CNY 55+ 81 June July 19

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Couple Getting Ready to Go RVing Full Time

55 PLUS Issue 81 – June-July 2019

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Lasting Legacy

free please share

Sarah Stickley Wiles of Skaneateles: Working to preserve family traditions

Smart Eating in CNY: Save Money on Dining Out

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:



When you’re ready for Medicare,

MVP can help. Choosing to enroll in a Medicare plan opens the door to lots of great benefits … and savings. MVP Health Care ® has affordable Medicare Advantage plans starting as low as $0 per month.

MVP Medicare plans have a lot to offer! Premiums Premiums—with Part D and Dental Preferred Generic Drugs with plans that include Medicare Part D coverage Primary care visits Co-pay for myVisitNow® —24/7 Online Doctor Visits … plus a FREE SilverSneakers® membership, $75 gift card for staying current with your preventive care, and more!

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June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS



Couple Getting Ready to Go RVing Full Time


June / July 2019

PLUS Issue 81 – June-July 2019

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Lasting Legacy

free please share

Sarah Stickley Wiles of Skaneateles: Working to preserve family traditions

Smart Eating in CNY: Save Money on Dining Out



Savvy Senior 6 12 SAVINGS • Why not get the senior discount or the Gardening 8 ‘early bird’ specials? Deals abound in Dining Out 10 CNY Golden Years 22 16 HOBBIES • Meet the ring finder man. Clay My Turn 24 resident work to find hidden treasures Aging 34 18 ADVENTURE Life After 55 42 • Sterling couple selling home to go RVing full time Druger’s Zoo 46 20 WRITING LAST PAGE Ann Hoadley of Liverpool was honored in May as the Onondaga County Senior of the Year

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32 VOLUNTEERING • Volunteers help travelers at Syracuse Hancock International Airport

36 GARDENING • Does your backyard seem a little blah? See what experts suggest

38 PASSION • Auburn florist nurtures an awardwinning career, cultivates excellence


• Retired Oswego teacher pens new book

• Artist Nancy Pfeiffer of Manlius turns the past into now



• Five things you need to consider before you retire

28 COVER • Sarah Stickley Wiles: Preserving family traditions



• Ten things to do in Thompkins County, home to Cornell University

To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors. Since 1974 the Loretto Foundation has helped support individuals served by the Loretto family of care. Through fundraising initiatives and a variety of giving opportunities, the Loretto Foundation provides additional funding to help enhance safe and secure facilities and deliver enriched programming for over 9,000 individuals in Central New York each year. Help us continue to support our community by giving a gift or volunteering.

Show you care by giving a gift today. • Give a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one • Give a gift to the Loretto Foundation’s Founders Endowment Fund • Give a restricted gift to any of the 19 affiliated Loretto sites and programs

• 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 June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS Loretto Foundation Ad_7.25x10_FullPage-March2019.indd 1


3/7/19 11:55 AM

savvy senior By Jim Miller


How You Can Stop Frustrating Robocalls

obocalls make up around 50 percent of all phone calls today, and it’s only getting worse. Americans were hit with 26.3 billion robocalls in 2018, a whopping 46 percent increase from the year before. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available today that can help you greatly reduce them. Register Your Numbers — If you haven’t already done so, your first step to limiting at least some unwanted calls is to make sure your home and cell phone numbers are registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. While this won’t stop illegal robocalls, it will stop unwanted calls from legitimate for-profit businesses who are trying to sell you something. But be aware that political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you, as are businesses you’ve bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months. To sign up, visit DoNotCall. gov or call 888-382-1222. Home Landline Tools — To stop calls on your home phone set up the “anonymous call rejection” option. This is a free landline-calling feature available from most telephone companies. It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information — a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline, though different phone services may have different procedures to set it up. Call your telephone service provider to find out if they offer this feature and, if so, what you need to do to enable it. Another solution is to sign up for Nomorobo, which is a free service for landline phones but only if you have a VoIP landline carrier. Nomorobo uses a “simultaneous ring” service that detects and blocks robocalls on a black list of known offender numbers. It isn’t 100 percent foolproof, but it is


55 PLUS - June / July 2019

an extra layer of protection. To sign up, visit

Cell Phones Tools

To stop unwanted robocalls and texts to your cell phone, ask your carrier about caller ID options that help identify, filter or prevent callers that aren’t legitimate. For example, AT&T provides its subscribers a free app called “AT&T Call Protect” that has automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam warnings, and you can manually block unwanted calls. Since March, Verizon offers free spam alerting and call blocking tools to its users. T-Mobile offers free “Scam ID” and “Scam Block” to combat robocalls and spam. And Sprint customers can sign up for its “Premium Caller ID” service for $2.99 per month to guard against robocalls and caller ID spoofers. Call Blocking Apps — Another way to stop nuisance robocalls on your smartphone is with call-blocking apps. These can identify who is calling you and block unwanted calls that show up on a crowd-sourced spam and robocaller list. Some top call-blocking apps for iPhones and Androids include Nomorobo (, Hiya Caller ID and Spam Blocker ( and Truecaller ( Nomorobo costs $2 per month, while Truecaller and Hiya apps are free to use, but offer upgraded services for $2 and $3 per month. Spam Proof Phones There are also phones you can buy, like the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Note, or Google Pixel phone that have built-in spam and robocall protection in place. Samsung’s Smart Call feature flags calls if suspects are spam, while Google Pixel phones have built-in spam call protection. Users with Caller ID enabled will get a warning if a suspected spam call or robocall is received.


Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach Christopher Malone, Margaret McCormick, Randy Pellis


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


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Manager Nancy Nitz


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:

For Jack it’s personal!

“She and I were one. What they did for her, they did for me.”

UPSTATE LEGACIES The appreciation is evident in Jack Gorham’s voice when he talks about the way Upstate University Hospital physicians, nurses, physician assistants and staff treated his wife Colleen throughout her 17-year journey with cancer.

Have you or your family experienced Upstate’s heart and


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. That is his heart and hope.

Understanding firsthand how charitable gifts impact the lives of others can change the lives of those who give and those who receive. Your gifts have an immediate impact on the programs and services you care most deeply about. Thoughtful gift planning can help to minimize costs and maximize future impact of those gifts, helping to ensure your personal legacy continues long into the future. Would you like to learn more about high-impact, low-cost Legacy Gift opportunities that can help you meet your personal and philanthropic goals? For free and confidential information contact, or have your professional advisor contact, our planned giving professionals at 315-464-6490 or email

Impacting patient care, education, research, and community health and well-being through charitable giving. June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


gardening By Jim Sollecito


In Living Color

olor helps us regulate our feelings. It can help shape our perceptions. The way landscapers use color is our super power. You’re probably not enthused by a stark clinical space outside your home that overwhelms with mulch. The much-preferred option is a carefully selected combination of textures and colors that reflect your personality and, when viewed, nourishes the soul. Especially during the times of the year that are important to you. Not everyone is a “spring” chicken. Many of my clients prefer the most colorful palette during summer when they

spend more time in their yards. The up-close-and-personal experience is as refreshing and effervescent as Fresca after a long sultry day. Taken further, a home’s landscape beds will kaleidoscope through all four seasons, radiating an evolving display of flower, foliage, fruit and bark. You’ll witness the transforming effects of morning dew, afternoon raindrops, direct and indirect sunlight, light breezes and, of course, the various backgrounds and reflections of siding, fences, rocks, boulders and pavement. Which is why we are inspired to do some of our most creative work in

Hydrangea and wheelbarrow photo taken at the author’s home. “That is what happy looks like.” 8

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backyards. Away from the street, the quiet is contagious. Editing and updating our same-old-same-old is invigorating, to say the least. And since we’re not that young anymore, larger yet still affordable plants are desired and encouraged. Not fully grown to maturity mind you, as the cost could be high and you would be robbed of the experience of watching things grow. Many people think that life gets better by chance when, in fact, it only gets better through change. And the change in your own yard should be a landscape that evolves to something more pleasing with time, an evolution that incorporates improved, more colorful varieties of new plants. I have said it before, and I’ll state it again, fully 80% of the plants we sell now were not even available 20 years ago. The opportunity for lower maintenance and more floriferous varieties is seemingly endless. If you have the idea that landscaping is a one and done activity, then you have lost a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with nature just a few steps from where you eat or sleep. We don’t usually monotask these days, and yet when we are among our plants, the spiritual component dominates the activity. We can set aside the high-tech devices of the modern world. Leave behind the beeps and buzzers, status updates and urgent notifications. Each of those represents the press of the imminent. The supposed urgent. A source for worry. Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that’s not due. It’s exhausting. I consider the act of planting to be transcendent, a walking prayer of sorts. It connects me with my past and my future at the same time. It all involves the soil under me that one day will be on top of me. So recognize the opportunity to feel great and at the same time improve your landscape color potential. Look at this photo I took at our own home. That is what happy looks like. Everything changes, including ourselves. Why not make a few changes now in the colors of your own life, changes that will impact how you feel every time you come home.

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

Social Security

Q&A Q: I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help? A: The best place to start is with a visit to the online Social Security Statement. It provides you with estimates of benefits for you and your family as well as your earnings record and information you should consider about retirement and retirement planning. It is easy to access your statement online by creating a my Social Security account. To create an account, please visit myaccount. The “right” time to retire is different for everyone and depends on your individual situation. To help you make your own decision, we offer an online fact sheet, When To Empire DM, Inc. Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, 6500 Venture Gear Drive STE 800 thatNew highlights some of the factors to consider. Find this publication East Sycamore, NY 13057 at html.



Golf Course Advertising Since 1982


When calling, emailing or faxi

Q: I worked the first half of the year, but plan to retire this month. Will Social Security count the amount I earn for this year when I retire? A: Yes. If you retire mid-year, If this does not reflect artwork you submitted, it is possible we did not receive the artwork and an we proof count your earnings for thethe entire information regarding your company online. However, changes can still be made. Please contact us year. We have a special “earnings test” rule we apply to annual earnings, usually in the first year of retirement. Under this rule, you get a full payment for any whole month we consider you retired regardless of your yearly earnings. We consider you retired during any month your earnings are below the monthly earnings limit, or if you have not performed substantial services in self-employment. We do not consider income earned, beginning with the month you reach full retirement age. Learn more about the earnings test rule at retire2/rule.htm.


June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Cheese steak: Heid’s take on the Philly cheese steak sandwich.

Heid’s of Liverpool

Time to splurge and enjoy hot dogs, fries, mac and cheese and more at this traditional eatery


ow does a person go about writing a restaurant review for a place like Heid’s of Liverpool and eliminate

all bias? The house of Hofmann hot dogs and more is a Central New York staple at 305 Oswego St. in Liverpool. The establishment was opened in 1917, but the Heid’s name has been locally prominent since the late 1800s. I asked myself the above question a few times as I sat at the one of the


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many red tabletop booths in the dining area one cloudy, rainy, cool spring evening. Bits of nostalgia always creep through with each bite of food — food that rests in paper dishes atop those vibrant red dining trays. The memories are as apparent as the wooden panels along the bottom half of the walls. As crass as it sounds — if you grew up in Central New York, your personal coming of age story is incomplete without a trip to Heid’s. It’s true, even

if you’re a vegan now. On the tray in front of me sat $30 of food: A regular order of fries ($2.55), an order of onion rings ($4.95), an order of mac and cheese ($3.75), a mixed double ($6.25), Heid’s version of a Philly cheese steak ($6.75), and, of course, a 12oz bottle of Byrne Dairy chocolate milk ($2.70). For two people, it’s amazing that you can spend less at Heid’s than you can at the cinema. Although going to see a film is one of the best outings

as a kid — especially at the former Kallet Genessee in Westvale Plaza — family dining out is a whole bonding experience. Heid’s of Liverpool does not serve up a gourmet meal. To general society and the food pyramid, hot dogs and fried food are not only omitted from the latest dieting trends — they’re technically junk food. I say — Who cares? Splurge. Cheat. Get eatin’. The fries fall in between crispy and flimsy, but they’re oh-so good, and serving size is appropriate for the cost. They didn’t come loaded with salt, which is great for those who add salt for preferred taste. The onion rings were very crispy. Although the $5 price tag seemed a little high for the amount provided, the quality of each onion ring was great. The batter had a subtle beery taste to it. The onion wasn’t rubbery and never slid out like a gross worm. The mac and cheese dish was something I’ve never had before. I also probably won’t get it again. As is, the flavor and simplicity of elbow noodles and cheese (with a little pepper) hits the bullseye. However, these noodles were overcooked and mushy. The Philly cheese steak sounded appetizing for some reason and it certainly impressed. One of awesome things about Heid’s is being able to see the food being cooked up. The meat that was presented for the cheese steak sandwich wasn’t pulled from a fridge and reheated nor was basking under a red-light heater. The steak was thrown on the grill with peppers, onions and mushrooms. It was topped with American cheese, which isn’t my top choice for cheese — but it works. Similar to the Hofmann food offerings, the Philly cheese steak was served in a New England style roll. It was as superfluously filled as it boasted flavor. Finally, there’s the Heid’s mixed double. The signature offering is a Hofmann frank and one coney cozying up together in the New England roll. The beef frank and the snappy griller make a beautiful pair. Both were grilled to perfection with browned grill marks. I put the spicy brown mustard and ketchup on my dogs even though a stranger scoffed and laughed at me years ago, when I was a child, for

Mixed double: Heid’s notable mixed double with a coney and a frank in one bun.

