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A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

February 2018 VOL. 43 • NO. 2

ENOA 4780 South 131st Street Omaha, NE 68137-1822


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New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19


Bellevue’s Charlene Butts Ligon has written a book about her mother, Evelyn T. Butts, titled Fearless: How a poor Virginia seamstress took on Jim Crow, beat the poll tax and changed her city forever. Butts Ligon, an Air Force veteran and chair of the Sarpy County Democratic Party, is profiled by Leo Adam Biga beginning on page 10.

Gift from WoodmenLife WoodmenLife recently donated $5,000 to ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program. Attending the check presentation were: ENOA’s Jay Schuoler (second from left) and ENOA’s Executive Director Dennis Loose (sixth from left) along with WoodmenLife’s (from left): Angela Minor, Debbie Ferguson, Mike LaGreca, Jeff Ramaekers, Judy Pixley, Director of Community Projects Bruce Moritz, Pat Dees, and Ben DelRosario. See page 7.


Caring for persons with dementia workshops

The importance of reviewing your beneficiary designations By William E. Seidler, Jr.

aking care of a loved one with dementia presents unique challenges, and caregivers may feel alone or overwhelmed. Flaherty Senior Consulting is offering several programs to help caregivers understand how to provide the best possible care for their loved ones with dementia. The programs are either free or low-cost.

In my estate planning consultations, I stress to my clients the importance of reviewing their beneficiary designations on bank accounts, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, annuities, and United States Savings bonds to make sure they represent their wishes. Account or insurance beneficiary designations can be used to designate a person, entity, or organization that will receive the proceeds of an account after an owner’s death. A contingent, or successor beneficiary is the person or entity that would receive the account if something happened to the first beneficiary. During his or her life, the owner may change the beneficiary designation. The beneficiary has no rights in the account until after the owner’s death. In many instances beneficiary designations are useful to provide for an easy transfer of property after the owner’s death. Beneficiary designations can be used as part of a plan, but because of certain characteristics, they may not be appropriate for an entire plan. In some instances, the proceeds of an account must be used to repay the state for Medicaid benefits the owner received during his or her lifetime. Beneficiary accounts can also be recovered to pay for the owner’s funeral expenses, taxes, and debts. Sometimes, a considerable amount of time passes between an owner signing a beneficiary designation for an account and the owner’s death. In the interim, the owner,

• Caring for Loved Ones with Early Onset Dementia Saturday, February 10 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Servite Center of Compassion 7400 Military Ave. To register, call Sister Margaret Stratman at 402-951-3026 or send an email to • Learning to Live with Dementia Saturday, March 3 and April 7 (please attend both) 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Faith Westwood United Methodist Church 4814 Oaks Ln. To register, call Nancy Flaherty at 402-312-9324 or send an email to • Caring for the Caregiver Saturday, April 21 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Servite Center of Compassion 7400 Military Ave. Cost is $25 and includes lunch Scholarships are available To register, call Sister Margaret Stratman at 402-951-3026 or send an email to

The workshops will be presented by Nancy Flaherty, MS, CDP. For more information, call 402-312-9324 or visit

or the beneficiaries’ relationships may have changed. Some clients are surprised to learn the beneficiary designation, and not their will, controls who receives accounts with a beneficiary designation after death. In most cases, it’s not a problem because the designated beneficiaries are the same as the heirs and the beneficiaries under a decedent’s will. One situation that has caused a problem was when an owner and a beneficiary were married at the time of the designation, but later divorced. If the former spouses never changed the beneficiary designation, then, when the spouse who owned the insurance policy or bank account died, the funds were paid to the divorced spouse. Nebraska law changed this result in 2017 and provided that upon divorce the beneficiary designations on any life insurance policy, annuity, or payable on death account would be treated as though the designation of the former spouse had been revoked. The law applies to Nebraska assets and spouses, but not to other family members. It does not apply to U. S. Savings bonds. Taking time to review account beneficiary designations are correct can insure the account is distributed where the owner intended. (The information is general. Slight changes in individual situations may require a material variance in the applicable advice. You should not attempt to solve individual problems based on the advice contained in this column. If you have questions regarding the above, contact an attorney.)


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New Horizons

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February 2018

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Senior Service Corps volunteers, ENOA staff members participate in Martin Luther King Day Service Project


ast month, as part of the Senior Service Corps’ Martin Luther King Day Service Project, volunteers with the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s RSVP, Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), and Senior Companion Program (SCP) worked to educate the public about the opioid epidemic that’s sweeping the United States and how it’s impacting older Americans. RSVP volunteers are resources for veterans, public and non-profit organizations, healthcare facilities, food pantries, recycling centers, and senior centers. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers. Senior Companions help older adults maintain their independence by visiting them in their homes to talk about current events, sharing stories, playing cards, reading, watching TV, running errands, grocery shopping, etc. In exchange for volunteering, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $2.65 an hour stipend, mileage reimbursement, an annual physical examination, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual recognition luncheon. As part of the MLK Service Day Project on Jan. 15, volunteers from ENOA’s RSVP, FGP, and SCP programs collected hats, socks, and mittens for the Youth Emergency Shelter. In addition, ENOA staff members from RSVP, FGP, and SCP hosted a booth at the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance’s MLK celebration at the Doubletree Hotel. The celebration featured the Rev. Fred Gray, an attorney who worked with Dr. King during the Civil Rights movement.


study conducted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services found about 15 percent of Medicare recipients were prescribed opioid-based medications after visiting the hospital, and about 43 percent of that group continued to take the medications three months after they were first prescribed. The number of older adults hospitalized for opioid overdoses has increased five-fold over the last 20 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 percent of all opioid overdose deaths in 2013 and 2014 occurred in patients between age 45 and 64. Often older men and women find themselves addicted to opioids despite following their doctors’ instructions. It’s no secret

as people age, they face a greater risk of illness and injury. Older adults are more susceptible to injuries that require pain management such as broken bones and chronic pain. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good options for treating pain. Even seemingly benign drugs like ibuprofen or Advil can lead to serious bleeding, while being far less effective at treating pain than opioid or synthetic opioid painkillers. What can be done to help prevent older adults from becoming addicted to opioids? If you or an older adult you know are taking an opioid, encourage physicians to prescribe the lowest necessary dose and look into alternative options to address pain such as non-opioid medications. Never exceed the recommended dose, follow the instructions given by the doctor, and don’t take the medication with alcohol. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you believe you’re being over-prescribed pain medication or are dependent on a pain medication, speak to your doctor immediately.

The Eclectic Book Review Club schedule The Eclectic Book Review Club, founded in 1949, has announced its Winter/ Spring 2018 schedule. • Feb. 20: Jonis Agree will review her most recent book, The Bones of Paradise, which was selected as part of the Omaha Public Library’s 2017 Omaha Reads selections. • March 20: Omaha physician Dr. Lydia Kang will discuss her 2017 novel, A Beautiful Poison. • April 17: Meredith Fuller will review her recent book, Quarry. • May 15: Emily Getzschman from the Omaha Public Library will review Kathleen Rooney’s book, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. The monthly meetings, which include lunch and the book review, are held at noon at the Field Club, 3615 Woolworth Ave. The cost is $13 per person per month.  To reserve a seat, please call Rita at 402-553-3147. The reservation deadline is the Monday morning prior to the Tuesday meeting.

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New Horizons is the official publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The paper is distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Washington, and Cass counties. Those living outside the 5-county region may subscribe for $5 annually. Address all correspondence to: Jeff Reinhardt, Editor, 4780 S. 131st Street, Omaha, NE 68137-1822. Phone 402-444-6654. FAX 402-444-3076. E-mail: Advertisements appearing in New Horizons do not imply endorsement of the advertiser by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. However, complaints about advertisers will be reviewed and, if warranted, their advertising discontinued. Display and insert advertising rates available on request. Open rates are commissionable, with discounts for extended runs. Circulation is 20,000 through direct mail and freehand distribution.

Editor....................................................Jeff Reinhardt Ad Mgr................Mitch Laudenback, 402-444-4148 Contributing Writers......Nick Schinker, Leo Biga, & Lois Friedman

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New Horizons

“Honest Answers for Safe Solutions”

February 2018

ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, vice-chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, secretary; David Saalfed, Dodge County, & Jim Warren, Sarpy County. The New Horizons and the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging provide services without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, or age.

New Horizons

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Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • Feb. 1: Early Groundhog Day celebration. Join us at 11 a.m. for games, trivia, and groundhog bingo. Stay for a meatballs marinara dinner or a deli chicken and cheese sandwich. • Feb. 5: Presentation on Goal Setting to Improve Your Nutrition by ENOA’s Michaela Howard, R.D., L.M.N.T. @ 11:30 a.m. Enjoy teriyaki chicken or a tuna salad croissant for lunch. • Feb. 8: Birthday party with music by Pamela Sue sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11 a.m. A tasty pork fritter or teriyaki chicken strips over a tossed salad will be served for lunch. • Feb. 12: Mardi Gras theme party, lunch, and bingo. Wear your purple, green, and gold. We’ll have the beads. • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day lunch and the Texas Tenors Show (on DVD) @ 11 a.m. A special Valentine’s menu lunch follows the video. • Feb. 15: Sweethearts Dinner Dance with music by the Red Raven Band @ 11 a.m. A delicious roast pork lunch follows the music. Bingo after lunch. The reservation deadline is 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 9. • Feb. 20: Lunch & Learn program from the VNA on Knowing Your Healthcare Team @ 11 a.m. Stay for a noon hamburger patty or egg salad sandwich for lunch. The center will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. Everyone, including new players, is welcome to play chair volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday @ 11 a.m. A noon lunch will follow. Join us for Tai Chi – a relaxing and fun activity that’s proven to improve your balance – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in our spacious gym. Bingo, ceramics, exercise, woodcarving, and loads of fun are also available. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is normally suggested for the meal. Reservations are normally due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations or more information, please call 402-731-7210.


SVP is recruiting men and women age 55 and older for a variety of opportunities. For more information in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties, please call 402-444-6536, ext. 1024. In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402-721-7780. • The Corrigan Senior Center is looking for volunteers. • The Boys Town Hall of History needs volunteers. • Together Inc. wants volunteers for its food pantry. • The VA Hospital is looking for volunteers. • The YWCA’s Reach and Rise Mentoring Program wants volunteers to work with children ages 8 to 15. • The Heartland Hope Mission needs volunteers for its food pantry. • The Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is looking for volunteers for a variety of assignments. • The Low-Income Ministry wants volunteers for its food pantry. • The Blair and Fremont Car-Go Program needs volunteers to drive older adults to their appointments once or twice a week. • ENOA’s senior centers want volunteers for a variety of assignments.

