Mature Arkansas january 26, 2012
Ruth Milligan’s Wonderful Life Page 8
ALSO in this issue
LR’s Newest Psychic Couple page 2
Who Has to File Tax Return? Page 11-12
Get Into Writing Page 13
JANUARY 26, 2012
from the editor
SO M E T HI N G TO T HIN K A BOUT...
What Can a Cookie Buy? By Anne Howard Wasson
cookie can buy a week at summer camp, leadership training for young ladies, community service opportunities for middleschoolers and lots of fun, citizenship-building things to do with best friends. But ONLY IF it’s one of the eight varieties of Girl Scout cookies—available for only two more days. Call your favorite Girl Scout by Saturday to place your order. Or call the local Girl Scout Council in North Little Rock at 501-758-1020 to find a Girl Scout near you. She’ll have the order forms—they’re $3.50 a box. After cookies are delivered February 23rd, they will still be available at booths in most Kroger stores. Look for booth sales starting around March 1 on weekends until…everything’s sold. All proceeds—every penny—stays in the community and helps support scouting and trains the myriad volunteers who generously give of their time. In this the 100th Anniversary year of Girl Scouting in the USA, Girls Scouting The Girl Scouts of Troop 6616 in is needed more than Maumelle collected more than 100 ever. It builds leadercoats for low-income families over ship, self-confidence and the holidays. independence. Cookie sales teach valuable life-lessons of working with a team, goalsetting, money management and that all-important responsibility. As a former Girl Scout cookie salesman, I can personally vouch for how important scouting is for a young girl. From building an appreciation of nature, to learning the proper way to fold the American flag, scouting was an important part of my childhood. It had a major influence on who I have become as an adult. Girl Scouting is a national treasure and I urge you to support it with lots and lots of cookies. Come on, you know you love ‘em; get out there and buy some boxes. Thank you, A former Girl Scout
Mature Arkansas Publisher Alan Leveritt Editor Anne Wasson Art Director Mike Spain Assistant to the Editor Paige Parham Photographer Brian Chilson Director of sales Katherine Daniels Account Executive Erin Holland Production Manager Weldon Wilson Production Assistant Tracy Whitaker
ad Coordinators Roland Gladden Kelly Schlachter Graphic Artists Bryan Moats Katie Cook Controller Weldon Wilson Office Manager Angie Fambrough IT Director Robert Curfman Billing and Collections Linda Phillips Circulation Director Anitra Hickman
Mature Arkansas is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, 200 Heritage Center West, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203, phone (501) 375-2985. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care, however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to Mature Arkansas will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to Mature Arkansas’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.
2 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
Little Rock's Newest Psychic Couple Gene and Candy Levy sponsor psychic workshop By Leonard Stern
hen my cousin Gene Levy, chief architect emeritus at the venerable Cromwell Architecture Firm, said he and his wife, Candy, will host Court TV’s Psychic Detective, Noreen Renier, for a Little Rock publicity tour, I responded with the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights of an oncoming cement truck. A psychic detective? No way! Gene is not the kind of guy to believe we can communicate with dead relatives or touch a lock of hair and become a virtual eyewitness to murder. Candy, on the other hand, has always been a little “offcenter.” She is the daughter of Benjamin Avington “Ted” Hood, a notorious bail bondsman in Little Rock for most of the 1950s and 1960s. Hood also owned liquor stores, head shops and a “hot sheet” hotel near the train station. Hood eventually converted the hotel into a mega shoe store where many of the city’s wellheeled women bought their high-falutin’ designer shoes at bargain prices until the mid-1970s. Candy believes everyone has the ability to tap into the psychic world. “We live in such a fast-paced, technologically advanced world that we have lost touch with our higher states of consciousness,” Candy says. “Noreen teaches us how to focus within and use our sixth sense to enrich our lives, help others find emotional peace or even assist the police in solving crimes.” Noreen Renier has been a practicing psychic for over 40 years. According to her website, noreenrenier.com, she has worked with law enforcement on over 600 cases, including the Laci Peterson case, and has lectured at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Candy contacted Renier and requested a personal reading. Candy sent Noreen a lock of her hair along with a $350 check for the reading. What transpired was “incredible,” Candy says. “From her home in Wilmington, North Carolina, she described my features perfectly down to my deep-set eyes and
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Psychic detective Noreen Reiner. high cheekbones,” Candy says. “Noreen sensed a dark disturbance in my lower back.” Candy had recently had major back surgery including placement of several metal pins and braces. Candy asked her to predict outcomes on some deeply personal issues and Noreen told her what to expect. “The visions Noreen had about me all came true,” Candy says. “I knew right then, she was a true psychic with an extraordinary gift.” Gene followed the developing friendship between Candy and Noreen. “Then Candy told
me she wanted to bring Noreen to Little Rock to conduct a workshop on how to develop your psychic abilities,” Gene says. “Before sticking my neck out in front of the whole community, I wanted to conduct my own investigation. After reading her book and watching several Psychic Detective episodes, Gene was willing to believe. He arranged for Renier to lecture at the Clinton School of Public Service on Feb. 9 at 6:00 PM and the Downtown Rotary Club (#99) lunch on Feb. 7. Renier will also conduct a one-day workshop at the Doubletree Hotel on Feb. 11, entitled “Sharpen Your Psychic Skills.” One of the nation’s most recognized psychic detectives, Renier describes how she helped the Staunton, VA, Police Department on a serial rape case. Renier visualized a man wearing a uniform, who spoke with a stutter and lived across the street from a movie theater in a brick building. All these clues were unknown before and were used to identify, arrest and convict a dangerous criminal. “When you hear actual police detectives talk on-camera about how Noreen helped solve what was considered a ‘dead-end case,’ you start to believe there may be something to this psychic detective business,” Gene says.
