SENIOR BEACON NEWSPAPER-FEBRUARY 2021

Page 1

Senior Beacon SB Eldest & Locally-Owned Senior Newspaper in Southern Colorado

JANUARY 2021

Vol. 39:12

Established February 1982

468 Consecutive Months!

Committed To Southern Colorado Seniors For 39 Years And Counting!!

Pages 12-13: SPECIAL REPORT Long-Term Care Should Be Top Concern FOR MANY BOOMERS, retirement may involve taking vacations, taking up a new hobby, and spending more time with family, friends and the grandchildren. In anticipation of these activities, Boomers work diligently to build up their next egg. But as Boomers age, and as healthcare costs rise, one item they must account for is care in retirement. Unfortunately, too many are failing to prepare. According to the Center for Secure Retirement and Bankers Life, 79% of middle-income Boomers have no money

set aside specifically for their retirement care needs. With this in mind, they should take the following steps to help protect their nest eggs: 1. Keep moving. Good physical health can lead to a more active life, improved mental and emotional health, and reduced medical expenses. By keeping yourself healthy and fit, you may be able to lower your premiums and potential future costs. Set time aside each day to stay active—your health and your bank account will thank you. 2. Save, save, save. It’s never too early

to start financially planning for retirement care. Recent data from the Center for a Secure Retirement and Bankers Life shows that more than half (54%) of working adults say their retirement planning has taken a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protect yourself from further unforeseen impact by taking advantage of tools and resources that can help you better prepare for the high costs of long-term care. 3. Talk to your children and family members. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to have conversations about how you want to be cared for as

you age. You may want to stay in your home and receive care in-place, or you may expect loved ones to provide this care. It’s helpful to include a financial planner in these conversations to provide an unbiased answer to your family’s questions. Sharing preferences and developing a plan can help make the transition easier and give you and your loved ones peace of mind. It’s never too late—or too early—to seek help and to better understand your financial plan and current healthcare coverage to try to prepare for unforeseen situations in the future.

Many Boomers have not properly planned for their retirement care needs—but it’s not too late and help is available.

Take a look at EVERGREEN

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Page 2 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

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JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE RACES

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE CAVE JAMES R. GRASSO Former Chief Cook & Bottle Washer

WELL, ANOTHER YEAR has come and gone. Does it need to be said how trying 2020 was? Nope! We all know what happened. We've been through much and much more will come. It always does! Be aware. You've made it this far haven't you? Don't mope. Be thankful for each day you have. Enough pontificating! I come to you this month with just three resolutions for the New Year. They are: 1). I refuse to turn on a news broadcast because it has been proven time and again that these newscasts are not reliable and biased, so why let them ruin the day? Who knows how many each of us have left anyway? Might as well embraced the Good. 2). I also refuse to read or pass on "sensational" negative "information" in the form of emails, texts, messages and, well you know, social media and will try to change the subject when someone wants to converse with me on said information. I won't be a snob about it but I'd rather not hear the latest gloom and doom from either side. We are Americans. We'll figure it out 3). I vow to be more prayerful in my daily life

and in general. It certainly grounds me when my doubts or infirmities cloud my soul. I find it gives me relief and clarity. Besides, what's the harm? God is pure love. Like holding a sleeping baby! It is my belief that if I stay on this course life will be much more serene! Peace is great! Is it not? If anyone reading this wants to share in these simple resolutions you will love what's coming. So in keeping with the number three. Here are three prayers you might like (My beloved wife found this prayer that can be used at mealtime): 1): "Dear Heavenly Father, love brought Jesus to the earth, and love brings us to this table. Today, as we share this meal, may we also share with one another a joyful heart and a warm smile. May our meal be filled with kindness. And may the memories of today warm our hearts for years to come. Amen." (Beth McLendon) If you are dining alone you can change the words to fit the occasion. 2). "Oh Lord, I confess that there is within me so much that is ignoble, selfish and sinful. My little house is in ruins. I cannot repair it. You, Yourself, must come to rebuild it, so that it may be a fit dwelling for you all the days of my life on earth. Amen." (Ancient prayer) 3). "Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace: Where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be comforted as to comfort, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. Because it is in the giving that we receive, it is in the pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." (Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi) So the theme for 2021? Peace! Godspeed to you and yours!

grateful

“When I decided to volunteer at Silver Key’s Food Pantry, I knew it would be rewarding. I was surprised to find out how thankful it makes me feel to help others who may not be as fortunate as I am. The seniors served through the pantry really appreciate the food and necessities they receive and I like knowing it helps them stretch their limited budgets further. I have a lot of fun making a difference in a senior’s life.”

Be part of something important. Apply to volunteer at silverkey.org/volunteer or call 719-884-2300.

Silver Key

Social Engagement MAINTAINING social connections and staying mentally and physically active is key to reducing social isolation and loneliness among older adults, particularly now during the COVID-19 national health crisis. There are many opportunities for older adults and caregivers to remain engaged and connected to their family, friends and community with and without technology during the pandemic. Here are a few suggestions all of us might consider doing during this time: Reach out. Try to call a family member or friend every day, write them a note or send a card. Stay active, mentally and physically. Move more and sit less. Engage in physical activity such as a walk or online group exercise classes. Flex your brain. Draw a sketch, write a poem or short story, or start

Remaining socially engaged improves the quality of life for older adults and is associated with better mental and physical health.

journaling. Create connections using technology. Use online tools to connect with friends and family. Attend virtual events and concerts or tour museums from home. Read a book online. Volunteer and share your skills from home. Develop a virtual mentoring relationship with a student through a local college or connect with your local Area Agency on Aging to find opportunities to help others. Through its website, www.eldercare.acl.gov, and national Call Center at 1-(800)-677-1116, the Eldercare L ­ ocator can inform and connect older adults and caregivers to local programs and services that provide a variety of ways to stay connected to others in their communities to reduce social isolation and loneliness.


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 3

Did you know......... Senior Beacon reads like a magazine???? Try us online at:

www.

SeniorBeacon . info Also catch our Breaking News section as a bonus!

FINANCE

Long-Term Care Planning Made Easy YOU MAY ALREADY be aware

of what long-term care is, whether it’s through personal experience caregiving for a loved one who needs daily assistance, or knowing a family member or friend who requires more support as they age. As you learn more about long term care, consider the possibility that you may need this type of care in the future and start planning for it today. Did you know that 70% percent1 of Americans older than age 65 will need long term care at some point in their lives? This means personal care and other related services provided on an extended basis to people who need help with everyday activities or supervision due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Because long term care is not typically covered by health or other types of traditional insurance, it’s most often provided at home by adult children, other family memLearn about long-term care and consider the possibility that you may need this type of care some day so you bers, and friends. Caregiving can be should start planning for it today. stressful, and often takes a toll on a Build a FLTCIP plan •Cost of care: Compare the nation- benefit choices. These, along with caregiver’s health and well-being. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it al average cost of long term care with your age, will help you determine For this reason, you may want to comes to long term care insurance, other locations in the United States. your coverage and premium: research standalone long term care and it’s no secret that planning for You can choose where you live, or •daily benefit amount insurance like the coverage that is plan to retire. •benefit period offered under the Federal Long Term your future care can be overwhelming. The FLTCIP’s new Guided •Care options: Learn more about •inflation protection Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Planner was designed to simplify the different care options, such as home Visit LTCFEDS.com to learn more Designed specifically for the federal process of building a FLTCIP plan care, assisted living facilities, and about the Guided Planner and build family, the FLTCIP provides insurthat’s right for you. When choosing nursing homes, as well as the associa plan that’s right for you. ance coverage that reimburses for a plan, consider the role your family ated costs. The Federal Long Term Care long term care in places like a nursmay play in providing your care, the •Inflation protection: Understand Insurance Program is sponsored by ing home, an assisted living facility, cost of care where you live or plan to the impact of inflation on the cost of the U.S. Office of Personnel Manageor at home. Purchasing coverage retire, and how your coverage may care over time and see examples of ment, insured by John Hancock Life under the FLTCIP may help to procontribute to your broader financial how the FLTCIP’s inflation protec& Health Insurance Company, under tect your savings and assets as well as a group long-term care insurance remain independent in the event you goals. The Guided Planner will guide tion options can help. you through these key consideraThe FLTCIP Guided Planner will policy, and administered by Long ever need long term care. tions: help you build a plan based on three Term Care Partners, LLC.


