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Celebrating 45 Years

February 2020

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


en oa. org

ing Serv

New Horizons old • er 74 adul ts since 19

A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Offce on Aging

VOL. 45 • NO. 2


Photo courtesy of The Omaha World-Herald.

Rudy Smith was an Omaha World-Herald photographer for 45 years before retiring in 2008. Rudy died in December 2019 at age 74 after battling cancer. His book, The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith – a collection of Smith’s images – is being released this month. Llana Smith, Rudy’s wife of 52 years, is a second-generation gospel playwright. Leo Adam Biga tells this amazing couple’s story beginning on page 8.

PART Gordon Cantiello is the founder and artistic director of Omaha’s Performing Artists Repertory Theatre located inside the Crossroads Mall. See page 5.

DC’s property man Since 2002, Jerry Leahy has kept a watchful eye over area buildings and land as Douglas County’s Director of Public Properties. See page 12.

Experts suggest writing ‘2020’ on documents to avoid potential fraud


cammers could make your 2020 miserable if you abbreviate the year as ‘20 when dating legal documents, authorities warn. That ‘20 could be turned into 2018 or 2019 on a check or other legal document setting you up for fraud, according to the Takoma Park Police Department in Takoma Park, Md. For instance, the scammers could date that captured check to 2021 and attempt to cash it again next year. Another scenario: Say you signed documents agreeing to start paying a debt on 1/3/20. That could be turned into 1/3/2019, and the scammers could attempt to collect past debt. The simple solution: Fully write out the year – 2020 – on any legal documents, authorities say. (Kiplinger’s provided this information.)

Volunteers Assisting Seniors Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) is committed to helping older adults make good life decisions. Through a network of trained and certified volunteers, VAS provides a variety of programs and services including Medicare counseling and assistance with Homestead Exemption filing. VAS is offering Basic Estate Planning classes developed and presented by volunteer attorneys on two occasions. The workshop’s goal is to develop a better understanding of estate planning so you’ll have an easier time making the important personal decisions necessary to design plans that meet your needs. The workshop will cover financial and medical powers of attorney, living wills, wills, living or revocable trusts, alternatives and supplements to wills, taxes related to death, and mistakes to avoid. The class is being offered Thursday, Feb. 27 and Thursday, March 26 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the VAS office, 1941 S. 42nd St. (Center Mall), Suite 312. To reserve your spot, please call VAS at 402-444-6617.

Free law clinic at Fremont Senior Center set for March 20


he Creighton University School of Law is sponsoring a free Advance Directive Law Clinic on Friday, March 20 at the Fremont Senior Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field). CU law faculty and students will be onsite to help visitors age 60 and older execute simple wills, powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and living wills. The deadline for registering for a one-hour appointment is Friday, Feb. 28. To register, please call 402-280-3068.

Nebraska Wind Symphony


he Nebraska Wind Symphony’s next performance titled, In Two Places, is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 16. The 3 p.m. concert will be held at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7302 Cass St. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children under age 12. For more information, please call 402-216-0122.

Elder Access Line


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 402-8275656 in Omaha and 1-800527-7249 statewide. This service is available to Nebraskans age 60 and older regardless of income, race, or ethnicity. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1 to 3 p.m. Friday. For more information, log on the Internet to legalaidofnebraska.com/EAL.

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New Horizons

February 2020

By 2035, older adults will outnumber children in the U.S.

Borgeson, NACo discuss serving older Americans National Association of Counties (NACo) President Mary Ann Borgeson, a Douglas County commissioner, recently participated in a town hall discussion on serving older Americans. During her NACo presidency, Borgeson has focused on fostering livable communities across generations, supporting older Americans and their caregivers. “Counties are uniquely positioned to provide real support to the elderly, their families, and their caregivers,” said Borgeson. “Counties support long-term care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, home-based care, transportation, nutrition, and other services for older Americans. “For so many of us, including myself, caring for the aging is not just a county issue but a personal reality,” she added.

Mary Ann Borgeson

According to the most recent census data, the United States is home to roughly 117 million adults over age 50. By 2035, the population of adults age 65 and older will outnumber children for the first time in our nation’s history. This rapidly growing population of older adults is poised to live longer than past generations and is more diverse than ever as it relates to race, gender, and economic status.

“Older adults deserve to live safely and independently in their communities. Local leaders are recognizing that a community that is great for an older adult is great for people of all ages,” Borgeson said. The town hall, titled Deepening the Generational Compact in Communities, hosted by The Hill and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, focused on how society can shift the narrative and underscore the important role this demographic plays in the overall success of communities across the country. Speakers also discussed how local leaders can engage older adults and ensure their voices are heard. “While counties provide critical services to all our residents, we play an especially unique and important role in serving our nation’s aging population and their caregivers,” Borgeson said.

New Horizons 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: jeff.reinhardt@nebraska.gov 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 ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Janet McCartney, Cass County, vice-chairperson; Lisa Kramer, Washington County, secretary; David Saalfeld, Dodge County, & Angi Burmeister, 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.

February 2020

New Horizons

Page 3

Millard Senior Center

Sharing your life stories with future generations

You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • Feb. 2: Groundhog Day. • Feb. 5: African dress making @ 9 a.m. • Feb. 7: Bring a treat to share. • Feb. 12: Board meeting @ 9:45 a.m. • Feb. 14: Play bingo. • Feb. 25: Let’s go to the movies (weather permitting). Movie & time to be announced. • Feb. 26: P.A.W.S. Don’t forget to sign up for lunch. The facility will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served @ 11:30 a.m. A $4 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, dominoes, quilting, needlework, chair volleyball, and bingo. For reservations or more information, please call 402546-1270.

Please see the ad on page 3

New Horizons Club gains new members $25 Stephanie Heller Kimberly Schrader Ruth Rehwinkle Diane Sullivan Dorothy Tuma Ronald Wilson $20 Richard Majorek $15 Sydney Winstrom $10 Joan Gradel Paul Goetz Patricia Staab $5 Kathleen Koons Alice Kruse Reflects donations through January 24, 2020.


here’s a growing fascination with DNA testing and with researching family genealogy, a trend that manifests an innate desire to know where we come from in the human family. The popularity of the PBS television program, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. demonstrates this. Celebrities learn about their family history going back several generations. As they discover their roots, they discover more about themselves. The revelations from our past may be inspiring or disturbing. In any case, there’s an opportunity to choose to carry on the positive values from our past or to stand against and reverse the negative qualities that infected our family history. By becoming aware of our past, we have the opportunity to choose our own path in the present and the future. Each of us is a link, the inheritor of a specific legacy from our ancestors, and a connection to future generations. While this may sound abstract, it can be made practical and concrete. By reflecting on our legacy and intentionally passing on the values and stories we cherish, we influence the principles the future generations will hold. Here’s a simple exercise that illustrates that linkage between the past and the future. Think of a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle who made an impression on you. Think of what you learned from this ancestor and a story that demon-

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A — Gifts to minors can be held in the trust with no need for court supervision until they are ready to inherit. 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 where there is a will. You can make provision for beneficiaries with special needs or provide 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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New Horizons

February 2020

strates that quality. For example, my father was frugal, having come of age during the Depression. We had what we needed growing up but there were no luxuries I can recall. Once when he was getting ready to buy a new car, a 1955 robin egg blue Plymouth, I was campaigning to get white wall tires. (Remember those days?) That would have been an added expense my father said was unnecessary. He reminded me there were poor people around the world that didn’t have enough to eat. Why would we need to spend money on white wall tires? Good question, Dad.