Read it & eat By Lois Friedman

Enjoy this group of February treats A gamut of sweet treats to sip and eat. Celebrate the days ahead with inspiration and recipes found in these coookbooks. February is for holidays and fun. Go for it. Butter & Scotch By A. Kave & K. Landreth (Abrams, $29.95) From this Brooklyn dessert and craft cocktail bar a “mash-up” to satisfy your sweet tooth with 75 recipes, techniques, and ingredients for confections cocktails with baking and boozing philosophy for brunch, happy hour, and all night. Baking With Less Sugar By Joanne Chang (Chronicle, $25) Sixty recipes with little to no white sugar using natural sweetners instead such as chocolate, honey, molasses, and fruit. These creations are from the owner of Boston's Flour Bakery & Cafe. Yummy illustrations for mouth-watering goodies. Bean to Bar Chocolate By Megan Giller (Storey, $19.95) Everything you want to know about eating and tasting chocolate. Tastings, pairings, hosting a chocolate salon, decoding the wrappers, and more. Twenty-two chefs’ recipes with tips. Naturally, Delicious By Danny Seo (Pam Krauss, $30) These 100 happy eats recipes are gathered from the pages of the author’s magazine that features eco-friendly living, and good-for-you-food including sweet but not sinful treats. Make cauliflower brownies, ice cream, and more. Day Drinking By Kat Odell (Workman, $15.95) Go for a mellow buzz with 50 light afternoon cocktail recipes gathered from bartenders around the U.S. Think low alchol/easy on the booze. From Amaro (bitters) aperitifs to Yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit). Warm and cool drinks for sipping tailored and tweaked for home pleasure. Enjoy bartending expertise with this warm chocolate cup of joy.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Makes 1 cup

1 cup water 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon sugar Pinch salt Combine the water, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about three minutes. Continue cooking whisking occasionally, until the mixture is hot and belended, about five minutes.

The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Law Offices of Charles E. Dorwart, J.D. 36 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • In-home consultations • Free Initial consultation 10104 Essex Court • Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114 Office: (402) 558-1404 • Fax: (402) 779-7498

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New Horizons

February 2018

Car-Go The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is recruiting volunteers age 55 and older to provide free transportation services for older adults in Fremont and Blair. “We’re especially interested in providing transportation services for military veterans,” said Pat Tanner, who coordinates the RSVP for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Sponsored locally by ENOA, RSVP is a national program of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. RSVP staff members who serve in Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties realize many older men and women live alone, are on fixed incomes, are no longer able to operate their own vehicle, and don’t have family members available to drive them to their various appointments. In response, RSVP’s Car-Go Project offers free transportation for men and women age 55 and older in Blair and Fremont through volunteers age 55 and older who use their own vehicles. Free rides can be given to medical appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, beauty parlors, barbershops, banks, and other personal business locations. Rides for persons who use wheelchairs (must be able to transfer themselves) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Car-Go Project – which isn’t available to nursing home residents – operates in Fremont and Blair Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on becoming a volunteer driver or to make a reservation (24 hours notice is required) for a ride, please call RSVP’s Fremont office at 402-7217780.


The National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Chapter 144 meets the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-292-1156. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Aksarben Chapter 1370 meets the second Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Amazing Pizza Machine, 13955 S Plz. For more information, please call 402-342-4351.


ENOA needs Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions en and women age 55 and older who want to earn a tax-free stipend while making an impact in their community are encouraged to join the Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program. Sponsored locally by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the SCP and FGP are national programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. Senior Companions help

other older adults maintain their independence by visiting them at home to discuss the news, read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. Foster Grandparents serve as positive role models for children who need special attention with education, healthcare, and social development in schools, Head Start programs, and child development centers. SCP and FGP volunteers must meet income guidelines and complete an enrollment process that includes references and background checks. In exchange for volunteering 15 hours or more per week, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $2.65 an hour tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, an annual physical examination, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including an annual recognition luncheon. The stipend does not interfere with rent, disability, Medicaid, or other benefits. For more information on the FGP and SCP, please call 402-444-6536.

THEOS THEOS, a social organization for singles age 60 and older, meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at New Cassel, 900 N. 90th St. Older men and women are encouraged to meet for a fun afternoon and to sign up for other activities throughout the month. On Feb. 12, Ann Somers from the Douglas County Historical Society, will discuss the history of Omaha. For more information, please call Dorothy at 402399-0759 or Mary at 402393-3052.


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New Horizons

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New Horizons readership survey Our staff and advertisers are working to make the New Horizons the best publication possible. To that end, we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to review and answer the questions below. Please mail your responses to New Horizons, 4780 S. 131st St., Omaha, Neb. 68137. If you have any questions, please call New Horizons Editor Jeff Reinhardt at 402-444-6654. Thanks for your time and assistance. • On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), please rate the New Horizons. • How many years have you been reading the New Horizons?

Driving assessment classes are available through Safety Council


he National Safety Council of Nebraska is offering a comprehensive three-hour driving assessment class for older adults by appointment. The Senior Driving Program, which costs $300, is designed to keep older adults driving safely on Nebraska’s roads for as long as possible. Participants will be able to assess and improve their driving skills to reduce risk to themselves, their passengers, and to other drivers.

• Do you read the New Horizons each month? • Do you receive the New Horizons through the mail or at one of our freehand distribution sites?


he classes, held at the National Safety Council of Nebraska’s office, 11620 M Cir., offer a driving skills self-assessment, behind the wheel driving with statecertified instructors, driving tips, an evaluation, and recommendations. To learn more or to register for the Senior Driving Program, please call 402898-7371 or go online to

• Would you be interested in receiving an electronic copy of the New Horizons on your computer or smart phone? • What types of New Horizons articles do you like best ( human interest, healthcare, available programs and services, other)?

• What types of New Horizons articles do you like least (human interest, healthcare, available programs and services, other)?

Diabetes workshops held in Fremont March 8 to April 12


• Do you pass your copy of the New Horizons on to another reader? • Do you read the ads in the New Horizons? • Do you support the New Horizons advertisers? • Do you have any suggestions for improving the New Horizons?


Telephone #





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New Horizons


February 2018

Zip code

he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is offering a free sixweek series of programs designed to teach participants how to live a healthy lifestyle with diabetes. The programs will run on Thursdays from March 8 through April 12 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. Developed at Stanford University, Living Well with Diabetes classes will help participants manage diabetes symptoms including fatigue and depression, use relaxation techniques, improve communication skills, eat healthy, use medications effectively, monitor blood sugar levels, solve problems, set goals, feel better, and take charge of their life. For more information or to register for the programs, please contact Laurie at 402-727-2815 or laurie. friendshipcenter@gmail. com. Please sign up by the end of February.

Physician: Most degenerative diseases can be WoodmenLife donates $5,000 to linked to infections in the teeth, gums, tonsils ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program


e all know someone who has been affected by a life-altering illness like heart disease, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. Yet no one seems to understand why so many horrendous diseases are prevalent today or what causes them. Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, has a groundbreaking explanation: Nearly all degenerative diseases can be linked back to silent infections lurking in the teeth, gums, and tonsils. Even more amazing: He says a simple 3D X-ray can indicate the presence of these deadly diseases long before you become sick. “Asymptomatic tooth infections are prevalent in most of the population, and these infections, along with infected tonsils and gums, cause the vast majority of heart attacks and cases of breast cancer,” says Dr. Levy, author of Hidden Epidemic: Silent Oral Infections Cause Most Heart Attacks and Breast Cancers. “Unfortunately, much of the medical community is not yet aware of the strong link between silent oral infections and these deadly diseases.” To better treat these illnesses, Dr. Levy says we must recognize this important relationship and adopt better diagnostics using 3D X-rays. He says having a 3D X-ray (also called 3D cone beam imaging) is just as important as any other test you’d have during a typical wellness exam, such as a cholesterol or glucose screening. That’s because, unlike a standard X-ray, 3D imaging provides an in-depth scan of the teeth, gums, and sinuses, and identifies hidden infections that are completely painless and symptom-free.  “Some infections in the mouth cause so much discomfort patients must visit a dentist right away,” says Dr. Levy. “Because most infections in the mouth are symptom-free, they go unreported, undetected, and untreated until it’s too late and disease has set in. This is why it’s so important for 3D cone imaging to become a standard part of patient care. It detects danger before you know it’s there.”  Detection of these oral infections is key, because once identified, they can be treated in order to help prevent cancer, cardiovascular

disease, or a host of other illnesses from setting in. Given that nearly all disease begins in the mouth, how can you prevent a deadly illness from “taking root” or mitigate a current disease? Here are five things Dr. Levy wants you to know in order to protect yourself. • All healthy and young people should get a baseline 3D X-ray: Young people and anyone not displaying acute symptoms of illness should have a baseline 3D X-ray as early as possible. Then, should any mysterious symptoms appear over the years like chest pain, fatigue, arthritis pain, high blood pressure, or headaches, a record is available to compare against newer results and indicate the presence of new infections in the roots of the teeth. • Sick people should get a 3D X-ray ASAP to rule out oral infection: Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with a disease or you’re simply developing worrisome symptoms, Dr. Levy advises seeking a 3D X-ray right away. Following the diagnosis, your results can be formally interpreted by your dentist, physician, or radiologist to either address or rule out dental apical infections that may be causing your symptoms.  “The number and frequency of 3D X-ray examinations vary depending on the patient,” says Dr. Levy. “Chronically ill patients who show stable or improving bloodwork may not require a follow-up examination, while patients who are getting sicker may need to periodically repeat the test.” • You may need to request a 3D X-ray and pay for it yourself: Dr. Levy says because few medical professionals appreciate the correlation between hidden infections in the mouth and disease, 3D X-ray imaging isn’t a standard diagnostic tool. So, you may need to advocate for yourself by requesting a 3D X-ray on your own—and paying for it out of pocket. Many periodontists (implant specialists), endodontists (root canal specialists), and an increasing number of dentist offices utilize this diagnostic tool in their practices, so they’re becoming more widely available. “Three-dimensional cone beam imaging technology is a little pricey out of pocket, but the benefits to your longterm health far outweigh the costs,” says Dr. Levy. “A few hundred dollars is a very small price to pay for a diagnostic study that could save your life.” • Great oral hygiene with an emphasis on gum care minimizes your risk for infection: Dr. Levy says teeth and gum care are the best preventative measures against oral infections. Keep your teeth healthy and avoid decay by brushing twice a day. He also prefers using dental irrigation over flossing, as flossing can cause trauma to the gums.  “Water irrigation with a little hydrogen peroxide added is very effective at removing food particles from the gums and preventing infection,” he says. “Parents should get their children acclimated to this treatment as early as possible to build lifetime healthy gum habits.” • A healthy diet matters, too. A healthy diet promotes healthy teeth and a strong immune system. So be sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables. And because sugar promotes tooth decay and can cause cavities, try to avoid sweets like candy, cookies, and soda as much as possible.  “More people than ever are taking ownership of their health, and it couldn’t be happening at a better time,” says Dr. Levy. “But until 3D cone beam imaging is an accepted part of everyone’s healthcare evaluation, it’s up to you to advocate for yourself and understand the importance of knowing what’s going on in your mouth. Being engaged in your own wellness can keep you informed, bring you peace of mind, and may even save your life someday.”


oodmenLife, an Omaha-based company since 1890, recently made a $5,000 donation to the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels Program. WoodmenLife has a history of making a difference in the communities where its members live while recognizing the value of being a good corporate citizen by donating time and money to organizations in the Omaha area. More than 80 WoodmenLife associates are involved in delivering meals for ENOA throughout the year on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to residents of Park East Tower, 539 S. 26th St., according to Arlis Smidt, who coordinates the agency’s Meals on Wheels Program. “We’ve recently implemented our Meals on Wheels Program in Fremont and Blair, so the ongoing support from WoodmenLife is greatly appreciated,” said ENOA’s Executive Director Dennis Loose. For more information on ENOA’s Meals on Wheels Program, please call 402-444-6766.

