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Me et him at th e fa ir Ellis Dix

has been involved with the Wayne County Fair dairy cow exhibition for half a century.

Fifteen years of jazz Scranton Jazz Festival still going strong with world-class lineup set for Aug. 2-4. TS_CNG/GOODTIMES/PAGES [G01] | 07/17/19


Travel club

Visit Vermont this autumn with the Good Times Travel Club and savor New England’s fall finery.

Green Space

Learn about planting in pots and pick up some tips for gardening with a disability.



In thIs edItIon: FeatureS


Fifteen years of jazz.............................. 4 Freddy Cole headlines Scranton Jazz Fest.

today’s grandparent ............................ 2

sFF nursing homes ............................... 5

a look back ............................................ 7 Remembering Hughie Jennings. Meet the dairy superintendent ............ 10 Behind the scenes at the Wayne County Fair. outdoor games for seniors ................... 13 Easing arthritic pain ............................ 13

seniors speak ........................................ 6 Washington Watch ................................ 12 green space ........................................... 14 travel an autumn trip to vermont ................. 8 coMMunity Local fair schedules .............................. 11

Good tIMes FoR senIoRs a tiMEs-sHaMroCK PuBLiCation

149 penn avenue Scranton, pa 18503 EditoriaL | 570-348-9185 advErtising | 570-348-9100 Managing editor Elizabeth Baumeister x3492 advertiSing SaleS Manager alice Manley x9285

contriButing WriterS: duane Campbell, david deCosmo, Bob gelik, Edgar Kearney, Cheryl M. Keyser, Ed rogers and Jack smiles


Good Times for Seniors is a publication dedicated to informing, serving and entertaining active older adults in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties of Pennsylvania. It publishes six times per year — winter, spring, early summer, late summer, fall and a holiday edition. Circulation of this issue is 61,000 copies to more than 125,000 readers aged 55 and over. Advertising rates and deadlines available upon request. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement.

on tHe cover: Ellis dix at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. Photo by Bob gelik.





late SuMMer 2019


A second empty nest BY DAVID DECOSMO


y wife and i didn’t get a real taste of the “empty nest syndrome” when our kids became adults. all three attended local colleges and “dormed” at home. Each married and, fortunately found homes right in the area. that’s why this next year may seem a little rough for us. suddenly – well it seems like suddenly – three of our six grandkids will be heading out away from home. one is looking forward to joining the state Police academy. two others are heading off to college. the good news for us is that all three will be within about a two-hour drive – close enough for them to be on their own and for us to visit whenever possible. Like our own kids, we’ve watched each of our grandkids grow and mature, and each has filled us with pride for their individual achievements. Each also knows grannie and grandpa’s door is always open for them and we’re only a phone call away. in one case, however, the parting will be especially bittersweet. our daughter took in an exchange student from italy last semester, and she quickly became our “adopted granddaughter.”

as the others leave to follow their dreams, she’ll be heading back to sicily, and our hope of seeing her in the future is not assured. our nest will seem a lot less lively without them, but time has come for each to fly. they carry our hopes and prayers with them along with the reminder that “home” will always be waiting for them here. Hope all your news is good. David DeCosmo is an anchor/producer with Electric City Television. He and his wife of 50 years escort tours for Travelworld.

Advice for Your Recent College Graduate BY CHRISTOPHER SCALESE Since the Great Recession, a reality for many families and their young college graduates is the burden of student loan debt. With the average college graduate (between the age 21 and 24) shouldering a debt burden of $33,0001, this can be a heavy load to carry as they enter job force for the first time. As opposed to the generations before, millennials are now more focused on paying off their debts than they are with growing their wealth or saving for their future. So, how can you help ensure that your recent college graduate finds their financial footing so that they can live a financially successful future? The following are a few tips that can help them develop the money management habits they need to pay off their debt and achieve their long-term financial goals. Build Business Essentials To help achieve long-term success, your college graduate should begin with the basics to build a solid financial foundation. This includes: G o a l s – Entering the workforce after receiving your college degree can be overwhelming and intimidating, but with the right goal-setting, millennials can better

identify their ideal job. Advise your college graduate to start by identifying potential job opportunities that combine both their interests and skills. This can help narrow job their job search and find a career that can provide them with a reliable income. S o c i a l N e t w o r k – For many millennials, social media is already an area of expertise – so why not use this to their advantage? Encourage your college graduate to use their social network as they hunt for a job, whether it’s a status update that asks if anyone is aware of job openings in a specific field or sending a direct message to a friend. R e s u m e – Encourage your college graduate to look for job opportunities that will diversify their job skills. Experiences in different industries, as well as levels of management, can help provide job security later on down the road. Building a diversified resume now can make them that much more hirable in the future. Entrench Financial Habits Ideally, once your college graduate secures a job, they will already have the financial habits in place to make smart decisions with their money. However, not all college graduates have taken any finance courses to provide them with the basics needed to be financially successful. Help establish the

