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Fall for New York: 10 Waterfalls to Visit Now

55 PLUS Issue 80 – April-May 2019

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

A Man With the Crystal Ball Mark Re combines a successful career in real estate with a heavy load of volunteer work. He talks about his career, his community service and the Crystal Ball Award he’s receiving from a local marketing group.

free please share INSIDE Meet the new book authors: Nancy Murray, 89, and Sally Wilbur, 93

Class Reunion: Why You Should Attend It

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.




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April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS



Fall for New York: 10 Waterfalls to Visit Now


April / May 2019

PLUS Issue 80 – April-May 2019

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

A Man With the Crystal Ball

free please share INSIDE Meet the new book authors: Nancy Murray, 89, and Sally Wilbur, 93

Mark Re combines a successful career in real estate with a heavy load of volunteer work. He talks about his career, his community service and the Crystal Ball Award he’s receiving from a local marketing group.


Class Reunion: Why You Should Attend It



Savvy Senior 6 12 APOLLO Gardening 8 Dining Out 10

• Central New Yorkers remember broadcast when man first left earth 50 years ago

My Turn 18 16 WRITING Aging 36

• New writers, some in their 90s, flourish in writers’ class at Nottingham

Golden Years 41 20 RADIO Life After 55 42 • The big 4-oh for DJ Dave Frisina Druger’s Zoo 44 24 MEMORY LAST PAGE Mary Keough, 80, founder of Sarah’s Guest House in Syracuse to be honored as organization turns 25 4

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•New book captures the scents, sounds of Nestle tradition

26 DIVERSITY • Hugo Acosta’s media consortium has become catalyst for development in the local Latino community



28 COVER • Award-winning CNY real estate mogul recognized for making a difference in the community

34 REUNION • Reunions offer a chance to understand more about yourself and how you arrived at where you are today

38 COACHING • Life coaches offer suggestions to stay upbeat

40 READING • Tuesday Book Club sustains tradition of togetherness

46 VISITS • Ten waterfalls you must visit in New York

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• Give a gift of appreciation toward the 2,500 amazing caregivers of Loretto • Give a the gift of your time and volunteer

For more information, visit us at lorettocny.org/foundation. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS Loretto Foundation Ad_7.25x10_FullPage-March2019.indd 1


3/7/19 11:55 AM

savvy senior By Jim Miller

Help Caring for an Aging Parent For most people, starting in their 50s and 60s, the brain’s ability to remember names, multi-task or learn something new starts declining. While our genes (which we can’t control) play a key role in determining our cognitive aging, our general health (which we do have some control over) plays a big factor, too. Here are some healthy lifestyle strategies — recommended by medical experts — that you can employ that can help stave off cognitive loss and maybe even build a stronger brain. 1. Manage health problems: Studies have shown that cognitive problems are related to health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and even depression. So, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes you need to treat them with lifestyle changes and medication (if necessary) and get them under control. And if you have a history of depression, you need to talk to your doctor about treatment options. 2. Exercise: Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, to keep the brain cells well nourished. So, choose an aerobic activity you enjoy like walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc., that elevates your heart rate and do it for at least 30 to 40 minutes three times a week. 3. Eat healthy: A heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, will also help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats. Also keep processed foods and sweets to a minimum. 4. Get some sleep: Quality, restful sleep contributes to brain health too. Typically, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. If you have persistent problems sleep6

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ing, you need to identify and address the problem. Medications, late-night exercise and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and length, as can arthritis pain, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. If you need help, make an appointment with a sleep specialist who will probably recommend an overnight diagnostic sleep test. 5. Challenge your mind: Some research suggests that mind-challenging activities can help improve memory, and slow age-related mental decline. But, be aware that these activities consist of things you aren’t accustomed to doing. In other words, crossword puzzles aren’t enough to challenge your brain, if you’re already a regular puzzle doer. Instead, you need to pick up a new skill like learning to dance, play a musical instrument, study a new language or do math problems — something that’s challenging and a little outside your comfort zone. Brain-training websites like Lumosity.com and BrainHQ.com are good mind exercising tools because they continually adapt to your skill level to keep you challenged. Socializing and interacting with other people is another important way to stimulate the brain. So, make a point to reach out and stay connected to friends, family and neighbors. Join a club, take a class or even volunteer — anything that enhances your social life. 6. Don’t smoke or drink excessively: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption both effect the brain in a negative way, so kick the habit if you smoke and, if you drink, do so only in moderation. 7. Reduce stress: Some stress is good for the brain, but too much can be toxic. There’s growing evidence that things like mindfulness meditation, yoga and tai chi are all good ways to help reduce stress.

55PLUS cny55.com

Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach, Christopher Malone, Aaron Gifford Margaret McCormick, Carol Radin Ken Sturtz


Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott .


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Manager Beth Canale


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21 a year; $35 for two years © 2019 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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April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


gardening By Jim Sollecito

Working In Unison


love my work. I’m passionate about it. Even now, starting my 46th year in business, I cannot wait for spring to begin. I am an outdoors-in-nature kind of guy. When I am not designing or installing landscapes, I am outdoors doing something. Coming out of college, I never even thought about applying for a job, or even taking on a partner. My goal was to own my own business, to be in charge. I went at it alone. The triumphs would all be mine, along with the mistakes. I made plenty of mistakes but always tried to learn from them so they would not be repeated. That strategy was fine when I had my whole lifetime ahead of me. Not so much at this stage of the game — the sand at the bottom of the hourglass exceeds that yet to fall. My efforts need to be smarter and more calculating, because I’m not that young anymore. There is poetry in fly fishing, as in the design of a well-thoughtout landscape. I like poetry. I find it in interesting, low-maintenance landscapes, and also when pursuing bonefish in the shallow gin-clear water of Cuba.

Cuban professional guide Alberto Gonzalez (left) and Jim Sollecito at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Photo courtesy of Larry Benevenuti. 8

55 PLUS - April / May 2019

This is not blind casting into an area that might hold fish, hoping for the best. This style is evaluating, hunting and then fishing for a specific target. It is quietly stalking then accurately yet delicately presenting a fly 70 feet away. Plus, this is a very sustainable sport — all catch and release. That is unless a predator like a barracuda or shark ends the game early by grabbing the fish as you fight it. That’s all part of the ecology, too. Shortening the learning curve on a variety of waters, I have learned over time not to go it alone. I enlist the services of a professional guide, someone with local experience that does this kind of thing on a daily basis. They are aware of current conditions, what is happening at this specific time of this specific year, and understand my goals and work within that framework. Which flies are working? Where are the fish located? How do the tides and phase of the moon affect the bite? Where do I fish to avoid those toothy predators? Keep in mind the wind strength and direction and my range of casting ability. A good guide will cal-

culate all these big and little things. The result will mean the difference between bending a rod with something interesting on the business end or desperately flailing away at the water while calling out to a variety of deities. I have experienced both. The teamwork method is far more satisfying. Taking a cue from that, consider these two approaches to doing your landscape improvements this year. You can buy a bunch of shrubs, take them home, cram them into your bed space and hope they look good, and go at it alone. Or, you can meet with a trained, seasoned professional, discuss your site’s opportunities and constraints, and include compact forms of thriving, low-maintenance plants in complementary colors and textures that appeal to you. Work within your budget. Your designer can help you stage it out and advise you in the science of success. With this second approach, you will invest your money wisely with the result you want, using newer and better plant varieties than you might have considered. After all, two heads are generally better than one. Trust me on this one. 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.

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Social Security

Q&A Q: I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also go up by two years, from age 62 to 64? A: No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, the “early” retirement age remains at 62. Keep in mind, however, that taking early retirement reduces your benefit amount. For more information about Social Security benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire. Q: I run a bed and breakfast. By this time every year, I am tired of all the paperwork involved with filing taxes. Is there an easier way for small businesses to file W-2s for their employees? A: Absolutely. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, you should check out Social Security’s Business Services Online (BSO) website. There, you can file your employees’ W-2s and W-2cs electronically and print out the W-2s to provide paper copies to your employees. You also can verify the Social Security numbers of your employees. Our online services are easy to use, fast, and secure. Visit our BSO page at www. socialsecurity.gov/bso.


April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Scallops scampi style over angel hair pasta special.

School & Vine Kitchen Plenty of pasta and seafood options at Jamesville restaurant


n Jamesville, there is a surprisingly quaint street off the busy East Seneca Turnpike. The residential area is dotted by trees and among the homes and foliage sits School & Vine Kitchen and Bar at 4621 Barker Hill Road. The former school house on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the establishment’s website, was built in the 1930s. Where


55 PLUS - April / May 2019

it looks like a standard restaurant during the day, the place truly comes alive in the evening. From the outside, the soft glow of the interior lights peeking through the windows is complemented by the strands of exterior lighting and the patio (snow-covered now) extends to the iron fence welcoming cars into the lot. We ventured into the foyer, and

waited for the hostess who told us we were looking at a 30-minute wait. The place accepts reservations, but for parties over four. There is ample bar space, but many people took advantage of the first come, first served. We grabbed a beer each, both around $6 each, and waited on one of the benches in the foyer. School & Vine isn’t an upscale

The duck bacon wontons at School & Vine. venue, but it boasts a classy appeal. It’s on the smaller side and very cinematic, meaning it’s one of those places you’d see in a film and make a mental note of wanting to patronize a place like that. Maybe it was the light jazz playing through the speakers. It’s great for dates, family outings and group gatherings for all demographics. The one-page, seafood-heavy menu helps with narrowing choices, but decisions were still difficult to make. We kicked the evening off with the duck bacon wontons ($12) and the soup du jour, lobster bisque ($8). The four wontons presented on the white plate are dressed with a honey-thick, sweet aioli and scallions. The wontons themselves are a great size and served well as an appetite calmer and stomach primer. Compliments go to our server, Jessica, who brought out two small plates with the appetizer and two spoons with the soup. Knowing my partner and I were sharing and going that extra mile does speak well. The lobster bisque was very flavorful. The medium-thick soup came out warm, which was a good thing. The cooled soup did bring out the flavor. However, we were fishing for the small, elusive pieces of lobster. When we found one, it was a just reward. To break things up and contin-

Calamari pasta fra diavolo menu entree.

ue with the aquatic theme, we opted for one of the specials of the evening, scallops with pasta ($26), and the calamari pasta fra diavolo ($26) menu entree. Both entrees were served with angel hair pasta and a slice of toasted fresh bread. The angel hair pasta was a great light choice for a heavier dish. The bread was delicious and crispy, but not burned. The scallop dish was served scampi style, complete with a butter sauce and a lemon wedge. Four medium-large scallops sat atop the angel hair. Pieces of spinach were happily trapped in the web of pasta, which was graced by shredded flakes of asiago cheese and sprinkles of shaved parmesan. As for the other entrée, the pieces of calamari were plentiful. There were mostly lightly fried rings piled atop the Italian-esque dish. The immediate thought: OK, they went with the rings. There isn’t personal vendetta against calamari rings, but seeing tiny little squids are more appealing on a personal level. Luckily, there was a mixture of rings and fried visible tentacles. The little calamari were hiding. The home-made marinara was thick and delightful, and it boasted a little kick. Of course, parmesan cheese snowed upon this Upstate New York meal, and the dollop of ricotta was a

welcomed cheesy addition. Before 20 percent tip, the total (minus the beer) came to $73.44. Although we couldn’t squeeze in a dessert, the satisfaction of a good meal was comforting. The staff was professional. The utensils and glassware were clean. The bathrooms were sanitary. And those simple facts will also bring us back to try out the other offerings School & Vine showcases on its menu.

School & Vine Kitchen Address

4621 Barker Hill Road Jamesville, NY 13078




• schoolandvine.com • www.facebook.com/ School-and-Vine-KitchenBar-967056333323498 instagram.com/schoolandvine


Tuesdays – Saturdays Happy Hour: 4 – 6 p.m. Dinner: 5 – 9 p.m. Bar Open: 4 – 10 p.m. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS





Apollo 8

Central New Yorkers remember broadcast when man first left earth 50 years ago

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft.

