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February/March 2009 Winter scene photo by Becky Hart

COMPLIMENTARY!

TAKE ONE!

Vol 25 No 3

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Evaro’s Andy Hayes Jumps into Retirement

Jumping thousands of feet into a burning forest and then fighting a raging fire for days on end seems extraordinary to most people, but to Andy Hayes, it was his job for more than 30 years. In the photos above , Andy descends toward the landing zone on a practice jump in 2008 and is shown in jump gear beneath hanging parachutes at the Missoula Smokejumper base.

Article & Photos by Craig & Liz Larcom Smokejumper Andy Hayes didn’t retire because he was running out of steam. He just wanted a summer vacation and more freedom to ski. So the Evaro man hung up his jumpsuit and helmet for the last time August 2, 2008, finishing 30 years of smoke jumping. Andy mapped out his last season of smoke jumping as carefully as he would plan an attack as the Incident Commander of a forest fire. He wanted to get out of the office and make more smoke jumps. In the last few years he had become Operations Manager at the Missoula Smokejumper Base, cutting down the number of jumps he could make. “I wanted to just go back and be the smokejumper that I loved,” he says. So he convinced his boss to backfill his office position. Andy also wanted to jump in his home state, so he set his retirement a month after the Montana fire season typically starts. His last goal was to know at the time that he was making his last fire jump. For Andy, the 2008 fire season kicked off with an assignment on the ground at Ruidoso, New Mexico where dry conditions made a fire likely. “We got a call for a fire right up by Albuquerque. It went really big one day and burned down, I think, 97 structures. They called us and we came up to manage that whole fire. It was like 20,000 acres,” he says. “We managed that fire for about 24-36 hours while they got a team in there to take it over. And when we did that, we drove into one section where there had been quite a few houses destroyed. “We decided to make a stand there and save this guy’s retreat which was a beautiful place. There were a bunch of bunkhouses and a real nice lodge and people came there for summer camp.” Andy’s 20-person team told the caretakers they could stop the fire there, and sent them out. “The fire just blew up about three o’clock in the morning. But we had put up a line of defense and so the fire came at that and stopped, and came around on both sides. It was crowning out and making huge noises like fires do, but people that aren’t around fires don’t realize it.” The owners watched the fire from a distance. “So at six in the morning when they drove back in, they thought for sure that the whole retreat was gone. But we’d saved everything,” Andy says. Being greeted like heroes was fun. “It was a rewarding experience because the majority of time when we do this, it’s out in the woods and no one’s around and no one cares or knows. There’s no one to thank you,” Andy adds. Stints that took him far south and then north followed, so that he hiked across the Mexican and (Continued on page 48)


PAGE 2 MONTANA SENIOR NEWS

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Hearing, and the Solution for the Rock Generation People often associate hearing loss with the aging process, prolonged exposure to loud noise is a far more common cause of the condition. In America, around one in six Baby Boomers have hearing loss. There are actually more people aged 45 to 64 with hearing loss than those over 65… and the reality is that more people are losing their hearing earlier in life. Baby boomers are likely candidates for noise-induced hearing loss, particularly the kind that results from continuous loud noise over an extended period of time (like a 115-decibel rock concert). Factory noise, home power tools, lawn mowers, or the roar of construction sites are also to blame. “They’re the first of that rock ’n’ roll and DoIt-Yourself generation,” said Shawn Parker from HEARINGLife, “the first to really grow up with loud music, personal stereo systems and ready access to power tools.” The realization that hearing is no longer sharp can provoke feelings of anxiety about age. Ironically, many people worry that wearing hearing aids will lead them to being perceived as old. However, the symptoms of hearing loss – mishearing people, frustration, feelings of isolation and withdrawing from difficult situations – are more likely to promote the perceptions of others that someone is ‘old’. This reluctance has motivated hearing aid manufacturers to develop devices to attract age-phobic, style-conscious Boomers. For example, Sonic Innovations has just released the virtually invisible ion400. “Whenever I’ve referred to my hearing aids, people say to me, ‘Oh, are you actually wearing hearing aids?’”, explains Owen Jacobsen.

Powerful and providing a sound quality previously unheard, it is also fully-automatic. The ion400 instantly adjusts to changing hearing environments to provide the best possible hearing outcome. So wearers can be reading at home, then head off to a busy shopping center, watch a movie and answer their telephone during the course of a day, without ever having to think about, or adjust, their hearing aids. Darryl Cockburn is amazed by the changes his hearing aid has made to his life and how others have reacted to his improved hearing – he only wishes he had done something sooner. “The other day I was at a birthday party for one of my grandkids and I could hear everything she was saying – both good and bad”, he remarks with a chuckle. “She was saying – Pop, you have new ears … and I guess I really do in that situation”.

HEARINGLife clinics are offering FREE road tests and home trials of the ion400 hearing aid at all of their clinics. For your nearest clinic see below. Kelly Marrinan received her Doctor of Audiology degree from the Arizona School of Health and Science. All forms of health insurance are accepted including: Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Worker’s Compensation, Sterling, TriWest, Veteran’s Affairs, Lehrerleut Huetterite Benefit Plan, Lion’s Club, United, and many more.

If you can relate to more than a couple of these symptoms, it is likely that you suffer from hearing loss. You strain to follow conversations in noisy environments, such as meetings, parties and restaurants Often ask people to repeat what they’ve said You mishear words and sentences Telephone conversations have become more difficult for you You watch peoples’ lips when they talk Small children – who have higher voices – are particularly hard to understand You often feel that people are mumbling, rather than speaking clearly

Research has revealed the costs of hearing loss are significant – hearing loss has been linked to short-term memory loss, fatigue, anxiety, depression, even lower income – on average, up to $11,000 a year less than for their peers who use hearing aids.

Others complain that you have the TV and radio turned up too loud Some sufferers experience a persistent ‘ringing in the ears’, known as tinnitus What hearing aid? The ion400 is virtually invisible

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Sheet Music Information

Where Are You Sally?

In response to the man looking for sheet music to “Won’t You Ride In My Little Red Wagon.” He should GOOGLE it. I am sure, if he does not have a computer, he could go to the library and have them help with his search. I wish him luck. F. McLaughlin Billings

I am trying to locate Sally Jane Maher-Battey. Sally and I graduated from Coffeyville, Kansas high school in 1944. She would be about 82 years of age. She was in Coffeyville only for our senior year and was said to have been a native of Great Falls. She married Arthur Battey, who died in 1976. We understand that she took her maiden name, Maher, at his death. We are considering a class reunion in the fall of this year and trying to locate Sally to tell her of it. The last address we have for her is in Great Falls. A recent letter attempt came back “Unable to Forward.” If you have any information on Sally, please contact me at the following address. Thank you for your help. Clifton Kelley 3257 Walnut Circle Flemington, MO 65650-9555 MSN

In your Dec 2008/Jan 2009 issue on Page 3, you published a letter from Richard Reynolds of Glendive who was looking for information about a song “Won’t You Ride In My Little Red Wagon.” Almost all song lyrics can be found free on the Internet at www.lyrics.com. This website would help many people solve their music questions. Wanda Clark Billings

Intensive Care In a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed, on Sunday morning, at about 11 am, regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the supernatural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred at the same time - 11am on a Sunday - so a worldwide team of experts assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents.

The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 am, all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward hoping to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday janitor, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner. MSN

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Montana Senior News A Barrett-Whitman Publication

P.O. Box 3363 • Great Falls, MT 59403-3363 406-761-0305 or 800-672-8477 FAX 406-761-8358 www.montanaseniornews.com email: montsrnews@bresnan.net The Montana Senior News is published six times each year in February, April, June, August, October and December by Barrett-Whitman Co., 415 3rd Avenue North, Great Falls, MT 59401 and is distributed free to readers throughout the state of Montana. The mail subscription rate is $8.00 per year (6 issues). The Montana Senior News is written to serve the reading interests of mature Montanans of all ages. Readers are encouraged to contribute interesting material. Views expressed in opinion stories, contributions, articles and letters are not necessarily the views of the publisher. The appearance of advertisements for products or services does not constitute an endorsement of the particular product or service. The publisher will not be responsible for mistakes in advertisements unless notified within five days of publication. All copy appearing in the Montana Senior News is protected by copyright and may be reprinted only with the written permission of the publisher. Advertising copy should be received or space reserved by the 5th of the month preceding the month of publication.

In the depths of winter with its snow and ice covered streets, bone chilling winds, and short days, it is easy to let our minds wander to warmer times and places. And where better to wander than to the beach and instant images of carefree summer days of sun, sand, water, and endless fun. Our winning Remember When contributor is Lucille Lewis of Helena whose story of Summer Trips To Coney Island reminds us that summer is not far away. Thank you and congratulations to Lucille, the winner of our $10 Remember When prize. Remember When contains our readers’ personal reflections, contributions describing fictional

or non-fictional accounts from the “Good ol’ Days,” or reflections on life in general. Contributions may be stories, letters, artwork, poetry, etc. Photos may be included. Each issue of the Montana Senior News features the contributions deemed best by our staff. The contributor of the winning entry receives a $10 cash prize. We look forward to receiving your contributions for our April/May 2009 issue. Mail your correspondence to Montana Senior News, P.O. Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403; email to montsrnews@ bresnan.net; or call 1-800-672-8477 or 406-7610305.

Summer Trips To Coney Island

By Lucille Lewis, Helena Despite the years, my childhood memories are numerous and vivid. The pictures flash onto my inner eye and I see an apartment house in Brooklyn, New York. A railroad apartment was our home during our early years with Mom, brother Hank, Janet Jack W. Love, Jr., Publisher/Editor and me – no Dad, but that’s another story. Colleen Paduano Production Supervisor My mind’s eye then jumps to an open-air trolley Advertising Sales on Gravesend Ave, and I see Hank, Janet, and me Kathleen McGregor Advertising Sales boarding it for the ride to Coney Island, Brooklyn’s Angie Erskine Advertising Sales summer playground. That is the last stop to the Becky Hart Graphic Artist beach. Guess what the fare is? Five cents! Peter Thornburg Distribution It’s still morning and just a few people have Sherrie Smith Admin/Production Assistant arrived. We pick a spot close to the water, spread a blanket on the sand, and squat on it, happy to Contributing Writers be there. Hank’s remark is, “Gee we made it and Bob Campbell Connie Daugherty we have the biggest parking spot.” He is the oldest George Engler Clare Hafferman and in charge and whatever he says is the law. Sue Hart Kim Thielman-Ibes Gail Jokerst Bernice Karnop I remember the sound of the waves breaking Craig Larcom Liz Larcom on the shore was music to my ears. Sometimes Michael McGough when the wind picked up, the waves would form © 2009 way back and swell into a gigantic wall of water. We waited until the water calmed down and then plunged in. We had canvas water wings and •Nearly Invisible they held us up pretty well. Every once in a •Most Natural Sound while we had to blow up

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the wings because they had deflated some. After we got tired of swimming in the salty water, we settled on the blanket and dried off in the sun. “Aren’t we lucky to have a wonderful swimming pool right at our feet?” I used to say. The others were quick to agree. The beach gradually filled up with humanity and in no time we were surrounded by other beach lovers. The vendors carried large containers strapped to their shoulders and called in loud voices “Ice cream cones! Candy! Come and get it!” Soon, he had to return to his station for a refill. I guessed that’s how he made his living. Our skin turned tan from the sun and salt water. I don’t think we used any sunscreen in those days unless it was something homemade. The sun provided us with all the vitamin D we needed. We sometimes coaxed Mama to come with us. On Tuesday and Friday nights, the most beautiful fireworks exploded in the darkened sky. “Wow! Ooh!” came from the watching crowd. We made Mamma happy on those nights. On beach days, we didn’t look forward to the trolley ride home. We couldn’t afford locker rooms with showers to wash off the sand and salt water, so we rode home in dry, sandy swim suits. “Grin and bear it,” said Hank.” All the way home we squirmed and itched. But even with this discomfort, we were always ready for the next trip to Coney Island. MSN

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To My Valentine shoulder, your sleeve might brush my hair. Mess my hair and I declare you haven’t got a prayer!

my knees, don’t give the thought a whirl that I might let you rub my feet, I’m not that kind of girl!

Don’t run your fingers down my arms, I find it most annoying, and don’t caress my nape of neck; it’s positive cloying!

Other assorted body parts, the ones that I keep hidden, touching them, take my word, is definitely forbidden! But…

Don’t pat my cheek or smooth my face; you might smudge my make-up. My lipstick will most surely smear and my mascara, flake-up.

Don’t rub my back, this way or that, it makes my skin all pricklish. For someone else, it may be fine, but not for me; I’m ticklish.

Your intention’s clear, believe me, dear, I’d like that very much. All you have to do is find a place you’re allowed to touch. MSN

Don’t put your arm upon my

Don’t touch my legs, don’t pat

By Pearl Hoffman, Los Angeles, California You asked if you may sooth me with your soft gentle touch. You’re such a dear and darling man, I’d like that very much. But…

Let Me Introduce My Mother…. My mother was my guide, motivator, and best friend. She gave me her undivided attention – someone to talk to when I had a problem and a hand to hold when I was afraid. She sewed pretty clothes for me, somehow found the money to give me classes in dance, “elocution”, piano and violin, and she wanted me to have the opportunities that she never had. Since I was a child of the depression era, just how she managed to be able to do all this is still of amazement to me. So much of what I am today is a result of what my mother was, yesterday, although I cannot match her courage, her strength, her ability to accept what she could not change and to keep silent when it would do no good to argue. I cannot recall ever seeing her cry, but I am sure she did in private and behind closed doors. I never heard her rail in anger, nor did she ever speak of her problems, which were many. She gave me advice, but when I chose to go the other

way and incurred the penalty for my mistakes, she never countered, “I told you so.” In all, she was a tough act to follow. My husband, Arny, and I recently celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary, and, in great part, my mother was responsible for the longevity of our marriage. Although she never voiced her disappointment when I started seriously dating Arny, she embraced the hope that I would get involved in the arts in general and life in par-

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ticular before I settled down to be wife and mother. But as soon as Arny and I were married, all that changed. I always felt that she would have traded me for him in a flash. She thought he was smarter than I, and she took delight in preparing gourmet delicacies, just for his singular enjoyment. The first years of our marriage were neither smooth nor easy, but I wouldn’t entertain even the faintest notion of moving home to mother. I suspected that when I got there, I would find Arny

sitting at her kitchen table, enjoying some select edible that my mother had prepared, just for his pleasure, while she stood with her hand on his shoulder, lavishing her sympathy and deepest apologies for my bad behavior. Although she has been gone from this world many years, she is still with me. In my happy times or my darkest moments, she walks with me and she talks with me and she tells me I am her own………… MSN

Respecting religious freedoms frees us from religious wars By Bob Campbell If we ever discover intelligent life in the universe, it will be difficult to explain why nations invest so much money preparing and going to war when their needs at home are so obvious to all. Do we really need military bases in one hundred thirty countries to feel secure in our homes? Montana alone has enough nuclear missiles to deter any nation. But today, the threat is from individual extremists who are willing to die for the intolerance taught by their religious beliefs. We will not defeat them through violence or by adopting their extremism. It is through our moral behavior that we demonstrate to the world our system of religious tolerance and protection of individual rights. In 1948, the small nation of Costa Rica decided it was better to invest in free public education and lifetime medical treatment for all its citizens than to maintain a standing military. In 1987, its president received the Noble Peace Prize for bringing a peaceful resolution to violence in the area. Costa Rica is smaller than West Virginia and has ten times the population, close to five million people. Its economy is supported by exporting microprocessors, bananas, and coffee to the

United States. Each year it welcomes visitors to see its rainforests, volcanoes, beautiful beaches, and its colorful culture supported by its stable government. One of my visits to Costa Rica was when the U.S. was funding the war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. I asked my Costa Rican friends what they did about the communists living in their country. They said that they simply put them on the ballot as one of the 22 parties competing for power in every election. I was told that it provided interesting street theater and in each election, the communists received less than one percent of the vote. One area where we can be justifiably proud is our clear and well-litigated First Amendment protection neither establishing nor prohibiting the free exercise of religion. When George Washington became our first president, he was approached by those who argued that it was a perfect time to establish Christianity as the national religion. Washington told them that he had not commanded the Continental Army and fought for freedom to end up imposing a religion on this new nation of free people. That settled the matter and the idea has never been seriously considered again. MSN

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MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 7

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PAGE 8 MONTANA SENIOR NEWS

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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 9


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By Connie Daugherty Her Last Death: a Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg; Scribner, 2008 Susanna got the call from her aunt before breakfast that morning - her mother had been in a car accident; she was in a coma, near death. “I’m afraid my mother will die, I’m afraid she won’t,” Susanna Sonnenberg writes in the opening lines of, Her Last Death. “In a house in Montana thousands of miles from my mother I am thirty-seven, leading an unremarkable life. My mother lives in Barbados… we don’t speak.” But now her mother might be dying. Maybe. “[I] call my sister. What she knows will be different from our aunt’s story. This is how we move forward in my family, calling one another… one woman gets a call, puts down the phone, picks it up again… hears another version. We… patch together pieces until a certain sense emerges.” But Penelope’s story is identical to their aunt’s. Susanna’s sister is distraught. Susanna is still simply confused, frustrated. She ought to rush about making plans to leave immediately. But she cannot make herself move. Finally she goes through the motions - checks the internet, calls a travel agent, but without any sense of urgency. She knows what she should be doing - what her friends would do in the same circumstances; but for her it is different. She is different. Her mother is not like other mothers. In the end, she decides not to go, and feels relieved in the decision. Her Last Death is her mother’s memoir nearly as much as it is Susanna’s. Written in a storied chronological order, following the first chapter, it seems at first almost like a personal justification of her decision not to go to Barbados. However, it is so much more - a personal understanding, acceptance, and finally self-determination. It is

also a study in contrasts between the exciting and the mundane, the truth and the deception. This is the sort of book that you read then sit back and absorb - the full depth of it comes to you in pieces, like a memory. Skillfully crafted and intriguingly presented, Her Last Death tells of a world of chaos, cocaine, and crises - one after the other - and of deception, always the deception. It is a world of poverty and wealth, of adventure, travel, and celebrities. “I turned twelve in Venice. My grandmother Patsy took us to the Hotel Regina… Hubert de Givenchy was staying there too.” A few days later Susanna and her mother went out alone. They went to a café on the Piazza San Marco; Givenchy was there. “‘You will always remember this,’” Susanna’s mother told her. “‘Venice, the piazza, getting drunk with me for your first time.’” Susanna’s mother was always eager to share with her oldest daughter. Adventures, secrets, and responsibilities. “I was a sleepover expert…. At home I guided my sister from toothbrush to hairbrush, tugged her tights on, scheduled our dental checkups, thawed peas, scrambled eggs. I’d been doing these things since I was eight… at any of my friends’ houses I didn’t do anything but wash my hands before dinner.” It was that sense of contradiction that defined Susanna’s relationship with her mother - the longing for the normalcy she knew existed yet the sense of being in some sort of magical circle when she was with her mother. The magic was wonderful and awful, frightening, and exhilarating. The magic was love and it was impossible to separate the two. Susanna grew up in a world of women. Men just passed through, visited, supplied money, drugs, and sex and then moved on. “Then Christopher walked into a reading.” Christopher, an emerging writer like Susanna, was fun and funny, intelligent, and interesting. Christopher seemed to like her as much as she liked him, enjoyed her company, but did not want to have sex that first night. “It took two weeks, a term I had never, ever waited.” Christopher was from Utah, earnest and deliberate, and slow in the way of the west and he did not lie. “It was essential to who he was and the shocking draw to me, even before I knew it.” Christopher wanted to leave New York and move to Montana where he could write and fly fish. “I’d gone to a bookstore on Broadway to look up Missoula, Montana…. My mother saw it mentioned in an airplane magazine.” It was far away from everything familiar but it was where Christopher wanted to be. He wanted her in Montana too, but not in the same apartment, at least not right away. Hurt and frustrated Susanna wondered what she was doing leaving behind family and career for an uncertain future. “I’d been driving for days… and here I was, the Montana important to Christopher. The gleam deep in him was enough for me…. I loved the feeling of being told the truth, its simple direction. I was trying to make the best of it… blown fields and consuming sky. This will be the new way, I thought, rough, and open, and I will be that way too.” Susanna Sonnenberg still lives and writes in Montana. Her essays have appeared in Elle, Parenting, and O, The Oprah Magazine among other publications. MSN


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MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 11

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Waging World Peace Through Singing: The International Choral Festival By Gail Jokerst to hear all these choirs sing. It’s an opportunity Unless you are touring the United Nations or to bring people from different nations together in watching the Olympics, it is unlikely you will ever one place to make connections with each other. have the opportunity to see Gambians, Mexicans, We feel like we’re offering a chance for cultural Americans, Venezuelans, and Croatians at the understanding through understanding the world. same gathering. But once every three years for We call it citizen diplomacy,” says Carol. “It’s our a few days in July, this very thing most happily chance to wage world peace though music, one occurs in the city of Missoula. Not only do people person at a time.” from some 20 counICF traces its genesis tries temporarily take up back to the 1980s when residence in the Garden the Missoula MendelsCity, so do an additionsohn Club performed in al 30,000 visitors from Europe, where the memacross and outside of bers stayed with host the United States. The families. This community cause can be explained men’s chorus felt so inin three words familiar spired by their lodging to music aficionados evand singing experiences erywhere - International they wanted to hold a Choral Festival (ICF). similar musical conclave O v e r 1 5 0 o f t h e [Photo by James Jokerst] in their hometown. By world’s best choral groups vie for the honor of per- inviting choristers they met in France to come to forming at this premiere event. No one is paid for Montana and finding host families to quarter them, singing. No one receives any competitive awards. the groundwork was laid for the first festival in Yet, singers, some younger than 10 and some 1987. Singers from six countries and three states older than 70, line up for the chance to come to arrived along with a larger audience than anyone Missoula and share their talents with music lovers expected. Between them, they transformed Misfrom around the globe. soula into a citywide concert hall. According to Carol Stovall, ICF’s Executive To date, this beloved event has hosted 91 Director, there are good reasons the festival is so choirs representing 40 countries. It has even lured popular with world-class choral groups and the singers with little financial means, who must raise listening public. “This isn’t just a high-quality music festival with professional standards, as good as that is. It is so much more. It’s like a trip around the world

[Photo by International Choral Festival] - along with all the international performers - some $2,000 for airfare. Occasionally, choral groups also face challenging hurdles to obtain temporary visas. “Once or twice, anonymous donors have helped pay for airfares,” says Carol. “And oftentimes we assist with handling visa problems. The choristers always seem amazed at how hard we work to get them here. What better way is there to promote peace than through music? It’s the universal language.” Starting on Wednesday, July 15, 2009, the eighth ICF opens with preview concerts at Caras and Bonner Parks as well as Southgate Mall.


