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Community theatre allows seniors to grow and share life experiences BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER Carol Mills confesses to being surprised when she encounters a professed theater lover who has never heard of the Mounds View Community Theatre (MVCT). As house manager and member of its Board of Directors, she expects this summer’s musical offering will bring much-deserved notoriety to the group, which is celebrating 30 years of quality performances and community enrichment. Opening on July 12 is the regional premiere of “Les Misérables,” the longest-running musical in history, and one that has not been available to community theater until now. “Where else can you see ‘Les Misérables’ performed for less than $20?” Mills said. “It’s an old story that is still relevant today. This will be an exciting, community-building event.” Fellow board member Sally Cameron shares Mills’ hope that “Les Misérables” will further the theatre’s reputation for quality performances.

“It’s quite a feat, and great for the acting community. They have not been able to be in this show, so they are excited for the opportunity. We will have amazing talent,” Cameron said. According to Cameron, when the board found out that the rights were finally available for “Les Misérables,” they jumped at the opportunity. “The Orpheum is doing it in August,” Cameron said. “They asked for the rights after they had been granted to us, so we got to keep it.” Both Mills and Cameron got involved with MVCT through their children. Mills’ daughter, who is currently training with famed comedy outfit The Second City in Chicago, performed in multiple shows with MVCT before going on to earn an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. After her daughter moved, Mills, a local school teacher, stayed on the Board of Directors and became house manager. Cameron got involved the second year the theater was open when her son performed in “Oklahoma!” She could see him maturing and growing through the experience.” THEATRE - TO PAGE 5

The Mounds View Community Theatre draws seniors from all over the metro area. Pictured here is Edina resident Rick Treece as Jacob in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

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Mature Lifestyles • Thursday, April 18, 2013 Page 3

Let the good times


L Jack Cotter and Betty Finnie dance-skate together during Active Older Adult skate at Skateville in Burnsville. BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER For the seniors who meet weekly at Skateville, it can feel as though each pass around the oval-shaped wooden rink turns back the clock, reversing the aging process. Manager Florance Adams first began the “Active Older Adult” skate at the Burnsville rink almost 24 years ago to share her love of the sport. Since then, it has grown into a twice-a-week mainstay in the lives of regulars who come from all around the Twin Cities. “We’re the only ones offering this type of entertainment,” Adams said. “It began with eight people and grew from there. Five or six of the original members are still here. Over the years we’ve gained some and lost some.” “Active Older Adult Skate” takes place 7-9:30 p.m. Monday evenings and 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings. Seniors of all ages may be found lacing up their own skates and hitting the rink to a varied array of traditional and contemporary music, including ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll, waltzes, polkas, marches, foxtrots and tangos.

At the end of the skate on Mondays, the seniors take off their wheels and put on their street shoes for line and ballroom dancing. Once a month, a big band performs live and allows the seniors to try out their steps. When Adams isn’t managing Skateville, she is probably on the rink practicing her own skills. For more than 22 years, she has competed all around the country in team dance, solo dance and figure skating. She was inspired to take up skating after taking her kids on a field trip to the skating rink. “I had no idea that grown-ups skated,” she said. “I stumbled around for a few years, but pretty soon I was one of them.” The seniors who regularly attend the Skateville senior skates are more than sharing the floor with one another. They’ve grown into a family. “The camaraderie is wonderful. It’s a social gathering. We have pot lucks a couple of times a year,” she said. “Sometimes young whippersnappers in their 40s join us.” Betty Finnie of Apple Valley has attended the Active Older Adult skate since

it began. She believes the welcoming atmosphere makes Skateville a special place for seniors. “We are a senior group; however it is not unusual to have younger skaters join us,” Finnie said. “We get a lot of compliments about being such a friendly group. It’s a great place to get your exercise and be with people. When people come in alone, they’re not alone long.” Don Pau of Bloomington will frequently show up to a skate wearing a Tshirt that reads, “I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.” “I’m an active senior. I’m either an old 39 or a young 81 years old,” he said. Paul started skating as a kid, working at a local rink for $1 a night and free admission. He left skating for 30 years while raising his family, but came back to it 20 years ago. Now he rarely misses an opportunity lace up and go. “If you don’t get exercise you fade away,” Paul said. “It keeps you young, vigorous. The most pathetic thing is to sit around and complain about aches and pains. My exercise gives me everything my body needs. If more people under-