Fontenelle Tours

Omaha/Council Bluffs


Quoted prices are per person, double occupancy. For more information about our tours, please call Ward or Kathy Kinney at Fontenelle Tours at the number listed above.

Motorcoach Morel Mushrooms and Wind (with a side of Mustard and Matchsticks). May 17 - 20. $739. ($779 after 02/8/18). Come along to a Morel Mushroom Festival and enjoy fried morels and mushroom brats, tour a wind generator farm to find out how those huge wind turbines work, tour the National Mustard Museum (some call it the “Condimental Divide”), “marvel” at the detailed scale matchstick models created by an Iowa artist, see the “House on the Rock”, and have lunch in the “Sistine Chapel”. Missouri Wine Country. Early to mid-July. More details to follow. “Mamma Mia!” at the New Theater. July 28. $135. ($145 after 5/28/18). On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past to the door of the church. Featuring the #1 hits of the legendary Group ABBA including “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me-Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, and many more. Nebraska Junk Jaunt. September 28 – 29. $279. ($299 after 7/1/18). Come along on our sixth "Junk Jaunt", covering more than 220 miles in central Nebraska. Participating towns have city-wide garage, yard, and bake sales. Two full days of treasure hunting with lots of storage under the bus for our treasures! October Colors in Niagara Falls, Boston, and Cape Cod. October 9 - 20. $2,749. ($2,809 after 4/9/18). Dust off your passport and enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery as we travel across the Midwest to Niagara Falls, Boston, and Cape Cod, with several highlights including a cruise to the base of Niagara Falls, “ice wine” tasting, dinner atop the Skylon Tower, Strawberry Fields experience, Vermont Maple Museum, Plymouth, Salem, Cape Cod Resort, Sandwich Glass Museum, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and Amish Acres. Branson Christmas. November 5 – 8. $719. ($759 after 8/20/18). Enjoy the Legends in Concert (Elton John, Brooks & Dunn, Tina Turner, The Blues Brothers, and Elvis), Daniel O’Donnell, The Hughes Brothers, “Samson” at the Sight & Sound Theater, Hot Rods & High Heels, and Million Dollar Quartet. Kansas City Christmas. Dates and pricing TBD.

Laughlin (There are currently no Laughlin trips available out of Omaha. Check with us for updates on these very reasonably priced charter flights to Laughlin, Nevada. They typically sell out fast.)

In Partnership with Collette Vacations Quoted prices are per person, double occupancy, and do include airfare. More destinations available! Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park. Mid July 2018. Details to follow. Spotlight London Holiday. December 2018. Details to follow. Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights. Early March 2019. Details to follow. Watch New Horizons and our website for our trip schedule. 11808 Mason Plaza Omaha, NE 68154

February 2018

New Horizons

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Fremont Friendship Center You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • Feb. 6: Rich Hirshman will conclude the series on WWII @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 7: Hints with Home Instead @ 10 a.m. followed by pianist Wally @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 13: Blood pressure checks and a talk on being heart healthy by Twyla from Premier Estates @ 10 a.m. Talk by ENOA’s Director of Volunteer Services Mary Parker @ 11 a.m. • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Party featuring music by the Links @ 10 a.m. We’ll crown our King and Queen before the music begins. • Feb. 21: Music with Julie Couch @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 27: Talk on the guideline changes for Medicaid and Medicare @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 28: Music by Wayne Miller @ 10:30 a.m. The facility will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. Walking in the main arena Tusesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is encouraged. Keep track of your miles in our walking book. The Fremont Friendship Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for lunch. Reservations must be made by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meal reservations and more information, please call Laurie at 402-727-2815.

Legal Aid is offering free phone access for older Nebraskans

Advice to help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

egal Aid of Nebraska operates a free telephone access line for Nebraskans age 60 and older. Information is offered to help the state’s older men and women with questions on topics like bankruptcy, homestead exemptions, collections, powers of attorney, Medicare, Medicaid, grandparent rights, and Section 8 housing. The telephone number for the Elder Access Line is 402-827-5656 in Omaha and 1-800-527-7249 statewide. This service is available to Nebraskans age 60 and older regardless of income, race, or ethnicity. For more information, log on the Internet to http:// www.legalaidofnebraska. com/EAL.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 400 deaths and approximately 15,000 emergency room visits each year as a result of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The highest percentage of carbon monoxide exposures occur during November, December, January, and February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Nebraska as one of the states with the highest mortality rate from carbon monoxide. Calls to the Poison Center concerning carbon monoxide have already exceeded last year’s exposures even with a mild fall season. It’s imperative that the citizens of Nebraska understand the dangers, the symptoms, and how to prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas produced when fuels burn incompletely. It has no color, taste, or smell. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, vomiting, shortness of breath, and convulsions. The first step in treating carbon monoxide poisoning is getting the victim to fresh air. Then seek medical attention immediately. The Poison Center offers the following suggestions to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home. • Inspect all fuel-burning equipment yearly. • Vent fuel-burning heaters to the outside. • Do not use a gas range or an oven for heating a room. • Never use a charcoal or gas grill inside. • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. • Generators should be run at a safe distance from the home – never next to a window, door, or vent. • Have vehicle mufflers and tailpipes checked regularly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble those associated with other health conditions that are common among older adults, especially in the winter. The carbon monoxide death rate is highest among people greater than age 65. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, a Nebraska State Law required carbon monoxide alarms in all residences that are sold, rented, or remodeled. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center encourages all residences to have a carbon monoxide alarm. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning or have any questions, contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center toll-free at 1-800-222-1222. Nurse specialists are available 24/7 to assist you.


Catholic Charities’ Irish Fest Catholic Charities’ annual gala fundraiser, Irish Fest, will be held Saturday, March 3 at the Marriott Capitol District, 222 N. 10th St. The fun-filled evening will include cocktails, a silent auction, music from Ellis Island, dinner, a live auction, and after dinner entertainment by Finest Hour. Proceeds from Irish Fest will be used to serve indi-

viduals who turn to Catholic Charities each year. For over 90 years, Catholic Charities has advocated for the poor and marginalized through programs ranging from mental health services, domestic violence advocacy, adoption, hunger relief, and services for older adults. For more information, please contact Rita HeastonClark at 402-829-9205 or






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New Horizons

February 2018

Thank you! The men and women of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging would like to thank the following businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals that purchased more than 1,000 gifts for approximately 520 ENOA clients during the 2017 Christmas season. CHRISTMAS GIFT DONORS Melissa Bildt

Cindy Jones

Karen Paschal


Angie Kelso

Brendan Bishop

Cindy Kirstine

Kris & Gene Rhodman/ King of King’s Bible Study


Kathy Kirstine

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Lorey Kirstine

First Lutheran Church Blair (Wanda Blomker)

Kim Kronschnabel/UNO-CSA

Carrie Schaffart

Ronda Folden

Methodist Hospital Fourth Floor South staff (Becca Frans)

Scheel’s Marcia Synowiecki

Notre Dame Alumni Club of Omaha

Catherine Tevis

Omaha Fire Department Administrative Office

Dawn Varner

Kayla Frerichs Tara Helms/HDR Inc. Home Instead Senior Care Fremont Home Instead Senior Care Omaha Linda Ivory Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints/ Mary Ann Besse

St. Gerald’s Catholic Church St. Philip Neri Catholic School

Kate Waters

Outdoors Unlimited Barb Parolek

The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging would also like to thank the following SeniorHelp Program volunteers who delivered Christmas gifts to ENOA clients in 44 area zip codes.

Claire Anderson

Sherri Hinkel

Kris Rhodman

Park Blaine

Jim Hubbard

Gene Rhodman

Becky Bonacci

Sue Jones

Sarah Reidler

Nate Bonacci

Cindy Jones

Linda Rogge

Mark Booker

Debby Kaipust

Bob Sanders

Geoff Burt

Mike Kaipust

Justin Sanders

James Busse

Mary Kelly

Carrie Schaffart

Rebecca Clausing

Mark Lasswell

Bo Schaffart

Stephanie Cleary

Shelley Lidolph

Maizie Schaffart

Ray Griggs

Arlene Logan

Joe Siracusano

Hanscom Park UMC

Bob Lykke

Jadyn Smithson

Bob Hautzinger

Mary Lykke

Katie Thompson

Larry Heck

Barb McKenna

Cheryl Vacek

Vikki Henry

Page Moore

Jennifer Wellendorf

Doug Henry

Lonnie Newkirk

Mandy Winterstein

Everett Henry

Andon Parsons

Daniel Witt

Darien Henry

Bart Pawlenty

Erik Henry

Carol Peterson

Devoted daughter documents Mom’s story in new book

Charlene Ligon is chair of the Sarpy County Democratic Party, and secretary of the Nebraska Democratic Party. By Leo Adam Biga Contributing Writer


hances are, you’ve never heard of the late Evelyn T. Butts. But you should know this grassroots warrior who made a difference at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the Jim Crow American South. A new book, Fearless: How a poor Virginia seamstress took on Jim Crow, beat the poll tax and changed her city forever is written by Butts’ youngest daughter, Charlene Butts Ligon of Bellevue, Neb. The book preserves the legacy of this champion for the underserved and underrepresented. Evelyn (Thomas) Butts grew up with few advantages in Depression Era Virginia. She lost her mother at age 10. She didn’t finish high school. Her husband, Charlie Butts, came home 100 percent disabled from World War II. To support their three daughters, Evelyn – a skilled seamstress – took in day work. She made most of her girls’ clothes.  When not cooking, cleaning, or caring for the family, Evelyn volunteered her time fighting for equal rights. She became an unlikely force in Virginia politics wielding influence in her hometown of Norfolk and beyond. Both elected officials and candidates curried her favor.  Butts fought for integrated schools, equal city services, and fair housing. Her biggest fight legally challenged the poll tax, a registration fee that posed enough of a financial burden to keep many poor blacks from exercising their right to cast a ballot. The 24th Amendment to the U.S.