By Ken Sturtz


ike so many children in the 1960s, Syracuse resident John Mariani grew up spellbound by America’s first adventurous forays into manned spaceflight. “Some of my earliest memories revolve around the space program,” he says. Mariani remembers Alan Shepherd and John Glenn’s Mercury spaceflights, and knew the names of nearly every Apollo astronaut by heart. But perhaps his favorite memory of America’s space program came when he was 11 years old. On Christmas Eve 1968, he joined millions around the globe watching images beamed back from the crew of Apollo 8 as they circled the moon, the first humans to travel to another world. The moment capped one of the most turbulent years in American history. The Vietnam war dragged on with no end in sight even as protests at grew. In April 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, sparking riots. That summer saw the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and rioting outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Even America’s space program seemed in danger of foundering. “There was a lot of tension


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associated with the flight, if you were paying attention anyway,” Mariani says. “There was no way to bring them back if anything went wrong.” President John Kennedy’s vision to land on the moon before the end of the decade was dealt a crippling blow in January 1967 when fire ripped through the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a test, killing all three astronauts. Now delays in building the lunar module threatened to slow things further. NASA’s solution was to push back the lunar module flight and send Apollo 8 on the first journey to the moon. On Dec. 21, 1968, Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders blasted off from Earth and began the 231,000-mile voyage to the moon. Robert Baker, of Jamesville, was 14 at the time. He’d followed America’s progress toward a moon shot since the second grade when he and his classmates listened to radio coverage as Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. “When there was a launch, all the stations covered it,” he says. “You’d watch these things go up and it was so cool.” Baker says Apollo 8 stands out in his memory from all the previous flights — there had been 17 missions

Syracuse resident John Mariani: “There was a lot of tension associated with the flight.” up to that point — because it was seemingly so close to the goal of landing on the moon. Three days after liftoff, Apollo 8 prepared to enter lunar orbit. To accomplish this, the spacecraft’s

engine had to fire at precisely the right time, on the far side of the moon and out of contact with Earth. The fourminute burn went perfectly and the crew began the first of 10 orbits. The crew made six broadcasts during the mission: two going to the moon, two from lunar orbit and two on the return trip. As the spacecraft skimmed 60 miles above ancient lunar craters and rugged mountains, the images they broadcast were seen by millions. Owen Graham O’Neill was 12 years old and living in Syracuse. At the time, he and his family were visiting relatives in California. They all watched together. “I remember seeing grainy black and white footage where you could see the image of the moon and the moon’s surface when they were flying over it,” he says. “That was pretty remarkable.” O’Neill was fascinated by the images of the astronauts floating inside their spacecraft. But he says it was the spirit and the feeling of the event he remembers more than anything. Those kinds of moments have become far less common over time, O’Neill says. “That was a shared experience that I think people who are a lot younger no longer tend to have,” he says. “That whole thing of friends and family gathering and watching a significant news event while it was happening or the coverage while it was unfolding.” Mariani lived in Syracuse at the time and was looking forward to the broadcast. But the Hong Kong flu had swept across the U.S. and started going around Syracuse in late December. It got so bad that school closed a day early for the start of Christmas vacation, Mariani says. Though he hadn’t been sick, Mariani finally came down with the flu right before Christmas. “I was sicker than a dog, but there is no way I would have missed that broadcast,” he says. With millions of families together on Christmas Eve, the crew began the second, and best-remembered broadcast around 9:30 p.m. During the 30-minute show, viewers glimpsed images of a bright moon and pitchblack sky outside the spacecraft window. The astronauts took turns describing the sight. Mariani was coughing uncontrollably, but joined his parents and sister on the couch in the family’s

TV room. For him, one of the biggest attractions was the prospect of being able to see the moon up close, but he was also looking forward to seeing pictures beamed back of Earth. “Certainly, as a child I expected something like the Universal Pictures logo with the globe out in space and not a cloud,” Mariani says, laughing. “And to see the Earth swathed in clouds and blue ocean and barely discernable land, it really brought it into perspective. For the first time this was really one world.” As the broadcast concluded, the crew took turns reading the first 10 lines of the Book of Genesis. “For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you,” Anders began. Borman finished the reading, adding “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you all of you on the good Earth.” Frank Hammon was watching that night. He was 16 and lived with his parents on the North Side of Syracuse in a flat above his grandparents. He had been fascinated with spaceflight and built and painted models of the early rockets that carried astronauts into space. On Christmas Eve, most of Hammon’s family was downstairs, but he stayed upstairs to watch the broadcast. “I remember them reading from the Book of Genesis and the video that they were showing from the window with the Earthrise,” he says. “The words were so fitting for that moment. It’s one of those moments that sticks in your mind.” Baker also spent part of that Christmas Eve watching the broadcast with his parents and sister in the family’s TV room. “ We s a t a r o u n d a n d w e r e mesmerized,” he says. “The idea that man could be orbiting the moon, it was jaw-dropping to my parents and me.” The crew of Apollo 8 safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean three days later. The first manned lunar landing, made by Apollo 11, was still seven months away.

The Apollo 8 crew launches on the first manned mission to the moon. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


Odds Encounter: How a CNY Woman Landed a Hot Air Balloon in an Astronaut’s Backyard By Ken Sturtz


he first time she flew in a hot air balloon, Georgia Peach fell in love with the sport. It was 1978 and Peach had flown a charter plane to Glens Falls for a balloon festival. She traded plane rides for a half-dozen balloon rides that weekend. She soon had her own balloon. An English teacher who taught more than 30 years in Skaneateles, Peach regularly made hot air balloon flights over Central New York for years. Of all her flights, however, she says the most memorable occurred when she landed in the backyard of an Apollo astronaut. In 1980, Peach was a young high school teacher still relatively new to the sport of hot air ballooning. She owned a balloon, but had no crew or chase vehicle to help when she landed. “I only flew in the mornings because it usually took the rest of the day to get back home,” Peach says with a laugh. One morning, Peach and a friend decided to go for a flight. At the time, she stored the balloon in another friend’s garage near Liverpool. The backyard was large enough so they could drag the balloon a safe distance away to launch. They borrowed a fan from the fire department and ran a couple hundred feet of extension cord to plug it in. Eventually the balloon inflated enough so they could fire up the burners. Peach and her friend took off and immediately began climbing due to their proximity to the airport. Then they headed south. After a few hours of flying, the wind had carried them to Cazenovia, about 25 miles from their launch site. Their fuel ran low, so Peach descended and began looking for a landing site. She spotted a house with a large backyard and set the balloon down


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there. The property owner, a man in his late 40s, heard his dog barking and ventured outside to see what was happening. “He was thrilled that we had landed there and helped us pack up the balloon,” Peach says. The man asked all kinds of questions about the balloon, Peach says, which made her think he must have had some kind of background in aviation. When he learned that Peach and her friend didn’t have a crew to help them with the basket and balloon, he called a friend with a pickup truck to give them a ride. The man invited them in for breakfast with his wife while they waited. During breakfast Peach, who flew small airplanes before taking up ballooning, couldn’t help bragging about her flying experiences, which she says with the benefit of hindsight were limited to say the least. Throughout breakfast Peach and her friend still hadn’t realized who their host was. Then the man’s wife said “Bill, maybe Georgia would like to see the Moon Room.” The Moon Room turned out to be filled with photographs and memorabilia from the Apollo program, including some actual fragments of moon rocks. It was then that Peach and her friend learned that their host was William Anders. In December 1968, Anders flew the 231,000-mile trip to the moon aboard Apollo 8, becoming one of the first three humans to visit another world. On Christmas Eve, as their spacecraft circled the moon, the crew beamed back images of the lunar surface and took turns reading from the Book of Genesis. The broadcast was seen by millions. During the mission, Anders snapped the now iconic “Earthrise” photograph of the Earth rising over the moon’s horizon. “He was this great guy, very down

Georgia Peach, a former teacher in Skaneateles, in 1980 landed in astronaut Will Enders’ backyard in Cazenovia. “He was thrilled that we had landed there and helped us pack up the balloon,” Peach says. to earth,” Peach says. “We had no idea who he was.” Anders arrived in Syracuse in 1978 as vice president and general manager of General Electric’s aircraft equipment division in Central New York. He resigned from GE in 1984 to take a job as an executive with Textron. “He was a very, very humble guy,” Peach says of Anders. “While I was bragging about flying little single engine airplanes 50 miles, I was talking to a man who had flown every conceivable aircraft.” Peach was a space enthusiast growing up and had watched Apollo 8’s broadcast in college. After a tour of the Moon Room, Peach offered to take Anders for a ride in her balloon. She says she was surprised the former fighter pilot and astronaut had never flown in a hot air balloon. A year later Peach, now with a chase vehicle, took Anders, his wife and children on several balloon flights. Two times the wind shifted over Cazenovia Lake and Peach landed the balloon right in Anders’ backyard. “He thought I was a great pilot,” Peach says. “But it was just luck.” Afterward, Peach says, Anders gave her a poster-size replica of the famous Earthrise photograph he took orbiting the moon on Apollo 8. “It was a very, very memorable moment for me,” she says.

I invite you to join me in creating a legacy gift through your will or financial plans. Together we can do great things for Central New York. – Jack Gorham

UPSTATE LEGACIES: Lifesaving and life-changing “She and I were one. What they did for her, they did for me.” The appreciation is evident in Jack Gorham’s voice when he talks about the “angelic” way Upstate University Hospital physicians, nurses, physician assistants and staff treated his wife Colleen throughout her 17-year journey with cancer.

For Jack it’s personal!

Jack and Colleen were overwhelmed by the compassion of the Upstate team, particularly in the radiation oncology department. Over the years, Colleen was treated for three different cancers beginning with breast cancer, followed by skin cancer and eventually throat cancer. As she came out of her 60th (and final) treatment, the physicians and staff gave her a standing ovation for her courage and bravery. Jack wants to help maintain this level of care and compassion for future cancer patients. That is why he has remembered The Upstate Foundation in his will. It’s also personal for you. Every dollar donated to the Upstate Foundation has an impact on our community’s health and well-being as every dollar stays right here in Central New York to help assure happy, healthy and longer lives for your loved ones, friends and neighbors.

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


April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




Nancy Murray, 89, and her self-published book of verse, “The Long Savannah of the Blue.”

Sally Wilbur, 93, and her “From Here to There, A Memoir. My Journey From Constantinople to Fayetteville, N.Y.”

Never Too Late New writers, some in their 90s, flourish in writers’ class at Nottingham By Carol Radin


ay Keller had never written before. “I’m not a writer! What would I write?” she said when a friend asked her to come to a writing class at the Nottingham Senior Living Community. Now Keller, who is over 90, knows exactly what to write. Recently, as her eight classmates and her instructor leaned forward to listen intently, the retired chemist read her story about a trip to the Grand Canyon. When she finished, the reactions around the table were spontaneous and genuine. “She’s always great on details!” marveled one. “I’ve been there, too, but not the way you have,” said another. The instructor, Eileen Schell, joined the chorus of compliments and then followed with her critique. “ I t ’ s i n t e r e s t i n g h o w, a s you descend into the canyon, the experience changes, the light changes,


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you describe heat and the feeling of going down the canyon,” Schell said to Keller. “And you focus on you and the mule — a good choice. It works because it’s almost like a solitary experience.” Here in Schell’s weekly writing class, the students, all in their 80s and 90s, know a thing or two about experiences, solitary and otherwise. Now, they re-create those observations in their own stories, poetry, and plays, and along the way, they form new friendships around the writing table. Schell, a Syracuse University professor of writing and rhetoric, has been teaching the class for 19 years. She initially connected with the Nottingham community through her S.U. course on “Life Writing,” in which she paired each college student in the course with a senior resident from the Nottingham to share and write narratives across the generations.

After the one-semester class was over, the Nottingham participants clamored for Schell to stay on and work with them on their writing. Over the years, Schell has found the class to be part about the writing process and part about the experiences of life’s changes. She has listened to childhood memoirs, war veterans’ stories, travelogues, and deep expressions of loss and relocation. ”For me,” Schell remarks, “a big part of this is learning how to teach a population who are in transition. How people got here is a big story line.” Schell is exploring those themes in a book project on writing and aging, in particular examining both the benefits of writing one’s life story and being part of a writing group of peers. Reflecting on seniors in general, Schell observes, “We rely on our peers through life, and that structure starts to fade.” Fortunately, however, in this class, connections flourish rather than fade. Participants say they value their interaction with peers and bond through creative expression. Or, as student Sally Wilbur puts it, “We share feelings.”