Conscious Aging By Nancy Hemesath

My parents always lived within their means. They didn’t deprive themselves of fun and little splurges but in the end, they never ran out of money to pay for nursing home care. Their attitude toward money was passed on to me and my siblings. When we go on vacation together, we’re all looking for the best deal to get the most fun for the least amount of money. I suspect the next generation is noticing. But in order to be more intentional, I plan to share the story of the white wall tires with my nieces and nephews. Is there a story that made an impression on you that you want to pass on? It would be a small way of “sharing your roots” with the generations of the future. “Remember your roots, your history, and the forebears’ shoulders on which you stand. And pass these roots to your children and other children.” (Marian Wright Edelman) (Hemesath is the owner of Encore Coaching. She’s dedicated to supporting people in the Third Chapter of Life. Contact her at nhemesath@cox.net.)

Family Leap Year Party The 18 American Legion Auxiliary posts from Region 8 which encompasses Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties, are sponsoring a Family Leap Year Party on Saturday, Feb. 29. The 4 to 8 p.m. event will be held at American Legion Post 32, 230 W. Lincoln St. in Papillion. The party is fundraiser for District 8 projects in 2020 for active military, their families, and veterans. Tickets – which are available at the door, at local American Legion posts, or at eventbrite.com/d/ne--omaha/american-legion-leap-year-party – are $10 for adults or $5 for children ages 12 and younger. The menu will be sloppy joes or hot dogs, chips, cole slaw, baked beans, and a beverage (coffee, tea, or water). A patriotic-themed silent auction and a 50/50 cash drawing will also be offered. For more information, please call David Doolen at 402547-7500.

PART entertaining audiences at its Crossroads theatre since 2015


s members of Omaha’s Performing Artists Repertory Theatre began searching for a place to meet and host cabaret-style shows, they knew their site selection would be crucial to PART’s success. When the decision to move into a midtown Omaha landmark was made this arts community knew it had reached a crossroads. Since 2015, PART has leased 2,800 square feet of space on the northeast side of the Crossroads Mall, 7400 Dodge St. “It’s the perfect size and the location couldn’t be better,” said Gordon Cantiello, PART’s founder and artistic director. “It also has the best free covered parking in Omaha.” PART is a non-profit theatre company that produces four or five plays or musicals each year for audiences of diverse ages and cultures. It also offers theatre education and a variety of opportunities for artists and actors to practice their craft. Cantiello has degrees from Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Ricker College, Schiller International University in Berlin, Germany, and San Diego State University. His acting and directing venues have included stages and theatres in Massachusetts, New York City, upstate New York, Omaha, and San Diego. Originally from Amsterdam, N.Y., Cantiello came to Nebraska in 1975 following an invitation from friend and Omaha musical director Barbara Ziegler and Monsignor James Gilg who invited Gordon to direct a play at the nowclosed Dominican High School. During the ensuing 40 years, Cantiello taught drama, speech, English, and language arts at high schools in Omaha (Dominican and Duchesne) and San Diego (the University of San Diego High and Francis Parker). antiello retired from teaching in 2015 and returned to Nebraska from San Diego. “I really liked Omaha a lot, and I always knew I’d come back.” He started PART as a place where theatre lovers could come together to produce superb, rich shows that would enhance the quality of life in Omaha. During the last five years, PART’s 50-seat theatre has hosted shows like Beehive, Ring of Fire, Always…Patsy Cline, Smokey Joe’s Café, Tuesdays with Morrie, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia


Omaha Computer Users Group You’re invited to join the Omaha Computer Users Group, an organization dedicated to helping men and women age 50 and older learn about their computers regardless of their skill level. OCUG meets the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Swanson Branch Library, 9101 W. Dodge Rd. Participants will have access to a projector connected to a computer with Microsoft Windows 10 to show users how to solve their computer problems. For more information, call Phill at 402-333-6529.



SVP is partnering with No More Empty Pots, 1502 S.10th St. to reduce food insecurity in Omaha by offering programs which increase access to, the understanding of, and the availability of healthy food. Through programs such as rooftop gardening, culinary workforce training, education, and entrepreneurship, it’s making strides against poverty and hunger. Inside No More Empty Pots’ building are classrooms, community meeting spaces, and Cups Café which is open Monday through Saturday. Monday from 4 to 8 p.m., the café features a “Pay What You Can” happy hour when it serves specialty coffees and seasonal, local foods. No More Empty Pots need volunteers. For information about these or additional RSVP volunteer opportunities, please contact Sandy Blackman at 402-444-6536 ext. 1024.

Cantiello started PART to offer quality plays and musicals, theatre education, and opportunies for artists and actors to practice their craft. Woolf. “We sell out most of the time,” Cantiello said, proudly. He said one reason for PART’s success is that it offers an intimate and interactive setting. “You can see and hear everything from any seat in the theatre.” At age 73, Cantiello is living out his dream. “This is my life, and I couldn’t be any happier,” he said. A 12-day performance run of Mama Mia is on stage at PART through Feb. 16. Tick-

$30 for seniors, and ets are $35 for adults, $25 for students. Cantiello encouraged members of the community to volunteer at PART as ushers and with the props, lighting, and sound. “No experience is needed, you just need a will and a desire to do it,” he said. Go to performingartistsrepertorytheatre. org or call 402-706-0778 to order tickets, for exact show dates and times, and to learn more about volunteer opportunities at PART.

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February 2020

New Horizons

Page 5

Alzheimer’s support groups

Volunteers needed for UNO, UNMC research

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.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are looking for healthy adults and caregivers for an older adult with a chronic disease (e.g., dementia, cancer, or cardiovascular disease) to participate in a research study. The study involves two visits of 3.5 hours each. Compensation for study participation is available. The experiment involves completing questionnaires and computer tasks, taking samples of saliva for hormone analyses, and undergoing brain imaging. To be eligible for the study, participants must be 19 to 75 years of age, have comprehension of written and spoken English, the mobility to travel to the UNO campus, and have completed a minimum of two years of high school or higher. You’re not eligible for the study if you have a diagnosis of a neurological or psychiatric disease vision, hearing or motor difficulties, have metal implanted in your body, or are taking an antidepressant medication or glucocorticoid-based oral medication or cream For more information, contact Janelle Beadle, Ph.D. at 402-554-5961 or ABELabUNO@gmail.com.

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) Third Monday @ 9 a.m. Intercultural Senior Center 5545 Center St. Offered in English and Spanish

First Thursday @ 6:45 p.m. King of Kings Lutheran Church CORE Conference Room 11615 I St. Call Karen @ 402-504-9088 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.

The impact financial exploitation has on its victims, society itself By Ginny Czechut


ll too often, older Americans are victims of financial exploitation. Ten percent of older adults reported being abused, neglected, or exploited in the past 12 months. Almost 10 percent of financial abuse victims are forced to turn to Medicaid for their medical care after losing money to a scam artist. The person who might financially exploit an older adult isn’t always who you might suspect. Caretakers, family members, doctors, pastors, and other professionals can gain the financial trust of an older man or woman and get control of their money with scams such as: • A lottery or sweepstakes that tell winners to send $2,500 to “cover their taxes.” • Home repair traveling con men who use shoddy materials or disappear after taking money without doing the work. • Grandparents told their grandchild is in jail and needs money immediately to get out. • Charity scams that falsely solicit funds for good causes. • A person coming to the front door who occupies the older adult while an accomplice comes into the home and steals valuables. • Fraudulent telemarketers. Older adults may feel pressured into taking out unnecessary loans or using the equity from a reverse mortgage or other liquid assets to buy an expensive annuity. They also need to be aware of pyramid schemes, false claims about a bank account or inheritance, offers to share a windfall, and identity theft. Family members can exploit an older loved one using a power of attorney to steal the victim’s money, using ATM cards and stealing checks to withdraw money from their bank accounts, threatening to harm or abandon the victim or refusing to obtain needed care and medical services for the loved one unless demands are met. Older men and women need to know about businesses or individuals who charge for services not rendered, that keep the change after running errands, who pay their own bills with the client’s money, or ask the vulnerable adult to sign falsified documents. Being exploited can lead an older adult to lose trust in others, feel less secure, become depressed or angry, unable to get help, or financially destitute. In response to a loss of funds, scam victims can close joint bank accounts, revoke powers of attorney, or find someone to help manage their funds. Tips to avoid scams include getting an ID from unexpected callers, checking bank accounts regularly and reporting any errors, and remembering the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Legal recourse is available if you feel you’ve been the victim of financial exploitation. Locally, call the Nebraska Attorney General’s Senior Hotline at 888-287-0778 or the Better Business Bureau at 800-649-6814. (Czechut is with Omaha’s Midwest Geriatrics, Inc.)