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Constitution had ruled poll taxes illegal in federal elections but the practice continued in southern state elections as a way to disenfranchise blacks. Butts’ case, combined with others, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1966, U.S. Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall argued for the plaintiffs. In a 6-3 decision, the court abolished the poll tax in state elections and Butts went to work registering thousands of voters. More than 50 years since that decision and 25 years since her mother’s death in 1993, Ligon has written and published a book that chronicles Evelyn Butts’ life of public service that inspired Charlene and countless others.  Ligon and her husband, Robert, are retired U.S. Air Force officers. The last station of their well-traveled military careers was at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue from 1992 to 1995. When they retired, the couple opted to make Nebraska their permanent home. They are parents to three grown children and five grandchildren. By nature, and nurture, Ligon, inherited her Mama’s love of organized politics, community affairs, and public service. Charlene is chair of the Sarpy County Democrats and secretary of the Nebraska State Democratic Party. As the party’s state caucus chair, she led a nationally recognized effort that set up caucuses in all 93 Nebraska counties and developed an interactive voting information website.  Former Nebraska Democratic Party executive director Hadley Richters knows a good egg when she sees one.

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“In politics, you learn quickly the people who will actually do the work are few, and even fewer are those who strive to do it even better than before. Charlene Ligon is definitely a part of that very few. I have also learned those few, like Charlene, are who truly uphold our democracy. “Charlene works tirelessly to further participation in the process, selflessly driven by a rare and deep understanding of what’s at stake. She is a champion for voices to be heard, and when it comes to protecting the democratic process, defending fairness, demanding access, and advocating for what is right, I can promise you Charlene will be present, consistent, hard-working, and fearless.” Ligon is a charter member of Black Women for Positive Change, a national policy-focused network whose goals are to strengthen and expand the American middle working class and change the culture of violence. Besides her mother, Charlene counts Texas politician Barbara Jordan, New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, and Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height as her role models. In addition to participating in several political rallies, Ligon’s an annual Omaha Women’s March

participant. Like her mother before her, Ligon’s been a Democratic National Convention delegate, she’s met party powerbrokers, and she’s made voting rights her mission. “It all goes back to that – access and fairness,” Charlene said. Even today, measures such as redistricting and extreme voter ID requirements can be used to suppress votes. Charlene still finds it shocking the lengths Virginia and other states went to in order to suppress the black vote. “Virginia’s really shameful in the way it did voting,” she said. “At one time, they had what they called a blank sheet for registration. When you went to register to vote you had to know ahead of time what identifying information you needed to put on there. It wasn’t a literacy test. By law, the registrar could not help people, so people got disqualified. Well, the black community got together and started having classes to educate folks what they needed to know when they went to register.” The blank sheet was on top of the poll tax. An unintended effect was the disqualification of poor and elderly whites, too. In a majority white state, that could not hold and so a referendum was organized, and the practice discontinued.“The his--Please turn to page 11.

Bellevue’s Charlene Ligon and her late sister, Jeanette, started writing the book about their mother in 2007.

February 2018

Charlene admired her mother’s courage, feminist spirit -Continued from page 10. tory books tell you they did it because of white backlash, not because of black backlash,” Ligon said. Virginia’s regrettable record of segregation extended to entire school districts postponing school and some schools closing rather than complying with integration. “It always amazes me they did that,” Ligon said.


s a Norfolk public housing commissioner, Evelyn Butts broke ranks with fellow board members to publicly oppose private and public redevelopment plans whose resulting gentrification would threaten displacing black residents. “She really gave them a fit because they weren’t doing what they should have been doing for poor neighborhoods and she told them about it. They weren’t really ready for her to bring this out,” Ligon said of her mother’s outspoken independence. “Mama could be stubborn, too. She was authoritarian sometimes.”  Butts became the voice for people needing an advocate, according to Ligon. “They called her for all kinds of things. They called her when they needed a house, when they were having problems with their landlord. They knew to call Mrs. Butts, and that if you call Mrs. Butts, she’ll help you. “Nine times out of 10 she could get something for them. She had that reputation as a mover and shaker and they knew she wasn’t going to sell them out because it wasn’t about money for her.” Ligon fights the good fight herself in a different climate than the one her mother operated in. It makes her appreciate even more how her Mom took on social issues when it was dangerous for an African-American to speak out. She admires the courage her mother showed and the feminist spirit she embodied.  “My Mama always spoke up. She talked kind of loud. I got that from her. She looked them in the eye and said, ‘This is the way it needs to be.’ They didn’t always pay attention to her, but she just always was ready to say what needed to be said. Of course, the establishment didn’t want to hear it. But she actually won most people’s respect.” Growing up, Ligon realized having such a bigger-than-life mother was not the norm. “She stood out in my life. I started to understand that my Mom was different than most people’s Moms. She was always doing something for the neighborhood. There were so many things going on in the 1950s through the early 1960s that really got her going.” Her mother was at the famous 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech. Charlene wanted to go but her mother forbade it out of concern there might be violence. Being there marked a milestone for Evelyn Butts – surpassed only by the later Supreme Court victory. “It meant a lot to her. That was the movement. That was what she believed,” Ligon said. “And it was historic.” Long before the march, Butts saw MLK speak in Petersburg, Va. He became her personal hero. “She was already moving forward. He inspired her to move further forward,” Charlene said. Decades later, Ligon attended both of Barack Obama’s presidential inaugurations. She has no doubt her mother would have been there if she’d been alive. “I wish my Mom could have been around to see that. Although electing the nation’s first black president didn’t have the intended effect on America I thought it would.  It gave me faith though when he was elected that the process works, that it could happen. He

Copies of Ligon’s book are available at select libraries and local bookstores including The Bookworm, 2501 S. 90th St., Suite 111. could not have won with just black votes, so we know a lot of white people voted for him. We should never forget that. It just really made me proud.” Ligon shook hands with President Obama when he visited Omaha. She’s met other notable Democrats such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Jim Clyburn, Doug Wilder, Ben Nelson, and Bob Kerrey. The day the Supreme Court struck down the poll tax, Evelyn Butts got to meet Thurgood Marshall – the man who headed up the Brown vs. Board of Education legal team that successfully argued for school desegregation. In 1967, Marshall began the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. “She was really thrilled to meet him,” Ligon said. United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy was also in the courtroom for the poll tax ruling and Evelyn got to meet the future presidential candidate that day, as well. Butts was vociferous in her pursuit of justice but not everyone in the movement could afford to be like her. “As I look back on the other prominent people in the movement, they had their ways of contributing but there were a lot of people who had what they considered something to lose. For instance, teachers just wouldn’t say a word because they were afraid for their jobs. There were lots of people that wouldn’t say anything,” Charlene said. Evelyn Butts exuded charisma that drew people to her, according to Ligon. “People liked her. Mama was an organizer. She was the person that got them all together, and she was inspirational to them, I’m sure. She had a group of ladies who

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followed her. They were like, ‘OK Mrs. Butts, what are we going to do today? Are we going to register voters? Are we going to picket?’” Butts formed an organization called Concerned Citizens for Political Education that sought to empower blacks and their own self-determination. It achieved two key victories in the late 1960s with the election of Joseph A. Jordan as Norfolk’s first black city council member since Reconstruction and electing William P. Robinson as the city’s first African-American member of the state House of Delegates. Charlene marveled at her mother’s energy and industriousness. “I was always proud of her.” Having such a high-profile parent wasn’t a problem for Ligon. “I never felt uncomfortable or had a negative feeling about it.”  Even when telling others what she felt needed to be done, Ligon said her mother treated everybody with respect. “The Golden Rule has always been my thing and I’m sure my mom taught me the Golden Rule.” 


s big a feat as it was to end the poll tax, Ligon felt her mother’s accomplishments went far beyond that and only a book could do them justice. So, in 2007, she and her late sister, Jeanette, embarked on the project. “We thought people needed to know the whole story,” Charlene said. Ligon’s research led her to acclaimed journalist-author Earl Swift, a former Virginian Pilot reporter who wrote about Butts in the newspaper. He ended up editing Charlene’s book. He insisted she make it more specific and full of descriptive details. Poring through archives, Ligon found much of her mother’s activities covered in print --Please turn to page 12.