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Page 4 - Senior Beacon - January 2021 Silver Key

Home Delivered Meals

Jan. 1: Beef burrito, green enchilada sauce, sw black beans, Spanish rice, mandarin oranges, raisin nut cup Jan. 2: Sloppy Joe, carrots, coleslaw, pineapple, sugar cookie Jan. 3: Chicken chow mein, brown rice, Asian vegetables, pear, choco chip cookie, raisin nut cup Jan. 4: Hamburger w lettuce, tomato and onion, carrots, coleslaw, diced pear Jan. 5: Salmon w lemon and dill, sweet potatoes, broccoli, banana, ww choc. Chip, M&M cookie Jan. 6: Pork chow mein, brownr ice, winter blend vegetables, ww roll, pear Jan. 7: Honey curry chicken, wild and brownr ice, peas and carrots, broccoli slaw, apple, spice cake Jan. 8: Cheese ravioli w marinara, Bahama vegetables, tossed salad,

SILVER KEY HOME DELIVERED MEALS LUNCH MENU AUGUST 2019 To sign up, call 719-884-2370. silverkey.org/home-delivered-meals

1 - Southchicken, Western Chicken peaches, raisinAugust nut cup wild and brown Jan. 24: Cheese ravioli w 2- Goulash Jan. 9: ChickenAugust pot pie w rice, peas and carrots, marinara, Bahama vegAugust 3 - Chicken Piccata butter biscuits, lima beans, broccoli slaw, apple, etables, tossed salad, August 4 - Beef Stir Fry tossed salad wAugust dressing, spice cake 5 - Pepper Steak peaches, raisin nut cup pear 17:Sandwich Pork chow mein, August 6 - Jerk Jan. Chicken Jan. 25: Breaded chicken Augustw7 - Cod Piccata Jan. 10: Beef burrito brown rice, winter blend sandwich w lettuce and August 8 - Pork vegetables, Pot Roast green enchilada sauce, ww roll, pear August 9 - Crab Cakes sw black beans, Spanish Jan. 18: Chicken fajitas w tomato, blend vegetaAugust 10 - Beef Stew rice, mandarin August oranges, pepper, onion sour cream, bles, salad w dressing, 11 - South Western Chicken Ravioli w/Marinara raisin nut cup August 12 - Mushroom salsa, tortilla, Spanish rice, pear August 13 Chicken Salad Sandwich on CroissantJan. 26: Baked ziti w sauJan. 11: Chicken cordon sw black beans, peaches August 14 - Baked Citrus Tilapia bleu, sweet potatoes, Jan. 19: BBQ August 15 - Slow Roasted Beef turkey, sweet sage marinara, vegetamixed vegetables, ww potato, fries, green beans, bles, Caesar salad, orAugust 16roll, - Bratwurst August 17 - Porktossed Pot Roast mandarin oranges salad w dressing, ange, raisin nut cup 18 - Craborange Cakes Jan. 12: Turkey August salad sandJan. 27: BBQ Chicken, August 19 - Chicken Stir Fry wich on croissant, mineJan. 20: Ham salad on ww August 20- Beef Fajitas baked potato soup, peas strone soup, broccoli sunAugust 21 - BLTbread cream of mushAugust 22 - Meatloaf flower salad, apple roomw/Gravy soup, spinach man- and carrots, 3 bean salad, August 23 - Breaded apple Jan. 13: Chicken teriyaki, darin Catfish salad, strawberries August 24 - Slow Roasted Beef Jan. 28: Beef bourbrown rice, peas, Asian Jan. 21: Slow roasted August 25 - Mushroom Ravioli w/Marinara cabbage slaw,August apple26 - Sloppy beef, guignon, mashed potaJoemashed potatoes, Jan. 14: Meatball sub,27 - Porkpeas, carrot raisin salad, August Carnitas toes, broccoli, roll, strawAugust 28 - Tuna Salad vegetable soup, cauliapple berries w/Marinara flower, orange August 29 - Meatballs Jan. 22: Chicken at a king, Jan. 29: Riblettes, baked August 30 - Chicken Chow Mein Jan. 15: Beef tacos w letjasmine rice, green beans, August 31 - Meatloaf w/Gravy beans, potatoes, appletuce, tomato, cheese, carrot raisin salad, apple sauce sour cream and salsa, Jan. 23: Chicken cordon Sign up for Silver Key Home Delivered Meals 719-884-2370 Jan. 30: Chicken cacciaspiced pinto beans, apbleu, sweet potatoes, plesauce mixed vegetables, ww roll, tore pasta, green beans, ww roll, diced pears Jan. 16: Honey curry mandarin orange

Why Not Give a Shout Out to

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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 5

SRDA JANUARY 2021 CALENDAR Special information from Pueblo’s SRDA (Plus)

Recreation Department is currently CLOSED due to Covid - 19. All information provided depends on when SRDA reopens, which includes Matter of Balance. Also, all outside activity start up, like AARP -Taxes and Driver Safety classes will be determined by their national office.

Senior's Shopping Time Scheduled

EDITOR'S NOTE: THe following article is rerunning because of the COVID-19 relief efforts.

MANY STORES IN the area are offering a separate time for senior only shopping to assist in keeping one of the most vulnerable populations protected from the spread of COVID-19. At this time, information for senior only shopping is as follows: Albertson’s Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 – 9 AM Dollar General, 1245 Spruce Every day, 8 – 9 AM Dollar General, W. 18th Street Sundays, 8 – 9 AM Dollar General, 1502 Troy Every day, 8 –9 AM Dollar General, 609 Pueblo Boulevard Thursdays, 12 – 1 PM; All other days, 8 –9 AM Dollar General, 1610 Santa Fe Every day, 8 – 9 AM

Are you new to the Pueblo area?

Looking to make new friends?

Here’s the place to go!!! S R D A

230 N. Union Ave. Pueblo, CO 81001

Call us: 719-545-8900 Dollar General, 2417 Prairie Every day, 8 –9 AM King Soopers North and South Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 7 – 9 AM LaGrees Every day, 8 – 10 AM Natural Grocers Sundays, 9 – 10 AM Safeway Southside and Pueblo West Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 – 9 AM

Everybody has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in Pueblo Sam’s Club Thursdays, 7 – 9 AM Save-A-Lot Every day, 7 – 8 AM Target Every day, 8 – 9 AM Walmart; South, North, Pueblo West, Neighborhood Market Every day 6 -7 AM All public and media inquiries in Pueblo are answered through the local hotline at Pueblo’s Joint Information Center. Pueblo COVID-19 Hotline is answering questions 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday, 719-583-4444.   Everybody has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in Pueblo by: ■ Minimize social activities and

being physically close to other people. ■ Do not go to the emergency room unless medically necessary. ■ Wash your hands with soap regularly. ■ Cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue. ■ Stay home when you’re sick. ■ Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid close contact with sick people. ■ Clean surfaces frequently touched. Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment encourages residents to seek out credible, reliable sources of information on COVID-19: www.puebloemergency.info Pueblo’s COVID-19 Hotline 719-583-4444.

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Page 6 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

‘LIGHT FOR THE JOURNEY’

JAN MCLAUGHLIN

Director of Prayer for Prisoners International

GOD IS SIFTING! ARE YOU CHAFF OR WHEAT?

D

rops, drops and more drops. Every ten minutes, a nurse entered the exam room to put drops in my right eye. Nurses were courteous and caring boosting my excitement at having cataract surgery. My vision had deteriorated rapidly and without glasses or contacts,

facial features of a person across a small room were blurred. Double vision was also a problem when driving or watching a movie. Time after time in previous years the Wright Eye Center crossed my radar. Reviews online and from friends were superior. When my ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael Cozzetta, referred me to Dr. Wright for cataract surgery, I was thrilled. To learn they are good friends further delighted me. Dr Wright came into the room to examine my eye. I told him of the rare autoimmune disease I have, microscopic polyangiitis, which is currently in remission. My eyes have no drain system and I constantly wipe tears, or they spill down my cheeks. I told him of two oculofacial surgeons who tried to open my tear ducts which are clogged with scar tissue from chemotherapy. One tried opening the ducts which didn’t work. The second tried a procedure I believe was not necessary and didn’t work. It was dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). He told me it was to make new tear ducts. After having tubes inserted for four months, the procedure was unsuccessful. The first surgeon informed me that a DCR had nothing to do with my tear ducts and there was no purpose for that surgery. If nothing else, I impressed Dr. Wright by correctly pronouncing the word. Moved to another room for more pre-op prep, I had an IV port inserted into a vein, a discussion with Robert, the anesthesiologist, and a quick visit with Alexa, another nurse. I asked, “are you the Alexa I can ask any question in the

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world and receive an immediate answer?” She assured me that I could ask her any question and that she would give me an immediate answer, but her answer might not be correct. We laughed. Convinced that one of the biggest determiners of a successful surgery and recovery is attitude, mine was on a high. Excited, expectant and trusting. Another nurse rolled my gurney into surgery where a different nurse, taped my head to the table and did a few other preparatory procedures of which I cannot remember. I was enveloped in a cocoon of peace and warmed by the Lord’s presence. After a ten-minute surgery and a short time in recovery, I was walked to the door where my husband waited with the car and we drove directly home. Sleeping with a plastic shield taped over my eye was cumbersome and comforting. No worries about rubbing or bumping it in the night. I woke the next morning stunned that I could see everything at a distance clearly. I have worn monovision contacts for decades and when I put the contact in my left eye, I was astounded. Sitting in one room looking through the living room to the kitchen, I exclaimed, “Rick! I can see that box on the refrigerator! It says Cheez It!” We were thrilled. How amazing. I could read road signs, see the mountains, birds, landscapes and more. God had given me new vision in my right eye. Initially my plan was to have both eyes repaired for distance. However, when I put in my left contact and could see both close and distance clearly, the plan changed. I called Dr. Cozzetta and asked him about having the second cataract surgery for close vision. While we were talking, he was texting Dr. Wright to tell him to change my surgery for close vision. My right eye healed quickly, and two weeks passed. I was again in the same exam room having eye drops in my left eye every ten minutes. The same wonderful nurses tended to me and soon I was moved to the other room. This time, I could see clearly out of my right eye. A beautiful painting on the wall grabbed my attention. I missed it when I was there the first time because I could only see distance with glasses or contacts. The painting was of Jesus in an operating room overseeing an eye surgery. I praised the Lord that I could see the painting so clearly and that it was familiar to me. Only a few days earlier, I held a postcard with the exact picture on it. The name of the painting is Be Thou My Vision by Nathan Green. The artist created a beautiful image of Psalm 32:8,

▶ SEE LIGHT, PAGE 7 Great Location! Close to Shopping, Walking Trails, Medical Offices, and Highways!