Camelot Friendship Center You’re invited to visit the Camelot Friendship Center inside the Camelot Community Center, 9270 Cady Ave., this month for the following: • Feb. 4: Elder law presentation @ 11:45 a.m. • Feb. 7: Council meeting @ 12:15 p.m. • Feb. 11: Aaron Shoemaker performs @ 11:45 a.m. • Feb. 12: Music by Pam Kragt sponsored by the Merrymakers @ 11:45 a.m. • Feb. 13: Book club @ 10:30 a.m. & Valentine’s trivia. • Feb. 14: Trip to the Fort Crook House. • Feb. 18: Crafts day @ 1 p.m. • Feb. 19: Balance tests and blood pressure checks. • Feb. 20: Blood pressure checks. • Feb. 27: VNA presentation @ 11:45 a.m. on Taking Care of Your Birthday Suits. • Feb. 28: February Play-a-Thon winner announced. The facility will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. The center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. A $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the meal you wish to enjoy. For meals reservations, please call 402-444-3091.

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New Horizons

February 2020

Event to educate caregivers for persons with a disability By Janet Miller


aring or advocating for an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) can be both joyous and challenging. If you’re the parent/guardian caring for your loved one, you may have questions about services and supports available in the community. Maybe you feel alone in this caregiving role and would like to meet other caregivers in similar situations. If you’re a sibling and have taken over the caregiving role for your brother or sister, you may be unfamiliar with community supports, acronyms used by service providers, or what’s involved with participating in yearly planning meetings. I’m working to reach out and find families/guardians of adults with IDD who are interested in learning more about adult services and supports, as well as having the opportunity to talk to other caregivers. We’re reaching out by offering evening informational/ educational events held approximately every other month in collaboration with the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands. You don’t have to be caring for someone with Down syndrome to attend. These events are held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Community Engagement Center, located between the UNO library and the Performing Arts building from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Parking is available in the lot by the UNO clock tower on the Dodge Street side of the campus. The dates and topics of the next events is: • April 7 Planning for Adult Care In addition, a caregiver Facebook page has been established for those that might be interested in communicating with other caregivers. This Facebook site is open to all Nebraskans caring for adults with IDD. The site is Nebraska Caregivers of Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Persons caring for an adult with Down syndrome who have questions or concerns about noted changes in behaviors or a decrease in skills, can contact me directly. have some excellent resources I can share with you. Contact me at jlmiller809@gmail.com.



HEOS, 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. For more information, please call Dorothy at 402399-0759 or Mary at 402393-3052.

Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St., this month for: • Feb. 7: The Merrymakers present music by Pamela Sue @ 11 a.m. • Feb. 14: Red Raven Polka Band and Valentine’s Day party @ 11 a.m. • Feb. 25: Mardi Gras party @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 28: Performance by Tom @ 11 a.m. • Feb. 28: Toenail clinic @ 9:30 a.m. • Mondays & Fridays: Tai Chi @ 10 a.m. The center will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. Other activities include craft and social hour Wednesday @ 10:30 a.m., bingo Monday and Thursday @ 1 p.m., ceramics class Wednesday @ 1 p.m., and Happy Hands crochet group Tuesday @ 10 a.m. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $4 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.

Indoor gardening available all year By Melinda Myers

with leafy greens. Plant an indoor garden of leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula, baby leaf kale, and beet greens. A self No matter the season, watering pot with a built-in overhead light like the size of your garden, or the Gardener’s Revolution® Light Garden Kit (gardeners.com) climate, you can inject makes it easy to grow a variety of greens at the end of a homegrown flavor into your counter, next to a desk, or anywhere you have a few square meals. Just clear a shelf, feet of space. countertop, or windowsill Harvest greens regularly to keep the plants producing. and get busy planting herbs, You’ll enjoy the convenience and have no excuse not to greens, and tomatoes to boost the flavor and nutritional value of your meals. enjoy year round. Reserve a space in front of a sunny window to grow a For quick results, grow tomato or pepper plant. Expand your growing options and microgreens. These nutrient ensure a bountiful harvest by supplementing natural daypacked edibles are ready to light with artificial lights. Start with compact tomato and harvest in as few as 10 days. pepper varieties that require less space. Plant microgreen seeds in You’ll probably need to start plants from seeds when a quality potting or seed growing these vegetables outside the normal outdoor garstarting mix. A recycled fast dening season. Once the plants start flowering, you’ll need food container or other shal- to lend a helping hand. Give the stems a shake for pollinalow pot with drainage holes tion and eventually fruit formation to occur. works well.  Reduce maintenance and the mess with self-watering Plant the seeds according containers. These planters have reservoirs that hold water to label directions, moisten that moves into the soil via wicking systems. This provides the soil, and place in a warm the plants with a constant supply of water while extending location. Keep the soil moist the time between watering. Plus, the self-contained waterand move to a sunny wining setup minimizes the risk of water getting on your floor. dow or under artificial lights Start plans for your indoor edible garden with a walk as soon as sprouts peak around your home to identify potential growing spaces. through the soil. Then break Then develop a list of favorite herbs, greens, and vegout the scissors and start etables you and your family enjoy. Match the space to your harvesting when the second favorites and invest in plants and resources that fit your set of leaves appears. gardening goals and help ensure success. Start growing and Use microgreens on salenjoying the benefits of fresh, homegrown produce all year ads, sandwiches, in soups, long. or as a snack. (Myers has written more than 20 gardening books.) Replace those underutilized appliances cluttering Parkinson’s Foundation program the counter with an under the cabinet LED light garhe Parkinson’s Foundation is sponsoring a free den like the Bamboo Mini community education program titled, Living LED Grow Light Garden. with Parkinson’s: Mind, Mood, and Motion on You’ll be able to grow and Tuesday, March 3. harvest your own herbs and The 5 to 7 p.m. greens in the kitchen for easy access. The LED lights program will be held at the CHI CUMC – Bergan Mercy will also help brighten the Conference Room, 7500 room – a welcome addition Mercy Rd. Resource tables and to any dreary winter day. refreshments will be available Purchase plants or start at 4 p.m. herbs from seeds in indiThe program is designed vidual pots or a container to teach participants about large enough to hold several plants. Select herbs you and the changes in thinking and memory Parkinson’s can cause your family typically use for seasoning. Basil, chives, for persons who have the disease and their loved ones, as well as steps they can take to sage, parsley, and oregano are a few of the easier herbs manage its symptoms. Guest speakers will be Dr. Melinda Burnett, MD, from to grow. Harvest a few the CHI Health Neurological Institute and Cheri Prince, leaves or sprigs as needed for some homegrown flavor. DPT, from PDWELL. Registration, which is required, can be completed at Boost the vitamins, minerHorizonAD-2010:HorizonAD-08 8:00 AM Page 1 or by calling 913-341-8828. Parkinson.org/Omaha als, and fiber in your meals 2/4/10