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Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall argued poll tax case at the U.S. Supreme Court and the Civil Rights workers getting killed. We had a few bombings and cross burnings. It still amazes me how she was able to put up with what she did. A lot of people were frightened. Not far from where we lived. Racists were bombing houses near where she was picketing. She wasn’t frightened about that and she always made us feel comfortable that things were going to be OK.” Butts drew the ire of those with whom she differed, white and black. For example, she called out the Virginia chapter of the NAACP for moving too slowly and timidly. “My Mom was considered militant back in the day, but she was also pragmatic about it,” Ligon said. “There was so much ground to cover. There’s still a lot of ground to cover.” Ligon rues that today’s youth may not appreciate how fragile civil rights are, especially with Donald Trump in office and the Republicans in control of Congress. “I don’t think young people realize we’re losing ground. They Butts in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in 1966. aren’t paying attention. They take --Continued from page 11. always knew what was going on, she things for granted. I’m old enough stories published by the Pilot as involved us. She would update my to remember when everything was well as by Norfolk’s black newsdad. We were always in earshot of segregated and how restrictive it paper, the New Journal and Guide. the conversation,” Ligon said. was. I may not want to go anywhere Ligon also interviewed several “My sisters and I were expected to (other) than some place where all people who knew her mother or her be aware of what was happening in the people look like me, but I need work. our community. We were encouraged to have that choice. Writer Kietryn Zychal helped to read the newspaper. We partici“We’ve lost almost all the ground Ligon pen the book.  pated in some picketing.” we made when Barack Obama Much of the content is from Always having Evelyn’s back was president,” Ligon continued. Charlene and her sister’s vivid was the man of the house. “He was “People who wanted change said memories growing up with their behind her 100 percent,” Ligon said we don’t need the status quo and I Mom’s activism. As a girl, Charof her father, who unlike Evelyn was would say, ‘Yes, we do, we need to lene often accompanied her to quiet and reserved. hold it a little bit.’” events. “She took me a lot of He didn’t like the limelight but, She’s upset Obama’s executive places. I was exposed,” Ligon said. Charlene said he never fussed about orders are under assail. Obamacare Those experiences included that. “He was in her corner. He is being undone. Sentences for picketing a local grocery store that might not have done that (activism) nonviolent drug offenders are being didn’t hire blacks and a university personally himself but he was proud toughened and lengthened. whose athletics stadium restricted she was out there doing that. As long Perhaps it’s only natural the nablacks to certain sections. as she cooked his dinner.” tion’s eyes were taken off the prize “The first time I remember Evelyn Butts saw part of her fight- once Civil Rights lost an identifiattending a political-social activing the good fight as the Christian able movement or leader. But Ligon ism meeting with Mama was the thing to do. “We attended church, chose a Coretta Scott King quotaOakwood Civic League about but my Mama wasn’t really a church tion at the front of her book as a 1955 during the same time the area lady,” Ligon said. “She just always reminder that when it comes to prewas under annexation by the city believed in what the right thing to serving rights, vigilance is needed. of Norfolk. My next memory is do would be. I guess that inner thing “Struggle is a never-ending proattending the NAACP meeting at was in all of us as far as social juscess. Freedom is never really won the church on the corner from our tice. She taught me there wasn’t any- –you earn it in every generation.” house concerning testing to attend thing I couldn’t do if I put my mind “I think the struggle is always integrated schools. I have vivid to it. She taught me not to be afraid going to be there for us minorities, memories of attending the court of people because I was different.” specifically for African-Americans,” proceedings of a school desegregaLigon said. “It’s my belief we’re tion case. Mama took me to court hen it came time for always going to have it. Each every day. She was called to testify Ligon to title her book, generation has to continue to move by the NAACP lawyers.” the word fearless jumped forward. You can’t just say, ‘We Charlene joined other black out. “That’s what she (Butts) was,” have it now.’” teenage girls as campaign workers Charlene said. She’s concerned some Africancalled the Jordanettes, for candidate Where did that fearless spirit come Americans have grown disillusioned Joe Jordan. Her mom made their from? After her mother died, Butts by the occasional overt racism that’s matching outfits.  was raised by her politically engaged surfaced since Trump emerged as a “We passed out literature, camAunt Roz. But headstrong Evelyn serious presidential candidate and paign buttons, and bumper stickers took her activism to a whole other then won the White House. at picnics, rallies, and meetings. level, according to Ligon. “I remem“With the change that’s happened Hanging out with my Mom and ber Roz telling Mama to be careful. in the United States, I think a lot of doing the campaign stuff definitely She said, ‘Evelyn, you better watch them have lost faith. They seem to had an influence. I was always out, they’re going to kill you.’” have given up. They say America excited to tag along.” The threat of violence, whether is white people’s country. I remind At home, politics dominated implied or stated, was ever present. them it’s our country. Do you know family discussions. “My Mom did “That’s just the way it was. In Vir- how much blood, sweat, and tears what she did all the time and she ginia, we had some bad things hapAfrican-Americans have invested talked about it all the time, and so I pen, but it wasn’t like Mississippi in America? Somewhere down the


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line we did not instill that this is our country. It’s OK to be patriotic and call them out every day. You can do both.” Ligon wonders how might America be different today had MLK lived. “Hopefully, we would be a little bit further along in having a more organized movement.” Charlene’s distressed a segment of whites feel the gains made by blacks have come at their expense. “Some white people feel something has been taken from them and given to the minorities, which is sad, because it’s not really so. But they feel that way.” She feels the election of Trump represented “a backlash” to the Obama presidency and his legacy as a progressive black man in power. If her mother were around today, Ligon is sure she would be out registering voters and getting them to the polls to ensure Trump and those like him don’t get reelected or elected in the first place.


n her book’s epilogue, Charlene suggests people stay home from the polls because they believe politics is corrupt and dirty, but she asserts Mama Butts would have something to say about that. “If my mother could, I know she’d say this: ‘If you don’t vote, you can be assured that corrupt politicians will be elected.’ And that’s the truth,” Ligon said. Just where did Butts get the strength to publicly resist oppression?   “It probably came from a long line of strong women,” Ligon said. “My grandmother’s sisters, including Roz, who raised my Mom, and women from the generation before. The men, I suspect, were pretty strong too. You just had to know my Mom and the other family ladies, and the conclusion would be something was in the genes that made them fighters. They were fighters, no doubt. They all were civic-minded, too.”  Going back even earlier in the family tree reveals a burning desire for freedom and justice. “My great-great-grandfather, Smallwood Ackiss, was a slave who ran away from the plantation during the Civil War after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and went to Norfolk. He went on to fight for the Union for two years,” Ligon said. “In 1865, he came back to the plantation. John Ackiss II, who was the plantation owner and his owner, had been fighting for the Confederacy at the same time. We do know Smallwood was given 30 acres of land. He lost the property, but we still have a family cemetery there that’s now on a country club in a real exclusive area of Virginia Beach.” From Smallwood right on down to her mother and herself, Charlene is part of a heritage that embraces freedom and full participation in the democratic process. --Please turn to page 13.

Ligon wants to be remembered as a fighter for social justice --Continued from page 12. “I guess I was always interested and Mom always took me with her. I always saw it. Even in the military, when stationed in South Dakota, I chaired the NAACP Freedom Fund in Rapid City. It’s always been there.” She feels her time in the service prepared her to take charge of things. “The military strengthens leadership. It’s geared for you to get promoted to become a leader.” Then there’s the fact Ligon is her mother’s daughter. Entering the USAF in the first place – as a 26-year-old single mother of two young children – illustrated her own strong-willed independence. It was 1975 and the newly initiated all-volunteer military was opening long-denied opportunities for women. “I was divorced, had two kids, and I needed child care and a regular salary. I didn’t want to have to depend on anyone else for it but me. It was difficult entering the military as a single parent, but I saw it as security for me and my kids. I was really fortunate I met a great guy whom I married, and we managed to finish out our careers together.”  Ligon made master sergeant as a meteorologist. “I didn’t want a traditional job. I didn’t want to be an administrative clerk in an office.” She ended her career as a data base programmer and since her retirement, she’s done web development work. She also had her own lingerie boutique, Intimate Creations, at Southroads Mall. Democratic Party business takes up most of her time these days. hile off in the military, Charlene wasn’t around to witness her mother falling out of favor with a new regime of leaders who distanced themselves from her. Mama Butts lost bids for public office and was even voted out of the Concerned Citizens group she founded. This, after having received community service awards and being accorded much attention. Personality conflicts and turf wars come with the territory in politics. “For a long time, my Mom didn’t let those things stop her.” Then it got to be too much, and Evelyn dropped out. Upon Butts’ death, Virginia journalist Earl Swift wrote: “Evelyn Butts’ life had become a Shakespearean tragedy. She’d dived from the heights of power to something very close to irrelevance. This is someone who should have finished life celebrated, rather than forgotten. History better be kind to this woman. Evelyn Butts was important.” The family agreed her important legacy needed rescue from the political power grabs that tarnished it.  “The Democratic Party really was not nice to my Mom. That was another reason I wrote the book – because I wanted that to be known,” Charlene said. “I didn’t know all that had gone on until 1993 when she died. I wanted to present who she was, how she came to be that way, and the lessons you can learn from her life. I think those lessons are really important for young people because we need to move forward, we need to stay focused and know we can’t give up – the struggle is still there. “People need to vote. That’s what they really need to do. They need to participate. Voting is their force and they don’t realize it, and that’s really disheartening. Even in Norfolk, my hometown, the registered voter numbers and turnout for elections among blacks is horrible – just like it is here. In north and south Omaha, they don’t turn out the way they could – 10 to 15 percent less than the rest of the city. That should not be. “When John Ewing ran for Congress (in


Evelyn Butts with Virginia State Sen. Henry Howell (middle) and attorney Joseph A. Jordan, Norfolk’s first black city councilman since Reconstruction. Nebraska’s Second District in 2012) he lost by 1.5 points. A little bit of extra turnout in north Omaha would have put him over the top. The same thing happened when Brenda Council ran for mayor of Omaha. If they (north Omahans) had turned out for Brenda, Brenda would have been elected. “That discourages me because they feel like they’re only a small percentage of the population. Yes, it’s true, but you can still make a difference and when you make that difference that gives you a voice. When you can swing an election, candidates and elected officials pay attention. When black voters say, ‘they don’t care about us,’ well I guess not, if you don’t have a voice.”


f anything, the work of Evelyn Butts proved what a difference one person can make in building a collective of activated citizens to make positive change. To Ligon’s delight, her mother is fondly remembered, and people want to promote her legacy. A street and a community center in Norfolk are named after her. A church houses a tribute display. Endorsements for the book came from former Virginia governor and senator Chuck Robb and current Norfolk mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, who wrote the foreword. Ligon was back home in Norfolk in January for a book signing in conjunction with MLK Day. She’s back there again for more book signings in February for Black History Month.  In Omaha, Fearless is available at The Bookworm, other fine bookstores, and select libraries. Fittingly, the book has been warmly received by diverse audiences. Long before intersectionality became a thing, Ligon writes in her book, her mother practiced it. She was black. She was a woman. She was poor. She had dropped out of high school. She was overweight, and she spoke loudly with confidence in her opinions in a voice that disclosed

February 2018

her working-class, almost rural upbringing. But this large, black poor woman was in the room with politically powerful white people, making policy and advocating for the poor, and it drove some suit-wearing, educated, well-heeled, middle-class male ministers nuts. Some wanted her place. Or, they believed her place should be subservient to a man. When her public career ended, my mother retreated to private life. She occupied her time by being a mother, a grandmother, a caregiver, a homemaker, and a fantastic cook. To say that her post-political years were tragic is to miss how much strength and satisfaction she drew from those roles. She may have retreated, but she was not defeated. We will never come to consensus on why Evelyn Butts lost her political power. There will always be people in Norfolk who thought her ‘style’ made her unelectable, that she brought about her own demise. Whatever her failings, her legacy is not in dispute. She will always exist in the pages of the U.S. Supreme Court case, in brick and mortar buildings that she helped to create, and in the memories of people. For me, her last surviving daughter, Evelyn Butts will always be a great American hero. If there’s a final lesson Charlene said she’s taken from her mother, it’s that there are things bigger than yourself to fight for. “And so I do what I do for my kids and grandkids.” She’s sure her Mom would be proud she followed in her footsteps to become a much-decorated Democratic Party stalwart and voting rights champion. “I haven’t thought about a legacy for myself. I hope people will remember me as a hard worker and as a pragmatic, fair fighter for social justice and Civil Rights.” For more information, visit or (Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at

New Horizons

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Volunteers Assisting Seniors

or more than 41 years, Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) has offered unbiased information, one-on-one counseling, and advocacy to help older adults in eastern Nebraska navigate complex government programs. VAS can review guardian and conservator files for the courts, assist with senior health insurance planning, help file for property tax relief, and provide estate planning workshops. What steps do you need to take to outline plans for your assets when you die? Have you designated who you want to handle your personal and financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated? If you already have an estate plan in place, do you know how often to review it? VAS is offering a basic estate planning workshop to help answer those questions. The workshop will cover lifetime planning (financial and medical powers of

attorney, living wills, and succession planning), wills, living or revocable trusts, alternatives and supplements to wills, taxes related to death, and mistakes to avoid in your planning. A volunteer attorney will present the free workshop at the VAS office in the Center Mall, 1941 S. 42nd St., Suite #312. For more information on the next workshop, please call VAS at 402-444-6617.

