtrak five times, focusing his Leica in every town, city, and national park along the way. He’s wandered towns on both sides of the Mexican border, even once hitching a ride on a boat of migrants. “Your mission is to experience things out of your norm and maybe, if you’re lucky, take a good photo,” he said. When Davis frames a subject, he is just as mindful of capturing its surrounding activity. “Good street photography,” he says, “becomes a good historical document because of the amount of information that’s in it at the time.” Influenced by photographers Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, Sylvia Plachy and James Hamilton from the old New York Village Voice, Davis scopes out scenes where “more is going on around the subject,” he said. Over the years, he’s been honored with over 50 Syracuse Press Club awards, including the Press Club’s “Professional Standards” award, and was twice selected “Photographer of the Year” by the New York Press Association. Looking back on his tenure at the

Syracuse New Times, Davis reflects, “Everyday when I went in, I learned a little more about something. You have to stay open to that discovery.” And in that spirit, Davis is now back in the musical groove along with other musicians of his generation. Davis and several of the former Coachmen have formed a new band, Menage A Soul. Six of the seven band members range in age from 55 to 72. With Davis on the organ, group plays old standards that the baby boomers can dance to, while vocalist Kia Worrell delive-rs an up-to-theminute soulful vibe to classics like “Chain of Fools,” “Superstition,” “It’s a Man’s World,” and the ever-respected “Respect.” At Winterfest time in downtown Syracuse, Davis and the band can be found heating up the room at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s “Hammond Jammin’,” which features Syracuse’s best organ players and blues musicians. Whatever the performance, Davis plays with intensity, focusing on his keyboard as if his chords are calling out to him. One imagines he is taking in all that energy in the room — the beat, the decibels, the dancing. It’s always a scene of sound and visuals and, for Davis, it must be that place where the arts meet; where he reaches that balance and harmony he strives for in both his photos and music.

consumers corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.


Abdominal Pain 101

ne of the most common reasons people seek medical care is abdominal pain. I often hear people say, “Just get an X-ray, doc.” But it’s not that simple. Many different things, especially as people get older, can cause abdominal pain. And an X-ray will reveal only some of them. Most people assume that pain in the abdomen must be coming from the intestinal tract. And, yes, there is an assortment of maladies that can arise from digestive organs. Common examples include the stomach (ulcers), appendix (infection), small intestine (obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, twisting), or colon (diverticulitis, tumors). The underlying cause could be related to the circulatory system: an abdominal aneurysm can leak or rupture. Vascular disease can block blood flow to the intestines and cause severe pain. Diseases of the liver and spleen can cause pain. Stones blocking the gallbladder duct produce pain and infection. Kidney infections and stones, ovarian cysts, pregnancy problems, prostate infections and hernias are other potential pain sources. Even disease that is not located inside the abdomen can make your belly hurt: some heart attacks or pneumonia in the lower part of the lungs. So how does your medical provider figure this all out? Your provider will start by asking what seems like a million questions. Your story is an important piece of the puzzle. Where is the pain is located? Did it start at one place and move to another part of the abdomen? Does it spread to another part of the body such as the back or the chest? When did it start? Is it there all the time, does it that come and go, and is it getting worse? Does anything trigger the pain or make it worse? Is there

anything that relieves the pain? Do you have any other symptoms, such as vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, urine problems, cough, fever, etc.? What medical problems or past surgeries have you had? Next comes the physical exam. The first component is inspection for distention, bruises, scars or other clues. Other techniques are auscultation (listening for bowel sounds and abnormal circulation sounds), percussion (tapping to assess for gas and fluid), and palpation (feeling for masses, enlarged organs, and tenderness.) Your history and exam will guide the selection of laboratory studies.

