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A publication of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce



1st America Cares About You

Sweet and Savory Recipes Discover Your Creative Spirit

We Are Your Choice for Better Sleep


A publication of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce |

Financial Advisor Steve Boatner & Administrative Assistant Latricia Clary

The Investment Centre at Commercial Banking Company is committed to providing personalized advice, investment products and services.

Through our five step process, Steve can help you with Retirement Planning, Wealth Protection, Legacy Strategies, Insurance Planning and Analysis, Business Succession Planning, and Estate Planning. We look forward to helping enhance the financial well-being of our community and continue to place the interests of our clients at the pinnacle of our actions.

Call for an appointment

Or stop by and see us today!


3470 N. Valdosta Road, Suite C Valdosta, GA 31602

Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: *Not FDIC insured *May lose value *Not financial institution guaranteed *Not a deposit *Not insured by any federal government agency. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal Advisor. Neither Cetera Investment Services, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.

Planning is Key to Pursuing Financial Well-being


eorgia is one of the top 10 fastest-aging states according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging. Approximately one million Georgia residents are 65- years-old and older. This number has increased 36.5 percent since 2000.

Steve Boatner, a Financial Advisor with The Investment Centre at Commercial Banking Company, says planning early for retirement is the key to pursuing financial well-being. Boatner assists his clients with Retirement Planning, Wealth Protection, Legacy Strategies, Insurance Planning and Analysis, Business Succession Planning, and Estate Planning, through a five-step financial planning process. Boatner says clients typically ask, “How much income do I need during retirement and do I have sufficient assets to generate that income?”

Wealth Protection includes risks that a person may encounter during retirement including long term healthcare, high risks in their investment portfolio, and taking a high level of financial distribution. Legacy Strategies help to define where a person ultimately wants their assets to go and is a plan that works to ensure their directives are followed via wills, trusts, and charitable contributions.

“We work with clients to make sure they have a healthcare directive in place and a power of attorney to make decisions in the event they become incapacitated,” says Boatner. “There are several people that need to be involved in the planning process including a spouse, children, and CPA or attorney.”

Steve Boatner

“We work all of our life to accumulate assets and reach a point where we can ultimately retire.” says Boatner. “We want to make sure our clients have the ability to convert those assets into income that will sustain them for the rest of their lives.”

Retirement Planning is the beginning of the process and should take place five to ten years before retirement, or sooner if possible. “With your financial portfolio, you want to become more conservative, in your investment strategy, as you approach retirement,” says Boatner. “There is a difference in the way people look at investments while they are working and putting money in their company 401(k) and how they view investment risk as they approach retirement. The issue of Social Security also plays into a person’s retirement planning. Boatner uses a software program to analyze when individuals should start drawing from Social Security—the age varies depending upon the person’s financial assets. “Every year that you defer from taking your Social Security benefits you receive an 8 percent increase in your benefit,” says Boatner. “I work with clients to identify what their income needs will be in retirement and key in on the resources to help them meet those needs. This gives them a ‘score card’ to track their success in maintaining their desired lifestyle, through their normal life expectancy, without running out of money.”

Business Planning encompasses a plan that ensures

the assets of a business owner are protected and an effective succession plan is in place. “Business planning helps to identify what will happen to a business in the event something happens to the business owner,” says Boatner, “especially if the business is the bulk of the estate.” Boatner says Estate Planning is a process for dividing a person’s financial assets in a fair and equitable manner, as well as making sure taxes are managed efficiently. “One of the biggest issues I see in estate planning is securing a power of attorney,” says Boatner. “I am starting to work with more clients suffering from dementia and/ or Alzheimer’s disease and it is important to have a person established, in advance, who can make decisions in the event of their incapacitation.” Boatner says that he works with each client to identify their financial needs and goals. For more information, visit the Investment Centre at CBCBank at or call 229-219-8426 for an appointment. Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: *Not FDIC insured *May lose value *Not financial institution guaranteed *Not a deposit *Not insured by any federal government agency. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal Advisor. Neither Cetera Investment Services, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.

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03 06 08 10 11 12 14 17 20 22 24 26


Planning is Key to Pursuing Financial Well-being


Five Key Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Seniors Advanced Technology Options in Cataract Surgery Silver Star Members are an Important Part of the Chamber


Travel the Emerald Isle of Ireland Lena Bosch Discovers Her Creative Spirit The Annette Howell Center for the Arts Dealing with Grief and Loss is Especially Difficult During Holidays


Are YOU Sleep Deprived? 306 North Offers a Unique Dining Experience Learning in Retirement Provides Opportunities for Creative Development & Social Interaction Valdosta and Lowndes County a Great Destination

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Marie Weeks Shares her Financial Expertise and Culinary Talents with Others

28 29 30 36

Seniors Encouraged to Guard Against Scams and Frauds Cancer Coalition of South Georgia Local Fight Against Cancer Senior Citizens Center Offers a Variety of Activities and Programs Move-in Day: Making the Transition


Dear Retirees,



he Valdosta and the Lowndes County area is home to retirees who are dynamic and engaged members of the community. With an abundance of educational activities and programs including a lively arts culture, retirees have numerous opportunities for social interaction through community organizations and small groups. In this issue of the Connection magazine, you will meet Lena Bosch and Marie Weeks, two women who completed successful professional careers and are continuing to use their talents and skills to help others, while exploring their creative passions.

2016 / Volume 3 Publisher: Myrna Ballard, President

Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce

Editor & Writer: Thressea H. Boyd THBoyd Communications, LLC

Co-editor: Leslie Harris, Director of

Marketing & Membership Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce

You will discover more about Valdosta State University’s Learning in Retirement program, which offers hundreds of educational and cultural programs including book reviews, health and fitness classes, and creative art courses. In addition, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority sponsors the Senior Citizens Center, which is open to individuals 50 years and older at a very minimal cost. Seniors can take exercise classes, attend monthly dances, learn a new hobby, or take a trip. The Connection magazine also features health information, retirement planning advice, travel opportunities, and a glance at the community’s vibrant cultural arts scene. We encourage seniors to consider participating in the community by joining the Chamber’s Silver Star Program (read more on page 10), which is specifically designed for active retirees. The Chamber wants to thank all the advertisers who have helped make the Connection magazine possible and encourage our readers to visit them often.