All levels participate Schell says the class appeals to

SU professor Eileen Schell teaches the Nottingham Senior Living Community writers’ class. several levels of writers. Some are former professors who were writers in their discipline and want to keep their hand in writing; some have always wanted to write and now have the time; and some are new residents who simply want to meet people with common interests. “Many begin writing memoirs,“ Schell says. She has heard particularly memorable narratives about life in the Adirondacks, a Bronx childhood in a large family sharing a threeroom apartment, and World War II experiences from a veteran whose memoir was crafted from letters to his wife in wartime. Like Keller, other students tap into past travels. Rosanne Koziara, 92, recently produced a piece about a trip she took to Russia decades ago when American tourists rarely ventured there. Some students in the class write in other formats. Richard Harris, 90, writes comic plays coming out of his experiences and reflections on moving to The Nottingham. Describing the feelings of uncertainty that come with change, he remarks that sharing his thoughts on paper with the group makes those changes “not so frightening.”

A professional actor in the past, Harris also draws, depicting his theatrical experiences in cartoon-like pictures. Nancy Murray, 89, writes poetry, affirming that for her, “Comfort comes in verse.” Her favorite form is the Japanese haiku. Murray also hopes to start an oral history project, about which she reflects, “All our stories are sacred.” After observing a few classes, it becomes clear that the participants have opened up to writing because Schell has gained her students’ trust and respect. Schell values her students’ perspectives and, at the same time, encourages them to stretch, while warmly offering her thoughts on her own experiences. “This is a very unique group,” says participant Lenore Ladenheim, “Human, down-to-earth, compassionate.” After someone reads a story aloud, and people comment, Schell will point out specific strengths as well as possible paths to further developing the narrative or one of its characters.

‘Positive and encouraging’ “She is always positive and encouraging,” Keller says. Often, when students discuss their memories, as Harris did recently when recounting a trip to Vienna, Schell will jump on it by saying, “I think you need to write that down!” Schell’s comments revolve around writing principles that the class evidently takes to heart, judging from the stories they write: — Develop scenes by showing rather than telling — Use vivid dialogue — Think about people in the stories, including yourself, as characters, and from there get to know how to characterize them — Think about what you most want to write about — Think about whom you want to write for. Do you want to publish for a broader audience? Write for yourself? For your children? Jean Smith, 80, finds herself writing for her grown-up grandchildren. “I had never thought of writing my life story and now I’m thinking of it. My life story [that] my grandchildren have never heard.” Schell stresses the importance of seniors claiming their literary

executorship. “I encourage people to be in control of their work. Find a way to preserve it. If you self-publish your work, there’s a better chance it will be preserved.” Two students in the class have selfpublished. Murray has published a book of verse with the lyrical title, “The Long Savannah of the Blue.” Wilbur, 93, self-published an extensive memoir of her life in Turkey, London and New York. “From Here to There, A Memoir — My Journey from Constantinople to Fayetteville, N.Y.” is a 413-page volume complete with old photos, and is available on Amazon and to Nottingham residents in the Senior Living Community’s library. Class participants also have opportunities to share their work in “Nottingham Notes,” a literary booklet that Schell helped the students create. In addition, The Nottingham has had two literary readings in the past year. “Many residents come to the programs, and many give great feedback,” Keller observes. The readings are a validating event for both participants and audience. Kara Gemmell, Nottingham’s director of lifestyles and recreation, remarks, “Their peers know them as a person at the dinner table or in the lounge, and then — to see them at the podium — residents see another side of them. It also encourages others to join the group.” Gemmell is working with Schell to produce another reading in May in recognition of Older Americans Month. Interestingly, the national theme for the month is “Connect, Create, and Contribute.” For the performance, students are working on Schell’s latest assignment: “Choose a particular age in your life and describe the transformative experience that happened to you at that age.” However well-received their writing in performance readings and publications, these writers know that their greatest applause comes in class each week — and Schell is their greatest fan. Both Schell and her students are clearly inspired by their time together. As they have come to know each other, they are all discovering new ways to express what is inside them. As 90-year-old Ladenheim puts it, “Coming from the world I came from, I thought, ‘What am I going to do here?’ But now, what can’t I do?” April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

When Radio Dominated Long before internet and cable TV, radio provided a great deal of entertainment


y 17-year-old granddaughter asked me recently what I did as a kid. Aside from the shock of getting such a question, the first of its kind ever from any of my nine grandchildren, it prompted me to delve into my memory bank. After an hour of anecdotes, I realized that there was a recurring theme: Many of my most pleasant and most cherished recollections and experiences involved imagination and creativity. After sharing these with my granddaughter and finding that she was strangely fascinated by the disclosures, I thought a more contemporary audience which reads this magazine might identify with some of my boyhood exploits to compare my experiences with theirs. Long before there was social media or the pervasiveness of 700 channels on television, there was radio, my boyhood entertainment medium. The radio of my youth died young. This show business giant should have been at the peak of its creativity, yet, at only 30 years of age, the golden age of radio was already ending. Any American born before or during World War II, as I was, remembers how great radio used to be — before the all-music niche formats, the endless talk by political commentators


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or by sports commentators taking callin views from listeners. We grew up with Jack Armstrong, the Lon e Ranger, the Shadow, Superman, Gangbusters and Uncle Don. My friends and I would have Shadow contests to see which of us came closest to emulating the opening of the show, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.” I could always imitate the ominous laugh better than my competing classmates. We also had Superman contests, too, where we would parrot the announcer ’s dramatic opening, “Kellogg’s Pep! The super delicious cereal presents The Adventures of Superman. Faster than a speeding b u l l e t ( p o o k - a - p o o - c o o ) , m o re powerful than a locomotive (choochoo-choo--choo, choo-choo-choochoo), able to leap tall buildings at

a single bound (whoooossssshhhh). Look! Up in the Sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” When we were kids, we talked incessantly about radio — not only about the programs, but also about the premiums being offered. With just a few cereal boxtops, we could have the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, so we could unlock the message at the end of each program. I would drink gallons of Ovaltine so I could accumulate three inner seals of the drink to send away for the Captain Midnight Secret Squadron decoder badge. By the way, I drank my Ovaltine from a Roy Rogers mug which was shaped in the King of the Cowboys’ likeness. My best friend loved Gene Autry, so our arguments over who was better — his Gene or my Roy — were endless. We had things our way when we listened to radio. No one could tell me that the monster on “Lights Out” was too gruesome, because I could make it as scary as I liked. No one could suggest that Buck Rogers’ girlfriend, Wilma Deering, wore a spacesuit that fit too snugly for a boy my age to look at. Unlike television, where images are right in front of your eyes, radio allowed you to create your own coloring for heroes and villains. It all had to do with imagination. I didn’t realize it, but imagination helped forge my career. When I was in my pre-teen years, I harbored the idea of becoming a priest. I would gather several neighborhood kids at my home and conduct Mass, complete with a homily (sermon) and distribution of communion hosts made from squashed pieces of bread. I gave up the priesthood idea pretty quickly when I realized that celibacy was involved. When I was around 10 years old, I thought I might be interested in communications. I started a neighborhood newspaper that featured goings-on in a several blocks area near my home — some juicy gossip (which occasionally got me into trouble) and other information. I charged a nickle a copy and probably sold about 50 copies each week.

I also wrote weekly original serial episodes involving my classmates with each having a cliffhanger ending. Three of my best friends and I participated in a baseball league involving dice and Topp’s players cards. We played a full 154-game Major League schedule, rotating games at each of our four homes. Each of us had a team made up of players represented by the Topp’s cards. Each roll of the dice represented an at bat. If one and one, five and five, six and six or one and two or two and one came up, it was a single; two and two was a double; three and three, a triple; four and four, a home run, and six and five or five and six were walks. Every other combination was an out. We kept statistics, mostly batting averages and pitching records. We also announced our own turn at bat. For example, I was the Yankees, so I would say something like, “Phil Rizzuto, crafty Yankees shortstop, starts off the top of the fourth.” I would roll the dice. Let’s say five and five came up. “Rizzuto slashes a single to left and is on with the game’s first hit,” I might say. As a teenager, I became a big fan of a well-known Philadelphia disc jockey, Joe Niagara. I practiced coming up with cool “platter chatter” as I tape recorded my own original radio programs. “And now, all the way from Canada, here are Santo and Johnny with the hauntingly beautiful `Sleep Walk.’” My parents had a grocery store, and I persuaded my dad to allow me to record a two-hour disc jockey, Top-40 program each day on my reelto-reel Wollensak tape recorder, then play the recordings as background for customers who came into the store. I called the program “The Bruce Niagara Show.” This led to a part-time job at the local drive-in theater where I would be the disc jockey for the half-hour before the first show and at intermission. In 1960, during my junior year of college, I became a part-time weekend DJ at WVPO (Voice of the Poconos) in Stroudsburg, Pa., a 250-watt AM daytime-only station. Three years later, I became the station’s news, program and sports director. I was on my way to a career in communications.

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April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




The Big 4-oh for DJ Dave Frisina Milestone’s celebration uncertain since DJ expects classic rock WXTL-FM (105.9 The Rebel) to be off the air, following its sale By Margaret McCormick


or the 35th anniversary of his long-running radio show, “Soundcheck,” Dave Frisina marked the occasion with a live broadcast from the Eastwood Palace and the “Salt City Waltz,” a tribute to The Band’s 1976 concert, The Waltz. Scores of local musicians took a turn on stage, Frisina served as the evening’s emcee and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. At the time, in 2014, Frisina said he didn’t think there would be a 40th anniversary of “Soundcheck.” Today, with that milestone on the horizon, the veteran radio host isn’t sure what he will be doing or if there will be an on-air celebration. As this issue of 55-Plus was going to press, Frisina learned that his radio station, classic rock WXTL-FM (105.9 The Rebel) had been sold as part of a debt reduction move by owner Cumulus Media. By the end of May, Frisina said, The Rebel and its associated programs, including Frisina’s “Soundcheck” and “Soulshine,” both of which air on Sundays, will be off the air. Frisina launched “Soundcheck” in 1979 on WAQX-FM (95X) and it has had “several brief intermissions” over the years as its founder and host


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Dave Frisina at WXTL-FM (105.9 The Rebel) studio on James Street, Syracuse. Photo by Margaret McCormick. changed locations on the radio dial. In late February, the news of The Rebel’s sale and departure from the airwaves had not yet been made public, and Frisina was uncertain of his next chapter. “This is not to say that I’m going to hang up my headphones forever, but I don’t have any immediate plans,” Frisina said. “I love what I do. Maybe if something else comes up that seems interesting and fun and that I can contribute to, I will explore that opportunity. In the meantime, I haven’t had a summer off in 40 years, since I graduated from college.” In an era of automation, syndicated programming and stations going

silent, Frisina is a seasoned, hands-on radio pro who is deeply connected to his Central New York base. He didn’t set out to be a radio personality. He grew up on Long Island, where he played sports as well as trumpet and horn in junior high and high school. He came to Central New York via SUNY Cortland, where he studied physical education and aspired to be a phys ed teacher. In his leisure time, he played tunes on the student-run radio station, WSUC. While looking for a teaching position following graduation in 1978, Frisina heard about a start-up radio station in Syracuse that was looking for on-air talent. The station was

album-oriented rock station WAQXFM (95X). He applied for a weekend slot and got it, joining a handful of 20-somethings in the launching of the station. Frisina knew no one in Syracuse and often headed out to clubs to hear music. “I really liked the scene,” he recalls. He pitched the idea of a local music show to station management and “Soundcheck” debuted shortly thereafter. During his 25 years at 95X, Frisina worked weekends, overnights and a mid-day slot before being promoted to assistant program director and eventually program director. He then spent eight years at radio stations WTKW/WTKV (TK99/TK105) before landing at The Rebel in 2012. With each move, “Soundcheck” came along for the ride. At The Rebel, Frisina serves as the station’s program director, as well as the voice of the “afternoon drive” (2 to 6 p.m.) on weekdays. On Sundays, he does split shifts as the host of “Soulshine” (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and “Soundcheck” (9 to 10 p.m.). Frisina describes “Soulshine” as a spontaneous, freeform, in-themoment show, with “hand-picked selections.” You’ll hear everything from the Allman Brothers and the Avett Brothers to Warren Zevon. Frisina has always believed that the best music around can be found right here in our own backyard. He relishes visiting clubs like Funk ‘n’ Waffles, the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Shifty’s and others, as well as larger venues like The Westcott Theater, to see what’s new and engage with local musicians. In recent years, he has hosted “Soundcheck” live about once a month at SubCat Music Studios, shining the light on the diversity of artists, bands and musical genres at work here, from straight up rock and roll to rhythm and blues, funk, roots and reggae. “Where else are you going to hear Rootshock live on the air?,” Frisina says of the popular reggae-style band. Some of the bands and band members he featured on “Soundcheck” in its early years, musicians like Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle, the Todd Hobin Band, the Flash Cubes and the New York Flyers are still out there performing. Keeping connected with the current crop of young, local musicians keeps Frisina and “Soundcheck” fresh. He recently visited a new club,