following habits with your college graduate to work toward financial security: S p e n d i n g – As your graduate enters the workforce, they may be tempted to spend their new income on various indulgences. However, creating a budget that accounts for expenses such as housing and utilities, transportation and food, savings and possibly investments, can help encourage them to avoid unnecessary expenses. S a v i n g – It’s not the amount that matters – it’s the habit. Remind your college graduate of this when they receive their first paycheck, and it’s less than they expected. Between paying their monthly bills and student loan payments, setting money aside may seem impossible, but creating a habit of saving early, even if only is $10 a month, can help develop long-lasting financial habits that will benefit them later in life. I n v e s t i n g – It could be beneficial to your college student to understand investments earlier in their life. With so many new financial responsibilities on their plate, this may seem like the bottom priority. Through the power of compound interest, young investors can start building their nest egg now and potentially watch it grow over the next several decades. One of the easiest ways for young grads to begin investing is through their

workplace retirement plan where they can potentially take advantage of employer-match contributions. P r o t e c t i n g – Just as compound interest can work in your favor when it comes to investing, it can also be severely detrimental when it comes to debt. Missing or making late payments on student loans or any other form of credit can result in penalties, higher interest rates, and amassing a debt that compounds over time. Ultimately, this can result in a lower credit score, which can impact their long-term success in purchasing a home or car. Encourage your college graduate to protect their credit by prioritizing their debt payments and including these payments in their money budget calculations. Developing strong financial habits at an early age can go a long way toward achieving financial independence. With your patience, guidance and education, you can help your college graduate develop a strong financial foundation that not only helps them get on their own feet but also sets them up for financially successful habits in the future. 1Megan Leonhardt. CNBC. Aug. 16, 2018. “Millennials ages 25-34 have $42,000 in debt, and most of it isn’t from student loans.” Accessed April 29, 2019.




Freddy Cole headlines Scranton Jazz Festival by Edgar KEarnEy

Brecker will join the festival’s 16-piece band to bring the extravaganza to a rousifteen years ago, a handful of ing conclusion on Aug. 4. jazz enthusiasts brought to life Freddy Cole grew up in Chicago an idea for a concert to showcase where he received his early education the music they love. before he enrolled at the Juilliard School In the beginning, the sceptics were of Music in New York City, where he remany. ceived his undergraduate degree before One even remarked to the producers, enrolling at the New England Conserva“I hope you have a lot of fun, but I don’t tory of Music in Boston to study for his think this is going to fly,” masters. Wrong. It was 1950 when he made his profesFly it did. Soar, really. sional debut at age 18. Two years later, What began as a one-night stand with he made his vinyl debut with the single an uncertain fate has since evolved into “The Joke’s on Me,” the first of hundreds a smashing success with a three-night of singles and albums he turned out over venue showcasing stars of national and the ensuing decades. international acclaim. “I started playing piano at 5 or 6. MuThis year, the Scranton Jazz Festival sic was all around me,” he reminisced of will be no different offering an array of his childhood. world-class artists at the Radisson LackaFrequent visitors to the Cole home wanna Station Hotel Scranton Friday, during those years included such musiSaturday and Sunday, Aug. 2, 3 and 4. cal luminaries as Lionel Hampton, Count Headlining the debut Aug. 2 will be Basie, Duke Ellington and Billy Eckstine. jazz pianist and singer Freddy Cole, Shemekia Copeland will headline 87-year-old virtuoso, younger brother the festival on Aug. 3. Blessed with a of famed vocalist, the Nat King Cole, blues pedigree, she is the daughter of deceased, and uncle of equally renowned legendary guitarist and Grammy winner, singer, Natalie Cole. Johnny Copeland, who took her on tour Aug. 3 will bring to the stage awardas his opening act when she was 16. That winning blues artist Shemekia Copeland was shortly before his death. Although and her band. that tour started her career in earnest, Trumpeter and composer Randy her very first public performance took


place six years earlier when, at age 10, she sang at the incarnated Cotton Club in her native Harlem. Awards and honors are plentiful for Shemekia, who has performed at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world and with such household names as Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and countless others. The grand finale on Aug. 4 will feature Grammy-winning trumpeter, Randy Brecker performing with the festival’s 16-piece band. Since his professional debut in the 60s, his jazz trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums featuring such artists of renown as James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and others. The native of Cheltenham in the Philadelphia area made his professional debut in 1967 with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears. From 1975 until 1981, he joined brother, Michael, now deceased, to produce six albums that garnered multiple Grammy nominations. In 1992 he and Michael, a tenor saxophonist, embarked on a world tour that gave birth to a triple-nominated Grammy album, “The Return of the Brecker Brothers,” and followed it up with “Out of the Loop,” a double Grammy winner in 1994. It was 2005, when the curtain rose on the Scranton Jazz Festival in the Hanlon

Grove Amphitheater at Nay Aug Park. When violent weather destroyed that venue in 2007, the Radisson became home to the popular event that is still going strong. General admission $25 Friday and Sunday. On Saturday it is $30, while Gold Circle is $40. Student tickets are also available. Box office: 570-575-5255. Showtimes are 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

Freddy Cole took the stage during the 9th annual Scranton Jazz Festival.


Jazz legend Freddy Cole played the piano with The Freddy Cole Quartet during the 9th annual Scranton Jazz Festival held at the radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton.





Freddy Cole, younger brother of famed vocalist, nat King Cole, and uncle of equally renowned singer, natalie Cole.