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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 7

NEWS

Hospital Associates Receive Gift of Self-Care FOR NINE MONTHS, the caregivers at Centura Health-St. Thomas More Hospital (STM) have been dedicated to serving the Fremont County community on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has often meant long hours and busy days. After one particularly hectic shift, a RN mentioned that her back was sore, sparking an idea in the mind of STM Clinical Nurse Manager of Med/Surg, ICU, and Wound Care, Kara Crites. Wouldn’t it be nice to create a quiet space where caregivers could step away and take a moment for themselves? Kara brought her idea to STM’s

Volunteer Department to see if this would be a project they could support. The Volunteer Department at STM operates STM’s gift shop, From the Heart Gift Shop, where all proceeds are donated to the St. Thomas More Health Foundation to support programs and services for caregivers, patients and the community. Past projects supported by funds from the gift shop have included nursery beds, digital mammography, new wheelchairs, and financial support of the Birth Center renovation. “Every cent spent at the gift shop is working hard to support our caregivers and patients,� explained Patty

Ledbetter, STM’s volunteer coordinator and gift shop manager. “I took Kara’s idea to the volunteers and they supported the project 100 percent.� A group of STM nurses started the search for a used massage chair that could be placed in the room. However, knowing how deserving STM caregivers were of this peaceful sanctuary, the volunteers opted to purchase a brand new deluxe, zero gravity, massage chair. Not only does massage reduce pain and stiffness, it is also found to aid in stress management and decreases anxiety and depression. A quiet room at STM was located and items such as a salt lamp and decorative rug

were added to create an ambiance of relaxation. “It’s a great getaway and is available to any of our associates,� said Patty. “I’ve had so many nurses stop into the gift shop to tell me how much they appreciate it.� Now that the space has been created, the challenge is finding the time to use it. Kara enthusiastically encourages associates to take a 10-minute break to enjoy a headto-toe massage and a moment of self-care. Interested in volunteering at St. Thomas More? Please contact Patty at 719-285-2104 or email PatriciaLedbetter@Centura.Org.

â—€ FROM LIGHT, PAGE 6

Point of the Pines Gardens

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330 Elkton Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80919

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info@accoladelivingcenters.com

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719-545-6222 719-265-0030

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@ 2020 Jan McLaughlin. Jan can be contacted at 719-649-2937 or by e-mail Jansmail@reagan.com.

Affordable Assisted Living in a Scenic Setting

N Chestnut St

KJV. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.� Amazed at the perfect statement the painting brought to that surgery preparatory room in the Wright Eye Center moved me and raised my confidence. “Dr. Wright must be a Christ follower.� I said to the nurse. “Oh, he is.� She replied, “He is a strong Christian.� Weeks later, both eyes are healed. If you have had cataract surgery, you relate to my story. I honestly feel God gave me new eyes. I know how the blind man felt when Jesus touched him, and he could see. “Once I was blind but now, I can see.� There is one big difference. I know who healed my eyes. The Great Physician. Yes, He used Dr. Wright and Dr. Cozzetta. He used their hands, their wisdom and their expertise. However, they can do nothing without Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer who has gifted them for their practice. “Be Thou My Vision.� The perfect painting for Dr. Wright’s office. The perfect message for the New Year. Lord Jesus be my vision for each new day in this brand-new year. Open my eyes as I step into new beginnings. Guide me with your eye. Help me to not be like a horse or a mule but to walk in step with your will, clinging to your hand for every step. Help me remember you have gone before and prepared the way. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart� (Psalm 32:8-11 NKJV)!

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Page 8 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

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NEWS OF THE WEIRD

SPECIAL TO THE SENIOR BEACON FROM THE EDITORS OF ANDREWS MCMEEL Bright Idea Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities in DeKalb County, Alabama, raided the Rainsville Wastewater Treatment Plant on Dec. 17 and discovered a large illegal winemaking operation that appeared to have been in operation for a long time, reported WHNT. The next day, plant supervisor Allen Maurice Stiefel, 62, of Fyffe, was charged with unlawful possession of illegally manufactured alcohol and suspended without pay, according to Rainsville Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt. The operation was found in a little-used building at the plant, where, Lingerfelt said, "Things happen like that." The sale of alcohol had been illegal in Rainsville until the city council passed an ordinance approving it in September. [WHNT, 12/18/2020] High Anxiety As Delta Flight 462, en route to Atlanta, began to taxi away from the gate at La Guardia Airport on Dec. 21, passenger Brian Plummer noticed a man and woman with a service dog changing seats several times on the less-than-full plane, he told The New York Times, and heard the man say, "If I sit down, I'll freak out." Plummer soon felt the plane come to a stop, and flight attendants revealed why: The man,

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Antonio Murdock, 31, of Florida, had forced open an emergency exit door, causing a slide to activate, and picking up the dog, slid down to the ground with the woman, Brianna Greco, 23, according to a complaint filed in Queens Criminal Court, where the two were arraigned on a number of mischief and endangerment charges. "This doesn't happen every day at the airport," said Lenis Valens, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. No one was injured in the incident, but the flight was delayed for hours. [New York Times, 12/22/2020] Awesome! Didn't get what you wanted for Christmas? The North Carolina Department of Transportation put nine vintage train cars up for auction on Dec. 15 that it purchased from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus after it ceased operation in 2017, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. NCDOT bought the cars for $383,000 to refurbish for use between Raleigh and Charlotte, but federal grants have enabled the department to buy new cars instead. "These cars have a great and amazing history," said Jason Orthner, director of the NCDOT rail division. Bidding continues until Jan. 4, but

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at press time, there were no bids on the cars. [Raleigh News & Observer, 12/21/2020] Surprise! Andrea Ellis of East Moline, Illinois, was wrapping presents on Dec. 19 when she opened a package of garden flags she intended to give her grandmother and noticed something extra in the bottom of the padded envelope. It turned out to be a biohazard bag containing a Virginia woman's COVID-19 test. Ellis told the Quad City Times that when she failed to reach the woman, she called police, who sent an officer to retrieve it, but 15 minutes later, he returned with the bag, saying, "I was told to bring it back to you." A representative of the Rock Island County Health Department picked up the sample the next day and will try to return it to the Virginia patient. Ellis has also heard from a vice president at Kohl's, where she bought the flags, who said the company is working hard to find out what happened and prevent it from happening again. [Quad City Times, 12/20/2020] Perspective Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, is asking luxury goods company Louis Vuitton to stop selling a yoga mat made partially of leather, calling the product "hugely insensitive" because Hindus regard cows as sacred. In a Dec. 22 statement, Zed said the idea "of yoga ... being performed on a mat made from a killed cow is painful," The Associated Press reported. The mat retails for $2,390 online; Paris-based Louis Vuitton has not responded. [Associated Press via WJLA, 12/22/2020]

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Great Art -- French artist Gaetan Marron presented a new performance piece in December titled "Non-Essential," in which he locked himself for 10 days inside a clear Plexiglas cube at a shopping mall in Marseille. Euronews reported the artist described his work as an attempt to "bring culture, which clearly saved us during this lockdown, back to the center of the subject." The cube, large enough for Marron to stand up in, also contained a few nonessential items, including a TV and coffee machine; Marron left the cube to use the restroom. "I have the feeling that ... we miss what is really the real human contact ... we have really lost social links in this period," Marron said. [Euronews, 12/12/2020] -- Police in Perth, Western Aus-

tralia, are asking for the public's help in locating a thin, well-dressed man with olive skin and short black hair who was captured on surveillance cameras using an electric bicycle to draw lewd pictures of a penis on a city sidewalk on Nov. 30. "The man has appeared to spin the wheels ... in order to draw explicit images with the rubber from the tires," Crimestoppers WA announced. A police Facebook post about the incident drew scorn, news.com.au reported: "Whatever his punishment," one user wrote, "I'm sure he will have to write it out on the board 100 times at recess." [news.com.au, 12/22/2020] Oops! The 69 passengers who boarded Buddha Air Flight U4505 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Dec. 18, expecting to fly to Janakpur, about 140 miles southeast, were surprised when they arrived instead in Pokhara, about 125 miles in the opposite direction. Weather and flight delays may have been factors, an airline spokesperson told The Kathmandu Post, resulting in "a miscommunication between the ground staff and the pilots." The passengers were promptly flown to their preferred destination a few hours behind schedule, and Buddha Air Managing Director Birendra Bahadur Basnet announced that a committee has been formed to investigate the incident. [The Kathmandu Post, 12/20/2020] The Passing Parade Police were called to a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to break up the fight that broke out after a man identified only as Jorge discovered a tunnel leading from his home to that of a neighbor, Alberto, who had been having an affair with Jorge's wife. Trouble began, reported the Daily Mail, when Jorge arrived home early from work and surprised his wife and Alberto, a bricklayer who was also married. Alberto hid behind a couch before disappearing down the tunnel, which appeared in photos to be professionally constructed. Jorge followed Alberto down the tunnel, eventually confronting him in Alberto's house. [Daily Mail, 12/29/2020] News That Sounds Like a Joke Micheline Frederick of Queens, New York, is still recovering from the wounds she suffered in what she described as a brawl with a squirrel on the front stoop of her home just before Christmas. "This was an MMA cage match!" she told WLNY. "And I lost!" Several neighborhood