The following terms will be covered in Noreen Renier’s workshop on Feb. 11: Telepathy is the exchange of mental states from one mind to another, entering another person’s thoughts from afar. Psychometry is the ability draw energy and visualize events and emotions by holding or touching personal objects. Pendulum dousing is an ancient art of accessing information not available to us through the use of our senses. A basic dowsing pendulum consists of a weight suspended on a flexible string, chain, etc. Reading auras means detecting and interpreting auras; an aura is as a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object. Dream interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to dreams, which are considered a supernatural communication or means of divine intervention. The Workshop is limited to 25 people. For more information, contact Candy Levy at 501-690-4282.
JANUARY 26, 2012
Restaurant g u ide n By bob wood
Mexican Fern Bar Is OK A
fter two recent visits to Santo Coyote — once for supper and once for lunch — I’ve decided it’s really a fern bar disguised as a Mexican restaurant. You know: long on décor (“ferns”) and short on time spent making the food stand out. But, don’t get me wrong; the Mexican food they serve at Santo Coyote is OK. The problem is, it’s indistinguishable
Service is quick and courteous at Santo Coyote. from what’s served every day at the many other Mexican food places in central Arkansas. Because of that, I really don’t see a reason to go back. From outside, Santo Coyote looks like it should be a chain restaurant. That is probably by design. My guess is, the owners/developers wanted to create a look and formula that could be operated for a time and then marketed as franchise. Everything has “concept” written all over it: a faux Mexican cantina interior, an 4 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
attractive and large bar area (booze is the money-maker for most restaurants) carefully tucked away from the families in the dining room, and a simple menu that can be cranked out easily and in volume. Know what tipped me off? They have a “Speedy Gonzalez” option on the lunch menu. Really? Stuff like that is demeaning and dumb, and it says to me, “We will absolutely say and do anything to increase sales.” But, I’m ranting now. The night we were there, the place was packed with groups of diners. Obviously, many people want to go to someplace “nice” (read: pretty) for a celebration and Santo Coyote fits that bill. Lunch was different because there were Shrimp fajitas at Santo Coyote. fewer diners. Service, though, was about the same, i.e., OK. Food and prices were about the same, i.e., OK. try Cotija’s (406 Louisiana Street, Little Rock, I hate to be so negative, so let’s see: the 244-0733). But they’re only open for lunch, young people working there seem to appreciate and there’s no Speedy Gonzalez on the menu. having a job, and gave the impression of trying Santo Coyote, 2513 McCain Blvd. #1, North hard on both of my visits. No one was sullen Little Rock, phone 753-9800. and bored, or irritated at being distracted from texting on their phones. All male workers wore Mr. Wood, a writer and designer in Little Rock, their pants above their underwear. We got the is often hungry. food we actually ordered. It was a sunny day. Enough. I’ve had the tacos ($2.50 each) and they were fine. I’ve had the chicken Chimichanga ($6 with beans), and it was small but fine. My friends have had the shrimp Fajitas ($8.99), and it was pronounced OK. Another had the “Santo Coyote Famous Salad” ($9, but who decided it deserved the accolade “famous”?), and it was OK. Sometimes, I feel like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye: “I can’t stand that stuff. It drives me crazy.” Yes, it does. To sum up, if you’re having a big birthday bash and want to eat at a faux Mexican fern bar, this is the place for you. However, if you actually want to eat authentic, regional Mexican food, then I suggest you Chicken chimichanga with beans.
C A LENDAR PI CK S
Grandkids Eat FREE
Art, Theatre, Seminars and More
These local restaurants offer kids-eatfree options, for children under 12, with purchase of an adult entrée (unless otherwise specified.)