Photo of Dave Frisina published with a Syracuse New Times story in 1980. Submitted. The Listening Room at 443 in Syracuse, which he describes as hanging out and listening to music in someone’s living room. And he was looking forward to checking out the scene at the new Club 11 on Brewerton Road, formerly Mac’s Bad Art Bar and the Jolly Roger. He receives dozens of local CDs and music files for his consideration each week and gets as many on “Soundcheck” as he can. “I tend to not live in the past,” Frisina says. “There’s so much music going on. I’m always seeing stuff that keeps me interested. Nothing makes me happier than to see music in a place where it can be appreciated.” Frisina lives in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse with his wife, Jennifer. He has four grown sons, several of whom live in Central New York (and play in local bands) and several grandkids. Most days, he walks to work at The Rebel studios on James Street. It keeps him in shape and helps to clear his head before and after his workday. Before he learned The Rebel was being sold, Frisina said he had no plans to retire. He was looking forward to serving as emcee at the annual Syracuse Area Music Awards (The SAMMYs) in March at the Eastwood Palace, soaking up some sun while visiting his mother in Florida and getting back on his motorcycle come spring. “There is no retirement age if you like what you’re doing,” Frisina said. “I’ll just keep on doing it until I can’t anymore.”

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Mary Pat Oliker sits in the patio garden of her home in Manlius.

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The Community Foundation provides the vehicle to ‘pay it forward’ through my donor-advised fund. I have also named the Community Foundation in my estate plan, knowing that our legacy of support for Central New York-based education, healthcare and arts programs will be honored into the future. I am proud to give back to the community where Dick and I made our life together. I find comfort in knowing the Community Foundation will honor our wishes and use our funds to support the areas of interest that so profoundly defined our careers and broader community commitments.

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April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




Fragrance of Fulton New book captures the scents, sounds of Nestle tradition By Lou Sorendo


t was unmistakable. For decades, travelers through the city of Fulton would savor the scent of sweet chocolate wafting through the air as Nestle Co. produced the tasty delight. Now, local author Jim Farfaglia captures that experience in his new book, “Nestle in Fulton, New York: How Sweet it Was.” Since 1907, Nestlé became coveted not only by chocolate lovers, but also by generations of workers who depended on the company for their livelihoods. However, in 2003, after more than 100 years, citing the high cost of restoring and updating the aging plant, Nestle closed the factory, leaving 400 local employees jobless. At its height, it was home to 1,700 workers. A lifelong Fultonian, watching the Nestlé factory being torn down was Farfaglia’s initial inspiration for his book. “As I saw building after building topple, I thought about the history that was made inside them,” he said. “I thought about the people who worked entire careers inventing, perfecting and producing high-quality chocolate.” Farfaglia, 63, realized that after those buildings came crumbling down, there was nothing to indicate that the first Nestlé factory in the United States was once in the city of Fulton. “A book to honor the factory and its workers would be a beginning to preserving those memories,” he said. The book explores three topics: the 100-year history of the Nestlé plant in Fulton, including the story of the company’s founding factory


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in Switzerland and why it chose a Central New York city as the site of its first U.S. factory; descriptions of the chocolate-making process that Fulton Nestlé workers perfected, including how many famous products (such as Toll House morsels, Crunch Bar, Nestlé Quik) were created; and stories and memories from those who worked at the plant.

Delving into research The author did research for his most recent book in much the same manner as he did for his previously written local history books. He read newspaper accounts, reviewed paperwork and reports, conducted internet searches, and interviewed those who worked with or were involved with the topic. “I was fortunate to talk with about 70 people who worked in different departments or were in managerial positions at Nestlé,” he said. “A few workers gave me access to a collection of photographs that dated back to the company’s early years, so I was able to include images from the century-long history of the plant. The labor of love, published by Arcadia Publishing, took him two years to write. He interviewed and researched for approximately one year and then wrote and edited in the second year. Farfaglia noted The Friends of Fulton History (the Pratt House) was instrumental throughout the research process. He is also a member of Friends of Fulton Library and Friends of Fulton

Author Jim Farfaglia at his home in Fulton. “As I saw building after building topple, I thought about the history that was made inside them,” he said as he refers to the Neslte building in Fulton. Parks. Farfaglia has written a host of books, including “Pioneers: The Story of Oswego County’s Search and Rescue Team;” “Voices in the Storm: Stories from the Blizzard of ’66;” “Of the Earth: Stories from Oswego County’s Muck Farms;” and “The Best of Fulton: Poems for my Small-Town Newspaper.” He enjoys writing in two genres: poetry and historical non-fiction. “The Best of Fulton” book was a collection of poems Farfaglia had written and published in The Valley News. “When I stopped writing that column, I wanted to preserve those poems honoring our city,” he said.

Sweet memories “I had only two memories of

A Worl

Even on dreary days, people in and around Fulton enjoyed the smell of Nestlé chocolate in the air. Fulton Nestlé archives. Reprinted from Nestlé in Fulton, New York: How Sweet It Was by Jim Farfaglia (Arcadia Publishing 2019) Nestlé’s years in Fulton: the smell of chocolate in the air and a tour of the plant when I was a youngster,” Farfaglia said. “I had no idea how chocolate was made and how a factory operates. I needed to learn a lot before I could begin writing.” However, he was also aware that there is bitterness toward Nestlé for pulling out of the city. “I didn’t want to write a book that focused on negativity. I knew I had to address the closing of the plant and its effects on Fulton, but I didn’t want that to overshadow the many positives that the factory gave to our city,” he said. Farfaglia reflected on what gratifies him the most about producing the book. “I’m a writer, so the act of writing and editing is what I enjoyed the most. I love tinkering with words, trying to find the best way to express an idea or fact,” he said. He noted the year he spent writing and rewriting was highly enjoyable. “I also love to hear stories from people who lived through the topic I’m writing about,” he said. “Taking their memories and weaving them into a book gives me a lot of pleasure.” Fulton has experienced some economic tough times in the last 20 years. “We’ve lost a lot of industry,

including Nestlé, which has resulted in some people feeling negative about our city’s future,” he said. “In my book, I show how Fulton, which was just forming when Nestlé offered to locate its first factory here, embraced the challenge of properly welcoming them.” He said a group of positivethinking citizens came together and found a way to offer Nestlé land to build its factory. “How can we use that same optimism in 2019 and make our city a better place?” he asked.

Memorializing a tradition Farfaglia is all in when it comes to memorializing Nestlé’s history in Fulton. When Farfaglia interviewed him for his latest book, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, a former Nestlé employee, talked about the idea of having a museum to honor the factory. “What a great idea! After all, we were the site of Nestlé’s first American factory and so many great products were invented and produced here,” Farfaglia said. He said the city needs something to honor that legacy. Farfaglia added a museum would also be an excellent point of interest

In 1898,

a locatio

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sealed th Nestlé in Fulton, New York: for tourists. Sweet It Was “WhoHow wouldn’t want to tour acompany museum about chocolate? I know thatconfectio Byonce Jim Farfaglia others who worked at Nestlé in Fulton are also excited about thischocolate idea and there are plans to begin the ISBN: 978-1-4671-4176-5 research on how to |go about making $21.99| 224 pp. paperback it happen,” he said. Farfaglia earned his teachingOver the degree at SUNY Oswego. He taught in an elementary schoolclassic tr Media Contact for seven years, and also worked Sarah City-County Haynes for the Oswego YouthMorsels 843.853.2070 x199 Bureau, which oversees the Camp shaynes@arcadiapublishing.com out 1 mi Hollis program. When he is not working on his next known as book — which will cover the history of the Camp Hollis children’s camp — Farfaglia, the father to two grown children and grandparent of two,Author J enjoys hiking, gardening and playing piano. Nestlé in

Where to Buy


“Nestle in Fulton, New York: How Sweet it Was” is available at river’s end bookstore in Oswego, the Village Shops in Fulton, Barnes Noble and 420 Wando Park Blvd, Mount& Pleasant, SC 29464 ∙ Ph: +1 888.313.2665 ARCADIA PUBLISHING & THE HISTORY PRESS ∙ through Amazon. For more information, visit www. jimfarfaglia.com/books April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




Proud Leader of CNY Latino Community Hugo Acosta’s media consortium has become a catalyst for development in the local Latino community By Mary Beth Roach


ifteen years ago, when Hugo Acosta started the CNY Latino newspaper, part of his plan was to meet the 
“who’s who” in the local Latino community. Today, he is one of those movers and shakers himself. Acosta, the founder, editor and publisher of the bilingual newspaper, is celebrating the newspaper’s 15th anniversary. His enterprise has evolved into the CNY Latino Media Consortium, providing an array of services and media outlets especially geared to assist the Latino population in the area. Acosta, 59, a native of Venezuela,


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immigrated to the United States in the 1980s by way of a scholarship. He was studying architecture in Colorado, and it was through one of his classes in computer drafting that he developed a keen interest in computers. He ended up changing his major and transferring to the New York Institute of Technology, where he graduated. It was also during this same time frame that Acosta found himself mixing in with the wrong element, and he believed the only way for him to detach was to get away from the culture. “In fact, I almost lost the language.

Hugo Acosta, 59, a native of Venezuela, is the publisher of CNY Latino newspaper, which is celebrating 15 years in business. I told myself I’m going to follow the American dream. I Americanized myself,” he said. Eventually, he would marry, the couple would relocate to Central New York, and they would have two daughters, Alexandra and Rachel. He would also start a business called H.A. Technical Services, which specialized in computer consulting, with a focus on computer drafting and the internet. But some personal matters, including his divorce, occurred. He closed this business, and made some major life changes. “I decided to go back to my original roots,” he said. He also followed up on a suggestion from a former client and one-time Syracuse University basketball star, Ed Moss, who was, at that time, involved in an African-America publication. Moss had mentioned that the Latino community wanted a publication of its own. “‘Gee, I wonder if I could do this?’” he asked himself.

He didn’t need to wonder for too long. He refinanced his house, learned as much as he could, and set out to make friends with other editors and publishers in the area, including Art Zimmer, who was the then-publisher of The Syracuse New Times. When Acosta produced the first two editions, some in the local Latino community were making fun of the paper, he said. Admittedly, there were some errors in the paper. Also, he heard there was a girl that was also making fun of his Spanish. Frustrated, he went to visit Zimmer, and told him that he didn’t think he could continue this venture. Acosta shared his memories of that visit. Zimmer showed him a number of awards that the weekly paper had won over the years, and then he showed him a couple of the first New Times early editions, in which there were a few mistakes. This served to encourage Acosta to continue with CNY Latino, and that things would get better as time went on. Acosta recalled saying to himself, “‘If I’m half of what [the New Times is] right now, I should give it a try.’” As for that girl? He looked her up, and suggested that instead of criticizing his Spanish, she should help him. She agreed. Today, Marisol Hernandez is not only Acosta’s editorin-chief, but his girlfriend. The publication has a print run of 8,000 copies from September to April, and jumps to 10,000 in the summer, when he distributes them at the many festivals that CNY Latino takes part in. Starting up the paper didn’t come about without its growing pains.