Advertising for the next edition of Connection magazine will be available in the summer 2016. For information please call 229-247-8100, Ext. 231. Copyright by Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce.© All rights reserved. Connection Magazine is produced and published annually by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Reproduction in whole or in part of this publication without the expressed written consent of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is prohibited. All claims, materials, photos appearing herein are believed by the editors to be accurate. However, no responsibility or liability is assumed, and is expressly disclaimed, by the ValdostaLowndes County Chamber of Commerce for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Advertisements, articles, photos, editorial information, and other materials submitted for publication herein are subject to the unrestricted right to the edit of and by our editors and publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Connection Magazine, 416 N. Ashley Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.




Lee McArthur, Vice Chairman Chamber Member Services Division



Stay connected with the Chamber through social media.

ABOUT THE COVER: Representing 1st America Home Medical Equipment, left, Jonathan Tomberlin, Respiratory Manager, and Brad Bailey, Director of Home Medical Equipment. Cover Photo: Wes Sewell (Wes Sewell Photography)

A publication

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Connection Seniors Love

We Are Your

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1 st America

Choice for Be

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Sweet and Savory Recipes Discover You r Creative Spi rit

416 North Ashley Street Valdosta, Georgia 31601

229-247-8100 Fax: 229-245-0071

ADVOCATE • sta-Lowndes BUILD • CON County Cham NECT • PRO ber of Commerc MOTE e | www.Vald m

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Connection 2016



Five Key Benefits of

Chiropractic Care for Seniors

•Pain Relief

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and safest forms of health care to treat pain due to spinal related conditions. Chiropractic is so effective because most causes of spinal disorders are related to abnormalities of the spine and the surrounding soft tissue structures.

•Increased Mobility

Chiropractic care has been shown repeatedly to increase not only the range of motion of the spine but also in the extremities. For some, an increased range of motion means being able to bend down to pick up their grandchildren. For others, it means they can garden without pain or get an extra 40 yards of distance out of their driver on the golf course.

•Increased Balance and Coordination

There is a direct link between problems associated with coordination and balance and degenerative changes to the spine over time. Studies have shown that chiropractic care


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can help restore balance and coordination by stimulating joint receptors in the cervical spine.

•Decreased Joint Degeneration

In many ways a spine that is misaligned is much like the wheels on your car when they are out of alignment. Comparatively, just as tires that are out of alignment will wear out sooner than they should, so will your joints if they are out of alignment. Regular chiropractic care decreases spinal degeneration and other arthritic changes by normalizing the spinal alignment and can prevent the parts of our bodies that move from wearing out over time.

•Increased Health and Well-Being

Many individuals also notice increased health and general well-being through regular chiropractic care. These benefits include an increased feeling of energy and reduced pain from problems associated with aging, the ability to sleep through the night and to participate in enjoyable hobbies.

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Advanced Technology Options in Cataract Surgery


ataract surgery is one of the most common procedures with 3 million performed each year in the United States. Cataracts are characterized by a progressive clouding of the natural crystalline lens of the eye that eventually impairs visual function. “As we age cataracts are a basic fact of life,” said Albert Gonzalez, MD. “Approximately 50 percent of the population develops cataracts by age 60. Initially, most patients are unaware that they have cataracts as the symptoms are usually minimal. However, over time the proteins inside the crystalline lens become damaged by sunlight and begin to clump causing blurred vision.”

The core of the cataract lens is emulsified using ultrasonic energy via a specially designed probe that is inserted through the corneal incisions. The emulsified lens material is then easily aspirated from the eye and an artificial lens is implanted in order to replace the power of the crystalline lens. Without intraocular lenses very thick eyeglasses or contacts would be required for quality vision.

Dr. Gonzalez further explains that as the cataract advances the vision becomes progressively cloudy and routine daily activities such as driving and reading become more difficult. Other common symptoms include faded color perception, glare, halos around lights, and occasionally double vision. Early in the course of cataract progression visual changes can be compensated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Unfortunately, there is no effective medical therapy for cataracts. The only treatment option for visually significant cataracts is cataract extraction in conjunction with the implantation of an artificial intraocular lens implant. “Over the past 30 years, cataract surgery has evolved into a safer, more efficient outpatient procedure performed under intravenous sedation typically in an ambulatory surgery center,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “The procedure typically takes about 10-15 minutes. Access to the cataract is provided by small corneal incisions measuring approximately 2-3 mm in width, which are performed manually by a skilled ophthalmic surgeon.”


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“Traditionally the goal of cataract surgery was simply to remove the cloudy cataract lens so that light rays entering the eye could focus clearly on the retina,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “Most patients required eyeglasses for distance vision correction, near vision correction or both. In the last 10 years, cataract surgery has evolved into a refractive procedure with the secondary goal of spectacle independence. As results have improved and technology has advanced a number of options have emerged for patients who demand greater visual function without eyeglasses.”

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 Silver Sneakers Fitness Program  Over 80+ Group Fitness Classes  12 Week Personal Fitness Program  25 Meter Heated Pool Available Year Around  24 Hour Fitness Zones  Sauna, Steam Room and Whirlpool  Plus a whole lot more for your Active Lifestyle! VALDOSTA YMCA


Phone: (229) 244-4646

Phone: (229) 559-8886

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Serving South Georgia for over 50 years! We take pride in delivering the best deals along with award winning customer service 229-333-CARS

Your Vision is Our Vision “Our services include routine eye examinations, advanced diagnostic procedures, Z-LASIK and LenSx laser assisted cataract surgery, and medical/surgical treatment for eye diseases and conditions in our on-site Ambulatory Surgical Center.”

Albert Gonzalez, M.D.

Cliff Courtenay, O.D. 303024 N. Patterson Street | Valdosta

229. 247. 4114

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Silver Star Members are an Important Part of the Chamber


aldosta-Lowndes County is the perfect location for retirees. Whether you have lived here your entire life or moved to the area as part of a company relocation, military assignment, or just wanted to live closer to family members, you will find everything you need to make retirement a “golden opportunity.”

people at the monthly Business After Hours and other Chamber events.

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber invites retirees to become Silver Star members. The Silver Star Program is for active seniors who want to be involved in the community.

Donald and Caroline encourage retir-

“I really like attending the Business After Hours,” said Caroline. “Being a Silver Star member has opened my eyes to what is offered in Valdosta and finding out about the businesses that are starting and what they offer.”

ees—whether they have lived in Valdosta and Lowndes County all their lives or are newcomers—to join the Chamber as a Silver Star member. “If you are a retiree and need a little something to do, as Silver Star members you can find out about the community and all the various assets here,” Donald said. “It is a great way to get involved.”