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

These free performances give listeners a chance to hear various classical and folk songs even Broadway show tunes that will be sung during the next three days. “If you’ve never attended the festival, go to as many preview events as possible and hear as many different choirs as you can,” advises Carol. “It whets your appetite by giving you a feel for the personalities of the choirs. You hear a sampling of their work and some traditional pieces of music from their country and see their native costumes.” On Thursday and Friday, morning and evening concerts are held at theatres, churches, school auditoriums, and other venues. The conductors introduce every piece in the context of their nation’s customs, which helps educate the audience. One ten-dollar festival button admits listeners to Thursday and Friday’s events where three choral groups perform per concert. For Saturday’s all-chorus finale, admission is free. This year, it will be held outdoors at the University of Montana, where each group will sing one piece of its choosing before the choirs sing together “Auld Lang Syne.” And while no concerts are planned for Sunday, it is not unusual for choirs to appear at local church services where they sing before heading home. One of the many things Carol loves about the ICF is the variety of audience members who at-

[Photo by International Choral Festival] tend. “It looks more like a basketball crowd than a typical symphony crowd. People wear baseball caps, T-shirts, and shorts,” remarks Carol. “You see all ages, too, from children to 90-year-olds who come to hear music that appeals to pretty much anybody.” Another thing Carol appreciates is the decision made by the festival’s founders to keep the event non-competitive. It set an easy-going tone early on that the singers have welcomed. “There’s no need for judging. If these groups weren’t high-level they wouldn’t be here,” observes Carol. “Since people are relaxed, they exchange music and email addresses and make friends with singers from other countries.” A relaxed attitude helps not only the performers but also the people responsible for putting on this event. Since Carol, ICF’s executive board, and the festival’s numerous committees have to raise a budget of $250,000, find 300 volunteers to help with staffing, and identify 150 to 200 host families, maintaining calm benefits everyone. Fortunately, Missoula’s citizenry and businesses have always risen to the occasion by opening their hearts, homes, and wallets. “This really is a community effort. No one could do this by themselves,” remarks Carol. “Because so many are involved, all have a sense of ownership and feel like it’s their festival. It feels good to touch people’s lives in some way.” Last festival alone, Missoula businesses donated some $50,000 in cash plus an additional

$50,000 worth of goods and services to help fund the event. “We’ve learned Montanans are generous and will come forward. It happens every festival. They are so welcoming. We hear over and over again how people fell in love with our state and its

[Photo by International Choral Festival] people,” says Carol, who is grateful for all those who house, feed, and chauffeur singers during the five-day event. “Parents wanting to expose their sons and daughters to kids their age from other cultures are especially open to the idea. They find out we’re not much different from one another after all. Often, host families are invited to their guests’ countries. I know Missoulians who have traveled to Germany, Austria, Sweden, and Wales. And I know of singers who have returned to visit their host families.” As Carol has discovered, not only choristers come back. So do members of the audience. “People make it a point to return to the festival after they’ve attended once. They come from all over - Texas, New York, Minnesota - and when we pass the hat at outdoor venues, we see checks from around the country. We also get letters and emails afterwards, and not necessarily from the musicians themselves,” says Carol. “There’s something about this festival that touches people’s souls. I feel like we are bringing the world closer - singing the world closer - in our own way. It’s an amazing story that I hope will keep repeating.” For more information about donations, volunteering, or performances visit www.choralfestival. org, e-mail info@choralfestival.org, or call 406721-7985. Festival buttons can be purchased in advance by mail or at various Missoula locations between June 15 and July 14. At the Thursday and Friday concerts, you can buy a button at the door for $15. Children 12 and under attend free. MSN

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Where Are They Now - Virginia Davis?

Everybody knows that Walt Disney’s first star was Mickey Mouse. Right? Wrong! Wrong? Actually, Disney’s first star was Virginia Davis. “Who?” you may ask. Well, Virginia Davis, of course! Who is alive and as animated as ever, living in California. Walt Disney once said, “It all started with a mouse.” But, Walt Disney Studios started five years earlier in 1923 with a four-year-old girl named, Virginia Davis, who was born on December 31, 1918 in Kansas City, Missouri. At age two, Virginia began taking dance and acting lessons. Two years later, when Walt Disney was struggling financially with his first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram Films in Kansas City, he noticed a photo of Virginia in a newspaper advertisement. Later, when Walt began production on a series of 5- to 10-minute comedies – Alice in Cartoonland – he remembered the little girl with the ringlets from the ad and contacted her mother. The rest is animation history. The first comedy that was produced, Alice’s Wonderland, was completed in 1923. The Alice comedies were unique as they incorporated animated backdrops (flowers, rain, trees, houses, etc.) with live action, Alice herself. The

series proved extremely popular – 53 films in all, and the first 13 with Virginia. Laugh-O-Gram’s success led Walt Disney to move to California where he began work on Mickey Mouse in 1928 – becoming the greatest animation studio of all time. After Alice, Virginia remained in the entertainment industry. First, she performed in vaudeville theatres and then was a bit player in a few films of the 1930s and became a background chorus girl in a few films of the 1940s for MGM, RKO, and Paramount Pictures. After show business, Virginia went back to school and earned a degree at the New York City School of Interior Design becoming an editor of a homemaking magazine. Later, she had a successful career as a real estate agent – first in Connecticut and then in California. No matter what all of her accomplishments may be, Virginia will always be known as Disney’s first creation. Virginia continues to make appearances at Walt Disney conventions. How does she feel about her place in animation history? Virginia says, “To be part of his majesty Walt Disney and animation history is just heartwarming for me and I really feel privileged to have been a part of it. It makes me think that perhaps I did accomplish something that was indeed part of Walt Disney history.” Pun intended and true, Virginia Davis is one of the most animated 89-year-olds you’ll ever meet! Alice still lives here – in the heart and history of Disney fans! MSN


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Super Bowl XLIII! By W.E. Reinka When I saw Super Bowl XLIII scheduled for February 1, I thought that I must be misremembering Garfield School’s fourth grade lessons on Roman Numerals. Surely this couldn’t be Super Bowl 43. I concede that the first Super Bowl doesn’t seem like it took place “only yesterday,” but was it really forty years ago? Turns out it was. When the first Super Bowl was played in January 1967, it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl, but the AFL – NFL World Championship Game. Everyone knew that Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers would trounce Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs and they did, 35-10. That first game didn’t generate anywhere near the excitement we now associate with what has evolved into America’s biggest unofficial holiday. The 61,946 fans who attended the game in the mammoth LA Coliseum fell far short of a sellout. Half-time entertainment fell to a couple of college marching bands, hardly the draw that The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney provided the last two years. On the other hand, the marching bands provided no risk of Janet Jackson’s 2004 so-called “wardrobe malfunction.” Two separate TV networks carried the first game because the National Football League and American Football League had separate TV contracts. Despite the double coverage, no tape of the first Super Bowl survives. Over the years, the Super Bowl has evolved into America’s biggest unofficial holiday. Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in food consumption and number one in snack consumption (no one actually sits down to dinner on Super Bowl Sunday). Americans dip 14,000 tons of potato chips and 4,000 tons of tortilla chips into guacamole made from 50 million pounds of avocados. Spread end zone to end zone, that guacamole would be almost 12 feet deep. According to a survey conducted by Careerbuilder.com, more than onethird of American office workers have kicked into a Super Bowl betting pool. Is that all? Try to find an office that doesn’t have a pool. Although everyone knew that the Packers would beat the Chiefs in that first game, the game remained a landmark in sports history since it confirmed that the NFL could no longer ignore the AFL, as it had tried to beginning with the AFL’s formation in 1960. Early AFL games were typically high scoring affairs, underscoring the notion among NFL fans that the AFL was a haven for washed-up old-timers or second-rate college players who couldn’t make it in the NFL. While there was some truth in that notion, such stars as George Blanda, Cookie Gilchrist, and future Vice-Presidential candidate, Jack Kemp, slowly earned respect for the new league. In 1969, Super Bowl III was the first championship to be called “The Super Bowl.” It remains the most significant of all Super Bowls in that Joe Namath guaranteed a victory for his upstart New York Jets over the NFL’s fearsome Baltimore Colts. Only diehard Jets fans believed Namath. But he led the 18 point underdog Jets to victory and put to rest for all time any notion of disparity between the AFL and NFL. Thanks to Namath’s heroics, Americans began to take the game seriously and avocado farmers began to get rich. W.E. Reinka may be reached at wereinka@ix.netcom.com. MSN

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Five Ways You Can Be More Physically Active

By the National Diabetes Education Program As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. You are also at higher risk if you have a family history of diabetes. But you are never too old to lower your diabetes risk. Studies have shown that modest weight loss through healthy eating and increased physical activity is highly effective in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes in people over age 60. Getting Started: How to Get Moving - Physical activity can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. Start by setting small, specific goals for yourself, like, “I will walk for 10 minutes, three days this week.” Add a little more activity each day until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Ask your healthcare provider which activities are safe for you. Before any physical activity, be sure to warm up for a few minutes to get your body ready. Try shrugging your shoulders, tapping your toes, swinging your arms, or just moving in place. Five Ways to Be More Physically Active - There are many types of physical activity you can do at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Finding an activity you enjoy will make

it easier to stick to your schedule and reach your goals. Try these simple suggestions: • Around the House - Things that you do every day are an opportunity to be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands or rise up and down on your toes while standing and holding onto a stable chair or countertop. Try putting away the TV remote so you get up to change the channel. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone. Check out a fitness video from your local library and follow along. • Around Town - Becoming more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Try joining a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as a shopping mall, museum, or a community center, and make sure to wear comfortable shoes. • While Running Errands - Make physical activity part of your regular routine. Park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train – and the neighborhood is safe – get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Go for a brisk walk between errands. • With Your Family - Getting your family involved can make physical activity more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. You can even plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is a great activity that is gentle on your joints. • Get Outside - When you can, take your physical activity outside. Simple activities such as planting a garden or washing your car are great ways to get more active. You can also go for a walk with friends or family at the local zoo, nature park, or outdoor walking path. For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the free It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today tip sheet from the National Diabetes Education Program at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or call 1-888-693-6337, or TTY: 1-866-569-1162.

MSN


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

What You Need To Know About Tai Chi By Arthur Rosenfeld Tai Chi is the fastest growing exercise in America. More accessible than yoga because it doesn’t demand great flexibility and easy for people of all ages to begin, because there are not special fitness requirements. It is a gentle, beautiful exercise that improves strength, balance, hand-to-eye coordination, teaches you to relax more deeply than ever before, and gives you an unparalleled workout for butt and legs. There are many medical studies touting its good effects on the degenerative diseases of aging, including arthritis, diabetes, high-blood pressure, and asthma. Tai Chi has also been shown to stimulate the immune system. It improves attention disorders in children, and helps the elderly guard against the kind of dangerous falls that can ultimately prove fatal. In addition to all this, Tai Chi is fun to practice, beautiful to watch, and is based on a philosophy that helps change the way you see the world for the better. Here are five things you need to know about Tai Chi. 1. Tai Chi and other martial arts - Tai Chi differs from all other forms of exercise because it sits atop the unique legs of a very special tripod. The first leg is China’s long history of folk martial arts, systems developed in the days before firearms and before the kind of reliable infrastructure that protected people, and their property from bandits and other criminals. Chinese martial arts enjoy a great reputation for effectiveness, although these days we see and appreciate them mostly in the movies. Tai Chi is one of the most sophisticated and effective of all Chinese martial arts, although it does take a while to learn to use it for self-defense. 2. Tai Chi and Chinese medicine - The second leg of the tripod is Chinese medicine. Devotees of Chinese medicine claim it is cheaper and safer than Western medicine, and just as effective. Chinese medicine is holistic, meaning it looks at the whole person rather than isolating specific problems and trying to figure them out. Because of this “system-thinking,” Chinese medicine is more likely to put together symptoms and observations rather than considering them separately. In the Chinese medical model, and in Tai Chi, the body is crisscrossed by energy pathways known as meridians. These meridians carry “qi” or life force, a vital elixir the body requires for health. Some scientists define qi as the bioelectric energy of life,

the information contained in our DNA, and even as ultra-low frequency vibration. The object of Tai Chi practice is to open all the body’s meridians so that the extremities, skin, senses, and organs receive maximum qi flow. In this way, Tai Chi assures optimum health. 3. Tai Chi and Asian philosophy - The third leg of the Tai Chi tripod is a philosophy called Daoism. Daoists were woolly mountain men in China, great lovers of nature and all things natural. Daoist philosophy persists in our culture in the form of such sayings as “May the force be with you,” and “Go with the flow.” To the Daoist, nature is constantly hinting at the best way to do things, and Daoists prize minimal effort for maximal results. Daoists cultivate sensitivity to the natural rhythms of the world around them, and Daoist practices like Tai Chi help you learn to sense natural phenomena like the cycles of the tides and the moon. Tai Chi also enhances your ability to detect mood shifts in others, and to notice your own natural rhythms, which in turn is useful in knowing what time of day, week, or month is best to embark on which task or journey. Going with the flow of nature, a Tai Chi person pays close attention to the environment, and never uses force against force. 4. What you can expect from Tai Chi practice - Tai Chi practice is comprised of three parts. The first part is meditation, usually done standing up. The meditation is often guided by the teacher, who will ask you to imagine, for example, that your feet are growing roots like a tree, or that you can see that vital elixir, that qi, as it courses through your body. This kind of meditation helps you become more in touch with your body, and teaches you to focus and to banish stray thoughts. The second part of Tai Chi is the practice of so-called “forms.” Some people call these forms dance-like or even trance-like because of the focus and quiet they require. In fact, forms are nothing more than a series of movements strung together like pearls on a string. The purpose of these movements is to provide you a kind of moving laboratory in which you can test your body’s ability to handle force from different directions. The form also helps you develop

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hand-eye coordination and most of all teaches you a particular kind of relaxation unique to Tai Chi. This kind of relaxation is best described as letting all tension leave your body and drop your center of gravity. Advanced Tai Chi devotees add a variety of swords and other weapons to their form practice, but this is only appropriate after years of study. The last element of Tai Chi practice is a set of partner exercises called pushing or sensing hands. While the original purpose of these exercises was to prepare the practitioner for combat, today they are practiced cooperatively and are as important for the bonding they provide between Tai Chi classmates as for the sensitivity to motion and intention they cultivate. 5. Choosing a teacher - While authentic Tai Chi is an art form rather than merely a sport, teachers range from folks who were cab drivers in China and, seeing dollar signs, suddenly proclaim themselves Tai Chi experts, all the way to genuine masters. A good Tai Chi teacher should be obviously skillful, but humble, helpful, and friendly as well. Any legitimate teacher should be eager to

talk about his own teacher, and should allow you to watch the class for free. You can also learn a lot about an instructor’s qualifications, as well as the benefits of the class, by talking to students when the class is over. Tai Chi classes can be found at YMCAs, recreational or community centers, and in martial arts schools. Typically, classes cost between $10-20 per session, although private instruction from a renowned teacher may cost a great deal more. If you want to learn more about Asian culture while also learning how to slow down and smell the roses, you will enjoy Tai Chi. If you suffer from any of the degenerative diseases of aging, or if you find high-intensity sports turn you off, Tai Chi may also be for you. The art is like an onion, yielding layer after layer of complexity, benefit, and joy over the years. Arthur Rosenfeld is a Tai Chi master and the author of martial arts novel The Cutting Season. Learn more about Tai Chi at ww.playtaichi.com. MSN

Don't ravage the cabbage - It helps prevent cancer By Wendell Fowler, Senior Wire As a child of the 1950s Mom would lovingly offer me the center core of cruciferous cabbage every time she made slaw. A little salt and Mom’s sweet gift became crunchy culinary nirvana - Bible belt soul food. Cabbage is one of the oldest known vegetables. The ancients were on to something ex-

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ceptional when they began cultivating cabbage. In the Far East, pots containing cabbage dating to 4,000 B.C. have been found in Shensi province in China. The noble cabbage first appeared somewhere in the Mediterranean. Ancient Romans praised it for its plethora of medical attributes. Flourishing with luscious vitamins C and K, folate, potassium and selenium, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as antioxidants, flavonoids and phytochemicals, carotenoids, lingnans, and indole-3-carbinol, (take a deep breath) these nutritious foods are super! Isothiocyanates stimulate our bodies to break down potential carcinogens, preventing normal cells from becoming cancerous cells. Pretty cool, eh? Only cruciferous vegetables contain the nutrient isothiocyanates, which has been associated with a decrease in lung cancer. Non-smokers will also benefit since second-hand smoke is so widespread. Cruciferous vegetables are what help reduce homocysteine levels and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine is an amino acid derived from animal protein. Are you eating enough cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, rutabagas, and kale? Corn and green beans will not cut it. The government has set a goal of getting 75 percent of Americans to eat two servings of fruits and having half of the population consume three servings of vegetables each day by 2010, said Dr. Larry Cohen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In scientific reality, we should consume a minimum of 7 to 13 portions of a variety of produce daily. Did someone say salad bar? One portion is considered a half cup and it is easier to accomplish that you think. One cup equals a portion of leafy greens, such as cabbage. Raw is best. I heard someone recently say that they hated the smell of cooked cabbage and the


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only way he would eat it, if it was redolent of bacon and cooked to oblivion. That is no way to treat one of nature’s star healing attractions, is it? Many of us spend our life either taking preventive measures, or living life recklessly thinking, “I’m gonna eat all the steak I want, ice cream, greasy burgers, and smoke all the cigarettes I want so I can enjoy my life. Gotta die from something, right? I may not live as long as you tree-hugging, dirt eaters, but I sure am going to enjoy the time I have by eating beef whenever I want”. Now, that is okay if you are hell bent on selfdestruction. Not wanting to be negative, but it is a scientific fact. Heavy meat consumption, little or no vegetables or fruit in the diet, whiskey, gravy, and fast food, for example, considerably shortens one’s gift of life. Mother Nature wants us to feel good, using the tools she has provided us. As you purchase

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or harvest your first batch of cabbage, consider its illustrious history as medicine to the ancients. Cabbage in America is usually drowning, submerged in a viscous pool of deadly, decadent mayonnaise. We add vinegar, sugar and spice, onion and carrot, then accompany it with fried chicken cooked in pork fat. Darned tasty combination, however, ask yourself whether taste is the only criterion by which to decide what you eat. Next time, try preparing sweet and sour style slaw with a fun vinegar, salt and pepper, Stevia powder sweetener, celery seed, grated carrots, green onion, and some diced red peppers. Deliciously crisp, clean, and ready to defend our bodies. MSN

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms And Diagnostic Tools By National Institutes of Health Most cancers in their early, most treatable stages do not cause any symptoms. That is why it is important to have regular tests to check for cancer even when you might not notice anything wrong. When colorectal cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But, as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that people should watch for. Common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include: • a change in the frequency of bowel movements • diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely • either bright red or very dark blood in the stool • stools that are narrower than usual • general abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps • weight loss with no known reason • constant tiredness • vomiting These symptoms may be caused by colorectal cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor if you have symptoms because only a doctor can make a diagnosis. Do not wait to feel pain. Early cancer usually does not cause pain. Lower your risk factors where possible. Colon cancer can be prevented if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed. If colon cancer is found in its early stages, it is up to 90 percent curable. Beginning at age 50, the following tools are all used for early detection. They can help identify pre-cancerous conditions. If you are younger than 50 and one of your first-degree relatives has had colon cancer, you should consult with your doctor. Tools used for early detection: • A fecal occult blood test, or FOBT, is a test used to check for hidden blood in the stool. Sometimes cancers or polyps can bleed, and FOBT can detect small amounts of bleeding. • A sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the rectum and lower colon -- or

Cancer Center

Team Care for Colorectal Cancer Billings Clinic Cancer Center’s multi-disciplinary colorectal cancer team, led by Surgeon Scott Dull, MD, collaborates to provide comprehensive cancer care. t Gastroenterologists work with surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists for the best care. t Colorectal cancer navigator Christine Kuehl, RN, educates and coordinates care for patients and their families. t Promising colorectal cancer research trials are available. t Colorectal ultrasound is available for the most accurate staging and treatment – only Billings Clinic offers this advanced technology for our region. t A holistic approach includes attention to patients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs. For an appointment, call 238-2501 or 1-800-332-7156. Read our colon cancer patient story at www.amysstory.com.

www.billingsclinic.com/cancer

Where it all comes together.