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 9

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

SPECIAL TO THE SENIOR BEACON FROM THE EDITORS OF ANDREWS MCMEEL

residents have reported run-ins with aggressive squirrels, including Vinati Singh, whose husband has been attacked twice, and Licia Wang, who was bitten on the arm while walking home. A trapper has been hired to capture the rodents, and while squirrels are rarely found to have rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Health is advising victims to contact their doctor if they've been bitten. [CBS2 New York, 12/31/2020] Coping Seattle dad and self-described travel enthusiast Steve Simao attracted a following after his daughter, Annisa, called him out on her TikTok account for his purchase of a pair of first-class leather seats

taken from a Delta MD90 Jetliner, complete with an air safety card. Simao, who is vice president of sales at Windstar Cruises, found the seats on eBay in November, reported The Washington Post, and has had fun scratching his itch to travel with them ever since, sending his daughter videos of her mother "bringing food to the (tray) table and him just sitting there enjoying it," Annisa said. Delta CEO Ed Bastian has taken notice and given the three Simaos round-trip, first-class tickets to anywhere in the United States. Hawaii is high on their list. [The Washington Post, 12/8/2020] Florida A woman who would not leave a

SRDA MONTHLY MENU ABOUT THE MENU ● Nutrition Services (Congregate) Eligibility Policy: Individuals are eligible to participate in the congregate meals service in one of the categories listed in this below: Persons 60 years of age or older and their self-declared spouses of any age; Disabled persons under 60 years of age who reside with persons over 60 years of age, when the care and maintenance of the disabled person otherwise prevents the older adult from participating in the program and when the participation of such individuals does not prevent the participation of older adults and their spouses. The disabled person must accompany the eligible older consumer to the site; Disabled persons under 60 years of age who reside in housing facilities occupied primarily by older adults and at which congregate nutrition services are provided when such participation does not prevent the participation of older adults and their spouse Persons under 60 years of age who provide meal related volunteer services and individuals providing volunteer services at congregate meal sites during meal hours when the participation of such individuals does not prevent the participation of older adults and their spouses; and

St. Petersburg, Florida, Mobil gas station was arrested for trespassing on Oct. 14, The Smoking Gun reported. Melinda Lynn Guerrero, 33, was also charged with providing a false name to law enforcement after she repeatedly said her name was "My butt just farted." Officers were familiar with Guerrero from a series of arrests over several years, and her last name is tattooed on her back. They noted she may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. [The Smoking Gun, 10/16/2020] Creme de la Weird Kazakh bodybuilder, actor and self-described "sexy maniac" Yuri Tolochko announced his marriage

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719-544-3999 www.belmontseniorcare.com Become a fan of Facebook BSC is a local, private, non-profit corporation not affiliated with Belmont Lodge nursing home Staff members of the nutrition program who are 60 years of age or older when such participation does not prevent the participation of other older adults and their spouses. Nutrition Services (Home Delivered) Eligibility Policy: Individuals are eligible to participate in the Home Delivered meals service in one of the categories listed in this below: Persons age 60 years or older who are

homebound or who are geographically isolated; Disabled persons under age 60 years who reside with eligible consumers; and Spouses of home delivered meals consumers if, according to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) criteria, receipt of the meals are in the best interest of the consumers. More Information For more information, please contact us at 719-543-0100. CONGREGATE LUNCH SITES

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to his beloved, a sex doll named Margo, on Instagram on Nov. 25 and shared with his followers their wedding video, in which the joyous couple, wearing a tuxedo and a full-length wedding dress, exchange vows and welcome friends and loved ones to a reception after the ceremony, The Sun reported. The groom identifies himself as pansexual and able to fall in love with "a character, an image, a soul," and said the two became engaged a year ago, after he rescued her from some unwanted attention in a nightclub. "Couples need to talk less and connect more," Tolochko said. "Margo and I realized that it takes more than words to have a conversation." [The Sun, 11/25/2020]

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OPINION-EDITORIAL

ANN COULTER

Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of United Slaves, the violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural gibberish that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga’s United Slaves.

Columnist, author and lawyer

HAPPY KWANZAA! THE HOLIDAY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE FBI VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT

Kamala Harris recently tweeted: “Our Kwanzaa celebrations are one of my favorite childhood memories. The whole family would gather around across multiple generations and we’d tell stories and light the candles. Whether you’re celebrating this year with those you live with or over Zoom, happy Kwanzaa!” Post some pictures, Kamala! We’d love to see your Brahmin and Jamaican grandparents sitting around the Kwanzaa candles recalling celebrations way back when they were three or four years younger. (Would that The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” would start counting Kamala’s lies!) Kwanzaa, celebrated exclusively by white liberals, is a fake holiday invented in 1966 (when Kamala was 2 years old) by black radical/ FBI stooge Ron Karenga — aka

In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the ’60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better. (It’s the same function MSNBC serves today.) By that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect. Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the ’60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. Although some of their most high-profile leaders were drug dealers and murderers, they did not seek armed revolution. Those were the precepts of Karenga’s United Slaves. The United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented “African” names. (I will not be shooting any Black Panthers this week because I am Kwanzaa-reform, and we are not that observant.) It’s as if David Duke invented a holiday called “Anglika,” which he based on the philosophy of “Mein Kampf ” — and clueless public school teachers began celebrating the made-up, racist holiday. In the category of the-gentleman-doth-protest-too-much, back

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in the ’70s, Karenga was quick to criticize Nigerian newspapers that claimed that certain American black radicals were CIA operatives. Now we know the truth: The FBI fueled the bloody rivalry between the Panthers and United Slaves. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police. Whether Karenga was a willing FBI dupe, or just a dupe, remains unclear. The left has forgotten the FBI’s tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa. In one barbarous outburst, Karenga’s United Slaves shot two Black Panthers to death on the UCLA campus: Al “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins. Karenga himself served time, a useful stepping-stone for his current position as the chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University at Long Beach. (Speaking of which, the cheap labor lobby certainly was right about how the GOP could easily win over “natural conservative” Hispanics. Look at how California has swung decisively to the right since Hispanics became the largest ethnic group there! Good luck winning California now, Democrats!) The esteemed Cal State professor Karenga’s invented holiday is a nutty blend of schmaltzy ’60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another invention of The Worst Generation. In 1974, Patty Hearst, kidnap

victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, famously posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snakehead stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani. These are the exact same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa praises collectivism in every possible area of life. It takes a village to raise a police snitch! When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from “classical Marxism,” he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites. (And here’s something interesting: Kawaida, Kwanzaa and Kuumba are also the only three Kardashian sisters not to have their own shows on the E! network.) While taking the “best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism” (Is that the mass murder or the seizure of private property?), Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one’s racial identity “determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding.” Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI’s COINTELPRO. It is a holiday celebrated exclusively by idiot white liberals. Black people celebrate Christmas.


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 11

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Page 12 - Senior Beacon - January 2021 BUSINESS

Lockdown Costs:

Economic Prison for the Lifeblood of Our Communities KYLE GROVE OWNS and operates a unique entertainment business. It’s full of fun, mystery, and suspense for the lucky participants. He runs the state’s last brick-and-mortar magic shop and also provides magic-themed party entertainment. In fact, his store is the last one like it in a five-state area. Mr. Grove is an honest guy trying to provide smiles and joy but has now been effectively closed for seven months. He has jumped through all of the safety hoops and still his creation suffers to survive. Has he quit? No. He’s talked to or attempted to talk to Representative Valdez, Senators Gardner and Tipton, multiple Pueblo City Council members, and even Mayor Gradisar. What did he gain? Absolutely nothing. He did the right things. He started a

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business, ran it honestly, and reached out to people that are supposed to help. Mr.

Grove got nothing. Hundreds and thousands of business owners in Pueblo,

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jump off to save that life? Then why are we asking the majority of our small business brethren to abandon their ships? To abandon their years of effort, hard work, and sacrifice?

40

At the risk of sounding like a telethon, please open your heart to the pain and plight our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, moms and dads are suffering. These small business owners are the lifeblood of America. They employ millions, innovate improvements, create jobs, and help you when you need it.