SFF nursing homes BY CHERYL M. KEYSER

According to a report on the care provided – or not provided – by nursing homes, a Pennsylvania facility did not notify the physician in charge about a change in a resident’s condition, delaying treatment. Because of this, the resident needed surgery and developed an embolism. As of this year, the facility still has a positive rating, with staff receiving three stars out of five used by Medicare to rate nursing facilities. This kind of failure to properly care for a resident constantly produced negative reports on nursing homes, and many individuals shudder at the thought of having to enter one. Despite years of Congressional hearings, oversight by state officials, ombudsmen, national organizations, such as Consumer Voice, and even resident council, nursing homes still fail their patients. Granted, it is not an easy job to care for those who are ill, especially those who have conditions such as Alzheimer’s, making communication difficult. The major difference now is that more and more of these troubling incidents are coming to light. One of the government attempts to ensure that nursing homes are operated to the benefit or the residents is a regulatory program known as the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Initiative. This is a statutorily required program operated under Medicare to improve nursing care facilities that “persistently underperform.” According to a letter directed to Seema Verma, administrator of Medicare, from Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey, Jr. (D) and Pat Toomey (R), neglect and abuse persist in certain nursing homes across the country, including Pennsylvania. There are some 80,000 residents of Pennsylvania who are living in a nursing home. A response released by the senators also indicated that at least one nursing home in the state had a variety of problems,including a resident with a pressure sore, an Alzheimer’s patient who fled the home, mismanagement of medications, an unsanitary shower and dirty oxygen tubes.

Other homes have been the subject of prior investigations, including issues such as “insect infestations, improper wound care, unsanitary conditions, supply shortages and more.” In 1987, Congress began to take seriously the problems existing in some nursing homes. It set up the Nursing Home Reform Act to establish the requirements for nursing homes to participate in Medicare and Medicaid receiving federal or state reimbursement for a portion of resident care. The Special Focus Facility (SFF) was introduced into this legislation. Under this, nursing homes that were having problems were to be inspected every six months, as opposed to the regular 15-month period for those which had no issues. Here is where it gets confusing. There are two groups of these problematic nursing homes: those who are SFF participants and those who are candidates to enter the problem. According to Verma, the number of homes involved varies “based on availability of federal resources.” (Translation, if the federal government has money available and wants to spend it for this purpose.) There are close to 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, but less than 0.6% wind up on the SFF list. (But, if you or your loved one is in a home, they don’t want to be on the lower end of a statistic.) Candidates change over time and are added to the list when openings are available. Basically, this means when a home has successfully passed inspection, it comes off the list, leaving an opening for another home or candidate. To help families easily distinguish the homes that are on an SFF list, the Nursing Home Compare website identifies them with a problem by a small yellow triangle that is supposed to serve as a caution sign. Unfortunately, there are limitations even in this system. For instance, the homes not subject to “rigorous enforcement actions,” or even a home dealing with an especially difficult problem cannot be added to the SFF list until

one currently on the list has been eliminated. There has been a series of backand-forth communications between the two Pennsylvania Senators and Verma, with the Senators posing a series of questions to Medicare, such as how often is the candidate list updated, how Medicare, along with the State Survey Agency which also checks on nursing homes, selects candidates to enter the program, and more importantly, the list of facilities that continue to face problems of poor care. This list has been held in secret until now. There are 20 Pennsylvania homes which are considered candidates and four of which are already SFF participants. According to the report, “Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes,” released by the Senators, this list has not ever been publicly released for reasons that are not clear. The only entity that knows about this list and the nursing homes on it, is Medicare. As the report notes, once a home is on the SFF list it is required to notify residents, but the same rules do not

apply to the candidates. So how does a home redeem itself ? According to Verma, “to graduate from the program, the facility needs to have two standard surveys without serious deficencies identified at least six months apart.” If it again fails, there are “increased enforcement actions or termination.” Whether a home is in the SFF program or not, Verma continued, any homes that do not pass the regular surveys may be subject to “civil money penalties, denial or payment for new admissions or termination.” “Choosing a nursing home is a difficult and often painful decision to make,” said Casey. “Individuals and families deserve to have all the information available to choose the facility that is right for them.” “Ensuring that families have all the information they need about a nursing home will improve the quality of care at facilities across the country,” added Toomey. For more information, visit The report, “Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know” is also available on this website.

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Favorite fair foods

by bob Gelik

Summertime is synonymous with fairs—street fairs, county fairs, church picnics and more. There’s nothing quite like the array of foods available, which is one of the major attractions to these events. Several Dunmore Senior Center regulars were asked what their favorite fair food is. Here are their responses.


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Shirley Huddy, 88, of Scranton “The hamburgers with the gook (sauce) all over them ... and the french fries.”




Ann McDermott, 81, of Scranton “Oh, it would be hot dogs, with sauerkraut and ketchup, lots of ketchup. ... That’s top of the list. ... That could be breakfast, lunch and supper.”

David Phaneuf Sr., 75, of Scranton “Potato pancakes, without a doubt. They usually give you applesauce. They’re usually good just as they are.”

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Carol Angerson, 93, of Dunmore “It’s always ice cream.”


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Ann Doll, 76, of Dunmore “I like funnel cake. ... My daughter got me started on it, to be honest with you, when she was smaller. Every time we go, even though we’re both older, we still get funnel cake. ... It somehow makes the day.”

Dianna Gammaitoni, 83, of Dunmore “Sausage and peppers.”