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sigmoid colon - using a lighted instrument called a sigmoidoscope. • A colonoscopy is an examination of the rectum and entire colon using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope. • A double contrast barium enema, or DCBE, is a series of x-rays of the colon and rectum. The patient is given an enema with a solution that contains barium, a substance that outlines the colon and rectum on the x-rays. • A digital rectal exam, or DRE, is an exam in which the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormal areas. MSN

The Increasing Link Between Cancer and Fat By Tait Trussell Underwire bras, cell phones, and deodorants can cause cancer. Wrong. There is no significant evidence that any of these causes cancer. But an unmistakable cancer cause is being fat. The National Cancer Institute said, “A recent report estimated that, in the United States, 14 percent of deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of deaths in women were due to overweight and obesity.” But isn’t it common to put on extra pounds as you reach retirement? Isn’t middle-age spread as natural as winter following fall? As we age less food energy is burned off as calories and more of it is stored as fat. Then, there is the pleasure of eating fatty or sugary foods. For many, relaxation is given a higher priority than exercise and weight loss. So, how do you know if you are really too fat? The National Institute of Health puts adults in one of four categories based on their body mass index (BMI). BMI is a more accurate way to measure obesity than weight alone. If you are a woman who is, say, five feet three and you weigh between 145 and 165, your BMI says you are overweight. If you weigh 170 or more, you are considered obese. If you are a man who is, say five feet eleven, and you weigh from 185 to 210, you are overweight. If you weigh 215 or over, you are judged obese by the BMI index. Seniors who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and certain cancers. Obesity lowers life expectancy. Nearly one-third of all Americans are now classified as obese. The chief cause of obesity, says the National Cancer Institute, is “a sedentary lifestyle and over-consumption of high-calorie food.” What have scientists learned about the connection between obesity and cancer? Experts have concluded that colon cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and cancers in the lining of the uterus, in the kidney, and the esophagus are linked to obesity. Some studies also have found links between obesity and cancer of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas. If you are already overweight, or obese, you are advised to stop putting on any more weight and to lose that fat through a balanced diet and exercise.


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“Even a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total weight can offer health benefits,” the National Cancer Institute says. You may wonder how many people get cancer due to obesity. At least 40,000 new cases of cancer in the U. S. were due to obesity. After menopause, obese women have 1.5 times the breast cancer risk of women of a healthy weight. Estrogen is produced in fat tissue. And, after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing hormones, fat tissue becomes the largest estrogen source. Estrogen levels in postmenopausal women are 50 to 100 percent higher in heavy versus lean women. Estrogen-sensitive tissues are therefore exposed to more estrogen stimulation in heavy women. This leads to more rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors. And breast cancer is not likely to be detected until at a later stage in fat women. Finding a breast tumor is harder to find in obese women than in lean women. Obese women also have a two to four time greater risk of developing uterine cancer than do women of healthy weight. Increased risk of colon cancer has been consistently reported in overweight men. But the risk for women has been less. Obesity increases the risk of kidney cancer in women to two to four times that of lean women. Of the many studies on prostate cancer risk, most conclude there is no association with obesity. But some report a higher risk among fat men for more aggressive tumors than is the case for men who are not overweight. Some studies have examined the possible association between physical activity and a lower risk of developing colon or breast cancer. In 2002, a review of trials found that physical activity - even moderate exercise - reduced colon cancer risk by 50 percent. A recent study from the Women’s Health Initiative found that walking about 30 minutes a day by postmenopausal women was associated with a 20 percent reduction in breast cancer risk. But this reduction in risk was greatest among women of normal weight. There is only one message from this research, “Cut the fat to cut the cancer risk.” MSN

Dry Eye Syndrome - It is Enough to Make You Cry

By Tait Trussell, Senior Wire When you read a newspaper, watch TV, or even when you blink, is it irritating to your eyes? If so, you likely have dry eye. “It is one of the most common eye problems and it increases with age,” says the Johns Hopkins Health Information Library. Of people over age 65, about 15 percent have dry eye, according to an international task force put together by Johns Hopkins University-Wilmer Eye Institute. Typical symptoms of dry eye syndrome are burning, itchy, gritty-feeling eyes, excessive reflex tearing, and blurred vision. Many are the causes. In women, where it is more common than in men,

Quality in Health Care is our Commitment to MONTANA If you have Medicare and have questions or concerns about the care you’ve received in a hospital, nursing home, home health agency, outpatient surgery center or emergency room or if you think you’re being discharged from a hospital too soon, talk to your doctor. If you still have questions or concerns, call Medicare.

Call 1-800-MEDICARE Brought to you by Mountain-Pacific under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 8th SOW-MPQHF-MT-BP-07-01


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it often is associated with menopause and post menopause. Dry eye also can be caused by such medications as antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, and blood pressure medicines. Allergic reaction to medications being used to treat other eye conditions can also cause dry eye. The tearing symptom may seem strange if your eyes feel dry. But what seems to be excessively watery eyes is usually just one layer of the eyeball producing a reflex reaction. These tears just run off without lubricating the eyes as do healthy tears. Smoke, wind, heat, low humidity, or eyestrain also can cause the dry eye syndrome, Johns Hopkins says. Arid high altitudes increase the

evaporation of tears. In fact, several cities have been recognized by the National Women’s Health Resource Center and won the dubious honor of being recognized as “Dry Eye Hotspots.” Long hours peering at a computer screen and not blinking often enough may well worsen the condition. I think that is what causes my dry eye problem. As more people go online, dry eyes will become even more common. During the normal aging process, our bodies and our eyes produce less oil. This reduction in oil in the tear film results in quicker evaporation, leading to dry spots on our eyes. If you use contact lenses and experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome, stop wearing them, the Johns Hopkins doctors advise. Dry eye is one of the main reasons people stop wearing contacts. If you have mild to moderate dry eye, the first course of treatment may be to use artificial tears as prescribed by your doctor. There’s a variety of over-the-counter drops for dry eye. Depending on the nature of your tear film deficiency, your doctor may recommend artificial tears with a specific salinity and viscosity. Sometimes if the oily layer of the tear film is deficient, they may suggest that you eat more oily fish or take flax seed oil as a supplement and drink plenty of water. Tears are composed of three layers. The innermost layer coats the cornea with a lubricant that allows the tear film to stick to the eye. The middle layer is made up mostly of water. The outermost layer is an oily film that acts to prevent evaporation. Eye doctors can use tests to determine which layers of the tear film are causing the dry eye problem. Each time you blink, the eyelids act like squeegees to smooth and spread the eye film so it is uniform across the surface of your cornea. Wonder why your nose runs if you cry? Excess tears flow along the lower eyelid toward the nose and into two tiny ducts called lacrimal puncta. These open into small canals that drain into the nasal passage. This sometimes makes a runny nose. It is amazing how our body parts are interconnected. Pain or an emotional event, as you know, can also bring tears. Such reflex tears, however, do not alleviate dry eye. Treatment for the condition may be as simple as using artificial tears from the drug store several times a day. In more persistent cases, a simple non-surgical procedure is available. It can provide long-term relief of dry eye syndrome using tiny plugs called punctual occluders. These devices occlude, or block, the punctum, or tear duct that carries the tears away from the eyes’ surface. Blocking these ducts keeps the eye from draining away tears too quickly – something like putting a stopper in a sink drain. This procedure is quick and painless. I know. I had it done. The National Eye Institute presently is funding 25 studies to find additional treatments for dry eye. MSN

Give Generously To The American Red Cross

Thank you for your interest in the American Red Cross of Montana. One way to help the Montana Chapter - and the families that we assist - is by making contributions of stock. Gifts of appreciated securities will mean that Red Cross can assist even more Montanans in 2009 through our disaster services program, which helps neighbors that are experiencing disasters, such as home fires, by meeting their immediate needs. By taking action today, you will receive a double tax benefit. First, you can deduct the fair market value of the appreciated asset and you will save a second time when you avoid the capital gains taxes you would have owed, had you sold your stock. Gifts of securities can also be made through your will and may have additional benefits. The value of the donation or stock is determined on the


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day the gift is transferred. Your financial advisor, accountant, and attorney can help you determine if a gift of stock is the best tax option for you. When you make a gift of securities to the Red Cross, both

you and our organization win. Your support is greatly appreciated! Please call Dawn at 406-727-2212 today to learn more about gifts of stock to the American Red Cross. MSN

Snoring can be a sign of dangerous sleep apnea Daron L. Scherr, M.D. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder caused by repeated blockage of the airway at the base of the tongue while sleeping. These repeated obstructions cause episodes of low oxygen, high carbon dioxide, and significant sleep fragmentation. This sleep fragmentation causes activation of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, a dramatic increase in stress hormones, dysfunction of the lining of blood vessels, increased blood clotting, and increased inflammation throughout the body. Finally, those pathological processes lead to an increase in blood pressure, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death. About one out of every five Americans has obstructive sleep apnea with the risk factors being high blood pressure, diabetes, excessive sleepiness, snoring, obesity, strokes, and heart disease. It is also estimated that more than half the people over the age of 65 have obstructive sleep apnea.

Diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea has become much easier with the advent of home and in-lab sleep studies and improved therapies such as: • Obstructive sleep apnea surgeries (tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, soft palate surgery, radiofrequency ablation of the tongue), etc; • Improved dental/oral appliances that hold the bottom jaw and tongue forward, opening the airway; and • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which is a device that uses air pressure to hold the airway open while you sleep. Treating obstructive sleep apnea has been shown to improve high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, excessive sleepiness, heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure. If you or someone who knows you believes that you are snoring or may have sleep apnea, be sure to consult your healthcare provider who can refer you for proper diagnosis and treatment. MSN

Heart Disease is not just a man's disease anymore

Provided by the American Heart Association It has been common knowledge that heart disease was the leading cause of death for men in the United States since the 1950s. In school, we all learned how plaque slowly builds up on the coronary arteries of the heart and that it eventually leads to sudden, sharp chest pain, which is usually accompanied with arm or shoulder pain and with labored breathing, “like an elephant is on my chest.” Although heart disease was always thought of as a “man’s disease,” it is also the leading cause of death in women in the United States.

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Heart disease and stroke are health threats to women of all ethnic backgrounds, but only a small percentage realizes it. Consider these facts: • Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women over age 25. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. • Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including stroke, claims the lives of nearly twice as many women as do all forms of cancer. • CVD claims more lives than the next four most common causes of death combined. • One in 2.6 women dies of heart disease, stroke, and other CV diseases, compared with one in 30 from breast cancer. • Thirty-eight percent of women die within one year after an initial heart attack, compared with 25 percent of men. In part, this is because women have heart attacks at older ages than men do. • Within six years after a recognized heart attack: 35 percent of women will have another heart attack, 11 percent will have a stroke, 46 percent will be disabled with heart failure, and 6 percent

will experience sudden cardiac death. • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills over 480,000 women a year, about one per minute. • Heart disease rates in post-menopausal women are two to three times higher than in premenopausal women of the same age. • Despite these sobering statistics, only 13 percent of women view heart disease as a health threat, even though it’s women’s No. 1 killer. The first step to overcome this major health risk facing women is increasing awareness. The great news about cardiovascular disease is that it is very preventable by following a healthy lifestyle. The major risk factors for experiencing a heart attack or stroke are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, an inactive lifestyle, smoking, or having a family history of heart disease. Each of these risk factors can be reduced by taking charge of your health. The steps are really easy and can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, committing to eating one serving of fruit or vegetable with each meal and snack, or working with a physician and dietitian to control your high blood pressure. The Montana Cardiovascular Health Program encourages everyone to quit smoking, choose healthy foods and beverages, and be active each day by getting 150 minutes a week of moderateintensity aerobic activity like brisk walking. It is also important to lose excess weight and know your family history. Take the first step by visiting the Go Red Heart Checkup at www.goredforwomen.org. Then schedule an appointment with your doctor to understand your risk. See the Doctor Visit checklist online. Signs And Symptoms of Heart Attack The next hurdle is to inform women about the signs and symptoms so that they can recognize it if they or someone close to them is having a life-threatening heart attack. Heart attack warning signs include: • Chest Discomfort, uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back; • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, this could be felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach; • Shortness of breath, which may occur with or without chest discomfort; • Other signs may include a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness. It is important for women and men to keep in mind that many women heart attack survivors describe very subtle symptoms that lasted for 1-3 weeks before they were diagnosed as having a heart attack. Take charge of your health and learn about the heart disease risk factors and know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack - the life you save could be your own or that of a loved one. MSN

Astounding News We Enjoy Hot Sex! By Frank Kaiser, Senior Wire Sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex! I swear, since I hit puberty I have not lived an hour without thinking about sex. I have no idea what it is like for others, male or female, but doubt I am alone. You can call it sexual obsession or “Just a guy thing.” Personally, I would not have it any other way. Neither injury nor age has significantly diminished my libido. In fact, for both Carolyn and me, sex is actually better today than it has ever been. (That includes five other spouses, various other stories.) Think about that. I am 72. Carolyn is 67. I believe it is all about pleasing your partner, using


your lifetime of experience to make this time the most loving experience ever. Repeat as desired. Every night is possible. This is a world where falling in love is literal. Where 15 minutes used to be more than adequate, now we make love for an hour or so. And get this - neither of us has ever been more climactic! It is like God’s secret gift to the old and feeble. Today’s newlyweds have much to anticipate. Too bad they do not know it. And all those who now slog through the tedious asexual years with too much work, too many children, too little time, there is hope ahead! No one that age knows it, either. You would think anything this awesome, this miraculous, this myth shattering would be trumpeted. On this Planet of Bad and Really Bad News, extraordinarily good sex is definitely front-page material, don’t you think? Loose Lips Sink Ships! Yet we treat our sex lives like the Manhattan Project. No one talks about it. Either that, or my wife and I are the luckiest codgers this side of Vegas. My hunch is there are many others out there, our age and older, also making love most every night. Or day. They are retired, you know. You see them often. Holding hands as they walk down the street. Smiling - a lot. And the way they look at one another? Check it out. Their secret? As we age, we find that no matter how very much we love our spouse, we love her more the next day. Ad infinitum. That is another 60-pt. news headline I have

Don't Miss Gerontology Conference!

“Living Longer, Living Better” is the theme of the 27th Annual Montana Gerontology Society Conference scheduled for April 14-16, 2009 at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena. On Thursday, April 16, Dr. Steven Masley, MD, author of the book Ten Years Younger will give the keynote address on how to combat the roots of accelerated aging due to poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and stress. He is the former medical director of the prestigious Pritikin Longevity Center and a pioneer in anti-aging medicine. Currently, Dr. Masley is the medical director of the Masley Optimal Health Center in St. Petersburg, Florida as well as a clinical assistant professor at the University of South Florida. His passion is empowering people to enhance their lives through lifestyle changes. During the three-day conference educational sessions covering mental health, clinical issues, caregiver education, and personal growth will be offered to professionals in the field of aging, students, and interested public. For information, contact Cindy Baril or Karen Cater, Rocky Mountain Development Council, Helena, 406-447-1680 or e- mail cbaril@rmdc. net or kcater@rmdc.net. MSN

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never seen. I am taking to the rooftops with this one! Maybe I will print posters shouting, “EXTRA! EXTRA! By the time you’re 70, you and your spouse’s sex lives can have developed into the most exciting, most satisfying sex you have ever had.” I have not, of course. Who is going to believe me? The Fall! Then, following my bladder operation for cancer last month, everything changed. No libido. No nothing. Even with Viagra! My first thought was of Willie Nelson who famously said on his 75th birthday, “I have outlived my dick.” Rather sad, I thought. However, if I had suffered the same fate, at least I could say that it was the last to go. I wondered. Had my urologist neglected to inform me of unknown snips or sexual aftereffects? He graciously called to explain that my side effects stemmed from my chemo, his previous traumatic excursion up my penis

notwithstanding. That had never occurred to me. (I often wonder, “How can I be so old, so experienced, and so foolish all at the same time?”) My oncologist later confirmed and promised, “Chemo kills sex. But it will return.” Then, last night, bliss returned to the Kaiser household. Afterward, glowing, Carolyn and I highfived each other, rolled over, and went to sleep. Life is good. Even with cancer. MSN


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Moving? Now what do you do with your stuff? By Trina White You thought making a decision to downsize to a smaller home or apartment was the tough part. But smaller means less of things and what do you do with it all? After a lifetime of accumulating and collecting, it is time to downsize. Here are a few hints to get the job done as painlessly as possible. First, try not to become overwhelmed and simply give up. Begin with one closet. From there you can move to another and then another. Soon you will be sorting through the old guest room with ease. Designate one room or closet as items to donate, another as items to be given to family members, all the time throwing out items as necessary. When placing an item in the family room, be sure to mark it. Some people use colors to designate which items go to which family members. For instance, all items with a green sticky note go to Joe, while all items with a bright pink one go to Susie or Susie’s family. When moving to a smaller home or apartment, it is a good idea to mark items you intend to take with you. Using 2-inch colored sticky notes on each item helps the movers estimate moving costs. This is also helpful when hiring someone to prepare a sale of items you will not be moving with. There

are many businesses statewide that you can hire to plan and carry out a garage or estate sale. Some of these businesses charge a flat rate while others charge a percentage of sale proceeds. These firms usually have a good idea of what sells, what does not, and how much to ask. They will sort, mark, run the sale, then clean up, gather the remaining items, and get them donated to your favorite charity. Some of the supplies you will need on hand are various sized colored sticky notes, permanent markers, sturdy boxes, heavy duty trash bags, dust masks, masking tape, and a shredder for your old documents. A good rule of thumb when sorting – if you have not used the item in a year, ditch it, donate it, or gift it. Giving away family heirlooms now allows you to enjoy your loved ones’ reactions. On a recent move of my own, I discovered that I had saved four flower vases of exactly the same shape and size. If all of this seems overwhelming, remember to hire the experts. They know what is worth saving, and they can save you a lot of time and energy as well as emotional turmoil. Trina White is a Realtor with Real Estate by Hamwey, and is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. MSN

A Window on Energy Savings By Patricia M Johnson, Senior Wire We talk about spring and winter maintenance, repair tips, and check lists. But rarely do we talk about the energy saved on window maintenance. There are wood, metal, and vinyl windows, different types of glass, argon gas, and krypton gas with insulated sashes and frames. There are patio room windows, bow, bay, or garden windows, fully welded, vinyl double hung, and replacement windows. Do not forget the skylight window! There are more, but too numerous to mention in a short time. Are you confused as most of us are? So let’s discuss some general types of windows and how to save energy with different styles of glass. Glass block has maintained its status of

high-fashion material over the last two decades. It was popular in the ‘50s and used everywhere from restaurants to schools to malls – and in homes. It is durable, and the fact that it is almost maintenance-free, appeals to today’s buyer. It is nearly scratch-free and immune to moisture and dirt. Most of these glass blocks are 3-4 inches thick, making them nearly as strong as masonry. There are a variety of patterns, colors, textures, and sizes to fill your desire. Combining a solid wood or steel front door with sidelights made of glass block keeps the entryway light and will provide the security you need. Glass blocks show transparency in different ways, depending on the surface. They are grid-