The quality of each onion ring at Heid’s is great. wanting more red condiment. It was a post-sledding trip with my uncle and brother. It was a cold day for me. Even after enjoying a Nathan’s Famous dog a couple weeks ago at Yankee Stadium, it cannot compare to the girth, snap, and flavor of a Hofmann dog. Heid’s continues to stay true to its legacy. As summer steadily approaches, expect the waiting line to grow, extend out the front door, and wrap around the building. Yeah, you’ll have to wait a little bit for food, but it’s worth it. And, as soon as it opens, save room for dessert at Sweet Treats next door.

Heid’s of Liverpool Address

305 Oswego St., Liverpool, NY


(315) 451-0786

Website/Social HeidsofLiverpool


Daily: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




Save Money on Dining Out Sure, why not get the senior discount or the ‘early bird’ specials? Deals abound in CNY By Margaret McCormick


ant to save money on dining out and drinking out? Who doesn’t, right? Some restaurants in Central New York offer “early bird specials’’ — deals designed to bring people in before the prime dining hours of 6 to 9 p.m. Others offer deals later in the evening, when business tends to slow down. Many chain restaurants (think Arby’s, Applebee’s, Carraba’s Italian Grill and Denny’s) offer senior citizen discounts for people aged 55 or 60 and older. This is often in the form of a percentage off the bill, so be sure to inquire. In addition, many locallyowned restaurants regularly offer dining deals, discounts and specials with no age restrictions. Here are some tasty ways to save money dining out in CNY. If you dine out once a week or once a month, these deals are worth keeping in mind.

Burgers • Phoebe’s Restaurant and Coffee Lounge, Syracuse: Start the week off right with Burger and a Beer Mondays (5 to 9 p.m.) at Phoebe’s. Enjoy an eightounce burger and any pint for $12. Information: 315-475-5154. • Bull and Bear Roadhouse, East Syracuse: Bull and Bear Roadhouse packs ‘em in for $4 Burger Night each Tuesday. Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion; add more toppings for 75 cents each. Dine in only. Information: 315-437-2855. • Bear Creek Bar and Grill, Brewerton: Burgers are buy one, get one (BOGO) on Wednesdays at this Adirondack-inspired restaurant. Bring along a burger-loving friend or family member. Information: 315-668-5544. • Johnny Angels Heavenly Burgers, 12

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The Eat Local CNY card is one of the way people can save on food. It gives users a $5 discount for every $25 spent at dozens of participating restaurants. Skaneateles: Thursday Burger Days are a tradition at this Skaneateles burger joint. $5 gets you a burger and your garnishes of choice from the toppings bar. Everything else is extra. Information: 315-685-0100.

• XO Taco, Syracuse: Take $1 off all tacos and sip on half-priced Margaritas all day every Tuesday. Information: 315-303-1699.


• Nestico’s Restaurant, North Syracuse: On Mondays, many menu items are half off with a coupon you can download at the Nestico’s website. On Tuesdays, take advantage of two for $22 chicken Parmesan dinners. On Wednesdays, the restaurant’s signature pasta pie dinner costs $10.99. Information: 315458-5188. • Toss ‘n’ Fire Pizza, North Syracuse: On

• Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant, Cicero: Every Wednesday is Taco Wednesday. For $2 each, enjoy Aust and Geros crispy tacos with your choice of ground beef or marinated chipotle chicken. (Menu items take their names from the owner’s family members.) Information: 315-699-7550.

Pizza, pasta, etc.

Tuesdays, enjoy half-price chicken wings with any $10 purchase (eat in only). On Wednesdays, large specialty pizzas are $13.99 (eat in or takeout). Information: 315-458-9380 . • Sal’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant, Baldwinsville: Two chicken riggies dinners for $19.99. What’s not to like? Every Monday and no restrictions: dine in, delivery or takeout. Information: 315-638-8505. • Twin Trees III, North Syracuse: On Thursdays, bring your appetite and enjoy the bottomless pizza buffet for $10.99 per person. Includes pizzas, wings, soup, salad and baked ziti. Information: 315458-9311.

world famous chicken tenders are a bargain after 9 p.m., Sunday through Friday, when tenders are offered for $5.95 with the purchase of a drink. Information: www.tullysgoodtimes. com. • Zebb’s Deluxe Grill and Bar (Mattydale and New Hartford): Children 10 and under eat free all day every Sunday, beverages not included. One free kids; meal with the purchase of each adult meal. Information:


• Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse: Laci’s offers buy one, get one sangria on Thursdays. Try the red sangria, the white sangria or one of each. Miscellaneous Information: 315-2185903 • Bonefish Grill, Fayetteville: Spice • Apizza Regionale, up your Wednesdays with $6 servings of the chain’s signature Syracuse: Wood-fired pizza and wine is a p p e t i z e r, B a n g - B a n g S h r i m p . a tasty combo. Enjoy $20 bottles of wine with your pizza or pasta on Tuesdays Information: 315-637-0491. • Kasai Ramen, Syracuse: Enjoy $3 and Wednesdays. Information: 315Asian-style steam buns (also known as 802-2607. • Scotch ‘n’ Sirloin: The Scotch has been bao buns) on “Monday Bunday’’ at the restaurant in Armory Square. The $10 in business for more than 50 years weekday lunch special (your choice of and offers a 50 percent off wine list steam bun and a half serving of ramen) at dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays. is a great introduction to the ramen The restaurant has both steakhouse restaurant. Information: 315-310-8500. and bistro dining. Information: 315• Sake Bomb, Cicero: Hibachi, steaks, 446-1771. • Dani’s Dessert and Wine Bar, seafood – and best of all, half-price sushi on Wednesdays (dine in only). Baldwinsville: Dani’s is a good place to be on hump day – also known as Wine Information: 315-698-7888. • Tully’s (multiple locations): Tully’s Wednesday. Enjoy $15 bottles of house

55-plus? You Might As Well Take Advantage of Senior Discounts By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


he term “senior discount” may seem disparaging to some; however, there’s no denying that saving money simply for achieving adequate birthdays equals a good deal. Some retail locations post signs indicating their silver savings; others are more subtle. Since most cashiers won’t ask for fear of appearing rude,

it’s usually up to you to claim your discount. Here’s how you can nab deals you may not have known existed. Siddy, a free app for Apple and Android, can help locate discounts, beginning with people as young as 50. You can customize its searchable list by age, location or category and its “Around Me” feature uses the

wine. Information: 315-303-0321.

Sweet Endings • Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen, Syracuse: The bakery, across the street from the Museum of Science and Technology in Armory Square, offers a “cookie happy hour’’ from 5 to 6 p.m. each Friday with half-price cookies from the display case. Arrive early for best selection. Information: 315-263-9363

More Ways To Save • EatLocalCNY card: Think of the Eat Local CNY card as a reusable coupon that is good at dozens of participating restaurants. Spend $25 and take $5 off your bill. Can’t be combined with other discounts. Information: https:// • Salt City Eats deals: Purchase gift certificates to local restaurants for half the price. Check the website for current deals. Information: www.saltcityeats. com. • Local Flavor: Dozens of local dining discounts, including many half-price certificates, are available through the Local Flavor website. Information: ª Sweet Deals: 93Q and other Cumulus radio stations in Syracuse regularly offer discounted dining deals. View current deals on the website. Information: syracuse/deals.

ASK ABOUT SENIOR DISCOUNTS smartphone’s location to alert you of deals within 1,500 feet, which can help if you’re in a shopping and dining district looking for bargains. It also offers June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


Movie theater, restaurants, plays, car rental, trips — how to get great deals on nearly everything alerts and lets you filter the kinds of deals for which you’re looking. The Penny Hoarder website always posts many helpful hints, but its list of senior discounts can really ramp up your savings game. The Senior List (www. also boasts an impressive list of places to grab deals — some of which start at age 55. Many places of entertainment, such as movie theaters, stage theaters, concert venues and museums, offer discounts. For example, the Everson 3.5 x 4.75” 55+ - Madison/Oneida - Christ.Comm.

Convenient, comfortable and affordable senior living! In Madison/Oneida Counties Stoneleigh Apartments

Museum in Syracuse (www.everson. org/visit) offers a $2 discount off the regular $8 adult admission. While two bucks isn’t a fortune, if you seek discounts regularly, it adds up over time. Saving just $20 a week among a few places of entertainment and dining equals more than $1,000 a year. And that’s not counting shopping and membership discounts. In addition to providing great travel tips, the I Love New York website also lists places to save ( discounts). When booking tickets for trips, look for a savings. For example, Amtrak and American Airlines both offer senior discounts for those 65 and older. If you’re a member of a group like AARP or AAA, American Seniors Association (americanseniors. org), Association of Mature American Citizens (, search their listings for where you can save. Onondaga County Parks provide many admission discounts (www. senior-discounts-and-programs).

Fallon & Fallon Family Dentistry

400 Lamb Ave Canastota, NY 13032 315-697-2847 Stoneleigh

Mt Carmel Apartments 659 Catherine St Utica, NY 13501 315-797-1050 MountCarmel Christopher Community offers safe, subsidized one bedroom apartments for income qualified seniors and mobility impaired individuals in a variety of neighborhood settings. Call today.


Rome Mall Apartments 146 W Dominick St Rome, NY 13440 315-336-3488 RomeMall

TDD/TTY (800) 622-1220 14

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Compassionate Friendly State of the Art Complete Dental Care for the Entire Family

Fallon & Fallon Family Dentistry 5109 West Genesee St Camillus, NY 13031 315-487-9377

Dr. Michael Fallon, Dr. Anne Marie Fallon, Dr. Mike Fallon

Statewide, further discounts are available at many places of tourism and recreation ( seniors/discounts). Save on staying healthy. Oswego County offers a discount prescription drug card (www.oswegocounty. com/legislature/prescription.html), the JCC offers a discounted senior membership ( and the Oswego County YMCA also offers a discounted membership ( cfm/membership/rates/), for example. Look for a “senior” section on restaurant menus. Like the kids’ menu, the portions may be smaller as will the prices; however, if you plan to eat one meal now and take home the rest for tomorrow, compare the cost of each meal. The bigger size may mean more savings. Some senior discounts might apply only to certain days of the week or hours of the day, so read all the fine print. For example, Thrifty Shopper ( in Syracuse gives a 25% discount to those 55 and older, but only on Tuesdays. If you’re under 65, ask for the age that the discount starts. Sixty-five is the most common minimum age. Cross reference senior discounts with any other discounts, coupons or deals. Don’t assume that the senior discount is best. Ask if you may also use a coupon. Some savvy savers pay for purchases with a gift card won on eBay at less than face value, plus whatever discounts they can use. Savings for military apply to veterans and those currently serving of any age, whether they served during wartime or not; however “active duty” refers only to those currently enlisted. Some deals are for Veteran’s Day only; others are for year-round. They may apply to the veteran only or to the entire family, but require showing a military ID or discharge papers. Chain restaurants and stores may vary in their adherence to senior discounts, as it could be up to the franchisee to honor them. Any business may experience a change in its policy that hasn’t been updated in the source that alerted you to the update. If all else fails, politely ask if their business offers a senior discount.

Learning does not have an age limit. Lifelong Learning at SUNY Oswego July 21 - July 25 & July 28 - August 1 Multiple four-day programs for adult ages 50+ to pursue exciting educational and social experiences on campus For more information, visit our website:

Office of Business & Community Relations 315.312.3492 • June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




H. Connell Raate of Clay working in the field, trying to find hidden jewelry and other metals. He is a member of The Ring Finders, a worldwide organization of independent metal detecting specialists.