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SMALL BUSINESSES CONTRIBUTE According to the Small Busi-

Colorado Springs, and Canon City are getting nothing and struggling. Tens of thousands in Colorado are struggling. Millions in America are struggling to keep the doors open. Is it selfish to make a living and put food on the table? Then we are all selfish. But we do it anyway. Is it selfish and harmful to put small businesses out of business, or nearly out of business, or to put them in a clawing fight for survival? It is very selfish and harmful to the economy, to mental and physical health, and to our future. When someone gives the clarion call of “Man overboard” does the entire crew, all the passengers, and other workers

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ness Administration, small businesses account for 30.7 million companies, 59.9 million employees, and 47.3% of U.S. employees. They also provide opportunity to minorities, women, veterans, and ex-convicts. They provide a level playing field for many populations in our country. The Sunset Inn Bar and Grill has been on a rollercoaster ride. Before this pandemic and lockdown they

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VISIT US ONLINE AT: SeniorBeacon.info experienced robust revenues on a daily Yet Tonya, from the Sunset Inn, had basis. Then the turmoil in the economy the grace to say they are “so full of gratistarted. Their sales dropped by as much tude for the community.” Despite everyas ninety percent. Yet their expenses and obligations Consulting didn’t drop at the same rate. The family Employees was lucky enough to be Pueblo West, CO featured 719-543-7455 on a Web: Documents4Less.com national spot on CNN. one being “so stressed and not knowing.” That provided a temporary bump in These are good people suffering. daily sales, putting them close to normal

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times. Here’s the rollercoaster: More restrictions were placed and they are back to an eighty percent drop in revenues.

SMALL BUSINESSES PERSIST They live next door and in your neighborhood. They might employ you or a family member or someone else you know. They now they need our support and concern. Many are not surviving or barely staying alive. If small business is negatively affected then you or someone you know and love is also negatively impacted. Small business accounts for 99.9 percent of U.S. business, according to the SBA. Of course, there are large, publicly traded companies that have lost revenues and staff but this is not a matter of survival for them. They have giant war chests and borrowing re-

January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 13

sources. Try to comfort a small business owner who has sweat, bled, and toiled for three decades and has now closed his business: “Well, at least Lowe’s stock is down.” Haven’t they received government funds to make it through? Not all small companies have. If they did get money will 2 ½ months of coverage last for more than nine months of business chaos? BIG CORPORATIONS ARE PROFITING If you have not read it yet, not everyone is suffering. Some major companies are doing very well. Take WalMart for example. Their same store sales were up 6.4 percent in the third quarter of last year. In the world of retail, that is a truly

eCommerce sales, growing by 79 percent. At one point, the company was getting punished in the stock market for slow electronic growth. This pandemic has been a golden time for them. The world’s largest retailer is not alone, either. Accompanying this article is a graphic of just a sampling of large companies that have mostly benefited, either from an appreciating stock price, rising revenue, or both. Some of that is organic growth but some is also from declining small businesses or otherwise benefitting from this affront to small business. MAKE A STAND Please take a moment to put yourself in these business owner’s shoes: How long could you and your household survive on a drop of 80-100 percent of your income? On top of that, how would you

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Page 14 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

FREMONT COUNTY/SALIDA MENUS GAC •Jan. 1: Closed – New Year’s Day •Jan. 4: Oriental pepper chicken, brown rice, steamed broccoli spears, apple, fortune cookie, ww bread w butter •Jan. 5: Beef barley soup, ww crackers, sesame broccoli, apricot pineapple compote, ww bread, apple •Jan. 6: Pot road w gravy, baby carrots and new potatoes, seasoned green beans, cantaloupe, raisin nut cup, ww bread w butter •Jan. 7: Scalloped potatoes w ham, spinach salad w mandarin oranges, hard boiled egg, sliced peaches, ww roll w butter •Jan. 8: Lemon baked fish, tarter sauce and lemon, rice pilaf, creamy coleslaw, green beans w mushrooms, apple •Jan. 11: Ham and beans, collard greens, cornbread, orange juice •Jan. 12: Chicken cacciatore, green beans, smashed red potatoes, banana, ww bread w butter •Jan. 13: Swiss steak, mushroom sauce, smashed red potatoes, seasoned greens, salad w lite ranch, orange, ww bread w butter •Jan. 14: California veggie bake, spinach salad w egg and lite Italian, pear, citrus cup, oatmeal raisin cup, ww bread w butter •Jan. 15: Smothered chick-

en, cornbread stuffing, peas and carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, applesauce waldorf salad •Jan 18: Closed – Martin Luther King Jr. Day •Jan. 19: Corned beef brisket, parsley buttered new potatoes, cabbage and carrots, spinach salad w mandarin oranges, apple •Jan. 20: Cream of potato soup, tuna salad wrap, shredded romaine, lettuce and tomato slices, creamy coleslaw cantaloupe •Jan. 21: Pueblo beef stew, sour cream, ww crackers, brussels sprouts, vegetable salad w lite ranch, banana •Jan. 22: Stuffed peppers, chopped spinach w malt vinegar, applesauce cake, ww bread w butter •Jan. 25: Hamburger on a bun, catsup, mustard and onion, split pea soup, creamy cole slaw, banana •Jan. 26: Turkey pot pie, peas and carrots, salad w lite ranch, ww roll w butter, orange, oatmeal cookie •Jan. 27: Spinach lasagna, seasoned green beans, salad w lite Italian, banana, ww bread w butter •Jan. 28: Beef stroganoff, orange spiced carrots, pickled beet and onion salad, orange, ww bread w butter •Jan. 29: Black bean and tortilla casserole, steamed brown rice, whipped sweet potatoes, mixed fruit

Penrose (719) 372-3872 Florence (719) 784-6493

FLORENCE •Jan. 1 – Closed New Year’s Day •Jan. 5: Roast beef sandwich on what, chunky vegetable soup, oven browned potatoes, confetti salad, apple •Jan. 7: Scalloped potatoes w ham, spinach salad w mandarin oranges, hard boiled egg, sliced peaches, ww roll w butter •Jan. 8: Lemon baked fish, tarter sauce and lemon, rice pilaf, creamy coleslaw, green beans w mushrooms, apple •Jan. 12: Porcupine meatballs, whipped potatoes w gravy, California vegetable medley, pears, ww bread w butter •Jan. 14: California veggie bake, spinach salad w egg and lite Italian, pear, citrus cup, oatmeal raisin cup, ww bread w butter •Jan. 15: Smothered chicken, cornbread stuffing, peas and carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, appleasauce waldorf salad •Jan. 19: Arroz con pollo, corn and zucchini Mexicana, tossed salad, apricot, ww bread •Jan. 21: Pueblo beef stew, sour cream, ww crackers, brussels sprouts, vegetable salad w lite ranch, banana •Jan. 22: Stuffed peppers, chopped spinach w malt vinegar, applesauce cake, ww bread w butter •Jan. 26: BBQ beef brisket,

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ranch style beans, ww hamburger bun, broccoli florets, honeydew cilantro, lime salad •Jan. 28: Beef stroganoff, orange spiced carrots, pickled beets and onion salad, orange, ww bread w butter •Jan. 29: Black bean and tortilla casserole, steamed brown rice, whipped sweet potatoes, mixed fruit PENROSE •Jan.6: Pasta with meat sauce, Bread, Veg. and Dessert •Jan. 13: Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, Veg., Dessert •Jan. 20: Soup, Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Fruit, Dessert •Jan. 27: Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Veg., Dessert Menu Subject to Change – Starting April,1,2020 Suggested Donation $3.00 for Members / $5.00 for Non-Members NOTES: All meals served with dessert √ Lunches served at 11:30 12:30 Takeout only , All Ages Welcome! If your name is not on the list of regular attendees, we request that you call in advance so we can plan for your lunch: 719-429-1815.

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When was the last time you went through all that’s in your freezer? Don’t you wonder what is really lurking in there, in the back corners? Most of us take purchases or wrap up left-overs and stick them in the freezer without much thought. Take a good look at your freezer and try to remember what it looks like, because in a little while, with a little work, you won’t recognize the old freezer and its contents. IN THE BEGINNING Take everything out and get rid of anything unwanted or unusable. This includes food with freezer burn, mysterious or unlabeled packages, anything that was frozen so long ago you can't remember, or has so much ice on it that you can’t tell what it is. This also includes foodthat you know, deep down, you're never really going to eat.


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 15

SENIOR SAFETY

PUEBLO POLICE DEPARTMENT — 549-1200 | PUEBLO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE — 583-6125 | EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE — 520-7100 | COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPT. — 444-7000 | FREMONT COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPT. — 784-3411 | CANON CITY POLICE DEPT. — 276-5600

Selecting Right Mask Provides Protection EXPERTS OF ALL sorts now say face masks are a must to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Someone you meet could have the coronavirus and not realize it. Not all masks work equally well, however, researchers have discovered. Here are some of the most important features to look for when choosing a mask, according to the latest conclusions. Mask Types and Filtering Effectiveness When it comes to what types of masks are best, there are different levels of protection. A Lancet study shows 96% protection from N95 masks with single layer cloth masks offering as little as 5% protection. N95 masks are considered the best of the best but they may be hard to find because healthcare workers are the top priority due to their high exposure to COVID. Where does that leave you? Masks with an FDA 510k approved N95 substantial equivalent mask which passes and even exceeds all the FDA tests required for an N95 mask. “There is no reason for consumers to have such a low level of protection with a cloth mask when N95 substantial equivalent masks are now becoming available in the 100s of millions and bring an average of 97% protection to consumers,” says COVID Educator and former TV Chief Medical correspondent Bob Arnot, MD. “N95 and surgical masks are the most effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus—that’s why everyone should reserve them for healthcare workers,” adds Dr. Arnot. “The good news is, saving N95 masks for healthcare workers doesn’t