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ded, ribbed, waffled, dimpled, wavy, stippled, spiraled, or fluted. Each can distort the view and still allow light to enter. There will be no energy lost with glass blocks. Windows can account for 40 percent of heating and cooling costs! Choose wisely. Look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating on the label. Make sure your choice has a good warranty. Any warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it, so deal with one that has a history of good customer service. The National Fenestration Rating Council is a non-profit group that developed a window-energy rating system based on product performance. Some of the qualities of a good window include welded seams, low-emissivity solar-protective coatings, inert gases between panes, good weather stripping, and glass spacers. When surveyed by contractors, the most favored national brands are Andersen, Certainteed, Marvin, Pella, Peachtree, and Simonton. When replacing or adding new windows, match or at least complement what you have now. Ask professional advice on all your window needs. Renters or people who need to find a fast fix to cut some cooling energy costs should check out year-round window films having a low-e (emissivity) coating. The darker films tend to absorb more of the sun’s rays. This heats the glass and

much of the heat flows back outdoors. Films that look clear may not be low-emissivity, just highly reflective, which gives a mirrored appearance. Year-round low-e window film has a slightly reflective appearance. Window films can be a do-it-yourself project. Whichever way you choose to go, there are many options, so do your research and look forward to many years of energy savings. The following websites offer consumer information on buying and installing new and replacement windows: • Center for Sustainable Building Research: www.csbr.umn.edu • Efficient Windows Collaborative: www.efficientwindows.org • Energy Star Windows Program: www.energystar.gov • National Fenestration Rating Council: www. nfrc.org • National Renewable Energy Lab: www.nrel. gov • Pittsburgh Corning Glass Blocks: www. pittsburghcorning.com • Bekaert Window Film: www.solargard.com •CP Window Films: www.cpfilms.com • Film Technologies: www.filmtechnologies. com • View International: www.pvifilm.com. MSN

Keep you pets’ pearly whites healthy By Dr. Jani Zirbel, DVM, Animal Blessings Pet Hospital, Missoula I bet you did not know that February is the longest month of the year? Well maybe it only seems that way – fewer days but more wintry – gray, cold, and snowy. But, what better ways to liven up this month than tanning, buying hyacinths and crocuses to brighten your indoors, and by focusing on the dental health of your beloved pet. February is Dental Month in the veterinary world and time to focus on how very important our pets’ dental health is to their longevity. Who wants a kiss from your favorite Ruff when his breath could knock out a horse? Did you know that plaque and tartar lead to gingivitis, which in turn can cause or contribute to infections of the heart valves and kidneys? Gingivitis also makes eating painful so your pet may eat less, lose weight, and become less healthy? Tartar can also cause gum erosion leading to root exposure and tooth loss. Can dogs and cats eat without any teeth? Yes, they can, but it is a lot easier and more productive

to start the digestive process as God designed it - in the mouth with mastication and salivation. So, what is your job as a responsible pet owner? Get your pet’s mouth checked by your veterinarian, schedule a dental cleaning, polish and fluoride if needed, and discuss what you can do to maintain those teeth. Brushing with a dental paste for pets is the ideal, but there are alternatives. Dental chews, toys to hold dental paste, or sterilized bones with peanut butter or cream cheese in the marrow cavity are all ways to encourage your dog to “brush” his own teeth. Mouth sprays to soften and reduce tartar buildup are also beneficial. Unfortunately, most of these do not work on cats. Some cats will let you brush their teeth, but most cats with dental disease need professional help. So, now you know what you have been missing all these winters! Get out, celebrate Pet Dental Month, and get your pets’ teeth cleaned! MSN

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Winter is drawing to a close. Spring will be here before we know it and new life will begin all around us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone with whom to enjoy all life’s new beginnings? To those who wish to respond to any of these personal ads, simply forward your message and address, phone number, or email address to the department number listed in the particular personal ad, c/o Montana Senior News, P.O. Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. We will forward your response, including your address, phone number, and/or email address to the person placing the ad. If you answer an ad in this section, there is no guarantee that you will receive a response. That’s up to the person who placed the ad. Please make sure you submit your correct address plainly printed so you can promptly receive responses. Respond to the ads in this issue and also sit down now and prepare your own ad to run in our April/May 2009 issue. There is no charge for this service and your ad may bring a breath of fresh air to your heart as well. Responses to personal ads appearing in this column can be submitted at any time. However, to place a personal ad, the deadline for the April/May 2009 issue is March 10, 2009. I am a Christian African American lady in my early sixties with old-fashioned values. I am a social worker with a great sense of humor and a kind heart. Honesty and trust are a must in my world. I enjoy camping, visiting museums, white water rafting, dancing, movies, and my greatest passion is the theatre. I also enjoy walking in the rain, playing in the snow, and swimming in the dead of winter at our local hot springs. I prefer a gentleman, a non-smoker, definitely no drugs or heavy drinking, and someone who is interested in traveling and sharing life’s treasures. Reply MSN, Dept. 25301, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. Adventurous little gal, (60-years-old) with a young-at-heart attitude, loves to fish, camp, travel, good music, friends, herbs, and a healthful lifestyle. Where are you my friend? If you have a western style and attitude, and are looking for a gal like me, please send a photo. Keep a song in your heart. Reply MSN, Dept. 25302, c/o Montana Senior

News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. I am a widow in my 70s, about 5’7” tall and around 145 lbs, have never smoked nor used drugs – said to be “tall and thin” and pleasant to be around. I am very active and in good shape both physically and mentally. I enjoy dancing, the outdoors, walking, camping, laughing and visiting, traveling, playing cards, or just sitting and enjoying quiet time with a companion who enjoys the same. I was born and raised on a ranch and say, “I could ride a horse before I could walk!” I am a retired teacher and still work part-time with children and adults. I am honest, caring, trustworthy, loyal and friendly, enjoy many kinds of activities, and want a fun-filled, stable life with someone who is loving and caring. Is this too big an order? I would like to hear from you? I’d appreciate a picture of you as well. I will answer all who respond. Reply MSN, Dept. 25303, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. SWF, 60s, 130 lbs, 5’2”, lives in SW Montana. I have my own small home and would like to meet an honest, forthright companion who is still actively enjoying our great Montana outdoors. I enjoy nature, animals, fishing, hunting, hiking, canoeing/ boating, horses, and riding. I often travel south in the winter with my motorhome or take a trip elsewhere. I enjoy music of all kinds and enjoying dancing to country music. I am curious by nature and like to find out what is of real interest around the corner. I also like to read. Can’t wait to hear from you! Reply MSN, Dept. 25304, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. I am searching for the man of my dreams - a Christian, handsome, sense of humor, large, likes to cook, is sincere, and loving. I am 60-years-young. I like country life or city, farms, animals, traveling, playing scrabble, movies, and cuddling. If you would like to write and get to know me, that would be great. Let’s start the new year with happiness. Reply MSN, Dept. 25305, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. SWF, 60-years-old, friendly, good sense of humor, and hard working. Varied interests including outdoor pursuits. Non-smoker and social drinker. Tired of feeling isolated because of single status. Ready to connect with right man for LTR. Reply MSN, Dept. 25306, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403.


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Interesting and interested lady, artist-designer, full of life, love, and adventure looking for a Montana man, 65 to 75, with a big heart and big hug to share the outdoors, dancing, dining out, cuddling, art shows, auctions, travel, and all that life under

the Big Sky has to offer. Horseman with worldly attitude would be great. I am in Billings but will happily reply to all. Reply MSN, Dept. 25307, c/o Montana Senior News, Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403. MSN

Are You Ever Too Old for an Orgy? By Frank Kaiser, Senior Wire To the utter horror of our children, we are pushing the sexual envelope in ways some say is contrary to all that is right and holy. Used to be, by age 60, people were expected to hang it up, start acting their age, and prepare for the solemn business of departing this world. No more. What with Viagra, Levitra, and all the other little helpers now available, even nonagenarians are behaving much like hormone-crazed teenagers, blithely ignoring both old-fashioned shame and open-mouthed stares. Consider this headline from London - Nine Oldsters Booted Out of Nursing Home - For Trying to Have an Orgy! Seems that a bunch of old goats, ranging in age from 73 to 98, planned a secret sex party, to celebrate the 90th birthday of one of the “girls.” As a British newspaper reported, “The let-it-all-hangout party took place just after midnight on October 28. The three wrinkly Romeos and six sagging seductresses gathered together in the rec room and stripped to the buff.” Well, you can imagine the staff’s alarm and embarrassment when orderlies investigated rumba rumbling from the rec room. There, surrounded by candles and dressed in birthday suits slathered with baby oil, the horny nine were dancing and had thrown their canes in dusty corners. “They hadn’t got too far,” a staffer was reported to say. “I guess it was taking some of the gents a while to get started. But they were all naked. Believe me, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” Well, get used to it! Gramps and grannies have been doing the wild thing since Adam and Eve were deep into their Golden Years. That old letch Methuselah was 187 years old when he fathered Lamech. And that was long before either Viagra or the Internet. These days, old coots are turning on to the Web in more ways than one. It is but a click from Google to photo sites like “Old Tarts. The Secret Sex Lives of Old Women,” “Old ‘n’ Horny,” Gorgeous Grannies,” “Hot Gummer Babes,” and “Nasty Old Widows” One site opines, “Some guys just like

their women aged like fine wine.” To which another adds, “Grandma has been around the block and back again, aged to perfection.” Science backs this up. According to a recent Janus Report, “Seventyfour percent of women age 65 and older engaged weekly in sexual activity compared with 68 percent of women ages 18 to 26. And get this: Four of 10 old biddies claim they would like to have sex even more often. Wow! Kind of makes you regret that you wasted all those years being young, doesn’t it? But here is the dirty little secret - what older women want, men cannot deliver! At least that is what the experts at SeniorSite believe. A global survey of 27,780 people aged 40 to 80, from 30 countries, found that aging women become sexually dysfunctional at half the rate of men. But isn’t that why God created Viagra? And, yes, coffee! The Archives of Internal Medicine tells us that drinking a cup of Joe translates into “a higher rate of sexual activity in elderly women and a decreased prevalence of impotency among elderly men.” No one knows why. Some speculate that the brew promotes more liberal behavior. Whatever, coffee cannot hurt. Even if it is only because it keeps you awake longer, have a cup of java tonight before turning in with your creaky better half. It may be just what you need to get a leg up on the situation. Remember, though, if you encounter an erection lasting four hours or more, do not blame me. Next time you happen onto an orgy and need yet another cane, please do not call me. I am trying to cut back on caffeine. MSN

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How Much is Too Much? By Dr. Michael R. McGough Her days were long and jam packed with seldom a spare minute, let alone an hour that she could call her own. She was one of the most unselfish individuals in the neighborhood who would do anything for anyone anytime, and never ask for a thing in return. She was so involved that her obituary would have been its own edition of the local paper listing all her projects and associations. She wanted to do for others because of her sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, but there were times when the rush of it all was nearly overwhelming. In her middle age with her children raised, she wanted to find some time for herself. She wanted a change from the lack of balance in her life. He was as eclectic as an old-fashioned country store, having become interested in everything from apples to zebras since he retired. He was wealthy so there were no financial limitations on his boundless interests. He had been a surgeon for almost 40 years and that had been his life. Once retired his desire to do anything but medicine was boundless. There were simply not enough hours in his day for everything he wanted to do. When he liked something, he really liked it, and when he was done with it, he was truly done. His basement, his garage, and his attic were jammed with the pieces from unfinished projects, the skeletons of interests waned, and countless unopened items he had purchased for something he was planning to do. There were two easels and paint sets, a saxophone, a banjo, every piece of equipment possible for backpacking, and a radio-controlled airplane still in the box. His family said he was fascinating, but there were times when he felt downright frustrated. He wanted some order. She was in her third year of college. She had always been a successful student and college was no exception. She took an active role in the community, volunteering at a local church that offered after-school care. She spent most Saturday mornings at the YWCA teaching toddler swimming. She affectionately called them her “tadpoles.� On campus, she was involved in intramural sports and student government. In her course work, she had a reputation as a good student that she had to maintain. She also had to excel, because the job market was tight and mediocre grades would not cut it. Her peers said she was a role model. She accepted their praise, but there were times when she felt she was over extended, and the constant push was a source of stress. At 21, she was tired and felt she needed a break. All three of these folks have one thing in common. They have set the pace of their lives beyond their comfort level. They are living, or trying to live, as though they have found the mythical 25th hour in the day, which they have not. In time, each recognized the need to exercise more control to avoid a potential crash-and-burn. There are times when life will be hectic, either by choice or by chance. There are major events like a new job, marriage, retirement, an illness, or a move that may usher in such periods. By necessity, there is more to do, but in reality, there is no additional time to do it. These periods may be frustrating and demanding, but in time, they will pass, permitting a return to a more regular and comfortable pace. However, when a hectic pace becomes the norm rather than the exception, it can create undue stress such that undesirable feelings and consequences can become a distinct reality. As you begin the New Year, ask yourself if you may have too much on your plate. If you do, identify some of the excessive elements of your life. Look for the unnecessary, redundant, surplus, or extremes over which you have control. Then set some realistic goals for yourself, with a focus on those activities that add quality to your life in a healthful, comfortable way. And remember, big differences can come from small changes! MSN


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MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 31

cancer patients together, in a safe, supportive environment, with others who know their struggles, share their fears, and who understand what it means to have cancer. It also provides an opportunity to make new friends, build self-confidence and self-esteem, have fun, and experience a week of being “normal.” Camp Mak-A-Dream activities include swimming, arts and crafts, a camp-out, horse back riding, a challenge ropes course, rafting, a dance

and carnival night – plus, during sessions for teens, young adults and adults, there are also educational workshops, speakers and group discussions to provide participants with skills to take home with them that can help them live more fully with and beyond their disease. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.campdream.org or call 406-5495987. MSN

Camp Mak-A-Dream Is A Land of Hopes and Dreams This year marks Camp Mak-A-Dream’s 15th season of offering cost-free, medically supervised weeklong programs for children, teens, young adults, and families affected by cancer. Since opening its doors in Gold Creek, Montana in 1995, Camp Mak-A-Dream has welcomed over 4,300 individuals not only from Montana, but from across the United States, and even as far away as Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chili. The goal of Camp Mak-A-Dream is to bring

Energy Share – Emergency Heating Assistance Since 1982, Montanans from all walks of life have been helping Energy Share keep their neighbors’ heat on in the winter. Energy Share of Montana provides emergency heating assistance to lower-income Montanans who are facing unforeseen financial difficulties. Donations from the public help Energy Share help others and are tax deductible. Energy Share complements the federallyfunded LIEAP program. In cases where LIEAP is unable to help, or if a person is getting LIEAP but is still facing loss of heat due to unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances, Energy Share may be able to help. Energy Share concentrates on providing one-time assistance for the majority of recipients. In addition to emergency bill assistance, Energy Share runs a refrigerator replacement

program for eligible seniors who own their homes. They also do furnace and water heater safety and efficiency work for customers of Energy West and Montana-Dakota Utilities and weatherization for Energy West customers. Families who live from paycheck to paycheck face financial emergencies when unexpected expenses occur. Frequently, these recipients repay Energy Share after their emergency or need has ended. Those in need of energy assistance can call Energy Share at 1888-779-7589 for more information. MSN

The Cold Time of Year Submitted by Julie Hollar It’s winter in Montana And the gentle breezes blow Seventy miles an hour At twenty-five below. Oh, how I love Montana When the snow’s up to your butt

And you take a breath of winter And your nose gets frozen shut. Yes, the weather here is wonderful, So I’ll guess I’ll hang around Since I could never leave Montana ‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground. MSN


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What do you know about Montana? And we don’t mean just what you learned in history class long ago. Old and new, let’s see how much you know. Our winning contest is from Ethel Christopher of Anaconda whose We Should Know Something About Montana quiz will test us all. Thank you, Ethel. You win this month’s $20 prize. Since there was no contest in our last issue, the person who submits the winning answers to “We Should Know Something About Montana”

will also win a $20 prize. Two $10 cash prizes are awarded from the “Contest Corner” in each issue of the Montana Senior News. One prize goes to the person who submits the entry that our staff selects as the featured quiz or puzzle in the “Contest Corner” for that issue. Be creative and send us some good, fun, and interesting puzzles! The second $10 prize goes to the person who submits the winning answers to the featured quiz

or puzzle from the previous issue. When there is more than one correct entry, the winner is determined by a drawing. Please mail your entries to the Montana Senior News, P.O. Box 3363, Great Falls, MT 59403, or email to montsrnews@bresnan.net by March 10, 2009 for our April/May 2009 edition. Be sure to work the crossword puzzle in this issue and on our website at www.montanaseniornews.com.

We Should Know Something About Montana Submitted by Ethel Christopher, Anaconda Below is a wide-ranging list of trivia questions to test your knowledge of our beautiful state. Some are probably familiar; some are not. Get a little help from your friends and send in your answers. You might win the $20 prize. Good luck! 1. Who penned, “I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love!” Was it Ernie Pyle, John Steinbeck, or Ernest Hemingway? 2. Which President signed the act that created Montana Territory?

3. Which NBA coach was born in Deer Lodge? 4. What famous humorist and author once lectured in Anaconda more than 100 years ago? 5. What Missoula-born woman was the first female member of Congress? 6. Which television newscaster was born in Cardwell? 7. How much of Montana’s land mass is under water? 8. Is Marias Pass or Rogers Pass the lowest highway crossing of the continental divide? 9. What movie and TV actress and comedienne lived in Anaconda as a girl? 10. How many Montanans died in the 19171918 flu epidemic? 11. What national organization declared the Washoe Theatre in Anaconda one of the five best art deco theaters in America? 12. What Montana artist won fame for his paintings and sculptures of the West? 13. A vigilante committee was formed in Bannock and Virginia City to rid themselves of outlaws. They adopted as their symbol the numbers

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3-7-77. What did the symbol mean? 14. Which Helena-born actor starred in “High Noon” and 100 other films in his career? 15. What is the name of Montana’s only large natural lake? 16. How badly was Anaconda beaten by Helena in the 1894 runoff to be the state capital? 17. Name the Townsend-born actor in the evening soap opera “Dallas.” 18. During 80 days in 1935 an earthquake swarm had 1,200 shocks near what city? 19. How did Triple Peak in Glacier National Park get it’s name? 20. How many days did Montana’s longest strike last? 21. Which Atlanta Falcons head coach was born in Lewistown? 22. How many lives were lost in the 1917 Granite Mountain mine fire in Butte? 23. Which former “Saturday Night Live” and “Wayne’s World” actor was born in Missoula? 24. Which famous American motion picture actress known for “The Thin Man” was born in Radersburg? MSN


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Teasing Your Taste Buds By Myles Mellor

MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 33

Down 1. Sparkling peach cocktail 2. ___ation, aka cocktail 3. It might be pearly? 4. Diamond amount, for short 5. The world is yours? 6. Johnny Walker’s top notch color 7. Ever, poetically 8. Dessert flavoring 9. Citrus brunch beverage 10. Respectful address in India 12. Kiwi walk-alike 17. Baby babble, when repeated 19. Special sense 20. German major, in music 21. World’s oldest alcoholic beverage 22. Cotoletta meat 25. Side dish perhaps, for short 26. Highly enriched French bread 27. French for summer

29. Dessert wine 31. Proper way to drink wine 34. Wire service 35. When to use utensils that are on the outermost position of your plate 36. Spanish wine punch 37. Melt (2 words) 40. B&B’s 42. Old English, abbr. 43. Foie ___, duck liver delicacy 44. Tokyo airport, abbr. 45. Yes votes 46. Bout of eating or spending indulgence 47. The eggs from this bird are considered a delicacy 49. Helper 51. Photo ___ 53. Working 55. Be at the table 59. You, in Paris 61. Florida is in the __ of the US MSN

SLASH YOUR HEAT BILL UP TO 50% Across 1. The most expensive type of caviar in the world 4. Tender beer fed beef 8. Mojito maker 10. You want to go out in it? 11. Maine meat 13. Goes with turfs? 14. Record company 15. Moral strength, in Confuciansim 16. The “I� factor 18. On the rocks 21. Audio-visual, abbr. 23. “___ Good ___ it Gets� 24. Range Rover, for one 26. French “burnt creme� part 28. Meal making necessity, with time 30. Have a good meal 32. Gourmet Lady of chocolate? 33. Lettuce amount

36. Ritz ___ Car, most expensive cocktail in the world 38. Mathematical ratio 39. Copy 40. The ___ girl (most popular) 41. French brandy 46. Wine drunk as an aperitif 47. You should mind yours, with P’s 48. Fancy finger food 50. Fine dined (2 words) 52. Seafood delicacy 54. Customer address 55. Ship initials 56. Minerals and massage locale 57. Fashionable 58. ___tasse, coffee amount in formal dining 60. Island, abbr. 62. Cristal is an example of this type of champagne 63. White ones are best!