The Ring Finder Metal detecting specialist from Clay uncovers hidden treasures that unlock many a mystery By Mary Beth Roach


ou’ve lost your ring, or perhaps it’s a piece of jewelry that’s been in your family for years. You’ve looked high and low, but have had no luck. You figured it’s gone for good. But don’t despair just yet. There may be someone who can help you find that treasure. H. Connell Raate is a Syracusearea representative of The Ring Finders, a worldwide organization of independent metal detecting specialists. The group’s website — — claims its


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detectors have found more than 5,000 items, valued at approximately $7.5 million. The website can also link you to Raate’s page. Based in Clay, Raate has been finding rings, car keys, jewelry and anything metal for years, even items found under piles of snow, mounds of sand, inches of dirt or in the water. Should someone lose an item in a public place, he strongly suggests that they notify him as soon as possible so he can get to the site before someone

else finds it. If the item is lost on private property, there is not the same sense of urgency. The 77-year-old started metal detecting as a hobby when he was 55. About five years ago, the retired truck driver was invited to join The Ring Finders, and is now turning his pastime into more of a business venture. There’s a $50 “turnout” fee to help cover his travel expenses to and from the search site, but any finder’s fee he might receive is entirely up to the person who hired him and is set at whatever value they put on the found item, he said. He’s received $200 once, and sometimes, his clients pay him with a hug and the look of pure joy when their treasure has been located, he said. It’s just wonderful, he said, when you bring a ring to someone that lost it, and thought it was lost forever, and they break into tears. “All rings are memories,” he said. “That’s why there’s no set charge. Whatever you think it’s worth.” While he admitted that he doesn’t

find every item he’s asked to look for, he estimated on his website that he has about a 90 percent success rate. His website also has testimonials from people that Raate has helped.

her grandmother’s ring as a wedding present, so she could have “something old,” as part of the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition.

Uncovering memories

Half a century later

Often, he goes out metal detecting, even though he hasn’t been contacted about any specific item, for the enjoyment of finding pieces and of being outdoors. From those finds, he has display boxes of unclaimed items, all tagged with where they’ve been found should an owner contact him. In some instances, these items might have some identifying characteristics that can help him track down the owner or the owner’s family. “Every ring has a story, and the story must continue,” he said. One such story he shared, he prefaced by saying, “there are angels among us.” He had decided to comb Sylvan Beach one spring afternoon, but after a short time, the windy weather and cold, choppy water forced him to retreat. On his way home, he decided to stop at Williams Beach in Cicero. The location of the beach in a cove area of Oneida Lake makes it more protected from the elements. While hunting in that area, he said, up came a ring marked with a “V” on it, the word “Syracuse” across it, and the graduation year of 1946. From its size, he determined it was a woman’s class ring. Inside were the initials “B.B.” He knew it had to be a class ring from a school in Syracuse that began with V. He was hoping to reunite the ring with its owner. After some searching on his own without any luck, he called his contact at the local history/genealogy division of the Onondaga County Library, told her the story and emailed her a picture of the ring. The diligent librarian turned up with a wealth of information. She was able to identify the school as Onondaga Valley Academy, and the woman as Barbara Bronner, who had later married a man named Ziegler. She also found Barbara’s obituary, and saw several children, including a son named David Ziegler in Colorado, had survived her. She had even been able to obtain

Another class ring story with a happy ending: One woman was able to wear her class ring to her 50th high school class reunion, after it had been lost for 49 years. As Raate told the story, it was shortly after getting her class ring in 1966 that this woman was sunbathing in her back yard. She had taken off the ring and put it on the towel she was lying on. A couple of hours later, as she was preparing to go inside, she shook out the towel and went into the house. Later, she realized she had put her ring on that towel. She frantically looked for it for about a week, but had never been able to locate it. Fast forward to 2015, and the family was preparing to sell the house. But the woman still recalled the lost ring and wanted to find it before the property was sold, so she called Raate. He was able to find it about 60 feet from where she said she had been tanning that day and about 14 inches below the surface. When the woman went to her reunion, she reported back to Raate that she was only one of two people who wore their rings that night, and that hers looked brand new. “Sure,” he said with a chuckle, “she’d put in storage for 49 years.” But there’s one ring among those that he has located that he is convinced has a story, and would love to find out what it is. It’s another find from Cicero — an Army Air Corps ring, which comes from the World War II era, before the corps became the U.S. Air Force, Raate said. He would love to find either the owner or the owner’s family so he might present them with this treasure. Raate is convinced there’s a story there. It’s the stories of reuniting the rings or other finds with their owners, the joyful looks on their faces and finding those family heirlooms that keep him on the hunt.

Some jewelry H. Connell Raate has found over the years. the son’s telephone number. Raate took it from there. He called the son and told him the story. Ziegler was a little skeptical, and in a telephone interview, he admitted that, at first, he thought that the call was part of a scam. He told Raate that his mother never had such a ring. Raate explained that Barbara had probably lost it long before she married and had a family, so her children would not have known about the ring. But after several more minutes of conversation, Raate was able to convince Ziegler that the ring belonged to his mother. Raate sent him the ring. Several weeks went by, and one day, as Raate recounted the story, Ziegler called him. He said that his niece, Erin, had recently announced to her family that she was engaged and would be getting married the following January. Erin had always had a special relationship with her grandmother, according to Ziegler. During their chat, Raate realized that the day the girl had told the family of her upcoming wedding was the same day that Raate had found the ring. Raate believed that Barbara had guided him to Williams Beach that afternoon to find that ring for her granddaughter. Ziegler also posted a testimonial on Raate’s website, in which he said that the granddaughter was to receive

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memory adventure

Pritchard’s 44-foot-long Forrest River Charleston RV boasts a number of amenities.

Sterling Couple to Go RVing Full Time Couple’s bucket list includes visiting at least 300 sites around the country, including Alaska, New Mexico By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant “On the Road Again” isn’t just a Willie Nelson hit. To Patty Pritchard, 59, and her husband, Brian, 58, it’s their dream. The couple put their Sterling home on the market ealier this season and once it’s sold, they plan to go RVing full time with their dog, Ellie Mae. She retired from Upstate Pain Management in Fulton. The RV cost $250,000 used. It’s a 2016 Forest River Charleston 430 RB. Patty retired from nursing at Upstate Pain Management in Fulton a few years ago. Once Brian retires from Novelis as a crew coordinator, the camping enthusiasts plan to pull out their Forrest River Charleston RV and not look back — except for visiting their family in New York. Going full-time RVing means they can begin tackling the 300-plus venues on the travel bucket list in earnest, something that their working life and house maintenance has prevented 18

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them from doing. “Now, we’re in our motor home May 1 to Nov. 1, going all over New York,” Patty said. “We don’t even go in our house.” She said that some of their trips are planned and some are spontaneous, “Let’s just go.” They just purchased a friend’s motor home in Arizona in September, relishing the drive back to New York. “It has all the amenities of a fivestar hotel,” Patty said. It boasts an electric fireplace, king size Sleep Number bed, dishwasher, induction cook top, microwave convection oven, on-demand hot water shower unit, full-sized refrigerator, stacking washer and dryer. At 350 square feet (plus the same in underneath storage), the RV rivals a studio apartment. One whole side of the 44-foot-long RV offers a 38-foot slide out to expand the living space

Patty and her husband Brian Pritchard. Couple plans to sell their home in Sterling and travel full time in their RV. when parked. On the other side, 20 feet slides out. “You can take a shower going down the road,” Patty said, “but it may not be the smartest idea.” Their rolling home keeps them

Pritchard’s RV has a wide range of amenities, including electric fireplace, king size Sleep Number bed, dishwasher, induction cook top, microwave convection oven, on-demand hot water shower unit, full-sized refrigerator. It’s a 2016 Forest River Charleston 430 RB valued at $250,000. quite comfortable as they take extended trips. They hope to visit Four Corners Monument, where one can stand on the adjoining border lines of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona at once. There’s also a balloon festival in New Mexico, plus Alaska, and the eastern coast of Canada. In addition to appeasing their travel bug, the couple has embraced the minimalist lifestyle. “You can only have what you take with you,” Patty said. “We like that idea. If you buy a pair of jeans, you have to get rid of a pair of jeans. If you buy a shirt, you have to get rid of a shirt. You don’t go to Costco and get 20 pounds of meat because there’s no place to put it.” The Pritchards tow their car with them so that when they set up camp, they can more easily drive into town for supplies or take daytrips to nearby attractions. Once they go full time, they plan to stay in New York in the RV for the summer with family and take care of any routine health care appointments then. They belong to RV organizations for tips, ideas and camaraderie.

Through one such group, they have insurance that covers their RV. Though the Pritchards plan to stay in RV parks for the most part, they also occasionally stay in parking lots for a quick, overnight stay. “ Yo u a l w a y s n e e d t o a s k about parking lots because of city ordinances,” Patty said. “They don’t always allow motor homes. A lot of truck stops let you stop for the night.” They plan to use their children’s mailing addresses and rely upon them to forward their mail to wherever they camp. They have internet hotspots through their phone and some campsites offer WiFi, which they can use to keep in touch, pay bills or stream a movie on a rainy day. Their combined family includes Patty’s son and daughter and Brian’s son, plus nine grandchildren among them. One of the children lives in Florida and the rest of the children live in New York. “They think it’s great we’re doing it and they’re very happy,” Patty said. Like a mash-up of mid-life downsizing and the tiny house movement, the Pritchards’ decision enables them to live simpler, as well

as spend more time traveling and exploring nature, both activities the couple enjoys. Brian has been a seasonal RVer since his early 20s. The couple had known each other since third grade, but reconnected 10 years ago, marrying in 2012. He had a fifth wheel at the time and introduced Patty to RVing. “Since the first time we went camping, it was impossible to get me back in the house from April to September,” she said. “We close the house down for the summer. We plug in at the house. We eat, cook and live in the driveway.” Meeting new people is the part they enjoy the best about their travels. Their new friends hail from every walk of life. “They’re all welcoming and warm,” Patty said. “You could be walking the dog and someone will say, ‘Hi, come on over and sit by the fire.’ Some are passing acquaintances others friends for life. “You see a lot of veterans. The stories they have to tell! Some will make you smile, warm your heart or just make you cry. It’s an amazing lifestyle – a blessed lifestyle.” June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS



writing Mike McCrobie, with the Oswego lighthouse in the background, holds his second book — ‘We’re from Oswego ... and we couldn’t be any prouder!’ — which was published in November.

Retired Oswego Teacher Pens New Book ‘We’re from Oswego ... and we couldn’t be any prouder!’ is the second book by Mike McCrobie By Randy Pellis


s the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” And you know, maybe neither is the present. Local author Mike McCrobie might not exactly put it that way — he doesn’t like to preach — but his first collection of bi-weekly newspaper columns titled, “Our Oswego,” just might make you wish you were still 11 and the year was 1968. In column after heartwarming column of innocent reminiscence, McCrobie takes us back to the Oswego


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of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, a bygone era of sandlot baseball, go-carts and payphones, of the long-gone stores of Oswego’s pre-Walmart downtown, of adventurous crossings over the river’s railroad bridge, of Christmas present dreams and the Sears Wishbook, of first cars, of old friends, of sneaking a school-day listen to a World Series game, of memory upon memory of those golden wonder years. That was McCrobie’s boyhood Oswego. Some may think of such looks back as just a little too sweet and a little too microcosmic, but there’s no denying those days and these are distant cousins at best, and for McCrobie, they

were beautiful. Written between 2012 and 2014, they are stories of a time Oswego’s baby boomers may look back on with a warm sigh and smile, but a time younger readers may not know what to make of. And he’s OK with that. Once written, he sends each column to his children, all close to or in their 30s. “Sometimes they read it, sometimes they don’t,” McCrobie said. “But it doesn’t always pertain to them because they don’t know the Oswego that I write of. They know the Oswego they grew up in. But, that’s OK. I don’t mind writing for an audience of 45- to 90-year-olds.” McCrobie, born in 1957, didn’t really think of himself as a writer, even after two years of publishing 50 columns. One day he received an email from an elderly woman. “It’s fun to remember, especially at my age,” she wrote. “You ought to put these pieces into a book. I think people would buy it.” “Up until that point, even though I was an English teacher, I never had

any dream about writing the great American novel or publishing a book or anything like that, and I certainly didn’t have time when I was in the classroom,” he said. “I was too busy grading papers. I spent half my life with a red pen in my hand. So I thought about it, and I thought about it, and I talked to Jim Farfaglia, another local author who self-published a couple books before I did, and he was invaluable in terms of giving me direction and guidance because I had no idea where to start. “Luckily, I didn’t have to start from page one because I had columns. At the time, I had maybe 50 columns already written. Forty-six of those became ‘Our Oswego.’” And yet, he still didn’t consider himself a “writer.” He was an English teacher and a coach at Hannibal for three years and at Oswego High School for another 30, hired primarily to resurrect the high school newspaper, the Buccaneer Bulletin, a job he loved and remembers fondly.