Silver Star membership is $100 (per couple) annually and provides volunteer opportunities to help retirees stay connected within the community. Members also receive copies of Chamber publications, newsletters, and invitations to events.

Donald and Caroline Martin have been active Silver Star members for several years and enjoy volunteering at the Chamber and attending events. “We have met a lot of people, which is one of the reasons we wanted to get involved,” said Donald. “I spent my career in the Air Force and federal government work, so I wanted to find out what was happening in the community and get a chance to meet different people.” You can find the Martins at the Chamber each month helping with the distribution of various mailings, as well as meeting 10

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210 N. Davis St. • Nashville, GA www.

Touring the Emerald Isle of Ireland M

y most recent favorite vacation was Ireland! My husband and I spent about 10 days touring the beautiful and lush island with Gaelic and historical charm. We started our vacation in Dublin, picking up a car and driving into Belfast with a visit to the Titanic Museum and Ulster Museum. After a couple days exploring Belfast, we headed to Galway and the Connemara area on the opposite side of the island where we were in awe of the inspiring coast of Connemara and Gaelic fun of Galway, a city not to be missed! Driving down the coast from Galway, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher that we found standing in splendor amid the fog, then slowly the outburst of sun beamed on the cliffs and water. After a couple hours of time at the Cliffs of Moher, we headed to Shannon and into the town of Adare where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner in one of the quaint thatched roofed village restaurants. After Adare, we headed to Dingle, a rival of the famous Ring of Kerry, Dingle is one of the most beautiful and memorable locations we visited in Ireland. After traveling through beautiful, lush green fields along the Dingle Peninsula, we found beautiful beaches and amazing coastline to the town of Dingle. Dingle is a great place to stop for lunch and meander the streets for a break before heading on to explore the beehives of Ireland. Beehives were originally believed to be used by the Monks for isolation, and later for the earliest farmers and their families. Next, Ring of Kerry is a great opportunity to see the beautiful forests of Ireland, and the coastline. There is a great museum about halfway to the Ring of Kerry, and definitely worth the visit. Here you can continue your journey along the Ring of Kerry, and back through the forests to the town of Killarney. We chose to skip the Blarney Castle and instead went to the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenney Castle before heading back into Dublin. Dublin offers unlimited pubs and shops, and you should definitely not miss the Book of Kells and the incredible Dublin Trinity College Library! I would love the opportunity to share more details with you, and assist you with your personal travels to Ireland!

Jane Shelton South Georgia Travel

Ireland - A Dream Vacation Experience SOUTH GEORGIA TRAVEL is a full-service agency that has been in business for over 50 years. It is our desire to provide service to the community and surrounding areas in the form of travel planning and reservations. Our business is based on courteous and prompt service, honesty and professionalism. Call one of our Travel Planners today to plan your dream vacation!

1300 Baytree Rd. • Valdosta 229.244.2324 Connection 2016


Lena Bosch Discovers Her Creative Spirit


f you have lived in Valdosta all you life—or even for a short period of time—then you have probably met Lena Bosch. Her name is synonymous with Southern hospitality, the arts, and pimento cheese.

Everyone calls her “Lena” and that is what she prefers—simple and personal. To know Lena is to know someone who embraces hospitality and a strong commitment to her family and friends. Hundreds of people have received one of her personally created notes—not a store bought card but something meaningful that Lena has created specifically for that person. A member of Dasher Church of Christ, Lena grew up in Valdosta and after graduation she moved to Belize to help a friend start a business. It was in Belize that Lena met and married her husband, John, who passed away in 1984. They lived in Belize for about six years until a hurricane destroyed the family’s general mercantile store and home. When she and John arrived in Valdosta, along with his parents, they started a car dealership, which stayed in the family for more than 40 years. “I enjoyed the business,” Lena said, “we had about 40 employees and they were like family. It was a great experience and I did a lot of innovative things. I really enjoyed the marketing side of the business.” Lena said developing advertisements and special promotions allowed her to find her creative side.


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She clearly remembers the time she announced a “pollen sale.” “I looked outside and all the cars on the lot were covered with pollen and I was tired of having the cars washed every day,” she laughed. “So I said every car covered with pollen was on sale. It was a very successful promotion and people still remember it today.” She became involved in the arts at the insistence of her friend Dorothy Carter Pearlman, who Lena said was a champion for the arts in Valdosta for many years. “One day Dorothy said, ‘Lena you are going to become involved in the Art Center,’ and so I became a member of the art board. At that time, we were in the building next to where the Turner Center is today in a small office upstairs.” Through the years, Lena has been an active member of the Lowndes/ Valdosta Arts Commission, even serving as chairperson, but she was not actively engaged in creating art. It was after retiring from her position as president of the car dealership that Lena took her first pottery class. “I have always had a little bit of a creative gene in me,” she said. “I have always loved creating recipes and cooking and that is culinary art, of course, I didn’t realize that all these years.”

Known for her pimento cheese and chicken salad—dishes that family and friends request on a regular basis, Lena said she didn’t start cooking until after she was married. “My husband bought me the book ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and I basically learned by the book and then once I learned the rudiments of cooking then I started branching out,” she said, “That is how my famous pimento cheese was created.” Lena explained that she doesn’t really like pimento cheese so she started creating a recipe that she did like, and others as well. “I thought well, let’s add some raisins…no, I don’t like raisins,” she laughed. “So maybe cranberries, yes, dried cranberries and then well maybe some pecans and balsamic vinegar, and mayonnaise,” she said. “That is how I started creating—I still don’t like pimento cheese unless it is on dark pumpernickel bread. But everyone else likes it and I bet I have made a ton of it over the years.” When she decided to take up pottery, she approached her new found creative outlet the same way she did with cooking—trial and error. She started taking a class through the Turner Center for the Arts taught by Walter Hobbs, one of Valdosta’s premier artists. It was early in the class that Lena realized she is actually allergic to the clay, but that

didn’t stop her enthusiasm. Wearing special latex gloves, Lena creates all her pottery pieces by hand and not on a wheel. “I take a lump of clay and make it into something,” she said. “It is strictly by hand, which is fine, I would rather do by hand anyway.” One of her first pieces was an apple titled “Eve’s Reinstated Apple,’ which she explained was started by a “little seed.” “Like a recipe there is always a little seed where you start,” Lena explains. “You build from that seed and you think of all the angles. I started with an apple and then I thought, ‘I am not going to make an apple, anyone can make an apple.’” She then began to picture Eve in the Garden of Eden. Lena admits that we don’t know it was an apple, just a piece of fruit, but most people think of an apple. Lena then imagined what if Eve tried to fool God and put the apple back after taking the first bite. “So I thought what if Eve tried to patch the apple back and what would that look like,” she said. “That is when I came up with staples. The staples look like stitches, where Eve tried to sew the apple back up.”