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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

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What a difference caring makes… Submitted by Jim Meade As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers. At Mrs. Thompson’s school, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put off Teddy’s until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners.... He is a joy to be around.” His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.” Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and was ashamed of her attitude toward Teddy. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except Teddy. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, Mrs. Thompson cried. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy was one of the best students in the class and, despite having said she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her favorites. A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times,

he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the high honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his best and favorite teacher. Now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D. The story does not end there. There was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.” With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Thompson whispered back, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.” Dr. Teddy Stoddard treats patients at the Stoddard Cancer Wing at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. MSN

Did You Know??? Stewardess is the longest word typed with only the left hand. Lollipop is the longest word typed with your right hand. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple. Dreamt is the only English word that ends in the letters mt. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet. The words racecar, level, and kayak are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes). There are only four words in the English language that end in dous tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order - abstemious and facetious. Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.


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Helping Your Parents Accept a Caregiver! your parents’ satisfaction. Hire from an Agency or Privately? A caregiver hired from an agency is more expensive but presumably, they will be bonded, have had a background check, are supervised, and subject to standards of performance from an accredited caregiving organization. Although less expensive, hiring an individual is more time consuming, requires ongoing supervision, and can leave you without backup should the private caregiver get ill or need time off. In either case, be sure to request and verify membership in state or national home care organizations, references, background checks, and bonding. Regarding background checks and drug screenings, request written verification as to what background checks have been done on the caregivers you are considering. Be sure to ask: • Is the background check local, statewide, and nationwide? • What types of crimes have been searched and does the review include both felonies and misdemeanors? • How many years back have been checked? If an agency will not put this information in writing for you proceed with caution, perhaps they have not done background checks. To investigate applicants on your own, be sure to request a social security number on your application so you can review public records on real estate, Social Security, DMV, and taxes. Ask the applicant to provide a photograph and fingerprints as part of the application process. This can be enough to scare off some with a record. Know what qualities you seek in the caregiver. Before you begin interviewing caregivers, involve your parents in the process by together making a list of required Spacious apartment qualities you both want homes still available! in their caregiver. Include Call 651-8111 today responsibilities necesto schedule your tour. sary now, and those your parents will need as their health declines. Review Independent & the list with other family Assisted Living members and friends to 3140 Sweet Water Dr. make sure you have not missed anything and to Billings, Montana apprise others of what is SweetwaterRetirement.com expected. Do not waste time interviewing caregivers in person who did not meet your minimum requirements over the phone, which might include: • Will they clean up vomit, poop, and change diapers if necessary? • Do they have a valid driver’s license and current insurance card you Call today for can copy? our move-in • Will they give you special! their Social Security number so you can pay taxes properly? Live life on a grand scale in the resort-like setting of • How far away do The Springs at Whitefish. they live? • Do they have adThis inviting community offers Assisted Living and Memory Care in equate elder care expericontemporary Montana style. Located at an elevation of 3,000 feet, ence? Whitefish is an invigorating place to live, with breathtaking scenery and • Will they give you recreational opportunities all within walking distance of the city’s center. checkable references? Do they speak, read, and Come see us! We’d love to show you around and introduce you to our write your language at a friendly staff. Contact us today to schedule a visit. reasonable level? • Have they ever By Jacqueline Marcell, Senior Wire When I took care of my aging parents, I went through nearly 40 caregivers the first year. However, most were only there for about ten minutes as my father would be so nasty they would run out of the house or he would throw them out. After many trials and tears, I gained some insights into the complexities of the situation that I want to share to avoid your learning the hard way! First, keep in mind that change can be frightening for your parents and their fear of the unknown can be greater than you expect. It is important to seek the support of your parents’ physician(s) in advising your parents of the need for a caregiver. Ask the physician for a prescription as it may help persuade them. Meet with the representative of an agency that supplies all levels of caregivers, and arrange to have them meet with you and your parents at the house to discuss the many options available and the ways in which a caregiver could make your parents’ lives easier, safer, and more secure. Assure your parents that you will work with the caregiver to make sure things are done properly and to

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been arrested and/or convicted? • Will they sign a waiver to have a complete background check run on them? If they seem hesitant or refuses to provide the information you require over the phone, then save yourself the time of interviewing in-person. References Are Essential. Always ask for numerous references from prospective caregivers. If you are using an agency, ask to speak to some families who are using their caregivers now, to get a clear picture of how the agency is managed. Find out if the applicant has been punctual, reliable, what duties they have performed and are capable of doing, and what problems have occurred. Talk to previous employers, co-workers, landlords, neighbors, relatives, and friends. In addition, by visiting the applicant in their own home, you will see the level of cleanliness and organization you can expect in your loved one’s home. Do not forget to block all 976 and international calls on your parents’ phone. If your parents have long-term care insurance, confirm that the agency will accept direct payment from the LTC company. Always lock up valuables to remove temptation from those who come into the home. Once the caregiving begins, the client will probably make unreasonable demands. Therefore, the written list will assure the caregiver of their real responsibilities. Should your parents complain about the caregiver, do not defend him or her. Explain that you will find the underlying cause of the problem - and do so. If the complaints are well founded, report to the agency or take appropriate action on your own. If the complaints are superficial, talk to your parents, and strengthen your caregiver’s resiliency on how to handle the problem. Nanny-cams can assist. You can also install a nanny-cam so you can see for yourself what is happening in your loved one’s home. Make sure the caregiver knows the camera(s) are there, somewhere, as it is far better to deter abuse from happening than to see your parents abused by a vengeful caregiver after-the-fact. There are many

systems available these days and they are easily researchable online. Some install a 90-degree camera lens in a lamp, clock radio, smoke detector, tissue box, phone, or just about anywhere. The job is difficult. You may be surprised at the amount of work required in caring for your parents. Toileting, diapering, bathing, brushing and flossing teeth, shaving, fixing hair, soaking feet, applying ointments, moisturizers and makeup, cleaning wax out of ears, trimming nails, dressing, shopping, cooking, serving, feeding, administering medications, housekeeping, laundry, running errands, answering phone calls, keeping medical and dental appointments, providing social interaction, chauffeuring, monitoring medical devices — and also providing emotional support! With a challenging parent, recognize too that you are expecting your caregiver to be a psychologist in the trenches, asking them to tolerate behavior from a person who may be uncooperative, nasty, manipulative, and even physically combative. If dementia exists, be sure your caregiver understands how intermittent it can be and how to cope with illogical and irrational behavior. Realize that even mild dementia can cause unfounded complaints that may cause the caregiver significant stress, yet your parent may forget about it. Be sensitive to the stress and needs of your caregiver. Give praise often, overlook minor mistakes, and allow for a learning curve. Assuming that you have the proper power of attorney, make it clear to everyone that your parents do not have the authority to fire the caregiver. If this is not clear, you will likely have more than one caregiver not show up as scheduled because your parents have fired him or her. It will not take long for you to understand that a good caregiver is worth their weight in gold! Jacqueline Marcell wrote “Elder Rage,” a Bookof-the-Month Club selection. She also hosts the “Coping with Caregiving” radio show, and speaks internationally on Alzheimer’s, Caregiving and Eldercare. www.ElderRage.com. MSN

Nursing Home Ratings and Patient’s Rights – Here’s Where to Find Them By Tait Trussell, Senior Wire Medicare is now rating nursing homes with a five-star system so you can compare among those in your community to determine which facility is best for your loved one. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the first nursing home comparison back in 1998. Demand is obviously great for such comparative information. Some 1.3

million people per month click on the Web to see how nursing homes compare. The new system gives each of America’s 1,600 certified Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes a star rating, with five stars being the best. The whole concept, of course, is to give families and patients an assessment of quality, thus making meaningful distinctions between

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high performing and lesser performing nursing homes. More than three million Americans annually seek out the services that nursing homes provide. The new five-star rating system now gives a composite view of the quality and safety information currently on Nursing Home Compare at www. medicare.gov. Before you get started in your search for a nursing home, you and your family member may

have other long-term care choices such as home care or assisted living depending on your needs and resources. These are steps you can follow, when searching for the right home for you: 1. To find nursing homes in your area, search by name of the home, city, county, state, or zip code. 2. Compare the quality of the nursing home you’re considering using the five-star quality ratings, health inspection results, nursing home staff data, quality measures, and fire safety inspection results. 3. Make sure you visit the nursing homes you are considering or have someone visit for you. 4. Choose the nursing home that best meets your needs. Talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider, your family, friends, or the appropriate state agency. The website suggests some 50 questions to ask of administrators, staff, and residents. For example: • Does the home have a licensed physician on staff? • Does it have an arrangement with nearby hospitals for emergencies? • Is it located close enough for family or friends to visit regularly? Nursing Home Compare’s new rating system will give an incentive to nursing homes to strive to earn a five-star rating. The Compare system summarizes information into overall rating, health inspections, quality measures, and staffing. It includes the three most recent inspections, all complaint inspections during the prior three years, and the number and scope of any deficiencies and their severity. Quality measures also are based on the assessment by residents of the home. Staffing data are based on number of hours of care on average provided to each resident each day. The qualifications of the nursing staff - registered nurse, or nursing assistant - also are

weighed. Through its consumer information websites, CMS offers more information on the quality, patient satisfaction, and cost of care. The new Compare Website follows the agency’s first nationwide identification of chronically underperforming nursing homes. Facilities in the “Special Focus Facility” initiative are under special scrutiny and undergo twice as many inspections as other homes. CMS announced that, in the future, it plans to work with other health-care providers and consumers to make similar rating systems available for hospitals, home health agencies, and end-stage renal disease facilities. In 2007, CMS also initiated a star rating system for health and prescription drug plans. These are available to Medicare beneficiaries. Did you know that nursing home residents have rights under the law? Nursing homes have to give new residents a copy of this bill of rights. Some of them include: • The right to be treated with dignity and respect. • The right to be informed in writing about services and fees before you enter a home. • The right to manage your own money or choose someone else to do this. • The right to privacy, and to keep and use your personal belongings as long as it does not interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. • The right to be informed about your medical condition, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications. • The right to choose your schedule for going to sleep or getting up, if it does not interfere with others. • The right to an environment that maximizes your comfort and provides you with assistance to be as independent as possible. MSN

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Plan Ahead for Medicaid By Carol Celeste, Senior Wire No one likes to think about needing a nursing home but many people end up in one. It pays to plan for this occurrence, especially for middleincome families, those with too many assets to qualify for Medicaid and too little income to afford long-term care insurance. It is important to contact an elder law professional who specializes in Medicaid compliance since over one year ago the qualification rules for Medicaid assistance changed and more changes are likely. Here are some key items to consider. Assets determination. To qualify for Medicaid, countable assets may not exceed $2,000. Noncountable items include personal property (clothing, furniture, jewelry, etc.), one vehicle valued up to $4,500 for a single person with no limit for a married person, prepaid funeral plans, inaccessible assets, and the principal residence. Restrictions apply to home exclusion. Equity must be less than $500,000 and the applicant must prove a reasonable expectation of returning to the home. Transfer penalty. Many people transfer property to family or others to spend-down countable assets to the qualifying level. If you transfer assets without receiving fair value in return (e.g., deeding a home to children or others as a gift or for less than market value in payment) a penalty period for coverage is imposed. Currently, transfers made before February 8, 2006, will be examined for 36 months prior to applying for Medicaid to determine if they were made solely to qualify - which is not allowed. Transfers made after that date have a 60-month look back term. Determining the penalty. Say the average cost of care in your state was $5,000 per month and you gift property worth $100,000 within the look back period. The penalty period would be 20 months ($100,000 divided by $5,000). That means you must pay your own way for the 20-month penalty period before Medicaid will take over. There is no limit to the length of ineligibility. It depends entirely on the cost of care in your state, the dollar value transferred, and the date of application for Medicaid coverage. Start of the penalty period. The penalty period begins when the applicant has: • moved to a nursing home, • spent down assets to the eligibility level, • applied for Medicaid coverage, and • been approved for coverage. Using the example above, if you transfer

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

$100,000 on June 1, 2007, move to a nursing home on June 1, 2008, spend down to eligibility level on June 1, 2009, your 20-month penalty begins on June 1, 2009. That means that for 20 months after depleting your assets, you are responsible for your nursing home expenses. That is why you need to plan when making transfers. Penalty exceptions. States handle implementation differently so check the facts for your area. An exemption may be granted if the applicant would be deprived of critical medical care or the necessities of life. Generally, transfers you make today will affect any move to a nursing home made sooner than 60 months from the transfer date. Spousal protections. A spouse not going on Medicaid, called the “community spouse,” is entitled to keep half of the couple’s countable assets up to a limit that varies by state. A court order is needed to increase that amount. Spending Medicaid income. Medicaid imposes strict priorities in the spending of its funds. First, you must cover the nursing home expenses with some deductions permitted for personal needs, uncovered medical costs, insurance premiums, and a spousal or dependent child allowance. Complications. Several items make consulting an expert advisable if not mandatory. Married Medicaid recipients must separate their income from their spouse’s for tax purposes and to exempt the community spouse from financial responsibility for the Medicaid mate. Annuities may be countable in some cases and the state will become the beneficiary. Various promissory notes owed the Medicaid applicant and life estates may be considered countable assets. The dollar amounts allowed for all items change each year with inflation. And it does not end there. Estates can be tapped to recover Medicaid costs after the death of both spouses. Specialists keep up with the intricacies of Medicaid red tape. This article cannot include all the information you need before deciding when and how to plan for possible Medicaid coverage. The details are much too complicated. Check with Montana’s state Medicaid office and a Montana legal specialist for current procedures. Link to the Montana Medicaid office at www.dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/medicaid. shtml#medicaid. Find elder law specialists at: www.naela.org. Carol Celeste authored When the Old Block Chips. E-mail her at familyeldercare@ juno.com. MSN

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By Lisa M. Petsche The snow and ice, subzero temperatures and limited daylight of winter keep many people indoors and at home more often than they would like. The result for some is a case of the winter blues. Here are some tips for getting past them. Find little things that cheer you • Treat yourself to new flannel pajamas, a polar fleece robe, or a cozy, comfortable pair of

slippers. • Keep throws draped over chairs and across the foot of your bed for easy access on chilly days and nights. These come in many fabrics, colors, and prints, doubling as attractive home accents. • Invest in a quality set of flannel sheets. • Soak in a hot, fragrant bath. • Stock up on gourmet coffee, tea, and hot chocolate mix. And don’t forget spices for hot apple cider - a perfect treat for long, wintry nights. • Order take-out food for a change of cuisine. Try something festive and colorful. Warm and brighten your décor • Evaluate your lighting and change it where necessary, using higher wattage bulbs. • Try using warm, rich colors, such as burgundy and gold, for cushion covers, tablecloths, place mats, a mantel scarf, and so on. Brass accessories are also a winter favorite because they reflect light. • Add texture with warm fabrics like velour, chenille, and fleece - the softer, the better. And for even more texture, try a bowl of pinecones or potpourri, embossed candles, or a grapevine wreath. • Keep blinds and curtains open during daylight hours, and close them after dark. • Bring a bit of nature into your home: nurture some plants or buy fresh

Beating Winter Blues: Don't Forget To Pamper Yourself flowers. Keep busy • Accomplishment brings satisfaction and a sense of renewal. Try new things or tackle longpostponed projects. • Try some new recipes. • Borrow or buy movies, music CDs, and reading material, or reacquaint yourself with old favorites you have on hand. • Work on some challenging jigsaw puzzles or word puzzles. • Start a new hobby, such as sketching or scrap booking, or revive an old pastime. • Peruse gardening magazines and catalogs and plan this year’s garden. • Get a bird feeder and seed, a pair of binoculars, and a bird watching guide. • Organize your collection of photos, music, or movies. • Do some de-cluttering around your home. • Donate unwanted items to a local charity. • Rearrange the furniture in one or more rooms, or swap furnishings among rooms. • Do something nice for someone. It will take your mind off your own situation. • Make an extra effort to look after your health. Get adequate rest, eat nutritious foods, and exercise regularly. Just remember to start slowly if you’re out of shape. This is a long list of ideas, but it will keep you occupied. You do not have to do them all, but try a few and see if you do not feel a little better. Lisa M. Petsche is a medical social worker and a freelance writer specializing in health and seniors’ issues. MSN

Presidents Day: Washington and Lincoln Trivia By S. Scott Clarkson, Senior Wire The Bible on which George Washington took the oath of office was used at his funeral and has been used to inaugurate four other presidents - Warren Harding, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush. Sr. George W. Bush was going to use it but because of bad weather had to use another Bible. After leaving the White House, George Washington badly needed money and opened a distillery at his plantation. In his first year, he sold over eleven thousand gallons of whiskey, earning a profit of $7,500. The former president was amazed at how much demand there was for his product. Indians killed Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather, also named Abraham Lincoln, while he was planting corn. As a young boy, Abraham Lincoln had the chore of taking corn to the local mill. Running late one day and wanting to make it home before dark, Lincoln began to whip the horse that was pulling the mill. The angry horse kicked Lincoln in the head causing him to pass out and bleed profusely. The mill owner at first thought he was dead. Lincoln was unconscious until the next day and was not able to speak for several hours after he awoke. Some speculate this is what caused Lincoln’s lifelong problem with depression. Abraham Lincoln was very poor as a boy and at the time he first married. When his father-in-law visited the newly weds, he was saddened by their meager living conditions. When he got home, he arranged to send them $120 a year to help them. Abraham Lincoln started the practice of having members of the media always accompany him. Lincoln arranged a special railway car for the press corps to follow him when he first was elected president. MSN


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Bernice’s Bakery Makes Good Things And Makes Good Things Happen a bunch of people to thank for Bernice’s success By Gail Jokerst If ever a business represented the generous- and decided to give back to the community.” As the couple pondered ways Bernice’s could hearted spirit of Missoula, that business would have to be Bernice’s Bakery. For three decades, go beyond what the bakery had done for the city Bernice’s has been much more than just a in the past, they struck on the idea of collaboratplace to buy chocolate chip cookies, as tasty as ing with non-profit businesses that had strong they are. It has served as a multi-generational local ties. They decided to help a variety of these non-profits throughout home away from home their milestone year. where everyone feels In some cases, they welcome. raised money for the On any given day, organization. In other you can see coffeecases, they channeled drinking chess players their advertising dolmatching wits, readers lars to raise the level perusing newspapers, of awareness of that students communing organization’s role in with laptops, and sweetthe region. In all cases, hearts feeding each othBernice’s patrons knew er dessert. What you will by the promotions ocnot see are customers curring in the sales and who hesitate to sit in [Photo by B. James Jokerst] eating areas which oravailable chairs because those chairs happen to reside at already-oc- ganization the Littigs were championing that cupied tables. Sharing is part of the unspoken month. “Non-profits fill a niche that individuals in societhos at Bernice’s - whether you are talking about seating or the bakery’s approach to supporting ety want to see taken care of but, don’t want the government to do. And they’re always looking for the Missoula community. Last year, Bernice’s proprietors, Christine and help,” remarks Christine. “They’re entrepreneurs Marco Littig, resolved to expand that commitment who care for the world. They see needs that are to sharing even further as part of their 30-year not being met and start a business to care for that need. Not unlike small businesses, some birthday celebration. “Everyone who has owned this bakery has don’t succeed.” For eleven months of 2008, Bernice’s efforts been community minded. Bernice’s has given donations to organizations for years. When we helped one organization per month from the Polooked at the history, we realized the donations verello Center (which offers food and shelter), were always in kind as products or discounts on Missoula Urban Demour baked goods. During our birthday year, Marco onstration, Jeanette and I wanted to do more for Missoula,” says Rankin Peace Center, Christine, who is the business’s third owner. “We Families First, and Misdid feel a desire to remind people there’s a power soula Youth Homes to and energy behind owning a small business that Blue Mountain Clinic, keeps a community pulsing. We realized we had Missoula Art Museum,

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Garden City Harvest, PEAS Farm, Missoula Food Bank, and the International Wildlife Film Festival. During December, instead of featuring one organization to assist, the Littigs gave to any non-profit that asked even though they usually never made donations during their busiest month of the year. While each promotion was successful in its own way, Christine still marvels at the city’s response to the 50 television ads Bernice’s sponsored for Missoula Youth Homes. “Although they didn’t necessarily desire money, they did need more people willing to take foster children. Our goal was to increase the community’s awareness of this need. Missoula Youth Homes told us they received many phone calls of interest as a result of the ad campaign,” reports Christine. “They now have a much larger pool of interested parties to work with.” In other instances, Bernice’s did things such as purchase and sell travel coffee mugs, T-shirts, and day-planners in addition to selling specialty cookies, holding Easter egg decorating contests, and catering events for free. They also hosted a tip-jar contest where they challenged other coffee house owners to match the contents of that business’s tip jars for a week and give the money to the Missoula Food Bank and the Poverello Center. That one challenge alone raised almost $5,000. While this level of