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February 2020

New Horizons

Page 7

Rudy, Llana Smith became a powerful, dynamic Omaha couple

Photo courtesy of Chris Machian

Photo courtesy of The Omaha World-Herald

Over his 45-year career, Rudy’s work was featured in newspapers like The Omaha World-Herald and the Omaha Star and magazines including Time, Ebony, and Sports Illustrated. By Leo Adam Biga Contributing Writer


ith the death of retired Omaha World-Herald photographer Rudy Smith in December 2019, Nebraska lost a great chronicler of the holy ordinary. Rudy’s passing also broke up a dynamic power couple. He and Llana (Jones) Smith were married 52 years. They raised three children and together, were active members of Omaha’s Salem Baptist Church, 3131 Lake St. He was a deacon and a trustee. She was the drama ministry director. The Smiths made their presence known, especially in the black community, where Llana said, “Rudy was idolized” as a photographer and a civil rights champion. She’s been a stalwart servant leader in her own right. As a gospel playwright and director, she’s staged elaborate Easter, Christmas, and Black History Month plays. Local business leader Viv Ewing considered the Smiths to be great ambassadors and role models. “They were warm and loving with everyone they came in contact with and they mentored and prepared so many others to have success.” The Smith’s children performed at Salem and citywide as youngsters. Their daughter, Quiana, pursued music and acting as a career and under the stage name “Q” has made it to Broadway. Her parents followed her around the country to celebrate her theatrical triumphs. “We never wanted to live our dreams through our kids. We wanted them to do whatever they wanted to do. Rudy and I knew this was what Quiana was going to do and we supported her all the way,” Llana said during a recent interview in her Omaha home. Llana’s mother wrote gospel plays and Llana followed suit. The family’s third generation drama queen, Quiana, “took it on up to an even higher level,” said Llana, who

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retired from United Parcel Service after a 17-year career. Rudy’s own wide professional reach saw his photos reprinted in major newspapers and in such magazines as Time, Ebony, and Sports Illustrated. Over a 45-year career that saw him win numerous awards, he captured a full gallery of people. Smith most invested himself documenting ordinary black life among churchgoers, students, teachers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, elected officials, entertainers, and athletes. Selections from his vast body of work illustrate the new book, The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith, which is being published this month by The Omaha World-Herald. It’s available for purchase at the Great Plains Black History Museum, 2221 N. 24th St. Smith once headed the museum’s board. A companion exhibit is on display there in February during Black History Month. At Rudy’s insistence, part of the book’s proceeds go to the museum. “That was very important to him,” World-Herald Book Editor Kristine Gerber said.

Llana was the drama ministry director at Omaha’s Salem Baptist Chuch.

New Horizons

Smith was inducted into the Omaha Central High School, the Omaha Press Club, and the Nebraska Black Sports Halls of Fame. He was also honored by the NAACP. His contributions to the museum were many. “Rudy played an important role in getting the right staff on board and donors in place to help maintain the museum,” the Great Plains Black History Museum’s Executive Director Eric Ewing said. Smith helped stabilize the organization through rocky times. “It wouldn’t still be there without him,” Llana said. Rudy received much recognition in his lifetime such as inductions into the Omaha Central High School, the Omaha Press Club, and the Nebraska Black Sports Halls of Fame. He earned the latter honor photographing local athletic icons like Bob Gibson, Bob Boozer, Roger and Gale Sayers, Ron Boone, Marlin Briscoe, and Johnny Rodgers. Smith also received the NAACP’s Freedom Fighter Service Award.


ool, calm, and collected, Rudy and Llana were born with a knack for being the calm eye in a storm, beating the odds, and reinventing themselves. His survival instincts began when his mother, Lovely, went into labor with him in Philadelphia at a whites-only hospital that denied her care. Rudy was born in the broom closet of the hospital’s janitorial room. He and his siblings were raised by their single mom in a shotgunstyle house in north Omaha. To help make ends meet, Rudy went to work early. Llana, meanwhile, displayed resilience overcoming a harsh childhood. She was born in a home for unwed mothers in Milford, Neb. and raised her younger siblings while her single mom, Pauline Jones, ran the streets. Pauline eventually straightened herself out, throwing herself into church work, and mother and daughter healed their estranged relationship. Both Llana and Rudy took on adult roles as children, Llana said, because they had to. “The main

February 2020

thing was just survival, period.” They met young. She was about to enter high school while he was about to be a high school senior. “As I really got to know him, I liked what I saw even though we were having the same struggles growing up without a dad,” Llana said. She had dated other guys but, none of them compared to him – none had it going on like Rudy did. “He talked about going to college. He could see much further ahead than I could, and I liked that, because I knew it would take those kind of ideas to get us out of what we were in. We wanted better, especially for our kids. We shared a mindset to come out of what we grew up with. I knew we could make it work. “Rudy would always say it’s not how you start out it’s how you end up.” These total opposites formed an effective tandem. “People said we made a great team. We never really thought of our ourselves that way, but we were. Rudy was really low key, but he did a lot. I was loud. I was just out there. He had his gifts and I had mine and when we combined them, we complemented each other.” Rudy was a Republican (a Nebraska Black Republicans chair) while she’s a lifelong Democrat. “Me and him would fall out (over politics),” she said. “He didn’t really switch over until Bill Clinton,” Llana said.


hose memorializing Rudy remarked on his integrity and charm and ability to get along with diverse

people. “Rudy was a real sweet man, really a good man, and very humble about all the stuff he did,” Llana said. Before becoming a photographer, Rudy made news as an NAACP Youth Council president and an Omaha University student senator. --Please turn to page 9.

Speech by MLK drove Rudy to dedicate his life to civil rights

In 2001, Smith photographed veterans Vernon Fields (left) and Joe Henry. --Continued from page 8. At 13, he ventured to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in Denver. The experience inspired Rudy to dedicate his life to civil rights. As an activist he participated in marches agitating for change in his hometown. He networked with fellow youth leaders down South, comparing notes and sharing resources. He learned organizing and resistance tactics at NAACP conventions. At one time, Smith’s NAACP ally, the late Archie Godfrey of Omaha, said Rudy’s media savvy made him our underground railroad and bridge. “Without his leadership and guidance, we wouldn’t have had a ghost of an understanding of the ins and outs of how the media responds to struggles like ours,” said Godfrey, adding Smith helped the group craft messages and organize protests for maximum effect. Godfrey said Smith briefed other journalists on the state of black Omaha. “Rudy was familiar with the players. He informed people as to what was real and what was not. He didn’t play favorites. But he also never hid behind that journalistic neutrality. He was right out front. He had the pictures, too. This city will probably never know the balancing act he played in that.” Smith straddled two worlds as an advocate and a journalist. He told this reporter: “My life is kind of hidden in plain view. I monitor what’s going on and I let my camera capture the significant things that go on for a purpose.” He carried the fight for justice to then-Omaha University (now the University of Nebraska at Omaha or UNO), demanding the school pressure nearby landlords to rent to black students and pressing for the addition of black studies classes and black instructors. “To him, his number one legacy was the significant changes he made through his civil rights work,” Llana said. What he did at UNO was so significant.” Rudy’s frequent on-campus protests made him persona non grata with the UNO administrators. “UNO was so sick of the protesting he did there they told him they didn’t want him coming to his graduation.” Llana recalled. “They mailed him his diploma.” But the changes Rudy fought for all came to pass. He became not only the communication school’s first black graduate but its first black instructor, too. “I admired him because he was doing different stuff than what other young men were doing,” Llana said. Smith lived by character, not rhetoric or selfpromotion. “He was a very humble man whose actions spoke louder than his words,” Eric Ewing said. “It wasn’t until I started working at the museum that I learned of all of Rudy’s wonderful accomplishments and the impact he had in the Omaha community.” Smith served under three Nebraska governors on a state affirmative action committee that pushed for minority employment, training, and