Lena admits that all of her art pieces have a tongue-in-cheek theme and are somewhat whimsical. “They usually have a humorous touch and a connection that evolves from a little seed.” Taking that first pottery class allowed Lena to expand her creative energy combined with her love of the arts. “I didn’t know I had any creativity,” she said. “I knew I had a good eye for art but translating it from the eye to the hand, now that is a whole different ballgame. That is what I have been able to do with pottery. I can send it from the eyes to the fingers.” Lena said that she will be forever grateful to Walter Hobbs, her pottery instructor, mentor, and friend. “He told me I could do this and gave me great confidence,” she recalls. “It didn’t take long to get the confidence after the first couple things I created.” She encourages other retirees to find something they want to do for themselves and don’t give up. “The biggest thing is to do it for yourself,” Lena said. “You don’t do it thinking you will be the next Rembrandt, I am not Rembrandt—I am just Lena Bosch.” Lena has a son, Bart Bosch, his wife, Anita, and two grandchildren, Taylor and Carly.

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Dealing with Grief and Loss is Especially Difficult During the Holidays


very day we encounter family members and friends walking through difficult times of loss and grief. Often it hits close to home with the loss of a marriage, the loss of a friend, or the death of a spouse or child. Hearing of a friend losing their job or their home happens more and more often. We often ask ourselves, “Is it me, or is life today getting harder?” Sometimes we feel inadequate to respond to the situation at hand and wonder where the roadmap of life is when we need it most. Hospice of South Georgia Executive Director Susan Bowden has devoted her career to providing terminal patients with the right to die pain–free and with dignity. In her 27-year career with Hospice of South Georgia, she has witnessed the various stages of loss and grief on a daily basis. “In my own life, I have encountered loss of a personal nature, forever changing the dynamics of relationships and family,” said Bowden. “One sure thing is that every person’s journey of grief and loss is individual. No two people respond in the same way. There is no one right way to deal with loss, nor is there one timetable for grief.”

If you are supporting someone who is grieving:

• Acknowledge the loss. Often those in

grief feel abandoned by friends and family. We fear saying the wrong thing, so we don’t say anything at all. A sincere note, a hug, or simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss and I’m thinking of you” can lend support. Remember the hard days—birthday, anniversary, the first holidays after the loss.

• Be present. We often say ‘Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.’ We mean well, but those in grief are just trying to get through another day and often don’t know what to request. Look for small, practical ways to be helpful—a meal, a bundle of note cards and stamps to help with acknowledgments, a brief phone call just to check in, mow the lawn. • Listen. Allow the griever to share their emotions as they need to. There is no magic response or answer to the question of why things happen. Be willing to listen without judgment, interruption, or the need to solve the sadness.

Bowden said that many people look forward to the changing season from the summer heat to the cool, crisp days of fall; however for those facing a recent loss of a family member or friend the usual enjoyment of seasons changing and holidays may be replaced with sadness and grief. “For those who have suffered a loss, the changing of the season may not be a pleasant thought as holidays loom before us,” Bowden said. “Traditions and holiday celebrations will not be the same this year. So how do we respond when life has changed?” Bowden provides suggestions on coping with the loss of a family member or close friend.

If you are grieving a loss:

• Be as kind and understanding to yourself as you would be to a best friend. Allow yourself space and time needed for sadness and all the emotions that accompany grief. Eat, rest, sleep and care for yourself physically and emotionally. Just as you would not scold a friend for crying or expressing anger when grieving a loss, allow yourself the time for tears, frustration and anger as a part of the grief journey. Recognize that it is okay to feel sad, and it is also okay to feel good, to laugh and to relax. • Allow those you know and trust to walk with you through this difficult time. Those who care about you are grieving with you. Draw strength and encouragement from one another. Share memories—the good and the bad—with someone you trust. • Draw on your support systems for strength including friends, family, religious groups, and support groups. These individuals may all play a part in helping you through the days ahead.

• Recognize that life has forever changed. The holidays will not be the same this year. Plan ahead, accept your limitations and lower your expectation of yourself and others. Create new traditions while remembering the former. Bowden also suggests that recognizing grief is powerful and demands respect and attention. “As the reality of loss sets in, grief will be more fully experienced,” she said. “Giving the journey of grief the attention it demands empowers you to understand your loss and see the positive perspective on your past, your present, and your future. Respecting your grief lends honor and value to the relationship, the individual and the important part of you that has changed.”

For more information, contact Hospice of South Georgia at 229-433-7000 or on the web at Connection 2016


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South Georgia Vein Center (229) 259-9666 Valdosta, Georgia

Behavioral Health Services of South Georgia Mental Health Center – Valdosta 3120 N. Oak Street Ext., Suite C Valdosta, GA 31602 Contact: 229-671-6170

Mental Health Center – Adel 1905 S. Hutchinson St Adel, GA 31620 Contact: 229-896-4559 Mental Health Center – Tifton 334 Tift Eldorado Rd Tifton, GA 31794 Contact: 229-391-2300


Developmental Disability Day Centers: Lowndes, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Turner

Visit our website:

Doug Ruff, DVM Kelly Barrett, DVM

Hahira Veterinary

600 GA Hwy 122 W Hahira, GA 31632






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Experience the power of music with the 2014 American Prize award winner, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. All performances begin at 8:00 pm. Tickets available for new patrons August 3, 2015.