Early aspirations “As a kid, I always read the back page of Sports Illustrated, the short essays by some of the best sports writers around, and I figured by the time I was 30, I’d be taking the back page of Sports Illustrated from one of those writers. But it didn’t happen, and somehow I found education, and I can’t imagine my life without spending 33 years in the classroom. I really can’t. I loved going to work every day.” And then it happened. A woman taking his name at the county board of elections said, “Oh, Mike McCrobie, you’re the writer.” “I was taken aback a little bit,” McCrobie remembered. And he thought for the first time, “I guess I am” and realized that was the way people saw him now. “I was always either Mr. McCrobie or coach or Mike’s [after whom the McCrobie Building is named] son. So, I was always his son growing up. So, hmm, writer, OK, I’ll put that in the obituary. I’ve been called worse.” And he could have done worse. With Farfaglia’s help, he jumped into the world of self-publishing, choosing the on-demand printer CreateSpace for its tie-in to “Self-publishing is just a fantastic

McCrobie at Breitbeck Park in Oswego, holding his two books, based on columns he has written for The Palladium-Times. offshoot of the technology age we live in,” said McCrobie. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money. It doesn’t take a big initial investment.” It’s certainly been a success. Since 2014, he’s sold 1,000 copies of “Our Oswego” through Amazon and Oswego’s river’s end bookstore. Only four out of 48 months since the book’s been on Amazon has he not sold a book, available only as a printed paperback. There is no Kindle version yet. “In 2014, I don’t think I knew what Kindle was. I’m still the old-fashioned, ‘I want to have a newspaper in my hand, I want to have the book in my hand,’” he said.

Still rolling Now’s he’s done it again. Having written 100 more columns since “Our Oswego” came out, he put 60 of them into a new book titled, “We’re from Oswego ... and we couldn’t be any prouder!” referencing Oswego High School’s old cheer: “We’re from Oswego; We couldn’t be any prouder. And if you can’t hear us, We’ll yell a little louder.”

The cover is a 1976 photo of that year’s OHS seniors standing in the bleachers and clapping at a pep rally. “That way, if they don’t like the stories, people in the class of ’76 can at least play ‘Where’s Waldo?’ or ‘Where Am I in That Picture?’ because the faces are clearly recognizable,” he noted. The printed version of the new book is available on, and for this one, he also intends to create a Kindle version as he steps a bit further into the present, though not so far as to actually write on a computer. “I still write longhand. I don’t compose at a keyboard. I have a shelf of composition notebooks, the old marble composition notebooks. I probably have 12 or 13 of those full at this point. Typing it is my first stage of revision,” he said. “Right before I hit ‘send’ I read it one last time. They sometimes say your first idea or your first inclination might be your best. With the ideas, that’s true, but I want to make sure the semicolons are in the right place.” Pretty much everything seems to be in the right place now for McCrobie. His second book, with a forward by former Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst, debuted in November at Oswego’s river’s end bookstore. McCrobie’s first book also debuted there, and he truly appreciates what the river’s end bookstore’s owner, Bill Reilly, has done for local authors. “I can’t give Bill Reilly enough credit for what he does, not just for local writers, but just for local readers. In this day and age to have a small, independent bookstore in Oswego, New York, thriving is just a testament to the kind of businessman he is,” he said. “He’s great to us novice writers. I can’t tell you how helpful he’s been to all local authors; he gives us a forum,” McCrobie added. “Amazon will give you a smile on the box. Bill will give you one when you walk in the door,” he said. But Reilly’s not the only one who will give you a smile. McCrobie will give you plenty. Here’s something from the new book: “There are three words that bring a smile to the face of a baby boomer,” he writes. “My Weekly Reader.” And see, you’re smiling right now, aren’t you? June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


golden years By Harold Miller Email:

The Healing Power of Physical Therapy

Thanks to PT techniques, some surgeries can be avoided


ver the years my musculoskeletal system has taken many hits, starting with a herniated spinal disc while water skiing at our home on Owasco Lake 50 years ago. Fortunately, my first encounter with orthopedic injury also opened the door to conservative medication. After weeks of suffering from the herniated disc I was admitted to Upstate Medical Hospital in Syracuse under the care of physician Hansen Yuan, who is still practicing medicine a half century later. The doctor had scheduled me for surgery but the day before he came and sat by my bed and explained, “After looking at your X-rays I believe that you can avoid surgery by doing physical therapy. This will not be easy and the pain will not subside right away but in the long-run your back will be stronger; the herniation will shrink and you will save your disc.” My wife drove me directly from the hospital to the physical therapist. I was in pain and not at all happy about this situation but after a couple of weeks of PT the pain subsided, I could walk normally, and I learned a lesson that served me well for the rest of my life. My next encounter with the healing power of physical therapy occurred many years later. I was walking down the stairs of our townhouse at Martin Point in Auburn — foolishly reading a magazine on the way down (no, it was not 55 PLUS). My foot caught on a carpeted step and pitched me into the air landing me on the wood floor beneath. I could not get up because two of my four quadriceps tendons had ruptured. I called 911 and soon an ambulance delivered me to Auburn Community Hospital’s emergency room and from there to orthopedic


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surgeon Marc Pietropaoli. Pietropaoli was another doctor who practices conservative medication. I was scheduled for an operation next day but he called me at home the night before and said, “I have been studying not only your X-rays but also your MRI, which gives a much better picture of the injured tendons. I believe that with extended physical therapy you will have a better result than with surgery,” he said. Her added that “most doctors would operate but I have been schooled in a relatively new philosophy that utilizes modern diagnostic machinery and less invasive procedures. When a doctor has only a scalpel as a tool then everything looks like it needs an operation. I operate on far fewer patients and with much

better end results.” Pietropaoli has his own physical therapy department to ensure that when PT is prescribed it is correctly done. My daughter, who owns her own physical therapy business in Rochester, tells me that half of her patients are people who should never have had orthopedic surgery in the first place. Pietropaoli is one of the few orthopedic surgeons in the country who is trained for subchondroplasty, a relatively new procedure that is an alternative to knee replacement. Many times, when a patient has knee pain, it is not in the knee joint but the result of tiny fractures in the femur (thigh bone) beneath the knee joint (an MRI can reveal this). When this is the source of the pain, a simple injection can fill the tiny fractures in the femur bone (which heals the bone) and resolves the problem. I would happy to share my experience — just drop me an email at the address on top of the page. The human animal is a marvelous creature. Many times it can heal itself without some of the expansive (and expensive) medical procedures that have evolved over time. As computerized medical science (artificial intelligence) develops, perhaps it can turn us backwards toward the time when man could be more self–sufficient and healthy.

Bernie Henderson stands in his backyard.

I’ve always been civically engaged both as a board member and volunteer for multiple nonprofit organizations. Whether it is basic human needs, literacy, or historic preservation, there is one common thread that connects all of my charitable interests: community. I have chosen Oswego County as the benefactor of my charitable legacy. By directing a portion of my estate to the Central New York Community Foundation for the benefit of the Oswego County Community Foundation, an endowment fund that supports needs in Oswego, I hope to set an example that will inspire others. This region is worth working to preserve and enhance for generations.

Rooted Giving: Bernie Henderson

Read more of Henderson’s story at

315.422.9538 | C N YC F. O R G

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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email:

Required Minimum Distribution. Oh, Boy! Retirement all planned out? Don’t forget the RMD


fter many months of planning, I retired in 1998 as publisher of The PalladiumTimes in Oswego at age 59 ½. I foresaw what was coming in the newspaper business and wanted to leave before the gathering storm clouds turned into a full-blown tsunami. Obviously, I was too young to collect Social Security, but I did have money squirreled away in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 401 (k) and several other sources of income. I knew that I could withdraw funds from my IRA without penalty after I turned 59 ½, so this was a major factor in choosing this retirement date. Despite all of the research and planning I did before I actually retired, not once had I run into what is called the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). After I turned 70 in June of 2009, I started getting notices from my brokerage firm and banks that I needed to start taking the RMDs soon. According to the law, I had to take my first RMD on April 1 after I turned 70 ½. This is in contrast to RMDs from employer-sponsored plans which in most cases can be postponed until after the employee retires or reaches age 70 ½, whichever comes later. Since I had no idea what an RMD was, I quickly contacted representatives of these institutions to find out. These


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accounts are not tax-free forever as I had envisioned, I was told. I figured if I did not need the money in these retirement accounts, I could leave it there indefinitely — tax-free to boot. What a sweet deal, but, hey, I am a senior citizen, so just another perk, right? Wrong. Uncle Sam had other plans. He wants his money sooner rather than later, which is why the government came up with the concept of the RMD. The purpose of the RMD rules is to make sure that you do not hold on to all retirement accounts indefinitely, defer taxation and leave all of these retirement funds as an inheritance. Instead, RMDs force the holder to withdraw at least some of the funds as taxable distributions while still alive. Each year after turning 70 ½, a person must take a proportion of his or her retirement account and pay ordinary taxes on the amount withdrawn. The amount varies from year to year, depending on how much remains in the account and how it is impacted by a life expectancy formula similar to what an insurance company uses. For example, if you are turning 70 ½ this year and have $200,000 in your account, you would have to take an

RMD of about $7,300. I am not the only one who has been surprised by this requirement. It was especially shocking to several of my friends who were equally unaware of this provision in the tax code. They, as I, would have preferred to keep the money in the account for a few more years so it could continue accruing tax-free interest and/or dividends. Most of us used pretax dollars when we contributed to our retirement funds during our working years. This resulted in a deferment on income taxes on these contributions. The government doesn’t fool around: If you don’t take these annual withdrawals, you will have to pay half of what you should have withdrawn as a penalty. This is, of course, on top of the actual required distribution itself. That can be a nasty punch in the gut that could wind up costing you substantially. In the example cited earlier, the penalty would amount to $3,650. The IRS has a worksheet to help taxpayers figure out what they owe, and various financial institutions have online calculators. Brokerage firms, banks and other depositories which hold IRAs will alert you annually as to how much must be taken from the IRA to satisfy Internal Revenue Service

rules. In my case, for example, in early January of each year I get a notice from my brokerage account and any other accounts where I have these types of funds telling me to the penny how much I need to withdraw during the calendar year. Some like to take a monthly sum. I take mine in a lump sum in early December so I have a pot of money around the holidays. It’s up to you to decide on the distribution, just so long as the total required amount is out of your account by the end of the calendar year. Most banks and brokerage firms will allow you to withhold federal taxes on the amount you withdraw. For example, I have 20 percent of the amount taken out, so I am not hit with a big tax bill in April. Proceeds from your account can also impact your Social Security payment, because if your annual income exceeds certain guidelines, you are slapped with a penalty not only on the amount of Social Security you receive but also on the amount of Medicare tax you pay — the proverbial double whammy. There are strategies that can be used to mitigate the impact of the RMD, provided that you do some heavy-duty planning with your financial adviser or a tax expert. Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k) accounts do not require their holders to take RMDs because they paid the tax on these financial vehicles up front. When a person’s heirs cash in these accounts after the holder’s death, however, the proceeds are taxed as ordinary income. There are many variables that come into play when debating the advisability of adding to an IRA or 401(k) as you approach retirement, especially since RMDs are taxed at usual rates — up to 37 percent — while capital gains or dividends from investment accounts can be taxed at a top rate of just 23.8 percent under the new tax law enacted by Congress last year and signed by President Donald Trump. About the only reasonable way to eliminate the call of the taxman is to donate all or part of your RMD proceeds to charity, especially if you are a public-spirited type individual. There is a limit of $100,000 a year on this type of donation.

To do whatever you want takes careful planning. Let Pathfinder Investment Services help guide you on your road to retirement. RetiRement Asset AccumulAtion How to save money for use during retirement. ■ RetiRement income PlAnning Income strategies to maximize longevity of retirement nest egg. ■ Rolling oveR A RetiRement PlAn Discuss all of your various options for your retirement plan assets to make the correct decision. ■

Your Financial Consultant

Craig G. Fitzpatrick Financial Consultant Toll-free: 800-811-5620 x8088 Phone: 315-207-8088 Email: NOT FDIC INSURED • MAY LOSE VALUE • NO BANK GUARANTEE Securities related products and services made available through Pathfinder Bank are offered through Cadaret, Grant, & Co., Inc., MEMBER FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products and services are offered through Finger Lakes Investments Corporation (FLIC). Cadaret, Grant, & Co. and FLIC are not affiliated with Pathfinder Bank it’s affiliates, divisions, or subsidiaries. OSJ office: FLIC 65-A Monroe Ave, Pittsford, NY 14534. (585) 389-0326. Pathfinder Investment Services, Cadaret, Grant & Co, Inc and Finger Lakes Investments Corp. are separate entities.

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Things You Need to Consider Before You Retire

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ou likely have many plans for after retirement — travel, hobbies and some much-needed R&R — but area financial experts say that before you enter that phase of your life, you have a few steps to ensure your financial security.


Pay Your Debts First “Retire with no debt and have a low withdrawal rate of investments — ideally 4% or less — but at least have a minimum two-year income bucket of cash and short-term instruments so you can lower or stop withdrawals from investments when markets are down for extended period. You can be nimble in lousy markets.” George R Allen, certified financial adviser, Wealth Management Adviser with Northwestern Mutual in Oswego.