retention in state jobs. His photojournalist career became an extension of his civil rights crusade. For two WorldHerald projects bracketed four decades apart, the 1971 series Black is Me and the 2008 series Omaha in Black and White, Smith’s photos gave a human face to poverty, an experience he knew first-hand. The work he did to undo wrongs was not forgotten. A World-Herald headline after his death read: Journalist saw camera as a tool for racial justice. Pursuing photos sometimes meant going into harm’s way for Rudy. There were close calls. In the 1969 northeast Omaha riot ignited after the fatal police shooting of 14-year-old Vivian Strong, he was nearly shot by National Guardsmen. It was the area’s third civil eruption that decade. Recovery is still incomplete 50 years later. “Covering the riot, his life was on the line,” Llana said. “They (National Guardsmen) were threatening to shoot him, I definitely feared for him.” Typical of Smith, after nearly getting shot he went straight to The World-Herald darkroom to develop the pictures he took. “Those photos appeared on the cover of the paper the next morning,” Llana said. “The Associated Press picked them up and they went all across the country, especially one of a fire still burning (with firefighters and guardsmen silhouetted in the foreground while water is sprayed into the conflagration). “When he got home that night of the riot, all he said at first was, ‘Honey, I really had a rough day.’ “I was like, man, you almost got killed, and you’re going to work?” Llana asked. “He had a job to do.” Rudy first made history when he was hired by The World-Herald after protesting the paper and other downtown Omaha employers excluded blacks from their employee ranks. He started as a paper sorter and messenger in 1963, but opportunity knocked, and he seized the day. “They asked if he knew how to take pictures and Rudy told them ‘Yes’ when he hardly knew what a camera looked like,” Llana said. “In his mind he knew he could do it, and he did, and the rest is history.” As a darkroom technician, Smith taught himself to develop and print photos under a deadline. He learned to compose images studying the work

In 1965, Rudy captured this shot of activists in Omaha marching outside the Douglas County Courthouse in support of voting rights for the citizens of Selma, Ala.

February 2020

The cover for The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith. The book’s on sale at the Great Plains Black History Museum, 2221 N. 24th St.

of prominent black photographers like Gordon Parks. By integrating the newsroom, he gave the newspaper and its statewide reach a black perspective it lacked before. Smith went on assignments to spots where blacks were rarely seen, ever conscious of being an ambassador for his race. Until Rudy started taking photos, Llana said, the only time blacks made The World-Herald’s front page was in a mug shot following some crime. “They really never portrayed the actual northside community as we lived.” That all changed. “My goal was to make the media, The Omaha World-Herald in particular, reflect the everyday life of black people,” Smith once said. He was trusted and welcome where white journalists were not. He had access to take pictures of barbers and beauty queens, scholars, history makers, and dignitaries. He captured everything from picnics and parades to sports contests and crime scenes. “In the black community, The World-Herald was not very popular at all, but he was so respected that when he did come into the community people let him take pictures of whatever, wherever,” Llana said. “It got to the point they didn’t like white journalists coming unless Rudy was with them,” Llana said. As a black photographer, Rudy had something his colleagues couldn’t offer. “I came to really admire his contributions to Omaha, chief among them his approach to documenting lives in greater Nebraska and Omaha, particularly in the city’s black community,” said Kristine Gerber, editor of The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith. “He helped The World-Herald have much better coverage of the north Omaha community through his work and keeping an eye out, knowing what was going on there, making sure that area of town was covered.” Rudy also regularly shot photos for the Omaha Star newspaper. Smith was close to the Star’s late founder-publisher Mildred Brown. “She used him a lot when he was available,” Llana said. “Sometimes they wouldn’t have had any pictures if it wasn’t for him.”


etting your picture taken by Smith became a badge of honor. Llana recalled being with him at Omaha’s Crossroads Mall when a man approached and asked, “Aren’t you Rudy Smith?” Several years earlier, Smith had taken a photo of the man’s father. “It told me how much that man thought of and --Please turn to page 16.

New Horizons

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Ombudsmen advocate volunteers are needed


he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging is looking for men and women age 21 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. The next training class is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 5. 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, 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 threemonth 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 402-4446536.

A variety of sizes, styles available

Bathtub choices that will enhance safety, add beauty to your bathroom By David Kohll, Pharm. D. Walk-in bathtubs, zero entry showers, and tub-cuts can help provide a luxurious and safe bathroom in your home. Walk-in bathtubs have a watertight door that allows the bather to step into the tub over a low threshold to increase safety. The door closes, the tub fills with water, and after draining the bathtub, the person opens the door and steps out safely. There are many different walk-in tub models and configurations available for almost every consumer and housing situation. Slide-through tubs offer easy transfer from a wheelchair to the tub seat. There are also larger walk-in tubs for heavier people. Because there’s no need to step over a tall threshold, walk-in tubs provide deeper water than traditional tubs. A standard bathtub has a depth of 13 to 14 inches, while walk-in tubs can provide up to nearly four feet of water for a comfortable immersion experience while seated securely. Many walk-in tub models have hydrotherapy jets and other luxury features such as chromotherapy lighting and heated seating.

Much of the remodeling suggested for aging in place revolves around bathroom safety, specifically preventing falls. Over one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year and more than 80 percent of those falls are in the bathroom. Walk-in tubs generally provide an array of features designed to reduce falls. These often include built-in handrails, an ADA compliant overall design, anti-slip flooring, contoured built-in seating, and a low step height for entry. Some models include wide doors designed to allow persons in wheelchairs to transfer easily to the tub seat without assistance. Another safety feature – unrelated to falls – is a scald prevention valve designed to prevent hot water burns. Certain walk-in tub models offer many features in a single tub. Rather than purchasing modifications such as tub seats, add-on handrails, anti-scald valves, and non-slip flooring, some walk-in tubs combine all these features and more in one package. This can reduce the amount of money and time involved for a bathroom remodeling project. A walk-in tub installer may be able to remove your existing tub and insert the walk-in tub in the same space. Warm water may reduce aches and pains and speed healing of burns or ulcers. Hydrotherapy can also help patients recovering from amputations or dealing with arthritis. Many step-in tubs allow users to soak in water and may include hydrotherapy jets similar to those in an outdoor hot tub. Several jets of heated water and air agitate the water and provide a massage to relax muscles further. A less costly option is doing a tub-cut on your existing tub. While consumers lose the already in place safety features of a walk-in tub, they can add a shower chair, a no slip mat, and handrails. Zero entry showers can enhance the bathroom’s beauty with new tile and fixtures. It’s important to choose a carpenter that has experience installing walk-in tubs, tub-cuts, and barrier-free showers. (Kohll is with Kohll’s Rx in Omaha.)