By Paige Parham Bill Gurley: “How and Why We Have Commemorated the Civil War in the Past” Ronnie Nichols: “ The Importance of the Sesquicentennial for the African-American Community” Dr. William L. Shea: “The Civil War We Have Lost” Call 501-324-8641 by January 23 to sign up--seating is limited or visit www.oldstatehouse. com
Jan. 27 – Feb. 12 - “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Little Rock. Based on the novel by Harper Lee with a script by Christopher Sergel, this compelling story is told through the eyes of Scout, the tomboyish young daughter of Atticus Finch, who is a small-town lawyer defending a black man in court. For tickets and additional information, visit www.therep.org or call the Box Office, 501-378-0405 or toll free 866-685-3737. Jan. 27 – 54th Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, is an annual exhibition of work by artists from Arkansas and bordering states. This juried exhibition presents innovative and provocative works in all media and showcases current trends in art. Museum hours are 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday; 11:00 AM-5:00 PM, Sunday. Admission and parking are free. For more information, contact 501- 372-4000 or visit www.arkarts.com Jan.28 - Seminar: Why Commemorate the Civil War? At the Old State House Museum, Little Rock, 9:00 AM – noon. Speakers and topics include:
J a n . 2 8 - 2 9 - A r k a n s a s S ym p h o n y Orchestra presents “Russian Winter” at the Robinson Center Music Hall, Little Rock, Saturday, 8:00 PM; Sunday 3:00 PM. For tickets and additional information, visit www. arkansassymphony.org or call 501-666-1761. January 30 - The Story of Your Life Writing Workshop at Laman Library, Argenta Branch, North Little Rock, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Led by author, editor and publisher Paula Morell, this workshop will help you find your own life stories to share. FREE, but space is limited, register by calling 501-687-1061. Visit www. LamanLibrary.org for details. (See related article on page 13)
Jan. 28 – Feb. 15 - CANstruction 2012 at the Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock. CANstruction is a design/build competition that puts a visual spotlight on hunger while showcasing the design community of central Arkansas. Local architecture firms compete with each other to build giant sized structures made entirely out of canned food. The Mayor’s Youth Council of both Little Rock and North Little Rock will also participate in the event. The creations will be on view to the public until February 15. At the close of the exhibit, all cans used to create the structures will be donated to the Arkansas Foodbank. For more information, contact Mary Jean Walker, 571-344-3925 or e-mail maryjeanw@ scmarchitects.com
J a n . 30 - E lv i s L i v e s ! at t h e Robinson Center Music Hall, Little Rock, 7:30 PM, tickets are $22 $49. To purchase tickets by phone: 501-2448800 or 800-982-2787; in person: Celebrity Attractions Ticket Office, 300 S. Spring, Suite 100, Downtown Little Rock. Ticket Office hours are Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. www.celebrityattractions.com. Jan. 31 - ASO River Rhapsodies presents “Mozart Meets P.D.Q Bach”at the Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, 7:00 PM. Pieces performed will be Mozart’s Quintet in E-Major for Horn and Strings; Steinmetz’s Trio for Oboes and English Horns; Schubert’s Quartettsatz in C-minor; and P.D.Q. Bach’s Quartet “Moose.” Tickets are $22. For more information, visit www. arkansassymphony.org or call 501-6661761.
DAILY CICI’S PIZZA Ages 3 and under eat free at buffet — Hot Springs: 3321 Central Ave.; Jacksonville: 120 John Harden Dr.; North Little Rock: 2815 Lakewood Village Dr. DENNY’S RESTAURANT 4:00-10:00 PM ages 10 and under — Benton: 16732 Interstate 30; Little Rock: 4300 S University; 310 S Shackelford Rd. GOLDEN CORRAL Ages 3 and under eat free at buffet. Discounted prices for kids on Tuesday — North Little Rock: 5001 Warden Road LARRY’S PIZZA Ages 4 and under daily and from 4:00-8:00 PM on Wed. only— with purchase of one adult meal— up to two kids get a small one topping pizza, drink, and $1 in tokens — Cabot: 2798 South Second Street; Bryant: 4500 Hwy. 5 North; Little Rock: 12th & Center St. or 12911 Cantrell Rd. SAN FRANCISCO BREAD COMPANY One FREE Kid’s Meal with the purchase of Adult Meal, after 5:00 PM — Hot Springs: 261 Cornerstone Blvd., Daily and Monday ZAXBY’S 5:00 PM-close, dine-in only — Jacksonville: 209 Marshall Rd.; Maumelle: 104 Carnahan Dr.; Sherwood: 208 Brookswood Rd.
MONDAY CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER Free half Best of Both Basket with purchase of two adult entrees, Little Rock: 11525 Cantrell Rd. CHICK-FIL-A First and third Monday of each month, North Little Rock: 3929 McCain Blvd. SHORTY SMALL’S Up to two kids meals free per paying adult — Little Rock: 1110 N. Rodney Parham; North Little Rock: 4317 Warden Rd.
TUESDAY ARKANSAS BURGER COMPANY One free kid’s meal per adult meal , Dine-in only, 5:30-9:00 PM — Little Rock: 7410 Cantrell Rd. BEEF O BRADY’S 4:00 PM-close — Maumelle:115 Audubon Dr. LONESTAR STEAKHOUSE 4:00 PM-close — Little Rock: 10901 Rodney Parham PIZZA HUT 5:00-8:00 Dine in only — Little Rock: 11410 W. Markham St. MATURE ARKANSAS
JANUARY 26, 2012
answers from t h e doctor n B y D av i d S. B ac h man , MD
Is Weight Loss Surgery for You? Two options to consider. Q. I have struggled with weight all my life. At age 68, I need to lose 150 pounds. Am I too old to have gastric bypass? Is it safe at my age? A. Age is not a key factor in considering weight-loss surgery. However, there is a higher risk of complications and more unfavorable outcomes for older patients. You are right to be concerned because obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. It is quickly becoming the number one preventable cause of death. Numerous diet plans have failed to keep weight off over the long term. Illness and death from excess weight is alarming and includes diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, severe sleep apnea, high cholesterol and some cancers. Some obese patients also suffer with arthritis, asthma and heartburn. As a last resort, many people turn to surgery (bariatric surgery) to lose excess pounds. Bariatric surgery is not for everybody. The following criteria must be met before considering surgery: • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (at least 100 pounds overweight) for men; BMI of 35 or more for women. Recently, surgeons are considering lowering the BMI requirement to 30-35. • Have a BMI between 35 and 40 but also have serious health problems related to obesity, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, severe sleep apnea, hypertension or high cholesterol. • Failed at trying to lose weight with diet and exercise. • Understand the risks of surgery and be motivated to make the necessary lifestyle changes.