When Hughie Jennings ruled Scranton by Jack SmileS


n the morning of Feb. 3, 1928, the funeral of the man called “The Saint in Uniform” shut down Scranton, then the 55th largest city in the United States. St. Thomas College, now The University of Scranton, canceled classes. Technical and Central high schools dismissed for the morning. County court recessed and many businesses closed in the usually bustling city of 143,000. Hundreds of mourners packed every pew of St. Peter’s Cathedral for the funeral mass. Hundreds more stood outside as the cortege, led by a state police motorcycle team, arrived from the deceased’s Vine Street home. His casket was borne into the church by a procession of active and honorary pallbearers of the city’s leading citizens, including representatives of the local chapters of the Elks, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis, Irish-American Society, Red Cross, chamber of commerce and bar association. The Reverend Connell McHugh of Mary-on-the-Mount Church in Mt. Pocono, who was at the deceased’s side in his final hours, was the celebrant of the Solemn High Mass. Five priests assisted on the altar and 25 more knelt in the first two rows of pews. During the offertory, as a sextet sang “Ave Marie,” Stanley “Bucky” Harris – the 31-year-old manager of the Detroit Tigers and one-time “Boy Wonder” player-manager of the Washington Senators – turned to the newspaper reporter next to him, whispered “Big Daddy is gone,” and openly wept. Who engendered such city-wide reverence? Future Baseball Hall of Fame player/manager, Hugh Jennings. His funeral wasn’t the first time the cathedral pews had been filled by Jennings. The first was a joyous scene, 17 years earlier in 1911 — his marriage to Scranton school teacher Nora O’Boyle. As Jennings put it, when well-wishers blocked the church doors and sidewalk, “ground rules were necessary.” Jennings, who was born in Pittston and raised in Avoca, had been visiting Scranton regularly since the early 1900s to see his daughter, Grace, who was being cared for by the family of his


Hugh Jennings

late first wife, Elizabeth Dixon, and the nuns at Marywood. Jennings’ marriage to O’Boyle solidified his bonafides as a Scrantonian. The couple bought a house on Vine Street and lived there during the baseball off-season, roughly from after the World Series in October until March, from 1911 to 1925. From ’09 to ’20, he managed Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers and from 1921-’25 he was co-manager of the New York Giants with his best friend John McGraw. He retired in ’25 and lived in Scranton full-time until his death in 1928. Jennings immersed himself in city life. He was one of the founders of the Old Forge-Duyrea Bank in Scranton and a director of the Traders Bank. He joined the Elks, Kiwanis, Irish-American Society, Red Cross, chamber of commerce, and Knights of Columbus. He was in demand as a speaker, addressing groups as diverse as the local democrats and prison inmates.

Jennings was wealthy by the standards of the day; in 1912 he was the highest paid man in baseball with a salary of $10,000, the equivalent of $250,000 in 2019 spending power. By 1919, he was making $20,000. And he was generous with his money. During coal strikes and at Christmastime he would get lists of destitute families from local parish priests and personally drop off care packages of food and clothing at the addresses. He also helped put his brothers, a doctor and a lawyer, through college and secretly aided down and out old ball players. He was also known to use his automobile to transport miners to and from work. He paid attention to the city’s youth, too. He often stopped at Scranton high schools to instruct boys in baseball. Though he quit school at age 12 to work in the mines in Avoca and Minooka, Jennings enrolled in St. Bonaven-

ture University, where he bartered tuition for coaching. In exchange for two solid months of study, he coached the school’s baseball team in February, indoors, and March. He did the same at Cornell School of Law. He became an attorney and joined his brother’s law firm in Scranton. Ironically, in one case he represented Thomas Royce in a suit against amateur baseball player James Donavan who hit a foul ball that killed one of Royce’s $500 prize roosters. Donavan’s lawyer asserted the killing of the chicken was an unavoidable accident in a youth baseball game lamenting, “the Scranton public saw, with pain and surprise, so eminent a baseball leader as Mr. Jennings arrayed against the interest of his own vocation.” Jennings defended himself, as well as Royce’s claim of injury. “The attorney for the defense holds the stand I have taken in this particular case indicates disloyalty to the great profession through which I have made my livelihood. Far be it from me.” Jennings went on to claim that the object of the game was to hit fair, not foul balls. The jury deliberated seven minutes and awarded Royce his full claim plus $250 for Hughie. When Jennings signed with the Tigers in 1907, his friends in Scranton started the Jennings-Coughlin Club. Bill Coughlin was a Scranton native who played second base for Hughie and the Tigers in 1907 and ‘08. The club organized train excursions to see the Tigers in New York and Philadelphia and threw a send off party when Jennings and Coughlin left for spring training in February. When Jennings got back to Scranton after the 1909 season, after the Tigers won a third straight American League championship, the Elks club honored Hughie with a parade and lavish banquet for 600 members. From the Scranton Tribune: “Carrying red and blue lights the Elks preceded by Bauer’s band, called on Hughey on Olive Street where he rooms. He was hoisted into an automobile, the only one in the parade. Then while the crowds along the line of the parade cheered lustily and long, the parade continued over the central city streets to the Elks club.”