stood this there would be fewer people in nursing homes. Keeping active extends life and your enjoyment of it.” Paul is quick to encourage fellow seniors not to be afraid of falling. “Medical science proves that the more exercise you do, the stronger you are, and the less likely you are to break something. Keep muscles in tone and your knees won’t wear out,” said Paul. “I’m 80 and I’ve got all my own original parts.” Jack Cotter drives twice a week from Fridley to take part in the active older adult skates. “The floor is magnificent. It’s a nice, big wood floor, probably the best floor in the city,” he said. “Florance plays really nice music. Between the floor, music and nice, congenial crowd, it’s a great social outlet.” Skateville is located at 201 S. River Ridge Circle in Burnsville. For more information on skate sessions or lessons for all ages, call 952-890-0988. Contact Emily Hedges at

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Disc golf: a sport that is challenging, fun and cheap BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER Steve Streff likes to get in a quick nine holes after work or on the weekends. From the first tee, he judges the distance to the hole, reaches in his bag for a driver, positions his feet to give the maximum distance, and lets it go. A flying saucer of white plastic spins through the air, landing a few feet from the metal basket. It’s a nice shot. For golfers like Streff, trading in clubs for discs makes for the ideal sport. “I can drive to the course, play a round and drive home in an hour,” the Golden Valley resident said. “You buy one disc for $7 and you’re set. A few courses are starting to charge, but the majority are free.” Disc golf is a sport that can be played either competitively or just for fun. A player aims a disc similar to a Frisbee at targets with baskets attached. Similar to traditional ball golf, the player will keep track of how many attempts it takes to get the disc into the target basket. Discs fall into three main categories: putters, mid-range discs and drivers. “Each has different edges on the lip,” Streff said. “Putters are more squared off so they float. He explained that drivers have different stability ratings. If you throw a disc on a straight, flat line and it continues to fly straight, it has a stability rating of zero. Discs that fade right (“understable”) are given a negative, numerical rating based on the degree of turn; and discs that fade left (“overstable”) are given an positive numerical rating. As with golf clubs, the player selects the best disc to reach the target. Discs are made out of several different types of plastic, but are usually thicker and firmer than a traditional Frisbee. As a kid, Streff recalls playing around with Frisbees, but he didn’t discover disc golf until he moved to Minnesota 20 years ago. “My family hadn’t moved here yet,” he said. “Someone suggested disc golf, and I took to it. It gave me something to do that was cheap and got me out of the house. Now two decades later, he still loves to play, especially new courses when he travels. “I’ve played 72 courses, mostly around here. I’ve played a lot in the Midwest region and some in California,” he said. “I almost played in Alaska, but the taxi was

going to cost me $40 each way.” Streff’s favorite place to play is near his home at Bassett Creek Park in Crystal. He especially enjoys going there with his four sons and their families. “My sons play disc golf, and a couple have their own discs,” he said. “We love to go to the park. We’ll throw Frisbees. Sometimes we kayak. It’s just a lot of fun.” Rick “Viper” Sanders shares Streff’s love of Bassett Creek Park’s nine-hole course. He has served as tournament director for the annual Bassett Creek Open disc golf tournament for five years. The tournament, sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association, offers the lowest tier competition level to all ages. This year it took place on April 6. Sanders became interested in the sport back in 2002, when he noticed that the pond at North Valley Park was full of discs. “I put on my waders and pulled them out of the water for fun. Most had names and numbers on the back, so I started calling the owners and returning them.” Sanders said that the golfers he met paid him back with knowledge. “They were all helpful and friendly and taught me about the game,” he said. Getting to meet good people is one of the main reasons Sanders loves playing disc golf. “The interaction with the public is the biggest reason. It’s great to see new people out trying the sport. It’s a great sport to get into and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg,” said Sanders. “It’s competitive, but it’s really about having fun.” Bassett Creek Park is located 6001 32nd Ave. N. in Crystal. Contact Emily Hedges at Emily.hedges@

• Ace: known as a hole in one in ball golf. • Anhyzer: A disc’s flight arc that fades to the right for a right-handed backhand throw. • Drive: any throw off of the tee pad, or a throw from the fairway designed for maximum distance.