Evolution of a newspaper Advertisement and content were two of his biggest challenges. “I was trying to get writers. I was trying to purchase content that I could use. I probably had that problem for a year or two,” he said. Now with the internet, there’s a continual supply of online content providers, and he has four regular columnists. As for advertisement, he said he learned the tricks of the trade. At the outset, some of the bigger

companies told him that if his paper was alive in two years, he could call on them again. “After a while, the paper started getting more notice,” he said with a slight chuckle. His influence in the Latino community was beginning to spread beyond the newspaper. He strived to further promote the Latino culture through programs and services that he has included as part of the CNY Latino Media Consortium. “The Latino image is sometimes misunderstood as poverty, as crime, other things that don’t have to do with success or with being a leader. That’s changed. Let’s not talk about the amount of Latinos that are coming to this country, but the ones that are doing something helpful, good in society, that are successful, that are leaders, that are involved in politics or are in media or are involved in entertainment,” he said. The consortium includes a Spanish radio talk show, titled, “Hablando Con Central New York,” which translated means “Speaking With Central New York.” It airs on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and can be heard on WVOA, 87.7 FM, or online at www.wvroradio.com. Further, his company takes part in various cultural events throughout the Upstate New York area, including domino tournaments and Latino festivals in such areas as Syracuse, Geneva, Utica, and Albany. There

CNY Latino

. . . f rom th e L atino commu n i ty f or everyon e in Cen tral New York Volume XVI - Issue 1 * February - 2019 * CNY LATINO

are hopes that a festival will soon take place in Watertown. Dominos is a popular game, especially in the Hispanic Caribbean, and the tournaments are taken very seriously, he said. Also, the consortium provides translation services, marketing and advertising services with a focus on the Latino market and produces a digital podcast. “Just about anything that has to do with Latino, we try to get involved,” Acosta said. Moving into a digital media mode appears to be a sign of the times. An intern they once had made an analysis of the newspaper industry two years ago, and she told him that within a decade, the newspaper wasn’t going to be profitable. So, the push is on to go more electronic, he said. The success he has found doesn’t really surprise him because, as he noted, he’s been prepared and is careful in his risk-taking. “I’m one of those entrepreneurs that if you plan, and you get an idea of what you’re getting into it, then it will work,” he said. “If it’s going to fail and I fall flat on my face, I’m going to be able to get up and try something else. It’s one of the things you learn.” One of the initiatives he’s hoping to try in the future is to create a nonprofit in order to apply and receive grants and opportunities for the community. The nonprofit would be a division of CNY Latino, he said, and it would serve as a foundation that will provide cultural events and tournaments of Hispanic games. Through this organization, he would also like to create, among several projects, a possible library of Spanish books and a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He also wishes to provide greater support to the annual WISE Latina event, a networking symposium of the Women Igniting Entrepreneurial Spirit for Latina females. The program was created several years ago at the suggestion of Hernandez. CNY Latino, a newspaper catering to the local Latino population, is turning 15 years. It prints from 8,000 to 10,000 copies on a monthly basis. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




He’s Got the Crystal Ball Award-winning CNY real estate mogul recognized for making a difference in the community By Aaron Gifford


ark Re can’t recall the last time he had a bad day. That would seem unusual in real estate, a seemingly cutthroat and ultracompetitive profession that can be heartbreaking at times. But as a broker, executive, mentor, community service volunteer and amateur theater performer, he follows a simple philosophy for everything he’s involved with: Always make your best effort, be honest with yourself and others, and treat people with kindness and respect. Do that, and rewards will follow. “That’s the only way I know,” said Re, 61. “People can quietly make a difference without trying to draw attention to it. I just see it as, ‘do it for the next guy.’” Although Re, vice president and regional manager of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, never intentionally set out to win the Crystal Ball from the Central New York Sales and Marketing Executives organization, he was


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The expression “Pay it Forward” embroidered on Mark Re’s coat collar. He said that this notion is what motivates him to volunteer.

chosen as the ideal recipient for this 43rd annual award. It is to be presented on April 30 at the Marriott in downtown Syracuse. Each year, the organization recognizes one business professional who visibly impacts the progress and prosperity of Central New York; who demonstrates commitment to superior quality and professionalism; who fosters excellence in their industry and involvement in community and civic organizations; and who demonstrates and practices an appreciation of the sales and marketing industry. Re has won several performance awards during his 39 years for his accomplishments in real estate and was also recognized by the United Way for his contributions to the community. He has served on many nonprofit boards, including Onondaga Community College, Upstate University Medical Hospital, Crouse Health Foundation, Community General Hospital, Cortland Repertory Theatre, the Salt City Center for the Performing Arts,

Mark Re at his Howard Hanna Real Estate Services office in Camillus on Feb. 8. Photo by Chuck Wainwright. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Salvation Army Advisory Council.

Paying the dues The guy who started selling houses at the age of 21 paid his dues along the way. A native of Camillus who still works in an office there, Re grew up with two brothers and two sisters. He was the second youngest. Their father owned a construction company and their mother was a homemaker. As a family volunteer activity, the Res cleared a plot of land on Split Rock Road and helped build Kings Park. They were also hobby farmers, caring for chickens and a dozen horses on their property. Every child had weekly chores. “They helped us to develop a work ethic,” Re said. Re attended Bishop Ludden High School, where he befriended Terry McAuliffe, a Syracuse native who became governor of Virginia and remains a major player in national politics. Re continued his education at West Virginia University. There, he joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity and became president of his pledge class, getting his first taste of a leadership role. But upon returning home after his freshman year, Re found it more financially worthwhile to work at his father’s construction company than to continue with college. It became apparent to Re that, in the common tradition of Italian families, his oldest brother would take over the family business, so he sought a career change. Not long after they were married, Re’s wife, Nancy Pasquale, a realtor, challenged her husband to sell houses for a living. “She said Re stands for real estate,” he recalled with a laugh.

Off and running at 21

Mark Re’s love of theater started in his late 20s. He hasn’t stopped acting and is now heavily involved with Cortland Repertory Theater. Top photo shows his performance in Agatha Christie’s “Cards on the Table.” He is also shown in plays like “Guys and Dolls” (left photo on second row (he is wearing a white tie) and Jesus Christ Superstar.” 30

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He approached John Gallinger, the owner of Gallinger Real Estate, and asked: “What do I need to do to become you someday?” Re was hired on the spot. He grew a beard to look older so customers would take him more seriously. During his first three months on the job, Re was the top seller in his office. I n o rd e r t o b e e l i g i b l e f o r promotions, Re needed a degree. He enrolled in Onondaga Community College full time while also continuing

Mark Re with actor Richard Gere during a Salvation Army fundraising luncheon in Syracuse in 2017. on full time as a realtor. He took some theatre courses to fulfill his electives requirements and found that he enjoyed the performing arts immensely. Upon graduating from OCC with honors, he was hired to a management position at the age of 27. The following year, he pursued his other newfound passion, acting, and joined the Salt City Playhouse. “The first play was ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’,” he said. “It was my first time on stage. It scared the heck out of me, but at the same time, I loved it. I tell my real estate agents — learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” Re and his wife sold houses as a team, which was uncommon in the 1980s. “When we were together,” he said, “we listed and sold everything.” But the practice of team sales was discouraged at Gallinger, so Re’s wife returned to college to pursue a career in teaching. At the age of 33, Re was a vice president at Gallinger. He continued to excel in a fluctuating market when interest rates for mortgages were as high as 18 percent. The Gallingers decided to sell the company, giving Re less than a year’s notice that he would eventually be reporting to a new boss. Re attempted to buy the company himself, raising several million dollars

within six months. When he was ready to hand over the money, John Gallinger informed him that he already agreed to sell the business to his best friend. Re quit and accepted a position with a competing firm where he could obtain ownership and serve as president. Two days later, John Gallinger told his former employee that competing against Re would ruin his retirement. Re then accepted the offer for an executive vice president position where he would have free range to sell properties and manage the company as he saw fit. In the years that followed, Re turned down generous opportunities to sell real estate in California, Florida, Washington state and Illinois. He also walked away from the chance to be president and owner of a Seattle firm. Gallinger was later acquired by Realty USA, which, in turn, was acquired by Howard Hanna three years ago.

Family ties “What kept me here is my family,” said Re, who oversees 14 Howard Hanna offices in Central and Northern New York. “I’m really glad I stayed.” Re oversees some functions for commercial real estate, but has always

specialized in selling houses. He has worked through several recessions, booms and busts. What many longtime residents do not realize, he said, “is Central New York is a steady eddy. We don’t appreciate hugely, but we don’t depreciate hugely.” Collectively, the agents who work in Re’s 14 offices sold 91,000 homes in the last three years. The transactions ranged from $30,000 ranches in a Syracuse blue-collar neighborhood, to a $5 million mansion in Skaneateles. The average sale price for Central New York homes right now is $125,000. “This is definitely an affordable town,” Re said. He also noted that during that time, Howard Hanna ranked No. 1 in New York state in real estate sales, and was No. 3 in the nation. When he was with Realty USA, that company also obtained the No. 1 in the state honor, and at one time was No. 9 in the nation. He added the local housing market has been hot the past two years. Some listings have sold in two hours, and it’s not unusual for homes to sell for $10,000 or more over the listed price when several prospective buyers express interest in the property. Chris Teelin, manager of Howard Hanna’s Cicero North Syracuse office manager, the current president of April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


factored into the criteria. “I’ve had parents come up to me with tears in their eyes and say, ‘My kids would have otherwise not had the chance to go to college’,” Re said. Re estimates that he and Nancy are out of the house five nights a week, attending board meetings, fund raisers or social events. When they can catch a break, the couple loves to take in Broadway shows and travel. They own a condo in Fort Myers, Fla. and have been to Maine, California, Arizona, Canada, Mexico, France, England, Switzerland and Italy. “Italy is the best,” Re says. “Sometimes it seems like we live to work, but they work to live. There’s something special about eating dinner at 8 o’clock at night.” He is up at 5:30 every morning and rarely stays up past 11:30 p.m. To stay in shape, he takes long walks outdoors and runs on a treadmill. He also loves to cook, utilizing Italian recipes handed down from his grandparents.

‘Totally shocked’

Mark Re giving out Hanna Awards at Syracuse Marriott Downtown. Collectively, the agents who work in Re’s 14 offices sold 91,000 homes in the last three years. the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors and a longtime friend of Re, said his boss has an uncanny ability to keep track of so many things at once. Re can be accountable to hundreds of people, yet he always returns every phone call and never blows anyone off. “He’s a hardworking dude,” Teelin said. “It would be daunting to others, but he handles it well. He’s got a mind that is really, really sharp. He does not forget things.” Teelin and Re were competitors for several years, but became friends while both serving on the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, and Re later recruited Teelin to work for him. Re has been credited with fostering a positive environment for everyone in what is otherwise an extremely competitive industry. “When we were competitors, he was always the guy on the other side of the fence that was constantly working,” Teelin said. “But with the association, which is the Switzerland 32

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of realtors where people can work together, you need someone like that who is very smart, very straight forward and can think clearly.” Mark and Nancy Re never had children, so they have had time to volunteer in their community and serve on nonprofit boards, particularly those that benefit the arts, education and medicine. They established an awards program for high school musicians and organized past Salvation Army fund-raising luncheons where they had the opportunity of working with Richard Gere, actor and North Syracuse native. Re also judged the SALT local performing art awards show and served as chairman of the OCC Advantage Scholarship program that partners with five local high schools. Scholarship recipients must demonstrate a strong balance between academics, athletics and community service during all four years of their high school career. Income is not

Re is heavily involved with the Cortland Repertory Theater. As a board member, he works on fundraising campaigns and selects future productions. As a performer, he has had a few small parts in some plays and worked alongside the paid professional actors the board hired for major roles. “He follows up with the actors he’s met and travels to see them perform with other companies they’ve worked for,” said Kerby Thompson, artistic producing director of Cortland Repertory Theater. “He’s very passionate about anything he gets involved with. He enjoys theatrerso much and has so much admiration for the actors. He just loves this whole world.” Re said he was “totally shocked” to learn that he would receive the Crystal Ball award, mainly because it’s typically given to a company president, owner or chief executive officer. He is humbled by the honor and feels more motivated than ever to continue serving his community. He anticipates retiring within five years and hopes to eventually spend more time in Florida, but he can’t foresee walking away from theater and community service. “I’ll always want to keep giving back,” he says.