Take a Long Vacation Before Retiring “Before that last paycheck comes in, I encourage my clients to envision what their retirement will look like. Will they travel? Take up a hobby? Move closer to family? It is a big adjustment to go from working to retired. We are programmed to thrive in structured environments. Without a plan in place, people can struggle to find a sense of purpose and when that happens it is very easy to fall off track financially. Pre-retirees should prepare for the transition. Planning to take an extended vacation or a longer block of time off work before any retirement papers are processed is a great exercise to see whether they are ready.”


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Sonnet Loftus, certified financial planner, Michael Roberts Associates, Inc., East Syracuse.


Plan How Much Money You’ll Need “As one approaches retirement it is a very good idea to create an itemized cash flow worksheet to analyze the amount of money that will be needed to sustain one’s lifestyle during their retirement years. Not enough people make the effort to determine this number but it can be very helpful in establishing how much income is needed from retirement investment capital to supplement pension and Social Security income sources. By developing this cash flow need, adding inflation for future consumer prices and incorporating a risk-adjusted rate of return on invested capital, an analysis can be done to determine the ability to sustain one’s retirement capital over their expected lifetime period. A thoughtful cash flow analysis informs wise distribution and investment planning during the retirement years.” Randy L. Zeigler, certified financial planner, Private Wealth Adviser, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Oswego.


Consider Health Insurance Costs “Understand how you are going to pay for health insurance or bridge the gap to Medicare. If you are retiring before age 65, you will need to find your own coverage and it can come at a significant cost. Working with an independent health insurance agent can be a helpful way to understand and explore all options and find a plan best suited to your needs. You don’t want to retire only to find out that the cost of health insurance is not sustainable within your budget. Leyla Z. Morgillo, certified financial planner, associate adviser, Madison Financial Planning Group, Syracuse.


Wait to Collect Social Security “Be thoughtful about how to take Social Security and do not be too hasty in taking benefits if you can afford to wait. The decision of when to turn on benefits should also be approached as a joint decision for those who are married, as the decision of one spouse does impact the other. Further, the cumulative benefit of waiting until full retirement age or delaying to age 70 can be staggering for those who expect to live well into their 80s. Working with an adviser to do analysis is highly recommended to make sure you are maximizing your benefits and exploring all possible strategies.” Leyla Z. Morgillo, certified financial planner, associate adviser, Madison Financial Planning Group, Syracuse.

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June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




Lasting Legacy Sarah Stickley Wiles: Preserving family traditions By Mary Beth Roach


arah Stickley Wiles bears the name of two of Central New York’s most well-known families. She is a great-granddaughter of Gustav Stickley and a daughter of Harriett and Peter Wiles. Peter Wiles founded Mid-Lakes Navigation Co. on Skaneateles Lake more than 50 years ago, and Stickley was an iconic furniture designer and entrepreneur. And because of these family connections to the region, she is trying to preserve their legacies both on water and land. “It’s a great honor,” she said, and one that has provided an opportunity to learn more about her family history. She, along with her younger siblings, are continuing to operate the Mid-Lakes Navigation tour boat business, which their father, Peter


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Wiles Sr., founded in 1968. Last summer, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. With only a few weeks until the Wiles open for their 51st season, Sarah and her two brothers and a sister — Peter Jr., Hattie and Dan — gathered in the Mid-Lakes offices on Jordan Street in the village of Skaneateles to discuss the business and their family. Another sister and Hattie’s twin — Libby — retired from the business a few years ago. Sarah, Peter, Hattie and Dan are all equal owners of the family business. While Sarah Wiles, 65, oversees marketing, advertising, and public relations, Peter Jr. handles the business and financial aspects. Hattie is the captain and manages the day-today operations on the lake, and Dan describes himself as the “utility infielder,” a baseball term referring

to the guy that can play any position. The Mid-Lakes fleet consists of the Judge Ben Wiles, in honor of their grandfather, who was a judge in Syracuse in the 1930s, and the Barbara S. Wiles, which is named for their grandmother and has served as a cruise boat and mail boat on Skaneateles Lake for decades. Mid-Lakes Navigation also runs a full-service marina on the Erie Canal in Macedon, near Rochester. Out of that business they operate several traditionally designed canal boats that people can rent and live onboard for several nights or longer. Each boat is complete with a galley, sleeping accommodations and bathroom. While the operation might be considered seasonal, with the Skaneateles tours running from midMay to the end of September and the

Sarah Stickley Wiles by the Judge Ben Wiles boat on Skaneateles Lake on May 9. Photo by Chuck Wainwright. June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


doing, whether it’s marketing, serving on the board at Stickley House or driving the boat show committee. “It’s not a specific skill that she applies to her life, it’s her life skills that she applies to her activities,” he pointed out.

Firm foundation

Running the show at Mid-Lakes Navigation in Skaneateles. From left are Peter Wiles, Sarah Wiles, Dan Wiles, Hattie (Wiles) Tigh. packet boat rentals wrapping up at the end of October, it is a year-round enterprise. In the winter and early spring, there’s maintenance of the fleet and planning and strategizing for the following year. Working in a family business can be tricky, but Wiles has described it as “awesome.” “I think family businesses are notorious for infighting and things that don’t necessarily go well. But for all this time, and I think I’ll credit Dad with this, we’ve always been able to see our way through to a consensus in just about every single big decision that we ever encounter,” she said. She describes herself as a gregarious person who enjoys talking with people. That is a good thing since the tour boats hosted an estimated 25,000 guests last season alone. There is no secret to the success of Mid-Lakes, according to Wiles. “My dad always had a great deal of respect for the people who worked for him. He’s given us all of these insights and gifts — being part of the community and partnering with other businesses. Tourism is a very cool business. It’s fun, and it relies on the 30

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cooperation of everyone involved,” she said. Like her father, Wiles too has immersed herself in Skaneateles and the Finger Lakes area and has been part of the community for years. The family moved to Skaneateles from DeWitt. Wiles graduated from Skaneateles High School and she lives south of the village. She’s co-chairwoman of the Antique and Classic Boat Show Committee, which holds its show in Skaneateles at the end of July. She has also served on the board of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance and been an active part of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. Hilary Fenner, who has been executive director of the chamber for seven months, has found Wiles to be a good “go-to person.” “If I have any questions, especially being new here, I use her as a resource. She’s been on so many different boards and so active in our community and our chamber community. She’s a wonderful resource for me,” Fenner said. Her brother, Peter Wiles Jr., said she puts her own personal strengths and her passions into whatever she’s

One of those activities is as vice president of the Gustav Stickley House Foundation, which is working to restore the structure at 438 Columbus Ave. in Syracuse. It was the Stickley home in the early 1900s, and would later be her grandparents’ and her father’s home. A fire on Christmas Eve 1901 damaged the home, but it provided Stickley with the opportunity to remodel in the interior in the Craftsman style, which was the first of its kind. Because Stickley is considered a leader of the American Craftsman style and the Arts and Crafts Movement, it makes the home even more significant. It’s important from a historical preservation aspect because it’s the first Craftsman interior in the United States, and it’s the start of the 20th century trend of open floor plans, said Beth Crawford, senior associate of Crawford and Stearns, architects for the project. “He designed the interior to follow his philosophy of design,” Wiles added. He believed, she continued, that it would make people’s lives better with having family all together in one space, so they could see and talk to each other. Stickley would sell the home in the early 1900s, and engage in some enterprises downstate and in New Jersey. But after a few years, those failed, and he was forced to file for bankruptcy. Eventually, he would return to Syracuse. Meanwhile, one of Stickley’s daughters, Barbara, married Ben Wiles, and the couple bought the Columbus Avenue house back. They would raise their family there, including their son, Peter, Sarah’s father. A while after his wife Eda died, Stickley moved in with the Wiles family, and lived with them on and off, until he died in 1942. The Wiles would sell the house in the mid-1950s. Since then, the house has

gone through several owners and transformations. But in 2016, the house was donated to the University Neighborhood Preservation Association, and work to restore it began. The foundation was established and Crawford approached Wiles to be part of the project. Wiles attended an early planning meeting and has been on board ever since, keeping the other family members updated of the work of the foundation, Crawford said. She is one of a few members of the Stickley family on the board, with others contributing materials and other resources. Wi l e s b r i n g s a d i s t i n c t i v e perspective to the project, Crawford noted. “As a Gustav Stickley descendant, Sarah Stickley Wiles has a unique and special connection to the house as both her father and grandmother grew up in the house,” Crawford said. “While it is the Stickley homestead with many family memories, it is also a quintessentially important piece of American architectural history.” The foundation completed phase 1 of the project in June of 2018, which involved the restoration of the structure’s exterior. It is now fundraising for phase 2, which will focus on the house’s interior. The target date for the completion of the second phase is 2021. One of Stickley’s pieces from the homestead was a sideboard, which Peter Wiles Sr. came to possess. It had become part of the furnishings at the Mid-Lakes Country Club, a golf course and restaurant that Wiles Sr. owned in Borodino on the east side of Skaneateles Lake. A l t h o u g h Wi l e s S r. h a d a n appreciation for the sideboard, he didn’t have a use for it, his daughter said. It was among several pieces auctioned off in the late 1980s, but it was the one that garnered the most attention when the legendary Barbra Streisand purchased it for $363,000. Monies from the sale would reportedly allow Wiles Sr. to further the boat-making business. Wiles sees similarities between her father and great-grandfather. Not only were they both entrepreneurs but their work influenced wide audiences. While Stickley helped to inspire the Arts and Crafts Movement, his grandson’s work in Skaneateles and

Original front door of the Gustav Stickley House, 438 Columbus Ave., Syracuse. He lived there from 1900 to 1905 and designed the interior after a fire damaged the house on Christmas Eve of 1901. The house is being restored to its original condition and will be owned by the Onondaga Historical Association and operated as a museum/guest house. his efforts in promoting the Erie Canal as the treasure it is, Wiles said, helped to enhance community and economic development. In the late 1960s, while running the country club, the gentleman who had been operating the mail boat on the lake approached Wiles Sr. He wanted to retire and suggested that Wiles take over the operation. Wiles bought the boat, which could hold 25 passengers, and secured the mail contract. About a year later, one of Wiles’ employees had the idea to utilize the boat more by preparing food at the club’s restaurant and serving it to people on the boat. “Things just went from there,” Wiles said.

Making sense of it all Sarah Wiles has been working at the Mid-Lakes boat company on and off since she was 14 years old, with occasional pauses, as one of her brothers jokingly called them. One “pause” came when she was 16, and she and her best friend in high school traveled to Europe. After graduating from high school, she did a cross-country trip. She attended St. Lawrence University, where she earned a degree in French, and she spent her junior year in college living abroad in an area north of Paris. After college, she moved to Boston for a year and volunteered at the New England Aquarium. “I pinpoint the aquarium as kind June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


of a turning point just because it shifted me from the French and from the work that I’d been doing into this curiosity about living systems,” she said. “I’ve always been a broad-focused person. I like to bring things together and make connections. The study of biology spoke to that part of me — the theory of evolutionary biology and how animals evolved to do what they do.” She returned to Central New York and volunteered at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park and at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. She would return to school, getting an undergraduate degree and ultimately a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. In the mid-1980s, she married Jim Ehmann, a science writer and one-time columnist with The Syracuse PostStandard. The couple was separated when Ehmann died in 2000. With a wide range of interests and a wider range of life experiences, there are still things on her bucket list, and when asked what those might be, she simply replied, “Everything. I want to see everything. My other bucket list thing is I want to compete on a high level of ballroom dance and I’m working toward that. I don’t know if I’ll get there.” She and her companion, John Yuhas, had been talking about taking dancing lessons, she said, but then Yuhas was diagnosed with ALS and died in 2010. Awhile after his passing, she saw a coupon for the Fred Astaire Dance Studio and she talked herself into attending. Wiles told a reporter in a regional newspaper a few years ago, that through her endeavors, education and travel, she’s learned a lot that has helped in her daily experiences. When asked, for this article, to expound on that, she said, “I think that’s what life is for.” With a nod to her brothers and sister, she added, “This business and working with these guys, that’s especially important I think, and the business has taught me about working with people, cooperating with people, understanding people, and about how the real world works, you might say. What it takes to have a successful business and all the characteristics that make for a successful business make for success in other interactions.” 32

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Diana Wolpert (left) and Debbie Trepanier volunteer at Syracuse Hancock International Airport as fly guide ambassadors.