VAS needs volunteers to review the required annual reports submitted by guardians and conservators and report any discrepancies to the court. This opportunity is ideal for someone interested in working with numbers and a desire to assist the court in determining if the finances of vulnerable individuals are being managed in their best interest. For more information, please call 402-444-6617.

ENOA’s Caregiver Support Program


roviding long-term, in-home care for an older loved one is often stressful. Programs and services that can help reduce the caregiver’s stress and help keep the care receiver living at home are available through the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Caregiver Support Program. ENOA recently received an email (below) from an area resident who benefitted from the agency’s Caregiver Support Program. For more information about ENOA’s Caregiver Support Program, please call 402-444-6536.

AARP offering driving course AARP is offering a new four-hour, research-based Smart Driver Course for older adults. By completing the course, participants will learn research-based driving safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having an accident; understand the links between the driver, the vehicle, and the road environment, and how this awareness encourages safer driving; learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and health-related issues affect driving ability and ways to allow for these changes; increase confidence; know how to share the road safely with other drivers, and learn the newest safety and advance features in vehicles. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonAARP members. No tests or examinations are involved, course completion certificates are provided, and auto insurance discounts may apply. Here’s this month’s schedule: Feb. 23 @ 9 a.m. Metro Community College Sarpy County Center 9110 Giles Road Call 531-622-2620

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New Horizons

February 2018

Camelot Friendship Center

Each day, 10,000 people reach retirement age

Enjoying the third phase of your life By Nancy Hemesath


e retirees are a new social phenomenon and a force to be reckoned with. The sheer numbers are astounding. Each day, 10,000 people reach retirement age. We make up 15 percent of the population, up from 8 percent in 1950. Life expectancy for a baby born in 1950 was 68.2 years. By 2015, the life expectancy became roughly another 20 years. Essentially, we’ve added a whole generation to our lives. For those people who only associate aging with rocking chairs, crankiness, wrinkles, poor memory, aches, and pains, this isn’t good news. For individuals who get to age 65 and retire without any hopes or plans, the result is drifting—which becomes a drag on society. However, this drifting isn’t inevitable if the “third phase” of life is viewed as an opportunity for growth instead of a downward spiral. I propose there are three keys to having a happy life after age 65. The first has to do with our perceptions of life as we grow older. We can accept the negative stereotypes mentioned above as truth, thus leading us to demonstrate those characteristics ourselves. I believe it’s our obligation to debunk the myths about aging. Accepting the myth that we’re useless and over-thehill excuses us from actively seeking to contribute our time and talent to those who need us. In our youth-oriented, production-centered society, we may forget we have unique qualities that have

accrued over the decades that no 30-year-old can be expected to demonstrate. Through the years we’ve developed a depth of knowledge on numerous topics. Through life experience, we’ve gained perspective as we’ve weathered crises and losses even as we’ve produced achievements and found joy in our personal lives. As we thoughtfully reflected on what we’ve learned and experienced, we achieve wisdom—our greatest gift to society and to succeeding generations.


n case you’re still wondering whether our generation has anything meaningful to contribute, let me remind you about Albert Schweitzer, Mary Baker Eddy, Helen Keller, Noah Webster, Mahatma Gandhi, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Sarah Bernhardt, Black Elk, and Georgia O’Keeffe. All of these giants of our collective history made great contributions in the third phase of their lives. Had any of these people sat back and drifted when they became 65, we’d all feel the loss. Modern brain science explains how this is possible. It’s a myth that our brains inevitably diminish and lose capacity as we get older. It has been proven the even into our age 90s, brains can develop new neuropathways if they’re challenged. In other words, we have the capacity to continue learning new things as long as we live. Debunking the myths about aging requires us to replace the negative stereotypes with a new mindset. Instead of looking at what we can no longer do, we see the richness of what we’ve learned about living well. We have the chance to slow down, nurture relationships, enjoy the moment, encourage others, and share our wisdom. Whether we continue building on our professional skills or try something new, all persons create their own journey. When we do this intentionally, we become a rich resource to the people around us. Instead of drifting and draining, we become a valued asset which brings us joy. In future issues, we will explore the second and third keys to a long and happy third phase of life—Unloading Unnecessary Baggage and Finding Our Purpose. (Hemesath, who is with Encore Coaching, can be reached at


Florence Senior Center

ou’re invited to visit the Florence Senior Center, 2920 Bondesson St., on Wednesday, March 28 as nursing students from Clarkson College present a lunch and learn presentation on Mental Health and Normal Changes in the Senior Adult at 11 a.m. Topics addressed will include why you may not be able to find your keys, forgetting where you parked your car, why you can’t remember names, and is memory loss a normal part of aging? For more information, please call Kathy at 402-4446333.


Heartland Generations Center You’re invited to visit the Heartland Generations Center – 4318 Fort St. – for the following: • Feb. 1: Attend the Gospel Fest @ UNO @ 11:30 a.m. • Feb. 6, 20, & 27: WISE with Jennifer. • Feb. 8: Urban Jazz violinist Daniel D. @ UNO @ 11:30 a.m. • Feb. 13: Birthday celebration with music sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:30 a.m. WISE with Jennifer @ 12:30 p.m. • Feb. 14: Guild’s Valentine’s Day party @ 11 a.m. • Feb. 16: Attend the Shrine Circus at the Mid American Center in Council Bluffs @ 1 p.m. • Feb. 21: Open house with the Cyber Seniors. • Feb. 22: Presentation on nutrition by students from Nebraska Methodist Nursing College. The center will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. Other center events include bingo Wednesday @ 12: 30 p.m. and Thursday @ 10:30 a.m. No Tai Chi classes until further notice. The Heartland Generations Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is normally served at noon. A $3.50 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to attend. Bus transportation is available within select neighborhoods for 50 cents each way. For meal reservations and more information, please call 402-553-5300.

WHITMORE LAW OFFICE Wills • Trusts • Probate

Vols needed for ENOA’s Ombudsman program

he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for men and women age 18 and older to join its Long-term Care Ombudsman Program which is co-sponsored by the Nebraska State Ombudsman Program. ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsmen volunteer in local long-term care facilities and assisted living communities to protect the residents’ rights, well-being, and quality of life. Long-term Care Ombudsmen must complete 20 hours of initial classroom training and 12 hours of additional training every two years. During the training, the volunteers learn about the residents’ rights, aging issues, Medicare, Medicaid, communication skills, how to investigate the residents’ complaints, the importance of confidentiality, and about the federal and state rules,

You’re invited to visit the Camelot Friendship Center inside the Camelot Community Center, 9270 Cady Ave., for the following: • Feb. 6: Music by Rich Patton sponsored by the Merrymakers. Foot clinic @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 8: Book Club. • Feb. 14: Birthday party and Valentine’s Day celebration. • Feb. 15: Program by the VNA @ 11:45 a.m. and Jackpot bingo @ 12:45 p.m. • Feb. 23: Blood pressure checks by students from Methodist College of Nursing. The center will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. Other activities include Tai Chi (Friday @ 10:30 a.m.), bingo, pinochle, card games, other games, crafts, candy making, and scrapbooking. The Camelot Friendship Center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. For reservations or more information, please call 402444-3091.

regulations, and laws regarding Nebraska’s long-term care facilities and assisted living communities. Before being assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community, new volunteers will make four visits to a site with an experienced Ombudsman Advocate to learn more about what the program entails. After a three-month probationary period, the new volunteers are certified as Ombudsman Advocates. Certified Ombudsman Advocates will be assigned to a long-term care facility or an assisted living community where they’ll visit for two hours a week to meet with administrators, residents, and the residents’ family members to address concerns. For more information about ENOA’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, please call Beth Nodes at 402-444-6536. February 2018

Ask A Lawyer: Q — In addition to avoiding probate, what are some benefits of a trust? A — Gifts to minors can be held in the trust until they are ready to inherit, without court supervision. A trust provides you with more privacy than a will, and is difficult to challenge. A trust can prevent unintentionally disinheriting a child, which can happen in a blended family, even with a will. You can make provision for beneficiaries with special needs, or choose for professional management of your trust if you become disabled. The benefits of a trust are for everyone, not just for “rich people.” Have a question about estate planning? Give us a call!

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7602 Pacific Street, Ste 200 • (402) 391-2400

New Horizons

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Notre Dame/ Seven Oaks Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center, 3439 State St. for the following: · Monday & Wednesday: Tai Chi @ 2 p.m. · Second, third, and fourth Friday: Community Food Pantry @ 11 a.m. · Third Wednesday: Community Food Pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Second and fourth Tuesday: Get banking help as a representative from American National Bank visits at 10 a.m. · Feb. 5: Speaker on Walmart grocery options @ 1:30 p.m. · Feb. 8: Speaker on the American Heart Association and heart health @ 1:30 p.m. · Feb. 15: Presentation by Nebraska State Sen. Justin Wayne @ 7 p.m. · Feb. 22: Presentation on Creighton University’s School of Dentistry @ 1:30 p.m. · Feb. 27: Celebrate February birthdays with music by Kim Eames sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 1:30 p.m. The facility will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3.50 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11 a.m. the business day prior to the lunch the participant wishes to attend. For meals reservations and more information, please call 402-451-4477, ext. 126.

Call 402-616-6640 to learn more

Men against domestic violence group hosting Feb. 17 meeting at Metro CC


he Men Against Domestic Violence Action Coalition (MADVAC) – a volunteer organization that engages men of all ages to help prevent domestic violence through awareness, education, and training – is hosting a meeting on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. The gathering will be held in Room 201A in Building 22’s (the Culinary Arts Building) Swanson Conference Center at Metropolitan Community College, 3000 Fort St. MADVAC was started by Charlie Venditte and Bobby Brumfield, community leaders who are concerned about Omaha’s prevalence of domestic violence. The meeting will include discussions on the effects of domestic violence on children, learned behaviors, and healthy masculinity, followed by questions and answers. Refreshments will be served. For more information, please call Venditte at 402616-6640.