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Why You Should Attend It Reunions offer a chance to understand more about yourself and how you arrived at where you are today By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant “If they haven’t bothered to keep up all these years, why start now?” “I’ve gained too much weight.” “I don’t know anyone anymore.” “I’m not married.” “We’ve all grown apart.” Do you have another reason to not attend your class reunion? According to www.grouptravel. org, only 20 to 30 percent of any graduating class attends a reunion. But you have plenty of reasons to consider it. “Maybe it’s an opportunity to share what you’ve done professionally or personally over the years — or brag about your grandkids,” said Kasha Godleski, director of alumni and parent engagement at Le Moyne 34

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College. She said the school runs reunions from one year up to 50-plus year anniversaries — even the 65th. Though the cliched reason for attending is finding “the one that got away” for some, Goldleski said that nostalgia “is about remembering the past and looking forward to the future.” Seen through the lens of maturity, your recollections may help you understand more about yourself and how you arrived at where you are today. Looking at former classmates as adults and not as adolescents brings a more understanding perspective. “They’re so excited to come back and see people,” Godleski said of

attendees. “They don’t want to see this opportunity pass. Some may have worries about not looking right or having the successes they’d hoped, but those who come have plans, just talk about their time at Le Moyne.” Alumni can also check out what’s going on at their alma mater, if the event is hosted on campus. At Le Moyne, many events are planned to help alumni get a better idea of what’s going on at the school. The same holds true at Syracuse University. Kate Ludwig, assistant director, affinity programs in SU’s office of alumni engagement, said that the school plans many family-oriented activities for alumni events. “I encourage people to look at the schedule for reunions and see what activities are unique to their universities,” Ludwig said. “It’s definitely wonderful to come back to campus and interact. Some people may not have been back to campus for 50 years. They can bring back their kids and grandkids and share the campus they were a part of.” Former students can also see parts of the campus to which they never had

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access as students, such as the tour of the Crouse chimes, part of the Orange Central Reunion and Homecoming Weekend. “Normally, only chimes masters see the inside of the tower, so this is a special opportunity for alumni during their reunion weekend,” Ludwig said. She said that while reconnecting with former classmates is important for most attending, some even make friends with classmates they didn’t know while in school. Though attending with a “security blanket” friend may help, Ludwig encourages people to reach out and meet new people. Stepping outside your normal social circles can be stressful, especially if former classmates ask about touchy subjects. For any questions that cause embarrassment, turn the questions back on the asker with the classic, “Why do you ask?” To keep conversation running — and pleasant — use broad, open-ended questions instead of those that can be answered by “yes” or “no,” such as, “What is best about your life now?” instead of, “Are you happy with your job?” Or, “What do you enjoy doing?” instead of, “Are you married?” It’s also important to approach reunions with a healthy dose of perspective. Others attending may feel nervous and compensate with bragging. Extend a little understanding and a touch of self-deprecation and others will likely follow suit.

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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

Lesson in Co-Existence Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue group, SAMED, has fostered dialogue for 37 years


n this present day world where conversations with people we don’t see eye to eye with have become difficult and stressful, it is amazing that a group has been together for 37 years meeting around an issue close to their individual hearts and among the most difficult of subjects, Israel and Palestine. Their continued existence as a group is a lesson for us all as we search for a better way to co-exist. Today’s reality is that the United States has always been a diverse country and we live in a global society. While people from other countries have chosen to move here and become loyal United States citizens, their hearts have also been with parents, siblings or relatives who still lived in other parts of the world, including the Middle East. One does not just move to another country and forget their heritage, and often that heritage is one of pain. Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue group, SAMED started meeting in 1981. Organizationally, SAMED has limited membership to insure balanced representation of the three constituent groups: Jewish Americans, Arab/Palestinian Americans and other Americans who are not Jewish nor Arab/Palestinian. Anis Obeid, a beloved cardiologist in Syracuse, and a long time SAMED steering committee member, describes the group this way: “SAMED, is a model of how we can have intensely strong feelings based on heritage, religion and historical background, but still have our hearts and minds open to hear the pain of others.” When asked ‘how has the world changed since SAMED started, a founding member, Louis Kriesberg, S y r a c u s e U n i v e r s i t y p ro f e s s o r emeritus of sociology, said, “There


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has been great progress and great setbacks. At the outset, the idea of Israeli-Palestinian peace in the form of two states seemed unrealizable and widely undesired. But when the Oslo Peace Accord was signed in D.C., in 1993, we saw a change and felt we had contributed to that change in our local communities. We spoke of declaring victory and having dinner and dissolving. But we knew realizing peace would prove difficult and our work should continue, and also we wanted to hang out with each other. Matters did not go well, but a Palestine authority was established and survives. The world context has radically changed, with the end of the Cold War, the appearance of large-scale terror attacks, major enduring U.S. military engagement in the Middle East, the Arab Spring, etc.” “Though difficult to understand,” Kriesberg continued, “it is important to know that the Israeli-Jewish relationship with Palestinians is not to be defined only as a religious conflict; the communities are ethnic or nationality-based.” Present Chairman Mark Field explains that “through the dialogue process we build friendship, trust and understanding. We support a resolution to the Israel/ Palestinian conflict that is just and acknowledges the national aspirations of both peoples in the region. We seek to help our community understand the conflict from a broader perspective and we try to encourage our elected representatives to use American

influence to help bring about a fair resolution to the conflict in an unbiased way.” As a decade long community member and past SAMED chairman, Paul Welch, who is from the other Americans category, said, “I find people in SAMED I would not normally connect with. There are people from Egypt, Lebanon and, of course, Palestine who may be Muslim, Druze or Christian Orthodox. Jewish members are from different congregations and from no institutional affiliation. The common denominator for community people is a concern for the intense suffering involved in the conflict. Years of tears and frustrated hopes yield one great lesson — somehow people in both camps must see each other as children of divine love.” “And,” he went on, “the Second Intifada sowed horrible hatreds. The building of the wall and the military occupation increases that hatred. We Americans hold the key to alleviating the suffering of millions of people caught between the cries of ‘death to Israel’ and ‘drive the Palestinians from Samaria and Judea.’ However, it means America seeing both peoples as children of God.”  Because the situation is so fluid, and because the U.S. is such a major international player, the group regularly discusses, analyzes and develops consensus views on U.S. policy relating to the Middle East as issues arise. It is not easy and it is often painful. “Though coming to consensus is a goal,” Kriesberg said, “sometimes we do it easily and sometimes we fail.” Developing that statement begins with general discussion at a meeting, or more than one meeting. With some parameters agreed upon, two or three members draft a statement that is then discussed and ultimately voted on, and with the overwhelming agreement

At Your

of all three constituent groups, the statement can be made public. This is done through letters to the editor, meetings with elected federal officials, and presentations in public forums.” Meetings rotate among member homes and that gives another level of intimacy, to be invited into someone’s SAGE Upstate offers programs, potlucks, socializing home and meet whatever family might be there at the time. A typical meeting starts with aPrograms few minutes of Health and Wellness personal catching up — who visited Potlucks in Syracuse, Cortland, Oswego & U�ca their children for the holidays, who Socials and Support Groups took trips to see family or for work, Educa� on on LGBTmembers Aging Issues and news about who have moved away. For example, at longtime member Elaine Rubenstein’s home, this included signing a birthday card for Judge Minna Buck, one of the SAMED founders, who had moved to By Shepard Enterprise Denver. Contact SAGE Upstate: A few minutes are spent 315-478-1923 or on administrative issues, such www.sageupstate.org as scheduling meetings with the Congressional candidates, and then the hard work begins: expressing Serving older bisexual feelings aboutgay, the lesbian, issues, trying to and transgender adults in CNY come to consensus and then deciding Fingerlakes Wildlife Service how to get the messages to the right people. Your Answer to Nuisance Wildlife Issues Without going into detail, I will Bat Proof Your House! mention some of the issues that have Rodent Proof Your House! been discussed recently by SAMED: Ask About Our Guarantee! changes in the Israeli political structure, 315-224-0529 how other countries are handling NYS DEC Licensed Insured refugees, the status of people in Gaza vs. the Palestinians in Jordan, the right of return vs. compensation, refugees in and from Syria, the settlements, impact Beloved Word Spiritual Care of moving the US embassy and how that affects future negotiations. Amy Speach How has SAMED survived Gentle one-to-one listening through 37 difficult years? It may be just as simple as getting to know each and spiritual support other as fellow human beings. They amyspeach12@gmail.com listen without interrupting and accept each person’s narrative as being as valid as their own. Kriesberg says, “For me, Upstate it stavesoff off feelingsSocials, Support SAGE ersdespair Wellnessand Programs, of helplessness. feels hopeful that Oswego & U�ca Groups & Educa�on It in Syracuse, Cortland, there are people from many different 315-478-1923 or sides who share my wish for peace, reconciliation, justice, and mutual sageupstate.org well-being.” But most important, SAMED is a Serving older gay,canlesbian, bisexual reflection of what be done when and transgender adults in CNY people of good will, without political, religious or financial agendas, want to have peace. And that is a major role of SAMED to model this type of decision-making. Members are available to speak to 5633 West Genesee St., groups and welcome the opportunity. 

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coaching Feeling Blah?


Life coaches offer suggestions to stay upbeat By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


aybe you feel like life’s not as fun as it used to be. Perhaps you dread going to work. Or your retirement hobbies bore you. It may feel comforting to know you’re not alone. If you feel stuck in a rut, here’s how to get your groove back. Linda Gilmore, a certified hypnotist and life coach, owns Balanced Life Hypnosis in Liverpool. She said that it’s “pretty common” to feel stuck in one or more areas of life at this age — and it’s not always bad thing. “Sometimes, it’s a healthy way of dealing with an issue that’s speaking up loudly enough to get your attention,” she said. “Some people spend so much time raising kids and working that once they’re done, they say, ‘What about me? How do I get beyond this for myself?’” The realization may strike as a feeling of restlessness, sadness, dissatisfaction or boredom. “A person might have an idea that there’s more,” Gilmore said. “If you get stuck long enough, you start to feel pain and there aren’t enough positive things to offset it. Pain is a motivator to get unstuck.” Realizing something is out of whack represents the beginning of solving the problem. “I often talk with people who are in a rut in some way,” said Gwen WebberMcLeod, CEO and president of Gwen, Inc., an Auburn business that provides life coaching. “It sounds simple, but the first step is acknowledging it. Many know they’re in it but they continue to engage in the activity and behaviors that keep them stuck. What I observe about people is they’re hesitant to acknowledge it but once they do they


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can’t turn off the need to do something about it.” People in a rut have slowly, often without realizing it, turned inward for advice and help. Doing this results in receiving the same answers over and over. Instead, finding someone to help you arrive at the right answers makes all the difference. Webber-McLeod said that could include a therapist, coach, trusted colleague or mentor to help discover why you feel this way. Often, she tells people to give themselves “permission” to identify what they really want. For some, writing a mission statement or a letter can prove cathartic. If they’re feeling stuck at work, they may see aspects of their work, for example, that they really like. The same applies to a relationship. Focus on the traits you enjoy instead of fixating on what you don’t like and look for ways that you can enjoy each other together. Webber-McLeod said that in relationship ruts, “it requires time being intentional about your relationship and the things you need to practice: reflecting, resting and rejuvenation about the condition of the relationship.” Periodically reviewing the goals of the relationship is another tool she recommends. For some people, getting outside of a rut includes trying some new activity. Sheila Applegate, who has a master’s in social work, works as a transformational life coach in Syracuse. “Start with something that scares you, something you always wanted to do but couldn’t because you didn’t have the time or money,” Applegate

said. “Just outside your comfort zone is where the magic begins.” Whether sky diving or simply attending a local meet-up, stepping out breaks the boredom of rituals that don’t work anymore. Change doesn’t mean getting rid of what does work. “If they do start to do the things they really want and seek the meaning they want, they don’t want to disrupt the cart,” Applegate said. “They don’t want to change in a way that’s scary. They can start with small steps.” These changes can involve more self care, such as taking time to exercise, de-stress and maintain appearance. Applegate compares this with putting on one’s oxygen mask during a flight issue before helping a n o t h e r passenger. She added that anyone who truly wants you to feel happy should feel Webber-McLeod happy for the changes. L i k e We b b e r - M c L e o d , s h e recommends reaching out to someone else as a mentor. Doing so can help “look at belief systems and ‘upgrade’ them,” Applegate said. “When we start to look at some of the beliefs we’ve taken on from parents or life, we may realize it’s time to upgrade some of them.” For example, she thinks that “I should be satisfied because I have a good life” upgrades to “I have a good life and I deserve a great life.” And “It is selfish to take care of myself” upgrades to “My happiness helps other people.” It’s also important to stay connected to something greater than one’s self. Applegate calls it spiritual, not religious. “It helps ourselves find that deeper meaning,” she said. “You can have that joy deep in your core. It changes your perspective and gives us a stronger ability to navigate those obstacles with joy.” Of course, some issues are bigger than feeling stuck in life. If they hearken back to deeper, life-changing issues, it may be appropriate to seek the help of a therapist.