1 The Distinctive voice September 19 Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor


Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C Minor

2 The

2 6 TH S E A S O N Howard Hsu, Music Director

Stirring of the Soul

November 7

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor


3 The Art of Expression! Casual Classics February 13 Principal Dancers from Dance Alive & VSU Repertory Dancers Selections from Don Quixote, Romeo & Juliet, Coppelia, & Swan Lake

Jennifer Frautschi



Mozart Requiem

Simone Dinnerstein

5 Mahler’s Fantastic Mahler Symphony No.5

March 5


April 30

To Purchase Tickets: 229.333.2150 Connection 2016


Are you sleep deprived? A

re you one of the many adults who feel sleep deprived on a daily basis? In a general population poll called the Sleep Health Index, which is conducted annually by the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 45 percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week. The study also showed that most Americans report sleeping an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes each night. However, despite the recommended 8 hours a night, 35 percent of Americans reported their sleep quality was “poor” or “only fair.” According to the poll, 20 percent of Americans reported that they did not wake up feeling refreshed on any of the past seven days. What is keeping Americans sleep deprived? The survey results indicated that overall health was “highly associated with sleep quality” and that 11.6 percent of the U.S. population has been told by a physician that they have sleep apnea. According to the Sleep Apnea Association, there

About 76% of morbidly obese patients have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. (OSA)

are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common and involves repetitive blockages of the upper airway during sleep,” said Jonathan Tomberlin, Respiratory Manager with 1st America Home Medical Equipment, located in Valdosta. “The person is unable to breathe, which causes their oxygen level to drop and heart rate to increase leading to undue stress on their vital organs. This causes a sleep stage About 76% of each 48% of type transition, often up2 to hundreds of times diabetes patients morbidly obese night, preventing them from getting enough suffer from sleep REM stage sleep which ispatients when the body have apnea. recoups for the next day.Obstructive The quantity Sleepof sleep may be present, but the quality of sleep Apnea. (OSA) is not.” Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include lack 73% of congestive About 76% of of energy, morning heart failure patients morbidly obese headaches, frequent have Sleepnocturnal urination, patients have Disordered depression, excessive Obstructive Sleep Breathing. (SDB) daytime sleepiness, Apnea. (OSA) irregular breathing during sleep (snoring), and night time gasping, choking or coughing. Sleep apnea has also been associated with type 2 diabetes. If these symptoms go untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, chronic heart failure, stroke and atrial fibrillation.


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“I have been a customer of 1st America for about seven years. They have always helped me with any needs that I might have with a smile and kindness. I particularly enjoy Jonathan in the respiratory department and Verna in the mastectomy department.” — Mary Frances Ray

“I have dealt with 1st America for about four years now. I have been very pleased with their business and everyone is very knowledgeable with their positions. Every person I have contact with has been very polite and professional and they make you feel special. — Jon McEldowney

Symptoms, no matter how mild or severe, should not be ignored. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and/or sleep disturbances, the first step should include a consultation with a physician.

48% of type 2 diabetes patients suffer from sleep apnea.

1st America offers a free sleep apnea screening as a tool for physicians and patients to determine if further sleep testing is war48% of typeThis 2 ranted. is a non-invasive diabetes patients device worn by the patient at suffer from sleep night that monitors respiratory apnea. effort, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring.

and replace these items frequently to ensure a better fit and a better night’s sleep. Over the past 15 years, CPAP and BIPAP devices have become much smaller and quieter. They also now offer wireless modem technology that allows data to be transmitted back to the 1st America respiratory team for observation and review.

“We can access the patient’s information any day, any time to monitor mask leaks, device performance as well as a number of other things,” said Tomberlin. “For example, if we see there is a mask leak then we notify the bout 76% of patient so that we can help figure out if the mask needs rbidly obese to be replaced or if another type of mask is need “The home sleep test is not atients have ed. Wireless monitoring also lets us know if the a formal diagnosis of sleep apnea,” said tructive Sleep 73% of congestive 73% of congestive patient’s prescribed pressure is sufficient by Tomberlin. “Based upon the results, it pnea. (OSA) heart failure patients heart failure patients monitoring apneas, and could suggest that will inform the patient and doctor how have Sleepthe pressure may need to be adjusted. Our to proceed. A positive result wouldhave SleepDisordered staff communicates these results to their Disordered indicate that a referral to a sleep lab is Breathing. (SDB) physician to ensure that they are receiving needed. While a negative resultBreathing. could (SDB) the best standard of care.” indicate the patient’s symptoms could be related to an underlying issue not Some patients have a difficult time adjusting to related to sleep.” wearing the CPAP mask all night. Once a patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea “It’s like wearing your seat belt, you have to form a then they are assisted in getting properly fitted with habit,” said Tomberlin. “Trying to wear it every night, either a CPAP or BIPAP device. 1st America carries even if only for a few hours at a time, will shorten more than 50 types of masks for patients to use and the time it takes to get acclimated and the quicker to choose the best style and fit. experience the benefits. It’s important for patients not to be discouraged and to know that we are here to “We spend a great deal of time talking with each patient and reviewing the results of their sleep studies and troubleshoot any issues and challenges to help them be compliant. Documentation to prove compliance discussing the importance of compliance and maintenance of their device,” said Tomberlin. “Our staff is very with usage may be necessary to ensure continued coverage for the device or replacement supplies by knowledgeable and dedicated to helping our patients the patient’s insurance.” with solutions to issues that they may have and offering them encouragement, especially when first starting For more information, contact 1st America Home Meditreatment.” cal Equipment at 229-242-3060, option 2, then option 3 It is important that patients properly clean their supplies or online at Connection 2016


306 North Offers a Unique Dining Experience or Valdosta residents and visitors, downtown Valdosta has an array of lunch and dinner options including 306 North, which has been a local favorite for nearly ten years. A perfect place to gather with friends or business associates, 306 North offers exceptional cuisine in an elegantly decorated bistro with an urban flair. Frequent patrons know when they arrive–either for lunch or dinner–they will be treated as special guests. 306 North and its sister restaurant Covington’s, located next door, are locally owned by Stan and Sue Cox, who have been in the restaurant and catering business for more than 40 years. 306 North does not disappoint its lunch clientele with its selection of favorites featuring Buttermilk Fried Pork Chops and Wild Georgia Shrimp, served with sides including Sautéed Fresh Vegetables, Gouda Grits, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. For those who are looking for a lighter selection, 306 North offers an array of salads and sandwiches—the Fried Oyster Po’boy is a local favorite. After a long day of work or even leisurely activities, 306 North is where the locals come to enjoy an elegant meal in a friendly atmosphere. Chef Brett Hurst works with Sue Cox to ensure each menu option offers a blend of Southern tradition with a unique twist for those with either small or large appetites. The bar features nightly specials and an extensive wine list, and is a

favorite among the local business crowd and downtown patrons. The dinner menu embraces the traditional steak and pasta dishes, as well as nightly specials including Seared Blackened Grouper, Pan Fried Crab Stuffed Flounder, and Osso Buco–just to name a few. For both lunch and dinner, 306 North has a unique selection of appetizers from its Charleston She Crab Soup to Spicy Fried Pickles or Fried Green Tomatoes. The dining experience is not complete without one of 306 North’s scrumptious desserts. The options range from Fried Angel Food Cake with warm berry sauce to Southern Pecan Pie. The dessert selections are enticing, and you may feel the need to share but sharing is overrated, so you are advised to indulge in one of your own. Stan and Sue opened Covington’s more than 20 years ago, at a time when there were only two other restaurants located in the historic downtown area. In 2006, they opened 306 North to offer patrons a place to dine in a classic and comfortable environment while enjoying historic downtown Valdosta. Stan and Sue appreciate the loyal customers who have supported them over the years, especially in their catering business, which has an established reputation in providing the finest of culinary choices for special events, corporate functions, and family occasions. Visit 306 North and Covington’s online at https://www. or