Meet the Fly Guide Ambassadors Volunteers help travelers at Syracuse Hancock International Airport By Laura McLoughlin


ebbie Trepanier has traveled the globe. Diana Wolpert won’t get on a plane. Both serve as fly guide ambassadors to assist travelers at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. The Fly Guide Ambassador program is relatively new, beginning in October 2018. The ambassadors

— all volunteers — help guide travelers toward the appropriate TSA line based on their boarding pass as well as direct people to any other amenities the airport offers. Jennifer Sweetland, director of marketing, communications and air service development, said this could include helping travelers find the nursing mother’s room, services for the deaf or hard of

hearing, or services for pets. So, as people step off the escalators on the second floor from the main terminal, Trepanier, of Syracuse, and Wolpert, of Liverpool, wearing large “Ask Me” buttons, are there waiting at the entrance of the security check point to answer questions. “Everyone is really nice,” Trepanier said. “People tell us where they’re going, and I love to see the little ones with their cute carry-ons. When it’s their first time on a plane, they’re so excited.” But as anyone who has traveled knows, just as it’s not always easy to get where you want to go, it can be just as hard to leave from where you’re at. Since starting in this position in November, Trepanier said, it’s actually the more heartbreaking things that stand out. “People saying goodbye, families saying goodbye, then standing and watching as their loved ones go through [the line],” she said. So, the fly guide ambassadors not only offer a little extra travel support, but also a friendly face. Both Trepanier and Wolpert said they saw an advertisement in the newspaper for the position and thought the opportunity would provide another way to get more involved with the community. “The airport is such a unique place and we believe that this program provides folks that are looking to give back with an opportunity to volunteer in an environment that is unlike any other,” Sweetland said.

A different experience For Wolpert, she said that is part of the reason she volunteered: It is different than any of the other work she does. She also volunteers as an usher at all the local theaters; at Beaver Lake, she’s worked at the front desk, its pancake breakfast and wherever needed; and at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, where she has volunteered for special events. She also works part time at the Pitcher Hill Community Church doing office work. “Volunteering takes up a lot of time,” Wolpert said, “but this gets

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you up and moving around.” Similarly, Trepanier wasn’t necessarily in need of anything else to do. A retired first-grade teacher in the Syracuse City School District, she stays busy Monday through Saturday mornings with different aerobic, weights, zumba, and wellness programs around the Syracuse area. “I can’t volunteer in the mornings,” she said laughing. “I do things in the mornings now that I never did in the past.” Trepanier also volunteers at Francis House in Syracuse a few times a month. Along with her husband, she participates in activities for older adults — anything from touring Wegmans to a Pan Am exhibit to the Matilda Joslyn Gage House. “I’m never bored,” she said. She also loves to travel with her husband. Trapenier has been to Italy four times, England and France and Amsterdam. For their 45th wedding anniversary last year, she and her husband went with their two sons and daughters-in-law on an African safari. She also travels the United States to see family. So when she saw the opportunity

to be a fly guide, she thought the airport would be a fun place to be. “It doesn’t hurt if they have a love for aviation,” Sweetland said about the qualities they look for in volunteers. On the flip side, Wolpert won’t get on a plane. “I don’t fly. Some people say, ‘well then why are you at the airport?’” she said. “But, I’ve learned a lot [about the airport] since starting.” The application process is easy and the airport has added the application to the website for convenience, Sweetland said. Currently, there are eight ambassadors, and the airport is actively recruiting more. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and must complete a four-session training process. Outside of her job at the church, Wolpert said volunteering is her favorite thing to do. “It keeps you young, and I want to give back to the community,” she said. “I would be entirely bored at home if I didn’t work part-time or volunteer.” June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS


aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

Dance the Night Away


Folk dance group good for health, inspiration

o you tap your toes when the music starts? Do you wish you could run out to the dance floor alone and be part of a group? Do you want to meet other people who feel the same way? The answer? Folk dancing. When our generation was young, folk dancing was a “thing.” It might not have been your thing at the time, maybe rock ‘n’ roll was, but it is a form of dance that has stood the test of time and geography, and now might be when you should give it a try. Except for ethnic festivals, there are not that many opportunities to folk dance, but there is a group that keeps the traditions from many countries alive, and its members truly welcome newcomers to their group. You would not only be doing yourself a favor, you would be helping to keep a tradition alive in our community. The Syracuse International Folk Dancers website says, “If you love to dance or you love music, you’ll love folk dance. We do Israeli, Balkan, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Scandinavian but mostly Eastern European dances.” What if you haven’t danced before? “It doesn’t matter, all you have to do is want to dance. There are people at all levels of dance, all walks of life and absolute beginners also. This is not a performing group; it is truly just for fun,” the website adds. Karen and Bill Havens and Carmen Giunta function as the organizers for SIFD and would love to have more people join the group. To j o i n , “ j u s t g o t o t h e website http://sifd.kbhavens. com where you’ll also get a sense of the group from pictures posted there. I mentioned that I am a klutz and could not imagine learning the dances,


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Maryellen Casey and Bruce Keplinger, members of Syracuse International Folk Dancers during a recent meeting. Photo provided. most of which are done in a circle. First is to learn the steps, and then the style follows, so being graceful is not that essential. If everyone is going left, you go left,” explained Bill. The group started at Syracuse University in the 1950s and then moved to its present location at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Waring Road in Syracuse. “I liked the idea of ethnic dancing that I saw when attending the Greek Fest, but didn’t feel there was any place where I could dance,” Karen said. “Then I saw an ad in a newspaper for this group and I just turned up. I hadn’t danced since elementary school but after a few times, you just pick up the steps.” “There are hundreds of dances, and you do the ones you want,” she said. “We go to dance camps all over to learn new dances and bring them back here to teach everyone else. “We were recently in Toronto where we have a friend who is 104 that we danced with there. It is really the most fun you can have while exercising. We’re often asked what to wear whatever is comfortable: sweats, tights, and comfortable clothes. Smooth bottomed shoes are best but many dance in sneakers and there are dance socks that can go over regular shoes,” she added. “These types of groups are very

informal,” said Bill. “We have a very anarchistic structure; whoever knows the dance and has the music for it leads a particular dance. Karen and I have danced with groups like this all over the world. In fact, we are on our way to the West Coast soon and will stop in four cities across the country to dance.”

Cohesive bunch Giunta said there are leaders only in the sense of teaching the dances. “We are a very friendly group. Bill is the head of the welcoming committee and he will take you under his wing. You don’t have to have danced before; you can just like to move to music and want to be social. Once you have come to the group three times, you’re hooked,” she said. Are the dances difficult? “There are really, really easy ones that anyone can do,” said Giunta. “But as you get more confident, you’ll want to do more difficult dances, and you can take as much time as you need to learn them. “ F o r d a n c e s t h a t a re m o re complex, you can follow along by dancing outside the circle until you feel confident enough to join in. But if you’re interested in jumping right in, someone will always be glad to teach you.” I attended one evening and spoke

with some of the dancers. Their ages range from 40 to 99-year-old dancer George Kilpatrick. The professional backgrounds of the dancers are varied, with some retired and some still working. The night I attended, there were doctors, professors, schoolteachers, a computer programmer and two therapists. I asked dancer Linda Land why she is so passionate about this group. “I can be utterly exhausted but when I get to the group and hear the first dance, it has an astonishing effect. The music is so compelling and soothing that two hours later, I am totally rested from dancing,” she said. Barbara Cargo, who taught pre-K at Franklin School Elementary in Syracuse and Syracuse University, and Jerry Cargo, a retired math professor from S.U., have been dancing for 30 years. “Once you get acquainted with the music, it just lifts your spirits,” Cargo said. “If you’re a newcomer and you just keep coming, you’ll learn the dances. It is not just good exercise, but you’re doing it with wonderful people. You might feel awkward your first time but the group is so patient and welcoming and not everyone knows or does every dance.” Todd Sullivan worked at IBM for 26 years. He knows a great deal about folk dance and frequently shares his knowledge and teaches dances. Linda DeStefano, who is involved in animal and environmental protection issues, feels that “SIFD is important in order for me to have balance in my life. Dancing is just sheer fun.” Jeff and Tess Freedman joined SIFD three months ago. “We hadn’t danced for 50 years, not since we were in school,” said Jeff They are both college professors and also teach boating classes. “Once we started dancing here, there was a robust and immediate improvement in my balance,” said Jeff. “There is something counter-intuitive in a dance that keeps your brain active and provides a great cardiovascular workout.” The group meets Thursday nights. Generally, 8-9 p.m. is for teaching and learning dances and dancing is featured from 9-10 p.m. There are occasionally some social activities such as a potluck supper. The first night is free and then there is a $5 fee to defray expenses.

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5633 West Genesee St., CamillusJune / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




Does Your Backyard Seem a Little Blah?


It could be due for an upgrade. Learn about 15 new trends

Jim Sollecito, Lifetime Senior NYS Certified Landscape Professional, owner Sollecito Landscaping Nursery LLC, Syracuse.

“Paint something like an old bicycle or something else that doesn’t work that you have tucked in your garage. That becomes a garden whimsy to put a piece of your own personality in your landscape.”

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ugmenting and renovating your landscaping and backyard space adds both pleasure for you and value to your home. Area experts shared what’s trending in area backyards.


“The trend is, everyone wants low maintenance. People are finding out it’s easier to grow a hardy perennial such as yellow archangel where lawn has not flourished than continuing to throw money and products at lawns. “They also want color in their yard. The three hottest groups of plants are, by far, panicle hydrangeas. The newer varieties will knock your socks off. Firelight, Bobo, Zinfin Doll, Pinky Winky, Berry White, Candy Apple, Confetti, Diamond Rouge, Strawberry Shake, and the whole Lavalamp Series will make the color in your garden jump reliably, every year. Panicles were meant for the soil and con-



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ditions of Central New York, you’ll find at least one in all of my landscape designs and installations. “Next on the list are the magnificent and re-blooming Weigelas. These will attract hordes of pollinators into your yard. Check out Czechmark Trilogy, Crimson Kisses, Dark Horse, Maroon Swoon, French Lace and all of the lovely Sonic Bloom Series. These also find their way into my landscapes on a very regular basis.



“Have a deer issue you say and want something compact you don’t have to prune? Then go with the durable and neat dwarf spireas. Take a Magic Carpet ride, or try Double Play Red, Double Play Candy Corn, Double Play Artisian. Deer will walk right by them; they don’t like the way they taste. For something a little taller, check out Tor or Snowmound, white flowers and again, deer don’t like them.


“An overall trend right now in landscaping is edible landscaping. It’s related to the farm-to-table movement and the interest in where our food comes from. We’re seeing people wanting to replace ornamental plants with plants that produce fruits, vegetables and edible flowers and berries. They can harvest from what’s growing in their yards.


“People are adding culinary herbs. Many want to grow them to use in cooking, like oregano and thyme. They’re beautiful and functional.


“Tree fruits are also great. Pawpaw trees are popular. Usually dwarf apple, cherry, and other fruits work better in residential settings.


“At this time in life, people start having more time to landscape and garden more thoughtfully. They can think about what they’re doing and how it impacts the environment.”

Lisa Lickona, coordinator of the Master Gardener program, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County, Syracuse.

Residence Amenities: • Beautifully-designed apartment layout including wood cabinets and flooring


“If you watch birds, pretty much all of them need insects to raise their young, so we need to concentrate on plants that are beneficial to insects. It’s a double-edged sword for most people because most people think, ‘I have bugs in my yard; that’s bad,’ but most insects we see are beneficial or neutral. Few insects are harmful to what we want. If we have a balanced landscape with a lot of native plants, the predators and parasites of harmful insects will be in quantities enough to keep things in control.


“Some people want to wipe out a large section of lawn by replacing it with things that are less maintenance and contribute more to the ecologic balance. Pathways between different areas reduces lawn and maintenance.


“Water features are popular. They can be expensive if you have a landscaper put them in but they add to diversity.” John Piston, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County Master Gardener.


“Pollinators continue to decline so they want better color in their yard and good flowers growing right away and something in bloom into late October. Everyone has a busy garden in July and August. But what could they have earlier and later in the season?

• Eat-in kitchens with full-size, stainless steel appliances • Laundry rooms with full-size washers and dryers • Private porch • Walk-in closets • All utilities and WiFi included • Pocket doors to maximize overall square footage

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“People want container gardening. Some people as they get older aren’t able to get down on their knees, so their plants are coming up. People don’t have huge gardens like 30 years ago. It might be on a porch, patio or by the front steps.


“Birdbaths always fits a need around here. While the style or type might alter slightly, it has to be pretty or else really functional to support birds and wildlife.”

Find out what has made The Nottingham the place to be in Central New York for more than 30 years. Call Marcy Cole at 315.413.3104 to schedule a tour and to reserve your apartment.


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Tim Ballantyne, co-owner Ballantyne Gardens, Liverpool. June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




A Life Passion for Flowers Carmen Cosentino, an Auburn florist, journalist nurtures an award-winning career, cultivates excellence By Mary Beth Roach


armen Cosentino has literally g ro w n u p i n t h e f l o r a l business. Over the decades, he has taken the family’s flower shop, Cosentino’s Florist in Auburn, and made it blossom even more, achieving


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both national and international fame. “I’ve been working here since age 2, I think,” he said with a chuckle. His work has taken him all over the world, lecturing and conducting seminars for other florists. He has been honored with numerous awards

from colleagues in the industry, and he has served on the teams that handled the floral arrangements for four presidential inaugurations. His parents, Carmine and Phyllis, had opened the shop at 141 Dunning Ave. one year before Carmen was born.