Typical tests for abdominal pain include urinalysis, a urine pregnancy test in women of childbearing age, a complete blood count, liver enzymes, amylase and lipase (two enzymes made by the pancreas), and stool testing for hidden blood. An X-ray is one type of imaging study. X-rays may show an abnormal pattern of gas in the intestines, such as might occur with a blockage. Some kidney stones will show up on an X-ray. An X-ray might show constipation, although there is some disagreement as to how useful an X-ray is for this purpose. Ultrasound is often used to examine the gallbladder. Other uses of ultrasound are evaluation of the kidneys, female pelvic organs and spleen. Ultrasound may help to diagnose appendicitis, especially in children. A CAT scan can often provide information about abdominal and pelvic structures. But it does involve more radiation than an X-ray. Depending on what the doctor is looking for, you may need an injection of dye. Some typical uses of CAT scan in the urgent care include suspected kidney stones, appendicitis and diverticulitis. MRI is another noninvasive way to obtain images of the body. It can’t be used in patients with certain types of metal in their body. MRI is expensive and is reserved for special cases. With so many possible causes for abdominal pain, and so many possible tests, don’t be surprised if you are sent to the emergency room. Sometimes that’s the only way to quickly get to the root of the problem. Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed bazanreed@hotmail.com

Photos by Bill Reed

Resolutions Kept — With a Journey Abroad


ith a month or so of 2020 behind us, many people are looking back and reevaluating their New Year ’s resolutions. Or, if you’re a procrastinator like me, maybe just now making up your list of annual goals. In addition to the usual promises to exercise more, eat healthier, lose weight, reduce stress, learn a new language, read more or even write a novel, many of us — especially those of retirement age — may have made a resolution to travel more, or to explore part- or full-time retirement abroad. We encourage you to go for it! It’s surprisingly easy and affordable, and a wonderful adventure to boot. We’ve been living part-time in France since we retired in 2013, spending three months every winter and three months in the summer in a small village of 1,500 people near Beziers, about 20 minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea. We started off easy, renting in the off-season and spending January, February and March exploring the region, but even a couple of weeks would be a start. After three winters in France, we bought a tiny stone house in the medieval heart of a winemaking village. Our village is so small, we walk everywhere — the butcher, épicerie or tiny grocery store, the greengrocer selling local produce, post office and church. The bus stop is at the foot of our street, and the bus to Beziers is a 10-minute, 50-cent ride. There we walk all over town, running errands or seeing the sights. All that walking keeps us fit. Each three-month sojourn, we lose about 10 pounds each and come back stronger and healthier. All without having to pay a gym fee or build exercise time into our daily routine. The food is healthier, too. By


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‘Living in France, we consistently save between $1,200 and $1,500 per month compared to our American budget.’ law there are no GMOs in France, and many pesticides prevalent in the U.S. are banned in Europe. The meat is raised more humanely with most chickens and cattle grazing en plein aire, or free-range. Our eggs come from chickens that live in our village — the rooster wakes us up each morning. Bread has purity laws and my daily baguette has four ingredients: flour,

yeast, water and salt. Losing weight doesn’t mean we deny ourselves the pleasures of dining in France. We eat rich cheese from one of the 100 best fromagers or cheese mongers in France, fresh meat from an artisan butcher and baked goods from a boulangerie whose specialty, la coque, or shell, of St. Aphrodise (the patron saint of Beziers), scored a 10 out of 10 on the national TV competition, “The Best Bakery in France.” About once a week we indulge in a three-course restaurant lunch, with appetizer, entrée, desert, wine and coffee for about $40. All this good living costs less than our routine life at home. At the village winemakers’ cooperative, we buy wine for about $10 a 5-liter box or the equivalent of $1.50 a bottle. Our cable, internet, landline and cellphone combined cost $80, and the electricity

Learning a new language and exploring the culture of area, like this Occitan carnival in Beziers, can keep overseas retirees’ minds alert.

bill is $60. The biggest savings is from not driving. Our monthly investment of about $20 in bus passes wouldn’t even pay for one week’s gas back home. We consistently save between $1,200 and $1,500 per month compared to our American budget, while still paying our rent in Oswego along with all utilities on our apartment there. That pays for our flights over and we end each journey with extra money in our savings account as well. Our location gives us the opportunity for the occasional travel adventure. We’ve visited Nice, Lyon, Marseille and Monaco, with many more adventures planned. When we began our retirement, we couldn’t speak French, but talking with our neighbors, interacting with merchants and watching TV has given us a good foundation and we’re getting better every day. The pace of daily life is slower and less stressful in Europe, and people are more focused on home and family life. Every day we visit with our neighbors around the village. After running our errands, we have plenty of time for pursuing our interests. Bill follows his passions for history and photography, and I’ve taken up watercolor painting and launched a “second act” writing mystery fiction. I even finished the first draft of a novel. Our evenings are often spent sipping a glass of the local wine on the rooftop terrace, looking over at the landscape of vineyards as far as the eye can see, eating cheese, baguette and olives, and contemplating our new life abroad. Sometimes, when we do, we realize that we’ve fulfilled all our New Year’s resolutions — eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, reduce stress, save money, learn a new language, see the world and pursue our passions. All by saying “Yes!” to the urge to retire abroad.