This month’s Senior Safety Page is Proudly Sponsored byAMERICAN VEIN! Give them a call right away! And thank themfor sponsoring this valuable addition to the Senior Beacon!! leave you vulnerable: you just need to choose a mask that’s designed to deliver the protection and filtration properties of these masks.” Breathability Is Important Your mask needs to allow enough air flow that you don’t struggle to breathe, since you’re more likely to keep your mask on if you’re comfortable whether you are at the gym or shopping at your local market. Ideally, the air flow should be through the weave and not through gaps around the mouth or eyes. A face mask has good breathability when the wearer’s breath can filter through the material. If it’s too dense, air escapes out the sides and doesn’t let the mask do its job. The mask has to catch water droplets from coughs, sneezes, and talking and protect against the minute airborne virus. Look for nano-fiber material for both lightweight breathability and protection from pathogens. Mask quality counts COVID is continuing to surge even with masking. “Mask quality and usage is very important. Many masks are of such poor quality that they fail to protect with prolonged exposure in stale air,” says Dr. Arnot. “People don’t realize that a single layer cotton mask may provide only 5% protection versus 97.6% on average for N95 substan-

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Page 16 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

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REELING

OSCAR NOD FOR MEMOIR OF APPPALACHIAN FAMILY SUPERB PERFORMANCES KEEP INTEREST IN CONFUSING FLASHBACKS IN 'HILLBILLY ELEGY' BETTY JO TUCKER Pueblo award winning film critic

H

ILLBILLY ELEGY, directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard, showcases the stunning acting of Glenn Close and Amy Adams. Howard worked from Vanessa Taylor’s screenplay adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional Appalachian family. Gabriel Basso portrays J.D. as an adult and Owen Aszalos plays the young J.D. With Close as the no-nonsense grandmother and Adams as the boy’s abusive mom, this Netflix offering cries out for Oscar nomination. Along with those two superb performances, a suspenseful question set-up early on in the movie helps keep our interest during a series of confusing flashbacks.

The grown-up J.D. -- who has worked hard through college and now gets scheduled for an important interview – receives a call from his sister (Haley Bennett) about their mom’s OD on heroin. Sis wants him to come home and help her. How will he handle both situations that are happening at the same time? Fortunately, his understanding girlfriend (Frieda Pinto) gives him gentle support. Their phone conversations come across as lovely interludes during a hectic time for him. J.D. can’t help remembering incidents in his past life as he struggles to decide what to do. That’s where those many flashbacks come into play. The problem? They jump back and forward to dif-

ferent time periods. So the story suffers from lack of continuity. Still, Mamaw (Close) and Bev (Adams) always show up. And that is what makes this movie so compelling.

A young boy’s grandma interferes to help him through his teenage years. She uses tough love at the start. But soon he knows it’s from her heart. His mother needs both drugs and men over and over and then again. Glenn Close and Amy Adams shine. And other cast members are fine. “Hillbilly Elegy” stands out It pulls no punches. That’s no doubt. The film shows people suffering yet family love conquering. I should mention how much the make-up and costumes for Close and Adams add to their ability to bring their characters to life on screen. Close has tricked us before as “Albert Nobbs” in that 2011 film and as Norma Desmond in the Broadway version of “Sunset Boulevard.” As Mamaw in “Hillbilly Elegy,” she is again practically unrecognizable. We accept her as Mamaw in every scene. Her tough behavior and rough language may shock us, but we appreciate her motives. Adams loses all her glamour and shows us a Bev who once was salutatorian of her high school class but later became hooked on heroin. She makes us believe that she loves her son even though she’s an abusive mother. We desperately want her to get the help she needs. This is perhaps the most difficult role in “Hillbillies Elegy,” and Adams nails it. Yes, indeed. Close and Adams should be contenders during this award season. (Released by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 17

THE WELL-DRESSED GARDEN

Flower Power: What It Means Today 32 YEARS AGO, in 1986, the Pueblo County Commissioners established the Department of Housing and Human Services and it became the administrator of the Pueblo MARTY ROSS Flower Freelance garden power today journalist and means colorful, syndicated gardening columnist low-maintenance blooming plants of all kinds that support a healthy environment and make our world ever more beautiful. Hybridizers are putting flowers powerfully to work. "The whole world of breeding is more sophisticated" than it used to be, says Diane Blazek, executive director of All-America Selections and the National Garden Bureau, sister organizations that test new plants and promote top performers. Gardeners are looking for beautiful flowers they can rely on, but they also want to attract pollinators and conserve resources -- including time and energy. Modern hybridizers are hip, Blazek says. New plants in garden shops and in the glossy pages of the latest plant and seed catalogs are hardy and adaptable. Annual flowers are heat- and drought-tolerant, and they produce lots of long-lasting flowers. Begonias introduced in the past few years have transformed consumers' experience with the genus, Blazek says. Large, colorful Viking begonias make big statements all by themselves in pots, and they hold their own with ease in flower beds. Lantanas aren't what they used to be, either. New sterile varieties produce lots of nectar for butterflies and other pollinators, but do not go to seed. Because the plants don't expend energy pro-

Prolific-blooming Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) Denim 'n Lace thrives in sunny gardens, tolerates drought and is equally at home in hot climates and regions with bone-chilling winters. Wands of lilac-blue flowers cover the plants from late spring through summer, attracting hummingbirds. Denim 'n Lace also looks spectacular in pots.

ducing seeds, they bloom almost continuously through summer's heat, without pampering. This year, the National Garden Bureau's "Year of " program, which promotes stellar garden performers, selected hydrangeas as their first featured shrub. "They're everywhere now, and they are better than ever," Blazek says. "They are longer-blooming (and) easy to care for, they have bigger flower heads, and they're great for sun or shade." Interest in hydrangeas has skyrocketed in the past few years as hybridizers have introduced new mop-top varieties that bloom reliably even after the coldest winters. New introduc-

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tions among the panicle hydrangeas, prized for their late-summer and fall flowers, bloom earlier than old-time varieties, and their cone-shaped flower clusters keep their form and freshness for weeks. Hybridizers have also increased the selection of native oak-leaf and smooth hydrangeas, and they've introduced compact varieties just right for small gardens or containers. Among perennial flowers, such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susans

and day lilies, hybridizers have put efforts into increased hardiness, reliability and flower production. These days, gardeners are looking for plants that are hardy even in places where winter temperatures may drop to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Russian sage Denim 'n Lace is a good example -- it's a sun-loving, drought-tolerant perennial hardy in bone-chilling Zone 4 winters, but equally at home in the mild winters of the south. The Perennial Plant Association's list of perennials of the year is a roll-call of such tough, colorful garden performers. Past winners include Millennium, a showy and floriferous summer-blooming allium; flashy, bright orange butterfly milkweed, which attracts butterflies and other pollinators; and the graceful fall-blooming anemone Honorine Jobert, which has snow-white flowers. Interest in kitchen gardening is driving demand for hard-working flowers, too. Pollinators and other beneficial insects are "the heroes of the vegetable garden," says Lisa Mason Ziegler, a flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia, and the author of Vegetables Love Flowers. Zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers and other annual flowers, in particular, attract pollinators, which also visit the vegetable plants' blossoms. A row of flowers increases the garden's population of beneficial insects, which help control the bad bugs, Ziegler says. Planting annual and perennial flowers in and around a vegetable garden also improves the harvest.

Year, fromDrivers! G.A.C.!! WeHappy NeedNew Volunteer

Fremont Transit is still open and running. We can get The County Golden Shuttle/Fremont County

residents to appointments or to the grocery store. Drivers are Transit taking every precaution andProgram sanitizing ourhas vehicles frequently.

expanded service to Florence andwhile Penrose Drivers and passengers are required to wear a mask they are in a vehicle. Also, we are looking for volunteer drivers. If you are whichstoprequires more interested, by and talk to our Director, Jamie Ellis for more information. drivers. Also, we are still providing grab-n-go meals. Just call 719-345-3064 the day you would275-5177 like to receive a meal. you would like to receive our newsletter via email, Call ifIf you are send an email to newsletter@theCCgac.com requesting to be added. We’ll get you on the email list. interested. P LEASE license CALL AHEAD TO CHECK IF BINGO IS ON No special needed.

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Page 18 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

* * *

SENIOR CLASSIFIEDS

I'M LOOKING TO BUY

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IMPERIAL MEMORIAL GARDENS Cemetery plot for sale, 4894 Calvary section. Asking $1800. Please call Laura at 702-810-5612. #0221

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SWM 5'9" ROCKVILLE: loves owner (Senior). 60,000 miles. to dance, seeking 50ish female with Just call Marilynn Boatwright @ (719) 253-2236 Daily; 8am8 pm Price $22,500. For more info call fers safety and security. No more energy of 40-yr old for companionship. Elaine at 303-345-3023 ladders, broken bulbs, or tangled #0221 Phone: 301-310-9761 #0221 wires. Free estimates for profes#0221

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BE A DRIVING FORCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Interested in giving back to your community and having fun? Volunteer with AARP Driver Safety — a program that helps older drivers stay safe on the road.* Sign up today to be an Instructor for our AARP Smart Driver Class room course: • Training is easy and resources are 100% provided • No special skills or AARP memberships required • Teach at least 3 courses a year, on your own schedule BECOME A VOLUNTEER TODAY! For more information on becoming an AARP Smart Driver Course Instructor, visit www.aarp.org/driversafetyvolunteer

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TWO CEMETERY PLOTS for sale; side by side. $1,800 at Imperial Gardens. Retail price $2800 each. Must sell! Call (719) 470-9299 #0121

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VISIT ONLINE: SeniorBeacon.info To sign up and pay for your Classified Ad

SENIOR CLASSIFIED AD REQUEST This classified ad section of the Senior Beacon carries advertising of all sorts. The cost is $15.00 for the first 20 words or less and $.25 for each word over twenty words. TO PLACE AN AD either: (1) Write your ad in the space provided below. Please print clearly. _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Phone:_________________ Your Name:______________________ Then mail ad and check (send no cash) to:

Senior Beacon

P.O. Box 8485

Pueblo, CO 81008

(2) Email your ad to BeaconNewsGroup@gmail.com

or

(3) Visit SeniorBeacon.info and click the “advertise” page This program is supported by a generous grant from Toyota to AARP Foundation. *All AARP Driver Safety volunteer positions are unpaid. However, volunteers are reimbursed for approved, program-related, out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage and postage.