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Members of the Tuesday Book Club pose during the group’s 90th anniversary celebration at Traditions at the Links in East Syracuse.

Modern-day Tea Party Tuesday Book Club sustains tradition of togetherness By Mary Beth Roach


t was 1928, and a group of Syracuse women intent on learning more about the world around them decided to gather together once a month, from October to April, to discuss books they’ve read, invite in guest speakers, and talk about topics of the day. They would need to break from their meetings from May to September since many of them played golf. The women would take turns holding these gatherings in their homes. The hostess would prepare a luncheon or have it catered at her home, and the silver tea service would be brought out for the occasion. There were tea and coffee pourers at either end of the table. They would come to be known as the Tuesday Book Club. Who among them could have imagined that nine decades later their tradition would continue, that the group, most likely the oldest book club in this area, would mark its 90th


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anniversary earlier this winter? “We were just housewives. We were thrilled to get dressed up and go out. We had a good afternoon, we had good speakers, we read books and we exchanged our notes on them. And this was our big outing,” said Barbara Bickford, one of the longest-standing members who joined in the mid-1950s. Bickford was invited to join by a friend of hers, Ann Mawhinney Hodgkins, whose mother, Antoinette Mawhinney, was one of the original founders of the group. Barbara Obold, a member for about 49 years, joined the club to put a little bit of culture in her life, she said. A few things have changed since then. There are no longer tea services, and instead of meeting in each other’s homes, they now gather at the Traditions At The Links on North Burdick Street in East Syracuse. It is an aptly named venue for this group that has retained many of the ways of the

women who first gathered. Judy Plumley, one of two cochairwomen of the club’s program committee and one of its newest members, said she is in awe when reflecting back on those founding members.

No ‘wallflowers’ “They weren’t wallflowers,” she noted. Putting that timeframe in perspective, Plumley pointed out that in 1928, these women weren’t working outside of the home. They had just won the right to vote eight years prior, and the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression was just months away. It’s the guest speakers that really draw members’ interest, according to Plumley. “We reach out to people not only to speak to us, but it’s our intention to

find out about their story,” Plumley said. To learn about them enriches members, she noted. Recently, they invited Kyle Bass, associate artistic director of Syracuse Stage, who had just premiered his play, “Possessing Harriet.” The drama tells the story of Harriet Powell, a slave who seeks freedom and finds a temporary safe haven in the attic of Gerrit Smith, an abolitionist from the Central New York area. Powell comes to know Smith’s cousin and activist, Elizabeth Cady, and their meeting brings about a period of self-examination for Powell. To hear about Bass, his background, the Underground Railroad, and region’s connection to that abolitionist movement made it very personal, Plumley said. One guest author that left an impression on Sally Hall, a 30-year member, was Donna Wollfork Cross, author of the novel “Pope Joan.” While Cross was a professor at Onondaga Community College, it was suggested that Hall invite her to attend one of the club’s meetings. The author discussed her extensive research, which included a journey to Germany. Club members were captivated, Hall said. About 10 years later, after the book had been made into a film, Cross returned to the club and discussed the ins-and-outs of that process. On the occasion of its 90th anniversary, the club, with Barbara Massey as its president, partnered with another of their speakers, Debbie Stack, senior director of education and community engagement at WCNY Public Broadcasting. From Stack’s discussion about the lack of books among the underserved youth in Syracuse, the 36 members were inspired to collect and donate books to these young people. The members range in age from the 50s to the 90s, and it’s that age range that Plumley and Obold said they’ve come to appreciate in the group. Obold mentioned that at meetings, members sit at tables in one of Tradition’s banquet rooms. The members are sometimes assigned seats to mix things up. She likes the opportunity that presents to get to know more of the women. “You make all new friends,” Plumley said. “What were the odds that I would ever meet these ladies otherwise, and what a joy it’s been?”

golden years By Harold Miller Email: hmiller@mcsmms.com


Steve Jobs: How to Live a Happy, Healthy Life

teven Jobs, billionaire and CEOco-founder of Apple Inc. died in October 2011 at age 58. He did not live to enjoy the Golden Years, but as he lay dying of cancer, he penned an essay that stands as a roadmap for all who wish to have a happy healthy life: “I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In some others’ eyes my life is the epitome of success. However, aside for work, I have little joy. In the end, my wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on my bed and recalling my life I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in have become meaningless in the face of my death. “You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone bear your sickness for you. Material things lost can be found or replaced. But there is one thing that can never be replaced — life. “Whichever stage of life you are in right now, the six best doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence and friends. Maintain them in all phases and enjoy a healthy life. With time you will face the day when the curtain comes down. “Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse and love for your friends. Treat yourself well and cherish others. As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we realize that a $300 or a $30 watch both tell the same time. You will realize that your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you fly first class or economy, if the plane goes down — you go down with it. “Therefore, I hope that you realize when you have mates, buddies, old friends, and brothers and sisters who

you chat with, talk with, sing songs with, talk about north-south-eastwest or heaven and earth — that is true happiness! Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy. So when they grow up, they will know the value of things and not the price. Eat your food as your medicine; otherwise you have to eat medicine as your food. “The one who loves you will never leave you for another because, even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find a reason to hold on. There is a big difference between being a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it. You are loved when you are born and you are loved when you die. In between you have to manage!”

The late Steven Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed michele@cny55.com


A Stroll Through 2,000 Years of History in Lyon

n the great French city of Lyon, history is around every corner. Wearing a new scarf that evoked hundreds of years of silk-making history, and with stomachs full of traditional Lyonnais foods that made it the gastronomic capital of Europe, we set out on a stroll to discover 2,000 years of history in Lyon. We were staying on the Presqu’Isle, a peninsula nestled between the city’s two rivers, the Saone and the Rhone. Around the corner from our hotel was the Place Bellecour. At 62,000 square meters or 15 acres, it is the largest pedestrian square in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans used the area for military activities, and in 1708, Louis XIV made it a royal square. At its center stands an equestrian statue of King Louis, which was destroyed during the French Revolution but later replaced. Nearby is the Cloche, a freestanding bell tower from 1666, and originally part of the city’s charity hospital. It looked different in every light — golden in the mid-day sun, backlit by the rose and violet of the sunset, and illuminated against the night sky, it became a beacon for us signaling that we were “home at last” to our hotel after our many walkabouts. From almost anywhere in Lyon, we could look up and see the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, a 19thcentury structure high on a hill overlooking the entire city. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who the people believed saved the city from the bubonic plague in 1643. To celebrate this, every Dec. 8, they light candles in The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, high on a hill above Lyon, can see seen from anywhere in the city. It’s built on the site of a Roman forum.


Photos by Bill Reed

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a dramatic four-day Festival of Lights. The basilica was built on the site of the old Roman forum of Trajan. The Roman settlement in Lyon dates from 43 B.C. The forum ruins are open to the public, and you can explore them on your own, climbing among the columns and stones of the ancient historic site. From Presqu’Isle, we crossed the pedestrian bridge to Vieux Lyon, or the Old Town, home to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, begun in 1180 on the ruins of a 6th-century church.

We marveled at its 14th-century astronomical clock. Tr a b o u l e s , o r c o v e r e d passageways, link buildings in the Old Town. They were originally made so that silk makers could carry their wares sheltered from the elements. Now they are tourist attractions with guides to lead visitors through the covered maze. And when the silk industry fell on hard times during the French Revolution, it spawned another creation that made Lyon famous.

Lyon bought the Bartholdi Fountain, by the famous sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, when the city of Bordeaux, which had commissioned it, said it was too expensive. An out-of-work silk maker created puppets, starring a main character, Guignol. Wandering around the Old Town we came upon the Guignol Theatre featuring puppet shows and a museum devoted to the famous puppets. On one adventure we were surprised to see the famous people of Lyon’s history looking out of balconies at us, including Antoine de SaintExupery, posing beside his creation “The Little Prince,” and the Lumiere Brothers, pioneer filmmakers. It was a mural, one of many celebrating the city’s past. On the wall of the city library is another, depicting many of the books written by residents of Lyon, the site of the first French printing center and the first printed book in France. Around another corner is the Bartholdi Fountain, sculpted by the famed creator of the Statue of Liberty. He originally designed the fountain for the city of Bordeaux, but they decided it was too expensive. So Bartholdi sold it instead to the city of Lyon. The 1892 fountain depicts France as a woman driving a chariot pulled by four wild horses, representing the four main rivers of France. We were lucky to see it. It was removed in 2015 for a 2.75-million-euro restoration, and only re-installed months before our arrival. With all this history, it may seem that Lyon is stuck in the past. Not so. A newer section of Lyon brings us right to the 21st century, where brightly colored modern structures stand a stone’s throw from all that history. The Confluence was conceived to be ecologically sound and also socially conscious. A certain percentage of residences were set aside for lower income people, who share the neighborhood with businesses and more affluent residents. There’s so much history and legend in Lyon, that three days was not enough to take it all in. We made a promise to ourselves to visit again, when we can spend more time exploring the city’s history and enjoying its gastronomic delights.

Lyon Cathedral is home to a 14th-century astronomical clock.

An out-of-work silk maker created the puppet Guignol, now a famous symbol of the city of Lyon. The Old Town has a museum and theater dedicated to the puppet. April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger Email: mdruger@syr.edu

Face of the Needy


Taking a tour of the Rescue Mission in Syracuse

here are many different social worlds that we can identify, such as the corporate world, the middle-class world, the university world, the rich world, the poor world, etc., each having its own particular characteristics. We each live in our specific world, often without recognizing the existence of other worlds. As a child, I experienced the poor world. I was raised in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn. My father was a hard-working truck driver and my mother was a housewife. I lived in a small apartment with two brothers, my sister, my mother and father and cockroaches, mice and other vermin. There were few luxuries and we lived from paycheck to paycheck. When my father injured his back and was out of work, he had to accept handouts for a while from the trucker’s union to support the family. I still remember an incident as a small boy when my father and I were on the subway. He was carrying a bag of groceries from the union. “What’s in the bag, daddy,” I asked. He seemed ashamed, and he said, “Shhhhh.” I also recall when my father promised to buy me a cardboard fort. I was devastated when he told me that he couldn’t afford it. Such childhood memories stand out in my mind. I belonged to a social, sports club in the neighborhood known as the Wildcats. We played basketball, softball, punch ball, stickball and other games, and we even had purple jackets with the team name on the back. We didn’t drink alcohol or take drugs, mainly because we wanted to keep our bodies in shape for our sports. Girls were a far thought in the background, although we did occasionally have parties. At our parties, instead of marijuana, cigarettes and beer, we drank Pepsi Cola and ate salami sandwiches.


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Fortunately, I was smart at school and I graduated magna cum laude from Pershing Junior High School and summa cum laude from New Utrecht High School. In those days, kids went to work after graduating high school. My friends told me about Brooklyn College and said that the tuition was free. Since it was free, I decided that I’d go to college. My older sister never attended college. Instead, she got a job after high school to support the family. Because she worked, I could attend college. My younger brothers were also able to attend college. The opportunity to attend college led to good outcomes for my brothers and myself. One brother, now retired, became an executive in a major banking firm. My other brother, now deceased, earned a doctorate in physics and focused his attention on theoretical physics. I earned a PhD in zoology (genetics) from Columbia University and was fortunate enough to lead an academic life of teaching and research at Syracuse University for many years. I retired in 2009, but I conduct campus tours, present a radio program on WAER-FM 88.3 (“Science on the Radio), direct two programs in science for students, write this column for 55 Plus magazine, and have other activities. Pat, my wife, worked with me throughout my career. We had a wonderful relationship. I generated ideas and she did the work, while I got the credit. Besides three great-children and seven grandchildren, Pat was the mainstay of my life and cornerstone of my family. I was never concerned about money; I was too busy with my academic pursuits. Pat invested wisely and now, in retirement, I am financially stable. As Famous Amos, the “cookie man,” once asked me, “What more do you need than your needs and your

health?” I am still influenced by my poor childhood. I have difficulty buying a shirt for more than $15, and I spend a lot of time in the Dollar Store. My accountant told me that I have an affliction that is common to people of my age who passed through the years of the Great Depression and an impoverished childhood. It’s called “depression mentality.” Some people call it “being cheap.” All of the above is a preamble to the main theme of this article, i.e., the world of poverty and homelessness. I received an email from a former student who has worked at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse for many years. She invited me to a tour of the Rescue Mission. I realized the Rescue Mission and the world of the homeless was one about which I was totally ignorant. Although I had an impoverished childhood, my family always had a roof over its head and food to eat. I was pleased to get this invitation to learn about the homeless world about which I knew virtually nothing.