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New Horizons

Febrary 2020

Activities can help improve mobility for persons who have Parkinson’s disease By Kris Lausterer, PT, DPT, MHS, OCS Research demonstrates that people with Parkinson’s disease need to stay active to maintain or improve their mobility. There are several forms of exercise a person can do to achieve this goal including non-contact boxing, dancing, Tai Chi, hiking, racket sports, aerobic exercises, and swimming. There are specific exercise routines that have been developed to improve mobility such as Delay the Disease, PWR!, and LSVTBIG. Older adults should check with their physician before beginning any of these exercise routines. Tai Chi – often referred to as “meditation in motion” – has been practiced for hundreds of years in China. It’s an increasingly popular form of exercise in the United States as research has shown Tai Chi can benefit our bodies and our minds. A report from the Harvard Medical School has endorsed Tai Chi as a form of exercise. “A growing body of carefully conducted

research is building a compelling case for Tai Chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” said the report. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 said: “Tai Chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.” In this study, participants completed an hour of Tai Chi exercises twice a week for six months. The most common form of Tai Chi practiced in the Omaha area is Tai Chi for Balance. This form of Tai Chi was developed 20 to 30 years ago and has received federal funding to have people trained in its practice. There are more than 60 Tai Chi for Balance classes offered in the Omaha area. Go to taichibalance.org for a list of classes. LSVT-BIG is an evidenced-based program shown to improve mobility for people having mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. The LSVT-BIG program is completed in one-hour sessions, four times a week, for four weeks. Participants work one-on-one with a physical or an occupational therapist. Each participant will also have a home exercise program to complete on a daily basis to improve their mobility and functional ability. The LSVT-BIG program’s goal is to achieve more normal body motion to improve walking and functional ability. Information regarding LSVT-BIG can be found at lsvtglobal.com. The LSVT website provides a list of therapists that provide LSVT-BIG training including several in the Omaha area. Typically, participants wishing to use their health insurance to pay for the class, will need a doctor’s order to participate in the LSVT-BIG program. (Lausterer is a physical therapist, a certified Tai Chi for Balance instructor, and a certified LSVT-BIG instructor. He can be reached at lausterer@vnatoday.org or 402-3467772.)

Notre Dame Housing/ Seven Oaks Senior Center

Fremont Friendship Center

You’re invited to visit the Notre Dame Housing/Seven Oaks Senior Center, 3439 State St. for the following: • Second, third, and fourth Friday: Community food pantry @ 11 a.m. • Third Wednesday: Community food pantry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Feb. 3: Stored presentation @ 1:30 p.m. • Feb. 10: Valentine’s celebration with the Girl Scouts @ 4:30 p.m. • Feb. 20: Omaha World-Herald writer Dirk Chatelain (24th & Glory) @ 7 p.m. • Feb. 24: February birthday celebration with music from The Links sponsored by The Merrymakers @ 1:30 p.m. • Feb. 26: Presentation on Fontenelle Forest @ 1:30 p.m. The center will be closed Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. These programs are available this month: • Feb. 6: Toenail clinic from 10 a.m. to noon. Oral and dental health presentation @ 10 a.m. Alzheimer’s and dementia program @ 1:30 p.m. • Feb. 13: Diabetes clinic from 1 to 3 p.m. • Feb. 19: Fair housing counselor from 10 a.m. to noon. Medicare/Medicaid assistance program from 10 a.m. to noon. Health clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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 $4 contribution is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by 11 a.m. the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. For meals reservations and more information, call Brenda at 402-451-4477, ext. 126.  

You’re invited to visit the Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. (Christensen Field), for the following: • Feb. 3: Funny Money Bingo @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 5: Program on What VA Benefits are Available to You? @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 6: Presentation by Beth Nodes on ENOA’s Ombudsman Advocate Program @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 12: Music by Julie Couch @ 10:30 a.m. Our monthly birthday party follows. • Feb. 14: We’ll crown our Valentine’s King and Queen @ 9:45 a.m. Morning snacks, then music by The Links @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 19: Homemade cinnamon rolls from Nye @ 8:45 a.m. followed by music from Billy Troy @ 10:30 a.m. • Feb. 20: Presentation by Ashley from Fremont Therapy and Wellness on How to Improve Your Cardio from Sitting to Standing @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 26: Board meeting @ 9:15 a.m. followed by music from Jerry Stingley @ 10:30 a.m. The center will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. 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 $4 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.

February 2020

Intercultural Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC), 5545 Center St., this month for the following: • Mondays: Tai Chi class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Let’s Learn Spanish class @10:30 a.m. • Tuesdays: Tai Chi class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. • Wednesdays: Zumba class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Basics to Technology class @ 10:30 a.m. • Thursdays: Salsa class @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Spark Your Mind (trivia, word games, etc.) @ 10:30 a.m. • Fridays: Exercise w/weights @ 9:15 & 9:55 a.m. Let’s Learn Spanish class @10:30 a.m. • Feb. 7: The Merrymakers present Joe Taylor @ 12:30 p.m. A food pantry for older adults is available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 402-444-6529 to learn more. Mondays and Thursdays from Feb. 3 to 27, get free help filing your income taxes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your ID, Social Security card, W-2, and other tax documents. New classes offered include a cycling club, ping pong, and weaving. The ISC also has four new exercise machines. The facility will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. The Intercultural Senior Center is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. The center is open for community groups from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. A light breakfast is served from 8 to 10 a.m. Lunch is served daily @ 11:30am. A voluntary contribution is suggested for lunch. Reservations are due by 9:30 a.m. the day the lunch is served. Call 402-444-6529 for reservations. Round-trip transportation can be requested through a member of the ISC’s Social Services department. For more information, please call 402-444-6529.

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.

Laughlin Laughlin in March. March 13 - 16. $329. Four days – Three nights. Includes non-stop, roundtrip airfare to Laughlin, Nevada, three nights lodging at the Riverside Resort and Casino on the banks of the Colorado River, and shuttle transportation to and from the airport. Entertainment at the Riverside Resort during your stay is The Fitzgerald’s Irish Celebration, celebrating all things Irish.

In Partnership with Collette Vacations We started working with Collette in 2009 when we were looking for a way to offer international trips to our travelers. We wanted to find a company that shared our core values of providing quality tours, well hosted at a reasonable price. We were not looking for a low-cost alternative. Our first personal experience was when we took about 24 people on the "Shades of Ireland" tour. It was an incredibly positive experience! Since then we have helped others to experience Collette Tours on: Historic Trains of California; New York City; Canada’s Atlantic Coast with Nova Scotia; Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes; Austrian Delight - Oberammergau (coming up again in 2020); Pasadena Rose Parade; Islands of New England; Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park; Islands of New England; Reflections of Italy; Canadian Rockies by Train; Tropical Costa Rica; Alaska Discovery Land & Cruise and others. Please call if you have one of Collette’s many destinations on your bucket list. We can help make it happen! Watch New Horizons and our website www.fontenelletours.com for our trip schedule. 2708 Franklin Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

New Horizons

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Jerry Leahy has served Douglas County for more than a half century


hen Jerry Leahy looks out the window of his office at the Omaha-Douglas County Civic Center – 1819 Farnam St. – he sees a small part of the county’s 339 square miles. Visitors who scan the items on the walls, desk, and tables inside Leahy’s 12th floor workspace see a man who’s proud of a 52year career with Douglas County, his family, and his Irish heritage. Jerry is an Omaha native raised by his parents Joe and Claire, an Omaha attorney and housewife, respectively. He has four brothers: Joe, Gerard, Louis, and Terry (an Omaha radio newsman and sportscaster). Leahy and his wife, Phyllis (Tuss) were married for 44 years before her death in 2011. Jerry has three daughters and five grandkids. After attending Holy Cross Elementary School, Creighton Prep High School, and Omaha University, Leahy went to work for Douglas County on April 1, 1967 as a traffic technician in the County Surveyor’s

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office. During the next 35 years his job duties included overseeing Douglas County’s landfills. “We call them landfills, not ‘dumps’,” Jerry said, smiling. During Leahy’s tenure, the local landfills moved from the 108th and Maple streets area to a site near 126th and State streets to today’s Elk City location. n 2002, Leahy became Douglas County’s Director of Public Properties following Al Hogan’s retirement. Today, Jerry oversees a $5.5 million annual budget and a 43-person staff that manages the county’s 22 public facilities which include its Corrections Center, Health Center, and Youth Center as well as buildings that house the 911 system, the County Engineer, and the County Sheriff. The Public Properties division buys space and property for the county while leasing space for the County Treasurer’s branch offices and the state of Nebraska’s


New Horizons

Jerry Leahy manages a $5.5 million annual budget and a 43-person staff. Adult and Juvenile Probation offices and its Department of Health and Human Services.


hile there may be no “typical day” for Leahy, his duties take him to the Douglas County Commissioners’ meetings every Tuesday. “I try to provide answers for the commissioners who

February 2020

are responding to calls from their constituents,” he said. Jerry takes pride in many of the Public Properties division’s accomplishments during his 17 years at the helm. That list includes a $20 million project to convert the former Thomas Fitzgerald Home near 156th and Maple streets into a site for the county’s 911 system, a County Treasurer’s branch

office, and new homes for the county’s Environmental Services and Emergency Management programs. Passed in 2016, the Fitzgerald Home efforts were part of a $45 million bond issue which also bought communications equipment for the Douglas County Sheriff’s office, the Douglas County Corrections --Please turn to page 15.