They also owned the house next door. It’s the same house that Cosentino, who turns 87 in June, grew up in with his two younger brothers, Robert and Ronald; the same house where he and his wife, Anne Marie, raised their family, and the same house he still lives in today. The couple has four children, Guy, Russell, Julie Anne, and Jessica. Julie Anne died in 1981 at the age of 11 of brain cancer. Jessica works side-by-side with her dad, preparing to take the family shop into the next generation. Cosentino always knew he wanted to be a florist. However, before he entered the business world, his mother was adamant about having her children become college-educated. He went to college at Cornell University, majoring in horticulture with a minor in agriculture journalism. Upon graduation, most florists were working long hours, competing for business and replicating one another, he said. “Way back then, I just decided that there was going to be more than that.” He was soon to find out that there was indeed more in store for him. Shortly after he and Anne Marie married in 1962, his mother sold them the business. “In the early ‘60s, we remodeled the store, and it caught the eye of the FTD [Florists’ Transworld Delivery] rep in this area,” he recalled. So much so, that the FTD magazine at that time did a story about the shop. His association with FTD would set him on a course that would alter his career. He was hired to do seminars for the floral company and did that for about a decade. In the mid-1980s, his associate at FTD had moved over to Teleflora and offered him a job conducting similar programs. He would go on to do about 300 seminars over the next 10 years, meeting other florists and traveling extensively. Although he was the teacher at the seminars, he picked up many ideas from others in the industry. “A teacher always learns,” he said. And what he learned enabled him and the business to adapt to and keep current with changes in the floral business. “I came up with ideas constantly that we could talk over. My wife was

very, very good at going along with suggestions, as is this one,” he said, with a nod to daughter Jessica, who has been running the shop with her father for about 10 years. Anne Marie died seven years ago. Adjusting to the changes in the field has brought about changes in the shop.

were able to meet the first ladies. The Cosentinos have received numerous accolades from those in the industry. In 1998, Cosentino was named to the Society of American Florists’ Floriculture Hall of Fame. Ten years later, he received the “Tommy Bright Honors” award for his work and dedication in educating florists in the United States and Canada. The award is named for Ethel “Tommy” Bright, who, in the late 1930s, began what is now known as the American Floral Art School. In 2016, the shop was named “Teleflora Company of the Year” and Cosentino received the Tom Butler Award, Florist of the Year. Butler had been president of Teleflora and a long-time friend of Cosentino. “To be honored amongst those peers is huge, especially when you’re a small business,” Jessica remarked.

Green thumbs unite

Exploring journalism

Originally, the family had started the business as a garden center, with two-thirds of an acre of greenhouse space, and they grew a lot of their own flowers and bedding plants. Over time, he explained, they have transformed and are handling more and more cut flowers; expanded the inventory to include small gift items, plush animals, balloons, and fudge, which is made at the shop’s kitchen; and several years ago, at Jessica’s urging, they renovated to include a wedding room, where they can meet with brides and plan arrangements and bouquets. His experience also earned him and his wife invitations to help with the floral arrangements for the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, one for Bill Clinton and two for George W. Bush. The Society of American Florists teamed up with the presidential inaugural committees, and the Cosentinos were selected out of 100 floral businesses to do the work. There is one florist selected who does the original designs, he explained, and the others follow his creation. Not only did they have the honor of doing the flowers, but the Cosentinos were also invited to the White House for tea after the ceremonies, and they

In addition to his work at the shop and his travels, Cosentino has also been a writer, putting his college studies in agricultural journalism to work. He began writing columns about the care and handling of flowers in Floral Management and Professional Floral Designer magazines. For the past 10 years, he has been writing a column for the Auburn Citizen, titled “Flowers, Plants and Things,” on a wide array of topics, anywhere from how a flowerpot is made to how to cook cabbage. Cosentino knows something about cooking. It’s one of his favorite hobbies, and he picked up a taste of some exotic dishes during his world travels. “When he came home, we didn’t just eat Italian food. We hardly ever ate Italian. We ate Indian, Lebanese, and African foods. Curry was always in the household. For me, growing up, it was always very cultured,” his daughter noted. Although he’s been a leader in the floral industry for years, Cosentino still sees himself as what he calls “an old-fashioned florist.” “I never miss an order. The phone is by my bed. And the calls come in at 3 a.m.,” he said.

Carmen Cosentino’s experience has earned him invitations to help with the floral arrangements for the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, one for Bill Clinton and two for George W. Bush.

June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




Regenerating Excitement Artist Nancy Pfeiffer of Manlius turns the past into now By Laura McLoughlin


ancy Pfeiffer loves to use her hands, and at 59 years old, she’s not afraid to try something new. Her resume includes owning a restaurant, decorative blacksmithing and learning to play the cello. She also quilts, oil paints and is dedicated to keeping a vintage Airstream RV — and its accents — in the period of the 1970s. “You got to do what you love. And I allow myself the luxury to know that I might not do something forever,” she said. “But, my God, I just want to learn how things work. That’s how I got into the cello.” Pfeiffer, of Manlius, took some time and learned the cello as part of


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the Salt City New Horizons adult orchestra, based in Chittenango. “Now, I might repurpose it into something else,” she said about the instrument. Which is exactly what she does now. She gives old things — mostly furniture — a new purpose. And she’s self-taught. Looking back, she said her father was a woodworker, and her mother enjoyed refinishing furniture. Pfeiffer watched them as a child and picked up the basics. “But, it’s also amazing what you can learn from the internet,” she said. “And mistakes. The best way to learn is from mistakes. The happy accidents — thank you, [American painter and

Nancy Pfeiffer, owner of Tipplers Teacup in Manlius, refinishes an old side table with Country Chic chalk paint. Courtesy of Jennifer Reed Photography. television host] Bob Ross.” She started refinishing furniture at home. “I found that I really like chalk painting,” Pfeiffer said. Soon, a hobby became a business, and she opened Tipplers Teacup. Tipplers Teacup is a booth in the multi-vendor shop Eclectic Chic, in Oneida Castle, where she sells the furniture she repurposed. She is also a vendor of Country Chic paint, her favorite line of eco-friendly chalk paint from Canada. Her shop name, Tipplers Teacup, is a play on words. “A tippler is a drinker. The name implies there’s probably not tea in the teacup,” Pfeiffer said. “Meaning, I may look one way, but I’m always doing something different. I love to craft, build, and sing, so I picked a name that shows that I’m kind of unpredictable.” The pieces she refinishes are un-

Nancy Pfeiffer at Tipplers Teacup in Manlius. She sells furniture she repurposes and is also a vendor of Country Chic paint, her favorite line of eco-friendly chalk paint from Canada. Courtesy of Jennifer Reed Photography. predictable, too. She loves it because she can do anything. “You can decoupage, and you can paint something any color,” she said. She took a photo of an Ombre sky at dusk that she keeps on her phone with plans to recreate the pinks, purples and blues on a piece of furniture.

Source of inspiration “You can take inspiration from anything,” she said. “And, if you don’t like it, just repaint it.” Which, admittedly, is why she loves chalk paint — it’s easy to work with. “Although, your finish is only as good as your prep work,” Pfeiffer said. Applying chalk paint requires a clean, smooth surface, but sanding is unnecessary. Before Pfeiffer applies a layer of paint, the surface must be repaired — if needed — and completely clean. Then she can apply the paint. Also, she wants to teach and inspire people how to do this themselves at classes and demonstrations. At the BYOP (bring your own piece) event, people are given the approximate size of the item to bring and Tipplers Teacup supplies the materials. From there, she walks her students

through the process. “It isn’t just painting a piece of furniture,” Pfeiffer said. “I want people to not have to go out and buy a new piece of furniture.” Soon, she plans to expand her business venture to include studio space at The Yard in Manlius. This space will be used to work on custom furniture commissions as well as pieces to sell at her booth. She also wants to teach in this new space and invite other artists to do the same in a variety of mediums. As she looked through before-and-after photos of the furniture she’s refinished, her excitement grew talking about the pieces she wants to do next. But as someone who truly appreciates artistry and creativity of all kinds, she gets talking about any of her accomplishments over the years. “I just want to learn something new every year. I’m filling my bucket list,” she said. “I have a few things left to go on my bucket list.” Which means at 59, she’s not slowing down any time soon. “I haven’t picked my foreign language yet. I still have to learn a language,” she said. Learn more about Tipplers Teacup at

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life after 55 By Michele Reed


A Walk in the Park, with a French Flair

ew York City has its Central Park and Washington, D.C., has The Mall. Here in our adopted city of Béziers, France, we have the Plateau des Poetes, or the Park of the Poets. This magnificent park links the train station with the Allées Paul Riquet, the pedestrian walkway dedicated to native son Pierre-Paul Riquet, who engineered the Canal du Midi for Louis XIV. As visitors exit the train station, they are met by a huge war memorial sculpted by Béziers artist Jean Antoine Injalbert to honor those fallen in World War I. The monumental sculpture sets the tone for a stroll through a very cultured greenspace with an eye to French history and literature. Constructed in 1867 and designed in the style of an English garden, the park covers five acres, a sea of green in the middle of the medieval city. For the city fathers who built it, it was a means to lure visitors to spend some time in the city, rather than hop a train down the line to Nice or Marseille. For us, it means a nearby space to enjoy a bit of nature, when we’re in town to buy cheese, olives and vegetables at the farmers’ market or to do our banking. The park is an arboretum, home to hundreds of species of plants and trees, all labeled. There is a dovecote and an enclosure for pheasants, but the centerpiece — and my personal favorite — is the swan pond, home to a family of swans, as well as ducks, geese and other waterbirds. Often we’re there at lunchtime, when we’re treated to an unusual sight. The municipal police patrol the park all day, often in groups of two or three. One policeman spends his lunch hour “walking” one of the swans. He snaps his fingers and the big male swan comes over to the wrought iron fence that marks the


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perimeter of the pond enclosure. As the policeman strolls along the pathway on the outside of the fence, the swan follows along on his own side of the barrier, sometimes stopping to play a little game. The policeman sticks out his foot while the bird pecks crumbs off the man’s shoes. Once they have made a circuit of the entire pond, and doubled back again, the policeman rewards his feathery friend with a piece of baguette. Then the cop goes back to his patrol of the park. Peacocks patrol the park, too. We’ve been surprised by their squawking

Photo by Bill Reed

voices, and the sudden sight of them coming around a rhododendron bush. They are beautiful birds, with iridescent feathers of blue and green, but their voices are not so lovely! All year long, the park sports floral displays, planted and tended by park workers according to the season. The weather here in the south is so mild, that even in winter, some species of plants maintain their flowers. But the heart of the park, from which it gets its name, are the statues of the poets. Prominent among them is Victor Hugo, the author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “Les Misérables.” The famous French author is surrounded by a small garden of flowers and his statue faces several benches where Béziers

Victor Hugo, author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Misérables”, is just one of the many poets and writers honored by Béziers in the city’s central park.

residents and visitors share picnic lunches, read books or simply relax, while contemplating the nature and literary figures surrounding them. Another local poet, Jean Laurés, was a poet of the people. A farmer, he worked on the land during the day, and wrote his poetry at night. A new section of the park focuses on modern poets. I was pleased to find a woman author represented. Jeanne Barthes founded a literary review in the late 1930s and ’40s, and wrote sketches, comedies and dramas in the local language of Occitan. Dominating the skyline of the park, and visible from most of its walkways, is a huge fountain, The Titan by Injalbert. It is topped with a statue of Atlas holding up the world, and from its base, decorated with statues of Poseidon and his daughter, a nymph, flow streams of water, cascading in mini-waterfalls to the swan pond below. Where the park joins the heart of the city, the current administration has invested in even more reasons to keep visitors enjoying the centre-ville. This year, they erected Le Grand Roux, or the big wheel, a 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel, with views of the entire valley of the Orb River. Nearby, a series of jets spring up from the ground, accompanied by a light show and music at night, providing warm weather amusement for tourists and a never-ending source of fun for local children. On the day before we left to return to Oswego, we strolled through the park, enjoying the swans and sculptures and ending up at our favorite café for a glass of rosé (served the French way, with ice cubes), to toast a speedy return to our adopted home.

Editor’s Note: 55 PLUS columnist Michele Reed has a story included in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book: “Life Lessons from the Dog.” The piece — “The Hot Dog Thief” — tells the story of Reed and husband Bill’s son›s rescued hound, Jerome, whose love of cured meats led him to a life of thievery. A portion of the proceeds is donated to American Humane and the book is available at the river’s end bookstore in Oswego as well as online.