Deadline is the 20th of the month

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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 19

SOCIAL SECURITY & YOU

JOSH WELLER, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST-SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION - PUEBLO COUNTY, FREMONT COUNTY AND EL PASO COUNTY

Hearings with Social Security During COVID HEARINGS WITH THE Social Security Administration during COVID-19 In March 2020, we temporarily closed all of our Social Security Hearing Offices due to the Coronavirus pandemic and are not offering in-person hearings. During the office closures, we are providing two flexible, safe, and secure hearing options: either a telephone hearing or our new option of an online video hearing. Additional information on both of these hearing options is available here: www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_options.html What are “online video hearings”? Online video hearings are a secure way to conduct hearings over the internet, using a free platform called Microsoft Teams. You and your representative, if you have one, can attend the online video hearing safely and securely from any private place with a secure internet connection using a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer. Like our telephone hearings option, the online video hearings option is not mandatory. We will conduct online video hearings the same way we conduct telephone and in-person hearings. During the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will swear in all hearing participants and listen to your testimony. You will see the ALJ and representative, if one has been appointed. Other participants, such as vocational/medical experts and interpreters, will join by phone. What are the technology requirements to participate in an online video hearing? You and an appointed representative, if applicable, must have access to email and a personal computer, laptop, or Android/Apple tablet or mobile device with a secure and private, high-speed Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The device must have a camera, microphone, and speakers. If using a mobile device, you must download the free Microsoft Teams application. We will send you a link to a user guide that explains how to access and use Microsoft Teams before the date of an online video hearing. Please read our publication Online Video Hearings at the Social Security Administration at www. ssa.gov/pubs/EN-70-10284.pdf for

additional information. A short video about online video hearings is available at www.ssa.gov/appeals/ hearing_video.html. Submit your Disability Update Report online We are required to conduct continuing eligibility reviews for disabled beneficiaries every three years. This process requires that beneficiaries complete a Continuing Disability Review mailer to update information about their medical conditions and recent treatments. We now offer an online option to complete this update and provide any supporting documents about your medical treatment or your work. We designed this new form with convenience in mind — and to save you time. You can access the online form at www.ssa.gov/ssa455-online-form. (Use either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome for the best online experience.) You will need your Social Security number, your current address and phone number, and a valid email address to complete the form. Also, you must have received a request for an updated disability report in the mail. Once you “Click to Sign,” you will receive an email from echosign.com asking you to confirm your digital signature. Check your junk folder if you don’t receive it within a few minutes. Your signature isn’t complete — and your form won’t be processed — until you complete the instructions in your email. Please visit our blog at blog.ssa. gov for more articles — and our frequently asked questions page at ssa.gov/faq. Please be sure to let your friends and loved ones know about this new online option. Three ways to fight scammers who target your Social Security benefits Scammers are always finding new ways to steal your money and personal information by exploiting your fears. The most effective way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and emails. One common tactic scammers use is posing as federal agents and other law enforcement. They may claim your Social Security number is linked to a

crime. They may even threaten to arrest you if you do not comply with their instructions. Here are three things you can do: Hang up right away or do not reply to the email. Never give personal information, money, or retail gift cards. Report the scam at oig.ssa.gov immediately to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General. You should continue to remain vigilant of phone calls when someone says there’s a problem with your Social Security number or your benefits. If you owe money to Social Security, we will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payment options, and information about appealing. There are a few ways you can identify a scam call or email. Remember that we will never:

Sil

Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment. Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card. Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem. Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email. If you do not have ongoing business with our agency, it is unlikely we will contact you. Again, if you get a suspicious call claiming to be from Social Security, you should hang up and report it right away to our Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.

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Page 20 - Senior Beacon - January 2021

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SOCIAL SECURITY & YOU Question: I will rely on Medicare when I retire. Can you explain the different parts of Medicare? Answer: The different parts of Medicare cover your specific needs. There are four parts, all of which work in tandem to deliver healthcare services. • Part A (hospital insurance): Hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care. • Part B (medical insurance): Medical insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesn’t cover. • Part C (Medicare Advantage plans): If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can join a

Medicare Advantage plan. Private companies offer Medicare Advantage plans which are approved by Medicare. These plans generally help you pay the medical costs not covered by Medicare Part A and B. • Part D (prescription drug coverage): Prescription drug coverage helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment. Question: I understand you must have limited resources to be eligible for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. What does this mean? Answer: Resources include the value of the things you own. Some examples are real estate (other than your primary residence); bank accounts, including

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checking, savings, and certificates of deposit; stocks; bonds, including United States Savings Bonds; mutual funds; Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA); and cash you have at home or anywhere else. To learn more about Extra Help, and to apply online, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments — related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. Learn more at www.socialsecurity. gov/medicare.

Question: What can I do if my Medicare prescription drug plan says it won't pay for a drug that my doctor preQuestion: scribed for me? I lost my Medicare card. How Answer: can I get replacement? If your Medicare prescription Answer: drug plan decides that it won't pay The easiest and newest way to for a prescription drug, it must tell get a replacement Medicare card is you in writing why the drug isn't by using your my Social Security covered in a letter called a "Notice account. of Denial of Medicare Prescription Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ Drug Coverage." myaccount for more information Read the notice carefully because on how to create an account. You it will explain how to ask for an also can get a replacement Mediappeal. care card by calling us toll-free at Your prescribing doctor can ask 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325your Medicare drug plan for an ex0778). Keep your card in a safe pedited redetermination (first level place. You don’t want anyone appeal) for you, if the doctor tells getting hold of your Social Secu- the plan that waiting for a standrity number. ard appeal decision may seriously They could steal your identity. harm your health. For more information, visit www. Question: medicare.gov. How do I terminate my Medicare Part B (medical insurance)? Question: Answer: If I retire at age 62, will I be eligiYou can voluntarily terminate ble for Medicare? your Medicare Part B (medical Answer: insurance). No. Medicare starts when you Because this is a serious reach 65. decision that could have negIf you retire at 62, you may be ative ramifications for you in able to continue medical insurance the future, you’ll need to have a coverage through your employer or personal interview with a Social purchase it from a private insurSecurity representative first. ance company until you become The representative will help eligible for Medicare. you complete Form CMS 1763. For more information see our This form isn’t available online. publication, Medicare, at www. To schedule your interview, socialsecurity.gov/pubs, or call us call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-8001-800-325-0778) Monday 325-0778). through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or contact your nearest Question: Social Security office. For more I want to apply for Medicare information, go to www.mediPart B medical insurance this year. care.gov. When is the deadline to apply? Answer: Question: If you didn’t sign up for Medicare How do I apply for Extra Help Part B medical insurance when you with Medicare prescription drug first became eligible for Medicare, plan costs? you have an opportunity to apply Answer: during the general enrollment You have several options for period, which runs from January 1 applying. You can: through March 31 each year. • Apply online by visiting If you miss the deadline, you www.socialsecurity.gov/medimay have to wait until next year care/prescriptionhelp; to apply. Medicare Part B covers • Call Social Security at some medical expenses not cov1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800ered by Medicare Part A (hospital 325-0778) to apply over the insurance), such as doctors’ fees, phone or request an application; outpatient hospital visits, and other or medical supplies. • Apply at any local Social You can learn more about MediSecurity office. care by reading our electronic Anyone who has Medicare can booklet, Medicare at www.socialseget Medicare Part D prescription curity.gov/pubs/10043.html. drug coverage. Some people with limited Question: resources and income are eliIs it true that if you have low ingible for Extra Help to pay for come you can get help paying your the costs — monthly premiums, Medicare premiums?