Steve Streff lines up his shot on a local disc golf course. The Golden Valley resident first became interested in the sport nearly a decade ago.

DISC GOLF TERMS • Hyzer: A disc’s flight arc that fades to the left for the right-handed backhand throw.

• Mini/Marker: A small disc used to mark a player’s lie. • Pole hole or basket: The target for catching the disc

• Putt: The final throw(s) of the hole aimed at getting your disc to come to rest in the trapper basket. Any throw within the circle (10 meter radius). • Roller: A rolling disc advance (e.g., the disc rolls along the ground). (Source: Disc Golf Association website,

Mature Lifestyles • Thursday, April 18, 2013 Page 5

Theatre FROM PAGE 1 “That’s when she realized the impact that community theater could have on people of all ages. “We look at the theater as intergenerational,” she said. “As mature adults, we want to share our experiences with the next generation through all areas of theater. Whether it’s volunteering to sell tickets, putting up posters, building sets, gathering props or selling ads, volunteerism is important.” Diane Wuori, operations chair for MVCT, credits the age diversity of its participants as a key to the longevity of the group. “We often observe younger volunteers learning new skills from the more experienced volunteers. Our patron survey shows that seniors are a large percentage of our audience and are involved in all aspects of our productions from actors and musicians to light operators and ushers,” said Wuori. It is Mills’ job to coordinate volunteers to meet the needs of each summer production. She believes this is one important way MVCT is able to achieve its mission

to provide quality musical theater at an affordable price for people in the metro area. “I work a lot with volunteers,” Mills said. “Seniors love to come and usher. They do a gracious job greeting people and taking tickets. I have seniors who have dibs on certain performances. If you didn’t call them for help, they’d be very disappointed.” In addition to offering senior discounts and hearing-assistance devices, MVCT caters to its senior patrons by hosting “Senior Appreciation Day” each summer with complimentary punch and cupcakes. “We love to pamper and take care of them when they come. We get lots of groups –the Red Hats, retirement communities,” said Mills. “Seniors are the ones who really appreciate musical theater.” For ticket and casting information, go to The Mounds View Community Theatre performs at Irondale High School in New Brighton. “Les Misérables” runs from July 12-28. The production is made possible in part by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Additional donors or sponsors are always welcome and appreciated. Contact Emily Hedges at Emily.hedges@

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Seniors frequently take on leading roles in Mounds View Community Theatre performances. Pictured here is Mounds View resident Mary Kay Walsh-Kaczmarek performing as Mrs. Potipher in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

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Seeing the world through the eyes of an artist BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER Kay Faust sees the world differently than other people. When the Chanhassen senior looks out her apartment window and sees a winter tree, she doesn’t describe it as “brown,” as most people probably would. She notices the red undertones of the bark and begins to imagine how she could capture it with oil and canvas. “Teaching people to see what they were looking at is inspiring as a teacher,” said Faust, who taught community art classes for almost 30 years. “You have to know color, composition and have a sense for things. This has always come automatically to me.” Faust earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art and English from St. Cloud State University. She used it to land the job as art teacher for Minnetonka’s community education program when the youngest of her six children was in kindergarten.