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New Horizons

The cost of owning a pet


ow much is that doggie in the window? Before opening your home and your heart to a new pet, it’s important to know how often you’ll have to open your wallet. Whether your companion is a puppy, parakeet, hamster, cat, fish, or iguana, pet ownership comes at a cost. A new Harris Poll conducted by telephone for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) found that more than half of Americans (54 percent) have a pet in their home and the cost of that companionship is impacting their finances.  The survey found, on average, American pet owners spend $1,560 per year on just their pet’s routine care (feeding, grooming, boarding, and scheduled visits to the vet), based on an average monthly cost of $130. When you consider more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings (according to a recent GoBankingRates survey), it’s clear some pet owners are sacrificing their own financial goals to cover their pet costs.  “Owning a pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s also a longterm financial commitment,” said Greg Anton, CPA and chair of the AICPAs National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “It is important to incorporate both routine and unpredictable pet expenses into your budget to help ensure your own financial plan will not be disrupted.”  Nearly a quarter of pet owners (23 percent) admitted the cost of pet ownership is more than they expected. Food, toys, and routine care are foreseeable costs, however, there are additional expenses such as emergency medical care or boarding, that can arise without warning. If an emergency expense were to present itself, threequarters of American pet owners (76 percent) said they would make financial sacrifices to pay for it. Fourout-of-five (79 percent) shared they would stop eating at restaurants and twothirds (67 percent) would give up their vacation to pay for pet-related expenses if they were in a difficult financial situation.  Once a pet becomes part of the household, it’s doubtful people would “cancel” their pet to save money like they would a cable televi-

February 2018

sion subscription. In fact, three-in-five American pet owners (61 percent) said they’d do the opposite and sacrifice their cable and TV streaming services to pay for their pet expenses. A third of pet owners (35 percent) would even sacrifice their cell phone plan. While saving money on cable and cell phone plans could actually be advantageous, some American pet owners would take steps to help their pets that could negatively impact their finances. A little more than one-third (37 percent) said they would sacrifice contributions to their retirement account to pay for pet-related expenses, putting their own future financial well-being at risk. Even more alarming, one-in-four American pet owners (27 percent) would forego paying their credit card bill to pay for their pet’s expenses, leading to potential penalties, interest rate hikes, and a lowered credit score. Individual pet owners said to pay for emergency expenses they would be willing to “give up everything in the house”, their “quality of groceries”, and even “cut back on the amount of money spent on grandchildren.” A few pet owners went all in, saying they’re willing to “give up anything” to ensure their pet is taken care of. While you are committing to caring for your pet once you bring it into your home, planning ahead can help keep this commitment from sending you into financial distress.   “As you consider bringing a pet into your family, understand you’re making a substantial investment of both time and money,” added Anton. “The costs of your ‘new family member’ will go far beyond bringing them home so it’s important to budget for the lifetime of the pet.”  Pet ownership can be a fulfilling experience that should be approached with knowledge of the costs. To help Americans fully understand the financial commitment that comes with bringing a pet into their home, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission has the following tips: • Be honest with yourself financially: If you have credit debt piling up, does it really make financial sense to get a pet? Pets are great but they are meant to help relieve stress, not add to it due to financial difficulties. • Do your research: Though the cost of routine care may be predictable, it varies widely from animal to animal, and even from breed to breed across the full spectrum of family pets. Know ahead of time the probable cost of care that will come with your companion.  • Make a pre-pet & post-pet budget: Include all related expenses, i.e. food, treats, leash, and crates – including tank for fish, lizards, etc.—toys, vet visits, grooming, and other services such as boarding and day care. If your pet will require a habitat powered by electricity, be sure to factor in the impact it will have on your utility bills.  • Be prepared: If you’re worried about unforeseen costs, use an emergency savings calculator to help you regularly set aside funds, or consider getting pet insurance. • Buy in bulk: Items such as food, treats, and preventive medicine can be purchased in bulk, reducing the overall cost per unit. For more tips and information, visit 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers


aring for someone with a chronic illness such as dementia, heart disease, or stroke can be stressful physically, emotionally, and financially. This winter, the popular free six-week course titled, Powerful Tools for Caregivers will be offered at Wildewood Christian Church, 1255 Royal Dr. in LaVista. Powerful Tools for Caregivers was developed by Dr. Kate Lorig and her colleagues at Stanford University. The course helps nonprofessional caregivers of any age develop new skills that will improve their lives

and their ability to continue providing care. Caregivers will learn how to use tools to help reduce stress, improve self-confidence, make tough decisions, communicate better, and locate helpful resources and tips on how to balance caregiving with other responsibilities including responsibilities to yourself. Classes meet on Wednesdays through March 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Register by calling Ruth Hamlin at 402-650-7132 or Wildewood Christian Church at 402-331-1575. Or you can send an email to

Millard Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • Feb. 2: Super Bowl party. Bring a treat and wear your favorite team’s colors. • Feb. 7: African dress making @ 9 a.m. • Feb. 9: Sing-a-long with Bud and Fran @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 13: Valentine’s party @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 16: Attend the Shrine Circus at the Mid America Center (leave at noon). See Tamara for more details. • Feb. 20: Movie outing for $2. • Feb. 21: P.A.W.S. @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 22: Blood pressure checks by students from Nebraska Methodist Nursing College @ 9:30 a.m. • Feb. 27: VNA discussion on nutrition labels. The facility will be closed on Feb. 19 for Presidents Day. We’re looking for bridge players. Call Tamara Womack at 402-546-1270 for more information. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $3.50 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal the participant wishes to enjoy. Other center activities include walking, card games, Tai Chi, dominoes, quilting, needlework, chair volleyball, and bingo. For reservations or more information, please call 402546-1270.

Medicare Made Easy seminar on Feb. 28


edicare Made Easy is a free, educational seminar presented by Medicare specialists from Think Whole Person Healthcare on the benefits of Medicare and what you should know before you enroll.

The seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to noon on Level Two at Think Whole Person Healthcare, 7100 W. Center Rd. Register at or by calling 402-506-9376.

Widowed Persons Group of Omaha


he Widowed Persons Group of Omaha hosts a luncheon the third Monday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at Jericho’s

Restaurant, 11732 W. Dodge Rd. For more information, please call 402-426-9690 or 402-493-0452.

Alzheimer’s support groups The Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter offers several caregiver support groups and specialty support groups in Cass, Douglas, Washington, Dodge, and Sarpy counties. These support groups offer valuable space and educational opportunities for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia to engage and learn. For more information about any of the groups listed below, please call 800-272-3900. DODGE COUNTY • FREMONT Second Tuesday @ 5:30 p.m. The Heritage at Shalimar Gardens 749 E. 29th St. DOUGLAS COUNTY • OMAHA Second Thursday @ 10 a.m. Second Thursday @ 5:30 p.m. Country House Residences 5030 S. 155th St. Call Christina @ 402-980-4995 for free adult day services. Every other Monday @ 7 p.m. Brighton Gardens 9220 Western Ave. First & third Monday @ 1:30 p.m. New Cassel’s Franciscan Centre 900 N. 90th St. Call Melanie @ 402-393-2113 for free adult day services. Third Tuesday @ 5 p.m. Immanuel Fontenelle First floor classroom 6809 N 68th Plz. Second Tuesday @ 6:45 p.m. For caregivers of individuals with an intellectual disabilty/dementia. Barbara Weitz Center 6001 Dodge St. (UNO campus)

First Thursday @ 6:45 p.m. King of Kings Lutheran Church CORE Conference Room 11615 I St. Call Karen @ 402-584-9088 to arrange for adult day services. Third Tuesday @ 6 p.m. Temple Israel 13111 Sterling Ridge Dr. SARPY COUNTY • BELLEVUE Third Monday @ 7 p.m. Bellevue Senior Center 109 W. 22nd Ave. First Wednesday @ 1 p.m. Eastern Nebraska Vets Home (Vets and non-vets welcome) 12505 S. 40th St. • PAPILLION Fourth Thursday @ 6 p.m. Hillcrest Grand Lodge 6021 Grand Lodge Ave. WASHINGTON COUNTY • BLAIR Third Wednesday @ 6 p.m. Memorial Community Hospital Howard Conference Room 810 N. 22nd St.

February 2018

New Horizons

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AARP offering free tax preparation at area sites The AARP Tax-Aide program provides free tax preparation services at 10 Omaha-area locations. The program is designed to assist low and moderate income older adults, but services are provided to a variety of clients, including students. With a few exceptions, each site will be open from early February through midApril. The names, locations, days, and hours of operation for these sites are listed Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. AgeWell 6801 N. 67th Plz. Suite 100

Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m. La Vista Community Center 8116 Park View Blvd.

Monday & Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bellevue Volunteer Firefighters Hall 2108 Franklin St.

Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bellevue University Library 1000 Galvin Rd. S.

below. Unless otherwise indicated, sites operate on a walk-in basis with no appointments needed or taken. Clients must bring to the tax preparation site a photo identification, all documents related to income, Social Security cards for all persons named on the tax return, and last year’s tax return. For more information, call 402-3989582 or go to

Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Montclair Community Center 2304 S. 135th Ave. Monday & Tuesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday 4 to 7:30 p.m. St. Martin de Porres Center 2111 Emmet St.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Crossroads Mall (west corridor) 7400 Dodge St.

Sunday Noon to 4 p.m. St Joseph Villa Community Room 2305 S. 10th St. (not open on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday)

Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays by appointment 5 to 7 p.m. Kids Can Community Center 4860 Q St. 402-731-6988

Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. AARP Information Center 1941 S 42nd St. • Suite 220 By appointment only: 402-398-9582

Dora Bingel Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • Feb. 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, & 28: Ceramics @ 9 a.m. • Feb. 5, 12, 19, & 26: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. • Feb. 7: Holy Communion @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 12: Book Club @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 16: Music by Rich Patton sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:30 a.m. Lunch is $3. • Feb. 21: Foot care clinic from 9 a.m. to noon for $10. • Feb. 28: Birthday party luncheon @ HorizonAD-2010:HorizonAD-08 2/4/10 8:00 AM noon. Eat free if you have a February birth-

day. A nutritious lunch is served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A $1 donation is suggested for the meals, other than $3 for Merrymakers. Round-trip transportation is available for $3. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for all meals. Other activities offered at the facility include: Tuesday: Joy Club Devotions @ 9:30 a.m., matinee @ 12:30 p.m., and quilting @1 p.m. Wednesday: Devotions @ 10:30, Tai Chi @ 11 a.m.; bingo @ 12:30 p.m., and Bible study at 12:30 p.m. Friday: Bingo @ 12:30 p.m. Page 1 For more details, call 402-898-5854.

Attorneys at Law William E. Seidler Jr. 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68114-5705


Delivering quality legal services since 1957.

Page 18

Sonshine Christian Preschool donates items to ENOA’s Grandparent Resource Center

New Horizons

February 2018

The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging would like to thank the staff, students, and parents from the Sonshine Christian Preschool, 14545 Harvey Oaks Dr., for their recent donation of toiletries, cleaning products, and paper supplies to ENOA’s Grandparent Resource Center (GRC). The GRC provides a variety of services for grandparents age 55 and older who are raising their grandchildren. These services include support group meetings, assistance with transportation to GRC activities, referrals to community resources, and access to ENOA’s programs and services. For more information on the GRC, please call 402-4446536.