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philanthropy may seem to run counter to many people’s business concepts, Christine and Marco have found that helping others in the community has brought rewards beyond anything they expected. “It was never about the money, what we spent or what we raised,” notes Christine. “We wanted to believe that if you do good things, good things will happen - and they have. This felt so right for us and our staff; we may even do it again.” Despite Bernice’s spending almost its entire annual advertising budget to promote the various non-profits, they found their own sales did not suffer as a result. In fact, the opposite occurred. “More people than ever are coming in. Business is up,” says Christine. “The partnerships energized everybody.” Although Bernice’s originally built its reputation as a 1970s era granola-type establishment featuring whole-grain breads and cookies chock full of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, this bustling enterprise has evolved way beyond the earthmother stereotype. Today, it serves as one of Missoula’s premiere outlets for custom-designed wedding cakes, old-world breads, and beautiful holiday cookies as well as a lunch stop for freshly made soups, salads, and sandwiches. What has not changed is Bernice’s dedication to providing customers with high-quality edibles at affordable prices in a familiar comfortable setting. They still use butter instead of margarine, make luscious caramel-fudge bar cookies, and sell bags of granola. But now, their offerings include things like organic fair trade coffee and elegant wine cakes. “In the midst of franchise and box stores, it’s fun for people to find that hometown original places like this are still tucked away in the same location for 30 years,” says Christine. “Bernice’s is an interlocking web of past and present. Many of our customers came here as children. Even some of our employees are the sons and daughters of former employees. Walking though our door is like walking into your own house. I watch people interact as they discuss politics and share stories and I’m grateful we’ve hung onto that small-town feel.” Bernice’s Bakery is located at 190 South Third West and is open daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M. For information about donating to any of the non-profits they spotlighted during the past year, call 406-728-1358 or email bbakery@modwest.com. MSN


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Montana’s Mountaineering Legend: Missoula’s Gray Thompson stimulated during the respite. By Gail Jokerst While those two record-shattering trips ocWhen meeting Missoula’s Graham “Gray” Thompson for the first time and learning about curred early in Gray’s climbing history - during his career and calling, you cannot help but think the 1960s - he has hardly slowed down since. of the motion-picture character Indiana Jones. For In the intervening years, he made a first ascent part of the year, both men teach college classes of Lamo-she Peak in the Himalayas in 1993 with and appear to be nothing more than dedicated compatriots and scaled scores of peaks in the Alps, academics educating enthralled students. But for Rockies, and Andes, among other regions. And he the remainder of the year, these two men assume intends to continue summiting mountains as long their respective personas as adventurers. That is as he is physically able to shoulder a 30-to-100pound pack and rappel when they pursue quests down a cliff face. that wow the rest of us According to Gray, with their courage and one of Montana’s earliderring-do. est climbers, age has Of course, Indy’s chalnothing to do with ability lenges typically come in in this sport. He considthe form of bad guys, who ers agile 13-year-old want whatever treasure girls to be among the or artifact he is seekworld’s best climbers but ing. On the other hand, also knows men in their Gray’s challenges come 80s who can still flash up in the form of mountains a mountainside. not villains. He’s a skilled “You have to be climber respected interstrong and lightweight nationally for his mounand need a good sense taineering feats and for of balance and movetesting himself to stretch ment. That allows you to beyond his latest conmove your weight in an quest. optimal fashion minimiz“It’s a human trait to ing the effort you have to do things to surpass your put out, much like gymlimits. I’m always striving nastics,” notes Gray, to climb at a continuously who keeps in shape by harder level above my [Photo by B. James Jokerst] doing chin-ups, lifting ability,” says Gray, who has been clambering up hillsides since childhood. “It’s a natural tendency for kids to climb things like rocks. Some outgrow it by accident or choice. Some never do.” Among his many accomplishments, Gray - along with a partner - made the first American ascent of the Matterhorn’s North Face, a threethousand-foot vertical climb he describes as “technically difficult and long.” When the twosome reached the summit ice field, a huge lightning storm struck a few hundred feet from the top discharging the startling green flames known as St. Elmo’s fire. Neither man was hurt but the light show definitely got their attention. He also made the first ascent of Denali’s South Face that is nearly two vertical miles above the mountain base and took two months to complete. This trek also happened to include a memorable storm that forced Gray and his climbing partner to hole up for a couple of weeks in a tent perched on a narrow ledge while avalanches poured over them. “There were massive avalanches coming sometimes as frequently as every 30 seconds. It was like laying on railroad tracks with trains running over you,” recalls Gray, who read and re-read a geology textbook he brought along as well as his companion’s copy of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House to keep mentally

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weights, and tackling the walls at the University of Montana’s indoor climbing gym. From the psychological side of things, Gray cites several traits that successful climbers share no matter how old they are. “It’s important to be mentally relaxed because tension requires energy. And you can’t be worried about falling. It’s a part of climbing and is expected. That’s why you also have to be fastidious about protection,” stresses Gray referring to gear such as the ropes, helmets, carabineers, camming devices, and wired stoppers that are part of every mountaineer’s arsenal. To learn from the mistakes others make, Gray religiously reads the American Alpine Club’s annual accident report, which he deems “the single most informative document published about climbing.” In most cases, Gray says there were “simple precautions that could have been taken but weren’t like wearing a helmet so falling rocks from above don’t hit you on the head.” He is quick to add, though, that while some precautions fall into the simple category, learning to climb safely is neither easy nor something a novice should tackle solo. “Get lessons, take a course at a college or university, and use a reliable guide service,” he advises. “Don’t try to figure it all out on your own. Go with someone who knows what he’s doing and learn how to protect yourself.” Although well versed in the things a mountaineer should do right, that still does not keep Gray

free from the vicissitudes of Mother Nature. As he has discovered, storms can come up quickly and surprise even the most experienced adventurer. During his ascent of Denali, after he and his climbing partner had spent a week in their tent to avoid avalanches, they broke camp when the weather cleared and continued their skyward trek. In a short time, though, Gray’s feet felt so cold the pair returned to the ledge and set up camp again to get his nearly frostbitten feet warm. During the few hours this took, the storm unexpectedly returned and marooned the men for another week in their tent. If they had been climbing on the exposed mountainside when the storm broke, Gray admits they would have been in trouble. As it turned out, they later learned another group had been climbing Denali at the same time and half of the men in that party was caught and perished. In Gray’s opinion, good climbers should also be good geologists. Otherwise, they won’t know how to choose the best route up a mountain. “When I’m climbing, I’m always looking at and figuring out what processes created the landforms and landscapes I see. Knowing something about the geology helps, especially when it comes to layering, which gives you holds. On mountains composed of layered rock, the steep faces have in-cut holds that are good to climb on, while the other side often has down-sloping with very little to hold onto,” explains Gray, who understands rocks very well indeed considering he was a U of M professor of geology for over 35 years. Although Gray retired in 2005, he still teaches a field-mapping summer course in Dillon and continues to write about his favorite topic. So far, he has authored a dozen geology textbooks and published a three-page list of academic and nonacademic articles. He has yet to pen any screenplays based on his adventures that Harrison Ford could enact. But who knows? Maybe there is one in Gray Thompson’s future. MSN

Dr. Jack Stanford is a privileged observer

By Gail Jokerst If Dr. Jack Stanford had his way, the No Child Left Behind program would be renamed and changed to No Child Left Indoors. Educator, researcher, and Director of the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) since 1980, Stanford feels today’s youth will not find a better classroom anywhere than the great outdoors. “Ecology can’t be learned in a box. You have to be able to measure patterns and processes in natural systems in the context of human influences,” he explains. “You can’t just philosophize.” As someone who spent every possible moment of his formative years outdoors, Stanford knows the value of giving free reign to children’s curiosity about their surroundings. “A trout stream ran through my family’s ranch in Colorado, where I grew up. I loved to turn over rocks in the stream and find hellgrammites and other cool things. If an irrigation diversion caught a trout, I’d pick it up and carry it to safety. I was always sticking my hands into the water,” recalls Stanford with a smile. “It’s a wonder a muskrat didn’t bite me.” By the time he reached junior high school, Stanford was so fascinated by what he was discovering, he decided to spend his life studying rivers and creeks. He had learned for himself the importance of firsthand observation and the need to draw his own conclusions about the world around him. Stanford is the embodiment of this philosophy. Students enrolled in his graduate and doctoral programs at the University of Montana, which uses FLBS as a research facility, understand that quickly during their first four weeks under his tutelage. “We never go inside except to sleep and I teach as I go. My students follow me around Crown of the Continent country,” says Stanford, who also


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happens to have a weakness for wearing colorful gings change the dirt’s nitrogen cycling patterns. Jerry Garcia neckties (though not when he is out With time, this results in larger corms, which keep in the field). bears coming back for more. As they head out to begin their research asAs a speaker who is much in demand, Stanford signments at the remote sites to be investigated, is also aware of the need to keep the public instudents frequently ask what kind of hiking condi- formed about studies conducted at and through the tions they can expect before reaching their desti- station. Providing scientific data, interpretation, and nation. Stanford has a stock reply. outreach to resolve environmental problems and “I tell them there are five degrees of bush- inform public policy is one of FLBS’s mandates. whacking. The first stage is not too bad. You can Part of his efforts to educate the public includes push things aside. Next, you start to crawl up and hosting an open house every summer. Visitors can over things. After that, you’re still crawling but you join guided tours at the station, which dates back have to stop all the time because things are get- to 1899. They can also go on nature walks, take ting tougher. Then you notice the sun is starting a ride on a research vessel, or peruse museum to disappear and you exhibits. Self-guided aren’t sure where you walking tour pamphlets are. And finally, you are available, as well, realize you have no and visitors are always idea where you are and welcome any time of you’re crying for your year. mother.” In addition, FLBS Those who do not offers field-ecology know better might think classes during an eighthe is kidding when he week summer session describes the rigors of along with short coursresearch. But, Stanes. These classes are ford is not joking. If a provided for college stustudent cannot endure dents, K-12 teachers, bushwhacking into wild [Photo by B. James Jokerst] and natural resource land areas, Stanford knows that person can never professionals. Free evening seminars geared to make it as an ecological researcher. In this aca- the public are another venue Stanford uses to demic field, physical stamina may matter as much share the latest research results and natural reas brainpower. source information in lay language. Many of Stanford’s backcountry treks have Of the many things he has learned during his brought him to regions that function close to pris- career, Stanford says what has surprised him most tine, where few have trod before him. He considers is the rapidity of climate change. himself “a privileged observer” during his outings “It’s alarmed me,” he confesses. “As ice leads because he has got so see so many memorable open up and heat from the sun gets absorbed inwildlife vignettes. stead of reflected off the ice and water temperatures “I once watched a grizzly sow and cub over by rise much faster than with the ice gradually melting. Fifty Mountain Meadow in Glacier National Park. It’s going to take a multi-disciplined approach to Mostly they were playing. She would occasionally understand the changing dynamics of landscapes stop to sniff and look around but the cub was all and how animals and plants are arrayed in that new over the place,” remembers Stanford. “It was hot landscape. This process and they were headed to a big pool for a swim. The is in place everywhere cub couldn’t wait but she wouldn’t hurry. Finally, you go on the planet,” when the pool was about 30 yards away, the cub he emphasizes. “The hutook off. When they were both in the water, she man footprint is already would hug and dunk the cub. Anyone who saw that there.” would never want to see those animals dead.” When asked about Stanford is arguably best known for his stew- resources to recommend ardship of Flathead Lake, one of the world’s clean- for those wanting to unest large freshwater lakes. But, even though he is derstand more about primarily concerned with the effects of the environ- climate change and how ment on the Flathead Lake ecosystem and what it is affecting the world, effect the lake has on its surroundings, Stanford Stanford makes several does not restrict FLBS’s research endeavors only endorsements. The first to water-based systems. is The Future of Life by “We go after things that are interesting. Things Edward O. Wilson. that people may not have thought of before,” he “It’s a powerful book states. For example, Stanford mentions a project that leaves you with the he has been conducting in the sub-alpine regions idea that it’s not too late. of Glacier Park. He has discovered that when griz- We can still turn things zly bears dig in specific areas for glacier lily corms around,” he says. Stan(thick food-storing underground stems), their dig- ford also cites Al Gore’s

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film, The Earth in Balance as another reference he considers accurate, and the British Broadcasting Corporation’s televised series, Planet Earth. “It’s a challenge to bring up youngsters to handle the human-caused legacies of climate warming. You can shoot the messenger if you want, but the facts remain the same. Overlapping ranges for animals mean plants and animals are mixing in unprecedented ways. How are we going to live with this new mix of species?” asks Stanford. “Humans

have the capacity to make something livable out of the situation. But, it will require good education and open-minded thinking on the part of as many people as possible. We need to talk about the facts and help people to think for themselves.” For more information about the station’s activities or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.umt.edu/flbs, e-mail flbs@flbs.umt.edu, or call 406-982-3301. MSN

Smokejumper Andy Hayes - continued from front cover Canadian borders both in a month’s time. “That is kind of cool, and it’s something that is a little bit indicative of my job, that I traveled that much,” he says. When Andy got back to Missoula, he had about three or four weeks left. “I really, really wanted to jump one more fire, and I really wanted to jump a fire right near the end. In fact, I kept telling people. In my job I’ve gotten to be friends with all the dispatchers. I was emailing them, saying, ‘Do you have any fires? Can you get me out there?’ And they’re all trying to help me,” Andy recalls. “I think it was July 28 that we got the call for a fire and I didn’t really care where it was. I just wanted to go jump a fire. It was in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. And for me, as a smokejumper in Western Montana, if there was any place in the whole world that I would pick to jump that would be in the Bob Marshall,” Andy continues. The plane carrying the smokejumpers flew over his house, over the Mission Mountains that he sees from his house, hopped the Swan Valley then circled in the jump area. “There were real nice avalanche chutes, a couple of them, that we could jump into, but the wind was blowing a little bit hard and I was so excited to jump, I kept telling them, ‘Just take me out there and I’ll jump,’” Andy says. He puts on a different voice to mimic his co-worker. “No Andy, we’ve got to get this thing right!” Returning to his own voice, Andy says, “You see, we’re real precise with throwing those streamers to decide where the exit point is. If there’s much wind you wind up throwing three, four, five, six times. So if we can get those streamers to go right where we want to land, then we know the right exit point for the people. Then we circle around and each time we go over that exit point we throw out two people and they’ll get to that same spot. So I was being a little bit reckless in that I just wanted to jump, but then he calmed me down. “I was the first one out and the wind was blowing harder than I thought. I turned into the wind to try to get into the avalanche chute. I realized I was going backwards. I looked behind and I could see big trees. I didn’t want to land in those big trees on my last fire jump. So I turned really fast and ran with the wind for about 300 yards, turned back into the wind, and landed right in the next avalanche chute. Then I went out and watched each one of the smokejumpers come out and hit the ground. Beautiful! “And I knew, of course, there was no question in my mind that it was my last time I was ever going to do a jump and be in the woods like that because I was retiring like in four days,” Andy says. Once they’re done with a fire, smokejumpers in a wilderness area can’t use a helicopter, so they must pack out their jump gear, a 120-pound load. But Andy even got a break here. The fire lasted long enough that a packer brought food in. He also carried the jump gear out. So Andy ended the Bob Marshall job with a pleasant 12-mile walk, carrying a lightweight, 22-pound pack. There’s a reason smokejumpers back at the base get an hour a day for exercise. Next day, Andy’s last, he filled out a fire report and took the smokejumper physical training test, just to show himself he was still up to snuff. Yep! Not many smokejumpers work as long as


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Andy, who retired at age 55. But more and more do. Pay is good, winter hours are optional and flexible, and the firefighter retirement plan is a deal. Even fewer people jump for 30 years without filing an injury form. Sprained ankles and knees blown out are most common. Andy figures his perfect record reflects his size. At 160 pounds, he’s lighter than many firefighters, who hit the ground a little harder. Andy says he is paranoid about injuries, because they could ruin his ski season. Times have changed a great deal since Andy made his first fire jump, landing in a tree 30 years ago. The Pulaski is still unchanged, but smokejumpers can work year round now helping with hurricane relief and climbing urban trees looking for invading beetles during the off-season. Times have also changed since Andy retired. Now when he and his wife Julie plan an evening out, he never has to cancel with a satellite call from the Shasta-Trinity Wilderness. They could both get used to that. MSN

Affordable Health Resources for the Missoula Community Partnership Health Center is a treasure valued by many people living in Missoula and surrounding rural areas because we are the only provider of affordable healthcare and other important health resources. We are pleased to introduce our newest program, the Geriatric Assessment Clinics and know that they will also be highly valued by many. The monthly Geriatric Assessment Clinics evaluate the unique healthcare problems and needs of our older citizens through a holistic approach. This means that we gather a professional team that includes a physician, nutritionist, physical therapist, pharmacist, and others, to take an in-depth look at many aspects of your health. Once the initial assessments are completed, the team reviews what they have found, and works to find the best solutions for you. We have seen this model work for countless seniors in other parts of the state, and are thrilled to offer this service in Missoula. As a community health center, we provide our services for minimal fees, which is especially important for seniors living on a fixed income with Medicare. Please give us a call today at 406-258-4112 to see how we can help with your health needs. MSN

Where is the mail carrier? Submitted by Julie Hollar A man was in his front yard mowing grass when his attractive, blonde, female neighbor came out of the house and went straight to the mailbox. She opened it, looked inside, closed it, and went back into the house. A little later she came out of the house again went to the mailbox, again opened it, looked inside, slammed it shut, and went angrily back into the house. As the man was getting ready to edge the lawn, out she came again. She marched to the mailbox, opened it, looked inside, and then slammed it closed harder than ever. Puzzled by her actions, the man asked her, “Is something wrong?” To which she replied, “There certainly is. My stupid computer keeps saying, “You’ve got mail.” MSN

2112 DIXON AVENUE MISSOULA, MT 59801

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Job Resources for Un-Retirees By Jim Miller Unfortunately, the economic downturn has forced many retirees into the workforce. To help you job hunt, there is a variety of resources available today that cater to older workers. Web Resources - Whatever your skills or working interest (full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal) there is a growing array of online employment networks that can help you connect with companies that are interested in hiring seniors. Some top sites to visit are: • RetirementJobs.com: This is the largest and most comprehensive career site for people over age 50. It offers a job search engine that lists more than 30,000 jobs nationwide from companies that are actively seeking older workers. It also provides job-seeking tips and advice, help with resume writing, and allows you to post your resume online for companies to find you. Other 50-plus job seeking sites worth a look are seniors4hire.com, workforce50.com, retiredbrains.com, retireeworkforce. com, wiserworker.com, and seniorjobbank.com. • AARP: At www.aarp.org/employerteam you can search for a job through AARP’s National Employer Team. This is a group of 39 top-notch national companies that are looking to hire older workers in a wide variety of areas. You can also do a job search at the AARP/Monster.com partnership site at http://jobsearch.aarp.monster.com. • Enrge.us: For retired government employees, this site (www.enrge.us) matches federal,

state, and local government workers with private companies seeking to fill contract jobs in all kinds of fields. You post your resume on their site where a large pool of potential employers can review it and contact you if interested. • YourEncore.com: This online recruitment firm connects retired scientists, developers, and engineers with companies that offer consulting assignments lasting up to one year. Government and Community Programs - Uncle Sam may also be able to help you get a job through their Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, SCSEP offers lower-income folks, age 55 and older access to training and part-time job placements in a wide variety of community service positions such as day care centers, senior centers, governmental agencies, schools, hospitals, libraries, and landscaping centers. To learn more or locate a program near you visit www.doleta. gov/seniors or call 877-872-5627. Another government resource to tap into is a Career One-Stop center. There are more than 3,000 of these centers located around the country that provide free resources and services to help you explore career options, locate training and find a new job. To find a nearby center, call 877-348-0502 or go to www.servicelocator.org. In addition, some states, communities, and local non-profits may offer their own senior employment programs. To find out what may be available