This oil painting of trumpeter swans is Chanhassen painter Kay Faust’s favorite of all her work. Soon, she was teaching in Chaska as well. “I’ll never make money selling paintings,” said Faust, who has sold one painting in the last year and donated four. “Teaching is how artists make money at it. I loved it. It was a perfect job to have with six children.” After three decades, the physical demands of the job finally forced her to retire. Since then, she has enjoyed teaching her own family how to use oils and watercolors to see and capture the world around them. Faust enjoys painting all types of subjects, but she especially loves capturing new places. Whenever she goes on vacation, she takes along a traveling art kit and captures scenes around her. “I always paint where I’ve been,” she said. She says that her favorite painting is usually the last one she’s finished. However, if pressed, she will point to a large, framed oil painting hanging on a wall in her office of three trumpeter swans.

“Anyone can paint them in flight,” she said. “To capture them like this is special.” Faust used to frequently display her artwork in places like the Chanhassen Community Center, local coffee shops and wineries, and once at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum after winning an award. Now, the heavy lifting involved in transporting and hanging the displays makes it impossible these days for the 79-year-old. “There’s no place really to hang and sell the paintings, so they pile up,” she said. “But I can’t stop. My kids are loaded up.” She and her husband are considering short-term rental space in Chanhassen to host an exhibit for the countless paintings that have filled their home. For more information about Kay Faust’s artwork, the artist may be reached at Contact Emily Hedges at

Mature Lifestyles • Thursday, April 18, 2013 Page 7

Hearing Loss Often Overlooked, Easy to Detect Chicago, IL – Hearing loss affects 31 million Americans. Still, only 20% of those who need a hearing aid own one. Hearing loss is a condition that, in most cases, develops gradually– many people do not realize they are affected. Fortunately, modern hearing care has become more aware of the symptoms of hearing loss. This increased awareness has helped millions hear better and enjoy more life Undetected But Significant Hearing is one of the basic ways we communicate and interact with each other and the environment: Undetected hearing loss can have serious consequences. Children with undetected hearing problems are sometimes misidentified as being mentally challenged or as having learning disabilities. Because speech is normally acquired through repeating what is heard, such children are at an early disadvantage. Their education and development may be stunted by the lack of proper treatment. According to a survey by the National Council on the

Aging (NCOA), older people with undetected hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety, paranoia, emotional problems, and reduced social activity. The survey concluded that seniors who treat their hearing loss have better relationships with their families, improved mental health, greater independence, and stronger feelings of security. Seniors who lose their hearing may experience these common scenarios before discovering their loss. Warning Signs Although hearing loss is a very personal condition, the symptoms of hearing loss are fairly consistent. Hearing Care Practitioners generally ask a series of questions to identify whether a person has experienced hearing loss. Beltone™, a leading manufacturer of hearing aids, lists the following “10 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss” in their The Gift of Hearing brochure: 1. People seem to mumble more frequently 2. You hear, but have trouble understanding all the

words in conversation 3. You often ask people to repeat themselves 4. You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult 5. Your family or friends complain that you play the TV or radio too loudly 6. You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell 7. You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker. 8. You have been told that you speak too loudly 9. You experience ringing in your ears. 10. You have difficulty understanding conversation when in a large group or crowd If a person experiences these warning signs repeatedly or in combination, it may indicate a hearing loss. The Only Way to Know For Sure Hearing loss itself can be misunderstood. Wax buildup

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“These hearing aids have been a blessing. The background reduction setting is so helpful in groups, the car and restaurants. I am pleased too that my own voice sounds more natural than it did with my old ones.”

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in the ear canal is a common occurrence that adversely affects hearing. Often people assume they have a permanent loss when, in fact, they don’t. A hearing screening and video otoscope inspection (a simple procedure in which a picture of a person’s ear canal is taken) provide an accurate evaluation of what you’re hearing and what you’re not. According to one Beltone Hearing Care Practitioner, “When I give someone an otoscope inspection, I often find that simple wax buildup is contributing to their hearing problem.” Testing Is Available to Anyone Beltone offers hearing screenings at all of their 1600 Hearing Care Centers throughout the nation. If you’re interested in a hearing screening, or if you would like to request a free copy of The Gift of Hearing, call Beltone toll-free at 1-888-301-4547, or visit them online at www.

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Page 8 Mature Lifestyles • Thursday April 18, 2013


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