Average loss after one year is 21%; 47% after two years. It is common for gastric banding patients to gain some weight. The average weight loss after 10 years is only 13%. This is probably because we are dealing with a food addiction. Surgery cannot address the addiction aspect of obesity. Gastric bypass surgery This type of surgery has many variations but all versions essentially divide the stomach into a smaller upper pouch and a much larger, stagnant lower pouch. The small intestine is rearranged to connect to both pouches. This leads to a marked reduction in the functional volume of the stomach, causing an altered physical and physiological response to food. This surgery can be reversed. With gastric bypass surgery, weight loss is dramatic and quick. In the first year the average loss is 38%; 62% after two years; 25% after 10 years. Due to this rapid weight loss, quality of life and related health problems improve quickly. These improvements also occur after gastric banding, though not as quickly. Gastric bypass is riskier and results in more complications. Minor complications occur in 10% of patients; 5% have serious, potentially life-threatening complications. The risk of death is less than 1%. Dumping syndrome (shaking, dizziness, severe diarrhea and sweating) may occur, caused by food passing too quickly through the stomach and intestines. Constipation and nutritional deficiencies are common problems. Osteoporosis, anemia and metabolic bone disease can develop after surgery. Other complications include hernia, ulcerations, gastric prolapse, dehydration, hair loss, kidney stones and hypoglycemia. Development of gall stones is quite common and most surgeons routinely remove the gallbladder during gastric surgery. Losing a large amount of weight through surgery is no small matter. The effects can be far reaching and profound. Eating a small amount of food requires major lifestyle changes that must be addressed. A therapist can be helpful with this adjustment.
The average weight loss after 10 years is only 13%.
This is probably because we are dealing with a food addiction. Surgery cannot address
the addiction aspect of obesity.
Gastric banding Gastric banding, or lap band surgery, is a minimally invasive surgery. It is performed laparoscopically with small incisions. An adjustable elastic band, placed around the upper part of the stomach, creates a small gastric pouch. This smaller pouch gives a feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food. There is no cutting of the stomach or the intestines and recovery usually is faster than gastric surgery bypass procedures. This type of surgery can be reversed by surgically removing the band. Band adjustment alters the size the gastric pouch. Loosening it allows more food to reach the stomach; tightening it restricts stomach size to increase weight loss. These adjusting procedures can be done in the doctor‘s office by injecting saline into the band to tighten it or remove saline to loosen it. Serious complications are not common. However, gastric bands can slip out of place, leak or become too loose. Surgery is needed to correct these problems. Weight loss is usually less dramatic than with gastric bypass surgery. 6 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
Costs and surgeons These types of surgery can cost $20,000 to $35,000 and insurance coverage is critical. Check with your insurance company on what documentation they need from your doctors before surgery. The complication rate is much lower for surgeons who frequently do these surgeries. Be sure the surgeon you are considering is certified by the American Board of Surgery and experienced in this type of surgery. The surgeon should have done at least 100 weight reduction surgeries. Ask the surgeon what his or her complication and death rates are and what is his success rate.
Who Pays If Medicare Doesn't? Q. My Medicare Summary Notice says Medicare denied my doctor bill. Do I have to pay the full amount of the bill? A. Possibly, but you have the right to file an appeal for a denied item or service if you think Medicare should pay but didn’t or if you think Medicare didn’t pay the right amount. There are five appeal levels and you should keep appealing until you exhaust the process. To start the process, request a Redetermination within 120 days of receipt of your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). The MSN states you should circle the item(s) in question, explain in writing why you disagree, sign the MSN, and mail it to the Medicare contractor listed on the MSN. Keep a copy and mark your calendar as you should receive a written response from the contractor within 60 days.
Q. What is the difference between a Long-term Care Partnership Policy and a Long-term Care Policy? A. A Partnership Policy provides asset protection. Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term care (LTC). Medicaidpaid LTC requires meeting financial criteria (income and assets) and nonfinancial criteria. The highest level of assets allowed in Arkansas for LTC is currently $2,000. A LTC Partnership Policy would allow you to keep assets above the $2,000 level and still meet Medicaid asset limits. For example, a policy with $200,000 of asset protection would allow a person to keep $202,000 in assets and still meet asset criteria for Arkansas Medicaid-paid LTC.
support your community
You have the
right to file an appeal for a denied item or service if you
should pay but didn’t.
Submit questions to Medicare Man via email email@example.com or call toll free 800-224-6330.
MEDI CAR E MAT T E RS n B y Sall y J o h nson
Love Your Heart
ne of the most valuable things you can do for your health is take care of your heart. Eating right and exercising are two good ways to do that, but it’s also important to talk to your doctor about being screened for cardiovascular problems. Medicare pays all the costs of a cardiovascular screening once every five years. The screening will test your blood to check cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These are different kinds of fats in the blood. These tests can tell whether you’re at high risk of cardiovascular problems like a heart attack or stroke. If your levels are too high, talk with your doctor about ways to get healthier, like eating fewer high-fat
foods, exercising regularly or taking medications that lower cholesterol. You may think that heart disease is mainly a men’s health issue, but that’s not true. In fact, women are more likely than men to have heart disease. It is the leading cause of death among American women. You can learn more about heart health at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov, the website of a new program called Million Hearts and has as its goal to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.
more likely than men to have heart
Mrs. Johnson is manager of beneficiary relations with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care. For individual help, call toll free 888-354-9100.
HEALTHY ADVICE: The health promotion information in MATURE ARKANSAS is intended to inform our readers. Do not consider it as medical advice about your personal health. This should be obtained directly from your doctor. No medication or therapeutic device should be started or stopped without clearance from your doctor.