Healthy food and plenty of exercise are side benefits of moving abroad. Here, local fruits, vegetables and cheeses, are enhanced by olive oil from our region and French vinegar.

International travel or retiring abroad can be a stairway to a new you.

Relocating abroad makes travel adventures affordable. Marseille is a mere two-hour train ride from our home. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger Email: mdruger@syr.edu

Adventures in Paris and Normandy


he over-55 generation tends to travel a lot. Despite diverse destinations, incidents that happen are generalizable. This article describes details of yet another trip, in the hope that readers will recognize these commonalities and learn from them. Victoria and I packed our bags once again and we were off to a week-long trip to Paris and Normandy. We had been on luxurious Viking River Cruises before, but this time we decided to brave it on our own. Through AAA, we booked three days at a hotel in Paris, then a train to Normandy and three nights in a hotel in Bayeux and the return trip to Syracuse. The flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris was uneventful and we experienced the clever packaging of minimal, novel nutrition on the way to Paris. I had to ask Victoria to help me open some of the packets of food. Usually, we over-pack and take much more clothing than needed. This time, I only packed mostly underwear and socks. Victoria bought a small suitcase for herself to avoid the over-packing syndrome. I felt that I could survive the trip with very little clothing. Is someone going to notice that I was wearing the same shirt that I wore yesterday? I doubt it. The flight over the Atlantic seemed endless. I sat by the window to watch the wing and make sure that it didn’t fall off in flight. I also worried about running out of fuel in the middle of the Atlantic. Just when I had to go to the bathroom, the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign lit up, as the plane started bumping around from turbulence. Individual TV in the plane helped make the time pass. I watched two violence-filled movies and kept switching to the channel that showed the flight status. Every time that I pushed the touch pad TV screen, the person in front of


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me uttered a complaint. “Could you be more gentle with pushing the screen buttons?” In Paris, we stayed at a lovely hotel that was near the metro and the Eiffel tower. We had a tour of the Palace of Versailles scheduled for 1:20 p.m. the second day after our arrival. We slept late in the morning and, suddenly, there was a knock at our door. The hotel concierge exclaimed, “The tour van is here for the Versailles tour.” I sleepily said, “But the tour isn’t until 1:20 p.m.” The concierge replied, “It is 1:20 p.m.” The tour guide wouldn’t wait for us, so we missed the tour to the Palace of Versailles. This wasn’t a tragedy since my feeling is that if you’ve seen one palace, you’ve seen them all. Instead of the tour, we walked to the Eiffel tower. This structure was built as the entranceway to the 1889 World’s Fair. Everywhere near the tower, young men were selling small models of the Eiffel Tower, some with blinking lights. I bargained for one and had a small Eiffel keychain added to the deal. As any traveler knows, it’s routine to bargain overseas for most items. Bargaining is expected, and can be fun. There are countless art treasures in Paris, and we only had a glimpse of some of them. We wisely bought tickets to the Louvre museum online in advance. This avoided waiting on long lines. At the Louvre, we saw such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, the armless statue of Venus De Milo (Aphrodite), the famous statue Winged Victory, and many other priceless works of art. As expected, there was a large crowd at the Louvre, especially people who wanted to see the Mona Lisa painting. Museum attendants were rushing everyone past this painting, and we barely had a chance to take a