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 21

SOCIAL SECURITY & YOU Answer: Yes. If your income and resources are limited, your state may be able to help with your Medicare Part B premium, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts. State rules vary on the income and resources that apply. Contact your state or local medical assistance, social services, or welfare office, or call the Medicare hotline, 1-800-MEDICARE (1800-633-4227), and ask about the Medicare Savings Programs. If you have limited income and resources, you also may be able to get help paying for prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D. Call Social Security at 1-800772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) or visit any Social Security office. Also, see our publication, Medicare (Publication 10043), at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043. html. For even more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity. gov. Question: How do I get a copy of the form, Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs? Answer: If you wish to apply for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs, we recommend you use our online application at www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020/. You can find instruction sheets in 15 different languages to help you understand the English application at www.socialsecurity.gov/ prescriptionhelp. If you prefer not to fill out this application on the Internet, you can call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to ask for a paper application. Also, you can make an appointment at your local Social Security office to apply for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Question: If I call 1-800-772-1213, can a Social Security representative take my application for Medicare prescription drug help over the phone? Answer: If an interviewer is available when you call the 800 number, he or she can take your application over the phone. If an interviewer is not immediately available, we can schedule a telephone appointment for you. For the fastest and most convenient way to apply for Medicare prescription drug help, go online

to www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp. Question: Where can I find general information about Medicare benefits? Answer: Social Security determines whether people are entitled to Medicare benefits, but the program is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). You can visit CMS’s Medicare website at www.medicare.gov, or call them at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Online or by phone, you can find answers to all your Medicare questions at CMS.

get-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-upparts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-partsa-and-b.html. Question: I have diabetes and I have to take insulin. Is my insulin covered by Medicare? Answer: Medicare Part B does not cover insulin unless use of an insulin pump is medically necessary. However, certain Medicare Part D prescription drug plans may cover insulin and certain supplies used to inject insulin, like syringes. For more information, please

visit www.medicare.gov/coverage/ insulin.html. Question: I want to sign up for a Medicare Part C and D plan, but I’m not sure which plan I want. Is there a resource to help me find a plan? Answer: Yes. Medicare.gov has a plan finder available on their website as well as instructions on how to use the plan finder. To access the Medicare Plan Finder, please visit www.medicare.gov/ find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx.

Question: Will my eligibility for the Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs be reviewed and, if so, how often? Answer: If you get the Extra Help, Social Security may contact you to review your status. This reassessment will ensure you remain eligible for Extra Help and receive all the benefits you deserve. Annually, usually at the end of August, we may send you a form to complete: Social Security Administration Review of Your Eligibility for Extra Help. Y ou will have 30 days to complete and return this form. Any necessary adjustments to the Extra Help will be effective in January of the following year. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp for more information. Question: I have medical coverage through my employer. Do I have to take Medicare Part B? Answer: You are not required to take Medicare Part B if you are covered by a group healthcare plan based on either your employment or the employment of a spouse. When your coverage ends, you may contact the Social Security Administration to request a special enrollment for Medicare Part B. We will need to verify your coverage through your employer in order for you to be eligible for a special enrollment. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov/ sign-up-change-plans/

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THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A HOLIDAY My Year Without Traveling in Pandemic WITHOUT A BUILDING

or human in sight, we arrived at a fork on a woodsy trail with no idea where we were going, for which we were grateful. A serendipitous choice passed through a patch of red and yellow leaves still dangling in November, perhaps just waiting for these two world travelers who were thankful even for the slightest sense of being lost in Berlin. No, not that Berlin. Germany and all the other countries of the world are off the discovery charts in this self-protective year of 2020. Instead, we were exploring a ridge of trails about an hour’s drive west of Cleveland in Edison Woods MetroPark in Berlin Township, Erie County. What a lifestyle change this year has been, without travel. Nearly every week for the past 37 years, the focus of my work and life was travel, the first 24 as travel editor of The Plain Dealer DAVID G. MOLYNEAUX

Writes travel pieces and is the editor of TheTravelMavens.com

PANDEMIC TRAVELING. Poland? No, Cleveland. The bust of FrĂŠdĂŠric Chopin, composer and virtuoso pianist, is in the Polish Garden on East Boulevard in Rockefeller Park. â– Photo by DAVID G. MOLYNEAUX

and more recently as a freelance writer. When I wasn’t writing about travel, editing other writers’ stories, planning presentations, talking with friends and readers about their vacation issues, or researching and arranging my own travel, I was in the air, on the road on one of six continents (visiting more than 120 countries), or at sea on one of an estimated 150 cruise trips. My daughter says that she pictures me, as she grew up,

with a notebook in my back pocket. Much of the time I was coming home or going somewhere, and wherever we traveled as a family, I was working a newspaper or magazine travel story. Along came COVID-19. One day the virus was a foreign curiosity; the next, it seemed, the virus might be in the air we breathed, every surface we touched. Fear and loathing attacked us all, in different ways. For me, my work and lifestyle disappeared in February as if someone had switched off the lights. Dodging the virus, we have been lucky Still, my writer wife and I

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were fortunate that we didn’t get caught up in the cruise ship virus spin. Our travel ended just as the virus appeared. We flew home from Miami after disembarking from perhaps the only cruise ship that never reported a known case of coronavirus. (Earlier, on a trip West, I caught a serious, lingering bout of flu but so far have no COVID-19 perceptible damage). Since then, we have not boarded an airplane nor a ship, not a bus nor a train, not a taxi nor a tram. Frequent restaurant goers, we have not ventured inside an eatery since early March, though a bunch of local restaurants know our names well from continuing takeout orders (with a generous tip for beleaguered servers). These past 10 months, mostly in isolation, have been a serious test of resilience, patience, and flexibility. Masked, we keep socially distant, which is such a big distance from our normal lives of riding on public transportation, walking in crowds, attending meetings and lectures, museums, concerts, ballgames, interviews, talking to people we know and don’t know — strangers on the street, on the plane, in taverns, cafes, restaurants, coffee and noodle shops in cities and hamlets all over the world. I miss the closeness of connecting with fellow travelers, even simple smiles and nods of recognition as we wait in passport lines to enter a country far from home. I miss the kindness of strangers that appears naturally among worldly travelers on the road — and from locals I encounter along the way. I’ve gotten quite good expressing myself non-verbally when I don’t know the language.


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January 2021 - Senior Beacon - Page 23

OPINION-EDITORIAL

DAVID SHRIBMAN

Insert his title here when you finally get it down

A NEW YEAR, A NEW PRESIDENT NEW YEAR, NEW pres-

ident, new prospects, new attitude. At least that is the hope, a resource that Americans from Emily Dickinson (who wrote during the depths of the Civil War that hope was “the thing with feathers — that perches in the soul”) to Bill Clinton (who in his 1992 Democratic nomination acceptance speech spoke of his Arkansas hometown and said “I still believe in a place called Hope”) have summoned to approach a difficult and dangerous world. Now, with vaccines heading to the drugstore, with a new Congress and president taking power, and with the darkest day of the winter 10 days in the past, there is reason to feel a fresh sense of optimism. And optimism is more than a feeling. It is a tool. That tool has been harnessed by American presidents who faced grave crises, from Abraham Lincoln (speaking of the “better angels of our nature”) to Franklin Roosevelt (who said the nation only feared “fear itself”) to Ronald Reagan (who campaigned on the notion of “morning in America”). It is no coincidence that these presidents occupy three of the top nine positions in the latest poll of presidential historians. Two of the others in that top rank provide case studies worthy of study for Joseph R. Biden Jr., who in less than three weeks becomes the nation’s 46th president. One of them is Theodore Roosevelt, whose passage to the White House provides us with a lesson in the virtue of optimism as a presidential attribute.

He took office after the assassination of William McKinley in Buffalo, a dark moment in the country’s history. In his first State of the Union address, he spoke of being in “the shadow of a great calamity” and added ominously, “When we turn from the man to the nation, the harm done is so great as to excite our gravest apprehensions and to demand our wisest and most resolute action.” Now let’s skip ahead to the case of Dwight D. Eisenhower, dismissed at the end of his administration as little more than a genial golfer but now ranked as a top-10 president, in part because of how he steered the country through chilly Cold War waters and in part because of how he used optimism as a leadership tool. Though he was, as the great presidential scholar James David Barber wrote nearly a half-century ago, “often irritable and depressed,’’ he “often displayed optimism; he was certainly no gloomy gus in the White House.’’ Donald J. Trump, whose smile was seldom seen during his presidency, was not exactly an avatar of optimism in the White House. But not all presidents were. Sometimes optimism can be a form of denial. It surely was for Herbert Hoover, who said in November 1929, as the Great Depression gathered force, that “any lack of confidence

in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish.” In May 1930, he reported, “While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover.” He was wrong both times, like Mr. Trump when he sought at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to argue that it would swiftly disappear. Now the country looks to Mr. Biden, whose optimism seems encapsulated in his frequent assertion that “We’re Americans.’’ That is a shorthand politicians employ to refer to the can-do American spirit that tamed a continent, won two world wars and, through the tinkering of imaginative prairie pioneers and the insights of garage high-tech visionaries, built an economic powerhouse. But the “We’re Americans” talisman goes only so far, sufficient perhaps on the stump in the primaries. Theodore Roosevelt, described by University of Virginia political scientist Sidney Milkis as “the first modern president of the United States,” today is criticized for primitive views on race, promiscuous use of executive orders, and an assertive foreign policy that bordered on ethnic chauvinism. But he also was a master of optimism. In his second

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State of the Union address, he said the following: “Ours is not the creed of the weakling and the coward; ours is the gospel of hope and of triumphant endeavor. We do not shrink from the struggle before us.” Words to quote. Words to live by. Words Mr. Biden needs to add to, in his own voice, for our own time. David M. Shribman is executive editor emeritus of the Post-Gazette and a nationally syndicated columnist. He is scholar-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon University (dshribman@post-gazette.com).

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