Mature Arkansas CELEBRATES your achievements and inspirational stories ADVOCATES for you and your concerns—social, financial, political ENTERTAINS by featuring the best in events, dining, culture, volunteering, so you can live life to the fullest EDUCATES with health and consumer news to stay healthy, independent, and ready to embrace new beginnings and opportunities If you would like your event, classes or volunteer opportunities included in our Calendar, email maturecalendar@ arktimes.com or call Paige Parham at 501-375-2985.
Subscriptions Available Annual subscriptions to MATURE ARKANSAS are $60 per year, via the U.S. Postal Service. Send your check to: Mature Arkansas, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203-4010. Allow three weeks for processing. Expect mail delivery to take about a week.
JANUARY 26, 2012
Ruth Milligan Puts the “You’ve been a teacher, an advocate and a mother to me, someone I’ve grown to love. Thanks for your example!” So writes one of Ruth Helen Milligan’s former students, now beginning his own first year as a teacher in Arkansas. Milligan’s life has been one of setting and attaining goals for herself as well as helping hundreds of young people plan their futures. She attributes her success in overcoming obstacles and creating solutions to her mother, who taught her to have faith, endurance and, above all, self-approval. The other person who helped shape her character and whom she remembers vividly was a favorite teacher. Milligan recalls, “When I first started high school, before desegregation was popular, Mrs. Robinson spent some class time each period just talking to her students about being a good person, no matter what race you belonged to. She told us: ‘Be self-confident. Learn as much as you can. No one can take that knowledge away from you. Know yourself, what you are about. You are important to you. Spend some time studying so that wherever you live, you can adjust to the environment.’” Milligan, now 77, lived her first 12 years on the family farm in Scott. In the early 1940s, she moved with her parents and brother to North Little Rock. There she attended Scipio A. Jones Elementary and High School and Shorter College. Her personal 8 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
By Kaye Risser Photos by Brian Chilson
“Go” in Goal-Setting goal, formulated during the teen years, was firmly defined by this time: To be a Wife and Mother with a Business Degree. Milligan smiles now at her youthful determination, recalling “I had misty ideas of being a young woman at my own disposal, and of the wonderful things yet to be seen and done.” Finishing two years of junior college, she decided to leave her native Arkansas and seek better job opportunities in Dayton, Ohio, where she had relatives. She was certain that full-time employment would immediately present itself in Dayton and place her on the path to selfsufficiency. She made the move, she laughingly exclaims, “with my small savings, a head full of dreams and lots of ambition!” When she reached her destination, Mrs. Robinson’s words echoed in her mind: “Be flexible and live a creditable life so that you can fit into any society.” “These words were very important to me when I left home and secured my first job assignment,” recalls Milligan. “Here I was from a small farm town and my work associates were from large cities. Mrs. Robinson became my silent oasis in a totally new environment. She had taught me a self-confidence you can’t learn from a book.” In Dayton, after taking a Civil Service exam, she found employment as a secretary at Wright Patterson Air Base. It wasn’t long before the glimmerings of her ideal future began to appear
on the horizon. She met a young airman who had recently returned from overseas duty. After a year of courtship, they married. After another year, they became the parents of Milligan’s only child, Bruce Alan. Milligan had accomplished the first half of her life’s goal. For the next 13 years, Milligan says she totally embraced the role of wife and mother. “I count my son’s years one through 13 as the greatest privilege of my life, to be with him and to help him grow,” she says. But, she concludes,
to do and I set out to do it.” With a student loan, she returned to school full time at Wright State University (WSU). She earned her degree in business education. Doors then opened wide for her as the University became her employer. She was first an executive secretary for the University’s attorney, then an assistant to the vice-president for student affairs. When the need for a minority recruiter arose, she was asked to take the position of Assistant Director of Admissions. For four years she travelled throughout Ohio, and bordering states, as she
“I count my son’s years one through 13 as the greatest privilege
of my life ... But, those years passed much too quickly.” “those years passed much too quickly.” Marital problems began in the 14th year, and culminated in divorce after a year’s trial separation. Of that period, Milligan says, “I realized then that my life was now under new management.” Milligan knew she could no longer depend on others for help or support. She was initially frightened when she realized she was truly on her own. She comments now, “Some say that a crisis can be a time for growth, it can go either way. It can serve as a teachable moment for growth or it can serve as a crutch.” She chose to make the situation one in which to grow. Knowing she needed an education in order to support herself and her son, she says, “It became clear in my mind about what I wanted
says, “looking for ‘blue-chippers’--those A and B student scholarship recipients to whom we wanted to offer higher scholarships.” During this time, she also created a Student Ambassador Program in which she trained the students themselves to return to their high schools and recruit other students to WSU. Growing tired of being on the road and wanting to earn a graduate degree, she wrote a grant and received funding for a graduate fellowship for minority students. The University then promoted her to the position of Coordinator of Grants and Contracts. She worked and attended classes to earn her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. In total, Milligan spent 15 years assisting and counseling undergraduate MATURE ARKANSAS
JANUARY 26, 2012
Ruth Milligan (second from right) coaches young church members at Bethel AME Church for a pageant rehearsal, (left to right) Geonte Powell, Mario Jordan, Daisha Powell, Kenny Brown Jr., Destyne Lawson and Deshawn Jordan. and graduate students at WSU. Milligan’s positive energy was not confined to academia. Besides being a member of the Missionary Society, the Young People’s Director and an active member in Dayton’s Greater Allen AME Church, she volunteered at the hospital, then worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Womanline—a program for women seeking unplanned pregnancy assistance. In 1986, when her only remaining relative in Ohio died, Milligan returned to Little Rock to be
questions and eased the minds of many senior subscribers. Milligan quickly became the “go-to” person for advice and informal counseling. Aging Arkansas’ staff and other employees in the large building that housed the newspaper’s offices naturally gravitated to her supportive, nurturing personality. “Ruth exudes a quiet sense of dignity that commands respect. While she doesn’t speak much about herself, she listens intently to those
I want to be the someone who encourages them to think about
outreach programs. Active as a North Little Rock Bethel AME Church Steward and Sunday school teacher for youth, she is also a choir member and volunteers for both youth and elderly programs. “And you know what,” Milligan adds, “I’m finding there’s just too much to do around the house. I can’t get it all done for people calling and wanting me to work on yet another project.” She enjoys every minute of it. Even in retirement, Milligan continues to set goals for herself. “I’d like to find a special companion chow dog now that I have time to take care of it,” she adds with a smile. “I also want to share with young people what I’ve learned, through both work experience and life experience. I want to be the someone who encourages them to think about the future and what they want to accomplish in it.” Hearing again the wisdom of Mrs. Robinson’s words and replaying them for today’s teenagers, she says, “It is just as important now, as it has always been, to know that you must take full responsibility for your life and how it’s lived. Whatever happens--at the end of all the trials, growing pains, failures and successes-the key is knowing yourself.” She adds, as a footnote to her older friends, “Remember to think: It is not important where you came from. It is important now to prepare for where you want to go.”