photo of it. We had a pleasant walk alongside the Seine River to the Musee d’Orsay. At this museum, I was thrilled to stand next to the painting Whistler’s Mother. This painting is owned by the Musee d’Orsay, but is occasionally on display at the Louvre. Walking and climbing steps seemed to be the mode in Paris. We walked about eight miles a day. That explains why there seemed to be very few obese people in Paris, despite the abundance of delicious pastries and breads. We also took the Metro and mastered the complicated network by frequently getting lost. After experiencing Paris, Victoria jokingly told me that she wanted to stay in Paris while I went on to Normandy. I convinced her that the trip to Normandy would be a worthwhile learning experience… and it was. We took the train from Paris to Normandy and stayed at a quaint hotel in Bayeux. Shops, restaurants and stores were surprisingly upscale and expensive in Bayeux. Breads and pastries were delicious. We had a nine-hour tour of the invasion beaches at Normandy. We stood on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach and imagined the American soldiers pouring onto these beaches, while the Germans fired upon them. I wanted to find a bullet as a souvenir. I found one … in a souvenir store near Utah Beach. We visited Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. This is an ancient abbey that is located on a rocky, tidal island and visitors have to climb endless stairs to get to the top chambers. I expected to find exhausted bodies of the over-55 generation along the way. The older age of people climbing to the top seemed irrelevant. We visited a cemetery in Normandy where many American soldiers were

buried. It was a memorable sight, and it reinforced my belief about the stupidity and futility of wars. Germany and Japan were our worst enemies. Now they are among our best friends. So, why fight the war and lose the precious lives of so many young men and women? Security did not seem to be an issue in Paris or Normandy. We never felt threatened, even when we walked alone along dark streets at night. At the Louvre, a group of four large, robust soldiers strolled by us. Each carried a submachine gun with fingers near the trigger. The greatest threat to tourists in France seemed to be pickpockets and thieves and scammers. We met several people who told us horror stories about how they had been robbed or scammed. That would never happen to us…or would it? We returned to Paris to spend one night in a hotel near the Charles de Gaulle Airport, before our flight to the U.S. In general, I don’t like to have dinner at a hotel, since the dinners are usually expensive and mediocre. The hotel clerk got us a taxi to take us to a nearby shopping mall where we could have more options for dinner. The taxi driver drove us to the African Lounge entrance to the mall. The ride took about 10 minutes. I asked, “How much do I owe you?” “Twenty euro (about $22).” He replied. I said, ”That’s very expensive for such a short ride.” He then showed me a chart with that price on it and said, “That’s my company’s price.” I gave him my credit card. He put it into his machine and then said, ”There’s not good reception here, so the credit card machine won’t work. Pay me in cash.” I gave him $25. We entered the shopping mall at 9 p.m. and all the stores had just closed. Victoria called the hotel to get us a taxi to go back to the hotel. The hotel clerk told us to wait at the main entrance, not at the African Lounge entrance. The mall was deserted. Finally, we found someone mopping the floor. He directed us to the main entrance. That area was open and crowded, since all the restaurants were there. None of the restaurants appealed to us, so we returned to the hotel in the taxi the hotel had called. The trip back to the hotel took only three minutes. I asked the driver, ”How much do I owe you?” He waived any fee. The driver was the

Marvin Druger searching for a bullet on Utah Beach, Normandy. He said he found one … in a souvenir shop neaby. hotel concierge and I suspect that he knew about the African Lounge taxi ripoff. We had dinner at the hotel. It was a buffet with three selections, i.e., salad, main dish and dessert. I just ate the main course; Victoria had the salad. They charged me for the entire buffet. I said, “I didn’t want dessert or salad.” But that didn’t matter. You had to pay for the full dinner, regardless. When I protested, the manager told me that I could take the dessert to my room, but I didn’t want any dessert. I ended up paying about $70 for two meals that we never ate. It was a frustrating evening. Maneuvering through Charles de Gaulle Airport and JFK was an adventure. There was endless walking and waiting. It seemed that we had to walk long distances to get to the proper terminals. At JFK, a driver in a cart stopped to ask Victoria if she needed help. We hopped onto the cart and we were driven to our distant destination. Along the way, people waved at us and we felt like celebrities. Our flight to the U.S. on American Airlines was canceled and we were transferred to Air France. The return flight from Paris to Syracuse was very uncomfortable. We sat in the middle of the line of seats across the plane.

There was no room to move our legs or the rest of our bodies. Where do we put our heads? At JFK, we had to wait for our luggage to be removed from the plane. This took a long time, and we had to furiously rush from one Delta terminal to another to catch our flight to Syracuse. We reached the Delta gate just after the doors to the plane were closed. What now? We were put into an airport hotel overnight to get a Delta flight to Syracuse the next day. Our seats were the last ones in the rear on the plane, right next to the toilet. There were two seats across the aisle. The woman in one of the seats exclaimed, “Marvin, I thought that was you.” The two people in the seats across from us were cousins whom I had not seen for years. They were on their way to an event in Syracuse and intended to call me when they got there. The stewardess was sitting in the aisle right next to us. She participated in the conversation. Finally, we reached Syracuse and Victoria’s brother-in-law drove us home. The invasion of Normandy is known as “the longest day.” Actually, our trip from Paris to Syracuse was “the longest day.” February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS



visits Mount St. Helens is a great attraction for those visiting Oregon. It’s about an hour north of Portland.