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Meet him at the fair By BoB Gelik


llis Dix knows a thing or two about dairy cows and county fairs. The 82-year-old Pleasant Mount, Wayne County, native and current resident is dairy superintendent of the Wayne County Fair and a member of the board of directors of the Wayne County Cooperative Agricultural Society that operates the fair. This year’s event, set for Aug. 2-10, will be the 157th annual edition. Getting ready for and executing the behind-the-scenes activities of the dairy animals portion of the nine-day show on the fairgrounds about a mile north of Honesdale on Route 191 falls into several categories: physical labor and maintenance, lining up contractors and materials for supplying and then removing bedding and waste, paperwork such as stall assignments, overseeing the intake and release of animals, judging and daily inspections of all animals for signs of disease. Dix is quick to point out that pulling all those elements together involves the efforts of a group of dedicated volunteers. He has been a part of the dairy cow exhibition for about 50 years. “I started as an associate director, I believe back in the 1960s, if I’m not mistaken, and, I believe, as a director, in the 1980s,” Dix said. He was assistant dairy superintendent for many years under Bob Olver, succeeding him as superintendent about 20 years ago. He said his association with the fair as an adult began when “our children exhibited dairy animals here; all of them. … It was mostly the children, but we exhibited some ourselves, too, only because they were here. Then, when the children got done, the grandchildren started exhibiting at the fair.” Supporting his own children and grandchildren may have been the initial reason for becoming involved but the ability to continue helping youngsters get involved with dairy animals is what has kept him connected to the fair. “I’ve always done it,” Dix said, adding, “I thought it was a good education” for kids through Future Farmers of America and 4-H. He also helps kids by allowing some to use his cows for



entrance to the wayne county fairgrounds.

training and experience, including letting them keep the animals at his farm. From time to time he also gives them some tips on training. Part of the year, the dairy barn, as well as the sheep, hog and cattle barns, and the covered arena area are unused except for storage, including the stage for the 4-H livestock auction, the metal fencing sections that are put together to make the show ring in the covered arena, a float and some other equipment. In the month or two before the August fair, the whole area is cleared and prepped. The livestock barns and arena were erected in 1992 and are considered relatively new. That cuts maintenance and preparation time. “We’ve got a lot of new buildings here, so it’s a lot easier getting ready now. All these (buildings) have been put up here since I’ve been associated with the fair, the sheep barn, the hog barn, the beef barn, and the dairy barn and this arena. This is all new up here. Years ago, we used to have two little dairy barns and a tent set up in between them to accommodate the animals. And years ago, the fair didn’t run for nine days like it does now,” he said.




ellis dix, dairy superintendent of the wayne county fair, checks a gate on the fairgrounds.

Still, there is work to do and for that, Dix said, the agricultural society relies on volunteers. “It would not be a fair if we didn’t have volunteers. We have work nights. In fact we have work nights every week from now (early June) ’til the fair,” he said. One source for volunteers is the 4-H program. He said the county Extension office spreads the word and the kids show up to help. “But there are a lot of volunteers who come and work to put this all together. We have to get the bedding in, get the stalls assigned, where everybody’s going to go. Then we have varied times when the animals come in—you know what it’s like to bring that many animals in this gate?” he asked rhetorically. “And we stagger the time when they leave, too.” Dix noted that when the fair expanded to nine days, the board decided to split the week into four- and five-day segments with the protein breeds—Ayrshire, Guernsey, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorns—being on hand Friday through Sunday and the Registered HolPlease see Fair, Page 11

meet ellis diX family: A Pleasant Mount native and current resident, he has been married to Daisy Haas since 1960. They have four children: Darlene Hoffman, Virginia Beach, Va.; Karen Jonas, R.N., Pleasant Mount; Charles, Pottsville; and Roger, Pleasant Mount. work: He and his wife own EllDay Farm, a 362-acre dairy farm. That includes 92 acres as a separate parcel that he inherited from his parents. There are 50 to 54 milking cows out of a total of 110 head of cattle. He grows hay for feed, supplemented by grain that he purchases. He received the Master Farmer award in 1989. He also is an original member of the Wayne County Agricultural Land Preservation Program Board which got its start in 1989. early years: Dix grew up on a farm and has been involved in farming, as he puts it, “most of my life. My dad had a dairy farm and several generations before that were dairy farmers right here in Wayne County.” He took Vo-Ag courses in high school and was a member of Future Farmers of America and 4-H. He served in the Army in Germany from 1958 to 1960. He married when he returned and the couple purchased their farm in 1961. fair connection: He has participated as an exhibitor and volunteer since the 1960s, serving as an associate member of the board of directors of Wayne County Cooperative Agricultural Society, and as a full member of the board since the 1980s. He XXXXXXXXX currently isisDairy SuperintenNAME a freelance dent offor theGood Wayne County Fair. writer times for seniors.

BoB Gelik / For Good Times

The milking parlor at the Wayne County Fair. FROM PAGE 10

steins in the barn Monday through the following Friday. One reason is that nine days on the fairgrounds is a burden to the exhibitors. On the day between the two sets of exhibitors, volunteers must clear out all the old bedding and manure and install new material in each stall. And that’s for dozens of animals. Last year, there were 83 Holsteins and 66 of the protein breeds. Each day of the fair, “I check for diseases; make sure they’re all healthy,”

Dix said. Also daily, he makes sure the stalls are cleaned out and the animals are clean. Sometimes he has to “get after the exhibitors” to keep the barn and animals presentable. Exhibitors are required to put used bedding and stall wastes on a concrete slab in a collection area away from the barn. People are continually walking through the barn, he said, and some have never been to a fair. “The first impression is a lasting impression,” Dix said. He wants it to be a good one.