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druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger Email:

Bingo at Turning Stone Casino ‘I was there to win… but I didn’t’


ambling is not one of my main activities. Occasionally I buy scratch-off lottery tickets, but I rarely win anything. My favorite lottery ticket is the $2 Bingo Doubler ticket. Even though I don’t win, I enjoy scratching off the numbers and hoping for the best. Recently, some friends of mine, Patti and Sam, lured me into playing bingo at Turning Stone Casino in Verona. I drove there from Syracuse on the Thruway, eager for a new experience. I parked in a lot outside the casino building and entered the casino and walked down a long hallway to the bingo hall. My friends arrived at about 11:30 a.m. and Patti guided me through the process of admission. There are three levels of rewards, $250, $500 and $1,000. I decided to go for broke and bought the highest level ticket, hoping to win $1,000. I also got a new member card, in case I wanted to lose money on the slot machines. I received $10 of free play as a new member. Long ago, I was at a casino briefly. Things have changed dramatically since then. Instead of putting pennies, nickels or quarters into the slot machine, the process is electronic. I slide my card into a slot, which immediately lights up in green. “Welcome Marvin” flashes on a screen. I select my bet and push a button. The machine does the rest. It took me less than three minutes to lose the $10 of free play on the slot machines. The bingo hall is enormous and there were hundreds of players at long tables. When I saw so many players, I decided that my chance of winning anything was very slim. I had a stack of bingo sheets and a booklet telling the order of the games. Each sheet had nine different sets of numbers. Each game was different. Sometimes, a winner had to fill in all the numbers. Sometimes, a double row,


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or cross pattern, would be a winner. A “caller” would use a spinning machine to randomly select balls with numbers from one to 75. The numbers would flash on a screen before being announced on a loudspeaker. If one of your numbers was called, you would stamp that number on your bingo sheet. The numbers were called at a fairly rapid rate, and I would sometimes miss marking a number. Patti sat next to me and corrected my errors. On one occasion, a lady sitting opposite me at the long table noticed that I missed a number and she told me so. I could barely read my numbers right side up, yet she spotted my error upside down from the other side of the table. I was told that Patti sometimes monitors two sheets at the same time. When playing bingo, experience counts. I enjoyed observing the players. Apparently, many are regulars. We sat among such a group. Nobody won any bingos, but nobody seemed to care.

They were there to play the game and not to win. I was there to win… but I didn’t. No conversation was possible when the numbers were being called. Playing bingo was not a social experience. I like to talk to people, but I couldn’t. The rapid pace of the numbercalling and the intense concentration required left me speechless — and sometimes confused. Without the help of Patti, I would have messed things up badly. The casino offers free soft drinks, coffee and tea. There is a café nearby where food can be purchased at reasonable prices. Some people ate snacks and lunch at the table. I saw one person at another table reading a book while she played. I was so busy trying to keep things straight that I didn’t buy any food. I expected to play bingo for about an hour, and then go home. I stayed for all the games, until they ended at about 4:30 p.m. If you have problems, bingo at the

casino will ease your anxieties. You become absorbed in the games, and there is always that glimmer of hope that you may win big. As usual, I found that people were very nice and friendly. The regulars would play stone-faced, until someone yelled “bingo!” Then, there was a slight murmur of excitement in the room. Nobody really seemed to expect to win. They were just there to play, and — perhaps — forget some problems at home or at work. Bingo is excellent mental therapy. Your mind is too busy focusing on the bingo sheets to think about anything else. There was an attendant in each area of the room. During the course of the games, a giant wheel was spun with the names of the attendants encircling it. If the wheel stopped at your attendant’s name, everyone in that area would win five bingo dollars that could be put toward admission in the future. The spin of the wheel stopped at “caller.” Which meant that everyone playing bingo received five bingo dollars. I was thrilled to win something. When I left the casino, I couldn’t find the parking lot where my car was parked. I roamed around for about 20 minutes, until I spotted a parking valet. He escorted me to my car. Instead of giving him a monetary tip, I gave him one of my trademark magnifiers in a plastic case. “It’s worth more than money,” I told him. Then, I pushed my favorite button on my GPS (named Carla), i.e., “Go home.” Carla guided me along the Thruway to Syracuse, while I listened to the Beatles on Sirius radio. I find it a bit depressing to gamble, mainly because I never seem to win any money. Once, in Las Vegas, I played slots in a casino. I said to a cab driver, “Gee, everyone seems to win, except me.” He replied, “If everyone won, there wouldn’t be a Las Vegas.” Some people are lucky and do win money, but, in the long run, the casino wins overall. Despite my lack of success, I could immerse myself in the games, and I may well go again. When playing bingo, I decided that I didn’t lose money. I just don’t win any. A positive, optimistic attitude helps. Be confident — and lucky — and you may win something after all or, at least, get your mind off any troubles you may have.

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The oldest covered bridge in New York that continues to carry motor vehicle traffic. It’s located in Newfield, south of Ithaca. S-4B Scout which was manufactured in Ithaca during WW I. The Hanger Theater also has images of “Tommy.” In nearby Newfield there is the 115-foot long covered bridge built in 1851 across a branch of the Cayuga inlet for a total cost of $800. It is the oldest covered bridge in New York that continues to carry motor vehicle traffic. The 1890 House Museum located on Tompkins Street in Cortland was built in 1890 for industrialist Chester F. Wickwire, who lived in the home from 1890 until his death in 1910. Art: The building that houses the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the Cornell campus is in itself a work of art. It was designed by I. M. Pei so as to not block a view of Cayuga Lake while offering a panoramic view of the area. The museum’s collections represent of all genres of art. The visible-storage gallery provides visitors with an appreciation of the scope of the museum’s outstanding permanent collection. The installation of more than 1,100 objects provides an opportunity to study a large number of related works of art up close. Ithaca’s State of the Art Gallery is a cooperative exhibiting new works of art as does Handwork and the John Hartell Galley. The North Star Art Gallery features primarily contemporary realism in a variety of media as does the Corners Gallery. There is no shortage of live performances to enjoy. The Hangar Theater is a nonprofit, regional theater with a variety of presentations, including Broadway productions. The State Theater, of Ithaca, an historic, 1600-seat theater hosts various events from bands, to plays, to comedy acts, to silent films, and more. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cornell University and Ithaca College also have great live productions. The Kitchen Theater Company is an intimate 99-seat venue showcasing new and familiar plays. Waterfalls: A f i c i o n a d o s o f waterfalls will be in seventh heaven as the county is home to many beautiful waterfalls including the 215-foot Taughannock Falls, the



Things to Do in ‘Gorges’ County

Home to Cornell University, Tompkins County offers a wide array of entertainment options By Sandra Scott


ocated at the tip of Cayuga Lake, Tompkins County is truly ‘gorge’ous.’ The many gorges are home to a variety of stunning waterfalls. The county seat, Ithaca, is a bustling college town, with many art galleries, museums, theaters and cultural attractions. The county is home to four New York state parks that offer a plethora of activities for the outdoor enthusiast.


Get an education: Wherever there are institutions of higher learning there are bound to be cultural activities along with educational 48

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opportunities. Ithaca is home to both Cornell and Ithaca College. The Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center at Cornell is the best place for visitors to start their exploration of the campus. Take one of their walking tours. Ithaca College also offers campus tours. Tompkins Cortland Community College is a two-year college that has an open house in the spring. All institutions of higher learning offer classes for nonmatriculated learners. Historical: The Tompkins Center for History and Culture has moved to 10 N. Tioga St. in Ithaca. One display features the “Tommy” plane, a Thomas-Morse



highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rockies. Popular Buttermilk Falls has a natural swimming pool at the bottom of the falls where, during the summer, swimming is allowed. There are many more falls including Lucifer Falls, Triphammer Falls and Ithaca Falls. For the birds: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation and conservation of birds. It is housed in the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary. The visitors’ center observatory features a 30-foot wall of windows with spotting scopes. The Bartels Theater shows high-definition movies about birds and nature. A sound studio and kiosks educate visitors about bird and animal sounds. Two huge murals can also be found on observatory walls. There are four miles of walking trails where more than 230 species of birds have been recorded. Libations: Tompkins County is in the Finger Lakes region where the conditions are perfect for wineries. There are several, including Six Mile Creek Vineyard, Ithaca’s oldest and housed in a 19th century Dutch colonial barn. They also produce vodka, gin and a full line of Italian-inspired products. Ithaca Beer Company has grown from a small brew house to a major brewery. South Hill Cider ferments traditional heirloom cider apples along with wild apples collected locally. Most wineries are part of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. Lake fun: If you don’t have your own boat, kayak, or canoe (you can rent a kayak or canoe from Puddledockers) then a boat tour is a must. MV Teal offers a variety of interpretive lake tours and the fare goes to support lake access and education for children. Ithaca Boat Tours offers a wide variety of narrated boat tours including a sunset cruise. Myers Park has a large boat marina and three paved launching ramps. Nature: With several parks and wilderness areas there are ample places to commune with nature. The Cascadilla Gorge trail follows the Cascadilla Creek as it drops 400 feet from the campus to downtown Ithaca where sedimentary rock from 400 million years ago is exposed. The Cornell Botanic Gardens consist of 25 acres of botanical gardens and 150 acres in the F.R. Newman Arboretum.




Ithaca Children’s Garden is an awardwinning three-acre public children’s garden designed for kids. Events: No matter the season, there is always a reason for a special event. The Apple Harvest Festival is one of the biggest followed by the Ice Festival, Chowder Cook-off, Summer Concert Series, and Gallery nights. Welcome Students Weekend is another occasion for an event. Visitors can expect food and music. There are several farmers’ markets. Atlas Obscura: Explore earth and its prehistoric past at The Museum of the Earth. The Wilder Brain Collection has more than 600 human brains collected years ago with some on display. The Sagan Planet Walk, named after Cornell professor Carl Sagan, is a 1:5 billion scale model of our solar system. Visitors can stroll through Gourdlandia and learn about the art and science of gourd cultivation.



The Wilder Brain Collection has more than 600 human brains.

Ithaca Boat Tours offers a wide variety of narrated boat tours including a sunset cruise.


The Cornell Botanic Gardens consist of 25 acres of botanical gardens and 150 acres in the F.R. Newman Arboretum. June / July 2019 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Ann Hoadley, 86 Liverpool volunteer recognized as Onondaga Senior of the Year You were selected as the Onondaga County Senior of the Year. What was your reaction when you got that news? Totally dumbfounded. It wasn’t anything I had any idea of. I was not aware that my name had been submitted. Your name was submitted by the officials at Hospice of Central New York. How long have you been volunteering at hospice? Nine years.

media]. I’ve done the Rescue Mission, for a while I volunteered at one of the stores. They’re wonderful people to work with. What have you done at Beaver Lake? I retired on July 1, and I still go back when they have special events. My first introduction to it was being a room mother, and I took the kids there. I’ve been there about 25-30 years, off and on. We had always taken our kids there on weekends to walk. When I

had more time, I continued to go there after my husband passed on, and that was very pleasant to me. I love the outdoors. It’s extremely peaceful. And I had some wonderful people that I worked with. The last five years, another girl and I decided we could manage the gift shop voluntarily, so that’s what I did for the last five years. And I loved it. What is it about volunteering that you enjoy? I think we all need to feel being needed. And I think volunteering is one way that I get that. And other people that I know have felt the same way. I think we’re put on this earth to help others. I was brought up that way. It’s the only way that I have of giving out of myself. I think that’s very important.

What are your some of your responsibilities? Whatever they need me to do. Basically, my job here is to take care of the supplies that come in for the nurses and make sure that they’re put away correctly. But sometimes they have mailings, and I do those. And I help out with the programs that they have. Sometimes at night they have a special program for people who have lost loved ones, and I usually come in and help with that. What prompted you to volunteer with hospice? When my husband was ill, the last months, hospice came in and they were a great help to me. And I have a very good friend who came here. Her husband died two years before mine, and she insisted I had to come here, so she even brought me the paperwork to fill out. I have learned so much. It’s been a blessing to me to have this place to come. I’ve met such nice people, just caring and loving people. Do you volunteer any other place? Beaver Lake Nature Center has been my most. I have 10,500 hours that I’ve given them over the years. I’m still going off and on to WCNY [Central New York’s member-supported public 50

55 PLUS - June / July 2019

Ann Hoadley was honored in May as the Onondaga County Senior of the Year, having been nominated by Hospice of Central New York in recognition of her years of service there. Staff estimate that Hoadley, a former nurse, has volunteered more than 2,000 hours in the nine years she been with the hospice. She has also volunteered with other area organizations, including the Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville for several decades, beginning when her children were young and continuing on long after they’d grown. The Senior of the Year event is sponsored by Onondaga Elders, Inc. and the Onondaga County Office for Aging.



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