Visiting Portland: The City of Roses By Sandra Scott


ortland, Oregon’s largest city, sits on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood. It’s known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, as well as for its eco-friendliness, microbreweries, gardens and variety of restaurants.

1 There are several. Most are half-day mini bus tours that travel through the Get acquainted: Take a city tour.

neighborhoods of Portland and visit all the must-see attractions. This is a good way to learn about the city’s history and culture. They stop at various points for spectacular views of the waterfront, Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood and more. For a more personal look at the city take one of the many walking tours. The Shanghai Tunnel Tour is a fun walking tour of the Old Portland Underground.

Portland may not be 2 where the food truck culture started but the food trucks have taken Portland Food trucks:

by storm. One nice thing about a food truck caravan is that everyone can have what they like. With more than 600 tiny “kitchens,” Portland’s food-truck scene is legendary and has been given rave reviews by food magazines. CNN


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declared Portland home to the world’s best street food. Most are organized into what are called “pods” in lots throughout the city. Portland is the perfect 3 place to try out some great ethnic food and not just Italian and Chinese. Ethnic food:

Enjoy shish kebabs, couscous and baklava at The Marrakesh Restaurant with Moroccan rugs, ornate silver urns, and dining in a sultan’s tent which often features belly dancers. Try out Ethiopian food at Enat Kitchen (mother’s kitchen). Eating Ethiopian is a social occasion. The food is served on a large platter covered with injera (soft spongy bread) with dollops of food on it. To eat, take a palm-size piece of the injera and scoop up the food. It was all delicious. There are several Vietnamese, Chinese, Jamaican, Cuban, Russian and many other interesting restaurants to try.

Although Portland is 4 well known as The Rose City it could easily be called the Garden City. Gardens:

The Portland International Rose Test Garden has more than 10,000 plantings of more than 500 varieties. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in America. Portland’s Japanese Garden showcases an example of authentic Japanese landscaping.

Lan Su Chinese Garden located within Portland’s historic Chinatown district is an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden  with a tea house. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden features more than 2,500  rhododendrons,  azaleas and other plants with small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains, and small waterfalls. And there are others. Portland may seem like a 5 young city compared to East Coast cities but there are still many places for Historic:

history lovers. Built in 1914, the Pittock Mansion tells the story of Portland’s transformation from pioneer town to modern, industrialized city through the history and legacy of the influential Pittocks. The mansion is characterized by its impressive architecture and 23 art- and antique- filled rooms. The Oregon Historical Society’s museum has a vast collection that explores the people, places and events that have shaped the history of Oregon and America.

Portland has miles and 6 miles of bike-friendly roads, paths and trails. Renting a bike is an option Biking:

if you don’t have your own. There are also bike tours. One such tour explores central Portland, stopping to sample some of the city’s iconic brews. There

is even a doughnut bike tour and another where the tour operator drives everyone to the Colombia River area and then guides the bikers along the Columbia Gorge, stopping at several waterfalls and other interesting spots. Besides the many gardens 7 there is the Tryon Creek State Natural Area, the only Oregon state Nature:

with a number of other activities. There are many music festivals and much more. Troll Bridge: There are hundreds of trolls under an old trestle railway bridge on the outskirts of Portland.

park located in a metropolitan area, and Washington Park, a public urban park  that includes a  zoo,  forestry museum,  arboretum,  children’s museum,  rose garden,  Japanese garden, amphitheater and many acres of wild forest with miles of trails. Powell Butte Nature Park is a familyfriendly area with plenty of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.

Portland makes an 8 excellent base for exploring the coast, mountains, and rivers. One Side Trips:

popular trip is to Multnomah Falls located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge. The waterfall is accessible from the Historic Columbia River Highway and Interstate 84. Another popular trip is to Mount St. Helens, an active volcano located in Washington, 50 miles northeast of Portland. There are tours to the wine country and Oregon Trail Museum in the Willamette Valley.