‘Nacho typical’ event salutes ENOA’s Senior Companion Program volunteers


presentation on The Importance of Caregivers by Ellen Bennett, MS, respite care associate at the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and a lunch featuring a nacho/fajita bar were among the highlights at the Senior Companion Program’s (SCP) 2019 Winter Recognition Event. The Nacho Typical Recognition program, held Dec. 20 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, was designed to salute SCP volunteers for their dedication and hard work serving

clients in their communities, according to Beth Paleogos, who coordinates the SCP for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Sponsored locally be ENOA, the SCP is a nation-

al program of the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Senior Service Corps. Senior Companions help other older adults maintain their independence by visit-

he AARP Tax-Aide program provides free income tax preparation service at 11 Omaha-area locations. The program is designed to assist low and moderate-income older adults, but services are provided to a large variety of clients, including students. With a few exceptions each site will be open from early February through mid-April. The sites’

names, locations, and open days and hours are listed below. No appointments are needed to receive assistance at the walk-in sites listed below. Please arrive early to sign in. Clients must bring their photo identification, all documents related to their income, Social Security cards for all persons named on the tax return, and last year’s tax return. For more information, call 402-398-9582 or go to nebraskataxaide.org.

Abrahams Library 5111 N. 90th St. Fridays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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

AgeWell by Immanuel 6801 N. 67th Plz. Suite 100 Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bellevue Volunteer Firefighters’ Hall 2108 Franklin St. Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bellevue University Library 1000 Galvin Rd. South Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Crossroads Mall 7400 Dodge St. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday 1 to 5 p.m. Kids Can Community Center 4860 Q St. Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement, supplemental accident insurance coverage, and other benefits including recognition events. For more information on the SCP, call 402-444-6536.

Senior Companion Program volunteers and staff at the recent Nacho Typical Recognition event.

AARP’s Tax-Aide program available at 11 Omaha-area sites through mid-April


ing them at home to discuss current events, read mail, play cards, run errands, etc. In exchange for volunteering 15 or more hours per week, the Senior Companions receive a $2.65 an hour

Montclair Community Center 2304 S. 135th Ave. Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Heartland Generations Center You’re invited to visit the Heartland Generations Center, 4318 Fort St., this month for the following: • Feb. 7: February birthday party. Join us for cake. • Feb. 11: Arts & crafts @ 10:30 a.m. Make Valentine’s Day crafts to give to care center residents on Feb. 13. • Feb. 11: Enjoy live music @ 11:30 a.m. • Feb. 11: We’ll take 10 older adults to the Holland Performing Arts Center @ 6:30 p.m. to see Eddie Palmieri’s Afro-Caribbean Jazz Sextet. Sign up today. • Feb. 12: Finish your Valentine’s Day arts and crafts project @ 11 a.m. We’ll also make Valentine’s Day cards to pass out during the care center visit on Feb. 13. • Feb. 13: Visit Life Care Center to pass out Valentine’s Day cards. We’ll leave the center @ 11 a.m. Enjoy lunch at Cheddar’s following the visit. • Feb. 14: Love is in the Air Valentine’s Day party @ 11 a.m. Free food, games, and prizes. • Feb. 21: Black History Trivia @ 1 p.m. Enter a drawing for a $25 prize. • Feb. 26: Black History tour of north Omaha. Other activities include exercising Tuesdays at 11 a.m., play games Wednesdays @ 10 a.m., a Book Club every other Thursday @ 1 p.m., and Bible study with Rev. Thomas Friday @ 10 a.m. Bring a friend to the center and have your name entered into a raffle for a $25 gift card. Please call 402-552-7036 for more information.

St. Martin de Porres Center 2111 Emmet St. Monday & Tuesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday 4 to 7:30 p.m. Sons of Italy 1258 S. 10th St. Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

More to serve you better.

Appointment Only Sites: AARP Information Center 1941 S. 42nd St., Ste. 220 Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 402-398-9582

We have expanded our services and now have 10 additional openings to better serve you. Please call Florence Home Healthcare Center at 402-827-6000 or visit omahaseniorcare.org for more information. We’re here to help you!

Kids Can Community Center 4860 Q St. Thursdays • 5 to 7 p.m. Call 402-731-6988

February 2020

7915 N. 30th Street • Omaha, NE 68112

New Horizons

Page 13

Ralston Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Ralston Senior Center, 7301 Q St., this month for the following: • Feb. 2: Groundhog Day. • Feb. 11: Bus trip to WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa. The bus leaves @ 7:30 a.m. and returns around 4 p.m. The cost is $5. Call Dorothy @ 402-553-4874 for reservations. • Feb. 12: Board meeting @ 10 a.m. • Feb. 13 & 27: Line dancing @ 10 a.m. & Bingo @ 1 p.m. • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day. • Feb. 26: The Merrymakers present music by The Links @ noon. The facility will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day. Other activities include exercise on Tuesday and Friday @ 10 a.m. Lunch is catered in on Wednesdays. A $4.50 contribution is requested. Reservations are due by noon the Tuesday before the meal you wish to enjoy. Call Diane @ 402-8858895 for reservations. Remember to renew or obtain an annual Ralston Senior Center membership for $10. The handicapped-accessible facility can be used for weddings, memorial services, reunions, etc. on weekends. The center will be closed on any day the Ralston Public Schools are closed due to the weather. For more information, please call Diane West @ 402339-4926.

Metro Women’s Club The Metro Women’s Club will host its annual Spring Social & Game Day on Tuesday, March 10 at Arbor Hall, 14040 Arbor St. Proceeds from the 11 a.m. event will benefit Angels Among Us, an organization that supports families of children with cancer. The $22 cost includes lunch and a raffle ticket. For more information, call Pat Bond at 402-330-6830.

Respite Across the Lifespan


ife can bring on stress for many of us. Finding ways to relieve stress are important to our overall health and well-being. Caregivers are not immune to this stress. Please contact Respite Across the Lifespan at 402-559-5732 or edbennett@unmc.edu to find out more about respite services and to locate resources in your area.

Papillion Singing Seniors


he Papillion Singing Seniors are looking for additional members who can carry a tune, who have a sunny outlook, their Tuesdays free, and who love to have fun. For more information, please contact Rajaena at rajaena@cox.net or 402650-8770.

Omaha Fire Department

The Omaha Fire Department’s Public Education and Affairs Department will install free Eclectic Book Review Club smoke and/ or carbon The Eclectic Book Review Club, founded in 1949, is an- monoxide detectors nouncing its spring 2020 schedule. The monthly meetings, which include lunch and the book inside the residences of review, begin at noon at the Field Club, 3615 Woolworth area homeAve. The cost is $15 per person per month. owners. To reserve a seat, call Rita at 402-553-3147. The reserTo have a free smoke and/ vation deadline is the Friday morning prior to the Tuesday or carbon monoxide detector meeting. installed inside your home, • Feb. 18: Steve Sieborsen will discuss his new book, send your name, address, Low Mountains or High Tea: Misadventures in Britain’s and telephone number to: National Parks. Omaha Fire Department • March 17: Henry Cordes from The Omaha World HerSmoke/Carbon Monoxide ald will review his novel, Pathological. Requests • April 21: Bryan L. Jones will talk about North of the 1516 Jackson St. Platte, South of the Niobrara: A Little Further Into the Omaha, Neb. 68102 Nebraska Sandhills. For more information, • May 19: Susan Darst Williams and Nancy Darst will please call 402-444-3560. offer a senior reflection on their book, the Elderberries.