Tips for Job Seekers As Economy Forces Montanans Back to Work

Experience Works, a nonprofit organization that trains older workers and helps them find employment, is noticing an increase in the number of older adults heading back to work. Since January 2008, the number of 65+ workers has increased nationwide by 434,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “More and more we are seeing older adults who can’t make ends meet so they are seeking out employment to help pay for the increasing costs of everyday living,” said Connie Moench, Experience Works Business and Community Liaison for Montana. “For the seniors in our training programs, who are often on fixed incomes, it can come down to a choice between food and medicine. They need to work.” She offers the following five résumé writing tips for older adults seeking to re-enter the workforce: • Give it some punch: Start your résumé with a tag line that emphasizes your desired outcome in your new position. • Stick to the core: List your accomplishments and experience from your work history in terms of core competencies related to the position you seek, not based upon chronological order. The biggest

error made by many older workers is to list all of their duties and responsibilities over the years, even those that have no relevance to the position sought. • Keep it brief: Your résumé should be no longer than two pages. Arrange your accomplishments in bulleted action items, not paragraphs. References do not belong in a résumé; employers will ask for those in their application or at the time of the interview. • Leave it out: As an older worker, you should de-emphasize dates and years in your résumé by omitting dates of education, leaving out earliest jobs and inserting times only for relevant past work experience. • Accentuate the positives: Emphasize the positive attributes of your age and experience including your accumulated experience, strong work ethic, ability to make a contribution immediately, and your familiarity with relevant computer software and other technology. If you are an older worker seeking employment or if you are an employer interested in recruiting older workers, please contact Minnie Bell at 800450-5627 or visit www.experienceworks.org. MSN

in your area contact 800-677-1116. Temporary Part-Time - If you are looking for temporary part-time work, a great option to consider is the U.S. Census Bureau, which is currently recruiting census takers for the 2010 census. This is ideal for retirees looking to earn some extra income and work flexible hours. Pay ranges from $10 to $22 an hour, depending on the region. Thousands of census takers are needed to update address lists and conduct door-to-door interviews. Hiring will begin in February. To apply, call 866861-2010 to schedule an appointment and to take the employment test. And for more information go to www.census.gov/2010censusjobs. SSA Notes - Retirees who are looking to unretire need to be aware that working can temporarily reduce your Social Security (see www.ssa.gov/ pubs/10069.html) if you are currently collecting retirement benefits and are under full retirement age, and earn more than $14,160 in 2009. Also note that some of your Social Security benefits may be taxable too if your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefits reach more than $25,000 or $32,000 for married couples. For more information, call the Social Security help line at 800-772-1213. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www. savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. MSN


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Three Faces of Trusts: Be Sure You Are Doing the Right Thing

By Jonathan J. David, Senior Wire Dear Jonathan: My mother recently died and because of good planning on her part, she set up a trust so that her estate would not have to be probated. I went over to her home and found that the trustee had changed the locks. I was upset and I told the trustee so. What gives her the right to prevent me, or any of my siblings, for that matter, from entering the home we grew up in? Does she have that right? Jonathan says: Yes. You did not indicate why you were trying to get in the house, however, the trusteeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job is to protect and preserve all of your motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assets, including the home and its contents. Unfortunately, so often when somebody dies, that personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relatives will get access to the home and start taking personal property out whether they were the intended recipients of that property or not. Once the property has been removed, it is very difficult to try to determine what was there, what was removed and who may have taken it. That is why the trustee changed the locks on the home, to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Having said the above, do not take it personally. Do not assume the trustee took this action because she did not trust you or your siblings. She was just doing her job, which benefits all of the beneficiaries of the trust. Also, I would guess that if she did not change the locks on the home and someone had gotten in the house and taken things that did not belong to him or her, you would not have been too happy about it and would have probably blamed the trustee for not securing the property. If you have any concerns about your rights as a beneficiary of the trust and/or whether you are being properly advised of those rights, as well as

what assets are owned by the trust, I suggest you contact the trustee with those concerns. Dear Jonathan: My husband and I set up a trust and upon the advice of our attorney, we transferred our home to our trust so it would avoid probate upon our death. We are thinking that we may want to sell our home sometime in the next year or two. In order to do that, do we have to transfer the home back out of the trust to ourselves? Jonathan says: No. The home can be sold by the trust. It is the same as if you were selling the home yourselves, except, rather than signing the deed in your individual names; you would be signing the deed as trustees of your trust. Once you have sold the home, you should consult with your attorney to make sure that any new home you purchase is placed in your trust for probate avoidance. Dear Jonathan: In order for a living trust to be effective, do all my assets have to be transferred to that trust while I am alive? Jonathan Says: If you want assets titled in your sole name to avoid probate, then you want to transfer those assets to your trust while you are alive. Otherwise, upon your death, those assets will need to be probated. Assuming you have a last will and testament that names your trust as the beneficiary of your probatable assets, upon the completion of probate, those assets will pass or pour over to your trust. If you do not move your assets into your trust while you are alive and you do not have a will naming your trust as the beneficiary of your probatable assets, then your trust will never receive those assets. This is because a person who dies without a will is deemed to have died intestate. In

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that event, the state where you live will distribute your assets to your heirs according to a formula prescribed by state law. You should consult with an estate planning attorney in your area to make sure you are properly funding your trust and that you have a last will and testament that names your trust as the beneficiary of any assets you fail to transfer to your trust while you are alive. MSN

Update on State Individual Income Tax Highlights for the 2008 Tax Year By the Montana Department of Revenue Here are a few new items for tax year 2008 that can be of assistance: • Toll Free Number: The Montana Department of Revenue is again offering a toll free number. You may call us for assistance at 1-866-859-2254 during business hours. If you are calling from the Helena area, please dial 444-6900. • Direct Electronic Filing: We continue to expand the options available to you for direct electronic filing. Please log onto revenue.mt.gov for more information regarding this simple, secure, and convenient way to file your state income tax return. Returns that may be filed electronically include the Form 2, Form 2M, Form 2EZ, and Form 2EC. Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit - We encourage you to see if you qualify for the popular Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit. This program, in existence since 1981, assists elderly property owners and renters by providing a tax credit if certain requirements are met. You may be eligible for a refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 if: • You are age 62 or older; • You have resided in Montana for at least 9 months during the year; • You occupied a Montana residence for at least 6 months during the year; and • Your gross income is less than $45,000. You will need to use Form 2EC to claim the credit. The form should be filed with your Montana tax return (Form 2 or Form 2M). If you are not required to file a Montana tax return, you can file Form 2EC on its own. Please note that we have redesigned the Form 2EC and its instructions to make it easier to file your claim for this tax credit. Among the most notable changes are fewer lines on the form, better instructions to help you calculate the credit, and an overall improved design. You may file Form 2EC electronically on the Montana Department of Revenue’s website… at no cost to you. We encourage you to try electronic filing. It is simple, convenient, and secure. MSN


Protecting Your Good Name And Avoiding Identity Theft

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Your life can change by simply turning your back at the wrong moment. Suddenly, something’s gone – your purse, your wallet, credit cards, checkbook. What had started as a quick errand or day at the park becomes a nightmare. “I searched the store, the parking lot, and my car over and over,” says one victim. “I even turned my house upside down even though I knew that I had my wallet in the check-out line.” It turned out that the wallet was stolen by a store clerk in an orchestrated maneuver involving a ring of crooks. They were after an identity. Identity theft is a serious crime that costs billions to consumers and businesses every year. And, more than a third of identity theft still occurs when a purse or wallet is stolen in a public place such as a store, theatre, or amusement park. Thieves may also help themselves to credit card offers and tax information from your own mailbox or garbage can. A name and address are all a thief needs to assume your identity: they may simply file a “change of address form” in your name and have all your mail sent to another location. Seniors are generally not more susceptible to this kind of crime than any other age group, however it can be more complicated to put a stop to the cycle when more assets are involved. If thieves find a Social Security card along with credit cards, a driver’s license, and checkbook, they can do a lot of damage. New checking accounts can be established in banks you may never have heard of – in other states or even other countries. Cars and houses can be purchased with your credit. Crimes may even be committed, putting your good name on a criminal record. The thieves can sell and resell your identity. Victims of identity theft should first look close to home. According to the Better Business Bureau, 90% of all data compromise takes place through traditional channels. Less than 10% of identity fraud occurs through the internet. Almost half of all identity thieves are someone known to the victim. If you are a victim, call the police. This is a serious crime, and you must have a record of your report to prove your credibility to creditors. The good news is that you are not helpless. There are many methods to protect yourself, but it’s important to start with the basics. • keep your purse zipped up • don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket • never leave your bag unattended • keep your papers locked in a safe place • don’t give anyone your PIN numbers • shred papers in a cross cut shredder • be aware of your surroundings at an ATM • keep personal information off the Internet • don’t carry your Social Security Card with you - keep it in a safe place • don’t carry your checkbook or credit cards unless you need them. Your bank should be an active partner in helping detect and mitigate identity theft. There are also independent services that will help you monitor your credit to detect fraud, and do the paperwork involved. Chances are good that identity theft will end up costing you very little except time, effort, and worry. However, chances are even better that you will be a victim at some point in your life, if you do not take precautions. It is 2009, so resolve to protect your good name with knowledge and resources – because some damage can never be undone. MSN

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Ten Tips: How to Beat the Baby Boomer Blues A lot of the more than 76 million baby boomers headed toward retirement are losing sleep at night because in most cases, they have not taken the time to plan for what’s next in their lives, according to Joan Strewler-Carter and Stephen Carter, co-founders of the Life Options Institute, an organization dedicated to helping people plan for life after age 50. If you are one of the millions of baby boomers beginning to think about retirement, here are some tips from the Life Options Institute: 1. Start your planning engines. Avoid the sudden and often drastic changes that retirement can bring by starting to plan for it at least 5-10 years in advance. Baby Boomers need to reevaluate goals or set some new ones periodically because life constantly changes. Websites such as www.WhatsNextInYourLife.com offer helpful planning tools and tips. 2. Review your finances. Determine your post-retirement budget. Most people underestimate how much money they will need for retirement. Consider that less than one-quarter of workers age 55 and older - just 23% - have savings and investments totaling $250,000 or more, according to a study published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. About 60% have less than $100,000. 3. Consider working a few more years. The average retirement age in the US is 63 - but most people do not recognize the benefits from working even just two or three additional years. According to T. Rowe Price, a 62-year-old with a $100,000 Sterling’s been good salary and a $500,000 nest egg will see his annual retirement income rise 6% for every additional year to me. he remains in the workforce. 4. Think about an “encore career.” With about the recent economic downturn, more boomers anything with Sterling. are asking if it is time to reinvent themselves by pursuing dreams and turning their passion into – Sterling Customer, Garland Lewis “encore” careers. If you are going to have to or want to continue working, then pursue something that makes you happy - such as a career you left behind many years ago when you met that fork in the road of life. 5. Review your health insurance needs. If you’d like to stop worrying about Medicare health Decide whether you should purchase additional coverage such as Medicare supplemental insurinsurance, consider Basic Plus with enhanced benefits ance. and a monthly premium of only $20. 6. Consider long-term care insurance. Since many boomers have already seen the enormous expenses tied to maintaining long-term care for their parents, now may be a good time for them s0REVENTIVE$ENTALBENElT s#OVERAGEFORANNUAL ( to talk to their insurance agent about a policy of PHYSICALEXAMUPTO UPTOEVERYYEAR their own. EVERYYEAR( 7. Set rules. Known as the “sandwich generas#OVERAGEFORANNUAL tion” because many boomers are caring for aging VISIONANDHEARINGEXAMS sCOPAYMENTFOR parents as well as their “boomerang” children who ( ( PRIMARYCAREDOCTORVISITS up to $100 each graduate from college and then move right back home, it is important to set rules. Start asking your s&2%%GYMMEMBERSHIPAT kids for rent or set a schedule of home chores. s#OVERAGEFOREYEWEAR 8. Let go of your former identity. Many boomparticipating fitness centers! (lenses and frames), up to ers have tied what they do for a living to their iden( EVERYTWOYEARS tity as a person. Introduce yourself to a boomer s HOUR.URSE!DVICE,INE and chances are he or she will include a job title in the first few seconds of conversation. According to outplacement experts Right Associates, one of the biggest hurdles for boomers in transition is to Call TODAY to learn more. let go of the identity they are clinging to based on a former role. Toll-free: 1-866-217-3666 TTY: 1-888-858-8567 9. Cultivate outside hobbies and interests. Studies show that acquiring new skills later in life helps ward off depression and may reduce the likelihood of dementia. Maybe it is time to take up painting, quilting, piano lessons, or volunteer work. 10. Exercise your mind and body. The imUnderwritten by Sterling Life Insurance Company portance of exercise in preserving your physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being is well known. In fact, according to Dr. Gary Small in The LonSterling Life Insurance Company is a Medicare Advantage organization contracting with gevity Bible, recent research found that regular the federal government. Anyone entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare physical activity could add two or more years to Part B may apply. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. A Medicare an individual’s life, not to mention enhancing the Advantage Private Fee For Service plan works differently than a Medicare supplement very quality of your life. MSN

“worried I haven’t

plan. Your doctor or hospital is not required to agree to accept the plan’s terms and conditions, and thus may choose not to treat you, with the exception of emergencies. If your doctor or hospital does not agree to accept our payment terms and conditions, they may choose not to provide health care services to you, except in emergencies. Providers can find the plan’s terms and conditions on our website at: www.sterlingplans. com. (Limitations and/or cost sharing apply. Available through your Sterling Agent: Health, Life, Prescription Drug, Long Term Care and Critical Condition or Cancer Plans. H5006_05_109(8/08)


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

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Passage of Time as Well as Tough Economic Times Point to Estate Planning Update

By Jonathan J. David, Senior Wire Dear Jonathan: My wife and I prepared our estate plan seven years ago. At that time, we had a taxable estate due to the combination of our net worth and the amount of the exclusion from taxes. As a result, we prepared separate trusts on the advice of our attorney to minimize our exposure to federal estate taxes. However, given the recent downturn in the economy, our net worth, like everyone else’s, has taken a significant hit. In fact, our net worth is now below $2 million dollars and it is my understanding that the exemption from taxes beginning in 2009 will be $3.5 million dollars a person. Would it make sense to revisit our estate plan and have it amended to reflect today’s reality, or should we sit tight and see what happens with the economy? Jonathan Says: That is a great and very timely question. First, you are correct that beginning in 2009, the amount of a person’s exemption from estate taxes is $3.5 million dollars. In other words, if a person’s estate is valued at $3.5 million dollars or below, then no federal estate taxes will be due and owing at that person’s death. In 2010, under the current tax law, the federal estate tax will be repealed altogether, but that is only for one year, and then in 2011 the exemption from federal estate tax liability falls back to $1 million dollars. Having said that, it is very likely that this law will be changed sometime in the next year or two. Even though no one has a crystal ball, Need answers at tax time? the current thinking is that the federal estate The Montana Department of Revenue can tax will not be repealed altogether, but will stay help you. in place in some form and that the exemption Ÿ Need help deciding which tax form to use? from estate taxes will be set in an amount similar Ÿ Wonder if you qualify for the Elderly Homeowner/ to what it is going to be Renter Credit worth up to $1,000? in 2009, i.e., $3.5 million dollars. Call us toll-free at 1-866-859-2254. In Helena, call (406) 444-6900. Even given the uncertainty regarding what types of changes

will be made to the federal estate tax, I recommend that you at least meet with an estate planning attorney to review your plans and see if he or she recommends any changes at this time. Given the fact that your net worth is below $2 million dollars now and since it is likely that the exemption from federal estate tax will be at least that amount going forward, you might want to consider replacing your separate tax planning trusts with a joint trust for simplicity. Even if the economy rebounds and your net worth increases again, it is still quite a bit under the exclusion amount so I would not hesitate to change a two-trust plan to a one-trust plan now. Regardless of whether you choose to change from a two-trust plan to a one-trust plan, it would be a good idea to review the other aspects of your estate plan to see if any changes might make sense. For instance, have there been any births or deaths that would affect who you have named as beneficiaries or fiduciaries in your plan? Also, even if you do not update any other of your estate planning documents, it is always a good idea to have current financial durable power of attorneys and healthcare power of attorneys available for use. Even though the ones you prepared seven years ago should technically still be valid, many institutions find these types of powers of attorney stale if they are more than a year or two old. In fact, you might find an institution unwilling to acknowledge the validity of a financial durable power of attorney, or question its viability and ask whether it has been revoked or amended since you drafted it. In this event, many times they will ask your attorney to provide them with a written letter indicating that the document that they have in their hands has not been revoked or amended since the date it was signed. To short-circuit these types of issues, sometimes it makes more sense to have your documents updated. In addition, you would get the benefit of having documents prepared that incorporate all law changes that have taken place in the last seven years. In any event, this is something you should discuss with your estate-planning attorney. Good luck. MSN

Social Security Can Help Divorcees Too By Jim Miller Social Security provides divorced spouses benefits just like they do current spouses – if they meet the right requirements. Here is what you should know. Divorce Rules - A divorced spouse can collect a Social Security retirement benefit on the work record of their ex-husband (or ex-wife) IF, they are at least age 62, were married for at least 10 years, are unmarried now, and are not eligible for a higher benefit based on their own or someone else’s Social Security record. In order to collect, however, your ex-spouse must also be at least 62 and eligible for Social Security benefits, but they do not have to be receiving them in order for you to collect divorced spouse’s benefits. Even if your ex is remarried, it will not affect your right to divorcee benefits, nor will it affect your ex’s retirement benefits or his or her current spouse’s benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not contact ex-spouses so they will not even know if you are receiving benefits on their record. Benefit Amount - A divorced spouse can receive up to 50 percent of their ex’s full Social Security benefit, or less if they take benefits before their fullretirement age – which is between ages 65 and 67 depending on the year you were born. To find out your full-retirement age and see how much your benefits will be reduced by taking them early see www.ssa.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm. Keep in mind though, that if you qualify for benefits based on your own work history, you will receive the larger of the two benefits. You cannot receive benefits on both your own record, and your ex’s work record too. To calculate your retirement benefits based on your own earnings history, see the SSA retirement benefits calculator at www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators.htm. And to get an estimate of your divorced spouse benefit, call Social Security at 800-7721213. You will need your ex’s Social Security Number to get it. Remarrying - Since 75 percent of U.S. divor-


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

cees get married again, it is important to note that remarrying makes you ineligible for divorced spouse’s benefits unless the later marriage ends. And for those who have been married (and divorced) twice, with both marriages lasting more than 10 years, you can collect using the ex-spouse with the larger Social Security benefit. Divorced Survivor - You also need to know that if your ex-spouse dies, and you were married for 10 or more years, you become eligible for divorced “survivor benefits,” which is worth up to 100 percent of what your ex-spouse was due. Survivor’s benefits are available to divorced spouses as early as age 60, or age 50 if you are disabled. But be aware that you cannot get survivor’s benefits if

you remarry before age 60 unless the marriage ends. However getting remarried after age 60 (50 if you are disabled), will not prevent you from getting benefit payments based on your former spouse’s record. (Note: If you are receiving divorced spouses benefits when you ex-spouse dies, you will automatically be switched over to the higher paying survivor benefit.) Switching Options - Divorced widows and widowers may have other options to consider, such as: If you are currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits on your own record, and your ex-spouse dies, you can switch to survivor’s benefits if the payment is larger. Or, if you are collecting survivor’s benefits, you can

MONTANA SENIOR NEWS PAGE 59

switch to your own retirement benefits as early as age 62 if it offers a larger payment. How to Collect - To learn more about, or apply for, divorced spouse or divorced survivor benefits, or to switch benefits from your record to your exspouse’s record, call 800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. You will need certified copies of your marriage and divorce certificates as proof of your relationship. For more information see www.ssa.gov/retire2/divspouse.htm. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www. savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. MSN

Give Generously To These Organizations That Are Making Montana A Better Place The Children’s Museum of Montana is where children grow

Please provide for the future of the Flathead County Library!