Because there are two sets of cows, there are two days of judging: Saturday for protein breeds; and Tuesday, the red-and-white and the black-and-white Holsteins. The dairy cows must be milked daily. The barn has a milking parlor that Dix and his crew prepare. It includes a vacuum pump for the convenience of the exhibitors, who have to provide their own milking units. Exhibitors also are responsible for disposition of the milk. It is not stored on the grounds. Benches are available

AREA FAIRS Wayne County Fair Where: Fairgrounds, route 191, about 1 mile north of Honesdale. When: Aug. 2-10; Fairgrounds open, 9 a.m.; midway & rides, noon to 11 p.m; exhibit buildings, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: (includes parking, rides, small stage shows, most grandstand shows) $10 per person; senior Citizens (age 62 and up) days, Aug. 2 and 7, $5; Note, ATms are at the main gate and on the midway. special notes: no pets, no firearms, no alcohol. more info: Harford Fair Where: Harford Fairgrounds, 485 Fair Hill road, Harford,

susquehanna County When: Aug. 19 through 24 Admission: Ages 12 and up, $6; 11 and under free; Aug. 19, active and retired military, free with military id or photo id; Aug. 21, senior citizens’ day, age 60 and older, $5; Aug. 22, early Bird special, half-price from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking free on fairgrounds. No pets are permitted; service animals are allowed more info online: Wyoming County Community Fair Where: Fairgrounds, route 6, meshoppen. When: Aug. 28 through sept. 2; Wednesday through sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m; monday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: $10; pre-sale

tickets, $8; senior citizens’ days, Wednesday & monday, ages 62 and older, free; veterans day, saturday, all veterans, free. special notes: No pets allowed. Prohibited items include open-carry firearms, any offensive weapon; drugs, alcoholic beverages, and fireworks. more info online: Luzerne County Fair Where: luzerne County Fairgrounds, state route 3605, dallas When: sept. 4 through 8; Wednesday-Friday, 4-11 p.m.; saturday, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; sunday, 11a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission: Children ages 2 and under, free every day: opening day, $5 all ages; Thursday, senior

so people can watch the milking. “We have the area set up with a bench over there so the public can sit down and watch them,” Dix said. “A lot of people come fair week and that’s the first time they’ve ever been near a dairy animal or any of the other animals here. So it’s an educational thing.” Each portion of the fair involves many people’s time and talents, Dix said. “We’ve all got to give and take a little bit to make the whole thing work.” Bob Gelik is a retired Times-Tribune copy editor.

citizens’ day, ages 62 and older, $5; daily, ages 13 and up, $10; 3-12, $5; Friday, $10; saturday, military appreciation day, active duty and veterans, $2; all ages, $10; sunday: Family day, $25 for family of five; if one or two people, $8 per person. more info online: Bloomsburg Fair Where: Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, Bloomsburg When: sept. 21 through 28 Admission: $7; additional fees are charged for most entertainment, special programs. special note: non-service dogs are not permitted. more info online: GOOD TIMES FOR SENIORS




Washington Watch

“left undiagnosed and untreated.” Thus the formation of the Coalition to strengthen Bone Health. It has set a number of goals: ■ Increase awareness of the BY CHERYL M. KEYSER importance of bone health and find sues cultivate a more visible, more cost-effective ways to improve it. informed conversation about older ■ Eliminate the stigma and agepeople, it will remain difficult to adA world without ageism ism associated with osteoporosis. vance the systemic changes needed Eight national organizations have to adjust to a society with increased ■ Ensure access to good health banded together to battle the concare, including both screening and longevity.” cept of “ageism” and have received treatment. For more information, visit grants from a number of founda■ Expand and incentivize best tions to address ways to improve the care practices. Improving bone health image of older adults. “For far too long, the osteoporosis “Ageism simply is not an issue Osteoporosis is a dreadful disease, crisis has not gotten the attention it Americans are thinking about as a leading to multiple fractures, distor- needs and deserves,” said Elizabeth matter that requires a public retion of the spine and the accompany- Thompson, CEO of the National sponse,” said vice president of the ing pain. It is estimated that some 10 Osteoporosis Foundation. Gerontological Society of America, million Americans age 50 and older Monitoring fraud Patricia D’Antonio, M.S., M.B.A., have this illness and another 44 milThe Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) who oversees the “Reframing Aging lion are at risk of it due to low bone has been around since the 1990’s Initiative.” density. Despite this, 80% of older Previous research found, not Americans who break a bone are nei- and helps Medicare and Medicaid unexpectedly, that age produced a ther tested for the illness or treated. beneficiaries prevent, detect and report health care fraud. It has some negative reaction although it is not (According to the 2019 Medicare 5,000 volunteers nationwide, most common to the thinking of older Handbook (p. 32), Medicare covers of whom are retired and Medicareadults themselves. a bone density test every 24 months eligible themselves. The initiative is aimed at changand if it is considered “medically The measure of their effectiveing the public perception of old necessary” the patient does pay. ness can be told in dollars and cents. age and the contributions of older Thirteen aging and women’s Although the final figures for 2018 adults to society. Older adults are not health groups recently joined are still being compiled, roughly condemned to wind up in a rocking forces to reduce the most common 7,000 volunteers in 61 SMP projects chair at a senior residence; there are and costly bone which can lead to recovered Medicare money of more many examples to the contrary. Take, osteoporosis. than $5,000 and Medicaid of close for example, a retired Pennsylvania According to the National Osteoto $6,000. It is also estimated that teacher, who wanted to fly from the porosis Foundation (NOF), “bone age of five. Now at 72, not only has fractures related to osteoporosis are further Medicare monies have been recovered coming to a whopping $11 he recently acquired a pilot’s license, responsible for more hospitalizabut also his own airplane. tions than heart attacks, strokes and million. As part of their function, SMP As D’Antonio noted, “unless breast cancer combined,” advocates who care about aging isYet, this growing problem is often volunteers reach out to groups