the future and what they want to accomplish in it.”
near her brother and cousins. She accepted the position of Student Development Specialist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and counseled first-generation college students. After two years, she was asked to serve as UALR’s Academic Coordinator for Student Athletes. In that position, she received numerous awards and recognitions for her outstanding service and commitment to students. She retired after 14 years. But retirement was too quiet for Milligan’s energetic personality. In 2002, at 68, she returned to work. As Office Manager for Aging Arkansas, a statewide senior newspaper, she managed the paper’s circulation, answered
10 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
around her. Her ready smile is both warm and welcoming,” according to a former colleague. “Ruth was such an inspiration to all of us,” says Executive Director of the Arkansas State Employees Association Danny James. “I know many of our staff valued her opinion and went to her daily to seek advice and her counsel. She’s just a joy to be around.” Closure of the newspaper in October 2011 caused her, once again, to retire. Today, Milligan finds herself as busy as before retirement-reading, writing, sewing, working with crafts, and participating in her church’s community
Who Has to File a Tax Return? Common myths about filing past 65 By Claire Wilson
common myth among retired taxpayers is not knowing when they have an obligation to file an income tax return. One client at Legal Aid of Arkansas’ Low Income Taxpayer Clinic told us he thought once you “hit retirement age” you were exempt from filing tax returns. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines say, as a basic rule, if income tax was withheld, you should file a return. You should also file if you qualify for any of the following tax credits: • The earned income credit • additional child tax credit • health coverage tax credit • refundable credit for prior year minimum tax • first-time homebuyer credit, or • the American opportunity credit. Filing is the only way to get your credit and refund. Many life events can also change filing requirements. A common occurrence is the death of a spouse. If you are the surviving spouse, the year your spouse died is the last year for which you can file a joint return with that spouse. After that, if you do not remarry, you must file as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, head of household, or single person. Publication 501 has more information about these rules. If you remarry before the end of the year in which your spouse died, a final joint return with the deceased spouse cannot be filed. You can, however, file a joint return with your new spouse. In that case, the filing status of your deceased spouse for his or her final return is married filing separately. The reason that filing status is important is because the level of income that requires you to file an income tax return changes when your filing status changes. Even if you and your deceased spouse were not required to file a return for several years, you may have to file a return for tax years after the year your spouse died. For example, if your filing status changes from filing jointly in 2010 to single in 2011 because of the death of your spouse, and your gross income is $17,500 for both years, you must file a return for 2011 even though you did not have to file a return for 2010.
Retirement does not necessarily mean you do not have to file. If you rely on Social Security for living expenses, the Social Security benefits you received in 2011 may be taxable. You should receive a Form SSA-1099 that will show the total amount of your benefits. When preparing your return, be especially careful when you calculate the taxable amount of your Social Security. Use the Social Security benefits worksheet found in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and Form 1040A, and then double-check it before you fill out your tax return.
modified adjusted gross income is more than the base amount for your filing status. • Your taxable benefits and modified adjusted gross income are figured on a worksheet in the Form 1040A or Form 1040 Instruction booklet. • You can do the following quick computation to determine whether some of your benefits may be taxable. First, add one-half of the total Social Security benefits you received to all your other income, including any tax exempt interest and other exclusions from
Retirement does not necessarily mean you do not have to file ... the Social Security benefits you received in 2011 may be taxable.