Plight of the homeless My companion, Victoria, and I visited the Rescue Mission and gained insights about this world. I want to disseminate these insights to others. Victoria and I had a glimpse of the homeless world on some of our travels. We would see people lying on the street, wrapped in newspapers or rags. Or, we would encounter impoverished people begging for money. On one occasion, some of these individuals were gathered on a street where we were walking at night. Victoria became frightened. “Don’t worry,” I said jokingly, “If they attack us, you scream, and I’ll run for help!” But the homeless world is no joke.

From left are Amber Vander Ploeg, chief program officer at the Rescue Mission; Marvin Druger; and Carolyn Hendrickson, senior philanthropy officer at the Rescue Mission. Ploeg and Hendrickson were students in Druger’s general biology course at Syracuse University. The Syracuse Rescue Mission was founded in 1887. The theme of the Rescue Mission is to “share hope and end hunger and homelessness, change lives and strengthen communities one person at a time.” The Rescue Mission provides a wide range of services, including three free meals per day all year, dorms with beds, permanent and temporary housing, an outreach service that provides food, water, clothing, blankets and other support for homeless people, an education resource center, health services, a fitness room, and tech stations with internet access. The Rescue Mission also offers nighttime shelter, clothing and help in getting jobs. The Rescue Mission also develops individual plans and helps find access to needed employment. An emergency shelter has an employment and education resource center, health services and a public bathroom with showers. A Rescue Mission van cruises

around city areas seeking anyone who is homeless or is in obvious need of help. If you see an individual on the street that is homeless or needs help, call 211 and help will be forthcoming. The Rescue Mission is funded by contributions from people like you and me. More than 60 percent of the funds come from selling donated goods in 17 Thrifty Shopper stores. You can donate clothing and household goods and receive a tax donation credit. You can even donate furniture and your old car, boat or motorcycle. You can arrange pick-up service by calling 315-453-7242. Volunteers are always needed at the Rescue Mission. If you want to devote some of your time and skills to helping homeless people at the Rescue Mission, you can call volunteer services at 315-701-3842, or check out rescuemissionalliance.org for opportunities. If you want to find out details about donations, you can call Carolyn Hendrickson, senior philanthropy

officer, at 315-701-3855 (email: Carolyn. Hendrickson@RMSyr.org). There is no better feeling than doing something kind and useful for someone else, especially a person in need. If you don’t believe me, please do one kind thing for someone today, and see how you feel. The visit to the Rescue Mission was very insightful. The staff members I met were devoted professionals. They were enthusiastic about their mission, and it was easy to tell that they really cared deeply about people. They were all eager to share information about the Rescue Mission. We visited the kitchen where about 700 meals per day are served. The meals are available free to anyone who needs them. I didn’t say anything, but I was tempted to ask for a grilled cheese or egg salad sandwich with French fries. They looked delicious. I observed there were mostly men of varying ages and skin color. What upset me were the sad, hopeless faces on these men. There was no conversation among them. Each individual seemed isolated from humanity. A number were mentally ill, and others simply fell upon misfortune. They sat or stood around without motivation to do much. I wondered what thoughts were in the minds of these unfortunate people? I thought about the inequities in society and it angered me. Why should some people have so much and these people have so little? Seeing the work of the Rescue Mission makes you appreciate what you have in life, even if it may seem little. You also come to appreciate the dedicated people who offer services to the poor and homeless. I was greatly impressed to see people who dedicate their lives to others less fortunate. I was also very thankful that my life was not a homeless life, but everyone should know more about this other world. I hope this story has provided a new appreciation of the poor and homeless and set in motion getting involved and finding some way to help. The homeless and impoverished are humans, just like other humans. Every human is unique and important and deserves a place to live and express his or her unique talents.

April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS





Fall for New York State State geography has contributed to a large number of waterfalls, mostly located Upstate By Sandra Scott


ew York state is evenly divided into thirds: mountains, eroded plateaus and low lands providing a variety of scenery, including many beautiful waterfalls. F a l l i n g w a t e r p ro v i d e d a n inexpensive source of power that helped New York state industrialize and grow. Waterfalls are magical in winter when ice covered, during the spring the snow runoff creates the best water flow. During the summer some of the waterfalls become not much more than a trickle but summer is a great time for hiking in the areas around the falls. In the fall they are surrounded by colorful foliage. It is believed that the sound of falling water has a calming effect. It can lead to destress, secure a sense of balance, relax and recharge.


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Here are 10 waterfalls to visit in New York. Niagara Falls: The falls, one of the wonders of the world, straddles the border between New York state and Canada. The iconic way to view the falls is from the Maid of the Mist. It provides an up-close view of the falls while getting anointed by the spray. Walk along the Cave of the Winds and feel the power of Bridal Veil Falls. The American falls are part of Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the United States. Taughannock Falls: Located in the Finger Lakes region on the west side of Cayuga Lake, the 215 foot-Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rockies. There are steps to the bottom of the falls from the viewing area. It is 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls. There



is a 20-foot cascade downstream and a 100-foot one upstream with trails connecting the falls. This is one of the places where the water can slow to a trickle during the late summer and early fall. Buttermilk Falls: Buttermilk Falls State Park is an 811-acre state park located south of Ithaca — home to Cornell University. Buttermilk Creek descends more the 500 feet in a series of cascades with a natural pool at the bottom of the falls where, during the summer, swimming is allowed. There are informative signboards and hiking trails along the gorge and rim. Lucifer Falls: The falls, also known as Enfield Falls, is just one of several in Robert H. Treman State Park, located in the Ithaca area. The easiest access is three miles up the winding hill from the main park



2.Taughannock Falls

10. 3.

Eternal Flame

Buttermilk Falls




Lucifer Falls

Salmon River Falls

Watkins Glen State Park April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




Niagara Falls


Holley Falls

Kaaterskill Falls

free or by paying a small park entrance fee but not High Falls Gorge. It is a 22acre, privately owned, nature park on the AuSable River near Lake Placid. There are trails and self-guided tours. During the summer there are two glass-floor walkways and in the winter there is snowshoeing. Let chw ort h: L e t c h w o r t h State Park is renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The Genesee River roars over three major waterfalls — one as high as 600 feet. There are 66 miles of trails in the historic park along with a variety of family-friendly activities and a museum. In 2015 the park won the USA TODAY choice award for the Best State Park in the United States. Accommodations are available at the historic Glen Iris Inn overlooking the falls.


entrance. The short path to a smaller part of the falls is wheelchair accessible but one of the most interesting features is the 1847 mill at the beginning of the path. It is open to visitors in the summer with exhibits describing the workings of the mill. Watkins Glen State Park: The popular state park has two miles of water cascading down 400 feet beneath 200-foot cliffs creating 19 waterfalls along the way. The gorge path passes over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. It is closed during the winter. A rim trail overlooks the gorge. It has made the list of “The Best State Parks in the United States.” Salmon River Falls: The falls is located in the Tug Hill area of Oswego County. Sign boards tell the story of the 110-foot waterfalls. The




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path to view the falls is wheelchair accessible but there are a few steps down to the flat area above the falls where names dating back as far as 1892 are etched into the stones. During the winter, ice climbing on the falls is popular but each climber must register daily — a form is found in the kiosk box. Kaaterskill Falls: Located in the Catskill Mountains, the falls is the highest two-tiered cascading waterfalls in the state and one of the state’s oldest tourist attractions. It was the subject of paintings of Thomas Cole of the Hudson River School of painters. Visitors can get a great view of the area and falls from the new viewing platform. The trail to the bottom can be arduous. High Falls Gorge: Most waterfalls can be visited for



some falls on your 10.Discover own.

There are many. When Delphi Falls was on private land in Madison County it was not open to the public but in August 2018 the land became Delphi Falls County Park and is now open to the public where there are two waterfalls, a house, and a barn. Most unique is the Eternal Flame Falls. It isn’t grand but due to the emission of natural gas there is a flame in a small grotto behind the falls. There are many falls along the Erie Canal route as the land rises 566 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie necessitating 35 locks including Holley Falls, near Rochester; Little Falls in Herkimer County and Medina Falls in Orleans County. .


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www.Christopher-community.org April / May 2019 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Mary Keough, 80 Founder of Sarah’s Guest House in Syracuse to be honored as organization turns 25 Q.: Are you surprised that Sarah’s Guest House has been going on for 25 years? A.: I’m not surprised. I think if you’re doing things for the right reason, it will always be taken care of. I’m a person that relies on my faith a lot — it hasn’t failed me yet. If you’re living correctly, you’re always taken care of. Q.: You named it Sarah House in the beginning, and there’s a biblical reference, correct? A.: Sarah was well known in scripture as doing hospitality. Q.: Why did you come to start Sarah’s Guest House? A.: We had always done hospitality in our own home, my husband, two children and myself. I was brought up that way. If somebody needed a bed or room, we had it. This house became available — the little house across the street from the Most Holy Rosary Church. The custodian and his wife from the church had lived in the house. No one had lived in that house for two or three years. The priest at the time asked my husband Dick and I if we had any idea of what we could do with that house. I was aware that people had no place to stay [when traveling for medical reasons]. It was sort of like the dream met the house. It was always more than just a house or a business. It was a mission. It was something I just fell in love with. To start those kinds of things you just have to have a passion for it. Q: It’s housed in the former convent at Most Holy Rosary parish. What prompted that? A: The convent was built for 21 or 22 nuns. There are only three nuns living there, maybe only four, when 50

55 PLUS - April / May 2019

I moved over there. They offered us that because they weren’t using it. We are a complement to Rosary and this neighborhood. We were going and we needed to grow. The first goal was to open the house; the second goal was to expand it. The third thing that I would hope to see is eventually a healing space, mind and body. Q.: I hear that your nephew inspired you to start Sarah’s Guest House. Tell us about it. A.: My nephew, Bill Johnson, had gone through two bone marrow transplants, both out of town — in New Hampshire and Minnesota. So I was well aware of the need for such a place here. I could see how it’s devastating to a family. It isn’t just devastating to the person going through the illness; it’s the whole family. For me it was gift. It was a way of paying back for all the help my family and my nephew had gotten. He was diagnosed at 22 and died at 30. He was on my first advisory board and board of directors. He died shortly after we opened the house. Q.: You’ve retired as executive director in 2010 — are you still involved? A.: I’m involved as a volunteer. I’m there for advice. I’m there to clean bathrooms, if needed. I do whatever needs to be done, and I just love being there. I’m just happy to see it grow. Q.: What has been the most gratifying part of your work? A.: I think the most important thing in life is to take care of each other, and I experienced that many times on a daily basis. I was being taken care as much as we were taking care of our guests. It was good for my soul. You’re participating in such a healing atmosphere.

Mary Keough founded Sarah’s Guest House in 1994. The house, on Roberts Avenue in Syracuse, offers accommodations to families of adult patients who come to Syracuse to receive medical treatment. It has served 18,000 people since its inception. Keough will be honored in April during a gala event organized by Sarah’s Guest House.

Q.: When you’re not involved with Sarah’s Guest House, what are some of your hobbies and interests? A.: I read and love to dance. I was brought up on Skaneateles Lake, and we rent a little place on Otisco Lake — no phone or TVs. I retired also to be available to my family and spend more time with my beautiful grandchildren — Atira, 17, Fiona 13, and Jack, 8.



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CNY 55+ #80 April May  

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