~ Signature Dish Offered at 306 North ~ Chicken & Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce Ingredients 4 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles 4 3 ounce chicken breasts 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic 22

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8 ounces of your favorite sliced mushrooms (can be exotic, such as cremini, oyster, or just pre-sliced button) 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Place chicken breast halves in a shallow dish. Combine 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle flour mixture over chicken; toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick

306 North Salad is a lunch and dinner favorite served with choice of meat, including seared tuna, salmon, steak or chicken.

Sue and Stan Cox, owners of 306 North and Covington’s, have offered the highest quality dining and catering experience in Valdosta for more than 40 years.

skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic, basil, and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Return chicken to the

pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. Stir in noodles; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Serving Suggestions: Add a nice green salad and a loaf of French bread

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Learning in Retirement Provides Opportunities for Creative Development and Social Interaction


ust as Dr. Seuss suggests, members of the Learning in Retirement (LIR) are becoming lifelong learners through engagement in more than 90 classes that stimulate their artistic, cultural, technical, and social development.

LIR membership was founded in 1996 and classes are often led by the members, which encourages peer learning and active member participation. Membership cost is $45 per person per term—spring, fall, and winter—and members are encouraged to participate in as many LIR courses as they desire. A few courses and special activities require an additional fee for supplies or instructor costs. Membership is open to individuals 50 years of age and older and it is a member-led organization sponsored by Valdosta State University. Members are involved in determining curriculum, recruiting new members, managing the budget, and developing social programming. According to Suzanne Ewing, program coordinator with Valdosta State’s Continuing Education, approximately 80 to 90 classes are offered each term and LIR membership averages 200 members. Each term features a course lineup of book reviews, health and fitness, creative arts, good to know topics, leisure activities, history, language, and science. LIR members also have the opportunity for group travel. The members recently took a trip to Sapelo Island, Folkston Train Museum, and various state parks in Georgia and North Florida. The most popular classes include Yoga, Tai Chi, Line Dancing, View of the News, and Mah-Jongg. “I think that LIR is such a great service to the community because it allows folks to exercise their brains, creative abilities, and their bodies in a fun atmosphere,” said Ewing. “I like that you can sample many different activities, and find a variety of topics and groups of people that you enjoy. 24

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Lee Schert teaches Capacitar: Healing Ourselves, Healing Our World as part of Learning in Retirement’s health and fitness class offerings. Capacitar means “to empower” and uses wellness practices that lead to stress reduction, healing, and wholeness.

I also love the fact that almost all of the teachers/ leaders are volunteers, and many are also members. And I think that it is a wonderful thing for VSU that so many community members have a positive experience with the university through the Learning in Retirement group.” Current LIR President Linda Crook became involved in LIR three years ago, and each term takes as many classes as possible. “There is always something to do,” said Crook, who lives in Brooks County, “and it is a great way to get our minds and bodies active. We are also able to meet new people and find old friends.” Crook, who is taking 17 classes this term [winter], said some classes meet several days a week, and others meet only once or twice. According to the website, LIR is an organization that provides a unique opportunity for cultural growth, lifelong learning, and recreation. For more information, call 229-2456484 or visit the Continuing Education website

Kelly and Dianne Dees participated in the Plant a Flower Container class, which is offered each term at Lowe’s. Participants are given gardening tips and the opportunity to create a potted plant or flower arrangement to take home.

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Valdosta and Lowndes County

a Great Destination


s a professional engaged in promoting Valdosta and Lowndes County as a great destination for leisure or business travel, I frequently talk to people about our city and the many things that make visiting here such a nice way to spend some time. I highlight the great year-round climate and small friendly hometown feel with the amenities usually found in larger cities—including Peach State Summer Theater and the Valdosta Symphony to name just a couple. Our community is a great place to stop and refresh on I-75 and provides a plethora of choices when it comes to eating establishments. The choices are endless from the established chain restaurants where you can order those familiar meals or for a unique cuisine with flair, visitors can enjoy lunch or dinner at Steel Magnolias or 306 North—just to name a few—located in historic downtown Valdosta. The place we call home has plenty of options for tourists and residents including Wild Adventures theme park, which offers the thrills and experiences of some of the larger parks


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located farther south, without the traffic, long lines, and higher prices. If you want to experience true Southern history, a visit to the Lowndes County Historical Society Museum or a tour of the Crescent should be on your agenda. For the nature enthusiast, Lowndes County offers the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors along the Alapaha River Trail or hike through the Grand Bay Wildlife area. If shopping is more to your liking, then Valdosta and Lowndes County have some of the nation’s top retail stores as well as unique boutiques and retail shops supplemented with numerous art and antique shops located in downtown Valdosta—again, something for every taste. Valdosta and Lowndes County are not just for visitors, all the amenities we promote to tourists make Valdosta a great place to live and work. We should all take a moment to appreciate our good fortune— visitors stay for a while and then return to their homes, but Valdosta has so much to offer the residents that get to call Valdosta their home! – Tim Riddle, General Manager James H. Rainwater Conference Center

Marie Weeks Shares her Financial Expertise and Culinary Talents with Others When Marie Weeks retired from teaching high school in 2007, she knew that she wanted to stay busy.

“I knew that I was not going to sit on the front porch in a chair,” said Weeks. “You have to stay active to live a long life.” Weeks has turned her expertise in personal budgeting and culinary passion into a way to stay active and help others. The daughter of a restaurant owner and manager, Weeks grew up learning to cook and how to manage a family budget. For more than 25 years, she taught business education courses at Lowndes High School. Weeks is also the author of “Mean Jeans,” a classroom resource for high school students that allows them to create a small business community. The simulation curriculum is focused on the fictional Mean Jeans Manufacturing Co., where students simulate managing 15 businesses connected with the company.