through educational events that have been attended by 1.7 million people. The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) notes these numbers may not be final as “it is not always possible to track referrals to Medicare contractors or law enforcement...” Among some of the areas where SMP volunteers are active include: billing for services and supplies never provided and investigating cases where expensive scooter wheelchairs are provided, but unneeded, by a beneficiary. For information on the Pennsylvania Senior Medicare patrol, call 1-800-356-3606 or visit

The war on cancer Cancer is one of the most insidious diseases, attacking various parts of the body, some more than once, affecting individuals from children to older adults, and so challenging that despite the 1971 National Cancer Act which was planned to eliminate it, the war still continues. (In less time, the incidence of AIDS has been significantly reduced.) According to, “age is the greatest risk for developing cancer. It goes on to note that 60% of those who have cancer are 65 years of age or older. That’s the bad news. The good news is there has been a decline in cancer rates for men, women and children. Furthermore, according to Betsy Kohler, executive director of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR), as a result of the most recent annual report on the status of cancer there are indications that “highlight the importance of continued research and cancer prevention efforts.” The report, “Cancer Treatment and Survivorship,” notes 64% of cancer survivors, equaling almost two thirds, are 65 years of age or older and more than half were diagnosed at least 10 years previously. The report also points out that as a result of this good news, there is now a need for better post-treatment cancer care, including better coordination between cancer care teams and primary care physicians and identifying the best ways to help those who have survived maintain a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit the website of the

Two outdoor games for seniors to try this summer

Five tips to help alleviate arthritic pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one out of four Americans live with arthritis. For many seniors, the condition makes everyday activities difficult. Here are five tips to help manage the pain. Use medication. Acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory If you’re a regular camper, or nents are easy to store and transport, medications can help relieve simply enjoy spending time outmaking this an ideal game for campcertain types of arthritic pain. Talk doors, chances are you’ve played ing, the park and your backyard. to your doctor about which over-theenough bocce and washer toss to last Finnish bowling counter drugs might help you and a lifetime. Here are two other types Known by the trademark Molkky in make sure to closely follow your phyof games you can play with your friends, children and grandchildren. its native Finland, this game is played sician’s recommendations. Be sure using 12 numbered wooden pins and a to also let your doctor know about Ladder toss slightly larger throwing pin. any other health issues you have. If Also known as ladder golf, this The goal is to toss the throwing you’re planning on doing something game is played by throwing bolas, pin and knock down as many of the that might cause pain, take a dose 30 which are two balls connected by numbered pins as possible. Certain minutes before starting. a string, onto the rungs of a ladcombinations of downed numbered Maintain a healthy weight. der. Each rung has a different point pins are worth more points than The more weight your hips, value, and the game ends once a team others. ankles, knees and feet supaccumulates a predetermined numEasy to learn and carry, this is the port, the more likely they are to hurt. ber of points (typically 21). perfect game to take to the park or on Maintaining a lower weight can help The great thing about ladder toss your next camping trip. relieve pressure on your joints. is that you can add one or more Both ladder toss and Finnish bowlMind your diet. A healthy optional rules to keep things intering rely on chance more than skill, diet can help mitigate aresting. Plus, the lightweight compowhich means anyone can win. thritic pain. Probiotics and




omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to alleviate inflammation, while red meat, sugar and foods high in fat can make it worse. Exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help alleviate pain. Moreover, regular exercise reduces joint stiffness. While working out, however, be mindful of your pain and heed any signals telling you to stop. Try supplements. Taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may help those with moderate to severe arthritic pain lessen their discomfort. While the effectiveness of using them hasn’t been substantiated, if they seem to work for you, they pose no long-term health risks. Talk to your doctor about which brand to use. While there’s no way to entirely eliminate arthritic pain, these strategies can help reduce it both in the short term and the long term. With a little patience, you’ll discover what works best for you.