The following facts from the IRS will help you determine if your benefits are taxable: • How much, if any, of your Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your total income and marital status. • Generally, if Social Security benefits were your only income for 2011, your benefits are not taxable and you probably do not need to file a federal income tax return. • If you received income from other sources, your benefits will not be taxed unless your
income. Then, compare this total to the base amount for your filing status. If the total is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable. For additional information on the taxability of Social Security benefits, see IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. Publication 915 is available on IRS.gov or by calling toll free 800-829-3676). MATURE ARKANSAS
JANUARY 26, 2012
Mature Arkansas CELEBRATES your achievements and inspirational stories ADVOCATES for you and your concerns—social, financial, political ENTERTAINS by featuring the best in events, dining, culture, volunteering, so you can live life to the fullest EDUCATES with health and consumer news to stay healthy, independent, and ready to embrace new beginnings and opportunities
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DANciNg' bODy AN S gOOD fOR D SOUL page 8
The Gold Sta ndard of BBQ pAgE 4
By Claire Wilson
f you have to pay taxes, there are several credits that may be of interest to taxpayers over age 65. The following tax tips were developed to help you avoid some of the common errors dealing with the standard deduction for seniors, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and the Credit for the Elderly and Disabled.
Standard Deduction for Seniors - If you do not itemize your deductions, you can get a higher standard deduction amount if you and/or your spouse are 65 or older. You can get an even higher standard deduction amount if either you or your spouse is blind. (See Form 1040 and Form 1040A instructions.)
Dance Your WaY to Healt H
ALSO iN ThiS iSSU E
Deductions for 65+ Taxpayers
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Try Social Media pAgE 14
If you have inspirational or informative ideas benefiting active retirees, we welcome your input. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501-375-2985 for editor Anne Wasson.
Credit for the Elderly or Disabled - You must file using Form 1040 or Form 1040A to receive the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled. You cannot get it if you file using Form 1040EZ. Be sure to apply for the credit if you qualify. The credit is based on your age, filing status and income. You may be able to take the credit if: • You and/or your spouse are either 65 years or older; or under age 65 years old but are permanently and totally disabled; and • Your income on Form 1040 line 38 is less than $17,500; $20,000 if married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies; $25,000 if married filing jointly and both qualify; or $12,500 if married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year. And, • the non-taxable part of your Social Security or other nontaxable pensions, annuities or disability income is less than: $5,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow/er with dependent child; $5,000 if married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies; $7,500 if married filing jointly and both qualify; or $3,750 if married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse the entire year. Use Schedule R (Form 1040 or 1040A), Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, to figure the amount of the credit. Also see Publications 524 (Credit for the Elderly or Disabled); 554 (Tax Guide for Seniors); and 967 (The IRS Will Figure Your Tax).
shop local support our community 12 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
f you have questions, call the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at Legal Aid of Arkansas, toll-free 800-967-9224, extension 4312. The LITC can serve low-income taxpayers across the state by providing them with information and representation about income tax responsibilities. LITC partners with organizations that can help you fully understand your options and assist you in resolving disputes with the IRS. Our services are free if you qualify for representation.
B y Pai g e Par ham mone y n By Gary Garr i son
Developing a Hobby:
Creative Writing A
s a journalist, I get a lot of comments from people expressing envy for my job. I do feel incredibly lucky to have a career that lets me be creative, but I had no idea so many people wanted to be a writer. Whether or not it’s something you have ever considered before, you would probably find that getting your thoughts down onto paper would benefit your life in several ways. Writing has been proven to aid in therapy. Oftentimes, keeping a journal of your daily activities, thoughts and feelings can help identify patterns in your life. Journaling helps hold on to memories, and in that way it is useful for people who may be dealing with memory loss. Creative writing, such as short stories, novels or poetry, can keep the mind active—an important part of staying mentally well as we age. There are no special tools necessary to be a writer. Whether you wish to write longhand, using a pen and a notepad, or a computer – it’s all up to you. Find a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Your writing area should ideally be away from any distractions or people who could interrupt you. You might wish to play some music to get the creative juices flowing. Some people like to write at home, and others prefer to write in coffee shops, libraries or parks. The important thing to remember is that you’re doing this to benefit yourself, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. Now that you have a place to write, what are you supposed to say? If you’re writing a fictional story, I find the best place to begin is to pretend you are telling a story to someone. You will probably want to give some background before you begin the action. A good way to start is to describe the people, places, sounds and smells of your setting. Create a world for your characters to live in and then populate it. If you prefer journaling or keeping a diary, start with a memory. Take some time to think about what that time in your life was like; what you were feeling when the event occurred. The more vivid your memories, the better you will be able to express yourself. Many people have a hard time confronting a blank page or computer screen. It can be intimidating! Sometimes it helps me to talk to someone about my
ideas and get some input. Try to find a friend or family member with whom you can bounce around some ideas or memories. Ask your children or grandchildren what are their favorites of the stories you tell. Try to capture the same magic on paper. Everyone has hundreds of interesting stories to tell but until you get them out of your head and onto paper, your audience is limited. I have always loved this quote from John W. Campbell, noted science fiction author, “The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.” If you dream of writing, no one is holding you back but yourself. Get out a pencil and paper and start telling your stories.
There are no
necessary to be a writer. Whether you wish to write longhand, using a pen and a notepad, or a computer—
it’s all up to you.