Check out the Troll 9 Bridge. There are hundreds of trolls under an old trestle railway bridge on

Portland’s Japanese Garden showcases an example of authentic Japanese landscaping.


the outskirts of Portland. For a unique tasting meal check out Laan Bang (they are sold out for six months). The 24-seat restaurant is located behind a bookcase inside a Thai restaurant. The 12-course tasting menu is unique.

With a never-ending 10 roster of events in Portland, you’re sure to find plenty worth Festivals:

celebrating every month of the year. In January the 11-day Fertile Ground Festival is a celebration of creativity, featuring a brand new theater and visual artworks by local artists. In February ring in Chinese New Year in Lan Su Gardens. The two-week celebration with lion dances, cultural performances and family-friendly activities. The Portland Rose Festival is an annual civic festival held during the month of June with the purpose of promoting the Portland region. It includes three separate parades, along

Multnomah Falls located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge. February / March 2020 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Carol Yerdon, 57 North Redfield resident has been measuring snow and rain for the local media for 25 years Q: Many Central New Yorkers who watch NewsChannel 9 will recognize your name as the weather watcher for the Redfield area. What does this involve? A: For the past 25 years I’ve kept track of mostly measuring the snow. I am currently also a National Weather Service weather observer, so I’ve kept track of the rain in the last three, four years. As for NewsChannel 9, I email [them] every morning the low temperature around 5 a.m. If there’s anything significant, I will also email Channel 3 and Channel 5 any updates, like snowfall totals. It has to be something impressive, something newsworthy. Q: Is there any special training involved? A: It’s not really scientific. It’s a yardstick and a shovel. I am not in any way a meteorologist. I don’t predict the weather. I watch the weather. My data is ground truth, it is what it is. As far as training, I follow the rules of the National Weather Service. They have given me instructions as to how to measure snow. I measure every four hours. If it’s an event, I can measure every hour, like to say, ‘there’s three inches an hour’ on real heavy squalls. They like to know the intensity. At that point, I would measure how much is coming down in an hour. We’re talking mostly lake-effect. I have a nice stainless-steel rain gauge from the National Weather Service. It’s a big cylinder I use that year-round. When the snow falls in that, I bring that in, melt down the snow and take the water content. That’s something I keep for them. They like to know the water content because they’re deciding whether it’s lake-effect snow. Q: How did you start in this? A: I saw a notice in the Syracuse newspapers in 1994, saying they were looking for people to keep track of the amount of snow that falls in their 50

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town and different towns in Oswego County. I thought, ‘that seems pretty simple and kind of cool.’ I didn’t think there was anybody else doing that. I started out doing that and then got the attention of the television stations. They started calling me. I thought, ‘Wow. Really?’ Q: What is it that you’ve learned in doing this over the years? A: I can’t believe the interest that exists in the snow. Even people who don’t like the snow, they still sometimes like to hear about it. They might not like to live in it. The other side of my weather-watching involves taking a lot of pictures. I observe the weather, but I like to share it in pictures. Not everybody wants to live in it, but they kind of want to see it. Q: What are some of the interesting experiences you’ve had as a weather-watcher. A: Honestly, the people I have met, I would never have dreamt of meeting — all because of snow. Q: Who are some of these people that you’ve met. A: My dear friends at NewsChannel 9. When they say my name, I still scream. CNN was in my yard. The New York Times reporters. I had a French film crew here last year at

this time. They contacted me. They are filming a documentary on the future of snow. They had just left the Swiss Alps. They had been to Iceland, Russia. Then they came to Redfield. They did some filming in my back lawn. The documentary is supposed to be out sometime later in the summer of 2020. Q: How did they ever hear about Redfield? A: My Twitter account is kind of worldwide. That is another shocking thing to me. I am blown away by the amount of people. I’ve gotten comments from other countries. I’m almost to 5,000 followers. A lot of those guys are meteorologists on TV. Q: What’s the record snowfall you’ve measured? A: The winter of 1996-97 — it was 424.25 inches. Over the last 25 years, that’s been my snowiest. Most recent was the winter of 2017-18, we broke a state record. We had 62.2 inches in 48 hours in North Redfield. Carol Yerdon of North Redfield said she has measured 6,903.45 inches of snow during 25 years keeping track of the weather in northern Oswego County.



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