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everal years ago, I wrote a column, not one of my better efforts, about gardening for the disabled. It was this column that convinced me to stop writing about things I knew nothing about, a rule I have followed. Mostly. It is time to revisit the topic, now with better insight. They swapped out a hunk of my spine with some dead guy who didn’t need his anymore, and they’ll be doing another hunk. I hope it is the same guy’s, because if part of my spine is Republican and part is Democrat, I’ll never get my dahlias in the ground. There are many techniques and tools for those whose mobility is compromised, but the most important is not sold in Walmart – not yet. That is a spouse or spouse equivalent who is caring and cosseting to help. I’ve got one of those, though she has yet to fully understand that I want to do what I can, no matter how clumsily, despite the occasional yelp, myself. My particular and hopefully temporary problem is that a garden is at

ground level, down by my feet, not by my hands. I can’t garden very well with my feet, and my usual method of working on my knees was suddenly not an option. Actually I can get down on my knees, but then I stay there until someone comes along. Then I discovered a garden kneeler/seat for 10 bucks. It works so well that I went back and got a second one so there was a better chance that there would be one near where I needed it. Placed one way, it is a 15-inch-high stool to sit on. This is just about right to tend plants that are up and growing, pruning and pinching, deadheading, staking and such. And under the seat is a tool compartment too small to hold anything useful. But that doesn’t matter much because you can’t open it when you are sitting on it. To get closer, to get your hands dirty in the earth, you can flip it over so that the bottom of the seat, which has a soft pad, becomes a place to kneel and what had been the legs and feet for the seat become handles to grab on to and stand back up. That puts you right down at Please see Green, Page 15


soil level, and you don’t need to wait for someone to come by to get back up. The adage of aging still applies, though: as long as you are down there, see if there is anything else within reach that needs attention. My bet is that you will see weeds that need pulling. When this all started, I tried turning a five-gallon pail over to sit on. This is not advisable, and I have several fivegallon buckets with cracked bottoms to attest to that. One small difficulty is that planting usually is not done all in one spot, so you must either awkwardly hop it along the row or keep standing up to move it, which is what I was trying to avoid. So I got another little seat with wheels. Frankly it is not as comfortable as the kneeler/seat, and if you don’t sit carefully you end up unintentionally at ground level, but it has a bigger storage compartment. It is not at all good for moving things like pots and flats though; I got a wagon – one like they have available at nurseries to encourage people to buy more – and it wasn’t cheap. But it works. Dahlias potted up in one place can now be moved, several at a time, to their planting bed instead of making the trip several times with one pot in one hand and a cane in the other. I was watching for a little red wagon at yard sales, but I didn’t see one until I had put down the money for the nursery cart. I have quite a collection of long-handled tools which I seldom used. I like to be close to what I’m doing, not a hoe’s length away. I actually like pulling weeds and getting my hands dirty. But long-handled tools not only reach down, they reach out. Sitting on the stool, I can reach the middle, even the back of the border where there is not space to put the stool down. Scraping weeds is not as much fun, nor is it as effective as pulling them, but it will have to do for now. For decades, one of my favorite tools has been a border fork, like a spading fork but smaller. It is perfect for lady gardeners or for guy gardeners working in a tightly planted flower border. Lately it has become indispensable because you can actually spade sitting down. Not very well, maybe, but it works. Don’t disparage your full-sized spading forks. Stuck firmly in the ground in spots that have proven problematic, they give you a handle to grab on to. I have raised beds, but raised only a

few inches. That doesn’t help me. But I have seen beds, often in community gardens, large deep boxes actually, raised on legs to wheelchair height. Maybe you could leave this column lying around where someone who is handy in your family might happen on it. Using a yellow highlighter is gauche. I would be remiss not to mention container gardening, especially since it takes me back to my earliest days as a gardener, when my vegetable garden consisted of 15 five-gallon pails on a blacktop driveway. These pails are often free if you can find a business that gets bulk supplies in them – cleaning companies, doughnut shops, restaurants, whatever. Or you can buy them cheaply if you don’t mind a big box store logo on the side. You can grow just about any vegetable in a five-gallon pail with holes drilled in the bottom. I even rigged an automatic watering system, novel at the time, more common and available now. Or a recycled 55-gallon barrel cut in half easily with a jig saw gives you two large containers. I have two that have been out in the garden for thirty years with little sign of wear. If you want to gussy them up, you can spray paint them. During my more nimble decades, I have enthusiastically promoted container gardening for reasons that had nothing to do with back pain. You can fill them with better soil than your garden probably has. You can move them wherever you want, whenever you want. You can control the watering. You can grow plants that may not be quite hardy here and move them into the garage or basement for the winter. Plants that have short blooming seasons can be moved from center stage to a less prominent spot. And it is fun. Vegetables are easy, but my particular favorite is flowers in terra cotta. A two-dollar six-pack of common blooms, hardly noticed along the walk, make an impression planted together in a large pot. A seating area just outside the back door has more than two dozen pots, large and small, carefully staged. While much of my large border planting is overgrown with weeds I haven’t gotten to, that seating area is still something I can enjoy and take some pride in. I am an optimist. I expect that this five-month disability will be over by the time this sees print, maybe a tad longer, but if not, I have at least learned some techniques that keep me outside. And keep my hands dirty.

Even a nine-inch tray gives you an opportunity to exercise your gardening vision.

Many plants are watering problems in moss baskets, but sedums do fine with just occasional rain.

Potted plants need not be relegated to a deck or patio. Many plants are in containers, making tolerable a garden suffering from my inatention.

A patio full of potted plants is real but easy care gardening, and there is a place to sit down.




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Good Times for Seniors -- Summer '19  

Good Times for Seniors -- Summer '19