“It is served every other week during the school year on Wednesday night,” explains Weeks. “It is helpful for families with children. It is hard to fix dinner and be at church by 7 p.m., especially with all the things they have to do. It helps the young families but the older members like it as well.” The ease she displays in feeding large groups is put to the test each year when she coordinates the Raintree Village annual dinner. Held in the Atlanta area, the event is a major

Though she is no longer teaching high school students, Weeks continues to use her financial Marie Weeks, a member of the Raintree Village board of directors, uses her talents skills to help people understand the importance of money manage- and expertise to help others. ment. She has developed a 10week personal finance class that covers creating a budget, fundraiser for Raintree Village, which is a fully accredited balancing a bank statement, tips for getting out of debt, home for foster children located in Dasher, Ga. and the importance of saving. “It is a good service and even during rough financial times, “A lot of people do not understand how money works, and Raintree has held on because they do an excellent job with they do not have an understanding of debt,” said Weeks. the fiscal end of management,” said Weeks, who has served “My classes are very practical, and I review the basics.” on the Raintree Village Board of Directors for more than 15 years. “This is a way I can use my talents because we can Weeks teaches her finance classes free of charge to various keep most of the money we raise instead of spending it on groups in the community and provides individual financial food.” counseling to help others understand money management. Weeks enjoys sharing her culinary skills and recipes, which Weeks has also turned her passion for cooking into a way can be found online at The website to help others. Throughout the year, Weeks, along with features appetizers, vegetables, main dishes, and desserts her husband, Leon, and a team of volunteers at Central recipes––including her award winning Lemon Baked Alaska, which received first place and grand prize in the 1997 Ave. Church of Christ host a mid-week “Feeding the Flock” Valdosta Daily Times annual cookbook contest. dinner. Connection 2016


Seniors Encouraged to Guard Against Scams and Fraud Anyone can become a victim of a financial scam; however, seniors tend to be particularly popular targets. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), scams against seniors are often described as the “crime of the 21st century.” Often seniors do not report the scam until long after it has occurred, usually because the victim is not aware, or they are embarrassed to admit they have been targeted.

media, just be aware of what information you are putting out there for anybody in the world to view.” Jones said that even though a person may think their privacy settings on Facebook and other social media outlets are secured, they need to understand that the people they are sharing information with might not have their accounts on a private or secure setting. “Your settings may be tight but your friends’ settings might not be, and this creates a window that allows people to backdoor your page,” he said. “I don’t want people to live in fear but just be aware of what is going on and monitor your Facebook page often. You should also change your password at least every 90 days.” Jones said there are also a growing number of grandparent scams—both on social media and telephone calls. Scammers will place a call to an older person and take on the identity of their grandchild.

The NCOA identifies ten scams commonly used to target senior citizens: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Medicare & Health Insurance Fraud Counterfeit Prescriptions Funeral & Cemetery Scams Fraudulent Anti-aging Products Telemarketing Internet Fraud Investment Schemes Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams Grandparent Scams

According to Lt. Stryde Jones, with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division, seniors are often targets of financial scams because of their generosity and trusting nature. Jones said social media and Internet use has also added to the number of scams that are occurring. “Criminals have learned they can sit behind a computer anonymously and make money.” According to a Pew Research Center study, 56 percent of Facebook users are 65 years and older. “With the popularity of social media, all it takes is one sad story, and someone will reply and start communicating,” Jones said. “Before you know it they are pulling at your heart strings and people, often older adults, tend to be generous and feel sorry for the people. “In today’s social world we put so much out there for people to see. I don’t want to discourage people from using social 28

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“The scammer usually does not say the child’s name,” said Jones, “but the victim might say the name in the conversation and then once they have the name they just run with it.” Jones also said scammers will often identify themselves as a law enforcement officer and inform the victim that a relative has been arrested or that they or a family member has missed a court appearance. The scammers then request money immediately to get the person out of jail or prevent them from being arrested. “No law enforcement agency operates this way,” said Jones. “Always ask for a callback number, and if they don’t give you one, then hang up the phone and immediately call your local law enforcement department.” Jones also advises people not to arrange a meeting with someone you do not know to buy or sell items. “There is safety in numbers, and you should never meet anyone that you do not personally have a relationship with, either friend or casual,” said Jones. “It is just not safe, and you should never carry a large amount of cash.” Jones encourages people to arrange meetings—to buy and sell items—in locations such as a busy parking lot or another place where there are a lot of people and security. “You pick the place, and if they are evasive about the meeting place you have selected then that is a red flag,” said Jones. “They may give you a reason why they can’t meet you in the spot you selected, but the reality is if they really want to sell that item then they will meet where you want.” If you suspect that you have been a victim of a scam, you are encouraged to call the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office at 229-245-5270 (non-emergency phone number) and report the incident.



are a vital part of the Lowndes County community. You live here, work or have retired here, perhaps raised your family here. This is your home. So you care deeply about your community just as we—the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia—care deeply about your community… because it’s our community too. We are your local cancer organization. Everything we do is for you and 100 percent of our funds stay and are used right here in your community.

We are local people fighting a disease that likely has affected your family and your friends—maybe you are a survivor yourself—because Lowndes County has much higher cancer rates than other areas of Georgia. In fact, it’s the sixth highest county in the state for rates of all cancers combined. That represents number 6 out of 159 counties and in this case, we do not want to be near the top. That means approximately 500 residents are told, “I’m sorry, it’s cancer” every single year. Sadly, men and women living in Valdosta and surrounding communities also die from cancer more often than state averages. During 2005-2010, nearly 800 of our families, friends and neighbors had a loved one die from cancer. So it is not your imagination that there is cancer all around us—because it is and it is frightening. Now here is the good news: The Cancer Coalition of South Georgia has been working right here fighting cancer since 2002. We know what needs to be done and we do it well.

their concerns and help them through their journey. The Cancer Coalition’s high-quality services, education, research and outreach have been recognized statewide and nationally. We know what to do and it works. We are your LOCAL cancer organization and we are changing the face of cancer here—but we cannot do it alone. This is your opportunity to create your legacy—a powerful living legacy that will live on. Your investment in the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia is the best investment you can make, because it comes right back to benefit you, your family, and the entire community! Different from national cancer organizations, every penny donated to the South Georgia Cancer Coalition stays right here. Visit our website to see all that we do for South Georgia. We are creating a future where South Georgia is not known for suffering from cancer but for conquering it. And it is your chance to be part of this. We invite you to create your personal legacy by contributing to support our work, perhaps in honor or memory of someone you love. Maybe you’d like to volunteer with us as well. There is an urgency: Fighting Cancer … Right Here. Right Now. Please join us and create a new “now” and a different future. With heartfelt gratitude, we thank you. Diane Fletcher, CEO, at or 229-869-7084, or visit online at