JANUARY 26, 2012
Th e Ag e of T echnology n B y K ell y F erguson
Smart Phones and Baby Boomers D
o you ever feel like your cell phone is quicker and payment easier. Healthcare smarter than you are? I know I do! Cell providers are looking at ways to provide phones have become so much more than just a services on smartphones that can shrink wait phone. The “smartphone” is a cell phone built times and add conveniences for patients. for mobile computing and includes everything Smartphones also have the capability to from digital cameras to portable media players send emails and act as personal assistants. If and video cameras. Touchscreen technology you like to travel, a smartphone with a GPS allows easy access to handheld filing cabinetsbuilt in can help you find a hotel in a strange -literally. city. It will also get you a map and suggestions According to research provided by mobile for eateries within walking distance—all this giant Verizon, one-third of social network users on your phone! and 37% of smartphone users are over age 45. Smartphones are available from all mobile That means smartphone users are collecting providers. There are many to choose from, The York Times Corporation The New New YorkDrug Times Syndication Syndication Sales Corporation information in new and different ways. and someSales are actually free with new contracts 500 500 Seventh Seventh Avenue, Avenue, New New York, York, N.Y. N.Y. 10018 10018 companies are looking at smartphone “applior upgraded services. The more sophisticated For For Information Information Call: Call: 1-800-972-3550 1-800-972-3550 For Release Thursday, January 26, 2012 For ReleaseFriday, Friday, January 20, cations” to make your visit to theFor pharmacy theDecember smartphone, the more expensive. A good, Release 30,2012 2011
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14 JANUARY 26, 2012 MATURE ARKANSAS
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introductory phone can be purchased for less than $100. The package of services you choose for your smartphone can range from $20-$40 per month for a basic package. My advice is to go to a retailer like Verizon or AT&T and just begin asking questions about their products and services. Explain your lifestyle and see what phone fits your needs. According to Wireless News (December 2011), nine out of 10 respondents (over age 40), who are current smartphone owners, say they taught themselves how to use the features and functions of their smartphone; 59% said email is the most used tool on the device. Text can be set to a large font and sensitivity to the touch screen can be adapted so you won’t “butt dial” (accidentally) anyone. No. 1222 1216 “Boomers also said they liked the 1125 voice-activated controls,” according 910 10 11 12 13 14 9 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 to the article. “Overall, boomer 16 respondents reported a desire to 19 own a smartphone to enhance their 20 daily lives and keep in better touch 20 with friends and family. Further, the 25 27 28 23 26 survey data suggests that Boomers 28 33 26 take advantage of accessing the 35 36 37 36 Internet on smartphones as much 40 as, and in some cases more than, 45 their younger counterparts.”
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FREE iPhone Workshops Every Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00-8:00 PM, FREE workshops are held at Verizon locations in Little Rock: 2516 Cantrell Road, 12018 Chenal Parkway, 2608 South Shackleford; and in North Little Rock, 4000 McCain Boulevard. On Tuesdays: Basic iPhone and iPad Workshop; Thursdays: Basic Android Phone and Tablet Workshop. Register on line at verizonwirelesss.com/workshops or at any location.
givi ng back
V O L UN T EER SP O TL IGHT
Cancer Institute Needs Volunteers By Paige Parham
he Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), is the state’s premier research and cancer treatment facility, providing comprehensive cancer care. The Institute is always looking for new volunteers and volunteer opportunities including: • Ford Patient Support Pavilion volunteers help patients with educational literature, wigs, hats, reading material, or just working puzzles or visiting. • MVPs (Most Vital Pal) meet patients and escort them to appointments. • Hosts for one of the many waiting rooms visit with patients, serve coffee and snacks, etc. • Greeters welcome patients in the lobby and escort them to appropriate clinics. • Readers will read short stories to infusion patients or simply visit with them while they are receiving treatment. • Gift shop volunteers assist gift shop staff and customers with sales, wrapping, pricing and cashier duties. • Volunteers at the Institute’s Auxiliary Cancer Support Center at the UAMS Family Home meet monthly to make Care Caps for patients. No sewing experience is required. • Special event volunteers serve on committees to help plan and implement fundraisers, receptions and other events. • Clerical volunteers assist with health screening registrations, address and stuff envelopes and do other clerical work. • Musicians play the Steinway piano in the atrium daily.
retirees who volunteer have had cancer themselves, making them an invaluable resource for those newly diagnosed or undergoing cancer treatment. Volunteers at UAMS may work as much or as little as their schedule allows. Both volunteers and patients benefit from the interaction. Patients gain comfort and a sense of normalcy during cancer treatment. Volunteers receive valuable leadership skills, patient care skills and the gratification from helping others. The volunteer coordinators are looking for people who can play an intricate role in the field of healthcare, maintain privacy and safety standards, uphold patient rights, while being a vital asset to the staff. All volunteers must undergo an orientation and short training. To volunteer call the Department of Volunteer Services at 501- 686-8286 or visit www.cancer. uams.edu/cancervolunteer
Self-taught Musician Johnny Jackson
ohnny Jackson, 65, is a real estate manager. But what he really loves is playing the beautiful Steinway piano in the atrium of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS. Jackson, who has just started his first professional piano training, taught himself to play from the age of eight. One of Jackson’s Sunday school classmates asked him to volunteer at the Institute. He says he started volunteering for her because she is a cancer survivor and an inspiration to Jackson and the entire congregation. On the second Tuesday of the month, Jackson plays for up to two hours. “I’d play a lot more, if they’d let me,” he says jokingly. The Institute’s open floor plan allows the music to drift up, allowing every waiting room in the building to enjoy it. Jackson says people enjoy the old standards he plays. He recalls one time he played “Smile” and later received an email from a patient thanking him for the song. He believes the music helps patients push through the difficult times brought about by cancer treatment. He says he gets many requests for the uplifting “When You Wish Upon a Star” from the Disney film, Pinocchio.
The qualities they are looking for in a volunteer are compassion, friendliness and a desire to help others. Many active MATURE ARKANSAS
JANUARY 26, 2012
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