The Children’s Museum of Montana serves the youth in Great Falls with two floors of hands-on learning exhibits in a safe and nurturing environment. The Museum was created and is sustained by the support of community members like you. The museum literally is a hands-on place - imagined, constructed, and completed by many hands and explored by children’s hands every day. We take seriously our mission of “igniting a lifelong passion for learning.” We know that sparking a child’s interest in science, math, art, and culture will make them an engaged adult member of our community later. We serve children, families, grandparents, foster families, and other vital non-profits such as Head Start, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, and the Mercy Home every day! The Children’s Museum of Montana is truly growing as fast as the children we serve. In 2008, the Children’s Museum of Montana built six new exhibits, revamped five existing exhibits, updated our birthday room and bathrooms, implemented three new educational programs, built a new pirate ship, installed new window grates, updated the electrical and furnace systems, hired new staff, and started on new flooring. These improvements have lead to a 26% increase in admissions, a 15% increase in memberships, and a 45% increase in the number of groups served. Do not miss the fun….join and support the Children’s Museum today! For more information, call 406-452-6661. MSN

Your estate gift will increase the quality of Flathead County Library programs and services for years and decades by achieving real results such as: • Increased access to learning through books, computers, technology, and life-enhancing entertainment • Better children’s early literacy and development programming • More access to small business incubation and development tools • Improved facilities to serve as the living room of the community. You can help your neighbors, friends, and family achieve what we all want – a better quality of life. Let’s keep future generations home or give them a better reason to come back. How? It’s simple. Just list “The Flathead County Library Foundation, Inc.” as a beneficiary in your will or estate plan to receive a specific amount or a percentage of your estate. If you have already done so, please, let us know so we can recognize your leadership! The Flathead County Library Foundation, founded in 1989, is a certified Montana non-profit corporation and 501 C (3) recognized public charity – tax id 81-0460195. For more information, please call 406-758-2469. Wisdom is knowing it is a good thing to do; making a difference is doing something about it. MSN

Commit to University of Montana Excellence The University of Montana Foundation’s mission is to ensure UM’s excellence, access, and affordability through a public/private funding partnership. We rely on the generous and committed alumni and friends who invest in The University of Montana. Our visionary philanthropists have touched everything that you can witness on campus today. We are grateful to those who are helping higher education improve our world. Because of private support, UM students, professors, and staff can stay focused in an environment of excellence. And planned giving plays an important role in the continuation of their vital work. The Office of Gift planning has the ability to provide you a full array of gift planning options. We are licensed to provide annuities, will act as trustee of charitable remainder trusts, and can assist you in several lifetime gifts such as real estate, appreciated property, and securities. We can accept gifts through your estate, such as the beneficiary of your retirement plan or life insurance, as well as your will or living trust. Please see our display ad in the Missoula section of this publication. To learn more about supporting The University of Montana through a planned gift, please contact Theresa Timms Boyer, Director of Gift Planning, by phone at 800-443-2593 or email at GiftPlanningUMF@ mso.umt.edu. MSN

Making dreams come true since 1995 • • •

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Help make this dream a reality for a young cancer patient with a tax-deductible donation, memorial or planned gift

Camp Mak-A-Dream * PO Box 1450 * Missoula, MT * 59806 406-549-5987 * www.campdream.org


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San Juan Islands beckon in winter Photo and Article By Craig & Liz Larcom In Washington’s San Juan Islands, the resident killer whales have ventured away for the winter following the salmon, and kayaks wait idly for spring. Throw in the mere 75 miles from Seattle’s legendary rains, and the islands look like a bottom-of-the-barrel choice for a winter escape. But do not cross them off your list too quickly. Instead, imagine yourself in Anacortes planted on the deck of an iconic white and green Washington State Ferry with a stiff breeze in your face and an unobstructed view of magnificent, evergreenclad islands. Smell the salt-air tang and sense the engine’s vibrations under your feet while you ponder your sightseeing options. It is relaxing to arrive for the ferry just an hour ahead of departure, far better than the three- or four-hour wait of summer. If you can take your mind off looking for harbor seals or Dall’s porpoises on the way, you can muse about the lower rate you are paying for the ferry in winter, plus an additional senior discount. Not to mention the off-season rate at the motel or bed and breakfast that you booked. No one can promise that it will not rain, but you are a savvy traveler who knows that the San Juans sit in a rain shadow of the Olympics. In fact, they are part of the driest sector of western Washington. Temperatures seldom drop below 30 degrees. More weather surprises - Here is the amazing situation in the San Juans. Annual rainfall changes from 19 to 45 inches over a distance of just 15 miles. In the driest places, such as the southern parts of San Juan Island, the plant community resembles Eastern Washington’s. Look around and you will find prickly pear cactus and Rocky Mountain junipers. On the other hand, you can travel to Mount Constitution on Orcas Island and find a moist forest draped in moss. In short, you are apt to experience a bit of everything, but the chance of sun is encouraging. Expect less rain as the months march from November toward June, but pack a rain jacket anyway. “It’s not like it’s going to rain all day. It just

doesn’t happen here,” emphasizes Robin Jacobson, public relations manager of the San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau. What with the natural splendor the San Juans have to offer, that is good news for any winter visitor. San Juan Island - The state ferries stop at four of the 172 named islands that make up the archipelago, actually an undersea mountain range poking through the ocean’s surface. Each island has a different flavor.

San Juan Island, the most populous, offers many sightseeing possibilities. The ferry lands at Friday Harbor, with its assortment of restaurants, shops, and galleries, almost all of which remain open in winter. Prowl the harbor to see everything from yachts to dinghies. Then visit the Whale Museum to feel small beside a whale skeleton, the Arctic Raven Gallery for native artwork, or Pelindaba Downtown to see how many items people make from the locally grown lavender. At the eatery inside, you can order lavender tea and baked goods such as lavender brownies and lavender gingerbread (as well as more traditional edibles). As throughout the San Juan Islands, lodging leans towards bed-and-breakfast inns to an unusual degree. On San Juan Island, you can learn about the Pig War, an altercation between the British and Americans in the days when ownership of the San Juans was not yet settled. San Juan Historical Park tells the story, which begins with an American shooting a British pig that was sampling his garden, and leads to the arrival of five British warships and 461 American soldiers. Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany mediates the finale, ending the “war” with only one fatality, the pig. Lime Kiln Point State Park features Lime Kiln Lighthouse, which is fully automated these days. Currents speed past the rugged coast here, where visitors can watch the bulbs and leaves of the kelp forest sway in the water. At low tide, you can see anemones and sea stars in the tide

pools. This is the nation’s only dedicated whalewatching park, but in winter, the resident orcas (killer whales) are absent. Steller’s sea lions, on the other hand, stay all winter, sometimes parking themselves on the rocks offshore at places like San Juan County Park, a particularly good place to find them. Peregrine falcons, bald eagles, harlequin ducks, and black oystercatchers are among the featured feathered species on San Juan Island. Winter brings a great concentration of seabirds, making it the highlight of the birding year. Watch on your own or take a personalized tour from Skylark Birding and Nature Tours, suited equally to beginners and experts. Trumpeter swans winter here too. Larry Hoppe remembers the first time he saw one, some months after he and his wife had purchased the Trumpeter Inn bed and breakfast. The bird, gliding to a nearby pond, was low enough and so unexpectedly huge that he ducked instinctively as he cried out, “What is that?” Westcott Bay Sculpture Park is another worthwhile stop. Over a hundred sculptures of every description spread across 19 acres, making for a pleasant walk on mown paths that pass through varied habitats. Island hopping - Horseshoe-shaped Orcas Island, the largest and hilliest of the islands, offers boutiques, galleries, and eateries in Eastsound. Lodging is scattered, and includes Rosario Resort and Spa. The Moran Mansion at the resort does not involve lodging, but it houses a dining room, museum, and boutique. Winter’s slower pace means that when the 65-artist co-op in Olga opens in mid-February, the artist minding the till may be ready for a chat. “The islands are crawling with artists who are quite busy in summer but have more time to visit in winter. It’s like talking to a friend, but of course you can stick to browsing on your own if you prefer,” comments Jacobson. Orcas Island also contains 5,000-acre Moran State Park, which takes in Mount Constitution and more. Hike or drive to the top, which has an elevation of 2,400 feet. Overcast weather, mists, and rain are common at this highest point on the islands, so count yourself lucky if you can see the grand view of the islands from the top of the stone tower. Hikers will also find 30 miles of trails in the park, some to waterfalls and lakes. As on the rest of the islands, bicycling is popular. It is best to call ahead if you are planning to rent a bike in the islands in the winter. Many mom-and-pop businesses are likely to knock off for a week or two of vacation at some point during this season. The ferry also stops at two smaller islands,


Shaw and Lopez. Lopez, a favorite of bicyclists because of its relatively flat terrain, has many places to stop along the saltwater, as well as Lopez Village and B & B Lodging. Smaller Shaw makes a good day trip by bike or car with its undeveloped, agricultural feel.

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If you get a little winter-weary over the next few months, do not overlook the San Juan Islands when you think of warmer places to head for a break. And do not be surprised if you choose to stand in the wind on the ferry’s return trip, soaking in the vista one last time.

For further information visit www.guidetosanjuans.com or phone 888-468-3701. Ferry information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries or phone 206-464-6400. Expect ferries to be full on big family holidays in winter. MSN

Group Seeks Travelers for Iran Visit Neighbors East and West is looking for travelers interested in a cultural trip to Iran, planned for April 25 to May 7, 2009. The purpose of the trip is to promote contact between ordinary people from the United States and Iran and to increase our knowledge and understanding of this distant country. Sam and Ruth Neff of Neighbors East and West, will lead this trip, coordinating plans with Professor Jerry Dekker, of California, who has led more than 20 groups to Iran. Ruth is a nurse, and Sam is a retired physics professor. “This is a rare opportunity to visit a distant part of the world, and to experience the warmth and

hospitality of the Iranian people,” said Ruth Neff. The Neffs have coordinated previous Neighbors East and West expeditions to Cuba and to the former Soviet Union. The cost is $1,300, including hotels with breakfast, travel, and guides within Iran. The cost does not include airfare or a visa. A passport valid until December 1, 2009 is required. The country of Iran is vast and varied - bordered by the Persian Gulf on the south, the Caspian Sea to the north, Iraq to the west and Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east. Its geography includes high mountain ranges, desert, and

semi-tropical. Iran (formerly Persia) is a 4,000year-old civilization that reached its zenith in the sixth century BC, although it has had many strong dynasties since. The archeology and architecture are among the finest in the Middle East. Soaring minarets, gold domed mosques, covered bazaars, ancient baths, and stunning tile work are a feast for the senses. For more information, call Sam and Ruth Neff at 406-862-1629 or visit the Neighbors East and West website www.cyberport.net/users/samn/. MSN

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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

Loons, eagles, ducks, and songbirds pass through Great Falls

By Craig & Liz Larcom Even after the migrants have scooted, you Birdwatchers flock to the Missouri River in will still be able to see residents such as the great spring and fall to watch the parade of birds passing horned owl, belted kingfisher, downy woodpecker, through. With spring just around the corner, you yellow warbler, and song sparrow. Late in May will soon be able to see the first migrating local Bullock’s oriole will be flying high in the trees. birds return, birds heading north stop over, othIn April, if you have a little luck you may be ers from the south settle in for the summer, and able to see common loons, usually found singly. many local birds getting ready for the busy mating To find one, look for a bird that is larger than a season. The reverse is true in the fall. Of course, duck and rides low in the water. They will be in unexpected birds drop in. Yes, the birders have their breeding plumage, which you will be able to come to expect it. see through your binoculars. Look closely and you Perhaps you would like to see some of these may see a crayfish dangling from the loon’s bill. If birds for yourself. you do not see a loon, linger a little. It may just be In early May will be a good chance to catch mi- diving underwater, looking for lunch. grating songbirds headGrebes, small birds ing to breeding grounds. that are master divers, At Giant Springs State will visit in October. Most Park and on the walk eared grebes and westto the west along the ern grebes have already river, the first Wilson’s moved on, but horned warblers, white-crowned grebes are just coming sparrows, ruby-crowned through. kinglets, and other songDo not overlook the birds like to refuel, usuCanada geese at West ally staying a couple Bank Park for enterdays. These will be foltainment value. They lowed by many yellow Horned grebe swims in the Missouri River in may be common, year rumped warblers. Look Great Falls. They migrate through the area in around birds, but the high in the evergreens October. [Photo by Craig & Liz Larcom] noise of all those wings and you may see a nest pushing the air as they with a couple of great horned owlets. Cool, sunny lift off for a trip to the grain fields impresses all the weather makes pleasant bird watching, but the day same. Not to mention the honking. Flock interacbefore a storm passes through is an especially tion can be interesting, too. good bet. So is the morning after. Late in October and early November, water Most will have passed through by the first of birds move to the river in numbers. Ponds and June. The common nighthawk is the last to arrive other bodies of water freeze ducks out, promptand of course it stays. ing some of them to migrate and some to settle in for the winter below Giant Springs. The springs spew out so much water via the Roe River (tied for world’s shortest river) that a sizable section of the Missouri will stay liquid throughout even the coldest winter. A pleasing collection of water-loving species gathers here each year between Giant Springs and Rainbow Dam. Hooded merganser, redhead, ring-billed duck, gadwall, pied-billed grebe, and lesser scaup are among these. Even male ducks are dressed in brown at the beginning of October, but their handsome colors return as fall progresses. All along the Missouri in Great Falls, common goldeneye, a few Barrow’s goldeneye, and bufflehead spend the cooler months. Even a beginner will quickly learn to recognize the whistling sound of goldeneye wings as the birds move up and down the river. As the name suggests, these ducks have yellow eyes. The bufflehead, identified by the large white patch wrapped around the back side of its head, is so small that it nests in woodpecker holes (northern flicker, specifically).


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The growing numbers of ducks bring bald eagles to prey upon them. When not soaring above the river, the eagles choose a cottonwood to rest in. Occasionally they make a foray downtown, in pursuit of rock pigeons. Rough-legged hawks, which hunt the grasslands near the river, come south from the Arctic to balmy Montana for the winter. Tree sparrow, Bohemian waxwing, northern shrike, and common redpoll are among songbirds that also come from the north to winter in Montana. Bird surprises are not limited to the trees and shrubs of Giant Springs. In a typical year, one or more individuals usually found on the Pacific Ocean - Pacific loon, surf scoter, white-winged scoter, or long-tailed duck - show up on this stretch of the Missouri River at some point, staying for a few days or sometimes for months. October and November are like a box of Crackerjacks when it comes to watching for birds along the Missouri River in Great Falls. If you hunt for it, there is likely to be a prize in there! Tips – The best bird watching is from the bridge on Central Avenue West downstream to Rainbow Dam. River Drive and Giant Springs Road, with their many pullouts, provide good

access on the south bank of the Missouri. Take Third Street NW and turn towards the river at 17th Avenue NE to get to West Bank Park on the opposite shore. River’s Edge Trail often brings walkers and bicyclists near the water. Last August, Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon published a Field Checklist of Missouri River Corridor Birds covering the river in Great Falls. You can pick up a free copy at Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional headquarters, which is part of the Giant Springs complex. The list tells what birds are usually found in the corridor at what season. The section between Black Eagle Dam and Rainbow Dam is open to waterfowl hunting September 27 to January 16. “I don’t think it’s a safety concern. The hunting is below the high water mark so it’s not part of the park, but we work with the hunters so that they direct their shots over the river and away from the River’s Edge Trail,” said Matt Marcinek, manager of Giant Springs State Park. Hunters seldom use the section between Giant Springs and Rainbow Dam. “The standard recommendation is to wear orange if you’re recreating during hunting season. That is good advice. It could be as simple as wearing an orange hat,” Marcinek said. MSN

Cold Weather Travel Can Be A Hazard… And An Adventure Mike and Bev Nash It’s a fact. If you travel around Montana in winter, you might not get there! We got caught in a blizzard in Bismarck, North Dakota, this past November. The ferocity of the storm wasn’t the surprise; it was the timing, so early in the season. We had been visiting our son’s family in Duluth and left on Wednesday to attend a Friday business meeting in Billings. Plenty of time, right? Not if a blizzard moves in. We ran into heavy rain shortly after leaving Fargo. Starting about 2 pm, it poured rain until we reached Bismarck, about 7 pm. The radio was talking about blizzard conditions and travel

advisories. When we checked into our motel, we reserved two nights, just in case - and in case indeed! When we woke up Thursday morning, all roads out of Bismarck were closed. We ended up right in the middle of the storm. I believe there are two ways to get caught in a blizzard. One you can control, the other you can’t. First, of course, is simply being caught by a weather front that moves in unexpectedly while you are enroute. There isn’t much you can do there, but to always carry a winter survival pack. Second, if you are traveling in Montana or any of the northern states, you really need to check

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weather information all along your intended route, not just local weather. This is something you can control. We left in fine weather, and we didn’t get adverse weather reports until we reached North Dakota, but I believe if we had called the regional weather reports provided in all states, we would have had fair warning. At least you can check for weather fronts moving in on the Weather Channel and call if things look suspicious. Once we began monitoring the North Dakota weather on the radio, we had fair warning of road closures, so by the time we reached Bismarck, we weren’t surprised to find out we had to stay an extra day. So, we began wondering about what to do when stranded by snow in Bismarck. To my amazement, one of the internet sites I checked included “writing about being snowed in.” So, this article wasn’t such an original idea. Another blog reported that when stranded in Miles City in May, 2005, “There are few things to do, but be sure to let the dog out.” For our family that was Fancy.

I checked the internet to find out what was going on in Bismarck. The city home site included a November calendar of activities, but nothing was scheduled for our week at all. Movies? There were none within walking distance from our motel, which was severely limited by the blizzard. Driving was out of the question. The motel did have a pool. Recommendation number two: always bring your swimsuit and stay at a motel with a pool. You never know. Another website (Bofa D’s) had a couple funny suggestions: 1. Recharge your cell phone and watch the little bars move; 2. Order take out pizza. Make someone else go out even if you can’t; 3. Plan a wedding. Not yours? Okay. Just plan one. Luckily there was a shopping mall right across the street. My wife was happy and she didn’t spend too much. Later in the afternoon we met three men who were having a great time in the hot tub. They were on their way to western North Dakota for the opening of deer season the next day, but I believe the deer were safe from this crew. Two men who were in Bismarck for a pharmaceutical presentation, had planned on several days of bird hunting. One remarked that he was fine, but his dog was mad about being snowed in. They did make it to their presentation, but only 11 people showed up. I doubt many birds were flying. Two fellows came dragging into the motel Thursday evening with snow crusted beards and literally shaking. They had come from the twin cities and were headed to Canada deer hunting. They were interested in getting warm, not visiting. I can make two observations about the people we met. First, what is all this hunting? I guess it was just the time of year. It probably wouldn’t be

that way in a February blizzard. Second, generally people were very relaxed on Thursday, talking and spending hours over the light breakfast. I remarked about how calm everyone seemed to be and one replied, “Well there’s nothing you can do about it.” It is easy to be relaxed when you are safe in a warm motel, but it is important to be prepared for winter conditions when you are not. Here are some standard recommendations: • Check the weather ahead. Every state has a road conditions report listed under transportation in the state section of the phone book, or call 511 for your own state. • Always carry an emergency pack. My wife insists on this winter and summer alike. She makes sure there are emergency clothes. I make sure there are a candle, a few tools, a tow strap, and jumper cables. • Do not leave your car to start walking. Heavy snow is very disorienting. You can’t keep walking in a straight line so stay put! Most people killed in blizzards have left shelter to get help. • You should only run your car and heater about ten minutes every hour. You need to conserve fuel but a short run should keep the battery charged and keep you from actually freezing. Check the tail pipe to make sure it is not blocked. • Open one window just a crack for any carbon monoxide to escape. Make sure the open window is away from the blowing or drifting snow. • If you have two cell phones, leave one turned off to conserve the battery. Also, one can serve as an emergency light. Following these measures will keep you from freezing to death until you can get lodging. And for that, I advise spending a little more to stay in a motel with a few amenities, such as breakfast, a pool, and of course a mall nearby. MSN

Sven and Ole in Hell Ole and Sven die in a snowmobiling accident, drunker than skunks, and go to Hell where the Devil observes that they are really enjoying themselves. He says to them, “Doesn’t the heat and smoke bother you?” Ole replies, “Vell, ya know, ve’re from nordern Minnesooota, da land of snow an ice, an ve’re yust happy fer a chance at varm up a little bit, ya know.” The devil decides that these two are not miserable enough and turns up the heat even more. When he returns to the room of the two from Minnesota, the devil finds them in light jackets and hats, grilling walleye and drinking beer. The devil is astonished and exclaims, “Everyone down here is in misery, and you two seem to be enjoying yourselves!” Sven replies, “Vell, ya know, ve don’t git too much varm veather up dere at da Falls, so ve’ve yust got at haff a fish fry vhen da veather’s dis nice.”

The devil is absolutely furious. He can hardly see straight. Finally, he comes up with the answer. The two guys love the heat because they have been cold all their lives. The devil decides to turn all the heat off in Hell. The next morning, the temperature is 60 below zero, icicles are hanging everywhere, and people are shivering so bad that they are unable to wail, moan, or gnash their teeth. The devil smiles and heads for the room with Ole and Sven. He gets there and finds them back in their parkas, bomber hats, and mittens. They are jumping up and down, cheering, yelling, and screaming like mad men. The devil is dumbfounded, “I don’t understand, when I turn up the heat you’re happy. Now it is freezing cold and you are still happy. What is wrong with you two?” They both look at the devil in surprise and say, “Vell, don’t ya know, if hell iss froze over, dat must mean da Vikings von da Super Bowl.” MSN


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Montana Senior News Feb/Mar 2009