Our staff educates individuals so they can make informed decisions about their health and, in collaboration with local medical providers, we provide health nav“Support your LOCAL cancer organization!” igation and screenings to prevent cancer or help find it early. We help conduct research so that members of this community are represented in important studies. We work to find and address the reasons for our high cancer rates, so your children and grandchildren are less likely to get cancer. We work with young people so they don’t start smoking, and with all ages to help everyone quit. We help families eat healthier, become more physically active, and pass those healthy habits to the next generations. We work with cancer survivors to better understand Connection 2016


Senior Citizens Center Offers a Variety of Activities


taying active in retirement is not difficult for Mary Townsend. She can be found Monday through Friday at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA) Senior Citizens Center, located 1360 East Park Ave., Valdosta. “I get up every morning and get dressed and come down here,” said Townsend, who volunteers and an average of 20 hours per week. Townsend answers phones, gives tours, and provides general assistance to the center’s staff. “The center is a better place because of our volunteers,” said Kelly Hritz, VLPRA Senior Citizens Center supervisor. “They bring a lot of energy to the center and help out with so many programs. They do everything from setting up tables, taking out the trash, decorating, answering the phones, giving tours, and cooking for the events.” When Townsend is not volunteering, she is traveling with the Happy Travelers Club that meets regularly at the center. With more than 100 active travelers— some have been members for more than 20 years— the group attends musical events, take European cruises, and visits national state parks and historic destinations. The members go on


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s m a r g o r nd P


self-funded trips to places like Germany and Ireland as well as Tennessee and Missouri. Senior Center members who are not part of the travelers club can also go on trips scheduled by the center. The group visited Millionaire’s Village and recently took a trolley tour at Jekyll Island.

There is plenty to keep seniors busy in town as well. The center features a large multipurpose room and kitchen, exercise room with cardio and weight training equipment, a library, a walking track, billiard room, and indoor heated pool. Open to individuals 50 years and older, the annual membership cost is $30 for Valdosta and Lowndes County residents and $40 for out-of-county residents. The use of the indoor pool is an additional $30 per year. Classes and programs range from health and fitness, line dancing, board and card games, education courses, and crafts and hobbies.

Each month the center sponsors a dance with live music that is open to members and non-members at a cost of $5 per person and a covered dish. According to Hritz, when she started at the Senior Citizens Center in 2004, membership averaged 500 and today there are more than 1,200 paid members, with an average of 2,000 visits per month.

together. We keep the calendar full.” Hritz said the best part of her job is the daily interaction with the members. “Seniors make me laugh, daily,” she said. “Every job has its ups and downs but when you can laugh it makes it easier to cope with the hard days. I find this population fun, kind, smart, active, and hilarious at times. That is what keeps me coming back. I am never bored. So maybe my favorite part is just the people themselves.”

“Membership has increased because the seniors let everyone know what is going on,” Hritz said, “also we have an updated website with a lot of information, and we partner with different organizations throughout the year that help get the information about the VLPRA Executive Director George Page believes the center out into the community.” Senior Center is a vital part of both the community and the Authority. Temetrece Brown serves as the center’s programmer and assistant and coordinates activities throughout “Kelly, Temetrece, our part-time staff and our volunteers provide wonderful programs that help seniors the week. lead fulfilling, active lives,” Page said. “Many of our “Temetrece has been wonderful in making our seniors will tell you that the real fun starts after reexercise program grow over the last four years,” said tirement!” Hritz. “The seniors love her upbeat routines, and she changes it up, so they don’t get bored. She helps me Visit the VLPRA Senior Citizens Center website at or call with my day-to-day programming and all events. I 229-259-5469 for more information. could not do as much as we do if I didn’t have her at my side. It really is hard to say everything we do Connection 2016



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We promote an enjoyable and successful crafting experience!

WE’RE HERE TO SERVE YOU • Fabrics • Kits • Notions • Books Ginger Valenti

• Patterns • Sewing Classes • Quilting Classes 357 Northside Dr. Valdosta, GA 31602 229.232.4531

Georgia Power offers several customer service programs beneficial to seniors such as the low-income senior citizen discount rate and budget billing. If you’d like more information about one of these or other services available, please contact your local Georgia Power office or call our Customer Care Center at 888-660-5890. One of our representatives will be happy to assist you in identifying the program that works best for your needs. At Georgia Power, our goal is to help you live better everyday…for less. ©2015 Georgia Power Company. All rights reserved.

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Move-in Day: Making the Transition According to, 34 million Americans are personally providing care for an older family member. “With our aging society, more and more adult children are opting to bring their parents to live with them in their home,” said Jack Hartley, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Valdosta. “This arrangement can work very well; however, it can also be stressful for everyone involved.” Hartley suggests that whether it is a short-term solution or a long-term plan, there are several steps to consider before making the decision to incorporate a multigenerational household:

• • • • • • • • • • 36

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Discuss everything in advance. You and your parent have been living independently in your own homes. You need to discuss your routines and expectations. Talk about all the issues you can think of before moving in, create an atmosphere of mutual respect, and try to come to compromises that will work for everyone in the family. Clearly establish the ‘house rules’ as tactfully as possible, and agree on each person’s responsibilities and limits within the home. Each family has its own identity, and the addition of parents to the formula can often disrupt family harmony for awhile, even when it is handled with great care and sensitivity. Consider the children, if they are still at home. Having grandparents move in can be a difficult adjustment for children and teens. The children and teens need to be considerate of their grandparents, while at the same time, grandparents need to step back and let the parents discipline their children when necessary. Make sure everyone has some privacy. This may include adding a separate bedroom or bathroom or rearranging the living space. Decide what goes where and remember that you and your parents have been surrounded by your own furniture and possessions for many years; however, your house may not be large enough for two sets of furniture. Determine if some items can be sold or placed in storage. Determine a budget. Decide if parents will be contributing some of their retirement money to cover household expenses. Never make assumptions, especially when it comes to finances. Discuss all finances in advance. Let your parents/grandparents help around the house if they want to and are physically able to contribute. We all get a sense of our self-worth with our ‘usefulness’ and it can be difficult emotionally if most or all of the daily routines have been taken over by someone else. Encourage everyone to maintain their independence and to stay active; this will benefit both the physical and emotional health of everyone. Be patient, it can take some time for the rhythms of a household to change and become normal again.

For more information, contact Jack Hartley at Home Instead Senior Care at 229-245-0123.

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