Page 14

New Horizons

February 2020


Free Tai Chi for Balance classes

he Visiting Nurse Association’s Healing Motion Physical Therapy clinic is offering free Tai Chi for Balance classes. Tai Chi is a great way for older adults to improve their balance and strength, while decreasing their chance of falling. Physical therapist Kris Lausterer –a certified Tai Chi for Balance instructor for two years – will teach the ongoing classes which are open to everyone regardless of their experience with Tai Chi. The classes are held on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. at the Visiting Nurse Association building, 12565 W. Center Rd.  Registration will occur immediately before the class. For more information, see the article on page 11, contact Lausterer at 402-346-7772 or klausterer@vnatoday.org

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 Jerico’s

Restaurant, 11732 W. Dodge Rd. For more information, please call 402-278-1731 or 402-493-0452.

City of Omaha Rec centers Men and women age 75 and older are encouraged to use the City of Omaha’s community centers at no cost for open gym, weight areas, open and lap swimming, aquacise, and ice skating. Tai Chi classes are offered at the following locations and times:

• Adams Park 3230 John Creighton Blvd. Mondays & Wednesdays 9:15 a.m. • Camelot 9270 Cady Ave Tuesdays & Fridays 10:30 a.m. • Florence 2920 Bondesson Ave. Mondays & Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. • Montclair 2304 S. 135th Ave. Thursdays 8:30 a.m. For more information, please call 402-444-4228.

Jerry Leahy... --Continued from page 12. Department, rural law enforcement agencies, and hospital emergency rooms. Another $10 million was used for renovations to the Douglas County Corrections facility. Leahy has also been involved in Douglas County’s recent efforts to buy the former Metropolitan Utilities District building near 17th and Harney streets and the city block around it for $6 million. The location would be used for a courthouse annex and a juvenile detention center.


n avid sports fan who follows Creighton University athletics closely, Leahy said he’d like to have Douglas County residents and employees think of him as someone they can count on to help them solve their problems. At age 73, Jerry has no plans to retire. He said his health is good and his family encourages him to keep working. “Plus, I love my job,” Leahy added.

AARP Nebraska Katie Pile, MSW and Mandy Svatos, RD from the Visiting Nurse Association will discuss Updates in Heart Healthy Living at AARP’s monthly program on Thursday, Feb. 13. The 1:30 p.m. presentation – which is for AARP members and non-members – will be held at the AARP Information Center, Suite 220 in the Center Mall, 42nd

and Center streets. If you plan to attend, please call 402-398-9568. AARP is offering its TaxAide program from early February through mid-April. See page 13 for more information. Volunteers are needed to help out at AARP’s Information Center. For more information, please call Betty at 402-393-2066.

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February 2020

New Horizons

Page 15

Wife, book will make sure Smith, his work are never forgotten “It was important enough for him that he worked on it practically on his death bed narrowing down, finalizing those pictures,” Llana said. “I just hate that he’s not here to see the finished product.” Working on the project allowed both Gerber and Llana to fulfill a dream Rudy long harbored but only got around to doing at Gerber’s persistence. “It was on his bucket list. It was the thing he wanted since he retired in 2008. I’m so happy we were able to do it,” Gerber said.

Thank you I’d like to thank Kristine Gerber, book editor for The Omaha World-Herald for her help with this story and for allowing us to use some of the photographs from the book, The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith. On March 19, Gerber and Llana Smith will celebrate Rudy’s legacy at an 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. book event at the Omaha Press Club, 1620 Dodge St. (22nd floor).

Rudy’s image of Sunday mornings at Paradise Baptist Church. --Continued from page 9. appreciated what Rudy did,” Llana said. When Rudy said he remembered taking that photo, the son almost went into tears, she recalled. In doing the book, The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith, Gerber’s admiration for Rudy grew. “When you think about it, he lived the history, he documented the history of this community. I think what he did was help change perceptions with his photos by showing everyday life of the African-American community. “He had a wonderful compassion. I really love his portrait work. He took some amazing portraits of people of all ages.” Devoted as Smith was to work, family and faith came first. “He was a good dad. He definitely found time for family. He made sure we always took vacations. A lot of times he took the boys on assignments. They got to meet so many people. And it was just a known fact that if we were going through difficult times, we knew we had to pray,” Llana said. “Prayer was always number one.” The Smiths leaned on prayer when their son, Shannon, died.


--Jeff Reinhardt New Horizons Editor

eginning in 2018, Gerber and Rudy chose 300 photos for the book from the many thousands he took. It meant poring through the newspaper’s and his own personal archives. “His memory was so good. He could look at a photo from 1971 and tell you who’s in that photo, where it was taken, the story behind it. To be able to have that as we were working on this project was just incredible,” Gerber said. Most of the photos originally appeared in the newspaper. Llana said the book project fulfilled a longheld vision for her late husband. “He had been talking about this book for years. He had it all up in his mind what he wanted. It was just a matter of going through the pictures. He needed Kristine to get it going, otherwise it never would have happened. She’s done an amazing job. She has such a heart and a passion for it.” “He was excited to see it finally coming together. He was so appreciative of our efforts. I had a really great time being and working with him to make this happen,” Gerber said. Having Rudy’s contributions to history in print means everything to Llana and the family.


mith loved spinning stories about close calls he survived on assignment, like the time a lion jumped him at an exotic animal farm or the mid-air flying emergency, or the train that totaled the company car he was driving. He was also a three-time cancer survivor, having beaten prostate cancer two years ago. He tested cancer-free as recently as last June. But then he suffered a stroke and an examination revealed lymphoma of the abdomen and a mass in his liver. “Rudy was gone in five weeks,” Llana said. Though Rudy’s gone, his imprint is everywhere. The Black Experience is his legacy project. Llana helped him edit photos when he fell ill. “They worked together to do it and made it happen,” Gerber said. Llana said Rudy’s concern for documenting history is one of his legacies. “He knew the power of that camera and those pictures.” Choosing the book’s images became his final mission.

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New Horizons

Smith’s September 1970 photo of Wayne Jones picking the last peach on a tree in Mary Singleton’s backyard. “After all these years it’s finally coming to pass for him,” she said. “It will definitely live on long after we’re gone.”


ith her partner departed, Llana’s now assumed the full-time matriarch role her gospel plays portray. Last month she went alone to New York City to be with her daughter, Quiana, and new-born grandson, Caleb. One life ended and a new one begun. At 71, Llana has new plays to write and dozens of grandchildren to see grow up. She used to tease Rudy about people making him “sound big” and how any door opened just by dropping his name. He teased right back that she was the reason he gained access to places. In fact, Llana is now getting her own recognition as a Viking of Distinction in the Omaha North High School Hall of Fame. She relishes the honor, but she’s more concerned promoting her late husband’s memory. Thanks to the book he gave his final days to, Llana is secure in the knowledge Rudy’s life work lives on. (On Saturday, Feb. 15 and 29 from 1 to 3 p.m., Llana will sign copies of the book at the Black Plains History Museum, 2221 N. 24th St.)

Rudy and his camera were ringside in 1972 when heavyweight champion Joe Frazier fought Ron Stander at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

February 2020

Profile for Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging

New Horizons February 2020  

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 2020  

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