New Alzheimer’s support group meets monthly on UNO campus


he Alzheimer’s Association has a new support group in Omaha dedicated to families and friends of persons with intellectual disabilities and dementia. The group is designed for individuals concerned about changes they may be witnessing in the person with the disability such as behavior, a lack of interest in things they previously loved, and signs of declining self-help skills. It’s also for those who have received a dementia diagnosis and want to be with other persons going through the same experiences. The group meets from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the main campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6400 Dodge St. (near the clock tower). For more information, contact Janet Miller at or 402-639-8037.

See the ad on page 3

New Horizons Club membership roll rises $25 Reba Benschoter Sharon Robino $10 Sandra Levermann K Koons Norma Johnson Donna Sabo $5 Mary Perina Nancy Munger Reflects donations received through 1/26/18.

Learning to deal with change as a natural part of your life


Homemaker needed 10 hours per week $9 an hour

402-444-4148 or 402- 444-6654 to place your ad.

402-558-7807 Leave a message

By Lois Jordan, RN-C “People hate change,” a prevalent wisdom offered whenever things don’t work out as planned. The truth is – people love change. People change their clothes, they change their hairstyles, they change jobs, they change offices, on and on. Our physical bodies are changing. Our physical environment is constantly changing. Our internal world and our attitudes are changing as we cope with the external changes around us. Change, that “thing” that everyone is supposedly afraid of, is a normal, natural part of life. We cannot get away from it. What people do not like is someone else’s idea being foisted upon them without warning. That leads to panic or feeling out of control by the person who is surprised by something. You’ve all experienced that type of change – one that was not your decision but one you must now deal with. So how can we all learn to see change whether it was our choice to change or not – as a positive event given the fact our lives are constantly changing? It may feel incredibly overwhelming but in order to see the positive we must adjust or rather re-adjust our viewpoint. Change our mind about the nature of change and our place in it. Stress is inevitable with life changes that are related to a significant change in your health and ultimately in your living environment. You may have experienced or are experiencing a wide range of emotions and feelings from: • Anger at healthcare professionals or your loved ones. • Guilt over the ability to provide adequate care in your home or by yourself. • Fear of the unknown or of making the decision to move to a care community. • Frustration with your loved one, your immediate family, and yourself. Some methods to cope with this stress are to talk about it with another person. Ask questions, learn what your options are, and seek help. Instead of fighting a change that appears in front of us, we can learn to see it as a new adventure on the road of life. Then we can get to learning about and enjoying the new adventure instead of wasting our time and energy looking back at something that is no longer real. There are two options to consider when responding to change: • Option 1: With a positive attitude. Acceptance and surrender are the most effective responses to changes from an external source that you have no control over. You investigate what the changes are all about. You look to see what opportunities are available, then commit yourself to taking action. Staying fluid in the face of change keeps you flexible and able to move around obstacles. • Option 2: With a negative attitude. Stubborn resistance is a negative response to change that comes as a result of outside forces. Hanging onto the old, denying change is taking place, or simply pretending it isn’t happening may not offer the best results. Resisting and shunning an inevitable change makes you less adaptable, more brittle, and more likely to experience an incredible amount of avoidable stress. If we are to thrive in this environment of change, we need to see change for what it is: the natural order of life. So, be patient with yourself and give it time. It can take months or years to settle into a new set of circumstances. Remember, the secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have. (Jordan is the president of Midwest Geriatrics, Inc.).

Lamplighter II

Some of the nicest, newer 1 & 2 bedroom apartments. Elevator, w & d, heated parking garage. Small complex. By bus & shopping. No pets or smoking. 93rd & Maple • 402-397-6921

TOP CASH PAID Best & honest prices paid for: Nice old vintage and costume jewelry, old watches, vintage toys, Fenton glassware, old postcards, advertising items, military items, pottery, and antique buttons. Also buying estates & partial estates. Call Bev at 402-339-2856


Cartagena Painting Service

Commercial/Residential Interior/Exterior/Insured Free estimates/BBB member 402-714-6063

Lonergan Lawns

Mow, fertilize, aerate. Trim trees & bushes. Clean gutters. Build walls. Haul junk. Call Tim @ 402-612-3576

Tree Trimming Beat the falling flakes!


Big jobs or small, I’ll do them all! [Bonded & insured]


Chipping & removal. Your prunings chipped. Experienced & insured. Senior discount.

402-894-9206 deFreese Manor

GET RID OF IT! Haul away, garage, basement, rental clean out…

Johansen Brothers

Subsidized housing for those age 62 and over with incomes under $26,250 (1 person) or $30,000 (two persons) 2669 Dodge Omaha, NE 402-345-0622

Call Frank



Cleaning and Odd Jobs

Call Judy @ 402-885-8731 Independent Secretary/ Legal Secretary Short-term & Long-term Office Assistance 402-686-6702 Registered as S.A.S.

Please support NH advertisers.

OLD STUFF WANTED (before 1975)

Military, political, toys, jewelry, fountain pens, pottery, kitchen ware, postcards, photos, books, and other old paper, old clothes, garden stuff, tools, old household, etc. Call anytime 402-397-0254 or 402-250-9389

Senior Citizens (62+) Accepting applications for HUD-subsidized apartments in Papillion & Bellevue.

Bellewood Courts

1002 Bellewood Court Bellevue (402) 292-3300

Monarch Villas

201 Cedar Dale Road Papillion (402) 331-6882

Managed by Kimball Management, Inc. PO Box 460967 Papillion, NE 68046 We do business in accordance with the Fair Housing Law.

Red Cross blood drive


ou’re invited to donate blood at the Eastern Nebraska Human Services building, 4715 S. 132nd St., on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit and enter ENOA to schedule an appointment. For more information, please call Mary Ann Eusebio at 402-444-6444.

February 2018

New Horizons

Page 19

Dr. J Gordon Christensen enjoys sharing his musical talents

Dr. Christensen plays a 100-year-old Steinway piano, a gift from his parents following J Gordon’s 1965 graduation from Hastings College.


ressed in a gray suit and a plaid bow tie, Dr. J Gordon Christensen sits down at the piano in the corner of a room near a roaring fireplace at Risen Son Christian Village. He begins by playing There’s No Business Like Show Business for a group of residents at the Council Bluffs long-term care facility. The song selection during his 30-minute performance includes The Stars Spangled Banner, other patriotic songs, classical pieces, popular hymns, and favorites from the 1920s and ‘30s. J Gordon ends each show by playing How Great Thou Art and Jesus Loves Me. “Everybody from ages 1 to 107 knows those songs and sings along,” Christensen said. He makes a point of visiting with the residents after the show shaking hands with each man and woman in attendance or patting them on the shoulder.


isen Son and three other local long-term care facilities are among an impressive list

of venues where Christensen has performed over the years. That list includes playing the piano and organ at sites across the United States and in Germany, Slovakia, Finland, and a variety of Russian cities including Moscow. He’s also played the organ at 446 weddings over the last 65 years. Raised on a farm near Dannebrog, Neb., J Gordon is a 1961 graduate of Dannebrog High School. He graduated from Hastings College in 1965 with a Bachelor’s of Music degree in piano performance. He earned master’s degrees in musical performance (1966) from the University of Colorado-Boulder and music education (1971) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L). In 2004, Dr. Christensen received his doctorate in liturgical music (pipe organ) from UN-L. Following graduation from Hastings College, J Gordon taught music to kindergarten through high school students in Palisade, Neb. for two years. While in Palisade, he got the nickname “Mr. C” (later “Dr. C”) from a first-grader who had trouble pronouncing Christensen. When that school closed in 1968, Christensen began a 41-year career teaching music to kindergarten through sixth-graders in Imperial, Neb. In 2000, he earned teacher of the year awards for Nebraska and for the United States from the Foundation for Rural Education and Development. Christensen said he was “flabbergasted” by this recognition which included a $10,000 prize ($5,000 for himself and $5,000 to buy musical equipment for the school) and a week-long stay at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.


n 2007, J Gordon was invited to Council Bluffs by St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Associate Pastor Nathan Sherrill to analyze the church’s pipe organ. Driving back to Imperial, “Dr. C” heard the Lord’s voice as he crossed the Interstate 80 bridge over the Platte River between Omaha and Lincoln. Eighteen months later, he

‘Dr. C’ won Nebraska and national Teacher of the Year awards in 2000. answered that call and accepted a position as the director of music and chief organist at St. Paul’s. Today, Christensen continues his work with the Council Bluffs congregation under the guidance of now Senior Pastor Sherrill.


Gordon said he feels great at age 75. He doesn’t take any medications and his physician said Christensen “is living in a 38-year-old’s body.” He weighs 135 pounds and is still able to wear 30-year-old tailor-made suits. He attributes his good health to confessing Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, respecting everyone, and sharing his talents with others. His high energy level is especially apparent Tuesday and Wednesday mornings when he teaches vocal music using percussion instruments like the xylophone and hand drums – while on his hands and knees – to 45 youngsters ages 2, 3, and 4 at St. Paul’s Early Childhood Center. Since 2009, Christensen has performed Friday afternoons at Risen Son. He learned the importance of working with and performing for older adults from his mother. “She taught me to share my musical gifts with people who aren’t able to get out of their home to attend

concerts.” His talents have been recognized far beyond the walls of long-term care facilities, churches, and schools in Iowa and Nebraska. “Dr. C” and his organ-playing skills have been recognized with three of the four American Guild of Organist awards: the Service Playing, the Colleague, and the Associate certificates. The teacher of nine organ students, Christensen is in his third term as dean of the American Guild of Organists’ Omaha chapter, and on the board of directors for the Cathedral Arts Project at Omaha’s St. Cecilia’s Cathedral. J Gordon co-founded the Bach Research Library, a center that provides education and church needs for the organ staff and students at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory. That facility serves a 500-mile radius around Moscow, an area which includes Finland. When not playing the piano or organ, Christensen’s hobbies include gardening, driving his Corvette convertible, and collecting art glass and original oil paintings. “Dr. C” said the secret to a happy life is simple. “It’s always important to respect other people.”

J Gordon Christensen has served at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church since 2009.

The orchestra joins with authentic Irish music, dance, and storytelling to revive the majesty and charm of Celtic culture.

Symphony Pops Series Sponsor

“Danny Boy,” “Rocky Road to Dublin” “The Last Rose of Summer”

Concert Sponsor

Ernest Richardson, conductor Tomáseen Foley, storyteller  Susanna Perry Gilmore, violin Celtic Journey Band & Dancers


Page 20

New Horizons

February 2018

New Horizons February 2018  

New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...

New Horizons February 2018  

New Horizons is a publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Distributed free to people over age 60 in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Wash...